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Anna
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Los Angeles

What are the top 5 sights I can't miss in L.A.?

I will visit LA in March for 3-4 days. Our party will be a total of 4 persons and we will have a car. Which is the best area to look for accommodation? Is it better to look for a hotel or search airBnB?

Which are the sights that we absolutely must not miss (I've made my homework and written down a couple of them, but I'm asking so as not to miss something).

And last, is a day-trip to Las Vegas do-able, or better leave it aside? (In this point I should mention that after LA we will road trip to San Fransisco, but that's a whole other question)

Thank you in advance!


10 Answers

top answer by
Tony from Minneapolis

Sounds like you have a fun trip planned, Anna!   In regards to accommodations, and since you will be traveling in March, you would be better off staying in West Hollywood as opposed to the Santa Monica or Venice Beachsince the beach is still typically cooler that time of year.    

West Hollywood offers a wide variety of great accommodations, restaurants, clubs and things to do!   Depending on your budget, London West Hollywood Hotel is a fantastic hotel with a roof top pool and a fantastic view of LA.  It is located behind The Viper Room on Sunset, and because of it's unique location, it is a hotel that many stars frequent and star sightings are very common there.   Down Sunset Blvd to the east are some other great hotels with a cool scene, great views of LA, pool bars, etc.. they are the Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood and The Standard, Hollywood.  The Standard being the less expensive of the two.

Some great dining to check out in the area would be Katana for dinner, which is located in the old Miramax Films building. Make reservations and ask for a table on the Patio.  Everything there is fantastic, but some of my favorites are the popcorn shrimp (with the sauce on the side), the filet wrapped asparagus, and any of the sushi dishes.  For breakfast, I highly recommend The Griddle Cafe which has a cool scene and offers some of the best and biggest portions in town.  They have a very large menu to suit anything you may desire but they specialize in some crazy types of pancakes and french toast.  Some of my favorites are the Peanut Bubba French Toast and the Tis the Season Pancakes.  (Huge portions that can easily be shared!)  For after dinner coffee and treats you should try Urth Caffe it has a great patio scene and everything they make there is awesome.   If you want a late night pig out after the clubs, trying the world famous Pink's is a must!

As for things to do, there are way too many to list, but here are a few suggestions:   A great thing to do while in LA is to catch a live taping of a TV show.  I highly recommend going the see Jimmy Kimmel Live!  I have been to all of the Late Night Shows in LA and NYC and Jimmy's is by far the best!  To get free ticket go to www.1iota.com and request tickets there.  Do so a month or at least 2 weeks in advance and you will have a great chance to get tickets.  Wear dark clothing when you go to the show and you will have a good chance of being sat up front.  I have been in the front for that show 3 times because of this.  If you like the hollywood scene and you want to take in a studio tour, I highly recommend the Warner Bros Studio tour.  It is way more intimate than the more commercialized tours and brings you behind the scenes on many current shows that are presently taping. This is where Ellen tapes her show.   

Hope this helps with some of your plans!

Thanks, Tony


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. West Hollywood (city)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
  3. Venice Beach (city)
  4. London West Hollywood Hotel (hotel)
  5. Sunset Blvd (attraction)
  6. Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood (attraction)
  7. The Standard, Hollywood (hotel)
  8. Katana (restaurant)
  9. The Griddle Cafe (restaurant)
  10. Urth Caffe (restaurant)
  11. Pink's (restaurant)
  12. Jimmy Kimmel Live! (attraction)
  13. Warner Bros Studio (attraction)
11 thanks


answered by
Breanna from Los Angeles

I would say that the area you'll want to stay in depends on what you'd like to experience. The brand new The Line - Los Angeles hotel in Koreatown is one of my favorite new places in town - I go there to work during the day all the time. I love the vibe and the rooms are very cute - make sure you get a Hollywood Hills view. The location puts you right in Koreatown, an interesting area to walk (plus the hotel offers guests free bikes) and puts you close to downtown and not far from everything else. They have a pool and several restaurants, so it's a great homebase. If you're looking more for an LA-scene and nightlife, somewhere on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood like the The Standard, Hollywood, London West Hollywood Hotel or Sunset Tower Hotel will put you right in the action. You'll be walking distance to great restaurants like The Church Key (reservations recommended) and nightlife (Bootsy Bellows), and legendary places like Whisky a Go Go and The Viper Room. You'll have to drive during the day for sight seeing.

