Los Angeles is a massive city, I didn’t realise how spread out it was until I got there. It makes it hard to travel around the city without a car, I used the public transport system for the first day and then decided hiring a car would be better. The bus system is good, but it takes a while to get anywhere in the traffic and you have to get multiple buses. The train system is okay, but not very big and only takes you around downtown. Get a car if you can.
LA is very different from NYC in the way that it is incredibly spread out, but it is similar in the way that there is plenty of amazing restaurants and foodie spots, parks to explore and things to do.
My favourite spot in LA was GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY. This is a great spot where you can do a variety of things. Watching the sunset from up here is incredible (the roof of the observatory is the spot to be). But if you can get up here for a few hours do the HOLLYWOOD HIKE to the HOLLYWOOD SIGN. This hike takes a couple of hours depending on fitness levels, but it is relatively flat. If it is summer be sure to take plenty of water, put a hat on and sunscreen. There is minimal shade on this hike, but there are a few spots with picnic benches you can stop at to have a picnic lunch. Get a map from Griffith Observatory and follow the masses of people. Get a great photo out there, and check out the planetarium at the Griffith Observatory on your way back.
UCLA is a large public university located in LA that is worth a look. College life in the USA is really something different and the UCLA campus, whilst not pretty like Stanford or Harvard, there is a lot going on, great cheap restaurants nearby and a really great shop to buy some university apparel. The shop will astound you, t-shirts and pants with the UCLA label, but everything else as well – cups, pens, BBQ equipment, umbrellas, party supplies.
HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD is a great spot to have a walk around for the day. There are several monuments here and plenty of shops to spend a few dollars at.
Start at the CHINESE THEATER which is famous for hosting many movie premieres, then walk down the HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME and try to find your favourite stars.
Ever wanted to shoot a gun? Most foreigners come to America and I will say even I was curious about shooting one. In a country that has much more lax gun laws than somewhere like Australia, I thought it was worth a shot.
THE LOS ANGELES GUN CLUB was where I went with a friend. It was easy to find, a safe process and was a relatively cool process. If you’re curious about it, this is a good place to go. If you are going to shoot a gun, this is a safe, controlled environment to shoot a gun and really the only smart place to try it.
If you are into sports make sure you get to A BASKETBALL or ICE HOCKEY game at STAPLES CENTER. The LA Clippers, Lakers and also the LA Kings (ice hockey) play here and all put n one hell of a show. My favourite game was the Ice Hockey matches which take sport to another level!
Shopping in LA is incredible, there are plenty of amazing discount malls – google what is closest to you to find a good bargain.
RODEO DRIVE is another must see. Even if you can’t afford anything walk down here and be marveled at the shop windows and the perfectly clean streets and amazing architecture.
SANTA MONICA is a must stop whilst you are in LA and there is plenty to do here. Below are the two musts:
SANTA MONICA PIER is a great spot to walk along, enjoy the sunset, or sun at the beach. Tourists are everywhere, but it is full of life, lots of carnival rides, restaurants and performers. Enjoy it all, and have a lie on the beach afterwards.
3RD STREET PROMENADE is a great shopping strip just up from the pier. This is like a mini mall with all the big brands – Topshop, H&M, Victoria’s Secret and plenty more. There is also some cute little spots to get a bite to eat here.
Drive down to Long Beach is you have a car, or Newport Beach/ Laguna Beach and enjoy the sun, waves, some lovely hikes and feel like you’ve stepped out of an episode of the Hills.
VENICE BEACH is also a great spot to visit for a day! There is plenty of interesting things to see here. Walk along the strip at the beach and see some crazy shops -aimed at tourists, some crazy people, and some great street performers. Go past Arnie’s body Building gym and see why it has the nickname Muscle Beach – bodybuilders everywhere, but some really cool things to watch. There is also a great skate park to have a look at. Get to the VENICE CANALS too if you can.