Los Angeles is a city that offers it all: laid-back coastal vibes, epic nature, a topnotch bar and restaurant scene and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Three Qantas travel writers – who uncover hidden gems across the world – share their top tips, insights and must-dos following visits to the City of Angels. 

“This is the best place to spy LA’s most spectacular dream homes” - Jenny Hewett

“Some cities are so good, they should come with a guarantee – and Los Angeles is one of them. While the inclination is to head straight for the bright lights of Hollywood, LA is just as synonymous with iconic beachside neighbourhoods and coastal culture. 

“People-watching is one of the biggest reasons to hit up Venice Beach. Stroll the historic Venice Canals to spot some of LA’s most spectacular homes, then retire to a beach-facing room at hip Hotel Erwin with a view of the famous boardwalk and its human melange. The hotel’s rooftop bar is a stage for smouldering sunsets – soak up the atmosphere while sipping cocktails. 

Discover all that LA has to offer with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points* when you apply online by 28 May 2024, are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new Qantas American Express Ultimate Card within the first 3 months of your approval date. T&Cs apply. Available for new American Express Card Members only.

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“Chic tiki spot Belles Beach House in Venice Beach is among a cohort of Aussie-owned restaurants serving up high-quality fare in the city. It’s a great spot for drinks but once you taste the Hawaiian-meets-Japanese-inspired eats (don’t miss the spicy tuna crispy rice), you’ll want to linger longer. Mondays are write-offs in many cities around the world but not in LA. Dive bar The Short Stop in Echo Park hosts Motown Mondays every week and the dancefloor doesn’t stop until late.

TIP: Earn Qantas Points for your next trip each time you tap or pay online. With the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card you’ll earn up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday purchases¹. Learn more.

Malibu, Los Angeles

“For a more chill vibe in California’s birthplace of surf, escape to the simple but stylish bungalows of Hotel June in Malibu. The area offers plenty more than waves, with Bikes and Hikes LA providing guided treks along the scenic 90-minute Solstice Canyon Loop, weaving by a waterfall and ruins in Malibu’s Santa Monica Mountains. 

Getty Villa Museum

“The one-of-a-kind Getty Villa Museum in Malibu’s Pacific Palisades is one of LA’s best-kept secrets. Built in the ’70s by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, the recreated traditional Roman villa has a vast collection of art, sculpture and gardens, making it an ideal outing for families.”

TIP: Explore LA's iconic spots with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card and receive a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year to use for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights when booking through American Express Travel Online². The Card has an annual fee of $450. Learn more.

“Countless movie stars, writers and musicians have stayed here” - Alex Mitcheson

“Los Angeles has a habit of pulling you in different directions with intoxicating sights, sounds, tastes and experiences vying for your attention. But whether you’re a movie buff or not, eventually all roads lead to Hollywood.  

“Flanked by lofty Mexican fan palms and steeped in serious celebrity history, The Hollywood Roosevelt exudes Golden Era allure without even trying. Since opening its doors in 1927, countless movie stars, writers and musicians have stayed and played within its walls. Sprawl by the Tropicana Pool like Marilyn Monroe or sip drinks at the Spare Room cocktail lounge before taking the time to explore the area – a trip to the TCL Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Museum are irrefutable must-dos.

TIP: Take off to LA with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card and receive two complimentary Qantas Club Lounge invitations each year after your first Card spend on selected Qantas products and services³ and two Amex Centurion® Lounge passes to use at Sydney or Melbourne International Airport⁴. Learn more.

“To escape the crowd, stop by Bar Covell, a low-lit wine bar where locals spill out onto the street. You can taste drops from near and far but if you’re struggling to choose, the team’s unique line of questioning will guarantee you enjoy your glass. For later in the evening, Black Rabbit Rose is a tucked-away den of magic, music and – most importantly – late-night bottle service. I usually book a table in advance and join the revelry into the small hours.  

“Across 160-plus stalls, the Hollywood Farmers’ Market mesmerises with a weekly cornucopia of crops, arts and crafts (Sundays 8am to 1pm). Arrive hungry and prepare to chat with the numerous food vendors, all competing for you to try their exceptionally fresh Californian produce.

