Los Angeles Travel Guide
The City of Angeles, La La Land-- whatever nickname you choose to call it by, you certainly can't call it boring. Neighborhood by neighborhood, L.A. offers a little something for everyone. Whether your passion is wine-tasting or canyon-hiking, the guide below will take you through the absolute must-see's of every neighborhood:
Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)
Lined with palms and sparkling with skyscrapers, Downtown L.A. (known among locals as simply DTLA) is never short of something to do. This bustling area serves as L.A.'s central business district and is home to more than 500,000 jobs. It's also home to a wide array of trendy neighborhoods, shopping complexes, top-rated restaurants, and entertainment attractions.
For an evening of music, you must check out the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Not only does this concert hall house the spectacular L.A. Philharmonic and Master Chorale, but it is an architectural must-see (designed by Frank Gehry)! The Los Angeles music center (directly across from Grand Park) is another great place to catch an opera or musical, and is the largest performing arts center in the United States. If you're looking for music in a more sultry and upbeat atmosphere, check out a drag show at the opulent and iconic Orpheum Theatre, or hear some improvised beats at the highly-acclaimed Blue Whale jazz club.
Can't sit still for long? No worries! Get your daily dose of art and culture by exploring The Broad, the Museum of Contemporary Art, or the very Instagram-friendly Museum of Ice Cream. After perusing, skip over to Birdies for gourmet doughnuts (think flavors like lemon thyme pistachio and horchata), coffee, and fried chicken. That night, take to Little Tokyo for some of L.A.'s best and most succulent ramen, then cap off the night with authentic mochi ice cream or bubble tea.
Wake up and the coffee (and the roses) by heading over to the DTLA flower district for breakfast. Experience one of the best breakfast burritos you'll ever have at Poppy + Rose, then skip over to the L.A. Flower Market for a cheap bouquet of fresh and colorful flowers.
Central Los Angeles
Central L.A. is home to twenty-three neighborhoods as well as the city's largest public greenspace, Griffith Park. Its suburban atmosphere and convenient proximity to the hubbub of the city make it a popular place for those looking to live in L.A., or rent a villa/vacation home for an extended stay in the city.
Each neighborhood within Central L.A. offers up its own quirks, traits, and stories with a community flair. Atwater Village (an older neighborhood, close to Glendale and the downtown area) features intimate music bars and venues (such as Swing House Studios and The Griffin) plus local-driven coffee shops like Kaldi Coffee where patrons can enjoy a cappuccino while perusing shelves of records, books, and zines for sale. Keep your eyes peeled here for unsuspecting street art and murals at every corner!
Entertain your wild side at Griffith Park with horseback riding and hiking, or simply take a stroll around the L.A. Zoo. Just before sunset, make the trek to the Griffith Park Observatory where you can take in awe-inspiring views of the L.A. skyline. In Koreatown, enjoy a dinner of Korean barbecue cooked table-side, and pick up a jar of kimchee for a souvenir.
Take the Miracle Mile for iconic lights and a stop at the LACMA sculptures or La Brea Tar Pits. Browse high-end brands and funky shops at Melrose Place off of Melrose Avenue. Grab a pastrami sandwich from a deli in the cute and trendy Fairfax district, then head over to Beverly Grove for shopping and street performers.
Last (but certainly not least) find your favorite star at Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and take in the gilded architecture of the landmark Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
The essence of West Hollywood is something that can only be described as vibrant. Commonly abbreviated as "WeHo," this bustling district is known for its legendary Sunset Strip, famed for its rock ‘n’ roll pedigree, as well as its prominent gay community.
Book a table at the Chateau Marmont's lavish restaurant where you can snack on charcuterie boards, sip wine, and dig into a succulent array of seafood creations. While you still have some time in the day to kill, snap your picture by the West Hollywood Rainbow Crosswalks (off of Santa Monica Boulevard) and marvel at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves at Hollywood's largest independent book store, Book Soup. There's also a multitude of local farmers markets to peruse, as well as the Veterans Memorial.
