Are you planning a short visit to Los Angeles or are you looking for what to do in LA for a weekend?
Los Angeles, California is one of the top cities for many visitors to the USA
‘The City of Angels’… What do you do with just two days to sample this sprawling city?
I recently went to LA for the weekend, to at least get a glimpse of the city we all know from so many movies. The city that’s home to Hollywood, Baywatch, and the Playboy Mansion. The city where many dream the American dream while waiting tables and pumping gas…
Over the years I’ve been to LA on several occasions to visit friends and although I’ve never fallen in love with this city (I much prefer San Diego), Los Angeles is well worth a visit and if you are stuck for time at least try to visit some of these highlights:
What to Do in LA – the Must-Sees on a Short Trip
1. Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier, used as the setting for so many scenes in movies, is definitely a must-visit in Los Angeles.
When one thinks of Santa Monica, the famous pier with its iconic red and yellow Ferris Wheel inevitably comes to mind. The Pier offers quite a decent amusement park, combined with plenty of restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops.
If you have some time to spare walk to the Third Street Promenade which is a nice retail, dining and entertainment area with a lovely atmosphere.
For more information check out Downtown Santa Monica’s website
2. Venice Beach Boardwalk
Venice Beach and its famous boardwalk are well known around the world for its funky and offbeat vibe.
This 1.5 mile (2.5 kilometer) boardwalk has a bike path, skateboard ramps, restaurants, sunglasses, and plenty of tourists.
Venice beach is famous for muscle beach, where bodybuilders strut and invariably get mentioned in LA guides…
On the west side of the “walk” are hundreds of street vendors and performers. You can see everything from break-dancing to broken glass walking.
The Westside offers unique arts and crafts and on the Eastside you find the storefronts of the boardwalk. Here you will find every sort of t-shirt under the sun plus tattoo and piercing stores, skate and surf shops, medical marijuana dispensaries and more. This is all in addition to the large selection of restaurants, juice spots, and bars.
If you are looking for what to do in LA for a weekend, Venice Beach definitely is a good option.
Visit LAParks.org for more information about Venice Beach.
Tip: If you love the beach and a laid-back vibe, consider a day trip to Catalina Island
3. Hollywood and the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Although it has declined from its peak glamour days, especially around the fabled Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, Hollywood is still the site of such show business shrines as the Walk of Fame and the trendy Melrose Avenue shopping district.
And it therefore deserves to be on this list of places to visit, even if you only have 2 days in LA.
The Walk of Fame, “Where the Stars are Immortalized”, comprises more than 2,500 stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. It’s overrun by tourists but it is one of these things you just have to see while in LA…
Hollywood is well known for its great nightlife so if you have time to fit in a visit to a trendy club or a happening bar, spend an evening here!
The area known as the Westside, located between Hollywood and the coast, is a more upmarket area and home to such glamorous neighborhoods as Beverly Hills and Bel Air. It is also the site of the famous Rodeo Drive shopping area.
4. The Hollywood Sign
Fun fact: the Hollywood Sign, the worldwide symbol of the entertainment industry, was actually created as an outdoor ad campaign for a suburban housing development called “Hollywoodland”.
The sign overlooks Hollywood and again it is just one of those things you have to see while in Los Angeles…
It’s actually illegal to get close to the Sign, which is set behind restricting gates and protected by security cameras and Park Rangers. And even though the sign is 45-feet (almost 14 meters) tall, it is quite difficult to get a good shot of it. Some say around 3000 Canyon Lake Drive is the best place to see the Hollywood sign.
Or, if you are looking for a unique experience, book a helicopter tour that will take you right over the Hollywood sign for an incredible view!
5. Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile is a stretch on Wilshire Blvd, home to four major Los Angeles museums: LA County Museum of Art, La Brea Tar Pits (Page Museum), Craft and Folk Art Museum, and Petersen’s Auto Museum.
If you want to add a bit of culture to your 2 days in LA then you should definitely visit the Miracle Mile.
6. Getty Museum
The J. Paul Getty Museum, commonly referred to as The Getty, is an art museum housed on two campuses: the Getty Center and the Getty Villa.
The Getty Center is in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and is the primary location of the museum. The collection features Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. Its estimated 1.3 million visitors annually make it one of the most visited museums in the United States.
The museum’s second location, the Getty Villa, is in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood and displays art from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
For more information visit The Getty’s official website
Tip: if you really want to know everything about the Getty museum you can book a private Getty museum tour with an expert guide
7. Griffith Park & Griffith Observatory
Griffith Park is a large municipal park. It has been referred to as the Central Park of Los Angeles but is much larger, more untamed, and rugged than its New York City counterpart.
It holds the Griffiths Observatory where you can look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign.
