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Los Angeles

Visiting a friend in November for a week and need suggestions on what to do

Visiting a friend in the socal area in early November. I will be staying in Rancho Cucamonga but want to explore Los Angeles and other surrounding areas. What are great activities, restaurants and sites to see? 

9 Answers

top answer by
Kristal from San Francisco

Hi Angie,

Keep in mind that you have about a 2 hour drive between the two places so once you get a general sense of everything you want to see, you should map it out so you don't spend most of your time in the car (LA can be quite terrible with traffic). I don't know if this is your first time or what you are into, but I'm going to assume it's your first time:

For restaurants :

There are so many great places to eat and I don't have a clue about your budget, but I'll throw out a few where you can't go wrong.

- For burgers: The Apple Pan - no reservations, hole in the wall... order a burger and pie

- For sushi: If you want to go pricey KOI Restaurant or Nobu Los Angeles are always great, although Koi is more Japanese fusion, less tradition sushi. For much more reasonable sushi, but absolutely delicious and fresh, Hide Sushi is my favorite! For something trendy and not as pricey as Koi or Nobu, SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa (there are various locations.

- For Mexican, my go to is Paco's Tacos, specifically this location because they make their tortillas in house and have great margaritas. For far less authentic, but a great grab if you're in the area Tito's Tacos Mexican Restaurant always pleases. Hard shell tacos that just taste good :) For more authentic tacos, there are plenty of places in downtown, Leo's Taco Truck comes to mind (not in downtown) for great al pastor tacos

- For a quintessential LA place, you have to go to Urth Caffe. They have good salads and sandwiches and I love stopping in to get a green tea boba w/o the boba (weird I know, but it's a great drink and I am not a huge fan of boba).

- For a great brunch spot check out Blu Jam Cafe and one of the best french toasts I have tried is at Square One Dining

- For breakfast or lunch there is Eggslut in downtown, that is different and tasty

- For great pizza, there's nothing more famous than Pizzeria Mozza

- For doughnuts you can head to Randy's Donuts, they're fresh and who doesn't love to get your doughnuts in a drive through with a huge doughnut on top. 

To see:

If you like nature/views: there's the walk passed the Hollywood Sign or the Griffith Observatory which gives you a great view of the city.

I realize you'll be there in November but it never really gets that cold in LA so I think Venice Beach Boardwalk on the weekend is worth a visit, it's just kind of fun to walk around and see street performers and crazy vendors. There's also Third Street Promenade. If you're a beach kind of girl, Malibu is worth checking out. 

Depending on where you live and if you're not blessed with California produce, checking out a local farmer's market can be fun, fresh fruits, flowers etc. You can also get lost in the permanent Farmers Market that is next to The Grove, they have every type of restaurant stand there from doughnuts to chinese, it's there!

If you're into rides, there are a ton of amusement parks: there are smaller ones like the Santa Monica Pier or the more obvious Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Hope you have fun, if you want to give me more details I would be happy to tailor my response. Also, in terms of food I have much more detailed reviews on my blog, Eat & Escape.

- Kristal

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Apple Pan (restaurant)
  2. KOI Restaurant (attraction)
  3. Nobu Los Angeles (restaurant)
  4. Hide Sushi (restaurant)
  5. SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa (restaurant)
  6. Paco's Tacos (restaurant)
  7. Tito's Tacos Mexican Restaurant (restaurant)
  8. Leo's Taco Truck (restaurant)
  9. Urth Caffe (restaurant)
  10. Blu Jam Cafe (restaurant)
  11. Square One Dining (restaurant)
  12. Eggslut (restaurant)
  13. Pizzeria Mozza (restaurant)
  14. Randy's Donuts (attraction)
  15. Hollywood Sign (attraction)
  16. Griffith Observatory (attraction)
  17. Venice Beach Boardwalk (attraction)
  18. Third Street Promenade (attraction)
  19. Farmers Market (attraction)
  20. The Grove (attraction)
  21. Santa Monica Pier (attraction)
  22. Disneyland (attraction)
  23. Six Flags Magic Mountain (restaurant)
8 thanks

answered by
Scott from San Francisco

Go to one of the many Farmer's Markets.  Southern CA has the best produce around, and many Farmer's Market's also have great food stands and vendors as well.  Santa Monica on Wednesday is a good one, but there are others.  Also, a fantastic culinary experience would be to find a Kogi truck (find out where they'll be on Twitter or at  Some of the most amazing, interesting food around, and a true LA experience.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Kelly from Los Angeles

You'll have a lot of driving on your hands if you want to see Los Angeles and surrounding areas, like Orange County, from Rancho Cucamonga, but if you avoid rush hour you should be all right. November is actually a great time to come and visit, since the weather is still sunny but the air is cool. If you've never been to L.A., here are some of my go-to places to take visitors: 

  • Grand Central Market: This covered market downtown is a great place to get a bite to eat, and probably my favorite spot in all of L.A. I would get a sandwich at Eggslut (you read that correctly).
  • Griffith Observatory: Come to this Art Deco building around sunset for great views of the city. Stop at Little Dom's for dinner after. 
  • Sunday Jazz Nights at the W Hotel Hollywood (Sunday Jazz Nights at the W Hollywood Hotel): If you want a "very L.A." type of experience, this is a fun outing that's right in the midst of everything the city is well-known for. You can stroll the Walk of Fame beforehand.

