California’s largest metropolis is sprawling and offers a diverse range of activities to visitors in an often picture-perfect paradise. From surfing to skiing (yes, there are mountains in Southern California) and Hollywood to hidden gems, there are so many things to explore in Los Angeles, the average visitor will not see it all at one time.
Safety, entry requirements and COVID-19
Coronavirus restrictions have been officially lifted in Los Angeles, and California as a whole.
The state still recommends unvaccinated people wear face coverings indoors, but there are no testing or vaccination requirements mandated by the city or the state.
Should travelers need it, PCR and rapid antigen tests are widely available around the area.
Ways To Explore Los Angeles
There’s an old adage that “nobody walks in LA” While that’s less true these days, the sprawling nature of the city makes having a car the easiest way to get around.
However, plan your itinerary right, and you will find that between ride-share services and public transportation on the Metro and light-rail services, it’s doable to go without a car, especially with the high cost of fuel in the state.
With so many options in Los Angeles, there’s no way to see it all in one visit. Travelers can visit one area of the city at a time to get to know each region more intimately.
Stay on the west side and spend time at white-sand beaches, enjoy the Santa Monica Pier and shop on the promenade.
Explore Downtown and East LA, where visitors will easily discover some of the city’s top culinary neighborhoods in Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo, or stay in the heart of Hollywood and enjoy the area’s legendary entertainment hub.
Just beyond the city limits are endless hiking trails, hidden shopping meccas and charming communities.
Theme parks and studio tours are popular sightseeing activities for visitors to Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal City Walk are easy to reach in the heart of the city.
Not far is Warner Bros. Studios, which offers tours daily, and in nearby Anaheim is the Disneyland Resort, home to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney.
Santa Monica Pier at night. (Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / Ershov_Maks)
With year-round good weather, Angelenos tend to be the outdoorsy types. For those looking for fun in the sun, the beach is the obvious place to start. Destinations such as Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and South Bay cities such as Manhattan Beach and Redondo, are dotted with luxury and boutique hotels steps from the Pacific. Visitors can play beach volleyball, schedule a surf lesson, enjoy stand-up paddleboarding or just soak up the sun.
Hiking is also a popular Los Angeles pastime. There are numerous trails through Griffith Park, to the Hollywood Sign and trails in the famous Runyon Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains or in Will Rogers State Park and the Malibu Creek State Park.
Not far from the city of Los Angeles (just about a 45-minute drive in good traffic) is Mountain High Ski area. For those looking for the ultimate California outdoor getaway, time your visit right to ski or snowboard in the morning and surf in the evening.
Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. (photo via EddieHernandezPhotography/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
For those looking for under-the-radar attractions, visitors can stop in for a snack at the city’s largest and oldest public market, the 30,000 square-foot Grand Central Market, which opened in October 1917.
Sure you can visit the LA Zoo, but don’t miss seeing the Old Los Angeles Zoo, abandoned in Griffith Park. Founded in 1912, the site features relics of old enclosures, picnic areas and hiking trails.
Venture to San Pedro to visit the Sunken City, where land filled with bungalows and oceanfront homes sunk into the coastline. The area offers beautiful views juxtaposed against the remains of concrete foundations, curbsides and piping from the neighborhood that once thrived on the San Pedro cliff.