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from short trips to traveling the world & living abroad

Los Angeles, California: one of the top cities for many visitors to the USA

The City of Angels, and 3,792,621 more earthly types. What do you do with just two days to sample this sprawling 1,300km2 (503 sq mi) slice of America?

I recently took the two day LA challenge, 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…

I can’t say I’ve fallen in love with this city but it’s well worth a visit and if you are stuck for time at least try to visit some of these highlights:

The Must-Sees on a Short Trip to Los Angeles

1. Santa Monica Pier

must-sees on a short trip to Los Angeles: Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier, used as the setting for so many scenes in movies and a must visit while in LA. 

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

must-sees on a short trip to Los Angeles: Venice Beach Boardwalk - LA, California


Venice Beach and its famous boardwalk are well known around the world for its funky and offbeat vibe.

This 2.5 kilometer boardwalk has a bike path, skateboard ramps, restaurants, sunglasses, and plenty of tourists.

Venice beach is famous for muscle beach, where body builders 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 store fronts 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.

Visit for more info and current events.


3. Hollywood and the Hollywood Walk of Fame

must-sees on a short trip to Los Angeles: Hollywood Walk of Fame - Los Angeles, California


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

What not to miss on a short trip to Los Angeles: 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.

But check out The Sign’s official website for more info.

5. Miracle Mile

must-sees on a short trip to Los Angeles: Miracle Mile - Los Angeles, California


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. Add a bit of culture to your LA visit by stopping at the Miracle Mile.

6. Getty Museum

The must-sees on a short visit to Los Angeles


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

7. Griffith Park & Griffith Observatory

What not to miss on a short trip to Los Angeles: 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 visitors 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

8. The Original Farmers Market

must-sees on a short trip to Los Angeles: Los Angeles 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.

For more info visit

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 LA: 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 car2 Days in LA: The Must-Sees on a Short Trip to Los Angeles, especially if you only have a few days and want to see as much as possible.

Looking for an easy road trip from Los Angeles? Check out What to do on a Weekend Trip to Big Bear Lake

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.” –

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.

A tourist magnet known for its sunny climate, beautiful beaches, and entertainment industry, Los Angeles in recent decades has 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

Also Read: 9 Things to Do on a Family Day Out in Los Angeles

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

Where to stay in Los Angeles - JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot hotel


During my visit to Los Angeles 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

For more information and to book online: JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot

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2 Days in LA: The Must-Sees on a Short Trip to Los Angeles

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.