Your Ultimate Los Angeles Travel Guide 2023
Los Angeles is an incredible city with a seemingly endless list of things to do and see. From iconic attractions to hidden gems, LA has something for everyone. Whether you are visiting for the first time or returning for a longer stay, this ultimate Los Angeles travel guide will help you maximize your time and make the most of your trip. Read on to discover the top things to do and see in Los Angeles! You may also want to check out our San Diego travel guide!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Los Angeles
- Hollywood Walk of Fame: The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must-visit attraction for any visitor to LA. Stroll along Hollywood Boulevard and you’ll see the stars of some of your favorite celebrities embedded in the sidewalk. Don’t miss the TCL Chinese Theatre, where you can see famous hand and footprints.
- Universal Studios Hollywood: Experience the magic of Hollywood at Universal Studios, where you can go behind the scenes of your favorite movies and TV shows. From thrilling rides to movie-themed attractions, there’s something for everyone at this iconic theme park.
- Griffith Observatory: Located in Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory offers breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the night sky. It’s home to several exhibits and displays on astronomy, and you can even attend a planetarium show.
- Getty Center: The Getty Center is a stunning museum that houses an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The stunning architecture of the museum itself is worth a visit, and the gardens and views are simply breathtaking.
- Venice Beach: Head to Venice Beach for some quintessential LA vibes. Stroll along the boardwalk and people-watch, take a dip in the ocean, or try your hand at rollerblading or skateboarding. There are also plenty of street performers, shops, and restaurants to check out.
Where To Stay In Los Angeles
- Santa Monica: Located on the west side of LA, Santa Monica is known for its beachfront boardwalk and vibrant nightlife. The area is home to high-end shopping, dining, and hotels, making it a popular destination for travelers seeking a luxurious stay.
- Hollywood: This iconic neighborhood is the heart of the entertainment industry, with the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre. Visitors can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of the movie studios or enjoy a show at the Hollywood Bowl.
- Beverly Hills: Known for its extravagant shopping and high-end real estate, Beverly Hills is a great destination for those seeking luxury and glamour. Visitors can stroll down Rodeo Drive, take a tour of celebrity homes, or relax in one of the many luxurious spas.
- Downtown LA: The downtown area of LA is a thriving business district with a variety of cultural attractions, including the Broad Museum, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The area is also home to many trendy restaurants, bars, and rooftop lounges.
- Venice Beach: Located on the west side of LA, Venice Beach is a bohemian neighborhood known for its eclectic boardwalk, street performers, and colorful street art. Visitors can also enjoy a day at the beach, shop for souvenirs, or take a bike ride along the oceanfront bike path.
Top Los Angeles Hotels
- The Beverly Hills Hotel: Known as the “Pink Palace,” this iconic hotel has hosted countless celebrities over the years. The rooms are elegantly designed and feature plush furnishings, marble bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s pool, spa, and award-winning restaurants.
- The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles: This sleek, modern hotel is located in the heart of downtown LA, making it a great choice for those who want to be close to the city’s top attractions. The spacious rooms feature stunning city views, and guests can enjoy amenities like a rooftop pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options.
- Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills: Another top choice in Beverly Hills, this hotel boasts beautiful gardens and a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. The spacious rooms are outfitted with high-end amenities like flat-screen TVs, Nespresso machines, and marble bathrooms. Guests can indulge in the hotel’s spa and pool or dine at its Michelin-starred restaurant.
- Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills: This ultra-luxe hotel offers panoramic views of the city and the Hollywood Hills. The elegant rooms feature marble bathrooms, private balconies, and high-end technology. Guests can relax at the rooftop pool or indulge in the hotel’s spa treatments.
- The Peninsula Beverly Hills: This elegant hotel is located in the heart of Beverly Hills, making it a great choice for luxury shoppers and foodies. The spacious rooms feature marble bathrooms, plush bedding, and modern technology. Guests can indulge in the hotel’s rooftop pool and enjoy fine dining at its award-winning restaurant.
Where To Eat In Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a mecca for food lovers, offering a vast array of dining options ranging from street food to high-end restaurants. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Los Angeles:
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- The Ivy: This iconic restaurant on Robertson Boulevard in Beverly Hills is known for its elegant ambiance, celebrity sightings, and upscale American cuisine. Try their famous chopped salad, crab cakes, or filet mignon.
