Best Places to Visit in Los Angeles

Nov/29/2021 / by Preetam
Santa Monica Beach
Image credits: Andrew Gwizdowski via Unsplash

Los Angeles is unlike any other city in the world. Under its clear, sunny blue skies, new stars are born every day. Home to Hollywood, it is the entertainment capital of the Western world. But it does not mean that Los Angeles, the second-largest metropolis in the U.S., is only about glitz and glamor. It is a soulful city that is eclectic and vivacious. And it is blessed by Mother Nature as well. Once you begin to explore Los Angeles, you will discover an array of ancient, modern, and natural splendors hidden within its urban spaces. And each neighborhood of this dynamic city has its own distinctive flavor and appeal. 

There is something for everyone in Los Angeles. If you are traveling with your children, they, too, will love to discover the city’s hidden gems and play at one of the golden, sandy beaches. Los Angeles has over 70 miles of coastline, running along the California coast from Malibu beach in the north to Long Beach in the south. The City of Angeles offers a plethora of opportunities that will please your adventurous side as well. For example, there is a network of hiking trails that lead to gorgeous canyons and mountains around the city.

Los Angeles is also a place where creativity explodes in multiple hues. Several artists, musicians, photographers, and creative minds have made this place their home, enriching its art scene. They have also infused Los Angeles with raw, unbridled energy. And there is no limit to what you can experience in Los Angeles if you are an avid artist or an art lover. It is home to the world’s best museums and art galleries. You can also see some of the world-famous movie studios and themes parks here. Los Angeles also offers you the opportunity to experience a great range of cuisine from all across the world. And its restaurants and bars are always bustling with palpable energy. 

Mornings in Los Angeles are always sunny and bright. And the nights are vibrant and lively. There is always so much happening in Los Angeles – including traffic congestion – that you may feel it offers no space for silence. That is not a correct assumption, as the city also has tranquil pockets. You can enjoy moments of calm and solitude there. There are so many places to visit in Los Angeles that you will need a long vacation to explore all its awe-inspiring beauties. And the best time to visit the city is between March and May and from September to November.  Before you book tickets, take a look at these top Los Angeles attractions. This list will help you plan a memorable trip.    

Beaches in Los Angeles

The City of Angeles is a land of sun, sand, and surf. Outdoor enthusiasts, sunshine worshippers, surfing and kayaking enthusiasts, families, as well as lazybones who just want to chill, are all drawn to Los Angeles because of its beach scene. It has an abundance of beautiful beaches, which run along the Californian coast from Malibu in the north to Long Beach in the South. You can surf, kayak, sunbathe, swim, relax, play, and indulge in other fun activities at Santa Monica beach, Zuma Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and other beaches in Los Angeles. They always appear in the list of most popular places to visit in Los Angeles.     

Santa Monica is probably the most famous beach in Los Angeles – and also in the U.S. Located west of Downtown Los Angeles, this well-maintained, 3.5-mile long sandy beach is the perfect place to spend time with your family and for sightseeing and people-watching. It is also one of the most children-friendly beaches in the nation. You can do sunbathing, play beach volleyball, ride a bike, or just sit and watch others at Santa Monica beach. You will also enjoy the sunset here. And the landmark Santa Monica pier is in the middle of the beach, dividing it into two sections – north of the pier and south of the pier. It features the aquarium, amusement park, shopping area, and restaurants.    

The sun-kissed, white-sand Zuma Beach is another popular beach destination in the City of Angels. Located in the northern part of Malibu, it has 1.80 miles of beach frontage and is known for having the coldest and the cleanest water in Los Angeles. An ultimate South California beach, Zuma offers plenty of options for water sports. You can go surfing, body surfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, and swimming. Another classic South California beach is the beautiful Manhattan Beach, the birthplace of beach volleyball. This sandy beach has over 2 miles of ocean frontage, and like most beaches in this area, the conditions here are also ideal for swimming and surfing. You will also find bicycle trail and pedestrian-only walkway at this beach. And there are also many spots to play beach volleyball.

