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Plan Your Trip to Los Angeles: Best of Los Angeles Tourism

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Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is a place where nature and Hollywood glamour collide. Yes, you’ve got the big movie studios and iconic spots like TCL Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame. But there’s also gorgeous beaches, hiking trails, and snow-capped mountains just a drive away. Spend time exploring the Westside where you can bike along the beach in Santa Monica. Go shopping on Abbot Kinney in Venice, or take a drive up Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and check out the unreal coastal views. Then, head east to Downtown for art museums like the MOCA and the Broad, and trendy restaurants. Mexican food is big here, and some of the best can be found at hole-in-the-wall places, taco trucks, or strip malls. Whether you want to go all out or do something more low-key, it’s up to you. We’ve got more ideas below.

Travel Advice

Essential Los Angeles

How to do Los Angeles in 3 days

Tranquil canals, a bustling boulevard, and a scenic coastal drive
Read on

Best outdoor activities in Los Angeles

I’ve lived in LA for more than five years, and I still haven’t explored every landscape (trust me, I’ve tried). Thanks to the almost constant SoCal sun and year-round pleasant temps, you’ll find locals like me outside all the time, hiking the city’s iconic Hollywood hills or surfing the Pacific waves. Here are my favorite nature areas and outdoor activities in Los Angeles.
Kristin Corpuz, Los Angeles, CA
  • Marvin Braude Bike Trail
    29
    Whether you’re on a beach cruiser bike, a skateboard, or in rollerblades, the Marvin Braude Bike Trail (commonly called The Strand) is a can’t-miss LA destination. It stretches 22 miles along the Pacific Coast from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach. I suggest starting in Redondo and riding north, so when you reach the end, you can reward yourself with a feast of fresh seafood at Blue Plate Oysterette.
  • Zuma Beach
    834
    Zuma was the first beach I ever went to in LA, and it set the bar impossibly high. First off, it’s not too crowded—a surprise for a popular shore in Malibu. Watch the surfers catch a wave or take a brisk dip (the Pacific Ocean is cold, people!). Wear closed-toed shoes to scramble up the boulders at the far side; during the summer, sea lions and seals sunbathe on the rocks below.
  • The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
    2,504
    This is one of LA’s most magical places, IMHO. The massive library and art collection are both notable, but the best part is the botanical garden. You can spend an entire day wandering around the property. I love the Rose Garden Tea Room, where I often treat myself to high tea, pastries, and—if I’m feeling bougie—caviar service. Tip: There’s free admission on the first Thursday of the month (reserve tickets in advance).
  • Lake Hollywood Park
    416
    Thanks to LA’s perfect weather, picnicking is an absolute must. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, Lake Hollywood Park is my favorite spot to curl up with a good book and a packed lunch. It has an epic view of the Hollywood sign and is a low-key, quiet escape from the city’s crazy traffic. I especially adore this park because it’s pet-friendly, so I can bring my dog Frankie with me.
  • The Getty Center
    14,760
    This sprawling complex is famous for its art and design as well as its manicured grounds—all of which is free! The Getty Center displays works by masters like Monet and Van Gogh inside a beautiful Italian travertine building, designed by Richard Meier. When you want some fresh air, head to the Cactus Garden to stroll around its stunning desert plants and stop to snap a panoramic picture of the skyline.
  • Santa Monica Farmers Market
    177
    California’s produce is out of this world. Don’t believe me? Follow LA’s renowned chefs to the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here, the stands are lined with fruits and veggies as well as local olive oil, handmade soap, and artisanal crafts. I always grab a basket of berries for a snack by the beach, just steps away. Tip: The earlier you go the better to get first dibs and beat the crowds.
  • Hollywood Bowl Museum
    1,397
    Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl—an outdoor amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills—are sensory experiences, to say the least. Due to its half-shell shape, you’ll hear the clearest acoustics sitting in the center (even if you’re in the very back). Snag tickets for the LA Philharmonic orchestra, which performs movie soundtracks as you watch blockbusters like Harry Potter. Don’t worry if you missed the summer concert season; you can visit the venue for free any day.
  • Malibu Creek State Park
    257
    Trek down the Rock Pool and Century Lake trails in Malibu Creek State Park to see where hits like M*A*S*H and Planet of the Apes were filmed. This excursion is more suitable for intermediate and experienced hikers, so block off at least a half day to be safe. And remember to throw a bathing suit in your bag to cool off in the swimming hole at the end of the journey.

