Travel Guide: Los Angeles, California


I’ve had SO many visitors since moving to Los Angeles, I decided it might be helpful to all my travel-loving readers to create a no-frills easy travel guide for your next visit to California. Here’s what I suggest based on any number of time frames:

Santa Monica – 1 Day

  • See our Local’s Guide to Santa Monica
  • Santa Monica Pier + Ride the Ferris Wheel
  • Third Street Promenade (shopping)
  • Rent bikes and bike The Strand path along the ocean
  • Have Breakfast @ The Annenberg Beach House, Back on the Beach Cafe
  • Lunch or Dinner @ Border Grill (tacos), The Water Grill (Michelin-rated) or True Food Kitchen. You could also re-create my taco crawl.
  • Drinks @ The Bungalow (Fairmont Hotel) or Hotel Erwin (Rooftop, call ahead) for sunset



Venice – 1/2 Day

  • Visit the Venice Boardwalk + Skate Park
  • Go see the Venice Sign
  • Shop Abbot Kinney (GQ named it the hippest street in America)
  • Dinner at Gjelina Restaurant (Book NOW)
  • Bike or stroll around the Venice Canals



Malibu – 1/2 Day

  • Drive up the coast on Highway 1 to Zuma Beach with photo stops along the way
  • Stop in at The Getty Villa + Museum for lunch or Tea by the Sea and the amazing views
  • OR grab lunch on the way back at The Reel Inn (seafood shack)
  • Shop Malibu Country Mart (it’s an outdoor mall)
  • Dinner at Nobu Malibu (book NOW)



Hollywood – 2 Days

  • See my 72 Hour Guide to Hollywood
  • Shop/wander around The Grove
  • Lunch @ The Original Farmers’ Market
  • Do the TMZ Tour (2 hours – cheesy, but actually really fun)
  • Go to the Chinese Theatre, walk sunset strip and see the walk of fame
  • Drive to see The Capitol Records Building
  • Dinner/Drinks at The Chateau Marmont or Sky Bar
  • Drinks at The Roosevelt Library Bar
  • Drive to Griffith Park Observatory for an amazing view of LA, stop in to see the astronomy exhibits
  • Hike/workout Runyon Canyon
  • Catch an Improv Show @ The Groundlings or Upright Citizens Brigade or stand-up at The Laugh Factory or Comedy Store
  • Eat a Pink’s Hot Dog, just like Orson Welles
  • Do the WB Studio Tour ($40, 2 hours)
  • Shop Melrose Ave & hit up the Melrose Flea on a Sunday



Downtown – 1 Day

  • See Chinatown
  • See the Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Go to Little Tokyo for Ramen or Sushi
  • Drinks at The Standard Downtown (rooftop)
  • Lunch or dinner at Bottega Louie
  • Stop by the Science Centre to see the Space Shuttle



LACMA + The Broad – 1 Day

  • Modern art museum that I think is even better then the MOMA!
  • Book tickets ahead of time to get into The Broad, a brand new modern art museum in DTLA


Questions about visiting Los Angeles? Ask me in the comments! And YES, you do need a car when you are visiting as Los Angeles is quite spread out and public transit can eat up a lot of your time. Now this is just scratching the surface – there is SO much more to do here.



  • Jenna Stothers

    Lisa, this is seriously SO helpful! I’m spending 4 days in the LA area in late October and have been trying to put together an itinerary. Thanks for this!

    • You’re going to have so much fun! I just wish I wasn’t in Dallas while you girls were all here. Let me know if you need any other suggestions. Did you book a hotel yet?

      • Jenna Stothers

        Aw I know, would’ve been great to catch up! We are staying at Loews Hollywood for two nights, and some random hotel in LA that we booked through Hot Wire. Thanks for the tips, you’ve given us a great starting point!

        • The Loews in Hollywood is really nice and close to all the tourist fun – hope you guys have a great time!

  • Nikki

    These are great suggestions, I’m getting very excited thinking about it, especially ‘Tea by the Sea’! Thanks Lisa!!

    • You’ll LOVE The Getty. It’s free admission, but parking is $15. The view and afternoon tea are totally worth it.

  • melsays

    Loves it! Some of my favorite spots are on here… makes me miss it even more! xo

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  • Jennifer Miller

    Excellent Recommendations. I recommend Dim Sum in Chinatown, I like Ocean Seafood. Olvera Street Downtown to see the historical beginnings of LA, (Spanish History) and there is always some party going on in the Square on the weekends. I also recommend Manhatten and Hermosa Beaches, quintessential California Beach lifestyle.