Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

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Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

When planning a vacation to Los Angeles, it can be hard to determine what to put in your itinerary -- there's just so much to do! But use this list of sure-fire, don't-miss L.A. experiences, and you're sure to have both an incredible and memorable trip.


Up Next: Sunset Strip

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

It's the birthplace of metal! Running just a mile and a half stretch through Hollywood up to Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip is an iconic mix of see-and-be-seen hotspots, stores, trendy cafes and historic landmarks, like the Chateau Marmont and Whiskey a Go Go, not to mention the Roxy and Rainbow Room. The history behind the strip is just as interesting as the strip itself, but nothing compares to parking and walking its length to get a feel for its neon and party-riffic vibe. Make sure to toss one back for good measure!

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

Beach communities like Santa Monica and Venice are certainly laid back, but Malibu makes them seem like New York in comparison. Taking up a 21-mile stretch along the ocean, Malibu is the epitome of luxe beach life: the windy seaside road, the multi-million dollar homes, the mix of posh and casual Oceanside eateries giving you an intimate meeting with the ocean. It's definitely not one of the more cost effective areas of L.A., but it's beautiful.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

Even if you're not a shopaholic, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills should definitely be on your list. It's become such an iconic L.A. staple that it's been featured in about a billion movies and television shows. Why? Because it's home to some of the most expensive shopping on the planet, with every designer you can think of lining either side of the street. That's not to say that there isn't anything else to do on Rodeo -- there are some top-notch hair salons and great eateries. But the fact remains: it's a great place to actually touch all the things you read about in fashion magazines!

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

Located right in Los Angeles proper, The Getty Center is an art lover's paradise featuring a collection of Western art dating back to the Middle Ages, leading all the way up to today. With European and American photographs, paintings, sculptures, scripts and more, there's no shortage of creative beauty to take in, and it doesn't stop there. The building itself is a stunning example of modern architecture set among gorgeous gardens, all of which offer an incredible view. And the best part? It's free... but parking will cost you $8.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

It's easy walking distance from 3rd Street Promenade, and it's hard to miss courtesy of the giant ferris wheel at the end. Admittedly, Santa Monica Pier is definitely more on the tourist trap end of things, but it's still not something you see in any old city. There's a small midway that's fun for the kids with a handful of fun games and rides, an aquarium and arcade, a Bubba Gump's for lunch, The Lobster restaurant for dinner and cocktails, and-of course-the ocean. It's definitely something everyone should see once.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

Sure, it's another shopping area, but there are distinct differences between Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade and its compatriots in Melrose Ave and Rodeo Drive. Promenade is actually a pedestrian-friendly, closed-street affair, with as much action going on outside the stores as there are in. Street performers share their talents, with each more entertaining than the last. Foliage-covered dinosaurs decorate areas that malls would dedicate to potted plants. And, there's some pretty solid shopping here. When you pair that with its close proximity to the ocean, Promenade is quite simply heaven on earth.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

Located in nearby Pasadena, the Norton Simon is the best spot for art lovers. With an aggregation that boasts 2,000 years of Western and Asian works, the Norton Simon lays claim to having one of the world's most prestigious art collections. Some of the works that are on permanent display include Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gaugain, Andy Warhol... it's like a who's who of the art world! The Norton Simon also plays host to remarkable traveling exhibitions, offers lectures, and even features activities the whole family can enjoy.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

A bargain-hunter's dream! This is where the shrewd shoppers in the group will want to go for some good deals... and if you play your cards right, some of the stores will even bargain with you. Then again, it depends which stretch of Melrose you're on. The West end from Santa Monica Blvd. to Fairfax Avenue has loftier stores like Fred Segal, while the stretch east of Fairfax has an alternate experience. There's a mix of old familiars like Sketchers and Urban Outfitters mixed in with some more eclectic fare to give you a good balance. Plus, second-hand stores like Wasteland have top notch labels at bargain pricing.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

It's hard to describe Venice Beach -- it's something you really need to experience. Yeah, there's the ocean and the sand and all that, but then there's the bike and pedestrian paths that hug the Oceanside. And the quirky stores that sell everything from tacky t-shirts to imported furniture. Don't forget the independent artists, jewelry makers and other random riff raff that hunker down on a blanket ready to sell their wares. Naturally you won't want to miss Muscle Beach either, where beefy dudes strut their fit stuff in an open air gym. Then there are the cafes, and the people watching... a trip to L.A. just isn't complete without Venice Beach.

Los Angeles Sightseeing Musts

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