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    What to see in Los Angeles: attractions and places of interest not to be missed

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Los Angeles is the city of a thousand faces and attractions, both exciting and a little intimidating; we are talking about one of the most stimulating urban centers to visit with its many places of interest, but it is so huge that without some advice you risk missing the best. For this reason I have compiled a list of the main attractions, hoping it will help you choose what to see in Los Angeles.

    Note: in this article I will consider the attractions of Greater Los Angeles, a metropolitan area of ​​over 80000 km2 that includes various neighborhoods, districts and towns; if you are also interested in places of interest outside this area, which can be visited with day trips, I refer you to our article on what to see around Los Angeles. And if you intend to use Los Angeles as a base for a wider on the road itinerary, I refer you to all our itineraries on the West Coast.


    • Map of Los Angeles landmarks
    • Venice Beach
    • Hollywood Boulevard: a walk among footprints and stars
    • The Getty Museum
    • Mulholland Drive
    • Shopping and social life on Rodeo Drive
    • Strolling in LA: Olvera Street in El Pueblo and much more
    • Watch an NBA game
    • Museum of Jurassic Technology
    • Night visit to Chris Burden's Urban Light
    • Griffith Observatory
    • Watts Towers
    • Disneyland
    • Universal Studios
    • Santa Monica
    • Warner Bros. Studios
    • Beverly Hills
    • Bel Air
    • Sunset Strip
    • What else? Here's something you may not have thought of ...
    • How to find accommodation near the places of interest in Los Angeles?

    Map of Los Angeles landmarks

    Here are all the things to see in and around Los Angeles geolocated in an interactive map.

    Venice Beach

    Venice Beach has long been known as California's quirky Mecca. Skateboarders, radical young artists and body builders will flock before your eyes as if in a hurry. The area was designed in 1905 by a builder (Abbot Kinney) who wanted to recreate a sort of new Venice, with 30 km of canals.

    It can be very pleasant to walk in the day on the Venice Boardwalk, a large waterfront with a beautiful view of LA and where you can meet numerous street performers and trinkets vendors. After sunset, however, it is not very safe, so it is advisable to raise your heels!

    Tips for a quick snack? The Figtree Café, which is located right next to the impressive “Small World Books” library.

    For more detailed information, I refer you to our article entirely dedicated to what to see in Venice Beach.

    Hollywood Boulevard: a walk among footprints and stars

    Hollywood celebrities are never far from Los Angeles. To catch a glimpse of stardust, walk around the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where more than 2.400 characters from the world of entertainment are immortalized on a sidewalk with symbolic stars.

    If you are a movie buff, don't miss the most famous hands and footprints near the bizarre Grauman's Chinese Theater, where you can watch interesting screenings and meet many double star performers from the world of entertainment. This is the place of countless premieres and galas.

    The Getty Museum

    Among things to see in Los Angeles do not miss the Getty Center, which is the envy of museums around the world for its generous donations. It houses rich collections and has some impressive works that cover a vast span of history, from the Renaissance to the present day.

    Among these are some paintings by Rubens, a couple done by Gainsborough, and a sprinkling of Impressionists, including Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh. French decorative arts and a photographic collection are definitely worth seeing. And don't forget to spot Miró and Moore in the beautiful sculpture garden. If you are interested in this type of attractions, I refer you to our guide on the best museums in Los Angeles.

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    Mulholland Drive

    Yes, we are talking about the most evocative scenic route in all of Los Angeles: travel at least a stretch of Mulholland Drive it is an experience that all lovers of director David Lynch - but not only them - should do. Along this winding uphill road, amidst parks and viewpoints, the opulent villas of Hollywood stars and Los Angeles' most discerning VIPs are hidden. In our article dedicated to Mulholland Drive we have tried to provide a map of the places of interest not to be missed during an on the road.

    Shopping and social life on Rodeo Drive

    Many women dream of strolling like Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive and indulge in unbridled shopping, but few can afford to buy the unique garments made by the most famous designers who are in this street. A walk on this famous street can still be interesting even without shopping; also visit the shops of Anderson Court, a shopping mall designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright in 1952. We talked about this famous street in our article Rodeo Drive Los Angeles.

