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The Ultimate Travel Guide To Los Angeles & Southern California

The vast, sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles is the largest city in California. If that wasn’t big enough, the “City of Angels” even ranks as the second-largest city in the US, painting a clear picture of just how seriously big this place is. What LA looked like before Hollywood shot this part of the country to global fame is an entirely different realm; the city and its surrounding regions have undergone a complete transformation into a substantial urban hub filled with a diversity of attractions, neighborhoods, activities, and people.

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More notably, the city is famed for being favored by movie stars, hopeful actors, musicians, budding artists (and plenty of surfers), and is thus a hive of the arts and comes with a booming social scene (and a ton of traffic, too) to match its electric, trendy vibe.

While Los Angeles is a place where dreams come true for many, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Some can’t get enough of the place; others can’t stand it. A lot of people — visitors and residents alike — claim it’s far too big and expensive, which does put many off from ever visiting. However, those who know how to plan a trip to LA, where to go, what to do and see, and where to stay will find it’s a top destination in California for tourists — not just residents.

Related: 12 Unique Stops To Make On A Road Trip From LA To San Diego

When wondering what part of California to visit, Los Angeles always comes top. However, the key to the ultimate LA vacation is to take it at one’s own pace and remove the pressure of trying to tick every tourist track off the list. As a place designed for enjoying life’s pleasures, from eating and drinking to lounging on the beach and dancing the night away, a getaway to LA will show tourists that life is for living — but only if they go to the right places.

To help aspiring visitors have the time of their lives and experience the unique magic oozing from this city’s every nook and cranny, this ultimate guide to Los Angeles, California, goes through everything they’d ever need to know: top LA attractions, where to stay, eat, and how much a vacation to LA costs.


What Are The Top Attractions In Los Angeles?

Cars crossing the intersection at Venice Beach in LA while pedestrians walk by
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The top attractions in LA range from budget-friendly to high-end purse string pullers.

From shopping, partying, hiking, and checking out famous LA landmarks to beach lounging, surfing, and wining and dining, there are so many things to do in LA that visitors could easily spend several weeks exploring and still run out of time.

Still, whether one has a weekend in LA or a few months, some of the best things to do in Los Angeles include the following:

Spend The Day At Venice Beach

Venice Beach is one of the best beaches in California ranked by surf. It’s just as popular among swimmers, sports lovers, and beach loungers as surfers, too, which is no surprise, given that it’s an all-around eventful stretch of shoreline with a lot going on.

In between all the surgery, skaters, and street performers, visitors can watch entertaining street basketball games, gaze at street art, and eat and drink to their hearts’ content at the diverse restaurants lining the beach.

Although Venice Beach is an amazing spot to spend the day, it does get crowded in peak season and on weekends, so it’s not recommended for those looking for privacy, peace, and quiet.

Huntington Beach, Playa del Rey, and Redondo Beach are also some of the best beaches in LA. Also, Abbot Kinney Blvd is close to Venice Beach, which offers even more restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, and interesting (and often quirky) businesses to check out.

Plus, Abbot Kinney Boulevard’s First Friday event is the best time to go; as its name suggests, it takes place on the first Friday of every month, when food trucks and live music performances move in and create a fun, flamboyant and flavorful atmosphere.

Check Out The Getty Museum

  • Getty Museum Price: Free to enter (but parking costs $20)
  • Closed on Mondays

The Getty Museum houses an expansive art collection — its works predominately consist of pre-twentieth-century European pieces along with nineteenth and twentieth-century European and American photography.

Among its many masterpieces by renowned creatives, the establishment even features work by Van Gogh, Gauguin, and many other legendary artists.

First opened in 1997, the museum’s exteriors are just as impressive, with its gardens, gorgeous architecture, and stunning city views

Stroll Down Hollywood Boulevard

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Photo by Aman on Unsplash

A street sign on Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard is an iconic LA landmark, where street performers put on a constant show and tourists from all over the world stroll along the sidewalks.

