We spent almost ten days in Los Angeles, California staying on Melrose Avenue, and then moving to the more enjoyable beachside town of Hermosa Beach.
Since then we have flown in and out of LA a couple of times staying at numerous areas, including an enjoyable stay in Downtown LA.
Below are our Los Angeles travel tips based on our experiences in this thriving urban sprawl.
We also asked our facebook community what their tips were for things to do in LA which we have included in the post at the bottom.
But first, our personal tips:
The Farmers Market and Rodeo Drive
The Los Angeles Farmers Market is one of my favorite places to visit in LA. It’s a great place for people watching; you just never know when you might run into a celebrity. There are fantastic options here for cheap eating.
Rodeo Drive is the place to visit without your wallet, unless of course you are really rich.
It is worth a visit just to see how the beautiful and wealthy people shop. You just never know who you might run into shopping in the ritzy designer label stores. Besides, it is a pretty nice looking street.
Take in the Movie Glamour of Hollywood
The Kodak Theater is where you will come face to face with the home of the Oscars. And the famed Mann Chinese Theatre is where you can find your favorite stars hand prints forever engraved in the concrete on the sidewalk out the front.
Hollywood is the place to come for your movie crushes. I wasn’t really a big fan and I feel LA has a lot more to offer than just movie glamour. But, it’s a thing to do when in LA.
Bike from Santa Monica to Venice Beach
If you have to visit these two places, then I recommend a bike ride along the beach path from Santa Monica to Venice Beach to make the area a little more enchanting.
I’m not overly fond of the Santa Monica pier, I find it really tacky and just don’t get its allure.
And Venice Beach is fantastic for people watching, but just don’t stay too long or you might get sucked into a psychedelic world trapped in the hippy free love movement of the sixties.
Eat Fish Tacos and have a Night out with a Local
We discovered fish tacos in LA. We spent some time with a friend of ours, who showed us the local nightlife in LA and would not let us leave until we tried this culinary institution.
Go Down to the South Bay Beaches
Our favorite part of LA are the South Bay Beaches. We generally skip LA now and head straight down to Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach and it is well worth staying here for a few days.
The sunsets on the beaches are worth the trip alone. Make sure you stop for a sundowner at one of the many beer gardens along the Hermosa promenade.
And if you enjoy beach volleyball then Manhattan Beach and Hermosa are the best places to have a friendly game.
Take in a concert at The Greek Amphitheater
We were lucky enough to be in town when Ben Harper was playing at the Greek Amphitheater.
Of course we went. And I loved this music venue. An outdoor, small intimate stadium surrounded by trees in the popular Griffith Park.
You cannot beat a place to sit back and listen to Damien Marley followed by the great Ben Harper. See who is in town when you are around.
Take a tour of the Hollywood Homes
Okay, I know. Very kitsch. But something that has to be done.
My keen eyes were out in the hopes of spotting Brad Pitt, but instead I mostly spotted tall brick walls and hedges built up to keep away the prying eyes of annoying tourists.
We had our own car and map and drove it ourselves, and as terrible as it was, we still had a lot of fun driving around Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills on a celebrity hunt.
The Getty Center
The Getty Center sits atop a hill in Brentwood, Los Angeles and is reached via a three car cable pulled tram from the bottom car park.
The museum specializes in artworks, but way more interesting to us was the architecture of the building, the views and the beautiful sculptured gardens that surround the museum.
It’s worth a visit just for this alone. Oh, and it’s FREE.
See a Baseball Game
Am I allowed to admit that I sat and read the paper for most of the LA Dodgers v San Francisco Giants game we watched?
I did, however, stand and participate in the seventh inning stretch. My favourite part of the whole baseball experience. While I don’t quite get the joy of baseball, going to a live baseball game can be fun.
For tickets to sporting events try StubHub.com
Drive down to Orange County
Orange County has some really beautiful beaches. Laguna Beach was more of a small cove beach and with it’s natural hilly setting reminded me a lot of Australian beaches and was definitely the pick for me.
For a Quick Stopover
If you are just flying in and out of LA and are in need of a couple of nights stopover, we really recommend a stay at one of the Los Angeles international airport hotels.
