Los Angeles

Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love Los Angeles

The Griffith Park Observatory with the overlooking view of Los Angeles during sunset
The Griffith Park Observatory with the Los Angeles skyline in the background

Why We Love Los Angeles – Los Angeles has come a long way since its agricultural beginnings. Once a former home to fruit orchards and vineyards, Los Angeles is now the entertainment capital of the world. Visitors from all over America flock to Hollywood in hopes of running into a celebrity. The city is one of the most diverse areas in the country and boasts a multicultural atmosphere. There are thousands of fun things to do in Los Angeles and the greater surrounding area. The perfect year-round weather of Los Angeles draws adventurers to its mountains, surfers to its beaches, and shopaholics to its plethora of malls and boutiques. 


Best of Los Angeles

✨ Things to Do

Aerial view of The Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles
The domed Griffith Observatory overlooks all of downtown Los Angeles

Never run short of things to do in LA  including shows, activities, sites, and sunny Southern California beaches. 

  • Santa Monica Pier – Enjoy carnival rides and games on the Santa Monica Pier, only 30 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles. 
  • Hollywood Sign – The most famous landmark in LA, the Hollywood sign is accessible via a hiking trail and makes the perfect LA photo.
  • L.A. Live – A sports and entertainment hub in the heart of downtown with bustling sports bars and games at Crypto.com arena.
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame – Commemorative celebrity plaques lining Hollywood Blvd, the most famous street in Los Angeles.
  • The Griffith Observatory – A renowned public observatory and planetarium with hilltop views overlooking downtown Los Angeles below.

👉 Explore all things to do in Los Angeles


🗺️ Where to Stay

The 502-square-mile area of Los Angeles presents its visitors with abundant accommodation options.

  • West Hollywood – Also known as WeHo, this area is the best place to stay in the big city for nightlife.
  • Beverly Hills – The best area in L.A. for exclusivity, luxury accommodation, and expensive shopping.
  • Santa Monica  – A beach district with high-end boutiques and restaurants, clean beaches, and a boardwalk amusement park. 

👉 Read the complete guide to where to stay in Los Angeles.

View from the Santa Monica Pier amusement park during sunset
The Santa Monica Pier amusement park during sunset

🛎️ Best Hotels

View of the You Have Arrived from the outside in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has the largest concentration of luxury accommodations in California

In a city where almost everything is famous, you may be lucky enough to snag one of these iconic hotels:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills – An exclusive oasis in Beverly Hills with celebrity treatment and private balconies.
  • Hotel Bel-Air – A legendary, 5-star luxury hotel amongst the canyon hills on an impressive 12-acre establishment.
  • Shutters on the Beach – A Santa Monica hotel situated right on the beach with two oceanfront restaurants and a full spa.

🍽️ Restaurants

A woman enjoying her Mexican food in Los Angeles
The mouthwatering Mexican food in Los Angeles is unmatched anywhere else in California 

Los Angeles is home to an eclectic culinary scene and caters to all palettes. Some of the best places to eat in LA include:

  • El Tepeyac Cafe – A family-run Mexican restaurant that has been in operation since 1955 and is known for massive burritos. 
  • Philippe the Original – A historic deli near Dodger Stadium that serves iconic French-dipped pastrami, roast beef, lamb, and other meats.
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs – A legendary Hollywood restaurant from 1939 with creative hot dog toppings, a central location, and always a long line.
  • Perch – A glamorous rooftop French restaurant with specialty-crafted cocktails and 360-degree views of the big city.
  • Bottega Louie– Brunch heaven in the belly of downtown Los Angeles with rainbow-colored macaroons.

🚗 Day Trips

The author with her friend sitting on a  boat dock in the middle of Lake Arrowhead
My friend and I relaxing on a boat dock in the middle of Lake Arrowhead
  • Long Beach –  An entertaining beach city that offers world-class kite surfing and dining options right on the water.
  • Santa Monica Mountains – Escape from the city crowds with a trip to this nature oasis, equipped with hiking trails and campgrounds.
  • Malibu – A beach town laden with celebrity homes just north of the Santa Monica pier.
  • Disneyland – Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is California’s most popular amusement park and is suitable for all ages.
  • Lake Arrowhead – A small mountain town with a central lake, a downtown shopping area, and local bars and breweries.