For Orange County, I would head over to the beach cities for a day. Go to Newport Beach and rent bikes. Then, cruise to Balboa Island and get bottomless mimosas at The Village Inn. Or, you could always go to Disneyland. If you really have the time, take off to Catalina Island, an island about an hour from the coast. It's beautiful, and that's one place where it'll definitely feel like you're on a faraway vacation. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Grand Central Market (restaurant)
  2. Griffith Observatory (attraction)
  3. Little Dom's (attraction)
  4. W Hotel Hollywood (hotel)
  5. Newport Beach (city)
  6. Balboa Island (attraction)
  7. The Village Inn (restaurant)
  8. Catalina Island (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Leonard from Minneapolis

Try to catch a concert at Hollywood Bowl.  Pick a picnic basket with takeout sandwiches, fruit, cheese and wine, dine al fresco in the park, watch the sun go down, and enjoy some nice music in a beautiful setting. (Bring a sweater, it'll get chilly in the evening).  Alternately, Walt Disney Concert Hall is a beautiful example of Frank Gehry architecture, with nice concerts as well.

Cruise Mulholland Drive and catch some of the best views of the city, equally spectacular by day or night.  Santa Monica Pier is a fun neighborhood to hang out. 

Getty Museum has spectacular art and a good excuse to head up the coast a little ways. La Brea Tar Pits is a fascinating museum, and you can see (and smell)

the tar pits still bubbling away on the museum grounds!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hollywood Bowl (attraction)
  2. Walt Disney Concert Hall (attraction)
  3. Mulholland Drive (attraction)
  4. Santa Monica Pier (attraction)
  5. Getty Museum (attraction)
  6. La Brea Tar Pits (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Mei & Kerstin from Larochette

Hi Angie,

We recently published a post about top 10 things to do in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, including the Universal Studios Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory, the Getty Villa, the The Getty Center,  with addresses, the best beaches and insider tips about where to shop and hike. Check it out here. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us :)


Mei & Kerstin

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Los Angeles (city)
  2. Universal Studios Hollywood (attraction)
  3. Griffith Observatory (attraction)
  4. Getty Villa (attraction)
  5. The Getty Center (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

Couple of ideas - The Getty Museumis a knock out - it is free (parking fee). Such beautiful views and the art is incredible. ORANGE COUNTY is pretty special that time of year. The residents on Balboa island start to decorate their homes for the Christmas holidays. TONS of great food throughout the area and I see where others gave you several suggestions so I will only offer The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has a nice Sunday brunch with spectacular views. You can walk down the path to the water and kick it for a spell as well. Enjoy! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Getty Museum (attraction)
  2. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel (hotel)

answered by
Spencer from Los Angeles

I'll focus in on a couple of different areas. I love Downtown Los Angeles, and especially the Los Angeles Arts District, which has really become a great area to hang in. Angel City Brewery if you like craft beer, great street art you can walk to, Grand Central Market (great food that feels kind of like open-air European markets) and some good restaurants, such as Bestia, one of my favorite restaurants in L.A.

Another favorite hood is Venice Beach. Rent a bike and stroll The Strand, which is a walking/bike path that runs 22 miles down the beaches of L.A. Abbot Kinney is fun to just stroll down, and there are some great restaurants along it (and nearby), such as GjelinaOscars Cerveteca (for happy hour), and Hotel Erwin (for their rooftop for brunch/sunset).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown Los Angeles (metro area)
  2. Los Angeles Arts District (neighborhood)
  3. Angel City Brewery (attraction)
  4. Grand Central Market (restaurant)
  5. Bestia (restaurant)
  6. Venice Beach (attraction)
  7. Abbot Kinney (attraction)
  8. Gjelina (restaurant)
  9. Oscars Cerveteca (restaurant)
  10. Hotel Erwin (hotel)

answered by
Anna from Athens

I was in LA in March and withing 3 days my friends and I packed so many things! We hiked up to the Hollywood Sign, visited Hollywood BoulevardParamount Pictures, walked around Downtown Los Angeles.

For restaurants, the only places worth mentioning is Geoffrey's Malibu (but make sure you go for lunch as dinner is expensive) and Bottega Louie in Downtown LA.

I've made a summary of our activities right here:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hollywood Sign (attraction)
  2. Hollywood Boulevard (attraction)
  3. Paramount Pictures (attraction)
  4. Downtown Los Angeles (metro area)
  5. Geoffrey's Malibu (restaurant)
  6. Bottega Louie (restaurant)

answered by
Fail from Los Angeles

People have done a great job answering here, except....for the taco recommendations. Guisados on Sunset is THE BEST. High quality ingredients, amazing flavors, great price. Gotta do tacos in LA!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Guisados (restaurant)

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