I would personally stay in West Hollywood in the Fairfax District (Fairfax Avenue between Melrose Avenue and Wilshire Avenue). The Palihotel Melrose and Farmers Daughter Hotel are two boutique hotels you could look into. Staying in that area puts you close to several not-miss things - The Grove for people watching, LACMA is a must:

and great restaurants like Son of A Gun Restaurant (my personal fave - get the chicken sandwich!), Izaka-ya by Katsu-yaThe Hart and the Hunter (their biscuits are to die for). Airbnbs in this area might be easy to come by, but ask about parking as it's a bit tricky in LA.

Other not miss things to do in LA include, hike Runyon Canyon Park or Beachwood Canyon to the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Observatory at sunset/night, a show at Pantages Theatre is always fun (look on Goldstar.com for discounted tickets), if you're here on a Sunday check out the Melrose Trading Post vintage market, The Grammy Museum and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA downtown are two more great museums, and if you find yourself on the west side, walk, shop and eat on Abbot Kinney Blvd or Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier. And of course In-N-Out Burger is never to be missed (order off the secret menu!).


A day trip to Vegas will be a bit rough - it's typically a 4+ hour drive from LA and if you're going on a Friday, can take up to 8 hours with traffic. Flights are only 45 minutes if you would want to do an overnight in Vegas and then back to LA. Virgin American usually offers roundtrip tickets for less than $100. So that's an option if you really want to fit Vegas in.

Hope that helps!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Line - Los Angeles (hotel)
  2. The Standard, Hollywood (hotel)
  3. London West Hollywood Hotel (hotel)
  4. Sunset Tower Hotel (restaurant)
  5. The Church Key (restaurant)
  6. Bootsy Bellows (attraction)
  7. Whisky a Go Go (attraction)
  8. The Viper Room (attraction)
  9. West Hollywood (city)
  10. Palihotel Melrose (hotel)
  11. Farmers Daughter Hotel (hotel)
  12. The Grove (attraction)
  13. LACMA (attraction)
  14. Son of A Gun Restaurant (restaurant)
  15. Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya (restaurant)
  16. The Hart and the Hunter (restaurant)
  17. Runyon Canyon Park (attraction)
  18. Hollywood Sign (attraction)
  19. Griffith Observatory (attraction)
  20. Pantages Theatre (attraction)
  21. Melrose Trading Post (attraction)
  22. The Grammy Museum (attraction)
  23. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (attraction)
  24. Abbot Kinney Blvd (attraction)
  25. Third Street Promenade (attraction)
  26. Santa Monica Pier (attraction)
  27. In-N-Out Burger (restaurant)
9 thanks


answered by
Francesca

First off, glad you will be visiting SoCal! Los Angeles is colorful, bold, and delicious.  In terms of accomodation, I believe it would be best to search airBNB.  Hotels are pretty pricey, especially around Santa Monica or Hollywood, or even Westwood.  

I'll start by recommending certain areas first and then naming some restaurants and places.  Certain areas that are memory-making include:  1)Downtown Los Angeles 2) Santa Monica 3) Los Angeles Chinatown 4) Silver Lake 5) Westwood.  

In Downtown, visit The Last Bookstore and nearby this place is the Los Angeles Arts District where you can witness the beautiful art that is displayed on city walls, and checkout Rooftop Bar at The Standard. LACMA is not to miss, with the beautiful lightposts displayed as a landmark. Nearby is also Little Tokyo which is a wonderful area that you can explore and find adorable and delicious snacks like ones at Cafe Dulce which is in a plaza that has other great shops to explore.  Silver Lake is a unique area, if you love coffee, try Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea.  

Santa Monica is worth a visit, for the iconic boardwalk of course. But like any place, it is worth it to explore beyond the landmark... I would recommend visiting the Goodwill - Santa Monica if you are into thrift store shopping like me...you'll find some treasures among wealthy individuals' donations.  There was also an awesome modern style seafood place a few shops down the Goodwilll called Seasalt Fish Grill that has good prices and good food.  

Westwood is a cool place to explore important landmarks like UCLA, a great and possibly overlooked museum called Hammer Museum.  I would suggest getting brunch at a cute place called the Novel Cafe on Gayley Avenue in Westwood, and then walking 5-10 minutes to the Hammer Museum.  

