Ah, Los Angeles. The land of Hollywood. This city has something to offer everyone, with world-renowned theme parks and sunshine. It’s one of my favourite places to visit and I think it should be on everyone’s bucket list. LA is the perfect place to start any multi-city road trip along the West Coast. I’m going to help you plan your dream vacation to Los Angeles with my ultimate travel guide. We’ll cover everything from how to get to LA through to best places to eat after a long day at Disneyland.
About Los Angeles
Los Angeles is known as the ‘City of Angels’. It’s the home of the rich and famous and can make any dream come true. LA made the film industry what it is today, and it holds some of the most important artifacts in movie history. You can take a photo at the Hollywood sign, visit the Chinese Theatre and walk through the theatres that once hosted the legends of the silver screen.
The beauty of Los Angeles is that it’s a city that everyone can visit. You can bring your kids along with you and take them to Disneyland or take a mother-daughter trip and splurge at the luxury shopping complexes.
You can never go wrong with an LA vacation.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is always a good idea. It rarely rains in California, and the average temperature sits at around 70 degrees. You’ll never be cold in Los Angeles, meaning you can visit it year-round.
If you want to avoid crowds and save a little money, try to go off-peak during March to May or September to November. You can expect the temperatures to be a little more manageable and you can benefit from a lower price for accommodation and attraction tickets. September is awards season and Los Angeles is buzzing with activity. There truly is no bad time to visit Los Angeles.
How To Get to Los Angeles
As one of the most popular destinations in the United States, LA is fairly accessible to anyone around the world. It has five airports, with Los Angeles International being the main base for both domestic and international flights. When you arrive at LAX, you can jump on the FlyAway bus link or take the Metro from the Aviation Boulevard. Be prepared to take top dollar, around $75, if you want to take a taxi into the city from LAX.
Los Angeles is part of the Amtrak system, with Union Station connecting it to most of the major cities in the US. You can also travel into LA via the MetroLink from places like San Bernardino.
If you’re looking to take a road trip, then Los Angeles is the perfect place to start. The city is full of highways, making it easy to get around. Once you’ve explored Los Angeles, you can take the I-5 to San Francisco or the I-15 to Las Vegas.
Several bus operators provide services to Los Angeles, including Greyhound who has three terminals in the city. You can also use Bolt Bus and Megabus, both of which can drop you at Union Station.
Once you’re in LA, you’ll probably find it easiest to get around with Uber or Lyft. The public transportation isn’t the best, as you could be standing waiting for a bus for half an hour. The Metro system is currently having a major revamp, so hopefully this will make it easier to get around LA in the future.
The Best Places to Stay in Los Angeles
When it comes to choosing your accommodation, you’ll want to decide which part of Los Angeles you want to stay in. There is Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, Hollywood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice and West Hollywood. Each of these areas will offer a different style of accommodation with varying price points. I’m going to round up some of the highest rated hotels to help you get started on your search.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
If you have the budget to stay here, then it’s a once in a lifetime experience. The Beverly Hills Hotel has a history unlike any other in LA. It’s played host to Hollywood royalty for generations. This hotel has two restaurants, a full-service spa and outdoor pool. You can rent a pool cabana for the day and hide away from the sun with a cocktail in hand.
If you want to say a little money, I recommend choosing your favourite neighbourhood and then checking out Airbnb to find a rental accommodation in your price range.
Hotel Erwin is located in Venice and is only a four-minute walk away from the beach. You can easily stroll between Venice Beach and Santa Monica, with lots of restaurants on your doorstep. This hotel is just 20 minutes from Union Station, and a little less from LAX. This medium-size hotel has just over 100 rooms, with two bars and two on-site restaurants. You can hire a bike for free from the hotel and take a tour around the local area.
H Hotel Los Angeles, Curio Collection by Hilton
This hotel is just two minutes away from LAX, making it the perfect base for a flying visit. You can take advantage of the 24-hour fitness suit and the hotel’s free airport shuttle. If you want a base that’s mainly for sleeping, then this hotel is perfect. It has a restaurant and bar for nights when you don’t want to go out. There is also a rooftop terrace that you can enjoy at night to see the lights of the Hollywood hills.
Sheraton Grand Los Angeles
If you want a hotel at the heart of LA, then the Sheraton Grand is a great choice. It’s right next to a large shopping complex, with all the theatres right on your doorstep. You’re right beside Chinatown and the Fashion District in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. This modern hotel serves as an ideal base for anyone who wants to spend their days sight seeing and then take it a little easier in the evening, with everything right outside their front door.
