Explore the City of Angels in style with our Los Angeles travel guide
26 March, 2022
27 April, 2022
Nestled upon California’s rugged coastline, the vibrant city of Los Angeles is bursting with culture and world-famous sights. This is a city of legends and wonder, where stars are born and history is shaped. It is also a city of contrasts, from the relaxed surfing beaches to the bustling high-end bars of West Hollywood, you can find almost any atmosphere and activity in this eclectic city of wonder. Combine this with year-round sunshine and plenty of stunning beaches on the shores of the glimmering Pacific Ocean, and it’s little wonder the City of Angels is such a popular holiday spot in the United States.
We’ve put together a Los Angeles travel guide filled with all our favourite places - whether you want to spend the day relaxing poolside in your sumptuous hilltop hideaway or set off on a private tour through all the sights, here in LA you can do as much or as little as you want. From your own private chef to booking you into the city’s best spots, simply tell our expert Travel Advisors what you want to do and see and they’ll handle the rest. But first, let us be your personal guide to LA.
Our Los Angeles city guide on what to see and do
There are so many diverse things to see and do in this city that your trip can really be whatever you make it. Even if you don’t plan on hiring a car, LA’s public transportation makes it easy to get around and explore to your heart’s content.
Enjoy some retail therapy on Rodeo Drive
Those into culture and shopping should head into the city to see the sights and wander the world-famous shop-lined boulevards. Channel your inner Julia Roberts and head for a shopping session on Rodeo Drive. Lined with designer boutiques and flagship stores, this world-famous street in Beverly Hills is the place to see and be seen. We’ve got a wonderful selection of vacation rentals in Beverly Hills, so you can be close to it all.
Before heading over to the Abbot Kinney Boulevard for more
If you're wanting something a little more low key, then Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a great option. This mile-long street is lined with shops, galleries and cafés - perfect for an afternoon of mooching around. It’s just a few minutes from Venice Beach, so if you’ve basking in the Californian sunshine you can simply stroll over and head into one of its many lovely eateries.
Admire the views at the Getty Centre
For something a little more highbrow, head to the prestigious Getty Centre. Set high in the hills above West Los Angeles, you’ll find countless masterpieces, lovely gardens and sweeping views over the city at this fantastic spot. If you’re over Malibu way, then the opulent Getty Villa is very much worth a visit too. Housing 7,000 years of ancient art, this is the ultimate day out for art history aficionados.
Hike along the picturesque Los Liones trail
Those searching for some peace and quiet will relish the opportunity to get out and explore the countless hiking trails woven throughout the sprawling hills which surround the city. Los Liones hiking trail in the Palisades is particularly special - on a clear day, you are rewarded with breathtaking views across the entire coastline. The Topanga State Park is full of other gorgeous trails, too - be sure to pack your walking boots.
Get pedaling along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail
Those looking for a great group or family activity should rent bikes and explore the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which runs from Pacific Palisades all the way down to Torrance. You can visit all the lovely little beach towns along the way, so make sure to pack your beach kit.
Take a tour of Universal Studios or head to the Natural History Museum
If you’re travelling with kids then fear not: there’s plenty for them in LA too. From a day on the rides at Universal Studios Hollywood in Burbank to encountering dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, the whole family will love an action-packed day exploring the City of Angels.
Spend a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific
A fantastic attraction for families, the Aquarium of the Pacific is home to an array of sea creatures and adorable sea otters - many of which have been rehabilitated after being rescued from California’s coast. The aquarium is more than just an exhibit; it focuses heavily on conservation and the preservation of endangered species.
Discover iconic movie sets at the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour
Movie buffs can enjoy guided tours through the world-renowned Paramount Pictures Studio. The two-hour tour takes you on a journey of the studio’s 105-year legacy. From the Prop Warehouse to the New York Street Backlot, there’s a good chance you will have already seen these locations on the big screen.
Watch a classical performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
Of all the concert halls in LA, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is definitely among its most popular. Hosting an array of classical music performances throughout the year, it’s definitely worth taking a look to see if any event catches your eye while planning your stay in Los Angeles.
Our Los Angeles travel guide to the city’s most iconic landmarks
The city certainly isn’t short of cultural icons - any Los Angeles tourist guide will confirm this. From the world-renowned Hollywood Sign to the stunning Griffith Observatory, you might struggle to fit them all into one trip - although it’s certainly not impossible.
Spanning a huge 4,310 acres, it’s no doubt that Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the whole of North America. Set at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, it’s home to quite a few attractions including the Los Angeles Zoo and the Griffith Observatory. If it looks familiar, that’s because it has been prominently featured in many Hollywood movies - Sunset Boulevard, Back to the Future, and most recently, La La Land - to name just a few.
The Hollywood Sign
Last but not least, a hike up to the iconic Hollywood sign is a must for any first-time visitors. Starting out as an advertisement for a housing development in 1923, the sign has become one of the world’s most recognisable monuments.