After having fun on Manhattan Beach, you can head Downtown Manhattan to enjoy shopping and dining. Multiple options are available for them. Another beach called El Porto Beach is located in front of the El Porto neighborhood of northern Manhattan Beach.

If you are looking for a little secluded beach, El Matador Beach is the destination for you. Located just north of Malibu, it is one of three mini-beaches that make Robert H. Meyer Memorial Beach – the other two beaches are El Pescador and La Piedra. El Matador has one of the most spectacular shorelines in this area. It is an ideal location to romance your partner. Also, you can use the craggy rock formations, long stretches of white sands, and towering cliff as a picturesque backdrop for your photos. El Matador is also a favorite of surfers and bodyboarders. Surfing is the activity you will enjoy the most at Huntington Beach as well. It is also a good destination for sunbathing and shopping.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Venice Beach Boardwalk
Image credits: Matteo Paganelli via Unsplash

Venice Beach Boardwalk is another tourist magnet in Los Angeles. This one-mile street is part of the Ocean Front Walk, the two-mile-long stretch of the concrete path that is on the Venice Beach.  One of the main attractions of Venice Beach Boardwalk is people-watching, as it is brimming with eccentric and delightful characters. You will find freewheeling performers, fortune tellers, street vendors, artists, yoga gurus, bikini-clad roller skaters, and a lot of other interesting people here.

Street art is one of the main tourist attractions in Los Angeles. So on and off the boardwalk, the street walls are always glowing with artwork of various artists. They will make you stop and admire them. And the iconic 17,000-square-feet Venice Skatepark is another crowd puller here. It is just off the Venice Boardwalk, and you can watch others high flyers skateboard. As it is a public place, you, too, can go skateboarding here.

If you are in Los Angeles during weekends, plan your visit to Venice Beach on Saturday or Sunday evening. On weekend evenings, hundreds of people assemble with their drums, shakers, and congas and fill the air with music. You can groove to the music with others in crowd. Venice Beach Boardwalk is also the best place to buy gifts and souvenirs to take back home.

Griffith Park

Griffith Park
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The 4,500-acre Griffith Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S. It is five times the size of the famous Central Park in New York City. Considered the heart and soul of Los Angeles, Griffith Park offers you an opportunity to unearth the city’s wild side without leaving its urban landscape. And you can do a lot of fun activities here. There is something for everyone, including for family, singles, romantic couples, children, friends, and other groups. 

The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens is an ideal spot for those who want to have fun with their family. It hosts around 2,200 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, belonging to 270 different species. About 58 out of them are endangered species, such as Calamian deer, chimpanzee, Asian elephant, Orangutan, and snow leopard. And around 7,000 plants, representing 800 species, make the zoo a lush green attraction and a horticulture paradise. 

The railway museum, Travel Town, is another family-friendly spot inside the park — an ideal destination for picnics as well. Along with seeing the exhibits at this museum, you can also enjoy the popular miniature train ride. It will take you around the Travel Town complex. You can also take a train ride at the Griffith Park & Southern Railroad. The train, running on a one-mile track, takes you across a bridge, through a forest and the Old Western Town.  

Griffith Park is also the place where music lovers congregate under the starlit sky. They do so to attend concerts held at the landmark Greek Theatre. Built in the year 1930, this 6,000-seat, open-air theatre is one of the most magical outdoor entertainment venues in the world. And musicians from around the world perform here during the theatre season, which generally runs from April to October. 

The park is also a top destination for hiking in Los Angeles. You can pick from one of the several hiking trails to explore a part of the huge park. If you want to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Los Angeles, you can hike to Cahuenga Peak, which is the highest point in the park. And from the parking lot at Griffith Observatory – another iconic structure inside the park – multiple trailheads lead to Mt. Hollywood, the third highest peak in Griffith Park.  

And if you are visiting Los Angeles with your partner, Griffith Park is also where you can go down on your knee and propose. It often features among the best proposal spots in LA. You can also celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions here. 

Griffith Park is so huge that you cannot explore it entirely in a day. Also, before you visit it, equip yourself with its map, so it becomes easier to do things that align with your interests. 

