48 Hours in Los Angeles: California Dreamin’

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The beaches, warm weather, endless entertaining attractions, and rich history—plus the celebs, of course—make LA one of America’s most popular destinations. Enjoy the beautiful scenery (and, you know, the beautiful people), as well as the effortlessly cool and laid-back culture of this famed SoCal city by hitting up these must-see LA sights.

Classic Tourist Hotspots in LA

Grab your camera neck straps and fanny packs, because it’s time to get your tourist on. LA is packed to the brim with tourist hotspots that you don’t want to miss out on—even if that means being totally cliché for a few hours. 

Hollywood Walk of Fame

A Rare Free Attraction in Tinsel Town

6801 Hollywood Blvd 

Downtown | www.walkoffame.com

Because it’s a public sidewalk, there aren’t any tours for the Walk of Fame—just take a stroll down it yourself and look out for your favorite stars’ names! Image courtesy of Instagram >

Price: Free! 

It might be kitschy, but you can’t visit LA without at least driving down Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Whether you want to search for your favorite stars, stop at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, or you just want to get a good view of the iconic Hollywood sign, this should definitely be on your itinerary, especially if it’s your first time in LA. 

The Walk of Fame is a little over a mile long and runs down Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. The official website recommends starting at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue at the Hollywood & Highland Center, located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd.

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Warner Brothers Studio Tour

See Where Some of Your Favorite Movies Were Filmed

3400 Warner Blvd

Burbank | www.wbstudiotour.com

Price: Adult - $6 | Child (8 to 12) - $59

When we said it was time to get your tourist on, we weren’t kidding! The film industry is a huge part of LA, so what better place to take a studio tour? The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is nothing short of spectacular with behind-the-scenes looks at the studio’s backlots and soundstages. With the three-hour-long tour (two hours guided and one hour self-guided), you’ll see a little bit of everything from Casablanca and Batman to Friends and Harry Potter.

Warner Bros. also offers specialty tours like the Classics Tour, which features works from the Golden Age of Film and TV and the Deluxe Tour, which includes everything from the Studio Tour, plus additional highlights, like a visit to the costume department. I

Santa Monica Pier

The Best View of Santa Monica? From the Top of the Ferris Wheel! 

200 Santa Monica Pier 

Santa Monica | www.santamonicapier.org

You can find all sorts of rides, games, and other fun activities at Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier’s amusement park that’s home to the iconic Ferris wheel. 

Price: Free! (Prices vary in terms of attractions.)

The legendary Santa Monica Pier is definitely a classic stop on a trip to LA. From the roller coaster to the aquarium, it’s filled with fun this to do, has beachy boardwalk vibe, and the surrounding beach is pretty nice—to say the least. Grab a drink at the end of the pier, watch the sunset, and enjoy the views.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Wander in Wonder Down This Famous Stretch 

1800 Ocean Front Walk | Venice | www.venicebeach.com

Make sure to bring one-dollar bills for tipping street artists and performers! You can also find souvenirs of every kind, whether you’re looking for the traditional tee shirts and keychains or something more eclectic, like an original painting, photo, or sculpture. Image courtesy of Venice Beach

Price: Free! (Prices vary in terms of attractions.) 

Everything you’ve heard about Venice Beach is true—within seconds of stepping onto the pavement here, you’ll see fortune tellers, folk artists, people doing yoga in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, and maybe even some costume-clad skateboarders. There’s plenty to do within the mile and a half that the boardwalk stretches, from performances and shopping to food and street vendors. 

The boardwalk is closed from midnight until 5 am. Most stores open between 9 am and 10 am and close at sunset.

Griffith Observatory

Magical Views and a Little Hollywood Stardust 

2800 E Observatory Rd 

Griffith Park | www.griffithobservatory.org

If you’re more interested in the kind of stars you see in movies, the gorgeous old building was even used as a filming location for movies like Rebel Without a Cause and The Terminator

Price: Free! (Prices vary in terms of attractions.) 

Go to Griffith Observatory around sunset time for epic views of the Hollywood sign and a sweeping panorama of LA from the hills. Then, stay after dark to use its giant telescope, explore the free museum, and catch a show in the planetarium. 

Can’t Miss Culture in Los Angeles

LA is a cultural hub in every sense of the term. With art, museums, and architecture galore, it’s hard not to appreciate the diversity and creativity that run so rampantly on these California streets. These are some of the best places to indulge in LA’s artistic spirit. 

The Last Bookstore

Used Books + Unique Art

453 S Spring St. | Downtown | www.lastbookstorela.com

Book-lovers and sightseers alike will love this unconventional book store with both new and used books and records. It’s the largest independent bookstore in Southern California, and you can buy used books for as little as one dollar! 

Price: Free! (Prices vary in terms of merchandise.) 

