The beaches, warm weather, endless entertaining attractions and rich history (and the celebs of course) make LA one of America's most popular destinations. Enjoy the beautiful people, the beautiful scenery, and the effortlessly cool and laid-back culture of this famed SoCal city.
Yes, it's touristy and kitschy, but you can't visit LA without at least driving down Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Whether you're searching for your favorite stars, want to stop at Grauman's Chinese Theater, or you just want to get a good view of the iconic Hollywood sign, this should be your first stop in the City of Angels.
4301 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA, US
And since the film industry is such a massive part of LA, you might as well take a studio tour. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is fantastic, covering the soundstages, props, cars, costumes, and more. You'll see a little bit of everything from "Casablanca" and "Batman," to "Friends" and "Harry Potter."
1514 N Gower St, Los Angeles, CA, US
Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles is a legendary soul food joint that has several locations across the LA area, and they all serve up crispy, juicy fried chicken, fluffy, buttery waffles, and incredible sides. They're open almost 24 hours a day, making it super popular with the late-night crowd, so if you go for lunch, you'll find the line to be a lot shorter.
453 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA, US
The Last Bookstore is proof that L.A. can get pretty intellectually deep. Not only is this store gorgeous, with tons of space and a popular art gallery upstairs that features a labyrinth of books, but it's also reasonably priced and filled to the brim with interesting titles.
2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA, US
Come to Griffith Observatory around sunset time for epic views of the Hollywood sign and a sweeping panorama of LA from the hills. Then stay after dark to use their giant telescope, explore the free museum, and catch a show in the planetarium. And if you're more interested in the kind of stars you see in movies, the gorgeous old building was even used as a filming location for movies like "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Terminator!"
8200 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA, US
Since you're in California, you should get some tacos. Located across from Chateau Marmont off Sunset Boulevard, Pinches is an inconspicuous joint that serves up cheap and delicious tacos in a massive variety of options: pork, shrimp, chicken, veggie, beef tongue, sopes, cactus, and more!
8730 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA, US
Cozy up to the bar at The Church Key to enjoy one of their signature craft cocktails. With ingredients like "rosemary smoke" and mitaki mushrooms, you'll want to sip and savor your drink early in the night, before you drink so much that things get fuzzy.
8901 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA, US
Make sure you snag tickets in advance to the legendary Whisky A Go Go, which is famous for hosting all kinds of legendary acts like the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin, among many others, and for spawning the "go-go dancer" fad of the late 1960's. They still put on shows for cool up-and-coming acts, so it's worth checking out.
8433 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, US
If you'd rather see something a little lighter, then stop by The Comedy Store. Grab tickets to one of the shows in their three theaters, which offer all different kinds of performances, from big headlining acts to strange and offbeat smaller shows. There's a two drink minimum here, but it doesn't have to be booze... although that never fails to enhance the experience.
1611 N El Centro Ave, Los Angeles, CA, US
End your night at Good Times At Davey Wayne's, a funky, 1970s-themed "dive" bar. Enter through an old refrigerator and step into a replica of what Hollywood must have looked like at its grooviest. The psychedelic music, strong drinks (which include boozy snow cones), and fun crowd make this place popular, but always fun.
115 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA, US
If you're looking for a very cool place to spend the night, Farmer's Daughter Hotel is a stylish boutique hotel in an awesome location in West Hollywood. Its chic country theme makes it feel a lot homier than other hotels in LA. Little details like fresh-baked cookies and rubber duckies in the pool take this place over the top.
8225 marmont lane and 8221 sunset boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, US
Grab some breakfast at the famed French-inspired Chateau Marmont, hidden in the Hollywood Hills. Whether you're in the mood for decadent brioche French toast, or you want to revitalize with cold-pressed juice, you can enjoy it in this old-school Hollywood hotspot. Plus, it's a pretty good place for celeb-spotting, if you're into that.
9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA, US
And now, for something a little more unusual. Visiting the Museum of Jurassic Technology is...pretty strange. Exploring the dark, mysterious rooms and checking out their bizarre exhibits makes for an interesting hour. Plus, upstairs, just past the portrait gallery of Russian space dogs, you'll find a lovely tea room with cookies, and an aviary.
2011 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA, US
When you're ready for a bite to eat, there's nothing like enjoying fresh seafood on the beach. Poke is actually a traditional Hawaiian dish made of raw, marinated ahi tuna, but it's not hard to see why it's become popular in LA. Here at Poke-Poke, you can get yours with various flavors and toppings. And if you're not into raw fish, they have salads, edamame, granola, and more.
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA, US
Next, hit up the iconic Venice Beach. Everything you've heard about Venice Beach is true. Within seconds of stepping onto the pavement here you'll see fortune tellers, folk artists, people doing yoga in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, and probably even a couple guys in full teddy bear costumes skateboarding. If you're worried about sorting through a full-on sensory assault of the strange and bizarre, just wander around and check out the skate-dancing plaza, muscle beach, the basketball courts, freak show, or join a drum circle on the beach.
Carroll Ct & Eastern Canal Ct, Los Angeles, CA, US
The neighborhood's name, "Venice," was, at first, very literal. Developer Abbott Kinney actually built canals in 1905 in an attempt to mimic the look and feel of Venice, Italy here in Southern California. But, of course, the rocketing popularity of the automobile shortly after made people change their tune on the once scenic canals. Some were filled in for roads, while others fell into disrepair as disputes over how to deal with them raged for years. In the 1990's, the Venice Canal Historic District was cleaned up and redeveloped, and you can see some pretty swanky homes here.
12515 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, US
Is the next stop on your road trip the distant past, or the near future? If so, then you'll need to stock up on supplies at the Time Travel Mart. Whether you need mad scientist goggles, a "pastport," or a conquistador helmet, this quirky little store has all kinds of silly souvenirs that any quirky person will love. And the best part? It's actually a front for a non-profit dedicated to helping kids improve their writing skills, and proceeds benefit 826LA.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, US
The iconic Santa Monica Pier is definitely a classic stop on a trip to LA. From the roller coaster to the aquarium, it's got that fun, beachy boardwalk vibe, and the surrounding beach is pretty nice. Grab a drink at the end of the pier, watch the sun set, and enjoy the views.
1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, US
Rustic Canyon is an upscale, casual wine bar and restaurant that's so California. Everything on the menu is creative and fresh (which, when it changes daily, is to be expected) and since California is known for its wineries, you won't find a better place to enjoy a glass or two with your dinner.
The Wellesbourne feels like the library of a mysterious and eccentric rich person's mansion. Walls lined with books and English antiques somehow vibe perfectly with the foosball and shuffleboard tables at this bar and lounge, and with modern takes on old classic drinks, you're sure to have a relaxing, but fun time here.
Even though summer is a popular time to visit, the heat and smog of Los Angeles summers aren't the city's best look. Spring is always nice, and fall is pleasant too, but winter brings temperatures that make it a touch too cool for sunbathing, plus the occasional rainstorm.