Los Angeles is a city with multiple contradictions: planning a trip there is not easy, because the list of attractions and things to see is endless. Here’s one possible itinerary for you.
For many a dream, for others, a badge of pride. Los Angeles gets you talking about it as soon as you pronounce its name: the sun, the ocean, the miles of beach, Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Malibu and the Walk of Fame, Venice Beach, Highway 101 and Route 66.
Big, huge, gigantic: those who choose to live in Los Angeles do so to get in the game. Because it is the favorite destination of anyone dreaming of becoming a star, whether they’ve just arrived here to try out their fortune or have spent their entire lives trying to without ever succeeding. We've seen it so many times in movies and on TV that when we're finally planning a trip to Los Angeles, it's not easy to figure out what to see in the city, what are its main attractions and must-see sites of interest.
Because Los Angeles, the Californian city par excellence, has so many souls, as many as the miles over which it extends. If you're planning a trip to Los Angeles and you don't know where to start to create your perfect itinerary, you're in the right place. We'll try to put some order between this city’s countless souls, so as to understand what is worth visiting and what, instead, can be dropped off the list.
What to see in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California. Some people love it and some people hate it. It's a city with distinct features where there are no nuances. Located in southern California, it is the most populous city in the United States, a place where you can meet the most unrestrained luxury and, just a few steps away, the most disarming degradation. A metropolis of multiple contradictions, Los Angeles covers an area of over 1200 square kilometers. When planning a trip to the city, therefore, it is essential to understand which is the itinerary that best suits your needs and tastes. We decided to start listing the attractions of California's most famous city starting with its symbol, the Hollywood Sign.
Visit to the Hollywood Sign, the symbol of Los Angeles
When you see it from afar you instantly realize that you have arrived in the city. A favorite destination for many tourists planning a trip to Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign is the famous and imposing inscription "Hollywood" that dominates the hills behind the city. You can photograph it from a distance or organize a trip to see it up close: it's up to you. If you decide to visit it, be sure to set the navigator to Mount Lee. The Hollywood Sign, in fact, is located inside the Griffith Park: reach it by car, park near the Griffith Observatory and then walk on one of the three paths (which have three degrees of difficulty) or take the DASH Observatory, the shuttle that will take you to your destination. If you are not interested in the excursion itself, you can enjoy the grandeur (and beauty) of the Hollywood Sign from afar. And it'll be just as magical. You can go to the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue or Mulholland Drive, the most famous scenic street in L.A., where there is an observation point dedicated exclusively to the famous inscription.
The main attractions of Los Angeles – the Walk of Fame and Hollywood
Los Angeles means Hollywood and Hollywood means cinema, red carpets and limelight. So, let's head straight to the Walk of Fame, the famous street located between Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street: here, on the sidewalks pulled to shine, we will find about 2600 stars with the names of the most important personalities in the world of entertainment. A photograph on this iconic street of Los Angeles is a must: look for your favorite star and take the picture. It will be an exciting and unforgettable moment. This part of Los Angeles, however, in the eyes of the most discerning tourists might seem artificial. The Walk of Fame, in fact, is located in Hollywood, which, in addition to being one of the most active and famous film districts in the world, is also a place of great commodification and, sometimes, degradation. The whole area is assaulted by the doubles of famous celebrities ready to be immortalized; moreover, besides being crowded with tourists, it is also home to many homeless people: the homeless, in California and Los Angeles in particular, are a real social emergency.
The residential districts of Los Angeles: Beverly HillsBeverly Hills 90210 made this neighborhood famous in the 1990s, as did Pretty Woman and many other films. Beverly Hills is certainly among the most famous residential neighborhoods on the globe. It's an exclusive area of Los Angeles where celebrities live, and the appearance of the place reminds us of that. Beautiful tree-lined avenues, luxurious cars, beautiful city parks and sumptuous villas stand majestically in one of the most coveted hilly areas of Los Angeles. In addition to a tour of the VIP homes, take a tour of the Golden Triangle, the Beverly Hills area with the world's most luxurious restaurants and shops, and then end with a walk on Rodeo Drive, the true icon and beating heart of this beautiful spot of L.A.
The amusement parks of Los Angeles: Universal Studios and Disneyland
If you like attractions, rides, cartoons and movies, Los Angeles theme parks are just the thing for you.