- Grand Central Market: This historic market in downtown LA features over 30 food vendors selling everything from tacos to falafel to ramen. Grab a seat at one of the communal tables and indulge in some of the best street food in the city.
- Nobu: This high-end Japanese restaurant, located in West Hollywood and Malibu, is known for its sushi, sashimi, and innovative dishes like black cod with miso. The sleek interior and trendy vibe make it a popular spot for celebrities and locals alike.
- Republique: This French bistro in Hancock Park features a bright and airy interior, a large bar, and an extensive wine list. Try their signature pastries, charcuterie boards, or roasted chicken with garlic and herbs.
- Langer’s Deli: This family-owned deli in Westlake has been serving up the best pastrami sandwiches in LA since 1947. Don’t miss their famous #19 sandwich with pastrami, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread.
No matter what your taste buds crave, Los Angeles has something to offer for every food lover. These top 5 places to eat are just the beginning of your culinary adventure in the City of Angels.
How To Get Around Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a sprawling city, and getting around can seem daunting at first. But don’t worry – there are plenty of transportation options available to make your visit as smooth as possible.
- Public Transportation: The most budget-friendly option is Los Angeles’ extensive public transportation system, which includes buses, subways, and light rail trains. The Metro Rail network can take you to popular tourist spots like Universal Studios, Hollywood, and Downtown LA. The Metro bus system covers the city and is a good option for shorter distances. Fares start at $1.75 for a one-way trip and $7 for a day pass.
- Ride-Sharing: Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are readily available in LA. They’re a good option for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of parking or navigating public transportation. Prices vary depending on time and distance.
- Taxis: Taxis are available in Los Angeles, but they can be expensive compared to other transportation options. Expect to pay at least $15 for a short ride.
- Bike Sharing: Biking is becoming a popular mode of transportation in LA. There are several bike-sharing services available, including Metro Bike Share and Lime Bike. Prices vary depending on the service.
- Car Rental: Renting a car is a good option for those who want to explore Los Angeles on their own schedule. However, be prepared for heavy traffic and limited parking in some areas.
No matter which mode of transportation you choose, be prepared for LA’s infamous traffic. Rush hour is between 6-9am and 3-7pm, so plan your trips accordingly. If you’re driving, avoid the freeways during these times. Alternatively, use the “Waze” app to help navigate the city and find the best routes. Overall, Los Angeles offers plenty of options for getting around, so choose the one that works best for you.
Los Angeles Weather
When planning a trip to Los Angeles, it’s important to consider the city’s weather patterns. As a southern California city, Los Angeles generally enjoys a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during each season:
- Spring: Los Angeles in the springtime is generally mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from the high 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit. March can be a bit rainy, but April and May are usually drier and sunnier.
- Summer: The summer months in Los Angeles are hot and dry, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. However, the heat can be tempered by cool ocean breezes. It’s worth noting that wildfire season also falls in the summer, so it’s important to stay alert and check for any fire advisories.
- Fall: Los Angeles in the fall is similar to spring, with mild temperatures and low precipitation. September can still be quite hot, but by November, temperatures start to drop into the high 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit.
- Winter: While Los Angeles is generally mild in the winter compared to other parts of the country, it can still get quite chilly at times, particularly at night. Average temperatures range from the high 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, with occasional rainy spells.
No matter what time of year you plan to visit Los Angeles, it’s a good idea to pack layers, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day.
Best Time To Visit Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit really depends on what you want to do while you’re there. The weather is mild and sunny most of the year, but there are still some things to consider when planning your trip.
If you’re interested in the beach scene, the best time to visit Los Angeles is from May to September when the weather is warm and sunny, and the water temperature is at its most inviting. But if you’re more interested in sightseeing and exploring the city, then the best time to visit is in the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the crowds are smaller and the weather is more mild.
Summer (June to August) is peak tourist season in Los Angeles, and you’ll find lots of people flocking to the beaches and other attractions. If you don’t mind crowds and higher prices, then this might be the perfect time for you. But if you’re looking for a more low-key experience, you may want to consider visiting during the off-season.
Winter (December to February) is also a great time to visit Los Angeles if you’re looking to escape the cold weather elsewhere. While it’s cooler than the rest of the year, temperatures still rarely dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. This is also a great time to take advantage of holiday events and attractions in the area. Overall, the best time to visit Los Angeles really depends on your interests and what you want to do while you’re there. Just be sure to check the weather and plan accordingly!
