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LA is known for its surf, turf, and glitz. This three-day guide samples a little of each - from sandy shores to trendy stores.

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter

15 Places

3 City Tips

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15 Places

Day 1

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Historic Walking Areas, Piers & Boardwalks, Beaches

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Venice Canals Walkway

Historic Walking Areas

Santa Monica Pier

Historic Walking Areas, Piers & Boardwalks, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Science Museums, Aquariums

Day 2

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Architectural Buildings, Concerts, Symphonies, Theatres, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Olvera Street

Historic Walking Areas, Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Little Tokyo

Neighbourhoods

Mulholland Drive

Scenic Drives

Dolby Theatre

Theatre & Performances, Theatres

Day 3

Runyon Canyon Park

Canyons, Parks

LA Fashion District

Neighbourhoods

Watts Towers

Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Music Box Steps

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Downtown Disney

Disney Parks & Activities, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Maddie S's City Tips

  • If you rent a car, LA's freeways have carpool lanes for 2+ people. However, sometimes these are slower than normal lanes - and it can be hard to get across when it's time to exit.
  • Tipping 15-20% is common practice in LA when you've eaten out. If you're just going to a bar, a couple of bucks per drink is customary.
  • If someone approaches you for an acting or modeling deal, this may be a scam. Ask for a business card, and look up the talent agent by name to gauge if it's legitimate.
    Day 1
  • Save
    Venice Beach Boardwalk
    Historic Walking Areas, Piers & Boardwalks, Beaches
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    The boardwalk at popular Venice Beach has pathways and parks for bicycles, skateboarders, and rollerbladers, and snake charmers and body builders alike come here to strut their stuff. Step off the boardwalk to take advantage of Venice Beach's waves, beach volleyball courts, and plenty of waterfront dining opportunities.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The place is famous for people watching, but not all characters are savory. If you feel unsafe for any reason, move further down the beach - the area is quite mutable.
    • At the southern part of the beach, on Washington Boulevard, there is a fishing pier for those who'd like to catch their own supper.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #82 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Nothing Else Like It! 25/04/2015
    • Definitely worth a visit 24/04/2015
    • Venice Beach Boardwalk
    Phone:
    888 LA-PARKS
    Other:
  • Save
    Abbot Kinney Boulevard
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    Located a short walk from Venice beach, Abbot Kinney is a hip mercantile city street where art, design, food, and nightlife rule. You won't find any chain stores in the eclectic mix here; you will happen upon plenty of delicious food and fantastic boutiques with unparalleled atmosphere.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Every first Friday of the month, get your bib ready - it's Food Truck Friday, and you can eat your way up the Boulevard.
    • If you're sapped of energy after the beach, Kreation Kafe's fresh pressed juice selections are a great way to revitalize and "kleanse". Even nay-sayers will go for the aloe water.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #87 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Different and exciting 25/04/2015
    • I would go again. 19/04/2015
    • Abbot Kinney Boulevard
    Other:
  • Save
    Venice Canals Walkway
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    After the busy rush of Venice's beach and boulevard, the Venice Canals offer a charming, peaceful respite to visitors. Marked on the National Register of Historic Places, the man-made canals were the brainchild of Abbot Kinney, who in 1905 decided to bring some of Italy's old-world charm to the LA social scene. Today, the area is home to some of the city's most scenic homes and is good for a stroll.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Canals are purely a sightseeing destination, dominated by lovely private homes and boats. The history and wildlife make it worth the walk: Try to spot the herons as you go.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #40 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Good 23/04/2015
    • Lovely area of town for a walk 23/04/2015
    • Venice Canals Walkway
    Address:
    Washigton Blvd. & Dell Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90292
  • Save
    Santa Monica Pier
