Los Angeles is a city where you will never get bored. Whether you move there or decide to visit for a few days, the amount of interesting things to do in LA can be overwhelming. Lucky for you, the travel fanatics at Wanderu are well-versed in all things LA and we came up with an awesome list of suggestions to satisfy all of your food, drink, culture and sightseeing cravings. Behold, Wanderu’s complete guide to the City of Angels.
Things to Do in Los Angeles, Hollywood & West LA
Grand Park in Downtown LA
Usually when someone mentions Los Angeles, the immediate association that pops in your head is the movie industry and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. However, the City of Angels has so much more to offer than famous filming locations and the occasional celebrity sighting. In fact, as LA is home to people from various different backgrounds and nationalities, it has established itself as one of America’s go-to destinations to experience some of the best international cuisine and culture. So, without further ado, here are the places you should check out should you decide to explore this hub and immerse yourself in LaLa Land…
Places to Eat
Grand Central Market (Sarah Newman / Flickr)
Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Located in the heart of Downtown LA, Grand Central Market is your one-stop shop for delectable treats from all over the world. With more than 30 vendors sprawled around an enormous hall, the market boasts various options from Japanese, Chinese, European and, of course, Mexican cuisine giving you the awesome opportunity to taste a little bit of every part of the world. Some of the vendors offer strictly desserts and that’s something we certainly don’t have a problem with!
114 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Ever wondered what it’s like having dinner at a church? You can now find out! Located close to City Hall in Downtown LA, Redbird is situated into one of the city’s most historic architectural gems, the Vibiana – a cathedral-turned-event venue. As you can guess, the atmosphere and ambiance are one-of-a-kind with simple modern forms subtly inserted among the existing timeless architecture of the building. As for the food, the menu items do not come in the traditionally oversized plates and they are more tapas-style but oh so delicious! If you want to enjoy a good deal, make sure to show up any day from Monday to Friday between 5pm and 6pm to take advantage of the daily happy hour and enjoy preferential pricing on many of the menu items.
800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
This little gem in the Arts District of LA is Wanderu-tested and approved for serving the tastiest hot dogs you will ever try in your life. The sausages this place serves offer the perfect combination of flavor and juiciness and the best part is that there are vegetarian options as well. There are both simple classic-style hot dogs, as well as more elaborate gourmet options if you are in the mood for something unusual. However, the real star of the show here is the rich variety of belgian fries. Those are double dipped french fries with your choice of sauces. Please take our advice and shell out the extra $2 for the white truffle oil glaze. Trust us – it’s worth every penny!
Mexicali Taco & Co.
702 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
You can’t go to Los Angeles and not have some tacos! That’s like going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and not looking at the stars on the ground. But more on that later. Rated among LA’s greatest tacos by Zagat, Mexicali’s menu is bound to satisfy your Mexican food cravings and leave you asking for more no matter how full you are. All of the ingredients are mixed on location to bring you the freshest and most authentic Mexican taste.
Places to Drink
The Standard Hotel Roof Top Bar (Prayitno / Flickr)
Angel City Brewery
216 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tucked into LA’s Arts District, the Angel City Brewery offers an exclusive small-batch roster of beers brewed on location, ensuring fresh taste and top-notch quality. The menu features eight different rotating styles on tap, including various seasonal choices which means that if you come back to LA and visit the brewery again, there’s a high chance there will be a style that you haven’t tried yet! The venue is often frequented by the creative crowd from the Arts District as well as students from the University of Southern California, guaranteeing a fun and upbeat atmosphere.
Standard Hotel Rooftop Bar
550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
If you are looking for a relaxed, yet stylish, place to kick back and have a glass of wine (or beer, or whatever you’re in the mood for), head over to the Rooftop Bar of the Standard Hotel. Not only will you enjoy gorgeous views of Downtown LA and the surrounding skyscrapers but, in case you are over the warm California weather, you can take a dip in the swimming pool that is open to outside visitors free of charge. Honestly, who wouldn’t enjoy a swim under the stars surrounded by the flashing lights on LA at night? Oh, and they have a beer garden with ping-pong tables.
448 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
In case you need a more fancy experience, check out The Perch. It is a rooftop bar too (with not one but two outdoor levels!) and it offers some awesome views that are certainly Instagram-worthy. It also has a full-blown restaurant section with a dinner menu to take care of that rumbling noise in your stomach.
