Los Angeles, CA
Glitz & glamour; nature & creativity in LA
Welcome to the La La Land! "People cut off the shackles of their old lives when they come to Los Angeles. They are looking for a place where they can be free, where they can do things that are not possible anywhere else." — Tom Bradley. There are tons of treasure waiting for you in the City of Angels!
Unforgettable Moments (Highlights)
Los Angeles is the beating heart of California. It’s the city of cinematic stardust, sunny golden beaches, iconic landmarks and creative vibes. It’s the symbol of success—like the oasis after crossing the desert. Los Angeles confirms and shatters numerous stereotypes—it’s rough and fresh, tumultuous and pleasant, multiethnic and still very American. This is not only where the movie-stars live, but the film industry itself. However, LA is much more than the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Creative vibes overflow from world-class architectural gems, art museums, and burgeoning galleries.
The City of Angels is infamous for its congested traffic but once you have escaped this nasty tangle, you can ride on pulsating waves, escape to paradisiacal islands, gallop across craggy mountains and gaze at the starry night sky from an isolated wooden cabin in the mountains.
Located 24 km southwest of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the fourth busiest airport in the world, with an average 65 million passengers transiting each year. It is well connected to major domestic and international destinations. The airport has nine terminals linked by a shuttle network. Buses depart from the airport to Union Station every hour and are the cheapest means (costs $8) to get to the city. Look out for green "FlyAway® Buses and Long Distance Vans" sign on the lower levels of each terminal.
TAKE THE SCENIC DRIVE
Start your journey with breakfast at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe on Malibu Beach. Hire a car and take Mulholland Drive from Route 405 that winds the Santa Monica Mountain. Discover the Bel Air and Beverly Hills areas on one side and the San Fernando Valley on the other. Turn south on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and go down the mountain to your next destination: Hollywood Boulevard.
SUNSET OVER THE WATER
Drive to Santa Monica, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner by the sea. End your evening with a stroll on the Third Street Promenade followed by dinner on one of its beautiful rooftop restaurants. Here you can also learn high-altitude acrobatics at the school of trapeze artists and rent a bicycle to explore the area. To enjoy a quiet time away from the crowd, get to the viewpoint of the second level of the racecourse building which offers splendid views of the ocean.
MORNING & AFTERNOON
Begin your day with a healthy breakfast at the Farmers Market. The Original Farmers Market began its journey in 1934 when a group of farmers began selling their products in their trucks. Although cooking utensils, souvenirs, candles and other household items are also sold in the market, most people come here for food. In multiple rows of stalls, you'll find fresh veggies, cheese, meat, and peanut butter, along with prepared meals such as hot donuts, rice soup, and pickled meat sandwiches. You can snack on something while you walk around the stalls, or sit at one of the restaurants and fill yourself while watching the people pass by.
Take a quick stroll through the market before you let yourself loose on all the delicacies. This will help you to pick only your favorite stalls.
Get here early in the day as parking waiting time is longer in the evenings, especially on the weekends.
Visit fascinating art deco buildings, taste some exquisite Korean specialties, followed by a karaoke. Enter Koreatown Plaza, a quirky 1980s-style mall that offers an interesting mix of luxury brands and ethnic stores. It has one of the highest concentration of restaurants and clubs in Southern California, and many of them open 24 hours a day.
Surf, sun, and sand become secondary at Venice Beach Boardwalk in favor of the lively human carnival. You will never get bored of watching people go by in this sun-dried, bohemian enclave of musicians, poets, artists, singers, and skaters. From jugglers with chainsaws to cyclists who jump through fire, at Venice Beach Boardwalk, you will find the most striking, eccentric and unbridled side of Los Angeles.
Take a taxi to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is the largest art museum in the western United States with collections that range from the ancient to the modern era. In addition to impressive paintings, you will find sculptures, prints, photographs, costumes, and fabrics. This diversity of exhibitions is a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. The museum also hosts art classes and interactive activities regularly to attract younger minds
Watch the sunset from Manhattan Beach - a beautiful coastal town located in the Santa Monica Bay. Climb the 30-meter-high sand dune at Sand Dune Park to enjoy stunning views of the city. Walk the historic Manhattan Beach pier and visit the Roundhouse Aquarium at the end. Stroll through downtown Manhattan Beach and discover some of California's best seafood. Here you can also choose from several bars offering craft beer and live music.
