Los Angeles is one of the most interesting destinations to visit in California, whether you’re traveling alone, with your family or with a group. Housing the world-famous Hollywood Sign, Universal City Walk, and Sunset Boulevard, LA is a must-visit place you should include in your bucket list to Southern California.
If you are planning to travel to the city anytime soon, this is your ultimate guide on the top 10 attractions you shouldn’t miss in the City of Angels.
Travel Preparation for First-Timers in LA
Before we delve into the top city attractions you should visit in LA, let us first talk about a few travel preparation tips you should keep in mind to make the most of your LA trip.
1. Wear light and comfortable clothes.
It is mostly sunny throughout the year in Los Angeles, and the weather during the day can be hot, especially during summer and fall. Therefore, if you plan to spend your travel days exploring the city, make sure that you put on light clothes and comfortable shoes. Bring a hat, too, and lather on the sunscreen. Note, however, that it can be pretty cold during the night, so choose pants over shorts and carry around a sweatshirt.
2. Know your transit options and plan early.
Traveling around LA is pretty easy, especially with the number of transportation options you can choose from. However, it is best to plan your commute ahead of time so you can save time and prevent getting lost or going in the wrong direction. While public buses and metro lines are the easiest and cheapest way to get around, they require planning and getting familiar with the routes, making them confusing and inconvenient especially if you are pressed for time and if you are bringing little kids or senior citizens with you.
Ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, are another option to get around and are best for short trips. Meanwhile, if you want the most convenient and quickest way to explore the city, getting a luxury car rental Los Angeles service is your best option.
A rental car can be really helpful since some of LA’s popular tourist destinations can be best experienced with a car, such as the Pacific Coast Highway, Angeles Crest Highway, and Mulholland Drive. When bringing a car, just remember that you need to pay for parking and find a legal spot to do so.
3. Bring enough money.
While there are parks, attractions, and museums in LA that can be visited for free, it is still best to have enough money with you because you never know what you have to spend. There are plenty of dining places and food options in the city, so if you are a foodie who wants to try out different local cuisines, street foods, and beverages in Los Angeles, make sure to have money with you at all times.
Shopping is another popular activity in LA that might influence you to spend. Don’t worry though. Many shops in LA also accept credit cards and digital cash, giving me several payment options to choose from.
10 Attractions in LA You Shouldn’t Miss
Now that you know a few ideas about traveling to and around LA, here are our top picks of tourist spots and attractions that should be part of your itinerary.
1. The Hollywood Walk of Fame
One of the most popular tourist places in Los Angeles—and probably in the United States—is the Hollywood Walk of Fame where you can find pink stars with famous artists’ names marked on them. Walk along this sensational area where different celebrities have attended various ceremonies, galas, and movie premiers.
2. Universal Studios LA
More than just a theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood in LA features working movie studios and thrilling rides based on famous movie themes. If you and your family are adventure lovers, this is definitely the best attraction to visit. Make sure to experience popular rides, including Transformers, Harry Potter, the Walking Dead, and the Simpsons.
3. Santa Monica Beach
Another popular and favorite tourist spot in Los Angeles is the Santa Monica Beach. Although it’s often filled with surfers, skateboarders, yogis, and techies, it is still worth experiencing the beautiful sandy shore and visiting the famous Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier. You can also shop, dine, and visit the fashionable boutiques in the area.
4. Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach
The South Bay beaches of Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo are a must-visit destination for beach lovers and sun-seekers alike. These picturesque coastal towns boast miles of pristine sandy shores, perfect for basking in the warm California sun or taking a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean – without all the typical tourists or shadiness of Venice.
Each beach has its own unique charm: Manhattan Beach is known for its upscale boutiques and trendy dining scene, while Hermosa Beach offers a lively atmosphere with vibrant nightlife and exciting outdoor events. Redondo Beach, on the other hand, is an ideal spot for family-friendly fun, featuring a bustling pier and a variety of water sports to indulge in like stand up paddleboarding.
If you’re exploring LA with your family, Disneyland is a non-negotiable attraction to visit. Enjoy exciting rides, character parades, and wonderful activities that are perfectly coordinated with various Walt Disney themes. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures because it’s definitely worth remembering your experience in “the happiest place on Earth.”
6. The Getty Center
Located on a hilltop in the Santa Monica mountains, the Getty Center is a large museum that features beautiful gardens, impressive sculptures, and a huge collection of art, including European paintings, drawings, and photography.
7. Hollywood Sign
Considered a popular American landmark and cultural icon, the famous Hollywood Sign sits on Mount Lee and overlooks Hollywood, LA. Erected in 1923, the sign originally read “Hollywoodland” and was later changed to simply Hollywood. While it is not allowed to go atop the sign, the area is a popular place for photo taking.
8. Griffith Observatory
If you are fond of astronomy or science in general, the Griffith Observatory should be part of your LA itinerary. Known as Southern California’s gateway to the stars, the observatory houses modern telescopes, exhibits, and a planetarium that would allow you and your family to see and appreciate the spectacular views of LA, including the Los Angeles Basin, the Hollywood Sign, and the Pacific Ocean.
9. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Also known as LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the biggest art museum in the Western United States. Visited by a million guests every year, the museum houses almost 150,000 objects that represent 6,000 years of diverse art and expressions worldwide. While it offers free entrance to LA residents, tourists will have to pay a fee to enter and enjoy the museum.
10. Grand Central Market
For local eats, spices, beverages, nuts and candies, and desserts, Grand Central Market is a must-visit for foodies and adventurous tourists. Located in Downtown LA, this huge food hall first opened in 1917 and is still as busy and popular as ever.
Are You Ready for a Memorable Los Angeles Trip?
Whether you are traveling alone for business or visiting the City of Angels with your family for a vacation, Los Angeles has a lot to offer. If you are a first-time visitor, the best way to explore the city is through the help of luxury car rentals. This way, you can comfortably and conveniently go from one place to another without worrying about bus schedules, train fares, and transport stations.