Cool Places to Visit
The famous LA Memorial Coliseum (InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr)
Los Angeles is home to so many different tourist attractions and must-see places for people with various interests that it’s impossible to list them all in here. However, we have selected some highlights that we are sure most visitors will love.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
3911 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Located right next to the University of Southern California (USC), the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a historic sports stadium that is home to the USC Trojans football team and the temporary home of the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. It is also the first venue to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice, in 1932 and 1984. The stadium is so steeped in sports history and memorabilia that there are guided historic tours every day from Tuesday to Saturday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM that take you throughout the premises, covering the rich roster of historical events that took place there.
200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Not only is Grand Park the perfect place for a picnic or a relaxing stretch on the grass, the park also yields awesome views of the historic Los Angeles City Hall situated across the street and it is often the host of many different outdoor exhibits and art installations to keep your cultural intake in check. In addition, it is situated closely to the visually stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall, so make sure to be on the lookout for that as well!
As we mentioned earlier, hiking is big in LA. How big, you ask? BIG! So, it will be a sin to come to the City of Angels and not hit one (or two) of the many hiking trails locals frequent on a daily basis. After all, when in Rome…
Runyon Canyon Park
2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Located just steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame (yes, we’ll get there too, have patience!), Runyon Canyon Park is the most popular hiking spot for Angelenos and visitors alike. By going up the hill, you not only get a great workout but a bigger and better view of the entire LA opens up right in front of your eyes every step of the way. From the top, you can see the Hollywood sign in the distance, as well as the skyscrapers downtown and even the ocean (in the far distance, that is). For those of you seeking to catch a glimpse of a famous celebrity, Runyon Canyon is good place to be, as many Hollywood folks like to jog and unwind at Runyon Canyon Park. If we are to name drop, famous Runyon Canyon aficionados include Jared Leto, Colin Farrell, Lea Michele, etc. Whatever you do, though, don’t freak out if you see someone famous. LA is all about staying cool 😉
Ever wanted to get a photo right underneath (or behind) the world-famous Hollywood sign? We’ve got you covered! The best way to get an awesome view of the sign is, you guessed it, to hike to it!
Here is how to get to the Hollywood sign:
1. Go up to the end of North Beachwood Dr.
Please be considerate of local residents. Instead of driving and parking your car there, we recommend either taking a car-share service to the corner of Beachwood Dr and Hollywirdge Dr or just walking up on N Beachwood Dr starting from Franklin Ave and going north.
2. At the end of N Beachwood Dr. you will see a sign that says Hollyridge Trail. Go past it and continue walking up.
3. As you are walking up, you will see the sign on your left hand side.
4. After you pass the Sunset Horse Ranch, you will soon come to a point where you will need to decide whether you should take a left or right turn. Take the left turn and continue walking. You will soon find yourselves right under the majestic Hollywood sign for some awesome photo opportunities.
Santa Monica Pier (Klaus Nahr / Flickr)
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is located on Hollywood Blvd and spans from N Sycamore Ave to the west all the way to Gower St to the east. However, the stars you are probably most excited to see are concentrated in a couple of specific locations. One is right in front of the W hotel (6250 Hollywood Blvd) where you will see the stars of big-name celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. The other one is anywhere between N Sycamore Ave and Highland Ave where you will find Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, Meryl Streep, Destiny’s Child and many others!
As you are walking, don’t forget to look up so you don’t miss other important landmarks such as the TCL Chinese Theatre (home of many historic and current Hollywood film premieres), the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center (home of the Oscars) and the Madame Tussauds museum (home of many celebrities-turned-wax figures).
Beverly Hills, CA
If you feel like exploring some of the places where the rich and famous shop, this is your destination. After all, it is one of the most popular shopping streets in the world. We are not saying that you need to buy anything but very rarely will you see some of the most luxurious brands in the world located in a relatively short strip, vying for the attention of passers-by.
Santa Monica Promenade & Pier
Santa Monica, CA
If you are feeling extra adventurous, head over to the far western part of town and check out the famous Third Street Promenade, which is a pedestrians-only street full of places to shop, dine and have a good time. While you are there, go four more blocks to the west and invoke the kid in you at the world-famous Pacific Park. Located on the Santa Monica Pier, the amusement park boasts a variety of fun rides and activities like a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel and a pirate ship, among many other rides, as well as tasty fair treats like churros, cotton candy, funnel cakes, etc. Remember – you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy all these!
Places to Stay
Downtown LA has a variety of hotels to choose from. However, they will most probably be a bit pricier than options outside the city area. To find the best hotel and hostel options in Los Angeles, click here.