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9 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time in Los Angeles
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9 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time in Los Angeles

From meandering around art galleries to visiting amusement parks, there are endless places to visit in LA.

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7 min read

October 18, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

From surfing to meandering around art galleries, to hitting the amusement parks, to shopping at star-studded locations, there are endless places to visit in LA. As one of California’s original 27 counties, La La Land has had plenty of time to adapt to its ever-changing landscape and perfect some of the most enviable destinations in the country. Whether you are looking for fun activities to fit between your L.A. concerts, trying to pack in an eventful summer, or considering making the “City of Angels” your permanent location, there is enough going on to satisfy it all.

To help you plan your vacation, we have compiled the ultimate Los Angeles travel guide that will keep you moving and allow you to make the most of your trip—which starts as soon as you get off the plane.

Best Places to Visit in LA

As of today, Universal Studios has ten rides, seven shows, and two play areas.

1. The Exciting Amusement Parks

It’s not a secret that Los Angeles is packed with some of the best amusement parks in California. In fact, thrill lovers arrive in flocks to enjoy the best of them. Among the top amusement parks, Universal Studios Hollywood stands out as most visitors’ top priority, as it serves both as a filming studio and an action-packed theme park. Here you can grab a wand and dive into the world of Harry Potter or take the Revenge of the Mummy thrill ride. Elsewhere in Los Angeles County, you can find Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier. Settled over the Pacific Ocean, the park is home to the first solar-powered Ferris Wheel, an attraction you don’t want to miss. And then, there’s of course Disneyland Park. Although it's technically in Orange County, if you're making the trip it's probably a good opportunity to add Disneyland to the itinerary as well. Though this famed attraction can cost a pretty penny, there is little more picturesque than a golden hour at the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, so put on your walking shoes and channel your inner child.

Los Angeles boasts numerous beach destinations with pristine sands and picture-perfect waves.

2. The Famous Beaches

Since the greater Los Angeles area is bordered by miles of coastline, there is no end to beach vacation destinations. Head to Venice Beach to take in the local culture; stroll down the iconic Venice Beach Boardwalk to watch the street performers, and skate over to Santa Monica Beach for a rewarding workout. Travel away from the sands to view the stunning hotels in Santa Monica, or venture over to the Santa Monica Pier to play carnival games and catch a better glimpse of the ocean.

Then, if you’re still looking for LA places to visit, drive north toward Malibu to check out some of the most pristine beaches around. Book a stay at the Surfrider, one of the quintessential hotels in Los Angeles, and walk out onto the sands of the classic Surfrider Beach to get a better feel for the surfing lifestyle. Enjoy a night at the beach with your friends at one of the coolest beaches for bonfires, Dockweiler State Beach. Round out your trip with a visit to Paradise Cove for some relaxation and to Point Dume for killer rock climbing.

3. The World-Class Restaurants

From standing in line for the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs to road-tripping to the nearest oyster bars, to scouring the local doughnut scene, there are endless foodie adventures to be had in LA. Grab some toast as you head out to the beaches near Santa Monica, and cruise over to Malibu for a delectable seafood lunch before returning home. With every cuisine imaginable available just a short drive away, the food alone is enough to encourage you to start planning your next visit to La La Land.

From skateboarding at Venice Beach to hiking in the rolling Hollywood Hills, various outdoor activities abound in the City of Angels.

4. The Breathtaking Hiking Trails 

Offering everything from stand-up paddleboard yoga adventures, to some of the top California bike rides and breathtaking sunrise hikes, Los Angeles was made for getting active. Runs at Runyon Canyon, hikes up to the Hollywood Sign, and strolls along the rows of the Rose Bowl Flea Market will have you clocking an impressive number of steps without even trying. But, if you’re looking for absolutely unforgettable places in L.A. to visit, you should aim at trekking the must-try waterfall hikes in the region.

