With so many alluring sights to see in L.A., narrowing down your must-see list can be a daunting task. We’ll make it easy with our recommendation of seven places you have to explore while visiting La-La Land.
1. Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach
There’s no shortage of things to do at Santa Monica Pier, whether it be concerts, running marathons, or a calming evening of yoga. The Pier is adjacent to the 3.5-mile-long Venice Beach, and features an amusement park, an aquarium, and restaurants. Nearby, you can find Muscle Beach (the famous outdoor gym), hotels, and shops. Sink your feet into the soft, warm sand as you stroll down the beach and enjoy the California breeze.
Explore: The Pier doesn’t have set hours and is open year-round. It’s accessible by bike and car, and lies at the far west end of the Venice Boardwalk.
2. Griffith Observatory and Park
Seated on the edge of a cliff, Griffith Observatory yields breathtaking views of the cityscape below. At night, you can stargaze while the observatory bathes the front lawn in a golden hue. The observatory offers free admission and Wi-Fi. Make time to explore the surrounding Griffith Park, with trails through the hills and a good viewing spot of the Hollywood sign.
Explore: Visit what’s purported to be the finest planetarium in the world—the Samuel Oschin Planetarium—for a state-of-the-art examination of our universe. Afterward, go outside and see the sky in a whole new light.
3. Venice Boardwalk
Make sure to set out with a little extra cash when you walk down this boardwalk full of souvenirs, performances, and sustenance. Tattoo parlors, including henna; clothing boutiques; bike, longboard, and surfboard shops; bars; and, of course, pizza joints are a few of the many venues resting along this active strip.
Explore: For the best experience, begin on one end and walk toward the other. The west side is full of performers and souvenirs; the east end has storefronts.
4. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (TCL Chinese Theatre)
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is a famous icon in Los Angeles and in the wider realm of film. It opened in 1927, following the success of the Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 epic, The King of Kings. Since then, it’s been home to many premieres and three Academy Award ceremonies. Outside, you’ll find the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as the signatures, handprints, and footprints of celebrities from the likes of Marilyn Monroe and, more recently, Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame.
Explore: The theater continues to operate and shows current hit films on a regular basis. Inside, you can take a VIP tour and learn the history of the iconic theater.
5. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
A “noodle” exhibit, a blue, polished steel balloon dog sculpture, and 202 street lamps queued up outside the museum are a few of the many sights to see at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (or LACMA, as the locals call it). Established in 1910, the museum houses important works of art from a range of historical periods and world cultures.
Explore: You can take a guided tour or explore the museum at your own leisure. Admission for children 17 and younger is always free.
6. Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon, just two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard, is 160 acres of nature ready to be traversed with a more than rewarding view waiting at the end of your trip. Three different hiking routes are available, ranging from easy (Runyon Canyon Road) to medium (the Star Trail) to difficult (the Hero Trail). Runyon Canyon is pet friendly with plenty of opportunities to get a workout with your furry friend.
Explore: The canyon has little shade, so make sure to bring water, wear a sun hat, and apply sunscreen.
7. Rodeo Drive
This two-mile-long street in Beverly Hills is known for its luxury as much as its style. More than 100 stores and hotels line three blocks, including the world famous Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Featured in the film, Pretty Woman, the hotel has also served as the home to many famous icons, including John Lennon and Elvis Presley.
Fashion superstars have their own Hollywood Walk of Fame with the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style. The Walk of Style honors icons of the fashion industry for their contributions with their signatures on plaques. Tributes include Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani, and Princess Grace of Monaco.
Explore: Be sure to take a picture with the “Bijan Yellow” custom Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe located outside the storefront of House of Bijan.