When visiting Los Angeles for the first time, deciding on what to choose for a weekend or even for a week can be a difficult task, because the city has so many interesting places to see and activities to try. Maybe you love movies (of course you love movies), wander around artsy districts, beaches, museums or urban trails. Or perhaps you just linger about the old Hollywood glam. Either way, you will find that particular part of Los Angeles that suits your style.
Here you have the essential sights and activities for your first visit to Los Angeles:
1. See the Hollywood Sign
Probably the most touristic place on this list, but if you visit Los Angeles for the first time, I suppose you want to see it and take tones of pictures. And after all, doing touristy things is not that bad when visiting a new place. Did you know that the Hollywood Sign was first put in 1923 and it was actually spelled “Hollywoodland”? Best places from where you can see the Hollywood Sign: from Lake Hollywood Park or while you’re making a trail in Griffith Park.
2. Take a walk with the stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame
More than 2600 stars have left their handprints on this iconic sidewalk that stretches along both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and also on Vine Street. Like Hollywood Sign, this place is a magnet for tourists as well, so the best time to have a walk on Hollywood Walk of Fame is early in the morning when the crowds are still asleep. Looking for your favorite star? Try the Walk of Fame Star Search.
3. Visit Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the western United States, hosting over 150.000 art objects from ancient time to the present. Some of the museum’s highlights are Diego Rivera’s Portrait of Frida Kahlo, The Swineherd by Paul Gauguin and Chris Burden Urban Light installation.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art: 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036
Openings: 11 am–5 pm
4. Discover the universe at Griffith Observatory
This is the most visited public observatory in the world, and I highly recommend to check it out. Located in Griffith Park (where you can also take great hikes), the Griffith Observatory displays a lot of interesting exhibits about space. Don’t miss the Planetarium, the telescopes, and the Foucault pendulum. After your visit, you can enjoy beautiful city views from the Café at The End of the Universe.
Griffith Observatory: 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles, CA 90027
Openings: 12:00 noon – 10:00 pm, closed on Mondays
5. Spend a day at the beach: Venice Beach and Santa Monica
Los Angeles has year-round warm weather, therefore going to one of the beaches around the city is never a bad idea. Both Venice Beach and Santa Monica are at one hour’s drive from the city center, and each one has its own beauty. Venice Beach has a more bohemian feeling and also the famous boardwalk, which is the second most visited place in Southern California. On the other hand, Santa Monica is more family-friendly, and you can spend a whole day at the beach and visiting the Pier.
Read more: PHOTO DIARIES – LOS ANGELES & VENICE BEACH
6. Take a studio tour at Warner Bros
If you’re passionate about movies and want to experience what’s behind all that magic in a Hollywood studio, then a tour at Warner Bros Studios is all you need. There are three types of tours – Studio, Classic (with a focus on the iconic classics movies in the Golden Age of Film and TV), and Deluxe (a Studio tour plus visits to the Costume Department, the Property Department and Warner Bros.’ Commissary Fine Dining Room). Prices start at $69, and it’s recommended to book your tour in advance.
Warner Bros Studios: 3400 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Admission: starting at $69
Openings: 8:30 am- 4:30 pm
7. Visit the Universal Studios Theme Park
A short drive away from Hollywood, and you can go behind the scenes of many movies filmed at the famous Universal Studios. But don’t expect only a studio tour, because there’s more than that, it’s a whole theme park! Try the themed rides (from Jurassic World, Fast & Furious, King Kong 360), see the entertaining shows and visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal Studios Hollywood: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
Admission: starting at $99
Openings: 09 am – 09 pm
8. See a movie at the TCL Chinese Theater
Since 1927, when it was opened with the premiere of the King of Kings, the Chinese Theater has been one of the places where Hollywood made history. Most of the film premiers happen here, as well as a wide range of red carpet special events, imprinting festivities, and film festivals. On top of that, the tradition of imprinting celebrity feet and hands begun here – it’s been said that in 1927, actress Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped in fresh concrete, creating the first movie celebrity prints.
TCL Chinese Theater: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
9. Drive along the Sunset Boulevard
What is so famous about Sunset Boulevard you might ask. Well, this 22-miles boulevard that stretches from the Pacific Coast Highway to Downtown Los Angeles, passing through some famous city’s neighborhoods (Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood) is one of the Southern California most legendary roads. Lined with palm trees, restaurants, bars and shops, Sunset Boulevard will give you an insight into the Californian glam lifestyle. The 1,5 miles portion located in West Hollywood is called “The Strip” and is known for its lively nightlife.
10. Visit the Arts District
In the 1970s many artists came here and transformed this former industrial neighborhood into a hub for everything creative in the city. The area is packed with art galleries, coffee shops, boutiques and murals (even if graffiti is illegal in Los Angeles). If you like street art, this is the best place for a photo walking tour.
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