This spot is also home to one of the most famous attractions in LA: the Walk of Fame, where over 2,700 celebrities’ handprints and footprints are on show for all to marvel at and take photos.

Explore Downtown LA

Downtown Los Angeles has always been a popular area, but in recent years, it’s received new additions that have made this part of the city an even busier place with lots to experience.

One such addition is a pedestrian center, which boasts concert halls, theaters, museums, and plenty of new restaurants.

Of course, no visit downtown would be complete without checking out LA’s Grand Central Market. Boasting dozens upon dozens of the best food vendors in LA, there are so many options for grub comprising cuisines from all over the world.

Visit Griffith Park

Griffith Park offers excellent picnicking and hiking; its lovely trails head to Mulholland Drive and provide beautiful views of the city. However, hikes aren’t the only activity popular in this park.

Visitors can enjoy the Autry Western Museum, the LA zoo, the Griffith Observatory, a golf course, a driving range, and even pony rides.

Spanning 4,310 acres, the park also houses abundant wildlife, including coyotes, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and more to look out for.

Take A Tour Of Universal Studios Hollywood

The archway and gated entrance at Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles
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  • Universal Studios Hollywood one-day ticket price is $109. The two-day pass starts at $149

Universal Studios Hollywood is the world’s only combined movie studio and theme park. The famed Studio Tour is a popular pastime, which only lasts an hour but grants an exclusive, behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Hollywood.

This tour even lets participants see real movie sets from well-known flicks, such as Peter Jackson’s King Kong, the plane crash scene from War of the Worlds, cars from Fast and Furious, and the Bates Hotel from Psycho.

As for the amusement park side of the complex, there’s Jurassic World, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, numerous special effects shows, and so much more.

Related: 10 Beaches To Visit In Los Angeles Before Summer Is Over

Go Wild At Disneyland

  • Disneyland Anaheim tickets start at $104

Located in Anaheim, Orange County, just outside of Los Angeles, Disneyland is the place to be if travelers wish to enjoy being a kid again. Rivaling Florida’s theme parks, such as Disney and Universal Studios, this is the West Coast’s answer to the biggest amusement parks in the Sunshine State.

The complex packs in so many rides and attractions, with popular rides including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its Rise of the Resistance ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Indiana Jones Adventure.

While it’s around an hour and a half from LA, Disneyland in Anaheim is worth the venture if visitors are searching for some serious family-friendly fun and to let their inner child go wild.

Additionally, if traveling to the park from LAX, a Disneyland LAX shuttle operates the route (costing $85 for the first passenger and $10 for every extra person), affording park-goers the utmost convenience logistics-wise.

Party On Sunset Boulevard

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Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

The sunset behind a street sign for Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard first started life as a commuter route between the star-stuffed neighborhoods and all the film studios in and around Hollywood. Now, it’s more than that; it’s one of the most famous streets in the world, stretching from downtown to the ocean.

Moreover, Sunset Blvd passes through the world-famous Sunset Strip, with no lack of movie studios and trendy beaches along the way.

This place is a top spot for celebrity spotting, too; simply driving through and excitedly keeping an eye out for famous faces is a fun activity in itself,

Visit Santa Monica Pier

Constructed in 1909, The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most famous spots in LA and promises a fun few hours for all the family.

Located right on the beach, this spot boasts a vibrant, energized carnival vibe and is chock-full of rides, food stalls, arcade and carnival games, and plenty of shops.

Explore Santa Monica Pier to see precisely why this long-loved spot in Los Angeles has remained a local and tourist favorite for years.

Explore The Historic Old Town PasadenaThe City Hall building in the Old Town of Pasadena, Los Angeles

The old downtown Pasadena is only around ten minutes from Los Angeles. Extending 22 blocks, the pedestrian area is a National Register Historic District (under the National Register of Historic Places) and offers myriads of restaurants and boutique stores. It’s also fantastic for nightlife and is pretty popular among LA’s young people who come for a night out on the town.

