The sprawling city of Los Angeles, in Southern California of USA, has long been known internationally in the film and entertainment industry, particularly for Hollywood, a place that has drawn aspiring actors and actresses from across the country for almost a century. Today, LA is a culturally diverse city, with a growing culinary scene, incredible shopping, outstanding museums, and a reputation for being the creative center of America. Sun seekers coming to enjoy the warm climate and beaches will find all kinds of things to do and interesting neighborhoods to explore.
Best Time to Visit
The best times to visit Los Angeles are from March to May and between September and November, when the air is more breathable and the crowds are less oppressive. Average temperatures during these months range from the low 50s to low 80s, which makes walking around and visiting outdoor attractions much more comfortable.
Top Places to Visit in Los Angeles
1. Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Theme Park has a variety of mind-blowing rides based on movie themes, but is also a working movie studio. You can take a guided tour of the studios and explore behind the scenes of some of Universal’s most popular movie sets. The main attraction for most people is usually the rides, which range from simulators to roller coasters.
2. Disneyland Resort
Just outside Los Angeles, Disneyland is California’s premier family vacation destination. Disneyland Park, with rides and experiences in elaborately created theme sets, is what most people picture when they imagine Disneyland. The Disneyland California Adventure Park, created during one of the expansions, holds even more action and adventure, with seven lands based on movie themes. Beyond the rides and Disney characters wandering the streets, the resort also offers a full complement of features and services for a complete vacation. Hotels, restaurants, shopping, and all kinds of entertainment options are available at Disneyland Resort.
A suburb of Los Angeles, Hollywood is a destination in itself, with its own unique history and iconic sites. The attractions in Hollywood are closely associated with the film industry and the glamour of the silver screen. The hillside Hollywood sign, Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, and the Chinese Theatre can easily fill a day or two of sightseeing. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a celebrity or two.
4. The Getty Center
On a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center, designed by Richard Meier, is a huge complex measuring 0.75 square miles and set on 110 acres. The uniquely designed building and the beautiful grounds provide the perfect setting for this impressive museum. Collections include European paintings, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts, as well as 19th- and 20th-century photography.
5. Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a unique destination that is both chic and laid-back, with a population that ranges from surfers, skateboarders, and yoga devotees to techies and business people. The beautiful stretch of golden sand along the coast and the famous Santa Monica Pier, with its iconic Ferris wheel, are what most tourists come to enjoy, but you can find all kinds of experiences in this beachfront city next to LA. Shoppers will find a full range of options, from quirky and vintage stores to high-end boutiques. For a little activity, check out the 26-mile bike path along the waterfront or wander along the Third Street Promenade to see street performers and do some shopping and people watching.
6. Natural History Museum
While the Natural History Museum has numerous galleries and an extensive permanent collection that covers a range of topics, it is best known for its collection of dinosaurs. The 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall has an awesome display of dinosaur skeletons, including a series of Tyrannosaurus rex fossils, known as the growth series, featuring three full skeletons that range from baby to adult. Also on display are a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus. The museum deals with the natural history of California and areas throughout the world. Becoming Los Angeles, which explores the past 500 years of history in Southern California, is another must-see exhibit. The Age of Mammals offers a look at evolution, climatic changes, and shifting continents. Mammals are further explored in exhibits that focus on specific continents.
7. Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory
Griffith Park, in the eastern part of the Santa Monica Mountains, and covering an area of 4,210 acres, is the largest state park in California. The park is home to the Los Angeles Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, a planetarium, a Greek theater, a riding center created for the 1984 Olympic Games, golf courses, tennis courts, hiking trails, and other attractions. Walking trails and scenic drives through the mountains offer views over the city and beyond. The Griffith Observatory is one of the city’s most interesting experience-based attractions, and it’s all free to the public. On the grounds are exhibits and telescopes. The main highlight is a look through the Zeiss telescope, used for viewing the moon and planets. You can use the telescopes free each evening the facility is open. Also on site are solar telescopes used for viewing the sun.
8. Venice Beach
Venice Beach deserves its reputation as a place to see and be seen, making it perfect for people walking, although the vibe here is a little unusual. This stretch of golden sand and the Venice Beach Boardwalk are always thronged with people walking, cycling, rollerblading, and jogging. Eclectic shops and street performers of all kinds line the walkway. The Skate Park, also just off the beach, is frequented by some of the area’s best skateboarders, and nearby are a number of creative art installations. At the appropriately named Muscle Beach, people pump iron in the hot California sun. Food stalls selling everything from shaved ice to kettle corn and funnel cakes make you feel like you’re walking through fair grounds. This is not a typical family beach, but it’s well worth a visit.
9. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art lays claim to being the largest art museum in the western United States, with almost 130,000 pieces spanning from antiquity through to modern times. Of particular note are the outstanding collections of Asian, Latin American, and Islamic Art. The huge complex consists of a number of separate buildings that have been acquired and renovated over the years.The most recent expansion, known as the Transformation, saw the opening of several new buildings on the western half of the campus, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.