Imagine Barnes & Noble on acid—that’s the vibe you’ll get from the Last Bookstore, proof that Tinseltown has a solid intellectual foundation. Not only is this store gorgeous with tons of space and a popular art gallery upstairs that features a labyrinth of books, but it’s also reasonably priced and filled to the brim with interesting titles.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

This Oddball Museum Is Sure to Be a Hit

9341 Venice Blvd 

Culver City | www.mjt.org 

Please note that the museum has a no-photography policy and that cell phone use (even texting and calling) is not permitted. 

Price: Suggested admission varies from free to $10

Exploring the dark, mysterious rooms at the Museum of Jurassic Technology and checking out its bizarre exhibits makes for an interesting hour (or more!). Plus, upstairs—just past the portrait gallery of Russian space dogs—you’ll find an aviary and a lovely tea room with cookies.

Venice Canal Historic District

Take a Scenic Stroll in This Gorgeous Neighborhood

200 Linnie Canal | Venice | www.venicecanalsassociation.org

The Venice Canal Historical Distinct is a short walk from Venice Beach, so if you’re looking to stretch your legs, try heading down to this picturesque neighborhood, complete with footbridges and docks.

Price: Free!

The neighborhood’s name, “Venice,” was very literal at first: Developer Abbot Kinney actually built the canals in 1905 in an attempt to mimic the look and feel of Venice, Italy, right in Southern California. But, of course, the rocketing popularity of the automobile shortly after made people change their tune on the once scenic canals. Some were filled in for roads, while others fell into disrepair as disputes over how to deal with them raged for years. In the 1990s, the Venice Canal Historic District was cleaned up and redeveloped, and you can see some pretty swanky homes here.

The Comedy Store

Laugh the Night Away at This Famed Comedy Club

8433 Sunset Blvd | West Hollywood | www.thecomedystore.com

The Comedy Store was founded in 1972 and was the first all-stand up comedy nightclub in the world. Its two-drink minimum, designed to ensure profits for continued entertainment, is a hallmark of comedy clubs everywhere. 

Price: Ticket prices vary. 

The Comedy Store is a 21-and-over comedy club with some big-name alumni like Eddie Rodney Dangerfield, David Letterman Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Bob Saget, Chris Rock, and dozens more. Grab tickets to a show in one of its three theaters, which offer all different kinds of performances from big headlining acts to strange and offbeat smaller shows. There’s a two-drink minimum here, but it doesn’t have to be booze.

Explore the Best Restaurants in LA

Food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of LA, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything bland about the city’s restaurant scene—quite the contrary, in fact. See (and taste) for yourself when you visit one of these delicious destinations. 

Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles

Have a Memorable Meal at This Beloved LA Chain

Several Locations | www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com

Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles was founded in 1975 by Herb Hudson, who was originally from Harlem, New York. Since then, it has grown into a trademark LA institution. 

Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles is a famous soul food joint that has several locations across the LA area, and they all serve up crispy, juicy fried chicken; fluffy, buttery waffles; and incredible sides. They’re open almost 24 hours a day, making it super popular with the late-night crowd, so if you go for lunch, you might find that the line is a little (or a lot) shorter.

Chateau Marmont

Experience Extravagance at This Renowned Celebrity Hangout 

8221 Sunset Boulevard

West Hollywood | www.chateaumarmont.com

As glam as it is delicious, Chateau Marmont is frequented by celebrities. It’s also a luxury hotel with suites, hillside bungalows, and garden cottages. 

Grab some breakfast at the famed French-inspired Chateau Marmont, hidden in the Hollywood Hills. Whether you’re in the mood for decadent brioche French toast, or you’re seeking some revitalization through some cold-pressed juice, this old-school Hollywood joint is worth a visit. 

Pinches Tacos

Grab an Authentic LA Taco 

8200 West Sunset Boulevard 

West Hollywood | www.pinchestacos.com

Pinches also has burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, and more!

Tacos are a Californian food staple, so you’re kind of obligated to eat them while you’re there, right? Located across from Chateau Marmont off of Sunset Boulevard, Pinches is an inconspicuous joint that serves up cheap and delicious tacos in a massive variety of options: pork, shrimp, chicken, veggie, beef tongue, sopes, cactus, and more!


Not Your Everyday Seafood

2011 S. Ocean Front Walk 

Venice | www.poke-poke.com

Poke-Poke is a dining choice that meat-lovers and vegetarians alike can get on board with. Plus, the dish poke itself is relatively healthy! 

When you’re ready for a bite to eat, there’s nothing like enjoying fresh seafood on the beach. Poke (pronounced po-kay) is actually a traditional Hawaiian dish made of raw, marinated ahi tuna, but it’s not hard to see why it’s become popular in LA. At Poke-Poke, you can get yours with various flavors and toppings. And if you’re not into raw fish, they have salads, edamame, granola, and more.

Fun in the Sun in the City of Angels

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