For more information visit Griffithobservatory.org
8. The Original Farmers Market
The Farmers Market is an area of food stalls, sit-down eateries, prepared food vendors, and produce markets.
First opened in July 1934, it is also a historic Los Angeles landmark and I’d highly recommend stopping here for lunch or a snack.
Thanks to LA’s ethnic diversity you can taste food from all over the world here! It’s definitely one of my favorite places to visit when I go to LA for the weekend
For more information go to Farmersmarketla.com
LA in 2 Days – Tips to Save Time & Money
Los Angeles is a big city, things are quite spread out and LA traffic can get pretty bad!
If you are only in LA for the weekend or for a short visit, I’d recommend checking out these 3 things:
- LA in a Day – This is a tour of the highlights of Los Angeles which includes transport and ‘skip the line’ options to get to the main attractions quicker. They have great guides and just make your visit to the must visit places in Los Angeles a lot more convenient!
- The Go Los Angeles Card: If you are planning to visit several attractions this card will save you a lot of money! The card gives you free entrance to 35 of Los Angeles’ top tours and attractions plus discounts and special offers on shopping, dining, and other activities.
- LA’s Hop-On Hop-Off Bus: If you don’t feel like driving in LA’s crazy traffic, the hop-on hop-off bus is a great option. It takes you to Beverly Hills, Hollywood, around downtown Los Angeles and to Santa Monica Pier, so that you can visit all the main sites conveniently and at your own pace.
LA Events, Tours & Attractions
LA is worth visiting year-round but if you do happen to be there during a movie premiere then so much the better!
Or look into attending one of LA’s many events. To find out what’s happening in Los Angeles while you are there check out these websites:
There really is a lot to do in LA and it can all add up quickly. But, you can find a lot of discounts as well. If you are looking for discount tickets for tours and attractions in and around Los Angeles I recommend checking out this website
One Final Tip For Any Visit to Los Angeles: Rent a Car!
A common complaint about Los Angeles is that it’s so big and spread out and it feels like it goes on FOREVER!
So, do as the Americans do: drive. Rent a car, especially if you only have a few days in LA and want to see as much as possible.
Looking for an easy road trip from Los Angeles? Check out What to Do in Big Bear for a Perfect Short Trip
About Los Angeles, California
“Los Angeles is the land of delusions. You can live your life thinking you’re the best invention since sliced bread and no one will question your self-importance.” – Thoughtcatalog.com
Los Angeles has long been known as a city of dreams, a place for the dispossessed or disillusioned to start over and rebuild their lives. In the course of the twentieth century it grew to be the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City.
LA is a tourist magnet known for its sunny climate, beautiful beaches, and entertainment industry. But, in recent decades the city has also experienced the downside of urban expansion, with its air pollution, traffic congestion, and racial and ethnic tensions.
Yet the city remains a colorful, thriving metropolis working to overcome the problems of suburban sprawl…
Situated in Southern California, Los Angeles is one of only two U.S. cities without a majority population. People from 140 countries, speaking approximately 86 different languages, currently call Los Angeles home.
The city has a population of around 4 million and attracts over 44 million tourists per year.
L.A., a crazy city where it seems to be all about looking healthy, refreshed and athletic. Juice cleanses, exercising, the perfect tan and the perfect plastic surgery…
But, with all its craziness this unique American city is well worth a visit!
“In New York, you’re only allowed to be an asshole if you’re interesting. You have to earn the privilege of behaving like a dick. In Los Angeles, however, you can just be a dick. No funny jokes or good personality needed!” – Ryan O’Connell
Want to See More of California?
Check out my other articles about where to go and what to do in California
Hotel Review: JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot
When I was last in LA for the weekend I stayed at JW Marriott’s Santa Monica Le Marigot hotel. It’s a hotel worth mentioning and I will therefore share my review.
Hotel Rooms: the rooms are spacious, very comfortable, clean and well maintained, with a good quality bed. Many offer a good view of Santa Monica beach.
Hotel Facilities: the hotel has a good gym, a spa and a nice lobby. Both the bar and the restaurant offer outdoor seating which, with the perfect Californian weather, is a great extra. Too bad the layout and walls around the property take away most of the sea view while seated on the terrace.
Hotel Location: absolutely perfect! With it’s direct access to Santa Monica Beach and short walk from the Santa Monica Pier it’s hard to beat this location.
Hotel Value: with prices starting around $300 per night this hotel isn’t cheap. But then you do get an amazing location and a comfortable hotel with good facilities and friendly staff. You pay extra for parking and in-room internet (unless you are a Marriott member) which at the hotel rates they charge I find a shame.
Overall rating: 8/10
If you are looking for where to stay in Los Angeles and want a comfortable hotel at a great location, JW Marriott’s Santa Monica Le Marigot hotel is definitely a good option.
For more information and to book online: JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot
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