The Best Places to Eat in Los Angeles
If you love Mexican food, then you need to visit Los Angeles. The city is the best place in the US to experience authentic Mexican food. Like all cosmopolitan cities, Los Angeles offers every cuisine under the sun.
Is there anything better than pizza? Pizzana began as a favourite spot for LA residents in Brentwood and has now opened another location in West Hollywood. You can get a mouth-watering Neapolitan pizza and enjoy one of their limited-edition sandwiches. Pizzana uses their own signature ‘slow dough’ which gives the pizza its unique, easy-to-eat crust that is lightweight and delicious.
One of the hidden gems of Los Angeles is its amazing food trucks. You’ll find them all over the city, and they cater to every palette, You can even find amazing vegan food trucks around the city that offer everything from nachos to sandwiches and tacos.
If you want to experience the golden era of Hollywood, then you need to visit The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. You’ll want to make a special trip to check out the hotel, as it’s played host to everyone from Katharine Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe. With its candy-striped ceiling, there’s no better place to take an Instagram photo to document your trip to Tinsel Town. When you make your reservation, ask to sit outside amongst the stunning purple flowers and palm trees.
Los Angeles is famous for its grab-and-go takeout food. In-N-Out Burger was founded in Baldwin Park back in 1948 and is a cult-favourite in Los Angeles. If you’re a foodie who loves their burgers, you can even take an In-N-Out Tour of Los Angeles to guide you through the sights of the city. You get to explore Los Angeles and eat amazing burgers, what’s not to love?
The Must-Visit Places in Los Angeles
Most people travel to Los Angeles for its two main theme parks – Universal Studios and Disneyland. Both of these are well worth the price of admission and are a bucket list travel destination.
Universal Studios Hollywood has something for every film fan. You can check out their Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as well as attractions for the Fast and Furious franchise and Jurassic Park. If you’re interested in visiting the theme park, I would recommend spending at least two days there. You can also explore CityWalk with it’s selection of bars and restaurants, as well as the on-site hotels.
Disneyland California is the original Disney Park. It put Anaheim on the map and led to a new era of amusement parks. You don’t need to be a Disney fan to enjoy the parks. They’re a must-visit for anyone who loves food, thrilling attractions and a spot of shopping. Disneyland is made up of two parks – Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park. You can also visit Downton Disney without needing a park ticket, which is full of everyone’s favourite shops and restaurants.
If you’re a music fan, you should try and take in a show at the Hollywood Bowl. You’ll get a stunning view of the Hollywood Hills and the iconic old Hollywood sign. For sports fan, you have to book a ticket to a game at the Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles is made about their baseball and it is the perfect introduction to the sport if you’re visiting from overseas.
When you want to escape the crowds in the city, head to the beach. Santa Monica is famous for its pier, while Malibu is surfing central. Venice Beach is the perfect spot for going on a run along the oceanfront. If you have to choose only one, then visit Santa Monica Pier. You can experience everything from street performers, explore the independent stores and go for a swirl around the amusements at Pacific Park. The Merry Go-Round is something you to go on, no matter how old you are.
Griffith Park is the best way to take in the sights of Los Angeles. It’s the home of the Hollywood Sign, as well as the Los Angeles Zoo. The Griffith Observatory was made famous in films like Rebel Without a Cause and The Terminator, as well as TV shows like Star Trek Voyager. It most recently appeared in one of the main musical numbers in ‘La La Land’. There are over 4,200 acres to explore at Griffith Park, making it an excellent hiking route.
Los Angeles is itself a film set. Everywhere you go, you’ll recognise a location from your favourite television show or film. When you’re writing your itinerary, have a think about the shows you love watch and if there is any of the real-life locations that you can visit. You’ll love to get an Instagram photo outside the home from the classic Christmas film, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.
Take a tour of the some of the most iconic locations in television history. There are plenty of tours around celebrity neighbourhoods and studio lots, although you can certainly take a self-guided tour.
Jump on a boat from LA harbour and head out to Santa Catalina. You can explore the wildlife around the island in a submarine or enjoy a riding trail on horseback.
Los Angeles is paradise for anyone who loves to shop. Make a beeline for Rodeo Drive at Beverly Hills to explore the best of luxury fashion and lifestyle brands.
When Are You Going to Los Angeles?
It would be impossible to cover all of Los Angeles in one travel guide. The city has so much to offer that it would be impossible to see it all. I hope that this guide gives you an idea of some of the best places to visit for your first trip to the City of Angeles. You can never go wrong with a vacation to Los Angeles. The city has something to offer everyone.
Channel your inner Hollywood icon and spend a week or two exploring as much as you can. Visit the tourist sights during the day and eat like a local during the evenings while enjoying the world-renowned entertainment and sports facilities. Happy planning!