Though fashionable youngsters enjoy this area, it’s enjoyed by all ages and remains a great hang-out spot, dining destination, and shopping hub.

Related: This Is The Best Beach Route To Skate In Los Angeles

Visit Huntington Library

  • Huntington Library ticket price: $20 (note that Huntington Library tickets cost $29 on weekends)
  • Huntington Library hours: 10 am – 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Situated nearby Pasadena, this library looks elaborately beautiful from the outside and in, with its ornate architecture, sublime interiors, as well as its magnificent gardens — which include Chinese and Japanese gardens (the latter worthy of being one of the most tranquil Japanese gardens in the US to visit in spring).

Of course, this isn’t merely a breathtaking building with exquisite grounds; it’s an enriching establishment overflowing with knowledge. In fact, the library houses some super rare, valuable books, one being a copy of The Canterbury Tales from the fifteenth century, as well as a fourteenth-century Gutenberg Bible in the main exhibition hall.

Go Hiking

Running and hiking trails in LA are abundant; however, one of the most famous among residents and tourists is Runyon Canyon.

This area offers plenty of marked trails, with some of the easiest for beginners, including Fryman Canyon Park (2.5 miles), Los Liones Trail (3.5 miles), and Caballero Canyon (3.4 miles).

View The World-Famous Hollywood Sign

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

A view of Hollywood from behind/above the Hollywood sign

Visitors can hike to the iconic Hollywood sign via Griffith Park trails, which are open during daylight hours from sunrise to sunset.

Three trails (which take around a couple of hours or so) lead hikers to the sign, with the easiest being the Mt Hollywood Trail, followed by the Brush Canyon Trail and the Cahuenga Peak Trail, which are a little more strenuous.

The effort is worth it, though; panoramic views of Hollywood can be enjoyed from the sign — and, for that reason, the best time to visit the Hollywood sign is said to be sunset.

Feed The Mind At The California Science Center

  • California Science Center ticket price: Free (but parking costs between $15 and $20)

The family-friendly California Science Center is a treasure trove of educational exhibits covering a wealth of different niches. From space and aviation to biology, nature, and ecosystems (with river, forest, and island habitat exhibitions), guests can enjoy feeding their brains and eyes at this fascinating center of knowledge and research.

Although entry is free of charge, special exhibits and IMAX movies do require payment — usually anywhere from $10 to $20.

Related: A Flight To The Stars: Take This Celebrity-Themed Helicopter Ride Over Hollywood

Party In Echo Park And Silver LakeCars driving along a palm tree-lined road with the Hollywood Sign in the distant background

Echo Park, Silver Lake, and the adjacent neighborhood of Los Feliz offer a constant party. These parts of Los Angeles are known for their hipster culture, trendy dive bars, and cool dining outlets that make for an awesome night on the town.

If partying sounds a little too much, though, visitors might enjoy a relaxing paddle boat ride on the lake instead.

Visit The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The LACMA is the largest museum in the western United States and contains a humongous collection of artworks, including modern art and older masterpieces by coveted artists, such as Rembrandt (which the highlights in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum also include), Ansel Adams, Magritte, and Cézanne.

In addition, the museum houses ancient works from all across the globe, including Roman, Greek, and Egyptian sculptures.

Visit The Grammy Museum

  • Grammy Museum ticket price: $18

Exhibitions, interactive experiences, costumes, movie artifacts, and a roster of films await at the famous Grammy Museum, which takes visitors through the entire timeline of the music industry and its history, along with previous Grammy winners’ career stories.

How Much Does A Trip To Los Angeles Cost?

The Los Angeles cityscape with palm trees and buildings amid a hazy sunset/sunrise sky
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According to ChampionTraveler, the average price for a week spent in Los Angeles is just under $2,000 for a solo traveler, while that total sits at a little over $3,500 for a couple, and $6,700 for a family of four.

On average, hotels in Los Angeles range from $70 to $300 a night, and most vacation rentals are priced at anything from $250 to just over $1000 per night for a full home.