Set on the golden sands of Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach has been the proving grounds of many famed US bodybuilders for almost 90 years. Today, the outdoor gym offers acrobatic bars, rope climbing, and weightlifting facilities to visitors. If you’re a bit of a fitness fanatic, it’s a fantastic place to enjoy a morning workout.
A trip to LA isn’t complete without a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard. Lined with tall palms and with the huge billboards overhead, it’s easily one of the most recognisable streets in the city. Be sure to take a look at the Walk of Fame spanning 18 blocks and with over 2,500 brass stars to discover.
A Los Angeles guide on where to beach
If you’re craving relaxation, then spend a happy afternoon soaking up the Californian sunshine at one of the city’s many famous beaches.
For beautiful sea views and a relaxed atmosphere, we’d pick Amarillo Beach in Malibu. Dolphins and seals are often seen swimming past, so be sure to keep a keen eye out while unwinding beside its shores.
If you’re into surfing, then Huntington Beach is the ideal spot to catch some gnarly waves. Close by, you’ll also find the International Surfing Museum.
Playa del Rey
If you’re looking for peace and quiet to enjoy an afternoon of bathing, the golden sands of Playa del Rey are sure to please.
Santa Monica Pier
With plenty of activities and vast stretches of soft sand on its gorgeous beach, the Santa Monica Pier is a great choice for a family day out. Whereas those searching for a vibrant, bustling beach experience, will love pulling up a patch of sand on the iconic Venice Beach and spending a day watching all the cool and quirky people pass you by.
The lively surroundings of Venice Beach are wonderful for an afternoon of people watching while relaxing on its soft, powdery sands. Each day brings a new collection of street performers and buskers - there’s always something different going on here.
Where to eat
When we say you’re truly spoiled for choice when it comes to dining out in LA; we mean it. Whether you’re craving sushi or perhaps looking for the comfort of a deep-dish pizza, you’ll find absolutely every option among the bustling streets of a city that never seems to sleep.
A pioneer of kaiseki cuisine, a traditional Japanese culinary form featuring multiple, meticulously-prepared courses, Los Angeles-born Chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka is not to be missed by any foodie visiting the city. Boasting not one, but two Michelin stars, the dishes here are an absolute work of art, almost too beautiful to eat. What’s more, Nakayama’s humble presence in the dining room offers a degree of hospitality and personality rarely seen in restaurants that have reached these soaring heights.
Dazzling from every angle, Baltaire is well worth a visit if you’re in the Brentwood neighbourhood (it’s also worth travelling over for if you’re not). Tuck into juicy prime cuts and expertly-crafted cocktails while enjoying the gentle buzz of conversation in the elegant dining room and outdoor patio.
Forgo the carb-dodging LA diet for dinner at this incredible spot. Latin for ‘happy’, a trip to the aptly-named Felix will leave you feeling just that. The menu here is bursting with fresh Italian flavours and you can watch their famous handmade pasta being shaped right before your very eyes.
Enjoy innovative and sustainable seafood dishes in a tranquil setting at Providence. At the helm of the LA fine dining scene for well over a decade, Michael Cimarusti’s delicious Californian cuisine is infused with hints of Asia and the Mediterranean.
If you're travelling as a family (or just love pizza), then Pace is a great option. This cosy little joint serves up some of the city's best deep-dish pizzas, amidst a backdrop of cool wall art and relaxed vibes. What's more, their ingredients are sourced from local farmers markets and are organic wherever possible.
Where to drink
After a delicious meal, why not head to one of the city’s exclusive bars for an expertly crafted cocktail or a rare liquor on the rocks? Much like its restaurants, LA has an almost uncountable amount of bars - so we’re sharing our favourite destinations for an after-dinner tipple.
This tiny little speakeasy boasts an impressive collection of rare liquors and spirits, perfect for any gourmands in the group. Due to its small size, just 25 seats, bookings are essential at Lightning. What’s more, you’ll need to come armed with plenty of conversation, as you’ll be required to check your phone in at the door.
Enjoy panoramic rooftop views over the city from this glamorous rooftop bistro. Serving up expertly crafted cocktails amidst a relaxed yet stylish setting, Perch is a vibrant Downtown LA spot attracting locals and tourists alike.
The Spare Room
Those looking for something a little different will love The Spare Room, a gaming parlour and cocktail lounge on Hollywood Boulevard. Enjoy innovative cocktails while taking turns on the vintage bowling lanes or embarking on a game of backgammon, cribbage or Monopoly.
The onefinestay experience
The onefinestay experience
At onefinestay, we believe that every vacation should be exceptional, and most importantly, individual to you. That’s why we offer a selection of specially curated concierge services, including personal chefs, at-home spa services, and private local tours.
Tempted by a break in Los Angeles?
IF YOU’VE ENJOYED READING THESE ARTICLES...
Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about the newest travel tips!