LA is always ready for its close up, whether you’re taking it all in from the epic vantage point of the Griffith Observatory or you’re amongst the sun-kissed thick of it on Venice Beach. From high-class luxury to street-wise eats, Tinsel Town is a city of extremes that can be found here and nowhere else.
Lounge poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt1/21
What could be more Hollywood than bunking in the same hotel that cinema icons Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and more stayed at? With the Walk of Fame on your doorstep, a palm tree-fringed pool (complete with a bar and plenty of day beds), a steakhouse helmed by an award-winning chef and complimentary yoga sessions, The Hollywood Roosevelt has it all. Book now and you'll be treated to a cocktail on arrival, complimentary breakfast and special wellness experiences on the house.
Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo
See a celeb at Runyon Canyon2/21
Known as one of the best places for celebrity-spotting in the city, the Runyon Canyon Loop is a popular route for a morning run or lazy afternoon stroll. The trail passes by million-dollar mansions and has epic views of the Hollywood sign, LA Basin and the Sunset Strip all the way to the summit – a photogenic spot named Cloud’s Rest.
Catch a game at SoFi Stadium3/21
If you’re an avid sports fan, a visit to SoFi Stadium can’t be missed. Home to the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, the venue also hosts shows for some of the world’s biggest music acts, including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and BTS. Catch a game and support the local teams or appreciate the scale of the venue on a special stadium tour.
Stroll along the Santa Monica Pier4/21
There’s plenty of excitement to be had at Santa Monica Pier, whether it’s a ride on the Pacific Park ferris wheel with its incredible city and sea views or watching street performers and browsing the candy and souvenir stalls. But don’t fill up on street food – the area is home to a number of restaurants where alfresco tables offer a feast for your appetite and eyes.
Toast the city from Skybar Los Angeles5/21
The Mondrian’s hip and happening open-air bar comes with views over West Hollywood and beyond and a pool (of course) for those who want to see and be seen. Want to go all out? Splurge on the California Dreaming package for a cool US$10,000 – it nets you two bottles of Don Julio and two magnum bottles of Belvedere vodka, Dom Pérignon Brut and Whispering Angel rosé, as well as a one-night stay in the hotel’s Skyview Loft.
Appreciate the art at LACMA6/21
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum on the West Coast. The collection spans various disciplines and practices, including paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso, sculptures by Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder and photographs by Irving Penn and Richard Avedon.
Hike to the Griffith Observatory7/21
If you visit LA and don’t capture a snap of the Hollywood sign, were you even there? One of the best ways to catch sight of the typographic icon is by tackling the Griffith West Observatory Trail Loop, which takes you up to the Griffith Observatory on Mount Hollywood. Spanning just over four kilometres, the walk offers views across the LA Basin and the sign itself, all in a beautiful natural setting.
Devour the OG In-N-Out Burger8/21
LA is the birthplace of In-N-Out Burger – get your fix from the original location on Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park or one of the numerous outlets across the city. Try asking for your burger Animal Style (the patty will be fried in mustard and served with pickles, grilled onions and an extra dollop of In-N-Out’s signature sauce) and don’t forget to pick up a shake. Spice things up by adding the complimentary chopped chillies.
Walk the Walk of Fame9/21
Hollywood Boulevard is one of the most famous streets in the world, having been the backdrop for countless movie scenes and music videos, its footpaths stamped with the iconic Walk of Fame. Pop into the TCL Chinese Theatre, where innumerable films have premiered (including Star Wars) and a galaxy of celebrities have pressed their handprints and autographs into the concrete in the forecourt.
Admire the gardens of The Huntington10/21
Founded in 1919, The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens is renowned for its picturesque grounds, extensive art collection and striking architecture. Spend the morning exploring the Art Museum before meandering through almost 50 hectares of immaculately landscaped gardens – including the famous Japanese Garden, which features koi ponds, a ceremonial tea house and, of course, cherry blossoms.
Indulge at Grand Central Market11/21
A staple in downtown LA, Grand Central Market is the place to go for a quick bite to eat. There are 40 stalls to choose from, serving everything from authentic Berlin currywurst to Neapolitan-style woodfired pizza.
Image credit: Joshua White
Visit the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures12/21
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a movie buff’s wonderland. More than 13 million props, costumes, screenplays and film reels dating back to 1927 are on display, including Dorothy’s red slippers from The Wizard of Oz and the typewriter Joseph Stefano used to write Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Special exhibitions include the inaugural display dedicated to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.
Wander downtown LA’s Art District13/21
It was the gritty side to Los Angeles’ glamorous surface but Downtown LA has undergone a creative makeover to become one of the coolest spots in the city. The buzz centres on the Arts District neighbourhood, where plenty of galleries, hip cafes, trendy bars and more guarantee a relaxed day of exploring the best LA has to offer. Take the visual walking tour to make sure you catch all the highlights.
Image credit: Kogi BBQ
Try everything at a food truck14/21
Chef Roy Choi’s Korean-Mex mash-up has a diehard following – jump on the Kogi BBQ site or Twitter feed to find out the weekly truck schedule and prepare to over-order. You can’t go past the kimchi quesadilla, sliders or the spicy pork tacos.
Spend a day at the Getty Centre15/21
Opened in 1997 and designed by architect Richard Meier, the sculptural Getty Centre is located in the hills above West Los Angeles. Set aside a day to explore more than 34 hectares of landscaped gardens and wander through the Getty Museum itself, where the extensive art collection includes Irises by Vincent van Gogh.
Image credit: Musso & Frank Grill
Dine at the historic Musso & Frank Grill16/21
This old-school Hollywood gem has been serving celebs, writers, locals and blow-ins since 1919. Grab a booth (it could have been F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favourite) or a seat at the bar (maybe Steve McQueen’s spot) and order a signature dish – perhaps the original fettuccine Alfredo, the flannel cakes or a weekly special.
Check out Venice Beach17/21
The beachfront boardwalk at Venice Beach is quintessentially LA. Broad stretches of sand cater to sunbathers while swimmers will love the crystalline waters. When you’re done people-watching on the beach, stroll the Venice Canals district, which as the name suggests, is a unique mix of LA and Venice (Italy, that is).
Drive Sunset Boulevard18/21
Running for more than 35 kilometres and lined much of the way with palm trees, Sunset Boulevard is one of the city’s most famous streets. Every stretch is surrounded by splashy restaurants, clubs, bars and iconic sights, from the foot of the Hollywood Hills all the way to the coast.
Get your thrills at a Theme Park19/21
From Universal Studios to Disneyland, LA is home to five theme parks and four water parks, ensuring kids both young and old never run out of fun. Newer additions include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Marvel’s Avengers Campus, which take you behind the scenes of the films’ fictional universes and dazzle with exhilarating rides.
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Satisfy your sweet tooth at Diddy Riese20/21
Head to Diddy Riese in Westwood Village for freshly baked cookies and brownies, ice-cream and shaved ice – but don’t dream of leaving without trying the ice-cream sandwich. Concoct your ultimate combo by picking your top and bottom cookie and ice-cream flavour (yes, they do have cookie dough).
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