👉 See a full list of the best Los Angeles day trips.


🏘️ Neighborhoods

The author's father and uncle taking a selfie while watching the LA Kings Game
My dad and uncle at an LA Kings game in Downtown Los Angeles
  • Central L.A. – 26 neighborhoods in the heart of L.A. that are home to over 845,000 residents with ample malls and some of the best museums in Los Angeles.
  • Downtown Los Angeles – Historic district with vintage architecture, urban art and culture, and much L.A. traffic.
  • Silver Lake – Artsy district with a vibrant nightlife scene and trendy LA coffee shops.
  • South Bay – An array of charming communities near the California coast with modern amenities and a laid-back vibe.
  • The Westside – An affluent Los Angeles area with sought-after homes, nationally-acclaimed universities, and expensive shopping.

👉 See full list of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

🍸 Bars

Glasses of wine on a rooftop bar in Los Angeles
Rooftop bars in Los Angeles overlook the whole city
  • The Abbey Food & Bar – LGBTQ+ friendly bar in West Hollywood with outdoor terraces and a dance floor that comes alive on the weekends.
  • Library Bar – Downtown LA’s classic cocktail lounge. Enjoy the swanky drinks and high-end food of the intimate bar parlor.
  • Everson Royce Bar – A top cocktail spot in Los Angeles with every drink you can imagine.
  • Seven Grand – Vintage, speak-easy whisky bar in downtown complete with dimly-lit rooms and hunting decor.
  • The Red Lion Tavern – A German bar that serves the best European beers, sausages, and schnitzel.

🌲 Hiking Trails

The author pointing the supermoon during her hike in Mt. Baldy
Me, hiking to Mt. Baldy with dusk sunset colors and a supermoon on the rise
  • Hollywood Sign – The most popular hike in Los Angeles that takes you right up to the iconic sign.
  • Griffith Park – One of the largest park areas in the big city with hiking trails in the heart of LA.
  • Mt. Baldy – The tallest mountain in Los Angeles County stands at a proud 10,064 feet.
  • Thousand Steps Beach – An easy trek down hundreds of steps to get to the sandy beach of Laguna Beach. 
  • Sandstone Peak – The tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains that’s accessible via a 6.25-mile loop.

🛍️ Shopping Areas

View of people and shops at the Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
(photo: nito / Shutterstock)
  • Beverly Hills – All of the LA celebrities and high-class residents shop at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. 
  • The Grove – A 90-year-old shopping complex that has kept up with the changing fashion trends over the years.
  • Westfield City Century – 1.3-million square foot outdoor shopping mall, big enough to find everything you need.
  • The Santee Alley – A Fashion District alleyway with stores and boutiques lining the street on either side. 
  • Glendale Galleria – 3-stories of designer stores just outside of the chaos of busy Downtown Los Angeles shopping centers.

Los Angeles Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

Southern California has great weather year-round. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing, making Los Angeles a prime location in any season.

  • 🌞 Summer –  LA’s beach scene comes alive in the summers. This is the best time to go surfing or work on your Hollywood tan.
  •  🍂 Fall – The mountainous areas of LA experience the most beautiful fall leaf color changes, making the city vibrant with color.
  • ❄️ Winter –  Mild winter temperatures make LA a top destination in the winter. You’ll even see surfers riding the waves in the LA winter.
  • 🌼 Spring –  The least popular time to visit LA, as this is the wettest time of the year in all areas of Southern California.

