How To Make The Most Of Your Week In Los Angeles: 6 Top Things To See And Do
Los Angeles is a big place. It’s considered one of the biggest sprawling metropolises in the United States and while not as dense as New York, it makes up for it by collecting several different distinct cities into its cultural lexicon. Los Angeles is a popular vacation destination for most of the year for its famous year round sunny weather, but because the city is so big it can be easy to get lost and overwhelmed when planning your days on vacation. Visiting Los Angeles doesn’t just mean finding LAX baggage storage and going on your way. You need some kind of plan, and that’s why we put together this guide of neighborhoods and cultural fixtures that will satisfy your tourist bug while putting you right in the heart of the city to discover its unique culture, food, and communities.
Fewer places are better suited for exposing the unique personalities and energy of Los Angeles than Venice Beach. This neighborhood is filled with classic cultural staples of LA. From amazing Mexican food to surfers and skaters prowling the beaches for the perfect wave or opening in the skate park. The boardwalk is particularly popular for tourists and features tons of boutique shops for souvenir shopping. Plus, you’ll get a taste of Southern California’s famous beaches.
Griffith Park and The Observatory
Griffith Park is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA and is unique in its size and ecosystem. Griffith Park is the largest urban park in the U.S. and the only city park that is home to large cats. It is also the host for popular destinations such as the Griffith Observatory where visitors can enjoy exhibits, and the Greek Theater where concerts are typically held in the spring and summer seasons.
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Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is another staple destination for tourists traveling through LA. The pier features an amusement park style boardwalk complete with a roller coaster, carnival games, and a ferris wheel overlooking the beautiful coast along the Pacific Coast highway. Santa Monica itself has wonderful food and shopping to offer. This is a great place to spend at least one of your days on vacation in Los Angeles.
The Getty Centers
For museum fans, look no farther than the Getty centers. There are two to speak of with one being located near the UCLA campus and the other along the PCH. The Getty Villa is free to attend (aside from parking fees) and features amazing exhibits of Roman and Greek paintings, sculptures, and historical objects. The villa is also home to an amphitheater where performances are often held playing with the old style of Roman amphitheaters mixed with modern storytelling, music, and design.
Hollywood and the East Side
Hollywood and the east side of the city is certainly an essential part of the city to see. The film and music industries reign over most of the city’s economy and culture, and Hollywood is the place to see it all in action. Here, you can walk past famous studio lots and visit famous locations such as Amoeba music for all your music shopping needs. The east side is also home to neighborhoods like Silverlake and Echo Park which are some of the cities most striking and unique neighborhoods.
Los Angeles’ downtown sprawl also has much to offer in the way of activities, food, and culture. Downtown Los Angeles is home to such areas like Alameda street where visitors can enjoy traditional Latin X culture and visit one of the very first buildings to be built in the area. Downtown is also where you will find the opera house, The Walt Disney concert hall, The Japanese Art Museum, MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Little Tokyo. Downtown is just a quick drive from the east side neighborhoods, and makes for a good afternoon or evening stop to visit museums or see a performance at one of the concert halls.
This only scratches the surface of things to do and see in Los Angeles. This guide should serve as a jumping off point and visitors should feel encouraged to explore the neighborhoods rather than only visiting well known locations. The reality is that Los Angeles is always seeing tourists and the most popular locations are going to be crowded. Looking for local restaurants and shops is always the way to go. Remember that in LA, not everything is always as it seems. Sometimes, it’s not the nicest looking place that has the best food or experiences to offer. Often, the heart of the city lies in the places you cannot see with the naked eye. Visitors should look closely and find the truly unique elements of this amazing city.