Los Angeles travel guide. From Hollywood to beaches, and trendy eateries, and so much more appear in this guide.
Millions of people visit this city every single year, and it’s mainly because this Californian city is a fun place to visit.
In this guide, I will share tips and ideas on where to stay, what to eat, what to do, and more.
So, if you’re planning a trip to this Californian destination, then you came to the right place.
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Los Angeles Travel Guide (VIDEO)
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Los Angeles Tourism
With about 50 million people visiting this metropolis, Los Angeles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
Travelers visit LA for many reasons. First of all, there are the diverse attractions, including Hollywood, trendy beaches, and exquisite dining options.
Of course, the city’s mild climate, the sprawling Griffith Park, museums like the Getty Center, and historical areas like the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument all make it a great place to visit.
Plus, this is a great place to shop, whether in the trendy malls like The Grove or Downtown’s wholesale-friendly Fashion District.
Similarly, gastronomy is a huge business in LA, with sizeable, diverse ethnic groups like African-Americans, Mexicans, and Chinese all presenting popular restaurants.
So, yeah, Los Angeles travel appeals to a broad spectrum of interests, making it a dynamic destination for travelers.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles City Tourism Department (CTD) manages tourism policy, engages in strategic planning for the tourism sector, and oversees external partnerships.
Over the past decade, the city brought major tourism-generating events to the city, including those in industries like film, music, sports, and more.
For instance, the Hollywood awards season adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy, pulling fans across the country.
As a result, tourism generates over $30 billion, often about 20% of the entire state, meaning the travel industry is a huge business to Los Angeles.
In the following sections, I will share tips and ideas on how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, what to do, and so much more.
How to Get There
To travel to Los Angeles, you will need to ensure you have a valid passport and, if required, obtain the appropriate visa.
Canadians, citizens of European Union nations, and Australians, as well as many others, do not require a visa to travel across the United States for tourism purposes.
Prior to planning your LA trip, look into the visa issue.
Meanwhile, the city has some major airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR), and Long Beach Airport (LGB).
Check your flight itinerary for the designated airport since Burbank is the closest, and you will need to think about transportation for the others.
Also, Los Angeles operates in the Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8), about 3 hours behind New York City.
The local currency is the United States Dollar (USD), but American establishments accept global cards as long as you have major systems like Visa or Mastercard.
Of course, upon arrival, you should familiarize yourself with transportation options such as taxis, rideshare services, or public transit.
Believe it or not, trains are faster to get around than driving in Los Angeles because the city has a famous traffic issue.
Finally, for your Los Angeles travel, I would encourage you to consider factors like weather and cultural nuances for a seamless trip.
Where to Stay in LA
Los Angeles is home to a number of tourist-friendly neighborhoods. First of all, this is a metro with a ton of beautiful beaches.
So, consider staying somewhere near the Pacific Ocean! For example, Santa Monica, which, by the way, is a separate city, has an iconic pier and beach, a great place for a relaxed atmosphere.
My favorite thing about Santa Monica is its promenade along the coast, especially the higher section that gives you great views.
On the other hand, Hollywood is a hub for entertainment enthusiasts, featuring the Walk of Fame and the famous Chinese Theatre.
This part of town is home to a bunch of hostels, too, if you’re a backpacker.
Beverly Hills, which is another separate city, is home to luxury shopping on Rodeo Drive, and this part of LA has an upscale vibe all around.
This is a great neighborhood to drive around since it has really beautiful homes, including a ton owned by Hollywood stars.
Venice Beach has an eclectic boardwalk, and this neighborhood attracts those seeking a bohemian vibe.
What I love about this area is its youthful energy, and it has a great open-air market along the beach.
Of course, Downtown LA is home to a ton of cultural attractions, including The Broad and the historic Olvera Street.
That said, this is not an area to stay on the weekends since parts of it can be a ghost town.
Koreatown, which isn’t that far from Downtown, is a great place to stay if budget is an issue.
Meanwhile, Culver City, another separate town, has a great art scene, trendy eateries, and a popular mall.
So, as you can see, each neighborhood has its unique character.
Generally speaking, most visitors easily find a locale aligned with their preferences for their Los Angeles travel.
What to Eat in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has diverse food options, although there are some cuisines that truly stand out.
For a taste of Latin cuisine, explore Boyle Heights, home to popular taquerias. Mexican food is dominant here.
On the other hand, you might want to head over to Leimert Park for a lively African-American culinary experience, where you will find soul food and other flavors.
Chinatown is a haven for Chinese cuisine enthusiasts, with its array of dim sum spots and traditional eateries.
Likewise, Little Tokyo, near Downtown, is perfect for diving into Japanese delicacies.
Additionally, the city’s multicultural neighborhoods like Koreatown and Thai Town give you the best of Korean and Thai flavors, respectively.
Meanwhile, LA is very unique in the United States because it has a sizable Persian community, and you will find great places to eat in the Westwood area.
Food trucks scattered across the city offer eclectic options, giving you a mobile feast of various international cuisines.
Of course, the city has a ton of mainstream restaurants, including Michelin-stared ones.