    Historic Walking Areas, Piers & Boardwalks, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    The Santa Monica Pier and beach is more family-friendly than Venice, and after a must-see visit to the former, you can spend your day lounging and playing at the latter. This 100-year-old landmark pier features an aquarium, Pacific Park on the boardwalk (with ferris wheel and roller coaster), a beginner's trapeze, arcade, and, oh yes, all the churros and classic soda pop you can consume!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • On weekends, at 11am and 12pm, blue-shirted guides offer free history tours of the pier and surrounding apartments. No RSVP is needed. Find a guide at the Merry Go-Round Building.
    • Fridays in the Fall are "Front Porch Cinema" nights, with free films on the beach. You can buy a lawn chair to kick back in, and food and drink are on hand for purchase.
    • S.T.E.A.M. Education runs a number of fun child-friendly educational activities involving the Pier. Check online to see what's on during your visit.
    • SMP sometimes runs free instructor-guided Running and Yoga classes ("ROGA") on Saturday mornings from 8-10am. BYOM: Bring Your Own Mat!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 110 things to do in Santa Monica
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pacific Park 26/04/2015
    • Perfectly fine but Santa Cruz is much better 25/04/2015
    • Santa Monica Pier
    Address:
    200 Santa Monica Pier
    Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    Phone:
    310-458-8900
    Other:
  • Save
    Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
    Science Museums, Aquariums
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    A small local affair located below the Pier, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium focuses on the ocean life found in and around Santa Monica Bay. Education and conservation are its main aims, and to that end the aquarium offers a range of activities and special events to help visitors understand the complex ecosystem lurking below the fun and festivity of the pier.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • You're allowed to get up close and personal with crabs, sponges, rays, and starfish at the Aquarium's petting pools. It's very child friendly.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 110 things to do in Santa Monica
    • Small but interesting 27/03/2015
    • small but interesting 19/03/2015
    • Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
    Address:
    1600 Ocean Front Walk
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    Phone:
    310 393 6149
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    14:00 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    12:30 - 17:00
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Architectural Buildings, Concerts, Symphonies, Theatres, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, is a grand architectural achievement, both visually and acoustically. The musical centerpiece of LA, it houses the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Worth a visit for the artistry of the building itself, it's also a great venue for an evening show, thanks to its vast auditorium.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Tours of the concert hall are available on most days, free of charge, and include the famous "French Fry" Organ - the eclectic centerpiece of the main auditorium.
    • The Music Hall houses the Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery, which displays rotating musically-significant historic and artistic exhibits.
    • On the Concert Hall's third level, a community garden is free for public use and provides a beautiful, relaxing respite from the city's noise and bustle.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 90 Theatre & Concerts in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Take the tour! 25/04/2015
    • Wonderful achcitectural masterpiece in LA with terrific music offerings 24/04/2015
    • Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Address:
    111 South Grand Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Phone:
    323-850-2000
    Other:
  • Save
    Olvera Street
    Historic Walking Areas, Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    Olvera Street, a Historic Landmark, is located in one of the most traditional areas of Downtown LA. It's a rustic oasis surrounded by industrial complexes, both colorful and romantic. Pottery, piñatas, and puppets line the stores of this tiny street, and it preserves its authentic Latin origin in the food and local atmosphere.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • The Blessing of the Animals is a festival procession held annually on Sabado de Gloria (the Saturday before Easter) - it includes live performances and an animal parade.
    • The best time to visit is early morning, to avoid the tour bus crowds that come in later.
    • If you are traveling by car, it is cheaper to park by Chinatown, which is about a 5-10 minute walk from Olvera Street.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #65 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Cute street 23/04/2015
    • An fast introduction to Mexico. 15/04/2015
    • Olvera Street
    Address:
    Main and Alameda streets
    125 Paseo de la Plaza 90012
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Phone:
    213-485-6855
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 19:00
  • Save
    Little Tokyo