Let's start with Universal Studios in Hollywood, a theme park entirely dedicated to the world of cinema and in particular to Universal Pictures productions. You’ll find several attractions at Universal Studios: we will name just a few that, rest assured, are plenty enough to make your mouth water. First and foremost, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Are you ready to be amazed? Because you will have the opportunity to walk around Hogsmeade sipping a sweet “Burrobirra” (regular or frozen) and then end up in the beautiful Castle of Hogwarts, the most famous school of magic in the world. Fans of the Simpsons, on the other hand, cannot help but love the "visit" to the city of Springfield, with its main attraction, the beloved Simpsons’ Ride. But Universal Studios in Hollywood offers much more. Like the Studio Tour, for instance. This is a 60-minute tour of the world's most famous film sets, from the Bates Motel featured in the movie Psycho to the Wisteria Lane of Desperate Housewives.
If you love the world of fairytales and Disney cartoons, Disneyland is the perfect destination for you. It is the first theme park to have ever been built in the world and you’ll find that exudes charm from all its pores. There are seven locations you can visit, all of which are obviously thematic and reproduced as faithfully as possible. From the one dedicated to New Orleans to Tomorrowland and up to Winnie The Pooh's house, as well as the home city of Mickey Mouse. In short, these are places you absolutely must visit and where fun is guaranteed, both for adults and children.
Museums of Los AngelesYes, there are also museums in Los Angeles. The Californian city, famous for its beaches and cinemas, is in fact, also a favorite destination for art lovers in all its possible forms. So, if you can, take some time to visit the most famous art sites in the city. First on our list is the Getty Center, located in a beautiful (and luxurious) hilly area that will make us (finally) forget the city traffic. Here, in addition to admiring Los Angeles from above, you can literally get your fill of art. From Rubes to Van Gogh, from Manet to splendid Renaissance works, even the building itself completely repays the visit. Designed by Richard Meier, it's a place where avant-garde architecture and the beauty of the gardens that open-up all around it are the main features.
Let's stay on the theme of art to talk about The Broad, the place of choice for lovers of contemporary art. This is a particularly recent attraction, as it was opened in 2015. Here you can admire over 2000 works of art, ranging from modern to contemporary.
Beaches in Los Angeles: from Santa Monica to Venice Beach
Los Angeles is not only cinema, but also beaches and the ocean. So, let's go and discover two of the most famous places in the city: Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Let's start from Venice, where there is the city beach par excellence, frequented by rather extravagant people: go there during the day, when the sun is shining, and don't let yourself be intimidated. Have a drink on the beach and then stroll along the famous promenade, the Ocean Front Walk. Walking here, you'll find people of all kinds, from youngsters playing basketball on the oceanfront courts to people skating to fitness enthusiasts gathered at Muscle Venice Beach, the famous outdoor gym in this chatty neighborhood. But Venice is not just a beach: from street art to extravagant buildings, there are also the water channels from which it draws its name.
Let's move now out of Los Angeles and precisely to Santa Monica: because we are about to enter one of the most famous places in California that, in addition to the legendary beach (called Santa Monica State Beach), also offers many other attractions. Firstly, the pier. The Santa Monica pier is famous because it once marked the terminal point of the iconic Route 66: here you will find a beautiful amusement park (called Pacific Park) with a scenic Ferris wheel, lots of amusement arcades and shops of all kinds.
To visit Los Angeles (and the United States in general) you must be in possession of a passport with expiration after the date of return to Italy. All those who are planning a trip to the United States and Los Angeles, then, must obtain the ESTA authorization, necessary to enter the United States under the program "Visa Waiver". The ESTA lasts two years and gives the opportunity to stay in the U.S. for consecutive periods not exceeding 90 days.
L.A. is beautiful all year round. The sun shines almost 365 days a year and the rain is a distant mirage most of the time. Moreover, it is never particularly cold: the winter, in fact, is decidedly mild and temperatures never fall below 10 degrees. The best time to visit Los Angeles, however, is spring: it is unlikely to be cold and the heat will never be excessive: this will allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of the place without feeling any fatigue.
If you love music, plan your trip between the middle and the end of April, because in recent years, Coachella has created quite a buzz when it comes to music. It’s a huge festival that takes place not too far from Los Angeles. Here, the world of music meets the world of celebrities to create one of the most beloved (and talked about) events in the world. For the rest, know that at any time of the year you decide to book a trip to Los Angeles, the city will offer many events to attend – daily: from basketball games (which attracts dozens of followers!) to movie-related events, you will be spoiled for choice.