When I think of Los Angeles , I think of Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica Pier and celebrities! We decided to plan a trip here just for 4 days. I booked a flight using a website called TripDelta. This website compares all flights to the destination of your choosing in America. The flight worked out to be about $298 return from New Orleans. I would recommend if you are coming from SA and you would like to travel between states, use tripdelta to look at flight options. We chose the “no frills” option and went with Spirit Airline. You pay for any checked in bags and weight limits are 18kgs or less. This was an additional $21 one way and another $21 back.
Once my flight was booked , I decided to have a look on Airbnb for accommodation. Los Angeles is huge and it is very important on the area you decide to stay in. I’ve listed the major areas below:
- Hollwood and West Hollywood – This is the most “touristy” area to stay and its very central if you would like to catch the red bus tour or take and Uber to different locations. Its “touristy” so everything is overpriced.
- Downtown – This is the central Business district and not very touristy at all. Hardly any tourists visit downtown. However, there are loads of cultural heritage and architecture worth checking out. You can watch a show at the Disney Concert Hall, visit the Grand Central Market, Visit the Grammy Museum and shop the fashion District. Downtown can be a bit dangerous at night , so be cautious.
- Beverly Hills – This is a very “elite” neighborhood and if you have the money then by all means stay here. This is probably one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in considering Celebrities live here.
- Santa Monica – This is very close to the beach and if you into surfing, skating or into a “hipster” vibe then this is the place for you. It can get dangerous at night , so be cautious.
We decided to stay in Hollywood as I wanted to do all the “touristy” things and it seemed very central to and from all the places I wanted to visit. Upon arrival it took us about 1-2 hours to retrieve our bags. LAX airport is extremely busy and I would suggest planning ahead and factoring in about 2 hours when travelling through it. We opted to take a taxi to Hollywood and it cost about $52!! Insane!!! You could request and Uber but the terminal is so big that it would be difficult to advise the Uber driver where you are exactly. Driving through Los Angeles is a nightmare as traffic is very bad at any hour of the day!
Eventually we got to our destination which was a cosy little one bedroom Airbnb. To read about Airbnb, you can visit our blog here.
I’ve listed the top 10 things to do in Los Angeles below. Hope that you find this blog useful if you do decide to visit Los Angeles.
Top Things to do in Los Angeles
1. Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame
This is obviously a must do in Los Angeles. Best of all , its completely free! Just watch out for the guys trying to sell you tours. That can be quite annoying. The start of the walk of the fame is by the “Hollywood and La Brea Gateway” which is basically a gazebo held up by 4 statues called the the four ladies of Hollywood. Right on top of the gazebo is a small statue of Marilyn Monroe.
The walk of fame runs for 15 blocks along the Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks along vine street in Hollywood. Be prepared to be in loads of crowds when walking the walk, especially near the Chinese Theatre.
2.Take a red ( hop on – hop off) bus tour
The Red Bus tour is possibly the most cost effective way of learning about Los Angeles and going to all the sightseeing places in a short period of time. The Red bus has 4 lines , namely the following :
Red Route – This is the most popular route as it takes you to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Rockwalk, Paramount Studios to name a few.
Yellow Route – This route takes you to the west side of Los Angeles and includes trips to the West side Pavilion, Santa Monica Pier, Westwood memorial park, etc
Purple Route – This trip takes you to downtown Los Angeles and includes stops such as Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Jewelry District, Fashion District, etc.
Green Route – The green route takes you along the coastline on the west side of LA. Includes stops such as Fisherman’s Village, Venice Pier, Venice Boardwalk, etc.
You can read about the red bus tour here.
3. Visit Venice Beach Boardwalk
Walking the Venice Beach Boardwalk is a MUST. This boardwalk is filled with street vendors , artists, skateboarders, etc. and there is always something to see when there. Pack a bather and spend the whole day there if you have the time. Once you done walking the boardwalk, you can head down to a street called “Abbot Kinney.” Our Uber driver told us about it and we decided to check it out. Its a “hipster” street where you can find everything from awesome boutique stores, to organic restaurants and loads of home made ice cream. Its definitely a must see when you are that side.
5.Visit Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is about a 5 -10 minute drive from Venus Beach. Unlike Venice beach, Santa Monica Pier is much more “touristy” so expect crowds and more crowds. Its so strange that to think the pier was originally built to dispose of sewage! Thank goodness that stopped! The first thing you see when looking onto the pier is the Ferris wheel and the long wooden pier. There are loads of restaurants and the iconic theme park. Great for the kids and adults alike. The restaurants close to the pier is generally over priced and we opted not to eat there. Just a 10 minute walk down the street are restaurants that are much cheaper.
6. Visit Beverly Hills
If you want to maybe see some famous people, then visiting Beverly Hills is just the place for you. Take a stroll down Rodeo Drive and window shop (because our rand cant really afford anything down that road!). A cool place to check out is a place called millions of milkshakes. Its exactly as the name describes – millions of flavours of milkshakes to choose from. This place is social playground for celebrities and you might spot one!
Another stop is the Beverly Wilshire hotel. This hotel became famous when featured in the classic movie “Pretty Woman.” If you have loads of cash to blow you can even be “Pretty Woman” for the weekend through the hotel. Read about it here.
7. Visit the Farmers Market and the Grove
The Farmers market is a must for trying yummy, authentic foods at affordable prices. It is located at the corner of 3rd street and Fairfax Avenue in the Fairfax District of LA. There are over 100 stalls (restaurants), grocers and tourist shops. Once you all fueled up on yummy food, you can take a walk through the outdoor shopping mall called “The Grove.” The Grove houses famous shops such as Topshop, Banana Republic, The Apple store, Sephora and many more.
8. Visit the Hollywood Rock Walk
The Rockwalk is located just outside the Guitar store on Sunset Boulevard. This “little” patio contains hand prints of numerous celebrities. These celebrities are not movie stars – they’re rock musicians and guitar greats. The Rockwalk was founded in 1985 as a much needed “Musician” recognition was needed to honor these legends. The cement squares of the RockWalk contain only the star’s handprints. On the East wall above the Rockwalk are a number of bronze plaques containing the likeness of celebrities such as Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix , just to name a few. The Red bus stops right outside the Rockwalk and best of all its FREE!
9. Visit the Hollywood Sign
If you walk along the Walk of Fame, you will be hounded by tour company’s trying to sell you tours to the Hollywood Sign. You can negotiate a fee as little as USD15 per person. You can take pics of the Hollywood sign from an outdoor mall close to the Chinese Theatre and that’s free :).
10. Universal Studios
Visiting Universal Studios is definitely a bucket list item and I saved the best for last. This attraction needs a blog of its own.This blog will be up soon!
Here is a little summary video I put together …
Images : self taken with iphone 6s and google images