🚌 Getting Around

Despite 5 and 6-lane freeways, Los Angeles traffic is the worst in the country. Here are our quick tips for getting around LA:

  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – Many top attractions are within walking distance in downtown LA and Hollywood. 
  • 🚇 Public Transit – The metro and public buses are great ways to get around LA. Be cautious of pick-pocketers.
  • 📲 Ride Share – Ride shares are the best way to get around. They will pick up and drop off anywhere in LA.
  • 🚗 Driving – LA gas prices are steep and be ready for LA traffic if you choose to rent a car.
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – You can bike with ease around Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Downtown LA.
  • 🛴 Scooters – This is another good option for eco-friendly transportation, especially at the beach.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🎒 – Be safe – Be cautious of your belongings while in downtown LA. Some areas are less safe than others so do your best to avoid a pick-pocket.
  • 🌿 Know the 420 rules – Marijuana is legal in California but there are still laws around the consumption and smoking of marijuana. Read up on the laws before you light up.
  • 👪 – Stay in a group – Los Angeles is the biggest city in California and can be overwhelming for first-timers. Stay in a group to avoid getting lost.
  • 🚍 – Know the public transportation schedules – Make sure you know what times the buses and metros pass by your area for getting around the city with ease.
  • 🚦 – Be prepared for traffic – Los Angeles and traffic are synonymous. Be prepared to be at a complete stop during rush hour.

🧳 What to Pack

  • ☀️ Sunscreen – Avoid a nasty Southern California sunburn on your LA tour by applying sunscreen every hour.  
  • 🚰 Reusable Water Bottle – Stay hydrated during your trip to LA. California is a desert after all!
  • 🥾 Hiking Boots – Don’t miss out on the hiking trails while in Los Angeles. The nearby Santa Monica Mountains offer great forest trails.
  • 🧴 – Hand sanitizer – This is essential, especially if you take public transportation.
  • 📸 – Camera – Bring a camera with you on your LA trip so you can remember the amazing sites of the entertainment capital of the world.

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Census Population (2020) – 3,919,973 (city), 12,447,000 (metro area)
  • Time Zone – Pacific Time (GMT-7 during daylight savings)
  • Area Codes – 213, 310, 424, 661, 818, 323
  • Airports – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Long Beach Airport (LGB)
  • Nickname – City of Angels, LA
  • Demonynm – Angelino, Angeleno
  • State – California
  • Country United States of America

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $80-150/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $150-500/night
  • Rental Car – $100-300/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – ~$5 ($10-30 to airport from center)
  • Ride Share from Downtown to Airport – $40-80
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $25
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $50
  • Draft Beer – $5-10

FAQs About Visiting Los Angeles

Is Los Angeles safe for tourists?

Los Angeles is a clean and safe holiday destination. Despite its reputation for being a dangerous city, there are many secure areas of the big city.

What part of LA is best to visit?

Downtown LA and Hollywood are the most popular destinations to visit in Los Angeles. These two areas have the most tourist attractions and entertainment activities, which is perfect for first-time visitors.

What is the most visited place in LA?

Hollywood is the most visited place in LA. Its reputation for big celebrity homes and filming locations draws millions of visitors each year.

Are 3 days enough in Los Angeles?

The more time you have to explore Los Angeles, the better. 3 days is an adequate amount of time to explore the city but opt for at least a week if you plan on visiting the top attractions.


Meet Our Los Angeles Travel Experts

McKenna Mobley

McKenna Mobley is an avid adventurer, traveler, mountaineer, and writer from Southern California. Her goal is to climb some of the world’s highest mountains and visit as many countries as she can. She loves Latin America and has been to almost every Latin country. She also has a thirst for solo adventuring and has hiked 400 consecutive miles by herself through the Arizona desert. You can also find her on her blog.

👉 Read McKenna’s Articles

Jericha Griffin

Jericha Griffin is a pilot’s daughter, Jericha loved to tag along on her dad’s trips throughout North America. On explorations including Europe, South Asia, and Africa, her passion for travel expanded with each new horizon. As a writer for Travel Lemming, Jericha is thrilled to share what she’s learned, especially about her beloved home state, California.

👉 Read Jericha’s Articles


📰 California Travel Guides

California is usually the first destination on an American travel itinerary. Check out the rest of our Los Angeles and California travel guides to help plan for your upcoming trip, all of which were written by experts from the areas.


🗺️ Los Angeles Map