Discover Los Angeles: A Travel Guide

In the “Discover” series, we’ll be offering quick travel tips on things to do, what to eat and where to stay in cities throughout the world! If you’re interested in contributing to the series, send us an email at Enjoy!

Discover Los Angeles

Hello, Dose of Discovery followers! My name is Tara, and I am a good friend of Bethany. We met during college at Indiana University (go Hoosiers!) and became roommates when we moved to Chicago after graduation.

I lived in Chicago for 4 years and just recently moved back to Los Angeles, where I’m originally from. While I’m still adjusting to being back home and learning all the ins and outs of LA as a local, I want to share some suggestions on things to do if you’re making a trip.

Los Angeles is very spread out, and suggestions may be in different parts of town. If you’d like specific recommendations for a particular area (such as Hollywood vs. Beach), please leave a comment! I’d love to share additional insight on this amazing city!

Discover Los Angeles

Do & Explore

Los Angeles has so much to see and do – it’s impossible to list it all in one post! For someone new to the city, consider checking out Hollywood & Highland where you’ll find the Walk of Fame and Chinese Theater, as well as a distant view of the Hollywood sign. Stroll down Rodeo Drive for some window shopping or new merchandise (if you can afford it – it’s $$$!), or spend a day in the sand at the famous Muscle Beach at Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Pier

Here are a few of my other favorite things to do in LA:

Los Liones Trail (Topanga State Park) – There are tons of hikes throughout the LA area, but Los Liones Trail in Topanga State Park is one of my favorites. It can go on forever if you choose and has great views of both the mountains and the ocean. If you have a car, there is a paid lot available for parking. Otherwise, Sunset Boulevard usually has free street parking and is a short walk to the start of the trail.

Los Liones Trail

The Strand (Manhattan Beach) – The Strand is a paved path that runs along the shoreline. It’s the perfect place for a sunset stroll in Manhattan Beach. I spent a night last weekend walking along the water – it’s a great way to enjoy an evening on the beach. You can catch a beautiful sunset, and the path allows you to walk between all the beach towns. I started in Manhattan Beach and walked 2 miles to Hermosa Beach.

Hollywood Bowl (2301 N. Highland Ave.) – If you’re coming in the summer, go to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It’s an outdoor amphitheater and home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. There are tons of concerts in the summer. Pack a picnic, watch a performance and be sure to catch the fireworks afterwards!

The Getty Center (N Sepulveda Blvd & Getty Center Dr) – If you aren’t sick of the incredible views yet, another great spot to visit to incorporate some culture is The Getty Center. It’s a popular museum in LA with modern design buildings and includes a wide-range of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography. The garden located at the Getty Center is also a work of art and has amazing views of both east and west LA.

The Getty Center

Eat & Drink

Los Angeles has so many cuisines and great restaurants. It’s hard to only pick a few since it can really depend on which area you spend your time in Los Angeles. There are still some options worth a trip, regardless of where you are staying.

There are tons of sushi spots, and the fish is always fresh. For a great experience, I would highly recommend Sugar Fish or Katsu-ya. Sugar Fish is a unique experience, because they don’t really have rolls. If you go, know that it will be mostly nigiri (fish on top of rice) and sashimi (raw fish in a ponzu-like sauce).

If you prefer your sushi in rolls, check out any of the Katsu-ya locations. There are several around town. Menu items are the same or very similar across all the restaurants.

LA Sushi
Sushi from Little Izaka-ya – one of the sushi restaurants that are part of the Katsu-ya restaurant group.

In-N-Out is a famous local LA burger spot. You’ll find them all around your drive in Los Angeles. It is great fast-food lunch spot. If you get fries, try them animal style – topped with Thousand Island dressing and grilled onions.

Finally, be sure check out Grand Central Market in the downtown area. The market originally opened in 1917 and contains food vendors and retail shops. There’s also a really cool store nearby called The Last Bookstore. It’s California’s largest used and new book and record store!

Grand Central Market Los Angeles
Photo Credit: Andrea Alonso

Relax & Sleep

As I’ve mentioned, LA is very spread out. I won’t recommend specific accommodations, but try to pick something that may be closer to the sights that you want to see. This can minimize the amount of time you’re stuck in a car. Trip Advisor is a great resource or check out this guide from Rough Guides.

One Thing Not To Do:

Don’t rely on public transportation, because you’ll definitely need a car in this city! You can coordinate your sight-seeing by area to allow you to more in a day, but be prepared for traffic. You can really visit any time of the year, but the months of August and beginning of September are the hottest time.

Let us know if you check out any of these places or have questions! I hope you enjoyed the Discover Los Angeles travel guide!

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