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory
Image credits: Carl Nenzen Loven via Unsplash

A visit to Los Angeles is incomplete without seeing its stunning beauty from the iconic Griffith Observatory. This Art Deco public building, built more than 85 years ago, is situated on Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. It offers you an incredible view of the Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, and the Pacific Ocean.        

The Griffith Observatory also houses one of the world’s best planetariums. Called Samuel Oschin Planetarium, it features Zeiss star projector, digital projection system, state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy seats, sound system, and theatrical lighting, and a storyteller who will engage you with a live presentation during live shows.

At the Observatory, you can gaze at the stars through several telescopes and check out various exhibitions. Do look out for the fascinating Tesla coil. It lights up after every hour.  

Griffith Observatory does not charge an entry or parking fee. You also do not have to buy tickets to watch exhibitions, see Los Angeles in its magical form, or use telescopes. It is all free. But, if you want to watch the screening at planetarium, you will have to buy tickets. The ticket price, however, is quite reasonable.

Angeles National Forest

Places to Visit in Los Angles
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If you want to escape the urban charm and soak up nature’s warmth, Angeles National Forest is the perfect place for that. Called the “backyard playground” to Los Angeles, the diverse-terrain forest is spread in an area of 650,000 acres. Angeles National Forest hosts the San Gabriel Mountains, while the highest peak Mt. Baldy towers over the park. 

Hundreds of birds and a wide variety of mammals dwell here, including the black bear. And in spring, the place looks extra pretty because of wildflowers blooming all across the forest area. 

Angeles National Forest has more than 50 hiking trails. So if you are a hiking enthusiast, you will find the trail of your choice here. You can try the Mount Baldy summit trail to feel a sense of achievement and get mesmerized by the view from the top. You can see the Southern California cities, deserts, mountains, and the Pacific ocean. Bridge to Nowhere trail is another popular trail in Angeles National Forest. And there are also several waterfall hiking trails like Santa Anita Canyon Look that you can use to enjoy the picturesque view.    

If you plan to visit Angeles National Forest, do make sure to buy a National Forest Adventure Pass online. You cannot enter the forest area without it.

Perched above the 405 Freeway in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center is a one-of-a-kind destination. You will not find a museum like this anywhere in the world. So, if you are in Los Angeles, do take some time out to visit it, which from a distance looks like a modern city sitting atop a mountain.

Getty Center

Places to Visit in Los Angles
Image credits: Grant Thomas via Unsplash

The Getty Center’s galleries display an impressive art collection — Renaissance paintings, Baroque sculptures, 20-century American photography, historically-important manuscripts, and modern masterpieces. The other attraction of the Getty Center is its fabulous, tranquil gardens. You can enjoy the sights and sounds created by nature here. Central Garden, located at the heart of the center, is an “evolving work of art,” as it is designed to change with seasons. The garden has more than 500 plant species.

The Getty Center also offers a spectacular view of Los Angeles. You can enjoy the magnificence without an entry fee. Entry to this museum is free, and there is also no need to make any reservations. 

Hollywood Boulevard

Places to Visit in Los Angles
Image credits: Brendan Church via Unsplash

Hollywood Boulevard is Los Angeles’s most famous street and has appeared in many movies. It is a perfect place to get your Hollywood experience. You can also spot celebrities here.

You may have heard about Hollywood bigshots getting their stars on a sidewalk. You can see those stars at the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is one of the top attractions at Hollywood Boulevard. Another major attraction is Footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

If you want to get a taste of the old Hollywood, the Hollywood Museum’s four floors are waiting for you with old TV and movie costumes and props. The museum is inside the Max Factor, which houses four world-famous make-up rooms. Whitely Heights, often called Los Angeles’s “first Beverly Hill,” is another destination you can explore to get a taste of old Hollywood — by wandering the narrow, winding streets. Hollywood Boulevard is home to several landmarks, so you will never get bored here. Also, it is a great place to go shopping as well.

Travel Guide for Los Angeles

A memorable adventure is waiting for you in Los Angeles. And to ensure that it is indeed a memorable one, you need to properly plan the trip. It is also important to equip yourself with all the information on Los Angeles. Here are a few travel tips that can help you explore all the popular and hidden attractions in La La Land (nickname of Los Angeles).  

