We would be accurate to call Los Angeles a fantasy city. The mecca for face-lifts, film noir, shopping starlets, beach bodies, and mind-numbing traffic, the City of Angels sprawls across an astounding 467 square miles!
So how can you see and do it all in one trip? The simple answer is that you can’t. But don’t despair! We’ve hand-picked 10 things you absolutely can’t skip when in L.A., just to get you started.
Traveling to Los Angeles? Then you could:
#1. Get animated in Disneyland with Mickey and Minnie
You’re never too old for Disneyland. The legendary theme park is filled with cool things to do, spread over seven lands and the adjacent California Adventure. After brushing up on a few essential Disneyland tips, stroll down Main Street USA to experience the 19th century America, head Westwards at Frontierland and tune into the music of New Orleans square, without the floods and drinks. Great rides include the stomach-churning Space Mountain and the epic Indiana Jones Adventure.
#2. Check out the Walt Disney Concert Hall
Designed by Frank Gehry, the voluptuous curves of this stainless steel–clad masterpiece located downtown, constitute the signature of a modern metropolis. One of the several venues of the Music Center, the 2,265-seat Disney Hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It features unrivaled acoustics and a stunning pipe organ, which is as much a work of art as a musical instrument. For a truly opulent evening, pair a concert with dinner at the Patina restaurant, inside the building. Afterwards, head to one of the plenty nightlife options within easy reach.
#3. Take a selfie at the Hollywood Sign
No trip to L.A. would be complete without seeing the Hollywood Sign. And of course you should get a holiday selfie with the hills behind you. Don’t be ashamed, everyone does it!
#4. Get active on Venice Beach
Venice Beach has long been known as the eccentric epicenter of California and while it gets more than a fair share of mainstream tourists, the area still nurtures this spirit. Though Abbot Kinney has turned into a posh, high-end neighbourhood, the boardwalk has remained a great place for people watching, with skateboarders, radical pamphleteers and body builders. Grab lunch at the local Figtree’s Café before scanning the shelves at Small World Books. The bohemian district is welcoming to all walks of life.
#5. Spot the celebrities of Hollywood
Hollywood celebrities are never far away in Los Angeles. To get a piece of stardust, stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where more than 2,400 figures from the entertainment world are immortalized in the pavement with symbolic gold lettering. If you’re a film buff, look out for the famous hand and footprints near the Chinese Theatre. Countless premieres and galas have passed through, adding to the renowned pagoda’s star quality. It may not all be as glittering as you imagined, but Hollywood still has its charms.
#6. Visit the Getty Center
On a hillside above Brentwood, the $1-billion-plus Getty Center is not only a museum, but Los Angeles’ statement in the art world. Designed by Richard Meier, the complex has a skin of travertine marble and features natural light floods galleries filled with impressionist canvases, Greek antiquities, and jaw-dropping exhibits of furniture and decorative arts from French monarchy. Pedestrian plazas and gardens abound, and a sunset dinner at the restaurant, with its panoramic views, is the stuff of memories.
#7. Shop in style on Rodeo Drive
Many girls dream of being Julia Roberts shopping on Rodeo Drive, but few can afford to buy from the array of high-end designers seen in the film Pretty Woman. So window-shopping is the order of the day. Along the $200-million European cobbled walkway Two Rodeo, browsing tourists mingle with serious spenders. A hop away you can find Anderson Court, which is the only shopping mall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
#8. Cruise along Mulholland Drive
If you’re truly looking for a joyride, Mulholland Drive is a must. This is the road of classic make out points, Hollywood chase scenes and scenic splendor. You can drive it in its entirety while stopping at the half dozen or so overlooks in less than an hour. Just be careful along those tight blind curves, alright?
#9. Go clubbing European-style
If there’s one thing that L.A. knows how to do really well, it’s throw a good party! You’re welcome to enter into the spirit at Avalon, the city’s pre-eminent nightclub, in the midst of Europe’s techno renaissance music. Or you could go street haunting to find warehouse-like venues, such as The Smell. It has the look of a squat, but once you get inside, you’ll discover the latest in indie-noise and political art-punk. It’s also perfect for bright young hipsters, as it doesn’t serve booze.
#10. Admire the view and food at the Pacific Coast Highway
There may be nothing that epitomizes Los Angeles more than a drive down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, as the locals call it. After seeping in the sweeping views and turquoise waters, stop at a seafood shack, such as the Malibu Seafood or the Reel Inn, for some ahi burgers or fish and chips. Afterward, check out one of Malibu’s most beautiful beaches: Topanga State Beach, Zuma Beach, or the small and secluded La Piedra, El Pescador, and El Matador beaches.
Sources: Get Your Guide, Fodor’s Travel, Time Out, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons