The Los Angeles travel tips to know before you go

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Megan Indoe

Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn-based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer, Scott Herder, on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi. Having lived in Los Angeles for several years, they enjoy sharing their tips and tricks for exploring the City of Angels.

What should I do on my first trip to Los Angeles?

First-time visitors need to see quintessential Los Angeles attractions like the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Observatory, which is a fascinating attraction in its own right and has a great view of the LA skyline. You can hike to them both with a guide, learning all the history as you go. Another personal favorite is heading to Santa Monica to shop and dine around the Promenade, soak up the sun on the beach, and enjoy all the fun activities on the pier. Venice Beach has awesome ocean views, restaurants, and bars, the famous Muscle Beach, funky shops, street performers, and picturesque canals surrounded by stunning homes.

What's your best advice for someone traveling to LA?

Having a car is a necessity in Los Angeles, as public transportation isn't reliable, but try not to drive during rush hour (7:00-10:00 AM and 4:00-7:00 PM) otherwise you'll spend hours in the notorious LA traffic. Plan to visit two areas per day around these times.

What are the best months to visit Los Angeles?

One of the best things about Southern California is its climate, which is comfortably warm year-round. You can expect warm, dry summers and mild winters. Staying close to the coast means you can catch the ocean breeze on the hottest days. It can be overcast around June though, we call it the "June Gloom."

What are some hidden gems to see in the city?

Check out the Tesla Coil while you’re at Griffith Observatory, which you can see at work discharging lightning every hour. For something different in Downtown LA, head to the San Pedro Fish Market near Long Beach, where you can dine at the waterfront seafood spots and visit the Point Fermin Lighthouse, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and the beautiful Korean Bell of Friendship. And cruising around the homes of Hollywood's most famous residents and iconic filming locations is always fun — it helps to have an in-the-know guide so you don't miss a thing.

How much time should I spend in Los Angeles?

You'll need at least a weekend in LA to see the highlights, but you can spend a month here and never be bored. If you only have a few days, stay around Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Venice, or Downtown LA — don't try to see too much as you'll spend half your time in traffic. If you have more time, you can explore the coast and drive to Malibu and Topanga State Park.

Where should I eat in LA?

Los Angeles has great Mexican food, a remarkable Koreatown, and the must-taste In-N-Out Burger — do as the Angelinos do and order a Double-Double. Pink's Hot Dogs, Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, DK's Donuts, and Canter's Deli are all famous spots that live up to the hype. And try the excellent restaurants around the pier if you go to Santa Monica.

What are the best months to visit?

One of the best things about Southern California is its climate, which is comfortably warm year-round. You can expect warm, dry summers and mild winters. Staying close to the coast means you can catch the ocean breeze on the hottest days. It can be overcast around June though, we call it the "June Gloom".

What's a favorite neighborhood you recommend visiting?

Venice is known for its funky shops and beachfront skate park, beach volleyball courts, street performers, outdoor gym, and the Venice canals. This is a pretty laid-back spot to stay and a fun area for dining and nightlife too. If you can, rent a beach cruiser and cruise down the 22-mile bike path to Santa Monica.

What are the best places to shop in LA?

If budget is no issue, Melrose Avenue and Rodeo Drive are the pinnacles of designer shopping in LA. Third Street Promenade and The Grove are outdoor malls with tons of stores to suit almost everyone. And Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach is where you can find great independent boutiques.

What are your 5 favorite GetYourGuide experiences in LA?