I love museums, so I have to include the Getty Museum... admission is always free, but if you go on saturday nights, parking is also free in addition (but I would call in advance to confirm). The great thing about Saturdays is that it is the one day it is open til 9pm, which means you get to check the Getty out at night, which is breathtaking.  

Hollywood Bowl is a strong recommendation if you are into shows and music.  Even so, the ambiance and the visual of the Bowl is worth it, check the website for tickets around the time you are going.  If you do decide to go, do not go there with a car, since parking is so expensive and the main thing is that it is stacked parking, so it can take up to an hour for you to get out since you have to wait for the person in front to leave.  Buy a shuttle ticket and it will drop you off and pick you up after the show.  

Vegas is pretty far and exhausting just for a day trip, I would spend at least a night if you decide.  But, good thing is there are areas around LA that are worth a day trip and with beautiful scenery.  I'd recommend Pasadena, check out Old Pasadena and Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association.  Great italian place in a hidden part, venture inward to find it... IL Fornaio.  Gelato nearby at Piccomolo Pasadena.  And of course, in Pasadena there is the amazing The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.  It closes at 4 I believe so go early!

I grew up in the area south of Los Angeles called "the Southbay".  I gotta say, you have to visit this area if you are planning a day trip.  This area is referring to Redondo Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Torrance, and other cities but those are the cities I'm most familiar with.  If you are looking for scenery comparable to Italian landscape... visit the "rolling hills"' of Palos Verdes. You can hike nearby Del Cerro Park... park at the park and there is a trail nearby.  A spot hidden away and known by mostly locals is a simple yet beautiful Starbucks overlooking the ocean.  Starbucks, located on Hawthorne Blvd (basically where the street ends), has an area in the back where you can sit near a fireplace and look at the Pacific Ocean.  There's more than just Starbucks, there's a great Thai restaurant next door called Swan Thai RPV.  

Visit the Pier in Redondo Beach, but explore beyond it as well.  Look up the Riveria Village  area, a little old town feel with shops and a great coffeeshop called Coffee Cartel where they have recycled used couches for customers to sit on, surrounded by books and plenty of space to chat or play boardgames.  After that, walk down the street and towards the beach which is like 3 minutes away by walking, just follow the smell of sea salt.  Walk down and sit on the sand, and feel small in a good way in front of the Pacific.  If you're looking for dinner spots nearby, my favorite restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant called the Green Temple Vegetarian Restaurant, where you eat food cooked with patience and love near a fountain and a peaceful ambiance.  

Unique culture fusion is a theme in SoCal... one of my favorites is a Japanese/Peruvian restaurant in Torrance/Lomita area called Kotosh.  Down Crenshaw Blvd, you'll also see Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ where you can cook your own food on a little grill, or awesome vegan food chain called Veggie Grill in a plaza down Crenshaw towards Pacific Coast Highway.  

If you're in Palos Verdes, I like a little Italian restaurant that is down a brick road (which adds to the Italian feel) called Mama Terano.  Get amazing, nationally recognized homemade ice cream at Handel's Homemade Ice Cream in Redondo Beach.  Lastly, for an amazing view at night, you have to check out this simple beautiful locals spot called Los Arboles Park or what I grew up knowing as "Rocketship Park".  At night, you sit on the hill and since it is at a higher elevation, you can witness the city lights of not just Torrance, but of Los Angeles.  I grew up coming here and having significant adolescent memories.  Recommend as a nice end to a trip or whenever, but go at night and see for yourself how beautiful this region is.  Best of luck! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Downtown Los Angeles (metro area)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
  3. Los Angeles Chinatown (neighborhood)
  4. Silver Lake (neighborhood)
  5. Westwood (neighborhood)
  6. The Last Bookstore (attraction)
  7. Los Angeles Arts District (neighborhood)
  8. Rooftop Bar at The Standard (attraction)
  9. LACMA (attraction)
  10. Little Tokyo (neighborhood)
  11. Cafe Dulce (restaurant)
  12. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea (restaurant)
  13. Goodwill - Santa Monica (attraction)
  14. Seasalt Fish Grill (restaurant)
  15. UCLA (attraction)
  16. Hammer Museum (attraction)
  17. Novel Cafe (restaurant)
  18. Getty Museum (attraction)
  19. Hollywood Bowl (attraction)
  20. Pasadena (city)
  21. Old Pasadena (attraction)
  22. Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association (attraction)
  23. IL Fornaio (restaurant)
  24. Piccomolo Pasadena (attraction)
  25. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  26. Redondo Beach (city)
  27. Rancho Palos Verdes (city)
  28. Torrance (city)
  29. Del Cerro Park (attraction)
  30. Starbucks (restaurant)
  31. Swan Thai RPV (restaurant)
  32. Coffee Cartel (restaurant)
  33. Green Temple Vegetarian Restaurant (attraction)
  34. Lomita (city)
  35. Kotosh (restaurant)
  36. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ (restaurant)
  37. Veggie Grill (restaurant)
  38. Mama Terano (restaurant)
  39. Handel's Homemade Ice Cream (attraction)
  40. Los Arboles Park (attraction)
9 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Carol from Los Angeles

