Los Angeles, “La La Land,” or “the city of angels” more commonly known as L.A. is located in Southern California surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges, valleys, and forests, expansive and pristine beaches along the Pacific coast, and a desert not too far away.
There is a lot of history attached to the city which has been an important hub for culture, business, finance, medicine, agriculture, aerospace, science, international trade, entertainment and, last but by no means the least, tourism.
Los Angeles has the second most populated metropolitan area in the United States stretching across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and parts of San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and Riverside County – home to more than 17 million people from all parts of the world.
For most tourists, a visit to L.A invariably means a trip to Hollywood to pay homage to their favorite stars with the ever-enticing chance of catching a glimpse of some famous Hollywood faces.
However, for the informed tourist L.A is not only about the entertainment industry and celebrities. Taking nothing away from Hollywood and its tourist-attracting potential, Los Angeles has way more to offer to tourists and visitors than just Hollywood and its larger-than-life celebrities.
With a reputation for being the creative center of the United States, Los Angeles is as culturally diverse as one can imagine offering a superlative culinary experience, great shopping, some of the world’s best museums and much, much more.
With its warm and sunny beaches, the city is ideal for sun seekers and beach bums looking to enjoy the warm climate and sprawling beaches with all kinds of fun activities to indulge in and interesting neighborhoods to explore.
An efficient public transport system and a bike-share program in downtown L.A. make getting around and sightseeing most convenient and easy for tourists.
Its proximity to Disneyland and Universal Studios makes L.A a preferred repeat destination for many families. Whatever one’s interests may be, L.A makes a perfect getaway destination with something of interest for every tourist – well almost.
Here are 10 of the top-drawer tourist attractions and activities which first-time visitors to L.A. may want to check out.
Located in Anaheim, California, just outside Los Angeles, the Disneyland Resort boasts of 2 theme parks – the Disneyland Park and the Disney California Adventure Park, three hotels and “Downtown Disney” – a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.
The resort is one of the country’s premier family vacation destinations. While Disneyland Park has thrilling rides and elaborately created theme sets to offer, the Disneyland California Adventure Park, a later addition during one of the expansions, boasts of seven lands based on movie themes with much more action and adventure.
Official site: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/
Now, this is a must visit destination for movie buffs. In fact, many tourists visit Los Angeles with Hollywood on top of their sightseeing agenda what with its unique history and iconic sites.
Hollywood and its attractions are synonymous with the film industry and the glamor of the silver screen. Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, the hillside Hollywood sign and the Chinese Theatre are some of the must-see Hollywood sights. A tourist might even get to see a celebrity or two making it an even more memorable trip for the “oh so lucky” visitor.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum has many galleries dedicated to a vast collection of artifacts and historical relics covering a wide range of topics and themes. However, it is most famous for its breathtaking display of dinosaur skeletons in the commodious 14000 square foot Dinosaur Hall.
In addition to a Triceratops and a Stegosaurus, the display includes a “growth series” of T-Rex fossils featuring three skeletons in three different stages of growth – baby to adult.
Another must-see exhibit at the Natural History Museum is “Becoming Los Angeles” which gives an insight into the 500-year Southern California history.
“The Age of Mammals” section explores evolution, climatic changes, and shifting continents.
Exhibits of mammals specific to certain continents are also on display while The Discovery Center is particularly appealing to younger visitors as it provides hands-on experiences making it a very interesting activity indeed.
Address: 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles
Official site: https://www.nhm.org
Universal Studios Hollywood
In addition to being a full-time working movie studio, Universal Studios Theme Park has a variety of overwhelmingly impressive rides ranging from simulators to roller coasters based on movie themes which for most people is the main attraction.
One can opt for a guided tour of the studios to explore behind the scenes sets of some of the studio’s most popular movies.
CityWalk, a three-block entertainment area with shopping, dining, and theaters, is a good change of scene when you are tired of all the rides.
Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City
Official site: http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/
The Exposition Park is spread over 160 acres of land and is home to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California African American Museum, the California Science Museum, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Sports Arena, the Expo Center, and the popular Rose Garden which boasts of thousands of rose bushes, a fountain, and gazebos.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art also known as LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with nearly 130,000 pieces ranging from antiquity to modern times including Islamic, Asian, and Latin American art.
A number of separate buildings that have been acquired and renovated over the years make up the massive complex.
Address: 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
Official site: http://www.lacma.org/
The Nethercutt Collection
You would not want to miss out on the impressive range of antique, classic and vintage cars on display at the Nethercutt Collection if you are a fan. The variety and the prime condition of the automobiles on display from the 1890s to the 1970s are something to write home about. The history of the vehicles and description of previous owners are displayed with the cars for the benefit of the viewers.
Address: 15151 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar
Official site: http://www.nethercuttcollection.org/
Long Beach extends along San Pedro Bay about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. The sights that are worthy of a visit in Long Beach are the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Museum of Latin America and the Queen Mary ocean liner resplendent in history, now converted into a hotel and museum. One can take the Catalina Express from Long Beach for a trip over to Catalina Island.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art housed in three separate facilities is dedicated to works of art from the 1940s onwards with a permanent collection on display along with changing exhibits displaying new works.
The three separate MOCA facilities are:
The MOCA Grand on Grand Avenue is the museum’s principal facility housing the main galleries, the largest museum store, and a cafe.
The MOCA Geffen is located in Little Tokyo, in what was previously a police car warehouse.
The MOCA Pacific Design Center is in West Hollywood and has rotating exhibits.
Official site: http://www.moca.org/
The Original Farmers Market
The Los Angeles Farmers Market dates back to 1934 when it was established because of hardships resulting from the Great Depression. Back then it truly was a fruit and vegetable market but as the years progressed it has also accommodated other food stands, restaurants, and specialty shops. One can get all kinds of stuff now at the Los Angeles Farmers Market ranging from jewelry and candles to kitchenware and toys.
Address: 6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles
Official site: http://www.farmersmarketla.com/
Major cities near Los Angeles, CA
Glendale – 6 miles
Long Beach – 20 miles
Anaheim – 24 miles to
Santa Ana – 30 miles
Riverside – 49 miles
San Bernardino – 55 miles
Bakersfield – 102 miles to
San Diego – 111 miles