We found a great deal at the Westin Hotel and caught the shuttle bus down to Manhattan and Hermosa Beach for the day.
Tours, Sightseeing & Passes
Viator is the industry leader when it comes to tours, activities, tickets and passes with a list of hand-picked tours and things to do in LA from local insiders.
Check out the Go Los Angeles Card for access to over 26 top LA attractions, activities and tours.
More things to do in LA
You can watch the video of my travels in LA by clicking play below
Tips on things to do in LA from our Facebook Fans
Chelsea Sutherland – Don’t spend your whole time staying in downtown LA – places like Santa Monica and Venice are great to stay in too.
Justin Hamlin – First advice, spend 1 day in LA, then get out of LA, go see Santa Monica, Venice, Santa Barbara, Orange County, etc.
Marianne Schwab – I live here so my latest find is Paradise Cove in Malibu! Great place to go to the beach and dine seaside at the Beach Cafe.
Make a day of it. Pay for parking, but it’s worth it. Best place in Malibu. And if you like wine, check out Malibu Family Wines – about 5-10 miles away.
Kristin Smith – Go for a hike in Griffith Park (where the Hollywood sign is). Also, the downtown historic society runs various tours of old downtown, which are very interesting, especially if you are interested in cities and the way they develop.
A Little Adrift: Travel Around the World – Use the underground transport to see Hollywood – surprisingly efficient and better than buses if you’re not renting a car.
And go to the Getty – the photo exhibit there is still one of the best I’ve seen in the world.
Martha Rivera – LA has some great flea markets like the Rose Bowl.
Also recommend trying some of the delicious food trucks. Downtown LA has some really cool bars like the Varnish and Villain’s Tavern. Every 2nd Thursday of the month, downtown LA comes alive with the Downtown Art Walk. It’s a great time to visit and be sure to check out the many parking lots full of food trucks.
Also, there are two great museum exhibits happening in LA. Art in the Streets at MOCA and the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA. The Getty is also worth a visit. Stunning views!
Caroline Eubanks – In n Out Burger! And I went to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Lovely. And eat Mexican food.
Kimberly Kays – Eat Sushi and Korean BBQ. Yum!
Nonstop World Travel – follow the nam nam truck and get a bahn mi. mmm delicious food with friendly people.
Melinda Kruse DiPerna – Take an architectural tour of LA. Go shopping in fashion district off Pico for clothing steals, Griffith Park, Huntington Library, Gamble house near Pasadena. Dodgers or angels game. Beaches.
Melinda Kruse DiPerna – Oh: la Brea tar pits for dino fossils, Getty Museum, a TV show taping. Lots of fun to be had in LA.
StruxTravel – For great views: Griffith Park Observatory and The Getty Center; LACMA has the best art collection and La Brea Tar Pits are next door;
Hollywood Blvd is fun for touristy things like Walk of Fame & Grauman’s Chinese Theater; Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive; Universal Studios; Disneyland; Santa Monica Pier & Third Street Promenade;
Nearby places worth visiting, all within 2 hours drive–Palm Springs, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.
Do It While You’re Young – Avoid the tourist traps — Hollywood, namely. Get down to Orange County for the very best beaches. Hike Runyon Canyon, skirt up to Griffith Park Observatory, get a show at the Wiltern on Western & Wilshire, go shopping in Pasadena. We could go on!
LashWorldTour – well, it may be good to know beforehand that the Pacific Ocean, even at LA is really cold. Maybe not the best place to swim!
Wander and Explore – Griffith Park Observatory would have to be my favorite place in LA. Great views, very cool building.
The walk of fame and Grauman’s theater are crowded and VERY touristy…PASS. I agree with Justin…get out of LA proper. Venice is great.
StruxTravel – People always say to avoid the “tourist traps,” but unless you live here, you are a tourist! You can’t come to LA for the first time and not see places like Hollywood Blvd.
Plan Your Trip to Los Angeles
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Tours & Sightseeing
- Viator is the industry leader in tours, activities, tickets and passes with a list of hand-picked tours and things to do in LA from local insiders.
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