Oh, Los Angeles. The city of stars. La-la land. As we know it, LA. We have several do’s and don’ts of Los Angeles to help you plan your trip.
Dearest D-RAVEL Traveler,
My name is Alyssa (@alyssabrascia), and boy do I have the LA tips for you. I know what you’re thinking, how can you possibly fit in everything there is to do in LA during your stay? There’s the entirety of glamorized Hollywood, the miles-long beaches, the Beverly Hills shopping…but wait, yes. There is definitely a way to narrow down your visit to California’s capital. I went through the experiences to make sure that I could give you a genuine guide to a tourist’s do’s and don’ts of Los Angeles.
Hopped off a plane
Let me start off with a little bit of backstory. I traveled to LA with my family in April of 2018. It was spring break—there was no better place in my mind to vacation than the wonderful state of California. We were booked to stay at a hotel that eventually displaced us due to the entirety of the place being rented out to film a movie. This must be common in LA, but was definitely never an instance we’d experienced before. I still don’t know what movie it was… it haunts me to this day. Anyways!
The lodging we were then put up in was none other than the historically gorgeous, luxurious and renowned Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. We, a Midwestern tourist family, roll up to this ivory, limestone castle in our rental car in lieu of Rolls Royce’s, Audis and Tesla’s galore. And let me tell you, we looked out of place. This hotel just added to the glitz and glam that LA (at least Beverly Hills) gave the aura of.
The current trends
I packed, to put it lightly, not well for this trip. We’d penciled in our itinerary plans to go places like the Santa Monica Pier, Universal Studios, and Warner Brothers and Hollywood, so we packed attire that varied greatly from the tweed Chanel suits that were worn by the women walking around the lobby. While my family and I stepped off of the suave elevator, we could be seen in jeans, Air Forces or sneakers, casual tops and sunglasses for a day spent touring this hot city. The other girls who I assumed were around my age at the time, wore surprisingly casual clothes. I would guess, this lavish hotel was just another day in the life for them. Which, it probably was.
I noticed that these well-off teens would wear casual clothes that you just knew were discreetly expensive. Like a large, oversized tee with subtle designer accents on it, with shorts that you couldn’t see underneath. Or plain pair of sandals or sneakers, of course topped with a pair of designer sunglasses. However, I was surprised at the extremely laid-back style of these girls had and the occasional bucket hat. It must be a California thing, because even though my jeans and cropped sweater combos weren’t always the cutest, I always had my hair curled into beachy waves and a bit of makeup on. Alternatively, these girls wore minimalist ensembles with undone tresses and little to no makeup. Different strokes for different folks (definitely for different area codes).
Here are my do’s and don’ts of Los Angeles:
As stated before, LA is a large, and I mean monstrous, city. There’s so much to do and see, but how do you know what to do each day so that you don’t waste a precious second? I may not know all of the cool places to travel within Los Angeles, but I do have a few tips from my own short experience in this glitzed up city.
- One of the main tourist attractions is always the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Please, I beg, do not waste your time in this area. The streets are quite dirty, and the engraved stars are as well. It may be fun to try and find your favorite actor or actress, but once you take that picture kneeling by the grimy pink star, the fun is over.
- The Hollywood Sign: do not take a tour to see the Hollywood sign. There are many services that you can register with to go hike up to see this monumental sign, and I can assure you that seeing it while you drive on the roads of Hollywood and snapping a picture will suffice.
- While there are many sandy shores that you should definitely make a point to visit while in Los Angeles, Venice Beach is not one of them. The more eccentric areas of this beach may be one person’s cup of tea, but I cannot say that it was one of my favorite experiences. Though it was fun to rent a sky-blue bike and ride around the winding paths along the beach, there are much better shores to spend your day at (in my opinion).
- Don’t stay downtown LA—don’t do it. The traffic is horrendous. I recommend staying in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills.
- One of the places I will forever rave about from my experience in LA is the Beverly Grove, a buzzing shopping and food district that houses everything from little boutiques to unique food courts. The Grove was one of the highlights of our trip due to the airy, happy ambiance of string lights and old-timey light posts that decorated the grassy outdoor areas, the chic modern restaurants, street talent singing in the walkways and fun little shops that ranged from renowned favorites to newfound loves. Your trip isn’t complete without a day at the Grove!
- If you’re a movie buff or are simply just looking for something a little touristy to do, I would highly recommend the Warner Brothers Studio tour in Burbank, California. During this tour you will be driven around on a set golf cart to pass by iconic preserved sets from shows like Full House, Back to the Future, Batman and more. We learned about the streets of this little “town” that WB has going on that has been reformatted countless times to appear in thousands of movies, each time unrecognizable from the last. Available is also a mystical tour of preserved Harry Potter set pieces, costumes and props from the iconic Warner Brothers franchise, and same goes for the DC series of superhero films with their sleek on-screen cars. This tour is a must-see, and I’d recommend it highly to anyone wanting to nerd out or learn hundreds of new things in a day.
- The aforementioned was my dislike for one beach, but two that I cannot rave enough about are Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. These two are just a couple of many amazing beaches, but not only do these picturesque shores have the calm Californian breeze, palm trees and surfers galore, but also cute beach towns in tow. We explored surf shops, fun bars and the relaxing coast while enjoying bike rides through these two beach towns. If you want a day by the water to catch a tan or ride the waves, I’d recommend these two for your Los Angeles rays.
- Check out Santa Monica’s local Farmers Market…and yes, this market is currently running! I highly recommend taste-testing local cuisine at this market, running on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s.
- Rent a car and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway—this is a must! Drive the rolling hills of California and forget the GPS. Make pit stops along the ocean and stop at an In-N-Out Burger. Are you traveling to California during COVID-19? This is a perfect option for social distancing while seeing the beautiful state.
There are truly endless things to do and see in Los Angeles, and you don’t want to waste your time in this wonderful city. While everyone has their own opinions on the city of angels, I wanted to share with you travelers my LA experience and provide some tips to enhance yours. If you so choose to travel to Los Angeles, make sure you grab a poke bowl, snap a picture for the ‘gram in front of the pink Paul Smith wall on Melrose (you’ll always spot a celebrity here!) and soak up the sunshine. There’s nothing like hopping off the plane at LAX! Hope these do’s and don’ts of Los Angeles truly help plan your next trip.