Recently I met with some of the representatives from Visit California in the UK to discuss all things wonderful to do with the Golden State and the City of Angels. Now, you may know what I have been to Los Angeles rather a lot over the past few years – and I thought it was about time I share some of my favourite things to do on a first visit.
LA is such a big city, it’s like a great big slice of American Pie (or Cheesecake from the rather infamous Cheesecake Factory). So here are a couple of things which are great for the first time visitor.
Downtown Los Angeles is packed full of attractions, delicious restaurants and an array of shops. Best of all, it is easily walkable – something which you won’t find often within LA. Some of my favourite places include L.A. LIVE which is where you’ll find the STAPLES Center – home of the Lakers, the Nokia Theatre, GRAMMY Museum, bowling alley and a cinema. (800 W Olympic Blvd).
There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from along with the odd Coffee Bean and Starbucks too. It’s a Southern Californian’s way of life after all. Downtown also is the home of the spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Historic Exposition Park. This is where you’ll find the California Science Center (home of the Space Shuttle Endeavour), the Natural History Museum and many more great attractions.
The Grove – 189 The Grove Drive
Nestled behind The Original Farmers Market (on 3rd and Fairfax), The Grove is a quaint outdoor 545,000 square feet complex featuring the likes of Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, Michael Kors, Nordstrom and the American Girl Place in addition to a 14-screen cinema and restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Umami Burger. The atmosphere is calm and makes me image what classic LA used to be. There’s even a trolley built on the undercarriage from a 1950s Boston street car that travels between The Grove and Farmer’s Market – so you can always grab something sweet from Dylan’s Candy Bar – just a personal favourite of mine.
If you want to visit the beach, then Santa Monica has to be on your to-do list. You can take a stroll on the pier, take a photo by the sign marking the Pacific’s end of Route 66, relax on the beach or even go for a swim! I could quite happily live in Santa Monica, and you’ll be pleased to know the nearby Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place are packed with shops, so you can exercise your credit card and grab some nifty bargains.
Hollywood & Highland – 6801 Hollywood Blvd
Home to the Dolby Theatre (the location for the Academy Awards) and just moments away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the TCL Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussauds and the El Capitan; Hollywood & Highland Centre is really the place to see and be seen. I strongly suggest you allow a good couple of hours to see as much as possible.
This is also the location where you can hop on a Starline Tour and discover other areas of LA including Beverly Hills, Venice Beach and many more. The best thing is Hollywood is a place which you can visit once or twice and then tick it off your to-do list. Don’t forget to pop into the Disney and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain store for some delicious treats!
Griffith Observatory – 2800 E Observatory Road
Sitting on the Southern slope of Mount Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory is the perfect location to take in spectacular views across the Los Angeles basin and take in the informative displays within the observatory itself where admission is free. The views on a clear day are breathtaking and at sunset? Let’s just say you’ll need your cameras at the ready.
These are just a handful of things you can do in LA, with hundreds of additional things to do available not just in La La Land, but across the entire Golden State. For more why not hop on over to VisitCalifornia.co.uk and start planning your Californian adventure!