Experience the Best of Los Angeles, also commonly referred to simply as L.A., is the biggest city in California and the second-most populous city in the country, with a population of nearly four million. The city is renowned for a lot of things, including the Hollywood industry, ethnic diversity, Mediterranean climate, sprawling cityscape, and lovely neighborhoods. This is why it really comes as no surprise that L.A. is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Travelers coming to L.A. are spoilt for choice when it comes to sightseeing and activities. The City of Angels boasts an exhaustive list of attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re thinking of soaking up the sun at the beach, visiting a museum, or shopping until you drop, there is definitely something for you in L.A. Below, we’ve compiled our picks for the must-see attractions in Los Angeles. (Note: If you need to temporarily store your bags, suitcases, and other belongings, look for a luggage locker around the city.)
- Venice Beach
Venice Beach has a solid reputation as one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles, and rightfully so; this beautiful area is reminiscent of the Italian city of the same name – canals and all. Located about 18 miles southwest of the city center, Venice Beach is a center for entertainment – from skaters and cyclists to buskers and street performers. It is home to Muscle Beach, where both locals and tourists come to soak up the lovely SoCal weather. Its crowning jewel, however, is the boardwalk, where you can experience authentic L.A. culture.
When it comes to places to see in Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory is perhaps the most popular experience-based attraction and one that you shouldn’t miss when in the city. Located within Griffith Park in the Los Feliz neighborhood, the observatory hosts incredible exhibitions and is home to a world-class planetarium. The main highlight at the observatory is the incredible Zeiss telescope, which is used for viewing celestial bodies. It also helps that the observatory’s location makes for a great viewpoint of L.A.
One of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum (the other being the Getty Villa), The Getty Center is among the most incredible attractions in the City of Angels. Designed by famous architect Richard Meier, this massive complex is nestled on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighborhood. The facility is known for its collection of artworks that include paintings, sculptures, photography, drawings, and more. Equally impressive is the outdoor area, where you can find some sculptures and get a breathtaking view of the city and beyond.
Opened in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also known simply as LACMA, is the oldest art institution in the city and is the biggest art museum on the west coast. Art enthusiasts will certainly enjoy a visit to the museum, which boasts a collection of nearly 130,000 pieces of various works (particularly their impressive collections of Islamic, Latin American, and Asian art collections) spanning 6,000 years. Apart from their permanent collection, LACMA also annually hosts an average of 40 exhibits as well as a regular schedule of events throughout the year.
Definitely not your ordinary theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood is a must-visit no matter your age – whether you’re a child, a teen, or even an adult. First opened in 1964, the theme park features a broad range of unique and mind-blowing attractions and rides that continue to change and improve over the years.
Some of the most popular attractions in Universal Studios include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurrasic World – The Ride, Transformers, and King Kong 360 3D. For the best and most hassle-free time in the theme park, consider getting the VIP Experience – a special package where you get access to perks such as an escort to the rides, food prepared by the chef, valet parking, and more.
- Walt Disney Concert Hall
Found in the heart of downtown L.A., the Walt Disney Concert Hall is quite hard to miss; the building features a geometric and stainless steel façade that has since become one of the best music venues in the city. The concert hall also serves as the home of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, both of which perform regularly in the venue. If you don’t feel like watching a live performance, you may opt to take a guided tour or a self-guided audio tour of the building.
Hollywood is a suburb of Los Angeles and is one of the most renowned places in the city. The name “Hollywood” is synonymous with the entertainment industry and is home to some noteworthy attractions, including the famous Hollywood sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Bowl, Runyon Canyon, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and the Chinese Theatre. If you want to cover all the highlights, check out this list of top Hollywood tours by US News.
Located just next door to the LACMA, the La Brea Tar Pits is surely one of the most unique places you will find in the city. Situated within Hancock Park, the area offers visitors a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see actual fossil excavation and get some in-depth knowledge. The Tar Pits have been around for over 40,000 years and were preserved as a reminder of how life was like back in the ages. The adjoining museum also has on display some reconstructed remains of a variety of animals, including wolves and saber-toothed cats.
Perhaps the most iconic shopping destination in L.A., Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a must-visit when in the city. Immortalized in Julia Roberts’ memorable shopping scene in the film Pretty Woman, Rodeo Drive is a shopping street that features international brands, designer stores, and independent boutiques. Whether you plan to splurge or are just looking to do some window-shopping, you shouldn’t miss out on the chance to hang out at Rodeo Drive. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a celebrity or two.
Established in 1917, the Grand Central Market is one of L.A.’s oldest landmarks and the ultimate destination for food-lovers. The structure hasn’t changed much since it opened over a century ago but the vendors constantly change. The market is home to some of Los Angeles’ affordable but delicious takeaway food stalls. One that you shouldn’t miss when in Grand Central Market is Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market. Shiku is a fabulous Korean eatery. For a snack, try La Fruteria.