She’s blond. She’s totally into movies. She loves music. She’s into healthy stuff and loves organic & Mexican food. Well, sometimes she just wants to eat a great burger! She’s got implants and a facelift. She’s a hope for small-town dreamers. She loves shopping. She’s totally into sports, especially basketball and baseball. She likes to visit museums and enjoys art. And she loves Mickey Mouse! Yes, she is Los Angeles!
L.A. is a place where fantasy meets reality. A mecca for beach-bodies and celebrities but also a city known for gang crimes and traffic jams. Spreading across 1,300 square kilometers and inhabiting over 18 million people (greater Los Angeles area), Los Angeles is the largest SoCal city and the second most populated metropolitan area in the United States. “L.A”, “City of Angels” or “La-la-Land” – known for its amazing climate, ethnic diversity and being the center of the American entertainment industry. We had the chance to explore the city for a few days, trying to catch up the myth that goes along with it. We put together our impressions and a small list of our best things to do in LA.
Settled along the coast in Los Angeles’s western downtown lies beautiful Santa Monica. This beachfront city hosts a number of spots to visit, places to eat and areas to discover, making it a great area to spend some time and discover a great side of L.A. Famous landmarks include the Santa Monica Pier where you can spend a sunny day riding the Ferris wheel or eating cotton candy. The downtown district is home to Third Street Promenade, home to numerous shops and restaurants.
Recommended Restaurants in the area: Hillstone (American Cuisine such as ribs, steaks & burgers), Flower Child (Healthy, organic food such as wraps, rice bowls or salads) or 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria (Italian cuisine – simply great pizzas!)
Santa Monica Beach is also a nice place to have a stroll and enjoy the sunset. There is also a bike path that takes you in both directions, offering amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. There are various bike shops where you can rent a bike for a day. You can also enjoy a nice road trip along Ocean Avenue. If you feel like relaxing or simply want to enjoy some nice beach views its best to have a stroll through Palisades Park and have a seat along the pathways. Definitely, visiting Santa Monica is one of the best things to do in LA!
The Griffith Observatory and its adjacent Griffith Park is an ideal place to get some panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin, including an excellent view of the Hollywood Sign. The Observatory itself exhibits several telescopes, a Tesla coil as well as a Foucault Pendulum, which demonstrates the rotation of the earth. There are shuttle buses going here from Sunset Blvd. and parking opportunities if you decide to come with a car – admissions are free.
Sunset & Hollywood Boulevard
Probably one of the most famous avenues in the world, Hollywood and especially Sunset Boulevard, are home to many of L.A’s iconic spots. Here you can see the landmarks that celebrate the city’s film and music heritage such as the TLC Chinese Theater or the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You can find a day’s worth of activities here, exploring the various theaters and Hollywood museums, never knowing into which star you could potentially bump into.
Founded in 1905 as a beachfront resort town, Venice was meant to be a cultural mecca to accommodate and amuse the public. A developer and millionaire named Abbot Kinney envisioned an amusement park and started to build canals and imported gondolas and gondoliers from Venice, Italy – hence its name. Today, Venice is a popular destination for tourists and a home to artists which have turned this seaside town into an important cultural center of Los Angeles.
Whether you are looking for shopping, surfing, art and music or simply some fun in the sun – Venice has a wide range of activities to offer. Its famous Venice Beach and Venice Ocean Front Walk (aka “the boardwalk”) are beautiful areas to explore. The neighborhood is extremely popular and trendy and hangout for the city’s hipster community. There are many restaurants, cafes, galleries and shops that invite its visitors to stroll around – an especially famous street for doing this is Abbot Kinney Blvd., also known as “The Coolest Block in America.” For sure, visiting the hip and arty grounds of Venice is definitely one of the things to do in LA.
We suggest renting a bike and riding down all the way from Santa Monica. It’s a beautiful ride and you get to experience the small side streets of Venice in the best way.
Visiting Los Angeles without going to Disneyland is like going to the cinemas without popcorn. It’s that essential trip you have to make to complete your visit to the city. Located in Anaheim, the theme park is also known as the “Happiest Place on Earth”. The park is made up of Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure Park, both offering its visitors a huge variety of amusement rides and fun activities.
Although a very touristic activity and a not so cheap one either, we had a great time exploring the parks and enjoyed our stay here. Have a look at our previous blog post to get all the necessary info for your trip to Disneyland.
Apart from the above-mentioned activities there are loads of other things to do in LA. Being the home of the movie industry it’s obviously a good idea to go and visit the Universal Studios. If you are into sports you might want to check out a game at the STAPLES Center to watch the Los Angeles Lakers play basketball. Despite a former saying that even Yogurt has more culture than Los Angeles we did find that there are loads of interesting galleries and museums to visit such as the Getty Center or the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. We really enjoyed our stay and had a great time experiencing the different parts of town. Make sure to rent a car as the public transportation system is not the best.