Make a List of Attractions in Los Angeles

You have to make a list of the places to visit in Los Angeles. It will make it easier for you to decide on the length of the trip and plan transport and accommodation. To create the list, read travel books and magazines and online travelogues on Los Angeles. Once you have done that, choose beaches, museums, national parks, streets, restaurants, art galleries, mountains, and other attractions that you would like to visit during your trip to Los Angeles. 

If you are traveling alone, make sure that you pick places that are solo-travel friendly and considered safe. Likewise, if you are taking your family with you to LA, pick places that everyone in your family will enjoy exploring.   

Things to Know About Los Angeles  

Here are a few things you need to know about Los Angeles.

  • Los Angeles is a car-centric city. But you can still explore it using public transport such as buses, light rails, subways, and shuttles. They are available for most areas. When you are making a list of places to visit in Los Angeles, do check the transportation available to reach it. 
  • There are six metro lines in Los Angeles. Chinatown, Downtown, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Universal Studios, and Little Town are some of the destinations you can visit using them.    
  • If you are discovering LA using a rented car, make sure to read the parking enforcement signs. And you will also have to pay a parking fee at almost all places in Los Angeles.  
  • Los Angeles is as famous for its freeway traffic as it is for the Hollywood sign. Traffic congestions are common. So you need to keep that in mind when planning your visit and outings around the city.  
  • Los Angeles has sunny weather for most of the year. It, however, gets cold every night. So you better carry with you a sweatshirt to wear after the sun goes down. 
  • Los Angeles does not have one center. So you cannot ask your cab driver to take you to the heart of the city, as there is none. Also, LA is not easy to explore on foot. 
  • If you love visiting museums in a city, Los Angeles is your place. It is dotted with free museums, such as Getty Center, Hammer Museum, and the Broad.  
  • If it is possible, book your hotel in an area from where it is easy to access most of the destinations on your list.   

Things to Carry

You should travel light. And for that, you need to only pack essential things. Here is a list of things that you may need during your Los Angeles trip.   

  • Visa and Passport
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Toiletries
  • Travel books on Los Angeles
  • Torch and extra batteries for it
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Weather-appropriate clothes
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Weatherproof jacket
  • Power bank and charger
  • Masks and hand sanitizer

Things to Keep In Mind

If you want to enjoy Los Angeles without going bankrupt, here are a few things you need to keep in mind. 

  • Hotels overlooking the ocean charge more than the ones that are located a little farther from the beach. If you have a limited travel budget, book a room in a hotel that is located a little away from the beach. 
  • Window shopping is the best way to enjoy Rodeo Drive, as the prices here are way too high. For affordable options, you can explore boutiques in West Hollywood.  
  • A visit to the Universal Studio is not a cheap experience. You will have to spend a good amount of money to enter the famous movie studio. So, instead of visiting it, you can explore other popular tourist attractions where entry is free, for example, Griffith Observatory and Getty Center.

FAQ

Where can I go when bored in LA?

– Griffith Observatory
– The Getty Center
– Venice Beach Boardwalk
– Santa Monica Pier
– Zuma Beach
– Rodeo Drive
– Manhattan Beach

What part of Los Angeles should I visit?

– Downtown LA    
– Hollywood
– Beverly Hills
– Santa Monica
– Malibu
– West Hollywood
– Venice Beach

What to do in LA at Night?

LA is as happening in the night as it is in the morning. There are tons of things you can do here after the sun begins to set. It includes shopping, eating, and having fun at the Santa Monica pier where the iconic amusement park is located, seeing the stars from the Griffith Observatory, or taking a stroll on the Hollywood Boulevard.

What should you not miss in LA?

When in LA, you should not miss the rich art and culture scene, the eclectic streets, splendid beaches, mural artwork, world-class museums, a studio tour, amusement and theme parks, and the Hollywood fame of walk.

What is the most beautiful part of Los Angeles?

– Griffith Park
– Santa Monica Beach
– El Matador Beach
– Griffith Observatory
– Hollywood Sign
– Walk of Fame
– Hollywood Boulevard
– Getty Center

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