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Exploring LA: A First-Time Visitor Step-by-Step Guide

Exploring LA: A First-Time Visitor Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s Navigate the City of Angels-Los Angeles!

Los Angeles offers a plethora of entertaining activities, ranging from exclusive studio tours at Warner Bros or Universal Studios to family-friendly visits to the La Brea Tar Pits and Natural History Museum. Visitors are drawn to the palm-lined streets, diverse atmosphere, and chances to spot celebrities. However, when it comes to visiting LA for the first time, many may not be fully aware of the city's offerings beyond its renowned culinary scene and vibrant nightlife.

So, to lighten your burden, here’s a complete beginner Los Angeles travel guide.

1. Getting Around

Upon landing, one of the stickiest situations you might find yourself in is figuring out how to navigate the city. Following are the ways of getting around in LA:

 

  • Car

Considering the vast expanse of Los Angeles, opting for a car is not only feasible but also the most convenient mode of transportation.

 

  • Metro

The Los Angeles County Transportation Authority operates Metro lines with 6 color codes, providing convenient transportation options throughout the region. These lines run from almost 4 AM until 1:30 or 2 AM from Sunday to Thursday. Additionally, on Fridays and Saturdays, the service is extended for an additional three hours.

 

  • Bus

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates nearly 170 bus lines across the city, with services typically starting between 4 AM and 5 AM and running until late, often until 7:30 PM to 2:30 AM

2. Neighbourhoods To Know

Whether you're seeking the glamour of Beverly Hills, the star-studded sidewalks of Hollywood, or the bohemian streets of Silver Lake, Los Angeles has it all. Here are some of the best neighborhoods in LA:

 

  • Hollywood

Hollywood is indeed one of the most famous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, synonymous with glamour, movies, and glitz. Set on the northwest side of Downtown, Hollywood is home to the Paramount Picture Studios, a mammoth neighborhood’s operating film production studio, which is one of the best places to visit in LA for a star-gazer. Walk along the phenomenal Hollywood Walk of Fame or check out the Dolby Theatres just a block away from Hollywood Boulevard.

 

  • Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, renowned as the residence of celebrities like Taylor Swift, Jack Nicholson, and Katy Perry, offers more than just glimpses of lavish celebrity homes. It's a haven for retail therapy, boasting approximately 100 upscale retailers ranging from Valentino and Prada to Burberry and Tiffany & Co.

 

  • Silver Lake

Nicely embracing the hipster lifestyle, Silver Lake is filled with funky blocks where creative Asian eateries, trendy boutiques and bars, indie music venues, vegan cafes, and coffee shops line the streets adorned with impressive art. 

3. Must-Visit Attractions

With an abundance of LA tourist attractions, it can be challenging to choose the best ones. However, we've narrowed it down to the top three must-see attractions in Los Angeles that you definitely won’t want to miss!

 

  • Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Offering amazing views, this Griffith Observatory hosts numerous good exhibitions and boasts a high-end planetarium. Stroll through a gift shop or enjoy a peaceful sip of coffee at the café, you will be spoilt for plentiful free things to do in LA here!

 

  • TCL Chinese Theatre

Opened in 1927, this memorable and legendary site captures the Golden Age of Hollywood. Enjoy a 30-minute paid theatre tour and prepare yourself to encounter Hollywood characters and celebrities such as Sherk, Darth Vader, Marilyn Monroe, and Spiderman.

 

  • Santa Monica Beach and Pier

If you are more of a beach person, hitting Santa Monica Pier is the best idea. What peppers this beach are lovely restaurants and outstanding nightlife areas. Plus, this 3-mile over shoreline is famous among the best places to visit in Los Angeles due to the mushy sand, attractions, and the thing idyllic weather.

The Best Dining Spots in LA

It's no surprise that Los Angeles is regarded as the birthplace of renowned chefs such as Gino Angelini and Wolfgang Puck. From food trucks to star-studded restaurants, you will find everything in LA! Following are our recommendations for the best places to eat in Los Angeles!

 

  • Ladyhawk

Indulge in a delightful Mediterranean dining experience at Ladyhawk, located in Kimpton La Peer. This restaurant offers a variety of dishes including Spanish ahi tuna crudo, fattoush salad, butterflied dorade with zhoug sauce, and muhammara.

623 N La Peer Dr, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States

 

  • Amour

Tucked away on Beverly Boulevard, Amour is a flawlessly crafted French restaurant taking over the old space of Dominick. Offering comfy lounge seating, a fireplace, a candle-lit dining area, and a brick-adorned checker floored courtyard, the restaurant's favorites include a steak tartare, a truffle-soaked cheesy poached egg, and the comte cloud.

8715 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048, United States

 

  • Lustig

Located in Culver City, Lustig seamlessly combines the atmosphere of a pub with the experience of fine dining. This Austrian-inspired bistro serves delectable meals and is mastered in pan-European cuisines such as a classic veal Wienerschnitzel coupled with lingonberry-yuzu chutney and chicken liver profiteroles paired with dark chocolate.

3273 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232, United States

 

  • Mid-East Tacos

At Mid-East Tacos, the 2nd generation chefs blend Mexican and Armenian foodways in one of the most exciting and tantalizing mashups you have ever seen in a long time. Their favorites include quesadillas, burritos, and tacos and falafel comes with mouth-watering sauces such as fire-roasted pico de Gallo and Chile de arbol toum.

