Los Angeles is a place of celebrities, film industry, shopping and entertainment. My first impression of the city was like “oh wow, it is so huge, the streets are massive, I feel like a small person in a huge world.”
It was also a bit scary for me. When you walk on a massive street it is a completely different feeling than walking for example in narrow street in Europe.
There are some suburbs that are better to avoid as it can be dangerous – lot of criminality. I have stayed in Airbnb and heard from the locals which suburb is better to miss.
The example of dangerous places is around South L.A. – Huntington park, Watts, some parts of East LA, Skid Row in Downtown, Beverly Hills (if you walk there on your own).
To get around can be very time-consuming as many places can be in distance of one hour from each other. For example, if you travel from Santa Monica to Hollywood it takes around 1hour drive or 1hour 20min by bus.
Sometimes it is easier to catch Uber or Uber pool to share drive and save money.
TOP MUST SEE PLACES
Warner Bros studios
The Warner Bros studios tour is an incredible experience for all lovers of movie industry. They will take you to the backstage of the movie to see how the movies are filmed.
You can see all the equipment used in movies, for example background– such a fake bush, or rocks. You will learn how the sounds effects are created, you will see many costumes and unique furniture from movies and special lights to create day or night.
If you love to learn about film industry then it is a perfect tour for you!
You will see the houses from movie scenes and be able to go inside or walk on the streets with fake houses (they are just flat but on camera look real).
At the end the tour will take you to a Cafe Central Perk from TV series The Friends. I loved it! You can have a coffee there as well.:) I was very excited and had a great time there.
The price for a standard ticket is $69. The tour is for 3 hours.
Hollywood tour – house of celebrities
While are you in LA this is one of the must try experience. Take a Hollywood Tour.
It is such a cool experience followed by enthusiastic tour guide who will take you on a car ride to see houses of celebrities and if you are lucky you might see celebrities in their house.:-)
You will hear some stories about the houses as well with a stop to Hollywood sign to take a photo and also check the walk of fame.
I took a Starline tour which costs $45.
Walk of Fame
Check out this very long street with embossed stars with names of your favourite actors, singers and other celebrities.
What else to see around? There are many souvenirs shops, wax museum, Chinese theater and street entertainment.
Hollywood is usually alive at the weekends. If you visit it during week day you will feel like it is a normal street, quiet with some strange people around and shops with cheap souvenirs with low quality. 😀
Weekends are usually crazy filled with people in costumes who will try to charge you if you take photo with them.
If you want to get a nice shot with your favourite star it could be tricky to find an empty spot. :-O However, it is fun to check it.
Do you want to have cool photos with famous people? The Madame Tussauds wax museum is quite realistic and has 3 floors.
There are few different museums and some of them has specials where can you buy more tickets to different venues.
For example Hollywood Wax Museum offers also Guinness World Record Museum and Ripley, believe of not for $35.99.
I have been to Madame Tussauds. The ticket costs around $20 (if you go late at night you might save few dollars).
The beach by itself it is very huge, it is really massive! You can have a swim there but when I was there in August the water seemed quite cold!
This beach is more designed to have a nice walk, visit the Pier, see the end of Route 66 and have a nice lunch (there can be a long queue for famous American burgers though). J
Santa Monica is a place from old American movies and nice time to spend your afternoon. Near by is a shopping centre. Let`s go shopping! J
Notes – near Santa Monica is Venice Beach. However, I have heard that it is not much safe to go there in the evening.
The Griffith Observatory
To get to the top you can catch a bus or walk up the hill but it is a long way.
Before you reach the top, don`t forget on the famous Hollywood sign which is very tiny seen and it is not allowed to go closer. However, there is always a way how to get there. J
The Griffith Observatory offers free sunset walk and talk every month. Check their calendar.
Do you want to see the planetarium? A perfect time to relax after a long day and just enjoy learning about stars. There is a beautiful view of the night city but you will see the city as a very tiny.
The planetarium is closed on Mondays.
Opening hours: Tue – Fri – 10 am to 10pm and weekends 12pm to 10pm. The ticket costs $7.
I recommend visiting on sunset (be mindful that many people have similar idea 😀 )
I haven’t personally visited as I have already been to Universal studios in Singapore. The photo is just from a walk around.:-)
I would say that Universal studio is mostly for families and couples than a solo trip. If I were a kid, I would be like in heaven.
It also requires a whole day to enjoy it fully. If you are in LA for a short time think about if it is really on your top list or if you rather something else.