I think Beverly Hills and Santa Monica are great locations to stay. Airbnb could be a great value/price option for four people. If you want to check out hotels, Hotel Bel-Air Los Angeles is my favorite, The Beverly Hills Hotel is also beautiful and the The Beverly Hilton is more affordable. In Santa Monica, Shutters On the Beach and Hotel Casa Del Mar are my favorites, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is more affordable. 

In terms of where to go:


LA has some great Asian restaurants so if you are into Japanese food, check out SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa in any location near you. I'm also a fan of Jinpachi. For Thai food, Jitlada Restaurant and Night + Market are awesome. 

Vegas is good to spend one night, especially if you drive there. If you only have 3-4 days in LA, I'd say leave it for next time and maybe combine it with the Grand Canyon National Park and Sedona. My favorite hotel there is the Wynn Hotel Las Vegas.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Beverly Hills (neighborhood)
  2. Santa Monica (city)
  3. Hotel Bel-Air Los Angeles (hotel)
  4. The Beverly Hills Hotel (hotel)
  5. The Beverly Hilton (hotel)
  6. Shutters On the Beach (hotel)
  7. Hotel Casa Del Mar (hotel)
  8. Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows (hotel)
  9. Getty Museum (attraction)
  10. Rodeo Drive (neighborhood)
  11. Il Pastaio (restaurant)
  12. Sunset Blvd (attraction)
  13. Venice Beach Boardwalk (attraction)
  14. Gjelina (restaurant)
  15. Abbot Kinney (attraction)
  16. Third Street Promenade (attraction)
  17. Malibu Beach (attraction)
  18. Geoffrey's Malibu (restaurant)
  19. Moonshadows Malibu (restaurant)
  20. Los Liones Trailhead (attraction)
  21. Malibu Country Mart (attraction)
  22. Mastro's Ocean Club - Malibu (restaurant)
  23. Mishe Mokwa Trail (attraction)
  24. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  25. Laguna Beach (city)
  26. Manhattan Beach (city)
  27. SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa (restaurant)
  28. Jinpachi (restaurant)
  29. Jitlada Restaurant (restaurant)
  30. Night + Market (restaurant)
  31. Grand Canyon National Park (park)
  32. Sedona (city)
  33. Nobu Malibu (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Chelsy from Los Angeles

Day trip to Vegas Not doable unless you don't want to sleep for 48hours. The Line - Los Angeles is the happening spot with AMAZING FOOD from Roy Choi Kogi bbq truck fame. POT Commissary Pot Cafe The H.M.S Bounty Beer Belly Taylor's Steak House Bottega Louie KazuNori: The Original Hand Roll Bar Spring St Bar Morton's The Steakhouse BADMAASH Bar 107 Yxta Cocina Mexicana Wurstküche Restaurant Little Bear Blacktop Coffee The Pie Hole

Plus, the Line is across the street from one of the Metro Stations. LA doesn't have a system like Boston, but will take you to some Iconic areas of LA.  Little Tokyo at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA There is LACMA Adamson House Museum Farmers Market is my fav and attached to the The Grove