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    To experience another side of LA's wide cultural spectrum, take a walk around Little Tokyo. Los Angeles is home to the USA's largest Japanese-American population, and the landmarked Little Tokyo is one of only three official Japantowns in the country. There is plenty of history to take in here - including the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and the Japanese American National Museum - but the area is also a popular entertainment district. Plus, the food choices are guaranteed to stop you in your tracks: soba, ramen, donburi, curry, sushi, and yakitori... all can be found here in abundance. Just be sure to save room for dessert at one of the wagashi sweet shops, operating since 1903!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Fugetsu-do is a sweet shop with a claim to having invented the fortune cookie, and Mikawaya is credited with bringing mochi ice cream to the USA. Try both!
    • In May, the area hosts the annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. It's a rare opportunity to check out contemporary and classic films on the big screen.
    • East West Players, one of the first Asian-American theater companies, performs in this area at the David Henry Hwang Theater. Always a fresh act.
    • Little Tokyo is the birthplace of the California Roll. If you're in the area, head to the Tokyo Kaikan sushi restaurant to give it a try in the place where it began.
    • Little Tokyo runs a free Tuesday Night Café performance series, from jazz to hip-hop, comedy to improv. Be sure to check the schedule to see what's happening when you're in town.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #106 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Historical as well as modern 23/04/2015
    • The best part was visiting Buddhist temple~ 21/04/2015
    • Little Tokyo
    Address:
    Downtown
    Southeast of the Civic Center; bounded by 1st
    Los Angeles, CA
    Phone:
    213-624-1267
    Other:
  • Save
    Mulholland Drive
    Scenic Drives
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    After a day of play outdoors, why not rent a car (or book a bus tour) to see Mulholland Drive, one of the most scenic routes in LA, with views of the Hollywood Hills. Various routes highlight LA's natural beauty or its exclusive homes - take your pick!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are spots every mile or so along the Drive where you can park your car and take photos.
    • A night drive or tour is a great way to experience glitz of the LA lights below.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 36 things to do in Beverly Hills
    • Great Views 15/04/2015
    • Had to take a quick drive 14/04/2015
    • Mulholland Drive
    Address:
    Mulholland Drive
    Beverly Hills, CA
  • Save
    Dolby Theatre
    Theatre & Performances, Theatres
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    Best known for its role as the permanent home of the world-famous Oscar Awards, the Dolby (previously the Kodak Theatre) is a live-performance theater in the Hollywood & Highland shopping and entertainment complex. A tour of this iconic venue is the ultimate behind-the-scenes peek at LA's theater scene and dexterous modern culture.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Dolby is at the heart of Hollywood & Highland, a shopper's paradise with a happening nightlife and multiple restaurants. Stick around to enjoy a Hollywood evening.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 90 Theatre & Concerts in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • America's Got Talent 19/04/2015
    • Good tour 14/04/2015
    • Dolby Theatre
    Address:
    6801 Hollywood Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    Phone:
    323-308-6363
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Runyon Canyon Park
    Canyons, Parks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    If you're looking to get off the beaten path in LA, you can't get off to a much better start than at Runyon Canyon. This park in the Santa Monica Mountains comprises 160 acres of nature walks and hiking trails for you to sink your feet into.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Off-leash dogs are allowed in most of the park, so if you have your pooch with you, bring him or her along for the hike!
    • The hikes can be steep, so be sure to bring plenty of water, especially in summer when it gets really hot up there.
    • There are two main entrances to the park - at Fuller Avenue in Hollywood and at Mulholland Drive.
    • For a stunning view of the area, climb to the Park's highest point, Indian Rock, with an elevation of 1,320 feet.
    • There are 3 main hiking trails, for various levels of experience: Runyon Canyon Road (Beginner), Star Trail (Intermediate), and Hero Trail (Advanced.) All begin at Fuller Gate.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • THE BEST! 22/04/2015
    • Great Hike! 22/04/2015
    • Runyon Canyon Park
    Address:
    2000 North Fuller Ave
    Hollywood
    Los Angeles, CA 90046
    Other:
  • Save
    LA Fashion District