3536 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026, United States

4. Nightlife And Entertainment

There's no shortage of places to enjoy live music, laugh out loud at comedy clubs, and dance the night away in a bar, when in La La Land. We have rounded up the best places to visit in LA under the twinkling night sky.

 

  • The Echo + Echoplex

Echo Park's twin music venues offer a fantastic one-stop destination to immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene of the neighborhood. The Echo provides an ideal setting for lively dance parties, while its larger counterpart, the low-slung Echoplex nestled beneath, offers a unique atmosphere. Both venues host a similar array of performances, featuring LA's leading artists, local indie acts, and touring musicians seeking intimate sets.

 

  • Largo At the Coronet

This intimate theatre of the 1940s is the best place to catch sight of an array of storytellers and comedians. When comedians like Jenny Slate, Patton Oswalt, and Marc Maron aren't gracing the stage with their stand-up routines, you can immerse yourself in long-form improv by talents like Ben Schwartz or attend live podcast tapings hosted by Paul Scheer. On certain nights, the comedy stage transforms into a platform for singer-songwriter performances, offering a diverse range of entertainment options for every taste.

 

  • Melody

Melody is a laid-back wine bar, complete with a breezy patio, that doubles as a hotspot for events and occasional DJ sets. Known for hosting the best food pop-ups in LA, it attracts food and wine enthusiasts from all over the city. The outdoor patio is equipped with heating for cooler evenings.

5. Outdoor Activities

When it comes to outdoor activities, fun things to do in LA are bountiful. So, let’s check out what this City of Angels has in store for you!

 

  • Hit The Griffith Park

Stretching to the 4,210 acres, visiting this one of Los Angeles top attractions will make you feel like you’ve escaped into an amazing wilderness as you get inside the immense public green space. For a more thrilling experience, opt for hiking or visit the Observatory and the Los Angeles Zoo for a relaxed ambiance.

 

  • Wander The Venice Canals

Located between the Venice Boardwalk and the lush Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals provide a sheer distinctive side of the famous beachfront neighborhood. Stroll through the 3-canal lined blocks and your eyes will witness the enchanting pedestrian bridges, a bunch of ducklings, occasional paddle-boarding bulldogs, and charming beach houses.

 

  • Enjoy Island Vibes On Catalina Island

There's only one place in LA where you can truly escape the city without even leaving - Catalina Island. The rocky strip of land has everything to create a well-rounded vacation, outdoorsy adventure, rich history, and beach town relaxation.

6. Cultural Experiences

There’s a wealth of cultural experiences in Los Angeles, inviting you to delve deeper into the city's vibrant tapestry of arts, cuisine, and heritage.

 

  • Getty Center

Getty Center is the most inspiring architectural achievement in the USA, featuring a few of the best artworks in the world. Walk through Renaissance paintings, Baroque sculptures, 20th-century American photography, and historic manuscripts. On clear days, chances are high that you will be rewarded with spectacular city views.

 

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art

From contemporary art to Islamic artifacts to European impressionists, LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art has everything. Set beside the La Brea Tar Pits, this museum offers a great rewarding experience for casual visitors and history buffs.

 

  • The Broad

The Broad is a honeycomb, eye-catching building, home to an extensive contemporary art collection dating back to the 1950s till present. The collection entails the works of Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Cindy Sherman. Apart from the permanent collection, this museum also has exhibits from recent artists.

7. Shopping

The second-to-none LA shopping malls are the best places to visit for fashion lovers. From global luxury brands to discount outlets and national chains, there’s something for everyone, the following are the best places to shop in Los Angeles:

 

  • Westfield Century City

Delivering genuine Southern California vibes, Westfield Century City celebrates the outdoor lifestyle and casual luxurySpanning an impressive 1.2 million square feet, this mall boasts a collection of over 200 international, luxury, and contemporary designer brands. It features flagship stores from Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, each spanning three levels, as well as a modern two-level Macy's. Additionally, it is home to the first West Coast outpost of Eataly, a culinary haven celebrating Italian cuisine, culture, and authentic flavors.

  10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90067

 

  • Westfield Fashion Square

Located in Sherman Oaks, Westfield Fashion Square is a 2-level fashion-centric, regional shopping center that serves neighborhoods from the high-end San Fernando Valley to the Hollywood Hills. This retail destination features BCBGMAXAZRIA, Williams-Sonoma, J.Crew., Sephora, Michael Kors, Z Gallerie, Kiehl’s, Apple, Zara, and many other renowned brands.

  14006 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks 91423

 

  • Westfield Topanga

Westfield Topanga stands as the sole center in the US boasting a flagship Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus adjacent to a Target. This shopping haven offers an impressive array of luxury boutiques, including Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, David Yurman, Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, and Gucci. Additionally, visitors can explore popular brands like Apple, Tory Burch, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Lacoste, Splendid, Omega, Anthropologie, and Tesla.

  6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park 91303

 

Summing up, Los Angeles, a sprawling city in Southern California often referred to as the City of Angels, offers a plethora of activities and attractions. While navigating the city as a first-time visitor may seem daunting, fear not! This guide has highlighted the best LA places to visit, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all.

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  • Alex Dormer

    Alex is a successful travel blogger; he gives great tips to travel enthusiasts regarding how they can save money on their vacations. He's been to 40 + countries, and he mainly focuses on how to cut down costs during travel. 

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