    Strolling in LA: Olvera Street in El Pueblo and much more

    Who says you can't turn Los Angeles without a car he is not completely wrong, yet some nice walks, if well planned, can turn out to be a good choice. Go to Olvera St., in the oldest area of ​​the city center, where you can stroll among the stalls of a colorful Mexican market and eat typical dishes accompanied by live music (the area is part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument).

    Staying on the subject of walks, you can turn to the Los Angeles Conservancy, and specially organizes excursions walk to the main tourist attractions of the city, from the historic theaters of the center to the many examples of Art Deco to the modern tour dedicated to the urban landscape (Modern Skyline Walking Tour). Make sure you book well in advance, the tours are incredibly popular.

    Watch an NBA game

    If you are a fan of American basketball, you may already know that Los Angeles is one of the best cities to attend an NBA game. Whether you are a fan of the Lakers, the Clippers, or just curious who do not want to miss the opportunity to experience a unique atmosphere, consider the opportunity to spend an evening inside the Staples Center.

    If you want to find out how to best organize yourself, and maybe save some money to attend this event, you can read our guide on how to buy NBA tickets in Los Angeles.

    Museum of Jurassic Technology

    The name may be misleading, this scientific corner has nothing to do with Steven Spielberg and his Jurassic Park. The Museum of Jurassic Technology is indeed the home of the most curious and unlikely technology. Scientific wonders include a bat that can fly through walls, microscopic sculptures, and unique permanent exhibits. The institute is an intriguing combination of fact and fiction, certainly an unusual experience.

    Night visit to Chris Burden's Urban Light

    The collections of the Museum of Los Angeles County of Art, or LACMA, are located in a vast complex of 20 acres of buildings, expertly renovated in 2008. Right in front of the museum, in the BP Grand Entrance, is Urban light, the splendid creation of Chris burden, an installation made up of 202 restored street lamps from the 20s and 30s, which has a particular effect especially if admired at night.

    To visit both the museum and the famous installation by Chris Burden, I refer you to our dedicated guide, Lacma Los Angeles and Urban Light.

    Griffith Observatory

    Griffith Observatory it is at the same time an observatory, a planetarium and an astronomy museum located in Griffith park, where you can enjoy a great view of downtown Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood sign. L'attraction is free, but if you want to have a look at the night sky, especially in summer, get in line before evening; they close the line after a certain number of people. However, a visit is worthwhile to see the building itself and the magnificent panorama it allows to admire.

    Watts Towers

    Simon Rodia began building in 1920 the Watts Towers using nothing but scrap metal. Gradually he raised the structure, reinforcing it with steel and concrete to avoid instability. In all there are 17 and the two main ones reach 30 meters in height.

    Among the materials used, objects of daily use are striking, such as the green glass of 7-Up bottles or ceramic tiles, as well as jewels, marble and shells. The sight of these complexes gives visitors a kind of ghostly feeling. Here is our guide to the Watts Towers.


    If you are in Los Angeles with children you cannot avoid a trip to Disneyland, one of the most famous theme parks in the world, where all the main cartoon characters will come to life in fantastic settings. It will be possible to enter Winnie the Pooh's wooded house in Critter Country, go behind the scenes of Disney movies in Fantasyland and even chase Mickey Mouse!

    The park (which in turn consists of 2 parks: California Adventure and Disneyland Park) is actually located in Anaheim, Orange County, 40km south of LA, and can be a fascinating experience even for grown-ups. Highlights include Star Tours, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Read our guide to Disneyland to know all the details of this park.

    Universal Studios

    This is the theme park for those who love Hollywood movies, where you can enter the most famous movie sets and relive the most important scenes, complete with special effects. The quality level is so high that Disneyland is played with the title of the best theme park in California.

    The journey inside the movie sets is only part of the fun, as here you will also find many rides, shows and themed attractions. We have already talked about it, find all the information you need to plan a visit in my article on Universal Studios Los Angeles.

    Santa Monica

    among the Los Angeles places of interest, Santa Monica is another attraction that can hardly be overlooked. What makes this place famous is certainly the famous funfair on the pier, with its characteristic Ferris wheel, but Santa Monica is also a fascinating city center, very lively, with various clubs, shops and street artists, as well as with a beautiful overlooking the sea. Also for these reasons it is one of the most famous beaches in Los Angeles.

    Here in addition to all the iconic elements of Californian beach life, you will find one of the most famous road signs in all of America, the end point (or starting point depending on your route) of the legendary Route 66 road. In addition to the pier (Santa Monica Pier), the other main areas to visit are the bustling Third Street Promenade and Main Street.

    For a detailed guide, don't miss our article on what to see in Santa Monica.

    Warner Bros. Studios

    If you've always wanted to see how Hollywood's biggest blockbusters are made, a visit to Warner Bros. Studios is definitely for you. You can explore the behind the scenes of the major hit shows that are made there and learn the secrets behind a Hollywood production.

    Unlike Universal, you will not find rides here, in fact it is not an amusement park.

    Beverly Hills

    The neighborhood of the rich, immortalized by hundreds of films (Pretty Woman, Beverly Hills 90210 and Beverly Hills Cop to name but a few ...); it is the area of ​​the aforementioned Rodeo Drive, but in reality there is also more to see in the district (houses of famous people, important streets, museums, parks, colonial-style buildings…). It is also a green and very pleasant neighborhood to visit.

    If you want to get an idea of ​​the various places of interest in the area take a look at our article on what to see in Beverly Hills and get ready to observe a lifestyle that is definitely out of the ordinary standards!

    Bel Air

    Less than a 20-minute drive from the upscale neighborhood of Los Angeles (Beverly Hills) is the quintessential site of the mansions of the stars, a hill that not only boasts some of the most expensive properties in the city but also turns out to be a pleasant driving path in the hills. You can get a map of the villas and proceed on your own, or, if you are interested in knowing more about the villas, stories and related anecdotes, you can book a organized tour that will guide you along the way.

    Much more information can be found in our article on how to visit Bel Air.

    Sunset Strip

    The part of Sunset Boulevard that connects Hollywood to Beverly Hills is called the Sunset Strip, a 2,4 km stretch where the social life of West Holywood converges, including VIPs, trendy boutiques, historic clubs, night clubs and exclusive hotels.

    You can see this passing street, stop at a coffee shop to spot some movie stars going shopping or go to see a concert or a comedy in some of the clubs that have made the history of entertainment. All the tips to discover the secrets of this famous street can be found in our article on how to visit the Sunset Strip.

    What else? Here's something you may not have thought of ...

    The attractions listed above are just a taste of the endless possibilities this city offers. For a complete overview of all things to do in Los Angeles take a look at our Attractions page. After reading this list you might even get discouraged: how many things to see! Will I make it in time? Won't I spend a little too much?

    There are 2 solutions that could greatly simplify the planning of the visit and make you save significantly: the first is to buy a Los Angeles Pass, the second is to take advantage of the organized visits, which we talked about extensively in our article on tours in Los Angeles. Angeles.

    If you prefer to move independently, don't forget to take a look at our tips on how to get around and how to rent a car in Los Angeles. In the latter case, you can use the city as a base for your road trip, or to move outside the metropolitan area to discover the fascinating surroundings of Los Angeles.

    Do you need a tested and ready-to-use itinerary for your itinerary? Take a look at our ebooks American Dream Routes, available on computer, tablet and smartphone, and complete with day by day itinerary, interactive maps, suggestions on where to stay and much more!

    How to find accommodation near the places of interest in Los Angeles?

    To choose the accommodation area that best suits your needs, I refer you to our in-depth study on where to sleep in Los Angeles, with specific advice by area, and to our selection of apartments in Los Angeles. If you land in the city, however, it might be worth not buying the hotel and plane separately, but opting for the solution flight + hotel, which usually allows considerable savings. To check the prices of the cumulative offer, take a look at this page.

    Our tips for sleeping in Los Angeles

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