Whether it’s Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or Malibu, Los Angeles is packed with things to see and do. So, if you’re planning your next trip, this is your go-to list to keep with you at all times.Less
Any trip to LA should include a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway that carves through the mountains of Malibu on one side and hugs the bright blue ocean on the other. Heading deep into this urban oasis, you’ll find Point Dume, a promontory point with soaring cliffs, pristine beaches, and wildlife that includes sun-bathing sea lions and whale spouts off in the distance. The Point is also next to Zuma Beach.
Whether the La Brea Tar Pits are an archaeological marvel or simply an oddity of nature is up to interpretation, but whichever you think, they are a unique, and free, place to take a date. You’ll get to see asphalt seep and bubble up through cracks in the earth, as it has been doing for 65 million years, and watch a team of archaeologists at work excavating fossils. If you’re lucky, they’ll discover the remains of a wooly mammoth while you’re there, like they did in 2006.
For dinosaur lovers, this classic Downtown LA museum is an absolute must-visit. Located in Exposition Park, the Natural History Museum opened in 1913. Today, it houses more than 35 million artefacts, including the Dinosaur Hall with a T-Rex trio and Triceratops fossil, the Age of Mammals with giant fossilized mammoths and Nature Gardens with more than 600 plant species.
The Warner Bros. Studio complex is one of the most bustling and exciting odes to old and new Hollywood. Get access to famous sound stages, interactive exhibits and the locations of some of your favorite films and TV shows. The two-hour tour includes a stop at Central Perk from Friends, the DC Universe: The Exhibit and an in-depth look at Batmobiles throughout the years.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)is the largest art museum in the western US. With holdings of Islamic, Asian and Latin art, LACMA also arguably boasts one of the most diverse art collections around. Outside, visitors will also find the infamous Urban Light installation – 202 cast iron antique street lamps that have been restored and light up Wilshire Boulevard. Centrally located between the beach and downtown Los Angeles, LACMA is among LA’s most popular tourist attractions.
In 1953, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president E.M. Stuart came up with an idea that would culminate in one of the world’s most famous sidewalks: The Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1961, after numerous heated debates over which celebrities should have a star, construction ended on the Walk. Back then, there were 1,558 stars; today, there are over 2,600, with more added every year.
The most obvious choice, Disneyland and its sister park, California Adventure, are pretty self-explanatory, and their princess castles and magical land filled with fairytale characters are universally known. The lesser known secret is that discounted tickets are available through many organizations for Southern California residents, and those who live nearby can also purchase a season pass to come whenever they want for only $30 per month.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, commonly referred to as the Getty, is an art museum spread across two campuses: the Getty Center and Getty Villa. The Getty Center, opened in 1997, is breathtaking in many ways. Architect Richard Meier is behind its modern design, and its position on a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains offers incredible views. Thoughtful exhibits, spectacular gardens and a restaurant and café stand to keep guests entertained for hours.
Arguably one of the best lookout points in L.A., the Observatory itself also offers hosts of activities once inside. Not only does the Observatory provide free public telescope usage almost every clear-skied evening, it also holds public star parties once a month where visitors can look through a variety of telescopes with well-informed astronomers. Leading from Griffith Park to the Observatory is a bevy of hikes, from the well-known Firebreak trail to the lesser-known Western Canyon loop.
Rodeo Drive is synonymous with luxury and affluence. Though the Beverly Hills street itself is two miles (3.2 kilometers) long, the Rodeo Drive tourists flock to is a much shorter section bounded by Wilshire Boulevard to the south and Santa Monica Boulevard to the north. High-end stores including Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Dior call this area home. Visitors may also want to stop by the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the exterior of which was prominently featured in the film Pretty Woman.