A Traveling Insider’s Guide To Los Angeles
Allow us to help you navigate your Los Angeles vacation by using this expert’s guide to the City of Angels. | By Paul Oswell | September 10, 2021
Visiting Los Angeles is like starring in your own movie. It’s a city that is so famously represented in countless films and TV shows, so just wandering along its palm-lined streets feels cinematic.
The city celebrates beauty, but if you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find great art, fascinating museums and a trendy food scene. Plus, you might run into a celebrity hiding behind their sunglasses while you’re out exploring.
Here are some ideas for a fun-filled, memorable stay in The City of Angels:
A-list: Mingle with the stars in Beverly Hills and walk in their footsteps along Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame.
Be entertained: Enjoy larger-than-life shows at huge venues like the Hollywood Bowl or the Walt Disney Concert Hall, or join the audience at one of your favorite television shows.
Sea sides: Escape the heat and join the locals at some of the country’s most glamorous beaches.
Why should you visit Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is a city of sun-kissed glamor and Hollywood dreams. Visitors come for the theme parks, world-famous beaches, performing arts venues and to see celebrities on every corner. In short, it’s a city obsessed with entertainment.
The major theme parks are a must for most visitors. Disneyland has been attracting crowds since it opened in 1955, but don’t miss Disney California Adventure Park, Universal Studios Hollywood or Knott’s Berry Farm, a local favorite.
The near-perfect climate means that outdoor life is a joy. Go for a walk in the sunshine and admire the architecture around El Pueblo De Los Angeles. Relax under Griffith Park’s shady oak trees or explore its hiking trails and observatory, which has appeared on-screen many times.
Splash in the surf
Make sure you leave time to splash in the surf at some of the most world-famous beaches, including Malibu, Santa Monica and Redondo.
Catch a live show at the Hollywood Bowl, which has hosted the most famous performers in the world since 1922. And while the world tunes into the Dolby Theater for Oscar night, it’s a top venue for shows throughout the year.
Mexican and Latin-American food are the heavy hitters in LA, and you can sample flavors from around the world here, from Ethiopian to Lebanese to Caribbean. The big-name, chef-helmed places are an experience. You’ll have fun exploring hidden delights in each neighborhood.
The famous Hollywood sign is protected by fences, but you can view it from the car or join a tour that'll also point out the homes of various celebrities. The most enjoyable way to get to the sign, though, is to hike. If you do plan on hiking, consider starting your climb early (trails are open from sunrise to sunset) to beat the LA heat.
There are several trail options to the Hollywood sign. While they vary in difficulty and distance, they all promise fabulous views.
When is the best time for your trip to Los Angeles?
LA has a consistently warm climate, and even the winter months don’t get too cold. The crowds subside from March to May and between September and November, and walking around is pleasant, with temperatures between the high 50s Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and low 80s Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
The summer months can be hot, and locals and tourists alike leave the city for the coastal beaches and seaside towns. You’ll find good deals in the winter, and there’s not much rain at this time of year.
Getting to and around Los Angeles
Three airports serve the city: Los Angeles International (LAX), Hollywood Burbank Airport and Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.
The FlyAway bus service operates between LAX and Union Station and cabs and ride-hailing companies are also available.
Hollywood Burbank Airport is located near Pasadena, and Metrolink and Amtrak both stop nearby. John Wayne Airport has limited international flights and public transportation options.
Hopped off the plane
LAX is one of the world’s busiest airports, and there are many public transportation options, including the L.A. Metro, Culver City Bus Lines and others.
Amtrak trains stop at Union Station, and Metrolink, a regional rail line, connects LA to Anaheim, along with other stops in Orange County. MTA also operates six rail lines on the LA Metro, along with a bus network. Buy a reusable and rechargeable TAP Card, which offers day passes, if you plan on using public transportation.
LA is one of the few cities where renting a car is the best option, but keep in mind that there’s almost always traffic. The freeway system and traffic can both be challenging, so allow plenty of time to get to and from your destination.
Los Angeles promises glamorous excitement, and perhaps even the chance to eat brunch next to a movie star. Natural beauty abounds and frames the city with world-class beaches and parks. Huge theme parks, state-of-the-art music venues and cute seaside towns all compete for your attention. Memories are easy to make here, so soak up the cinematic ambiance, bask in the sunshine and star in your own travel blockbuster.
Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer and has reported from all seven continents for dozens of internationally known publications. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small” and the editor of an online travel magazine.