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“Or you could always sample the local fare by the sea at Fishing with Dynamite, an intimate Manhattan Beach trove of delicious seafood classics, such as Chef David’s Mom’s Cape Cod Squash Rolls with rosemary butter which are to die for.”

“Order a cocktail in a coconut – it should be mandatory” - Craig Tansley 

“LA’s biggest secret? Topanga Canyon. Turn right at the pet supply store just before Malibu on Highway One and drive the winding mountain road to LA’s real hippie hangout. (“Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel” – The Doors’ Jim Morrison wrote these famous lyrics about the drive.) 

Topanga Canyon

TIP: Enjoy all of LA’s greatest surprises with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. You’ll receive a complimentary Qantas Wine Premium Membership, plus you’ll earn 3 Qantas Points per dollar spent on all Qantas Wine purchases.⁵ Learn More

“It's a nature-lover’s wonderland. Take a horse ride through the Santa Monica Mountains with Los Angeles Horseback Riding or hike along 120 kilometres of easily navigable trails through Topanga State Park – credited as one of the largest state parks within city limits in the US. 

“Plan a lunch or dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray, whose owners haven’t changed since 1973. It may be a Hollywood favourite but dine by candlelight under the stars beside the creek and you’ll feel like you’ve gone bush.

The Surfrider Malibu

“Drive back down the mountain for a nightcap at Malibu’s best-located accommodation, The Surfrider Malibu. Rooms have views of Malibu Pier but it’s the vistas from Roof Deck Bar and Restaurant that blow minds (locals such as Pierce Brosnan have been known to drop in).  

“It's a 30-second walk to the beach in the morning so borrow a surfboard from reception. Afterwards, spend quality time at the quiet outdoor bar Paradise Cove Beach Cafe – so close to the water you’ll feel the salt on your skin. Order a cocktail in a coconut – it should be mandatory!” 

Experience all that LA has to offer with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points* when you apply online by 28 May 2024, are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new Qantas American Express Ultimate Card within the first 3 months of your approval date. T&Cs apply. Available for new American Express Card Members only.

Plus, receive a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year to use for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights when booking through American Express Travel Online².  

The Card has an annual fee of $450. Learn more.

Getting there

Fly Qantas Sydney to Los Angeles Economy return for one person for 83,800 Qantas Points plus AUD $271.96 taxes, fees and carrier charges^.

The Card offer, benefits and features mentioned throughout are subject to Exclusions, Terms and Conditions. Click here to learn more.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Insiders’ Guide to Hawaii’s Secret Spots

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The card products referred to on this page are not Qantas products and not offered or issued by Qantas but by the relevant credit licensees referred to above. The information about the credit products has been provided by the relevant credit licensees and not Qantas. Qantas does not hold an Australian Credit Licence and is not a licensee in relation to the credit activity being engaged in by the relevant credit licensees.

The information on this webpage is factual and of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. 

Qantas is not recommending the products described on this page. We recommend that you obtain independent advice before you apply for any product which is described on this webpage. Qantas does not accept liability for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance, on the information provided on this webpage.

*Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online by 28 May 2024, are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months from the Card approval date. This offer is only available to new American Express Card Members. If you are an existing David Jones Card Member and don’t hold or have not held any other American Express Card(s) in the past 18 months, you will be eligible for the offer. All other Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the past 18 months are ineligible for this offer. Eligible purchases do not include Card fees and charges, for example annual fees, interest, late payment, cash advances, balance transfers, traveller’s cheques and foreign currency conversion. Qantas Points are earned in accordance with and subject to the Qantas American Express Card Points Terms and Conditions. 60,000 bonus Qantas Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member’s account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met. Qantas Frequent Flyer membership and the earning and redemption of points are subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program available at qantas.com/terms. The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card has an annual Card fee of $450. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer.

^Qantas Points and taxes, fees and carrier charges quoted for Classic Flight Rewards are accurate as at 11 January 2024 and are subject to change. Classic Flight Rewards are subject to capacity controls, availability is limited and some flights may not have any Classic Flight Rewards available. Taxes, fees and carrier charges are payable to Qantas (excluding any amounts payable to third parties at the airport) in addition to the points required. For more information, visit qantas.com/classicflightrewards.

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