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Los Angeles Travel Guide: Discover with a Local

los angeles travel guide

I will be sharing tips and information about Los Angeles, California, basically a Los Angeles travel guide from a local. While it’s known for its rich film and entertainment contributions, Los Angeles is also an incredible hub of diverse cultures and communities.

Who Am I?

My name’s Jill Zwarensteyn. I am a writer based in Los Angeles and have lived here for 9 years. As a  travel blogger, I focus on solo travel, backpacking, budget tips, funny travel stories, and things to do around town. For more travel content, please feel free to visit my blog or connect with me on Instagram. Today I will be presenting you a Los Angeles travel guide that I told about my experiences based on many criteria about Los Angeles. I hope you will enjoy it!

1. Duration of Ideal Stay and Visiting Season

Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara, California

The first part of the Los Angeles travel guide is the ideal staying and visiting season. If you plan to stay in Los Angeles, 5 days is the perfect amount of time to pack in all the must-see spots. However, many people also enjoy taking day trips to other nearby areas such as San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Orange County, where Disneyland is located. So for those who also want to see other places outside LA, give yourself 7-10 days for the duration of your stay. To avoid the busy Summer crowds and still have warm enough weather to hit the beach, I recommend visiting Los Angeles in the Fall. During winter and spring, you will typically find the temperatures in the 60s, which may be more comfortable but probably too chilly for lounging in your swimsuit.

2. How to Get to The City from Airport?

Another thing that must be on the Los Angeles travel guide is the transportation from the airport to the city. A Lyft or Uber will be much cheaper than a taxi, so opt for rideshare. Some hotels also provide airport shuttles, so be sure to check if that’s something your hotel provides. You can also get to the airport via the LAX FlyAway bus, which has routes going to and from Los Angeles International Airport. A one-way ticket is $9.75. The FlyAway currently has locations in Van Nuys and at Union Station. For those who plan to take the FlyAway from Union Station, save yourself money by taking the subway to Union Station instead of a Lyft/Uber. The 4 and 704 buses also run to Union Station, but the subway is much faster and will save you time.

3. Where to Accommodate in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles Travel Guide
West Hollywood

If one is unfamiliar with Los Angeles City and wants to get to know it through a Los Angeles travel guide, accommodation is an important element. LA is very spread out and has many different neighborhoods, so you need to consider what part of town to stay in when it comes to accommodation. My personal recommendation is to stay in West Hollywood. This is a central area of Los Angeles that is very walkable and has plenty to do – and you might run into a few celebrities! However, hotels in the area can be pricey, so I suggest looking into Airbnbs here. Burbank is also another safe area of town that’s still relatively central and has some decently priced hotels.

4. In City Transportation

Los Angeles Travel Guide
Metrolink Union Station

Los Angeles may be a major city, but our public transportation is nowhere near New York City, London, or Paris. We have subways and buses available, and you shouldn’t have any issues finding a Lyft or Uber. If you plan to take some day trips to places outside of LA, I’d say it’s worth it to rent a car. However, Metrolink and Amtrak trains can take you to places like Anaheim (Disneyland) and San Diego.

5. Suggested Budget for Los Angeles

Monetary information and suggested budget are also important factors that need to be mentioned in a Los Angeles Travel Guide. LA can be expensive, especially if you plan to see the entertainment parks, go on tours, etc. Between meals and entertainment, I would say to budget your spending money for each day at $100. You should be able to change your money at the airport. There are places I’ve seen in Hollywood to exchange your money, but I do not know how reputable they are. My recommendation would be to do it at the airport.

6. Things to See and Do in Los Angeles

Let me continue with one of the most important parts of the Los Angeles travel guide! Firstly, let me list you the places that you must visit in LA!

Places to Visit in Los Angeles

The Iconic Places You Should See

Getty Center in Los Angeles
Beverly Hills
  • Hollywood Blvd.,
  • Universal Studios Theme Park,
  • Beverly Hills,
  • Warner Bros. Studios,
  • Griffith Observatory, and
  • Santa Monica

For a Beach Day

Los Angeles Travel Guide
Malibu
  • check out Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades or
  • head further north to the beaches in Malibu.

Must-see Museums

Los Angeles Travel Guide
Getty Center
  • The Getty,
  • LACMA, and
  • the La Brea Tar Pits.

Discover the City

Olvera Street
Olvera Street

It would be best if you also visited LA’s oldest area and monument, Olvera Street, where you can learn about the city’s beginnings and indulge in some authentic Mexican food.

For TV Shows

I would also recommend going to a TV show taping. Jimmy Kimmel Live is great and only takes several hours. Seeing a sitcom taping can be exciting, but these will eat up most of your day. I’d only go if you’re a big fan of the show or actors. The best news, though? TV show tapings are free to attend; you just need to book a reservation beforehand.

Night Life in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has some fantastic rooftop bars that can be fun day or night. Check out LP, Mama Shelter, and Elephante for some incredible locales for having a drink with a view.

Shopping and Souvenirs

For entertainment souvenirs, Hollywood Blvd. has plenty to offer. However, for eclectic shopping and a local favorite, visit the Melrose Trading Post, a weekly flea market held every Sunday from 9 am-5 pm at Fairfax High School in West Hollywood.

Los Angeles Travel Guide
Hollywood Blvd

Tours in Los Angeles

Hollywood Blvd. is where you’ll catch the tour vans that can take you around town to see the famous sites and celebrity homes. I definitely recommend going on the Universal Studios tour ride at the theme park. Warner Bros. also offers a studio tour where you can see things like the iconic FRIENDS set and famous movie costumes.

Special Events

Halloween is an enjoyable time to be in Los Angeles. We may not have the crisp fall weather, but the West Hollywood Block Party is really fun! They close down Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood and play music, so people will dance, walk around, and socialize. One year they even had a celebratory Rocky Horror Picture Show performance for the film’s 40th anniversary with a special appearance from Tim Curry. The best part, though, is the costumes. People go all out, and it’s a treat (pun intended) to see everyone’s Halloween costumes and take pictures.

7. What to Eat/Drink at Where?

Bacari W 3rd

Weekend brunch is popular in Los Angeles, and my best recommendation for brunch is Bacari on W. 3rd St. Not only does the venue has a beautiful garden-like ambiance, but the food and drinks are fantastic. My personal recommendations for food are to get 2-3 small plates, including the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower.

Gracias Madre

For vegan food and a chic locale, check out Gracias Madre in West Hollywood.

Coffee Shops

LA has no shortage of fantastic coffee shops to choose from. Instead of going to Starbucks or Coffee Bean, visit a local café near where you’re staying for a more authentic experience.

Sunset Trocadero

For drinks, head to Sunset Trocadero on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. This intimate setting is perfect for a great low-key evening with friends or a date night. They have a fantastic selection of martinis named after the city’s most famous streets. The ‘Sunset Blvd.’ and ‘PCH’ are my favorites.

Tere’s Mexican Grill

You simply can’t visit LA without taking advantage of the incredible Mexican food that’s available here. One of my favorite spots is Tere’s Mexican Grill, and the shrimp burrito is absolutely delicious.

8. Suggested Movie for Los Angeles

The best movies to watch before a trip to Los Angeles were famously set here and celebrate the city. So my top recommendations are Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and LA LA Land.

9. Warnings, Tips, and Tricks

Los Angeles is an exciting city, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. So my biggest piece of advice is to avoid walking late at night. Even if you think your hotel or Airbnb is close enough to walk to, it’s still best to call an Uber or Lyft.  

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