Being immortalized in countless novels, songs, and movies, The City of Angels is truly a treasure chest sitting and waiting for everyone to discover and enjoy. Los Angeles has no shortage of treats to cater to every traveler from the glamour of Hollywood to surfing in Venice Beach to a long, peaceful drive going to Santa Monica mountains – there will always be something exciting adventure for you.
With the increasing number of tourists every year, there has been also an increase in accommodation options as well. There are five-star hotels such as The Ritz- Carlton or The Marriott where you can pamper yourself in, or you can find and book a homey place, like Airbnb in Los Angeles, to crash in for the weekend. Either way, you can always find an L. A. vacation trip that best works for you.
Don’t be afraid or even cast doubt on the high – profile scenario in L. A, if you’re a first-time tourist. There are ways in which you can enjoy this wonderful city without breaking your bank account.
Hike to the Hollywood Sign and sightsee at the Griffith Observatory
Try taking a hike up to the instantly recognizable Hollywood Sign if you are up for a little physical challenge with a reward. It has been known as a symbol often equated to ambition and glamour more than just nine pieces of large white letters standing on the hillside. With varying difficulty, you can choose from the three trails – The Mt. Hollywood Trail, the Cahuenga Peak Trail, and the Brush Canyon Trail. If you’re a beginner and just want an easy hike, then take Mt. Hollywood trail which starts at the Griffith Observatory, which is another budget-friendly, must-see place in the area.
The Griffith Observatory is often touted as Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos because of its extensive displays, exhibits, and programs mostly space-related. This observatory is also famous to the tourists due to the close view of the Hollywood Sign and downtown Las Vegas. Visitors can access the observatory and its grounds for free and open for most of the week except on Mondays.
Learn the history at the local museums
There are cultural and historical museums throughout Los Angeles in which most of them are free or just charges a minimum admission fee. You can start with the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, where guests can find fossils of animals in existence during the Ice Age and were then trapped and preserved in the natural tar pits in the area. You can also find out more in their Excavator Tours, where visitors are taken to the fossil lab to see exhumed samples and actual paleontologists workings. There’s also nearby George C. Page Museum that displays and catalogs these fossils after excavation, dating and studying. To visit the tar pits is free while the museum charges 5 to 29 USD for admission.
You can see on the other end of the museum is the spectrum of outdoor exhibits such as “Urban Light”. This is a collection of classic cast – iron lamps mostly from the 1920’s and the 1930’s, an installation exhibit by Chris Burden. While the lamps used are authentic, the bulbs are now switched to LED lamps for better energy efficiency and less environmental footprint.
There are also a couple of museums such as the Hammer Museum, which offer classical artworks by world-renowned masters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet. For something more specific, check out the Travel Town Museum with displays of historic steam locomotives and passenger cars which used to roam the roads of Los Angeles and other major cities in the U.S.
Getting Around the Hollywood and Highland district
You might be excited to go directly to the LA Fashion District, a hundred – block section of downtown Los Angeles and serves as the center stage for the West Coast apparel scene. But wait! You can actually skip the district and head straight to Hollywood & Highland. This is known as a shopping mall and entertainment complex at Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The complex will allow you to see the iconic Hollywood Hills and the Hollywood Sign, as well as a part of the downtown Los Angeles, and the picturesque Santa Monica Mountains.
In here, you can window – shop all you want for free! You can stroll along the length of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and check out more than 2,600 brass stars placed as a testament to members of the entertainment industry – from actors, directors, musicians, producers, even fictional characters.
The Hollywood & Highland is the Dolby Theater is another treat available in the huge complex where you can take one of their guided tours and experience the glamour surrounding in the Academy Awards. You can see an actual Oscar awards statuette as well as watch videos and photos from the previous ceremonies.
Lastly, enjoy music, movies, and live performances!
A taste of the show business life exists virtually everywhere in Los Angeles. You can get a chance to see the up- and- coming comics at the UCB Theater. The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater is an improvisational theater and has to Los Angeles theaters along Franklin Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. You can also see the stage where famous entertainers and comics such as Jason Matzoukas, Aziz Ansari, Tina Fey, and even Donald Glover once performed for buying tickets as low as 5 USD. Aspiring stand- up comedians mostly go here to hone their talents and perform in front of a live audience. But be sure to look around you and you just might find a celebrity together with you on the stage while the performers might be new to the scene.
Check out Amoeba Music in LA for a firsthand experience of the music and film history in the United States. The two-story building traces its roots in Berkeley, California and is now one of the most recognizable independent music chain stores. The Los Angeles branch has a dedicated jazz room, offering rare finds in either CD or even vinyl. The store also hosts free music events open to everyone interested.
There’s another musical treat is the Grammy Museum at L. A. Live. It is an interactive museum devoted to awardees as well as the entire history of the Grammy Awards – awarded for achievements in the field of music. The exhibits include interactive touch screens, and artifacts from previous events such as costumes, musical instruments, and even handwritten lyrics. Admissions are only about 12 USD for an afternoon of fun and educational tours.