Los Angeles Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Los Angeles

Kate T

Los Angeles is a car city. If you really want to experience all it has to offer, you'll need to have one to get around.

Madison S

In LA, tips for taxi drivers, bartenders, concierges, bellboys, and delivery men are commonly a couple of bucks. It is considered discourteous to ignore this tipping culture.

Kcarma

If you are on a budget, LA serves up great Happy Hours. Great way to meet the locals also!

Bentheredunthat

Hotels in nearby cities Glendale, Burbank or North Hollywood are convenient and often less expensive. Flying into & renting cars at Burbank Airport (BUR) is a LOT easier than LAX.

Madison S

Bring a refillable water bottle with you. LA is hot! You can easily refill it with cool water at any public fountain.

Madison S

There's nothing like LA for a family trip. From cooling your heels in the hotel pool to grabbing dino-shaped chicken nuggets at the Rainforest Cafe to visiting the illustrious House of Mouse, there's really no end to kid-friendly activities - whatever age your children are.

Angela A

Los Angeles... some call it the City of Angels, or the City of Dreams. I call it the City of Wow... There is so much to do here!

Robert H

There are miles of beautiful beaches, incredible mountains, beautiful neighborhoods, ethnic areas with authentic foods, miles of bike paths, lovely drives, and opportunities to rent almost anything that moves.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Los Angeles is served by five airports, but most international flights arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Shuttle buses, taxis and ride-sharing services all connect to the city.

train

Amtrak trains arrive at Los Angeles Union Station, with daily connections to Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle, and other US cities.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting the United States from overseas, use the government’s Visa Wizard to see if you need a visa.

When is the best time to visit?

It’s sunny in Los Angeles all year-round, but to avoid the biggest crowds and the soaring summer heat—temperatures regularly climb over 85°F (30°C) in August—visit in spring or fall. Seasonal events such as Coachella (April), L.A Pride (June), and the L.A County Fair (Sept) pull in the masses, but otherwise, it’s the ideal time for sightseeing.

Even over the winter months, average highs are still 68°F (20°C) and this can be a good time to beat the crowds and snag a low-season deal on tours and accommodation.

Get around

car

Hiring a car is by far the most practical way to get around Los Angeles. Book your rental car in advance for the best deals—all of the major rental companies have offices at the airport and many can be booked through your hotel.

metro

MTA runs the city’s Metro trains, which run daily from 4.30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and 2.30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Purchase a reusable TAP card which you can use to access both trains and buses—day and week passes are available.

For more information about the network and fares, see here.

taxis

Taxis are readily available outside airports, hotels, and tourist attractions. Alternatively, call your own using a smartphone app such as Curb.

ridesharing

Uber and Lyft are readily available in Los Angeles on your smartphone.

bicycle

Metro Bike Share is a bikeshare system with stations around Downtown, Chinatown, and the Arts District.

Visitors can pay using a credit card or TAP Card after downloading the Bike Share smartphone app.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Pacific Standard Time (or Pacific Daylight Time when daylight savings is being observed).

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in the United States is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. The plug has two flat parallel pins.

What is the currency?

The U.S. Dollar (USD).

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Bartender

$1-2 a drink

Restaurant

15-20%

Bellman

$1 to 3 per bag

Housekeeper

$2-$3 per night

Taxis/rideshare

15-20%

Shuttle driver

$1-$2 per person

Tour guide

10-20%

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 21 years old.

Walking

In general, walking between sights and neighborhoods in LA is not possible and most locals drive everywhere. If you choose to walk short distances, be aware that jaywalking is illegal in LA and fines apply—cross only at dedicated crossings.

Driving

Most freeways have carpool lanes that can be used by cars with more than two passengers. Avoid driving at rush hour (weekdays from 7-10 a.m., and 4-7 p.m.) if at all possible and even outside of these times, leave yourself plenty of time to account for traffic.

Nightlife

Bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles close at 2 a.m.

Frequently Asked Questions about Los Angeles

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Los Angeles, which include:

Some of the most popular restaurants in Los Angeles include:

Los Angeles is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Los Angeles between September and November, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between June and August.