How To Stay Safe In Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a generally safe city, but like any other major city, it has its fair share of crime. To ensure your safety during your trip, it’s important to follow some basic precautions. Here are some tips to help you stay safe in Los Angeles:
- Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when you’re in unfamiliar areas. Keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior or people and avoid any areas that make you feel uncomfortable.
- Stay In Well-Lit Areas: When walking around at night, stick to well-lit areas. Avoid dimly lit streets, alleys, or parks.
- Keep Your Belongings Safe: Make sure to keep your belongings, including your phone, wallet, and passport, safe and secure at all times. Don’t leave them unattended in public places or in your hotel room.
- Use Public Transportation Wisely: Public transportation is generally safe, but be aware of your surroundings when riding on buses or trains. Try to avoid traveling alone, especially at night.
- Don’t Leave Valuables In Your Car: Car break-ins are common in Los Angeles, so avoid leaving any valuable items in your car, even if it’s parked in a safe neighborhood.
- Be Careful When Using ATMs: Only use ATMs that are located in well-lit areas and avoid using them at night. Make sure to shield the keypad when entering your PIN number.
- Avoid Dangerous Areas: Stay away from areas that are known to be dangerous, especially at night. Some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles include South Central, Compton, and East LA.
By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Los Angeles. Remember, safety should always come first.
Los Angeles Customs and Etiquette
Los Angeles is a diverse and multicultural city, so it’s important to be aware of customs and etiquette when visiting. Here are some tips to help you navigate LA’s social norms:
- Greetings: It’s common to greet someone with a handshake or a hug, depending on the situation and your relationship with the person. In more casual settings, a simple “hello” or “hi” will suffice.
- Tipping: Tipping is expected in LA, especially in restaurants, cafes, and bars. The standard tip is 15-20% of the total bill, but you may choose to tip more for exceptional service.
- Dress Code: LA is known for its laid-back style, so casual clothing is generally acceptable. However, some restaurants and clubs may have dress codes, so it’s best to check beforehand.
- Personal Space: LA is a sprawling city, so people are used to having more personal space. However, in crowded areas or public transportation, it’s important to be aware of personal boundaries.
- Driving: LA is notorious for its traffic, so it’s important to be patient and courteous on the road. It’s also common to use a horn to alert other drivers, but be careful not to overuse it.
- Social Media: LA is a city that loves social media, so don’t be surprised if people are taking pictures or posting updates frequently. However, be respectful of other people’s privacy and always ask for permission before taking a photo.
Overall, LA is a friendly and welcoming city, so just be yourself and enjoy your time here!
Other Things To Know About Los Angeles
If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, it’s important to know a few key details about the city. For starters, Los Angeles is located in the United States, so the country’s official language is English. The currency used in Los Angeles, as well as throughout the rest of the United States, is the US dollar.
Los Angeles is located in the Pacific Time Zone, which is three hours behind Eastern Standard Time. If you’re traveling from another time zone, be sure to account for this when planning your arrival time and any scheduled activities.
In terms of customs and etiquette, Los Angeles is known for being fairly laid-back and casual. It’s not uncommon to see people dressed in casual attire throughout the city, and you may even encounter some celebrities while out and about. That being said, it’s always a good idea to be respectful and courteous, especially in more formal settings such as restaurants or upscale shopping areas.
It’s also important to note that Los Angeles is a sprawling city, so you’ll want to plan your transportation accordingly. While there are public transportation options such as buses and trains, many visitors opt to rent a car or use ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft to get around. Additionally, be sure to check the weather forecast before packing for your trip – while Los Angeles is known for its sunny and warm climate, temperatures can fluctuate and rain is possible, especially during the winter months.
Los Angeles Travel Costs
Los Angeles is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and it can be a challenge to budget for your trip. The cost of accommodation, food, and entertainment can quickly add up, especially if you’re not careful. However, with some planning and budgeting, it’s possible to enjoy Los Angeles without breaking the bank.
- Accommodation: Hotels in Los Angeles can be quite pricey, with prices ranging from $150 to $500 per night. However, there are more affordable options, such as hostels, motels, and Airbnb rentals. Hostels start at around $30 per night, while motels start at around $50. Airbnb rentals can also be an affordable option, with prices ranging from $50 to $200 per night.