Take some time to indulge in a soothing soak, relaxing massage, rejuvenating facial, or brand-new hairdo at a Los Angeles day spa or salon.

5. The Relaxing Spas

All of that hard work has earned you some much-needed relaxation time, and luckily, Los Angeles County has you covered. For a quick treat, get pampered at a local nail salon or eyelash bar, and leave feeling proper and put-together. If a more holistic rejuvenation is in order, check out some of Los Angeles’ best wellness retreats and watch the transformation occur. You’ll also be happy to know that some of the best spa resorts in California are located right here, so go ahead and exchange your stress with an out-of-this-world massage.

Catch an outdoor movie with a special someone to revel in the warm evening temperatures and gorgeous scenery of Southern California.

6. The Entertaining Open-Air Theaters

Though Los Angeles is home to many noteworthy movie theaters, there is nothing quite like catching an outdoor movie. Whether you’re in the mood for a movie on a rooftop, a film and food truck, or a cinema in the cemetery, the vast city has it all. Since L.A. boasts beautiful weather nearly year-round, some outdoor movie locations are open through October—providing ample time to be entertained under the stars.

See where classic movies, acclaimed films, and blockbusters were filmed by driving to the diverse filming locations in LA.

7. The Beautiful Film Locations

From Parks and Recreation to Back to the Future, and La La Land to Licorice Pizza a plethora of television shows, films, and commercials have been filmed in Hollywood’s backyard. Since the region is so photogenic, it is easy to see why filmmakers take to the streets. (And with this Southern California film location guide, you can view famous filming spots for yourself.) Venture across Bedrock City, stroll along the perimeter of Pawnee City Hall, walk into the church from Kill Bill, and see where Forrest Gump finally stopped running. Then drive towards one of the best places to visit in LA, the Griffith Observatory, a La La Land filming location that is so memorable, and continue toward the San Fernando Valley to relieve scenes from Licorice Pizza — all within a day’s drive.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, commonly known as LACMA, is merely one of many world-renowned cultural attractions in LA.

8. The Educational Museums

Downtown Los Angeles is full of art galleries and museums just waiting to be seen. From The Getty Center to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to the La Brea Tar Pits, a week could easily be spent learning about the local culture at these incredible establishments. The city’s unique architecture and street performers are similarly worthy of attention, so make sure to fit these attractions into your schedule, too.

The two-mile-long Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a prime shopping destination providing an impressive collection of high-end, exclusive boutiques.

9. The Awesome Retail Shops

With Beverly Hills, The Grove, and Melrose Avenue being some of the top places to visit in LA, visitors must include a shopping trip in their itinerary. Whether you are looking for a swimwear store or a surf shop before hitting the waves, you don’t have to look too far. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for natural beauty products for a night out or a dress for your best friend’s upcoming wedding, you can find it all in Los Angeles.

Visit Los Angeles between in Sring or between September and November, when the weather is still ideal and the popular attractions are less crowded.

The Best Times to Visit LA

Los Angeles boasts pleasant weather nearly year-round, so while there is hardly ever a bad time to go, spring and fall are ideal times to visit. While summer is the most sought-after season to relax on the beaches or head to the art galleries, everyone and their moms (literally, since schools are out during the summer months) have the same idea. To avoid the masses, visit March through May or September through November.

How many days to spend in L.A.

While there is no wrong amount of time to spend in Los Angeles, planning for a single day in L.A. may leave you wishing for more. If amusement parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios happen to be on your list, you should spend a minimum of three days exploring these incredible attractions. For each additional place to visit in LA, you add to your list and allocate another day during your visit so you don’t feel too rushed and are able to fully enjoy the area.

After enjoying a week or two next to the open ocean, you may begin to ask yourself: How much does it cost to live in LA? And if you’re currently residing in the Bay Area—or any other big, expensive city—the answer might not be as scary as you imagine. But for now, pack your carry-on, and prepare for a relaxing vacation in Southern California.

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