North America Travel

LA: A first-timers guide to the City of Angels

Welcome to LA-LA land. The city of dreams, the Dodgers, traffic jams and celebrities. 

I ventured to the West Coast in summer 2020 to get a break from mundane pandemic life. I was in much need of a mental break from work and an opportunity to get away to replenish my energy.  Surprisingly, 2020 was the perfect time to get to know the city. 

So first-timers here’s your guide to the busy city of Los Angeles. 

Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard is not only home to the Walker Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theater – where the Oscar Awards are held – but also the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The street is lined with souvenir shops, restaurants and more than 2,600 stars dedicated to artists. 

If you’re interested in locating one particular star on the Walk of Fame, I’d Google its location, so you don’t miss it. Otherwise you might be searching for quite a while. 

Warner Bros Studio

The one where you sit in Central Perk. Some of the move beloved shows were created by WB Studios including my favorite: Friends. Take the Hollywood tour and relive the nostalgia.

Tickets cost about $70 per person. There’s also a deluxe tour option which doubles in cost. To check out ticket prices and options, click here. 

Right now the studio tour isn’t available and hasn’t been since the start of the pandemic. Be sure to consider that if you’re headed out west anytime soon.

DTLA (Downtown LA)

Downtown Los Angeles or DTLA has a different vibe than the rest of Los Angeles. It’s traditional busy city with some cool quirks like The Last Bookstore and Grand Central Market. 

Other notable locations to visit downtown: The Walt Disney Concert Hall, Grand Park, Union Station and Music Center Plaza. 

Santa Monica & Venice Beach

California is known for its beaches and LA is no different. There’s Long Beach, Malibu, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and more. If you’re going to enjoy a day oceanside, I suggest Santa Monica and Venice Beach which are only a mile apart but very different. Santa Monica is upscale with fancier dining options, an outdoor mall and the famous Santa Monica Pier. Venice beach, on the other hand, is wild. Skateboarders, street performers, music blaring and kooky storefronts line the couple of miles along the sand.

Spend a morning in in Beverly Hills

“You work on commission, right?” Find your inner pretty woman (or man) and stroll down the luxury that is Rodeo Drive. If you’re in the area around breakfast time, hop on over to Urth Caffe and order the Spanish Latte. Also, the Beverly Hills sign is just a block from Rodeo Drive, so walk the few extra steps and snap a photo. You can check these three items on your list within two hours.

Griffith Observatory & the Hollywood sign

It’s only a mile hike from the park to the Griffith Observatory but if you want to make your way to the Hollywood sign prepare for an additional three miles of walking.

The walk in total took about three hours, so be wary of that.

Wear comfortable shoes, make sure to put on sunscreen, wear a hat if you can and take water. There is no shade along the route. 

Getty Museum

Admittedly, the Getty Museum was closed when I was in LA thanks to COVID, but everyone who’s been recommends it. The museum offers art, architecture and gardens. 

Check on gallery offerings and ticket prices here. 

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