Up next, the following sections offer a deeper insight into the costs of visiting Los Angeles, from hostel and budget hotel prices to food and drink and backpacking estimates.

LA Hostel Prices

The prices of hostels in LA vary, depending on which part of the city visitors stay in. Fortunately, prices don’t fluctuate too much throughout the year, but they aren’t on the cheap side — yes, even for a hostel.

Dorm rooms in LA range from $30 to $50 as a starting point and can even be as high as $80 to $100 for those on the more upmarket side. A basic private hostel room with an ensuite bathroom is typically priced at around $80 to $120 a night, with most offering free Wi-Fi and a shared kitchen area for self-catering.

LA Budget Hotel Prices

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Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

View out of the Line Hotel in Los Angeles

The average budget two-star hotel room in LA costs roughly $100 a night. These rooms are very basic but comfortable, usually including free Wi-Fi, a TV, and air-conditioning.

Airbnb Prices in LA

Travelers who prefer Airbnbs are in luck; there are plenty of Airbnbs in Los Angeles to suit all budgets.

A basic private Airbnb room on the lower end starts at about $85 to $95 a night, while vacation rental homes and apartments can be booked for around $150 to $180 per night at a starting point.

However, these prices can double if booked last minute; therefore, reserving Airbnbs well in advance is a must in order to save big bucks.

Related: Adrenaline Junkies Only: 10 Bold Things To Do In Los Angeles

Food Prices in LA

Los Angeles is a foodie’s heaven! Luckily, even for travelers on a budget, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get affordable and good street food in LA. This city is where food trucks, street vendors, and unique eateries proliferate, so options are seemingly endless.

Plenty of street grub and fast food options can be found for under $10; for example, hungry visitors can bag a hearty sandwich or a McDonald’s for around $10 or tacos for $3 to $6.

As for restaurants, laid-back, casual dining outlets charge around $15 to $20 for a main course, while a three-course sit-down meal will range from $55 to $80, depending on the establishment.

When it comes to drinks, beer costs approximately $8 to $10, bottled water costs around $2 to $3, and coffee will be around $5. Travelers who don’t eat out and prefer to cook instead will find they’ll spend between $50 to $90 a week on groceries, which will be enough for essential items like rice, pasta, bread, vegetables, and affordable meats.

Los Angeles Backpacker Budget

Backpacking in Los Angeles is a popular option among travelers exploring the West Coast.

On a low-end budget, travelers can expect to spend between $70 to $80 a day, which should cover a basic hostel dorm room, cooking for oneself (no dining out or drinking), public transportation, and free LA attractions and activities, such as exploring hiking trails and visiting beaches.

Related: Follow These Tips To Have A Non-Touristy Los Angeles Vacation

A mid-tier budget for LA is around $200 a day, which includes more comfortable accommodation in a private hostel room or an Airbnb.

This budget level also enables travelers to dine out for most meals, have a few drinks, utilize a taxi or two, and enjoy some of the pay-for activities in LA, such as attending Disneyland for the day, visiting LA museums, or catching a theater show or a concert.

A high-end budget for LA will be at least $400 a day. For this amount daily, travelers can stay in a hotel, eat and drink out anywhere they please, take taxis or rent a vehicle, and sample all the activities, attractions, and tours in LA they so desire.

Still, this budget is only the low end of the high end; a heftier daily budget will get travelers even greater luxury and experiences.

Where To Stay In Los Angeles

California's Santa Monica Pier and beach lit up as the sun sets
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Ultimately, the top LA neighborhoods to stay in truly depends on travelers’ preferences, style, what they intend to do and see, their budget, and also each area itself in terms of what it offers.

With those factors in mind, here’s an in-depth rundown of some of the most famous neighborhoods and best places to stay in LA, along with accommodation suggestions for each based on three budget levels: budget, mid-range, and luxury.

What Are The Best Hostels In LA?

