Insider tips: Planning a trip to Los Angeles
Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer Scott Herder across their travel channels on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi they are experts on Los Angeles as they lived there for several years!
What should I do on my first trip to Los Angeles?
First timers need to see quintessential Los Angeles attractions like the Hollywood sign which can be viewed from the Griffith Observatory along with vistas of the Los Angeles skyline, not to mention this is a really fascinating attraction in its own right, or you can hike to the Hollywood sign on the Hollyridge Trail. Another personal favorite is heading to Santa Monica to shop and dine around the Promenade, soak up the sun on the beach, or enjoy all the fun action happening on the pier. Venice Beach is also a fun stop where you can find great ocean view restaurants and bars, the famous muscle beach, and funky shops, street performers, and walk through the picturesque canals surrounded by the lavish homes.
What are some hidden gems to see in Los Angeles?
Hidden Gems to check out in Los Angeles include the conical Tesla Coil while you’re at Griffith Observatory, which you can see at work discharging lightning every hour.
If you’re wanting to explore a bit beyond the attractions in and around downtown Los Angeles head to the San Pedro Fish Market near Long Beach where you can dine at the waterfront seafood spots. Before or after you can visit the Point Fermin Lighthouse, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and the beautiful Korean Bell of Friendship.
Or if you’re wanting to track down some of the homes used in your favorite tv shows and movies you can go drive by and take photos of the exteriors of homes used in popular movies and tv shows like the Father of the Bride, The Brady Bunch, Beverly Hillbillies, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to name a few of many!
How much time should I spend in Los Angeles?
You can spend as little as a weekend in Los Angeles to an entire week to a month!
You will want a car as this city is very spread out and if you only have a weekend you should stay around Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Venice, and/or Downtown LA.
If you have more time you can explore along the coast and drive to Malibu and Topanga State Park or explore the south and make your way towards San Pedro and Long Beach or even Anaheim, and inland to Pasadena.
What food is Los Angeles known for?
Los Angeles has plenty of food worth traveling to and for. While you’re here you should really take advantage of the great Mexican cuisine, donuts, In N Out, and a remarkable Koreatown.
If you’re looking for specific places to try you have to stop at an In N Out and try a burger - double double is legendary and see if it's worth the hype but be prepared as Californians are very passionate about their local fast food chain, Pink’s Hot Dogs, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, DK’s donuts, and Canter’s Deli to name a few of the most famous spots!
What is the best way to get around Los Angeles?
The best way and really only way to get around Los Angeles is by car unless you have an unlimited budget for ride shares.
What are the best months to visit Los Angeles?
The best part about Los Angeles and Southern California is that they have one of the most comfortable climates around the world pretty much the entire year.
You can expect warm, dry summers and mild winter temperatures. The further you get away from the coastline the hotter the temperatures can get.
Even in the middle of winter you may only need a light jacket.
There are no bad times to visit Los Angeles but something to be aware of is that the month of June is known as ‘June Gloom’ as the weather is very overcast and the closer you are to the coastline, you get a marine layer for the beginning half of the day which can surprise people who are expecting sunny California weather.
What is neighborhood Los Angeles known for?
Venice is known for its funky shops and thrilling beachfront with skate park, beach volleyball courts, street performers, street vendors, outdoor beach gym known as ‘muscle beach,’ and the Venice canals!
This is a pretty laid back spot to stay and a fun area for dining and nightlife not to mention a great beach day!
Be sure to rent a beach cruiser and cruise down the beach bike path that stretches 22 miles! You can go all the way to Santa Monica, which is highly recommended to Marina Del Rey to find a nice stretch of sand to hang out on in the sun or to just people watch.
What are the best neighborhoods for food?
Los Angeles’s food scene is amazing but very spread out. For pockets of great food check The Grove where you can find tons of shopping and dining options plus the famous farmer’s market here, head to LA’s famous Koreatown, Thai Town, Little Armenia, and Los Feliz for more global cuisines to check out, and Santa Monica around the pier has plenty of great dining options.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
If budget is no issue you should head to Melrose Avenue Shopping District and Rodeo Drive for designer, luxury, and high end shops and boutiques.
Third Street Promenade and The Grove are basically an outdoor mall with tons of shopping opportunities for just above everyone.
And Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach is where you can find really great independent boutiques.
And for fashion lovers head to the LA Fashion District downtown where you can find deals at wholesale retailers where many boutiques and retail chains get their own inventory from!
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Los Angeles?
If you had to pick one neighborhood or area to stay in, Santa Monica or Venice Beach would be the best if you’re hoping to enjoy the best of Los Angeles from beaches, shopping, and dining.
Staying at one of these beach areas is a little more laid back than Downtown LA and if you plan around traffic you can easily visit other parts of LA and get back to the beach for the rest of your afternoon and sunset.
The best times to explore and avoid the notorious Los Angeles traffic is before 7:30 am, between the hours of 9:30 to around 3:45 pm, or after 7:00 pm.
What is the best thing to do in Los Angeles for couples?
One of the most romantic and secluded areas for couples or a date is taking a stroll along long bluff overlooking the ocean at Point Dume off the coast of Malibu.
Afterwards grab a romantic dinner with one of the many restaurants with ocean views in Malibu.
What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Los Angeles?
The best spots for outdoor activities are the beach and hiking around the Hollywood hills!
Head to the Hollyridge Trail for a quick hike to the Hollywood sign, start at Griffith Observatory and wander around the hiking trails, or hike the Brush Canyon Trail where you can pass the Bronson Cave, the ‘bat cave’ from the 1960s Batman television series featuring Adam West as Batman as well as the location for a famous photoshoot with the late Jim Morrison of The Doors.
Venice Beach is the best beach for the outdoors because you have outdoor volleyball courts, the skate park, the outdoor beach gym, and the 22 mile bike path!
What are the best beaches around Los Angeles?
Malibu has the most gorgeous beaches in Los Angeles, head to El Matador Beach State Park for one of the most unique coastlines in Southern California.
For a classic Los Angeles beach day walking distance from many great places to eat and awesome people watching head to Venice Beach or Santa Monica Beach.