Los Angeles is not your typical vacation spot and I have a lot of mixed feelings about L.A. to be honest. It got so much going on and it's home to some of the most famous places from television like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Sunset Blvd. and the famous Malibu beaches, however, it is really a headache finding your way around the city if you do not do your research! L.A. is not like most big cities you know - public transport is really lacking. So rent a car and make time for traffic delays and definitely avoid rush hour!
Also, Los Angeles is huge and very confusing! It's impossible to see everything, so plan before going or you will be disappointed! I didn't know all of this so of course my boyfriend and I spent most of our time in L.A. driving down the wrong streets and sitting in traffic jams. With that being said, I still loved all of the places we got to see (when we finally found a good parking spot) and when you reach the beach every thing's better and a bit more chill. Here's my favourite L.A. memories that I 10/10 recommend doing!
1. Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills gives you a peak into the land of the rich and the famous. It's worth the trip just to drive between the tall and elegant palm trees and the expensive cars on the boulevards. You should also go to Rodeo Drive for some window shopping for the full experience if you got the time. It's located in the western region of LA and offers you high-end shopping and celebrity sightseeing (if you get lucky).
2. The Hollywood sign
If you're lucky or look hard enough you'll find the first sneak peak of the famous Hollywood sign from the city! But the best place to really see the sign is from the Griffith Observatory which is located near the sign. The Griffith Observatory is free to visit, but the viewpoint is near the parking lot. Just walk along the railing on the right side of the lot to find it.
If you don't have a car or you don't want to worry about parking then I've read about something called the DASH Observatory Bus that takes you to the observatory from the northeast corner of Vermont/Sunset. Even if you have a car it can get really tricky to get a parking spot and it's very confusing, so next time I would book a ticket for the bus - especially if you're going in peak season and sunset, which is a very famous time to go but also the most beautiful.
3. LACMA Urban Light
Sometime to do after the sun goes down is finding your way to LACMA's entrance where the sculpture Urban Light is located. It's a "sculpture" made out of 202 restored cast iron antique street lamps. The lamps once lit the streets of LA and now they've returned to being a famous LA landmark. They are also beautiful by day, however, by night they light up with the use of solar energy and the arrangement of the lamps are beautiful to walk around in. Also it's located outside of LACMA so it's free!
Another thing to do in the evening is drive to the famous road Mulholland Drive. It's located in the mountains next to LA and it gives you the best overview of the city and all it's beautiful lights.
4. Sunset & Hollywood Boulevard
Of course you have to visit Hollywood Boulevard, however, don't expect glam and celebrity-filled streets. The Walk of Fame is a landmark that shouldn't be missed, but the Boulevard is on the crowded side and it's not the prettiest streets in LA for sure. Still it's a worthwhile trip to go and look at all the stars and handprints. Just a bonus tip, if you're looking for bathrooms it's super easy - just find a Starbucks or McDonalds.
Something I really enjoyed was driving along the 22-mile-long road, Sunset Boulevard, connecting the two sightseeing highlights of Los Angeles: Hollywood and Malibu. It shows you the perfect travel snapshot of Southern California. Palm Trees, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, UCLA, Brentwood and of course the sun setting in the horizon.
5. Malibu & Santa Monica
The coast near LA is everything you think it is. The beaches makes you think of Baywatch and Beverly Hills 90210. First stop is Venice Beach, which is the most famous because of the colourful lifeguard towers and the street art. Next stop is Santa Monica Beach, which is a huge beach surrounded by palm trees and the famous Santa Monica Pier. At the pier you can enjoy the food, the souvenirs, the amusement park and find the sign that shows where the route 66 trail ends. Something popular to do at both beaches is to walk or run or skate or rollerblade along the board walk.
6. Drive-In Theatre
The Paramount Drive-In Theatres in L.A. is such a great way to spent your evening. For $20 per car you can watch one of the newest movies running in cinemas from your car! If you've rented a car I really recommend doing this. You can sit in your PJ's, bring blankets, all the snacks in the world (also possible to buy snacks) or you can bring chairs and sit outside.
7. Universal Studios
If you're traveling with kids or you still are a kid (like me) and you got time to spare, then a day in Universal Studios is super fun! You get a day of movie-themed rides and access to the famous Studio Tour, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Simpsons and Jurassic World! The park is different from other amusement parks because most of the attractions are virtual reality roller coaster rides, which means you'll be looking at a screen, which will simulate a roller coaster ride.
A must is to take the Behind The Scenes Studio Tour, where you'll be taken through the studio lot and get to see some of the outdoor sets like Desperate Hosewives' Wisteria Lane, the Bates Motel from Psycho and set of Jaws. Also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is awesome too!
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