The Best Areas to Visit For Your First Time In Los Angeles

Visiting Los Angeles for the first time? Check out some of the essential sights to see, and some advice on how to get around the City of Angels…

Having visited Los Angeles twice, I’ve felt like it’s a pretty unusual city. It’s got some really amazing things to see, do, eat and drink. I love it’s quirkier sections and rough edges, and I love the iconic spots that make you think of real Hollywood glamour. The one thing I struggle with, though, is how bloody BIG it is.

Girl in front of Los Angeles Street Art

*post written in collaboration with Discover Car Hire*

On both of my trips to L.A, I quickly worked out that public transport isn’t the best there. I mean, it exists. But it’s slow, spread out and not particularly convenient. Especially if you’re not visiting for long.

So, to maximise your time in the city, you pretty much have two options – and both involve getting around on four wheels. You can Uber it around, like we did – but it can actually work out as a better deal to pick up a cheap car rental in Los Angeles.

Whichever way you choose to explore the city, there are loads of great neighbourhoods and fun places to explore. For a first time visitor to Los Angeles, these are my must-visit locations…

Griffith Park Observatory

 View of Hollywood Sign from Griffith Park ObservatoryView of Los Angeles from Griffith Park Observatory

If you want to get THE view over L.A. that shows off just how immense and sprawling the city is, Griffith Park Observatory’s your spot. Perched on a hilltop, walking up here might take a while (and some super comfy shoes) – so we took the easy route, and drove up.

Also, if those views aren’t spectacular enough for you, it’s one of the best sightlines of the infamous Hollywood sign you can get without hiking the paths of the Hollywood hills.

Hollywood Boulevard & The Walk of Fame

Girl sitting beside Kenny Loggins star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los AngelesRobin Williams' handprints, footprints and signature at The Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles

Kinda stating the obvious here, but the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must when visiting Los Angeles. It’s massive, stretching across 1.3 miles along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Find your favourite famous names!

As well as the walk itself, it’s also worth dropping into the exterior area in front of The Chinese Theatre. Featuring the well-known hand and footprints of some of the biggest names in Hollywood history, you can see if you share the same size hands of your fave movie stars…

Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive sign in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles Beverly Hills tram

Another area that it’s much easier to see by car. Skip the pricey guided tours, get yourself a map and tour the homes (well, front gates) of stars past and present.

Once you’re done celeb-hunting, take a walk down Rodeo Drive to look at clothes you probably won’t be leaving with. Unless you do a Winona…but I’m definitely not advising that!

Venice Beach & Boardwalk

Girl on Venice Beach at sunsetVenice Beach SignPalm trees on Venice beach

The first time I checked out Venice Beach, I wasn’t particularly excited by it. Probably because I decided it’d be a good idea to walk there, with a suitcase, during a layover. Worst idea ever. Do not do this.

My second visit was a lot better, and I fell for the area in the way I’ve read about. My experience was a lot more chilled – and that’s exactly the Venice vibe.

I could have laid back and watched the street performers and skaters all day, with the sun on my face and sand between my toes. It’s the ultimate California beach day – and the sunset was one of the most beautiful I’ve experienced.

Santa Monica

Entrance to Santa Monica PierFerris Wheel on Santa Monica Pier

Photos by Gerson Repreza on Unsplash & Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

So busy having a great time in Santa Monica that I forgot to take pictures. Sorry not sorry.

Santa Monica is a fun beachy spot by day; but night is my favourite time to go there.

The pier glows with neon lights as the fairground rides whirl around. Along it’s quarter-mile length, you’ll find retro carnival games, arcade machines, and traditional seaside eats. It’s lively, exciting and laid-back – the perfect place to end your day as the sun goes down on this vibrant city.

Have you been to Los Angeles? Where were your favourite places?

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