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Line - Los Angeles (hotel)
  2. POT (restaurant)
  3. Commissary (restaurant)
  4. Pot Cafe (restaurant)
  5. The H.M.S Bounty (restaurant)
  6. Beer Belly (attraction)
  7. Taylor's Steak House (restaurant)
  8. Bottega Louie (restaurant)
  9. KazuNori: The Original Hand Roll Bar (restaurant)
  10. Spring St Bar (restaurant)
  11. Morton's The Steakhouse (restaurant)
  12. BADMAASH (restaurant)
  13. Bar 107 (attraction)
  14. Yxta Cocina Mexicana (restaurant)
  15. Wurstküche Restaurant (restaurant)
  16. Little Bear (restaurant)
  17. Blacktop Coffee (restaurant)
  18. The Pie Hole (restaurant)
  19. Little Tokyo (neighborhood)
  20. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (attraction)
  21. LACMA (attraction)
  22. Adamson House Museum (attraction)
  23. Farmers Market (attraction)
  24. The Grove (attraction)
4 thanks


answered by
Louise from Los Angeles

Hey Anna! That's awesome that you're heading to Los Angeles. First off, I'd recommend hovelstay.com instead of airbnb - their booking fees are half as much as airbnb. Second, I've noticed that West Hollywood and Hollywood have been mentioned but not the The Eastside or Downtown Los Angeles! The East Side is full of amazing eateries. Try venturing to Sunset Junction Neighborhood in Silver Lake for coffee and food. Check out Los Angeles Chinatown for some dimsum and Koreatown for amaze food. Go on a walking tour in Downtown Los Angeles. You will see so much in about 2 hours. You do NOT want to miss the views of Perch in Downtown Los Angeles. TRUST me. It's beautiful. A few restaurants I'd recommend are Masa of Echo Park Bakery & Cafe, Bottega Louie and Zinc Cafe Market & Bar (Bar Mateo). Hope this helps! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. West Hollywood (city)
  2. Hollywood (attraction)
  3. Downtown Los Angeles (metro area)
  4. Sunset Junction Neighborhood (attraction)
  5. Silver Lake (neighborhood)
  6. Los Angeles Chinatown (neighborhood)
  7. Koreatown (neighborhood)
  8. Perch (restaurant)
  9. Masa of Echo Park Bakery & Cafe (restaurant)
  10. Bottega Louie (restaurant)
  11. Zinc Cafe Market & Bar (Bar Mateo) (restaurant)
  12. The Eastside (attraction)
3 thanks


answered by
Rachel from Hong Kong

don't miss the observatory overlooking the Hollywood Sign and city view in LA, also rooftop bar in downtown LA like The Standard Downtown LA is a must if you enjoy being surrounded by tall buildings with a drink at night :)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hollywood Sign (attraction)
  2. The Standard Downtown LA (hotel)
2 thanks


answered by
Judi

Las Vegas is 4 hours each way by car in no traffic so it's not a day trip from LA. 

In LA, hotels and AirBnB are both good so just price it out and see what's available when you want to travel.

It's impossible to recommend "must see" sites without knowing what you like to do, but here are some wonderful ones:

The Getty Center and The Getty Villa

The Venice Beach Boardwalk on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon

Good Korean barbecue in Koreatown (close to downtown LA)

The The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena (40 minutes NE of LA and an easy drive)

A walk on Abbot Kinney. to get a feel for LA's "hottest" neighborhood.

If you're athletic, a walk in either Santa Monica Canyon or Topanga Canyon.

These will all give you a good feel for contemporary LA.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Getty Center (attraction)
  2. Getty Villa (attraction)
  3. The Venice Beach Boardwalk (attraction)
  4. Koreatown (neighborhood)
  5. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  6. Abbot Kinney (attraction)
  7. Santa Monica Canyon (attraction)
  8. Topanga (city)
1 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Dolores from The Woodlands

The Getty Center; LACMAWalt Disney Concert HallThe Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino;  Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena;  dim sum in San GabrielPorto's Bakery & Cafe in Glendale, where you might just spot Andy Garcia having his coffee;  Santa Monica- take a bike ride down to the beach towns.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Getty Center (attraction)
  2. LACMA (attraction)
  3. Walt Disney Concert Hall (attraction)
  4. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  5. Norton Simon Museum (attraction)
  6. San Gabriel (city)
  7. Porto's Bakery & Cafe (restaurant)
  8. Santa Monica (city)
1 thanks


answered by
A

It takes 4-5 hours to get to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, so not a day trip by car.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Las Vegas (city)
  2. Los Angeles (city)




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