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    LA's Fashion District is home to 100 blocks of retail shopping. It is also the site of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, which puts on fantastic free exhibits featuring costumes from TV and movies.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • If your visit coincides, it's worth visiting the sample sales, which take place on the last Friday of every month.
    • If you're shopping for fabric in this District, don't be afraid to ask for a better deal. Haggling is not uncommon in parts of this area.
    • Santee Alley is the District's open-air bazaar, where bargains are easy to find on a range of clothing and accessories. You can even barter a little!
    • LA's Flower District is also here, and its California Flower Mall is the largest flower market in the county. It's a great place to snap up a bouquet for your sweetheart.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #153 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Large area 03/04/2015
    • It was fun for a bit 30/03/2015
    • LA Fashion District
    Address:
    110 E. 9th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90021
    Phone:
    213 488 1153
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Watts Towers
    Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    The Watts Towers are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptures in Simon Rodia State Historic Park. Representing Italian-American ingenuity through a fantastic city installation, this remarkable collection was 33 years in the making, the life's work of artist and architect Sam Rodia. Take in the gorgeous, bright-tiled mosaic work at the base of the spires, which soar 99 feet in the air - beacons of history made up of bed frames, glass bottles, and scrap metal, and painted over in sea shells. This one-of-a-kind landmark houses the real story of LA's past in its metal bones.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Watts Towers is easiest to reach via the Los Angeles County Metro Rail Blue Line - otherwise, it's a long drive via the I-105 Century Freeway.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #56 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Spectacular Monument to a Common Man With a Vision 20/04/2015
    • Fun little detour, a nice change from the big attractions and crowds of LA 20/04/2015
    • Watts Towers
    Address:
    1765 East 107th St
    Los Angeles, CA
    Phone:
    213 847 4646
    Other:
  • Save
    Music Box Steps
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    The epicenter of action in Laurel and Hardy's classic film comedy "The Music Box," which won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (comedy) in 1932, the 133 Music Box Steps have been preserved by the Library of Congress for being of culturally significant value. If you're looking to spend some time exploring Hollywood's history without the tourist traffic, check out this landmark open set - and even dare to climb to the top!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The place feels more significant if you've actually seen "The Music Box" - a couple of minutes on YouTube will enrich your experience, and you can even look up the 1932 awards!
    • Avoid this spot during the day, as the LAPD sometimes uses it to train cadets... ouch!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #250 of 700 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Pilgrimage 14/12/2014
    • If your a fan of Laurel and Hardy, then you'll love this! 06/07/2014
    • Music Box Steps
    Address:
    923 - 935 Vendome Street
    Los Angeles, CA
    Other:
  • Save
    Downtown Disney
    Disney Parks & Activities, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Maddie S Says:

    When you think LA, you're bound to think Disney - so why not experience it like a local? In addition to (predictably) housing the world's largest Disney Store, Downtown Disney is a mecca of food and entertainment geared toward adults (though with plenty of kid-friendly activity too). From an interactive theme park and dino-dining, to Wolfgang Puck's cuisine and cocktails - plus golf courses and even a spa - there is literally no end to what you can do, buy, see, and eat in this lively part of town.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Head to the House of Blues for brilliant Cajun food, afternoon appetizer happy hour, and best of all: live Blues music on the outer terrace from late afternoon into the evening.
    • If you time your visit correctly, you can view the nightly Disneyland Magic Kingdom fireworks show from central Downtown Disney - by the fountain, at 9:00 PM.
    • If you skipped Madam Tussauds's in Hollywood, you can still get your picture taken with the lego-likeness of film stars Darth Vader and Woody at the Lego Imagination Center.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 44 things to do in Anaheim
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Restaurants and shopping 25/04/2015
    • Great shops and dining 24/04/2015
    • Downtown Disney
    Address:
    Disneyland Dr at Katella Ave
    Anaheim, CA 92804
    Phone:
    714 781 4565
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 - 2:00
    Other:
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