Before getting into the best places to stay in LA in each neighborhood, knowing some of the top hostels in LA is ideal for backpackers since most are on a tight budget.

For folks looking to stretch their funds without skimping on a good time, checking out the best hostels for backpackers in SoCal (top-rated SoCal hostels, at that) is a wise idea.

Related: The Ultimate List Of Dos & Don’ts When Staying In A Hostel

On the other hand, the following list of top-rated hostels in LA is based on traveler needs and preferences — which one sounds ideal for that dream trip in the City of Angeles?

What Are The Best LA Neighborhoods To Stay In?

The famous shopping streets of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
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Best Place To Stay In LA For The Celebrity Experience: Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills translates to rich and famous; it’s the home of many of the world’s A-listers, so it’s no surprise some of the USA’s most luxurious hotels, mansions, and restaurants bustle in this globally famed neighborhood.

Even if travelers don’t stay in Beverly Hills, visiting Rodeo Drive lets everyone feel like a celeb for the day and walk among the one percent; this spot is lined with some of the world’s most expensive luxury stores and boutiques, which command a pretty penny but, of course, don’t cost anything to look around.

If visitors dream of staying in Beverly Hills — no matter their budget — there are a few options:

Related: 10 Super Unique Los Angeles Hotels To Book

Best Place To Stay In LA For Budget Travelers: Venice Beach

Venice Beach is the beach destination in LA, where miles of wide-open sandy shores beckon sun-chasers and surfers. The area’s iconic promenade also makes the place an incredible day out, flanked by shops and stalls selling all kinds of goodies, from food and souvenirs to clothing, trinkets, and gifts.

As one of the top spots in LA for tourists (and residents, too), Venice Beach and its promenade are also stocked with hotels and hostels to suit all budgets and preferences.

With that in mind, the following options offer some of the best accommodations in Venice Beach:

Best Place For First-Time Visitors In LA (For The Quintessential Hollywood Experience): West Hollywood

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

West Hollywood at night

West Hollywood is the epitome of Los Angeles as it’s portrayed in the movies.

Most visitors whose experience of LA comes from the big screen will resonate with this part of California, with its famous Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, the Walk of Fame, movie studios, and streets decorated with palm trees all under the LA sun.

This part of the city isn’t the most affordable; however, it’s perfect for first-time visitors seeking the signature Los Angeles experience, as it’s central to almost anything and everything tourists want to do and see during their vacation. Here are some of the best places to stay in West Hollywood:

Best Place To Stay In LA For Families: Santa Monica

Nestled by the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica is the perfect family-friendly destination in Los Angeles and is often considered one of the safest areas.

The gorgeous beach makes for the ideal day out, enjoying water activities and sunbathing, while the nearby pier offers even more entertainment, such as stalls and amusement park rides.

Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade is also a fun place to check out; it comprises numerous blocks of pedestrian streets full of restaurants, coffee shops, and all kinds of shops and stalls. The following picks are some of the best places to stay in Santa Monica:

Best Place To Stay In LA For The Arts And Culture: Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles (sometimes referred to as DTLA) used to be off the tourist map; synonymous with crime and the home of the infamous skid row, it was a troubled part of the city and remained a no-go for the most part. There wasn’t much to do or see in this part of LA, either, which didn’t help its appeal.

However, over the last couple of decades, LA’s downtown has undergone an overhaul and transformed its reputation. Now, it offers an array of fancy hotels, trendy cafés and restaurants, epic cocktail bars, and popular artistic establishments — such as The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Broad Museum, and the Disney Hall concert venue.

If nightlife, the arts, and culture are of focus, then downtown LA deserves a chance to impress. For those interested, here are some of the best places to stay in downtown LA:

Related: 8 Things You Shouldn’t Miss When Visiting Los Angeles

How To Get Around In Los Angeles

The Los Angeles cityscape and palm trees illuminated on a clear evening just after sunset
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Public Transport

The Los Angeles Metro is one of the most accessible and affordable ways of getting around LA. The service includes rail and bus services, with tickets costing just $1.75 one-way.