- Food And Drink: Los Angeles is a food lover’s paradise, with an endless variety of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. However, dining out can be expensive, with meals costing anywhere from $15 to $50 per person. To save money, look for food trucks, farmers markets, and cheap eats, where you can find delicious food at a more affordable price. A meal from a food truck typically costs around $10, while farmers markets offer fresh produce at a fraction of the cost of restaurants.
- Activities: There are many free or affordable things to do in Los Angeles, such as visiting the beaches, parks, and museums. However, popular attractions like Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame can be expensive. Admission prices to theme parks range from $70 to $150, while tours and shows can cost upwards of $50 per person. To save money on entertainment, look for discounts and deals online, and plan your itinerary in advance.
- Transportation: Transportation in Los Angeles can be expensive, especially if you’re relying on taxis or ridesharing services. The best way to save money on transportation is to use public transit, such as buses and trains. A single ride on the Metro costs $1.75, while a day pass costs $7. To save even more, consider renting a bike or scooter, or walking to your destinations.
In summary, Los Angeles can be an expensive city to visit, but with some budgeting and planning, you can enjoy the city without breaking the bank. Consider staying in affordable accommodations, seeking out cheap eats and free entertainment, using public transit, and looking for discounts and deals online. With these tips, you can make the most of your trip to Los Angeles without overspending.
Finding Affordable Flights To Los Angeles
When planning your trip to Los Angeles, finding affordable flights is an important consideration. With the city being a major hub for international flights, there are a variety of airlines and routes available, so it’s important to do your research and shop around for the best deal. Here are some tips to help you find affordable flights to Los Angeles:
- Use Flight Comparison Websites: There are numerous flight comparison websites that allow you to search for the cheapest flights to your desired destination. Some popular options include Kayak, Skyscanner, and Expedia. Simply input your travel dates and destination, and these sites will compare prices across multiple airlines and find the best deal for you.
- Book In Advance: If you’re able to plan your trip well in advance, booking your flights early can save you a lot of money. Flights tend to be more expensive the closer you get to your travel date, so booking several months in advance can help you find better deals.
- Be Flexible: Being flexible with your travel dates can also help you find affordable flights. Try searching for flights on different days of the week or in different months to see if there’s a significant price difference.
- Check Low-Cost Airlines: Low-cost airlines such as Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant Air often offer cheaper flights to Los Angeles, although keep in mind that these airlines may charge additional fees for things like checked baggage or seat selection.
- Sign Up For Email Alerts: Many airlines and flight comparison websites offer email alerts that notify you when prices for your desired flights have dropped. Sign up for these alerts to stay up-to-date on the latest deals and snag a cheap flight to Los Angeles.
By following these tips, you can find affordable flights to Los Angeles and save money on your trip. Don’t forget to compare prices across multiple websites and be flexible with your travel plans to get the best deal possible.
Backpacking Los Angeles Suggested Budgets
For those traveling on a budget, backpacking through Los Angeles can be an affordable way to experience the city’s many sights and attractions. To help you plan your trip, here are some suggested budgets for backpacking in Los Angeles:
Low Budget: $30-40 per day
- Stay in a hostel dorm room or budget hotel
- Eat at street vendors, food trucks, and budget restaurants
- Use public transportation or walk to get around the city
- Visit free attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, and Venice Beach
Mid-Range Budget: $50-75 per day
- Stay in a mid-range hotel or private hostel room
- Eat at mid-range restaurants and cafes
- Use a combination of public transportation and ride-sharing apps to get around
- Visit attractions with admission fees, such as Universal Studios Hollywood, the Getty Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Luxury Budget: $100-150 per day
- Stay in a luxury hotel or upscale Airbnb
- Dine at fine restaurants and bars
- Use ride-sharing apps or rent a car to get around
- Visit high-end attractions like Disneyland, Beverly Hills shopping, and private tours of movie studios
Remember, these budgets are just suggestions and can be adjusted based on your travel style and preferences. By backpacking through Los Angeles, you can see and experience all that this amazing city has to offer without breaking the bank.
Los Angeles Money Saving Tips
Traveling to Los Angeles doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some money-saving tips to make your trip more affordable:
- Use Public Transportation: LA has a reliable public transportation system that includes buses and trains. Opt for the Metro instead of renting a car or using taxis.
- Look For Free Events: LA has a plethora of free events, from concerts to art shows. Check local websites and social media for information.
- Use Discount Sites: Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer deals on activities and attractions.
- Dine Smart: LA has a great food scene, but it can be pricey. Look for happy hour deals or lunch specials at restaurants.