As the sun starts to set, get ready to party-- West Hollywood comes alive in the nighttime! Scout out happy hour drinks on a rooftop bar (such as the Riot House Bar, known for its seventies-style rock 'n' roll vibes) or schedule a wine tasting at the V Wine Room. Hankering for a laugh? Catch some at the Laugh Factory, where renowned comedians like Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, and Whitney Cummings have all performed.
If you're looking for some high-energy live music, see who’s playing at the Troubadour, The Roxy Theatre, or Whisky A Go-Go. Immerse yourself in the legendary nightlife of the Sunset Strip by visiting one of its many clubs, or simply take a drive to see the lights.
After a night of grooving and partying, use bottomless brunch at Taste on Melrose (endless mimosas!) or Terrine (all-day rosé!) as motivation to get up.
Known for its celebrity residences and luxury shopping districts like Rodeo Drive, the 90210 is the definition of extravagance. Beyond its opulent exterior however, there's so much more to this swanky neighborhood which at one time, served as a lima bean ranch.
Get caffeinated for your adventures by exploring the Beverly Hill's coffee scene. Order a cubano at the Comoncy, visit the famous Blue Bottle Coffee, or check out Nespresso's 7,500-square-foot flagship store where you can order your favorite frosted coffee concoction or sign up for a mixology class.
Lose yourself in groves of roses, gardenias, and Italian Renaissance-inspired stonework at the Virginia Robinson Gardens, followed by a cocktail pick-me-up at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Spago. Indulge in tourist festivities with a ride down Mulholland Drive on a Beverly Hills Trolley Tour. Fans of Pop Art can't miss the Revolver Gallery, which hosts the largest Andy Warhol collection in the world.
The West Side
The West Side district begins another residential precinct, home to both the ever-posh Bel Air and LAX.
After taking in some sightseeing of the elegant mansions in Bel Air, fuel up with comfort food from Alchemy Elements and then head over to Brentwood to see original Rembrandt and Van Gogh pieces at the Getty Center. You can also peep Marilyn Monroe's last residence here!
San Fernando Valley (The North Side)
This mountainous area sports a variety of cinematic attractions and hipster haunts.
Before delving into a studio tour, energize at some of Studio City's trendsetter stomping grounds, like Matsuda Sushi and Alfred Coffee. Next, hit up Universal City for Universal Studios and Universal City Walk or Burbank for studio tours of Warner Brothers, NBC, and Disney.
San Gabriel Valley
San Gabriel Valley derives its name from the San Gabriel River which winds through its center.
For a relaxing and romantic day spent outdoors, visit the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino or try your hand at paddle-boating in San Dimas. In Baldwin Park, you can visit a replica of the original 1948 In-N-Out, and then hop right next door for some classic Animal-Style fries. Try browsing the Rosebowl Flea Market in Pasadena to uncover serious vintage finds at killer prices.
LA's borough of beach neighborhoods is comprised of the west-side neighborhoods located along the Pacific coastline. This area extends from Malibu (and its northernmost limits) and southward towards Long Beach (note there are lots of amazing villas for rent in Malibu).
Head for the Malibu beaches to swim or catch a wave. If you aren't a water person, head inland and trek canyon trails at Topanga State Park. Not looking for anything too wild? Hit up a wine safari! Take a break before dinner by visiting the beautiful Getty Villa, the architecture of which is meant to mimic that of a Roman country house.
Any trip to Santa Monica is of course incomplete without a whirl around the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. Shop 'till you drop at the Third Street Promenade, or (for the photography lovers) experience how the original camera captured light at the Camera Obscura attraction inside Palisades Park.
If you're looking to rent a vacation home, the Beach cities can be the perfect place to get the iconic LA experience. For example, there’s Venice, a beach-side, bohemian community that is never dull. A stroll down the Ocean Front Walk brims with photo opportunities, local artisans, and street performers. For a quirky and off-the-beaten-path exhibit, visit the Mosaic House, or play like a tourist by admiring the Venice canals. These tranquil canals cut through residential neighborhoods and are inspired by the famous Italian city!
Stop by Marina Del Rey for cocktails or kayaking, or bike down the beachfront pathways in South Beach. No matter how you choose to explore it, adventure will be waiting at every turn!