Travelers would do well to get a TAP card; these cards work by loading funds onto them, which can then be used to pay for all LAM buses and trains.

Additionally, people intending to use bus or train services more than once in a single day can save by getting a day pass, allowing a full day of rides at one flat fee of $3.50.

There’s also a week-long pass available, costing $12.50 and allowing unlimited rides for seven days, whereas the 30-day pass permits the same for 30 days.

The LAM also offers buses from LAX to downtown and Hollywood, which are priced at around $9.75 one-way.

Taxi

Taxis in LA can be very challenging to hail, which is why many residents and visitors use the Curb app to book a cab in advance. Also, taxi rides are based on meter prices, which usually start at around $4 and add around $3 per mile.

Given that everything in LA is spread out and requires a relatively long drive (by city standards), and traffic is a nightmare, taxis are expensive and not best suited for budget travelers.

Uber And Lyft

Many LA locals and visitors opt for Uber and Lyft ridesharing instead, as they’re significantly lower in price.

This option is ideal for those who wish to get around quite easily for a fairer price but without having to take a bus or expensive taxi.

Bike Rental

Traffic is horrendous in the city, so bike rental for those staying in places like downtown is not recommended. However, for visitors staying in and exploring the coastal areas of LA, hopping on a bike can be a great way to do so at their leisure while enjoying the sea breeze and getting some exercise (and getting around at a low cost).

Renting a bike in LA can cost anything from $30 to $40 a day; however, the LA Metro Bike Share program is another option that’s very reasonably priced.

For $5 a day, people can rent a bike if each ride is less than 30 minutes. Also, even without the day pass, one 30-minute ride costs $1.75, with every additional 30 minutes thereafter costing just $1.75.

Car Rental

As mentioned, almost everything in Los Angeles is widely spread out. Therefore, travelers hoping to explore the area and check out as many attractions as possible without spending a small fortune on taxis may enjoy the experience more (and save a lot) with a car rental.

On average, car rental in LA costs from $50 to $75 per day. However, parking, especially in the busier parts, can be a gargantuan headache; parking lots and spaces are very limited and notoriously expensive.

With that in mind, apps like ParkMe and BestParking can be helping for locating parking spots in and around downtown LA, Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Hollywood.

Where To Eat In Los Angeles

The busy food and grocery stalls of Grand Central Market in Los Angeles
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Determining the best places to eat in LA really depends on where visitors stay, their preferences, and their budgets. No matter where people stay, restaurants, cafés, diners, food stalls, and street food vendors do what they do best: serve up mouthwatering delights.

For the ultimate global culinary experience in LA, it doesn’t get much better than neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and the mega foodie hub Koreatown.

Still, each part of Los Angeles offers its own top spots catering to various budgets while offering delicious cuisine, from hearty American to all kinds of flavorful delicacies from around the world.

Related: Top 12 Gluten-Free Restaurants In Los Angeles

Because selecting the best restaurants in LA would entail hundreds all spread out across its vastness, the following food-rich sections take the easier, convenient approach suited to all budgets and tastes; they cover top-rated restaurants in Los Angeles based on reviews on Tripadvisor.

Where To Eat Breakfast In LA

Breakfast in LA is the most important meal of the day, much like everywhere else in the US! As such, food joints in the City of Angeles specializing in delicious, hearty breakfasts abound.

Here are several top-rated restaurants in LA for breakfast and brunch, each offering affordable and mid-to-higher-end options:

  • Porto’s Bakery and Cafe ($)
  • The Cow’s End Cafe ($)
  • Toast Bakery Café ($$-$$$)
  • Cafe Gratitude Venice ($$-$$$) — also good for lunch
  • Brent’s Deli Northridge ($$-$$$)
  • Russell’s American ($$-$$$)
  • Joan’s on Third Quick Bites ($$-$$$)
  • Tiago Coffee Bar & Kitchen ($$-$$$) — also good for lunch
  • Gjusta Quick Bites ($$-$$$)
  • Pitchoun! Bakeries ($$-$$$)

Related: Best Must-Do Activities In Los Angeles Only Known By Locals

Where To Eat Lunch In LA

Like with breakfast, lunch in LA is an event, and there’s no lack of restaurants and cafes dishing out delectable lunches. With varying cuisines on offer, all catering to different budgets, here are a handful of top-rated restaurants in LA for lunch, according to Tripadvisor:

  • Carney’s Restaurant ($)
  • Philippe the Original ($)
  • Tocaya – Venice ($)
  • Langer’s ($$-$$$)
  • Brent’s Deli Northridge ($$-$$$)
  • Lemonade American ($$-$$$)
  • Gjelina Mexican ($$-$$$) — Michelin star restaurant
  • Din Tai Fung ($$-$$$)
  • Raffaello Ristorante ($$-$$$) — also good for dinner
  • Bottega Louie ($$-$$$)
  • Republique ($$-$$$) — Michelin star restaurant
  • Alcove Cafe & Bakery ($$-$$$)

Where To Eat Dinner In LA

When it’s time for dinner — whether light bites or a three-course date night — these top-rated LA restaurants on Tripadvisor come with glowing reviews and serve up various cuisines.

  • Pampas Grill ($)
  • Bib Gourmand ($$-$$$) — Michelin star restaurant
  • Maccheroni Republic ($$-$$$)
  • Langer’s ($$-$$$)
  • Sushi Gen ($$-$$$)
  • The Luggage Room Pizzeria ($$-$$$)
  • Aliki’s Greek Taverna ($$-$$$)
  • Houston’s ($$-$$$)
  • Angelini Osteria ($$-$$$) — Michelin star restaurant
  • n/naka ($$$$) —Two Michelin stars
  • Providence ($$$$) — Two Michelin stars
  • Magic Castle ($$$$)

Related: Los Angeles To Santa Barbara: The Ultimate Trip Itinerary

When Is The Best Time Visit Los Angeles?

A birdseye view of Santa Monica Beach in LA with pedestrians, sunbathers, and swimmers on the sands
TierneyMJ via Shutterstock

m season in Los Angeles is summer — when rainfall is minimal, and temperatures reach 85 °F (30 °C) and higher on scorching days. During the summer sun and heat, everyone flocks to the beaches, which can become somewhat crowded.

Popular LA attractions also get pretty packed with people in summer, while flight and accommodation prices also increase due to heightened demand.

That’s why booking an LA summer vacation well in advance is crucial if travelers wish to save significant cash and not risk missing out on popular activities and attractions.

Although summer is considered the best time to visit LA because of the weather, the crowds can be too much for some travelers. If that’s the case, timing a trip during the shoulder seasons might be a better option.

March to May and again from September to November are great months to go to LA; the weather is still warm and sunny but without the sweltering, sticky heat — temperatures range between 69 and 80 °F (21 to 27 °C), and rain is still at a minimum. Plus, LA doesn’t normally suffer from the hordes of tourists during these months.

As for the coldest (highs of around 68 °F/21 °C) and quietest month, December takes the baton. However, there are barely any crowds during this time, and accommodation prices are much lower.

What To Know Before Going To Los Angeles: LA Money Saving Tips

Surfers on a Los Angeles beach sitting on a walkway while holding their surfboards as the sun sets behind them
oneinchpunch via Shutterstock

Visitors to Los Angeles will say one thing: it can be really expensive. Naturally, it’s bound to be pricey; many of the world’s rich and famous live in this part of the state.

Still, despite many price tags for most things being astronomically high, it is possible to enjoy an LA trip on a budget.

Indeed, the City of Angels isn’t just for famous faces with deep pockets and plush bank accounts — and the following cost-saving tips help prove that.

Buy a Go City Los Angeles Card

The Go City All-Inclusive Los Angeles Card is the ultimate money-saving hack for visitors hoping to do as much sightseeing as possible.

The card offers intense discounts on many dozens of LA museums, attractions, tours, and experiences, enabling tourists to visit as many attractions as they like over one day or up to seven days.

The pass is designed to save people a lot of money (hundreds of dollars, in fact) compared to purchasing separate tickets for all the different attractions and experiences available.

A one-day pass is $99 for adults and $76 for children, while other passes ranging from two to seven days are also available (the most expensive seven-day pass costs $374 for adults and $332 for kids).

Don’t Shop, Drink, Or Dine In Celebrity Hotspots

While walking down the world-famous streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills to partake in some celebrity spotting is free, the stores, bars, and dining outlets in these areas are eye-wateringly expensive.

As such, travelers on a strict budget should avoid spending their funds in these parts — even though it’s incredibly tempting!

Try Couch-Surfing

Accommodation in LA is expensive, which is why many budget travelers seek out couch-surfing opportunities instead. Couch-surfing entails staying with a local host (usually for free) who also shows their guest around the city.

Sure, the free place to crash for the night is super handy for travelers on a tight budget, but having a local guide in a vast city like LA is even better.

Many couch-surfing hosts offer accommodation in LA; sites like Couchsurfing.com are great information resources and help facilitate this genius type of hospitality that opens up a costly vacation destination like Los Angeles to travelers with shorter purse strings (and, naturally, appeases those who are sociable and looking to meet with locals and make friends).

Rideshare

Instead of expensive taxis or waiting around for scheduled public transportation, ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are cheaper alternatives. They are excellent for getting around LA without breaking the bank or sacrificing comfort.

Related: If You’re Visiting Any Cali Museums, It Should Be These Two

Overall, Los Angeles and its unique neighborhoods are one of the must-visit places in California. No trip to the West Coast would be complete without checking out this legendary part of the Golden State, which many only ever get to know through movies and TV shows.

Still, LA is huge, expensive, and can be bewildering for the unprepared tourist. However, sticking to this LA travel guide, studying top tips for first-timers in Los Angeles, and preparing well ahead of that dream vacation exploring one of the most iconic, famous parts of the United States is sure to make the trip one to remember!

FAQ

Q: What are the most famous attractions in LA?

There are many famous attractions in Los Angeles, but the most famous are the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Huntington Library, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures Studios, and Warner Bros.

Q: What is the number one attraction in LA?

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is undoubtedly the most iconic and popular tourist attraction in Los Angeles. Located on Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street, this attraction documents stars throughout American entertainment history, with the first famous name plaques being laid in 1958.

Q: What is the best neighborhood in LA?

The question of LA’s best neighborhood is tricky to answer — it depends on each traveler’s preference, circumstances, itinerary, and budget. However, in terms of centrality, things to do and see, popular attractions, and proximity to other neighborhoods, West Hollywood is hard to beat. This area is an energized hive of action with a lot going on — plus, beaches, Downtown, Beverly Hills, and many other famous LA attractions are never too far away.

Q: What is the best place in LA for budget travelers?

Venice Beach is easily the best neighborhood in LA for travelers on a budget. It’s friendlier on the wallet for food, drinks, accommodation, and activities (including free ones) than most other parts of Los Angeles. Plus, it’s got a fun vibe and fantastic atmosphere that keeps visitors returning time and time again.

Q: Where is the best place in LA for families?

It doesn’t get much better than Santa Monica for families with kids. It’s safe, fun, and offers tons of entertaining attractions and activities to keep everyone happy all day and night.

Q: Where is the best place to spot celebrities in LA?

Beverly Hills is the top spot in LA for sighting celebs, as it’s a wealthy neighborhood home to many of the world’s rich and famous folks.

Q: Where is the best party spot in LA?

Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park are epic for parties; these trendy neighborhoods are lined with hipster bars and clubs and make for an unforgettable night on the town spent bar crawling and dancing to one’s heart’s content. However, no matter the area, Los Angeles always offers somewhere to party, so there’s really no wrong choice.