- Explore Free Attractions: LA has a lot of free attractions, including beaches, museums, and parks. Take advantage of these to save money.
- Stay In Budget-Friendly Areas: While there are luxury hotels in LA, there are also more affordable options. Look for hotels in areas like Koreatown or Hollywood that are budget-friendly.
- Book In Advance: Booking flights and activities in advance can save you money. Be sure to also check for online deals and promotions.
By following these tips, you can enjoy everything LA has to offer without overspending.
What To Pack For Los Angeles
When packing for Los Angeles, keep in mind that the city’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to bring layers. Here are some essential items to include in your suitcase:
- Lightweight Clothing: LA can get quite hot, especially during the summer months. Pack light, breathable clothing such as cotton t-shirts, shorts, and dresses.
- Comfortable Shoes: You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking in LA, so make sure to pack comfortable sneakers or sandals. You may also want to bring a pair of dressier shoes for a night out.
- Layers: As mentioned earlier, LA weather can be unpredictable. Pack a lightweight jacket or sweater to throw on if it gets chilly at night.
- Swimwear: If you plan on hitting the beach or pool, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit and a cover-up.
- Sun Protection: LA is known for its sunshine, so make sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Camera: You’ll want to capture all the amazing sights in LA, so bring a camera or smartphone with a good camera.
- Universal Charger: Don’t forget to bring a universal charger for your electronic devices, as outlets in the US may be different from those in your home country.
Overall, pack light and comfortable clothing, and be prepared for varying weather conditions. With these essentials in your suitcase, you’ll be ready to make the most of your trip to LA.
Can You Drink Tap Water In Los Angeles?
The short answer is yes, you can drink tap water in Los Angeles. The city’s water supply meets all state and federal safety standards, and is regularly tested for impurities. However, some people may prefer to use a water filter or opt for bottled water for personal taste or health reasons. It’s worth noting that Los Angeles has a reputation for hard water, which can affect the taste and feel of the water. Some residents and visitors find that a filter improves the taste and texture of their drinking water.
If you do choose to drink tap water, be aware that it may have a slightly chlorinated taste due to the disinfection process. To combat this, some people let their water sit for a few minutes or use a water pitcher with a filter. Overall, drinking tap water in Los Angeles is safe, but it’s always a good idea to listen to your body and do what feels best for you. If you’re uncertain, consult with a doctor or public health professional for more information.
Other Things To See And Do In Los Angeles
Aside from the top attractions in LA, there are still plenty of things to do and see in this bustling city. Here are a few other ideas to consider when planning your trip:
- Go On A Studio Tour: Many major film studios like Warner Bros., Universal and Sony Pictures offer guided tours. You can get an insider’s look at how movies and TV shows are made.
- Visit The Getty Center: The Getty Center is a must-see for art lovers. It has an impressive collection of European and American art, beautifully landscaped gardens and stunning views of the city.
- Go To A Sports Game: LA has a team for almost every major sport, including basketball, baseball, hockey and football. Attending a game is a great way to experience the city’s passionate sports culture.
- Go Shopping On Rodeo Drive: Even if you can’t afford the designer clothing and jewelry sold in the shops, window-shopping on Rodeo Drive is a quintessential LA experience.
- Hike In Runyon Canyon: If you want to get some exercise while enjoying breathtaking views of the city, a hike in Runyon Canyon is the perfect choice. There are several different trails of varying difficulty levels.
- Visit The Santa Monica Pier: Located on the beach, the Santa Monica Pier is a fun place to visit with family and friends. It has an amusement park, aquarium, restaurants and great views of the ocean.
- Take A Beach Day: LA is known for its beautiful beaches, so why not spend a day soaking up the sun and surf? Venice Beach and Malibu are two popular options.
- Explore The Museum Of Jurassic Technology: This unique museum is part art exhibit, part natural history museum. It’s a quirky and fascinating place that’s not to be missed.
There you have it, some of the top things to see and do in Los Angeles. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular traveler, this city has something for everyone.
The Bottom Line
Los Angeles is a city like no other. It offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration, from its famous landmarks and beautiful beaches to its world-renowned cuisine and lively nightlife. However, to truly make the most out of your trip, you need to be well-prepared. From budgeting and packing to safety tips and local customs, this guide has everything you need to know to ensure a smooth and unforgettable Los Angeles experience. So start planning your trip today and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime!