First-time visitors will quickly realize how laid back the west coast is. Some people falsely assume that the city might be a bit snobby due to the celebrity culture but the people here so chill. Admittedly some attractions are complete tourist traps but that’s part of the fun when visiting the City of Angels.
Located just west of downtown, Santa Monica beach is conveniently located and easily accessible. If you get tired of the 3.5 miles of soft sand, you can stroll over to the pier and enjoy the amusement rides or head north to the Third Street Promenade where you can get your shop on.
Just south of Santa Monica is Venice Beach which is a tourist attraction in its own right. People watching is the thing to do here, the Boardwalk has a variety of buskers including snake charmers and fire eaters while basketball courts are known to have some of the best street ballers in the country.
Travel further south and you’ll at Manhattan Beach which attracts almost 4 million visitors each year; this is the best beach if you want to avoid the crowds. The bicycle trail and pedestrian walkway see way less traffic compared to Santa Monica and Venice which is why many locals prefer Manhattan Beach over all others.
Universal Studios Hollywood – Universal Studios isn’t just a theme park, it’s also a functioning film studio. The studio tour will give you a look behind the scenes at how some of your favourite movies were made but it’s the attractions that attractions that people come for. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter recently opened while the Simpsons Ride, Jurassic Park: The Ride, and Revenge of the Mummy still attract large crowds.
Disneyland Resort – Located 45 minutes from downtown L.A. in Anaheim, Disneyland Resort is home to two parks (Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure). Disneyland Park is home to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the eight themed “lands” and eventually Star Wars Land. Over at the California Adventure, Cars Land is easily the biggest draw since guests can get behind the wheel of Radiator Springs Racers. For a classic experience check out the Muppet Vision 3D film which has been playing since the park opened.
The Hollywood Experience
Arguably the most famous street in L.A. Hollywood Blvd. is home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame which runs 15 Blocks and currently has more than 2,500 Stars. You’ll also find some of the world’s most famous movie theatres here including Grauman’s Chinese Theatre which premieres some of Hollywood’s biggest movies and the Dolby Theatre, the current host of the Oscars
If you’ve come to the L.A. strictly for the celebrities, you may be disappointed as they don’t exactly hang out with the common folk. If you want to catch a glimpse of the high life, try the TMZ Hollywood Celebrity Hot Spots Tour which will take you to the places where the A-list hang out. Alternatively, the tour guides with Ultimate Hollywood Tours are known for their knowledge and charm.
The best spot to potentially run into a celebrity is at some of the hottest restaurants in the city. Chateau Marmont is a Los Angeles landmark that has starred in films and still a favourite among the stars. The Four Season’s restaurant Culina is a perfect spot for celebrities to dine after holding their press junkets, and if by chance you’re invited to Soho house, then there’s no doubt you’ll run into someone famous.
Image courtesy: Gnaphron / Flickr