There is so much to consider if you are contemplating travelling as it requires a lot of research and planning. For someone like me who is visiting Los Angeles for the second time, it is one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the United States.
Welcome to California’s most populous and liveliest city with an estimated 3.9 million people, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities, Los Angeles, or L.A. for short, or better known by its nickname: the “City of Angels.”
Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, America’s film and television industry.
There is a real chance that you will spot a movie star while you are in Los Angeles. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club.
The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.
There’s really a lot of things to do and see while in Los Angeles, but consider visiting when it’s not rush hour, as L.A. traffic can ruin the mood. Today I will be focusing on the free things to do while you are in Los Angeles:
The Hollywood Sign is a landmark and American cultural icon. It is situated on Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains.
For many visitors to Los Angeles, there is no more coveted photo than a shot of the world famous Sign.
Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre
While you’re here, take a stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where hundreds of movie stars have left their handprints and signatures along the sidewalk. The most activity and notable names are located between the 6800 and 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard.
One of Hollywood’s most iconic and memorable sites, the TCL Chinese Theatre (originally Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) opened in 1927 and represents the excess of Hollywood’s Golden Age when lavishly-designed theaters were the movie-going standard.
As one of the most famous and recognized sites in all of Hollywood, the theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame are really a must-see.
Santa Monica Pier and Beach
West of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica contains one of the most legendary beach scenes in the United States I have seen so far. Santa Monica boasts of an abundance of great restaurants and excellent nightlife spots.
The 3 miles of shoreline are renowned as some of the best in the area thanks to the soft sands, ideal weather and bevy of attractions. “State Beach,” as its known, averages about 340 days of sunshine a year and acted as the backdrop for the popular American television series, “Baywatch.”
Explore Santa Monica by bicycle if you’re feeling extra adventurous. Santa Monica’s bike path travels a full 22 miles to Torrance, California, making it the longest beach bike path in the world.
Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park
The Griffith Observatory is the best place to see Los Angeles in it’s glory and beautiful. It sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood.
It gives visitors an impressive views of L.A.’s wild, sprawling civilization pushing right up to the Pacific Ocean. But there’s more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and a fantastic planetarium. Most recent visitors cite the beautiful setting as the main reason why the Griffith Observatory is a must-see, though the free entry is certainly a major draw as well.
The Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10pm Tuesday through Friday and 10am to 10pm on weekends.
The Getty Centre
Said to be one of the most impressive architectural achievements in the United States, the Getty Centre contains some of the finest works of art in the world. The circular concrete-and-steel structure was designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, and it houses an abundance of art from various ages and nations. Here you’ll find Renaissance paintings, 20th century American photography, baroque sculptures, Byzantine illuminated manuscripts, and more, all housed inside a sprawling, modern campus amid the Santa Monica Mountains. Can’t go to the Griffith Observatory? Not to worry, the museum also offers spectacular views of Los Angeles on clear days.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5:30pm (until 9pm on Saturdays).
An iconic thoroughfares, Sunset Boulevard continues to live up to its legends. In the old days, it represented the classic and glamorous Hollywood lifestyle and became the setting of several famous films, including the obvious classic, “Sunset Boulevard.” Today, the palm-lined street (which connects downtown L.A. to Beverly Hills) retains its cinematic appeal, and the “Sunset Strip” portion has become a popular nightlife spot.
The clubs, bars and restaurants maintain varied hours, but the boulevard is always open for a scenic drive or stroll.
One of L.A.’s most beloved landmarks – the Farmers Market. This cream-colored facility reels in both residents and tourists with the promise of fresh produce and the aroma of ready-to-eat snacks. You can visit throughout the week, although hours vary depending on the day. Entry is free, but you’ll want to have some cash on hand should any of the treats whet your appetite.
Hike Los Liones Trail
Wonderful scenery awaits on the Los Liones Trail, located along the Pacific Coast Highway, between Malibu and Santa Monica, just a short distance from downtown L.A. The trail is 1.3 miles long and elevation rises to 550 feet, providing a sweeping view of the Pacific Palisades and the ocean below, which can be glimpsed all along the trail. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can continue your hike up the fire road through Topanga State Park, to Parker Mesa Overlook. At the top, 1,525 feet above sea-level, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. One word to describe it – Breathtaking!
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Take a self-guided tour of Walt Disney Concert Hall: Though the stage and concert hall itself are usually off limits to even paid tours (due to rehearsals), the interior public spaces and garden are still quite spectacular to explore.
Part of a live Studio audience
Be a part of a studio audience for your favorite television shows and game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Tickets are free, but must be obtained in advance.
L.A. Fashion District
Explore L.A.’s Fashion District. The people-watching alone makes the Fashion District one of L.A.’s premier shopping destinations and an experience all its own. Read more about the L.A. Fashion District.
There’s a reason 3.9 million people call Los Angeles home. Regardless of where you come from or what you want to do, the city has plenty to offer so take some time to explore this incredible city when next you visit.
Next on my #AsuquoTravelsTheUSA blogging tour is the City of Dallas in Texas.