Day 4 - Day Trip
Today is a great day to hire a car and embark on a picturesque journey the Palms to Pines highway. The drive takes you through attractions such as Coachella Valley, Lake Hemet, Mountain Center, Idyllwild, Indian Vista Viewpoint, Banning starting from the Palm Desert.
OASIS TO MOUNTAINS
Hire a car early in the morning and set off to the Palm Desert. This drive takes you on a geographic roller coaster. In just under two hours, you move from a desert oasis to the snow-clad mountains.
THE SCENIC DRIVE
Start from the Palm Desert and take Highway 74 towards the south. As you leave Palm Desert, you will find yourself winding up the mountains and notice pines trees emerging from the arid rocky terrain.
Continue on this road to Mountain Center, a small village 36 miles from Palm Desert. Here you can take a short break and grab something to eat. Going a little further, you will arrive at Idyllwild, a small village where you can indulge in a host of outdoor activities, visit several small art galleries and boutiques, or discover the history of the region at the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum.
Then drive along CA-243, which will gradually bring you back to a desert territory. You will arrive Highway 10 at Banning, 25 miles west of Palm Springs. The journey of 67 miles takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes without stopping. It is equally delightful when done in the opposite direction.
DINNER AMID ELEGANCE
Return to downtown to dine in Traxx, which stands out not only as the crossroads of Asian, Italian and French-inspired cuisines but also for its location in the Union Station. Built in 1939, Traxx fuses Art Deco, Modern and colonial Spanish architecture that represents the past, present and future of California.
A DOSE OF CREATIVITY AT GETTY CENTER
Perched on top of a hill, Getty Center has enhanced the recognition of Los Angeles as a cultural hotspot. Its galleries are stocked with impressionist paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries, and a collection of furniture and decorative art. The exhibition is housed in five two-story pavilions arranged around an open courtyard.
PEEK BEYOND OUR PLANET
Surrounded by lush green hills, Griffith Observatory opens a vista to the universe. It’s a place to expand your mind and have true intergalactic fun. The three huge domes house numerous exhibitions and regularly host educational programs and special astronomical events. The observatory is surrounded by the sprawling 4155-acre Griffith Park that is rich in flora and fauna and has miles of hiking trails crisscrossing the hills. This is also an ideal place to enjoy panoramic views of the city and take photos with the Hollywood sign in the background.
The Chinatown of Los Angeles is a small neighborhood but is packed with rousing aura. Here you will find a wide range of items - from unique spices and herbal medicines to handmade jewelry, Asian art, and craft beers. In addition to traditional Chinese stores, Chinatown also has numerous art galleries, most of which are located at Chung King Road.
Start the day over an exquisite brunch at The Eveleigh. Lying behind a lush, vine-clad skyline, is the charming Eveleigh, one of the Sunset Strip's most prominent restaurants. The menu is prepared "from farm to table" and the long convivial tables add to the country experience. The most impressive thing, though, is the spectacular view of the city from nearly the glass-walled dining room.
Time to burn off the filling brunch by strolling along the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Walk of Fame is a tribute to Hollywood’s artists, producers, and directors who have made a remarkable contribution to the world of entertainment. The names are written in brass inside a five-pointed star of coral pink terrazzo. Here you can find tourists with their heads bent to the street searching their favorite celebrities among more than 2500 icons.
Dedicate this evening to one of the hidden gems of LA. Philippe's is known for its legendary French-dip sandwiches. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles and its menu, just like its decor, hasn’t changed much with time. Several employees are working here for decades and you can still find sawdust on the floor. Along with the iconic sandwich, you can also try reasonably priced cakes and coffees.
One last photo-op
Getting an evening flight out of Los Angeles is ideal so you can soak up every bit of the city on your last day.
Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it! You may have just enough time to make one last memory or see one last attraction. It’s a shame that most tourists to Los Angeles remain occupied by its glittery side and return without even setting foot in Downtown. Wander off and scrape the surface beyond the wide streets to discover impressive graffiti and wall murals.
Downtown Art District is the Mecca of street art and you will find art infused in every corner - from ATMs to whole faces of multi-story buildings. Some of these urban arts are permanent while the others last only a few weeks. Pay a visit to galleries like Art Share, Neon and Out of the Box to get a taste of LA’s art scene. You can join one of the tours that take you to the lesser-known side of the city.