… tips from a born and raised valley girl.
Having spent the last year or so living in London and traveling place to place, one of the major patterns I have found, at least concerning international travelers, is that LA isn’t one of the locations they’ve managed to hit. From issues of transportation access to fear of driving in the dreaded LA traffic to the sheer size of the areas you may want to visit, in the end, it all leads to very few people traveling to LA, at least the way they travel to other major hubs.
If you are looking to travel around LA, you should know that cars tend to be king, however, driving is hard if you were not raised in this kind of traffic. Be prepared for honking locals swerving past you and driving faster than you expect to be necessary. If you are looking to drive a rental, be aware that you must be over 25 to rent and that parking in LA can be worse than the traffic on the freeways.
There is a proper Metro system connecting the Hollywood to LA proper but you’ll have to do some research to figure out the system’s reach.
There are some tours you can take (sorry, I can’t recommend any as I’ve never been on an LA tour – again, I’m from here) that will guide you through the major parts of LA’s tourists attractions. But for me, it’s all about mixing in the local color and fan-fair with the bigger attractions.
Places to see:
If you are looking for a beach you can write home about as well as get some of our famous California sunshine, you have a few options.
Venice boardwalk is an extensive boardwalk filled with street artists and funky shops to explore.
Santa Monica beach and Pier are iconic for taking a festive stroll through carnival rides, food booths and games.
Huntington beach is huge for sports, such as volleyball tournaments and draws in the surfers—this is where surf city USA happens every summer. This might also have one of my favorite piers to photograph. Ruby’s dinner is amazing American classic located on the pier and while there aren’t rides out here, it’s absolutely beautiful day or night!
Santa Cruz isn’t where they filmed the vampire cult movie The Lost Boys, but it is the flim’s claim and inspiration. With another expansive pier to explore, you can have some fun while cracking all the vampire jokes you can think of.
For me, it’s all about Zuma—calm, beautiful, and not overrun—however, it’s not action packed. This is one of the many Malibu beaches. If you want a bit more tourist scene, the oldest of the surf competitions happen at proper Malibu beach.
Whenever I am in town, I try to hit a few LA hikes.
There are so many iconic hikes from walking above the Hollywood sign to the climb up to and above the Griffith Observatory—another must see for me with a great view of the city at sunset. Malibu Creek State Park passes through the old MASH filming locations as well as other great sights, just to name a few.
If you are hitting the beach, you should look at some of the beach hikes starting or ending around the beach you are looking to finish at.
Honestly, there are too many individual places to name, but there is pretty much something for anyone, starting near (practically) anywhere you may be staying near.
Just some other stuff to look up beyond the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Disneyland, and the Graumen’s/ TLC Chinese Theatre (which is a movie theatre):
LA Murals are huge right now and they are absolute works of art. Some areas are sketchy but going for a walk in the art districts is well worth the effort. From theatres to museums, there are huge areas to check out near City Hall, such as the new (and super excited for) Broad museum.
And let’s not forget: with the diversity of LA, there are festivals and the like going on for anyone visiting to check out.
To see pretty much of any of these areas—just like in most cities around the world—there are many walking tours you can go out and find.
Los Angeles is an amazing city that I really do recommend visiting if you can. Of course, this is home to me, so I may be a little biased!
Next week’s post will be my last from LA for a few more months, but for now,
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.