So, LA’s culinary scene mirrors its cultural diversity, and you can expect a gastronomic adventure.
LA Tourist Attractions
Los Angeles is truly a city brimming with iconic attractions, giving you a diverse range of experiences.
Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, capturing the eclectic history of the entertainment industry.
Not far from there, check out the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
Even if you aren’t into nature, you will still enjoy the scenic beauty of Griffith Observatory, which has breathtaking views of the city and the Hollywood Sign.
While there, Immerse yourself in art at The Getty Center, which has an impressive collection.
If you’re traveling with kids or simply want to make the inner child happy, discover the magical world of Disneyland in nearby Anaheim.
This is a popular theme park with kids and adults alike!
And speaking of theme parks, you might also want to explore Universal Studios Hollywood for a behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking.
Meanwhile, Santa Monica Pier is home to an amusement park and Pacific Park, while Venice Beach has a bohemian atmosphere.
For art lovers, you definitely don’t want to miss the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where you will be able to appreciate diverse exhibits.
So, LA’s attractions cater to various interests, which ensures a captivating experience for every visitor.
Like any major city in the world, shopping is a big part of your travel there. The good news is that Los Angeles has a diverse array of shopping experiences.
Whether you have an off-beat taste or are under a budget, the chances are you will find something here.
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is perfect for its high-end luxury boutiques featuring iconic fashion brands.
This is a great place to snag all of your favorite “it” fashion names, including American ones like Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and so many others.
For a more eclectic and bohemian vibe, Melrose Avenue is dotted with trendy shops, vintage stores, and unique boutiques.
This is a great place to find up-and-coming names, as well as previously owned chic stuff from other eras.
The Grove, meanwhile, is an outdoor shopping and entertainment complex, and it has a charming atmosphere with a mix of well-known retailers and dining options.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is popular for its hip and artistic boutiques, showcasing the city’s creative spirit.
The Fashion District in downtown is a hub for wholesale and retail shopping, offering a wide range of apparel and accessories.
In my opinion, this is a great place to find material and have unique things done for you.
So, each area contributes to the city’s unique retail culture, ensuring that visitors and locals alike can find something appealing to their preferences.
Day Trips from Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a city within a large country and is part of an interesting state.
That means you get to see a ton within a day trip!
Start with a trip to San Diego, a coastal paradise that features the historic Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park’s cultural experience, and the lively waterfront of Seaport Village.
Then, it’s time to head to Ventura County’s wine country for a delicious escape, where picturesque vineyards offer tastings of local wines amidst scenic landscapes.
I recommend watching films like “Sideways” and “Wine Country” to get the aesthetic for this unique experience!
Meanwhile, nature enthusiasts are able to explore the stunning Joshua Tree National Park, just a few hours away, with its unique rock formations and starlit skies.
I would say this is an iconic destination, perfect for selfies and live-streaming!
For a different vibe, head to Santa Barbara along State Street for a taste of Mediterranean-style architecture, pristine beaches, and upscale boutiques.
Try the local shops, and, who knows, you might run into Oprah or Ellen.
Alternatively, visit Catalina Island, accessible by ferry, for some outdoor adventures, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back atmosphere.
Each day trip is a distinctive experience, giving you a chance to sample the diverse offerings surrounding Los Angeles.
7-Day Itinerary for LA
As you have seen so far, there is really a lot to do in and around Los Angeles.
My recommendation is to spend about 7 days to really get the experience.
Begin your 7-day adventure in by throwing yourself into the glitz and glamour of Hollywood on Day 1.
Stroll along the iconic Walk of Fame and explore the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, and you may even go on a tour to see star homes.
On Day 2, venture into Downtown LA to dive into its cultural scene, with visits to The Broad and a leisurely stroll through the historic Olvera Street.
Day 3 is a great time to soak in the sun and surf at Santa Monica. This is the quintessential LA experience.
Enjoy the lively atmosphere of the pier, and indulge in some shopping along the busy Third Street Promenade.
For Day 4, go on a day trip to San Diego to experience the Gaslamp Quarter and explore the cultural treasures of Balboa Park.
Day 5 is a great time to go on a culinary trip in Koreatown, savoring ancient barbecue.
As evening falls, immerse yourself in the eclectic nightlife spots scattered throughout the area.
Day 6 takes you on a scenic day trip to Ventura County’s wine country, where you can have fun with tastings amidst picturesque vineyards.
Finally, conclude with a relaxing escape to Catalina Island. Engage in outdoor activities, bask in the coastal beauty, and savor the laid-back island atmosphere.
This well-rounded itinerary ensures a diverse and enriching experience, blending city exploration, cultural immersion, culinary delights, and scenic day trips.
This Los Angeles travel guide presenter Hollywood, beaches, trendy eateries, and other useful tips and ideas.
For instance, I shared info on how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, what to do, and more.
Likewise, I gave you ideas for day trips and even included a 7-day itinerary to model for your own trip.
So, go ahead and confidently plan your trip to the sunshine.
AJ Paris is a travel photographer based in New York. He is the editor of Caravanzers.
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