5 of the best things to do in Los Angeles

‘Seven suburbs in search of a city’, a ‘constellation of plastic’ and ‘less culture than a pot of yoghurt’ are just some of the disparaging descriptions of the City of Angels. It definitely has that ‘Marmite’ reaction but we think the following famous five all fit into the ‘love it’ rather than ‘loathe it’ category.

Film set

LA has four big theme parks, a Disneyland, Six Flags in the San Fernando Valley, Knott’s Berry Farm in Orange Country and a Universal Studios. One of our favourite attractions is the Studio Tour at Universal Studios where you are driven on open-sided vehicle around ‘back lot’ sets of the world’s largest working studio where several well-known TV and movie scenes were filmed. It is also a pure thrill ride. You are hit by an earthquake, attacked by both Jaws and King Kong, confronted by a dagger-wielding Norman Bates in front of his Psycho motel and exposed to a terrifying flash flood.

Cool hotel

If you want to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers in the world of film, media and music, check into the Andaz. Located on the iconic Sunset Boulevard in the buzzy neighbourhood of West Hollywood, with a backdrop of the Hollywood Hills, it used to be known as the ‘Riot Hyatt’, the place where visiting rock bands stayed, partied late into the night and every now and then threw things out of the windows. It’s now much more refined and one of the best hotels in town. And do keep an eye open for the occasional celeb sipping a cocktail beside the rooftop pool.

Andaz

A day at the seaside

Los Angeles sits on the Pacific Ocean and enjoys 340 days of sunshine a year so a trip to the wide sandy beach is almost essential. Two very different seasides sit next to each other, a mile or so apart, linked by a boardwalk popular with walkers, cyclists, roller bladers and skateboarders. From wherever you are staying in the city take a taxi (public transport in LA is terrible) , perhaps going first to Venice, the funky, slightly tacky seaside that’s famously home to the body builders on Muscle Beach. Then head north along the prom to the more refined Santa Monica. Take a stroll on its classic wooden pier then check out the excellent shopping along the pedestrianised Third Street Promenade.

Los Angeles beach

Westward Ho

Los Angeles is a city of neighbourhoods. Westwood is unusual in being one where people like to walk rather than drive and, being home to the 400 acre UCLA campus, is both youthful and lively. It’s a good place for seeing a movie in one of the several theatres, one-of-a-kind shopping and eating in modestly priced restaurants that cater as much to the youngsters from the sprawling UCLA uni campus as visitors.

Stargazing

Beverly Hills is famously the home to the movie stars. Take an open bus tour of their palatial residences (French chateaux, Spanish haciendas, neo-classical villas…) although the odds on spotting one of the inmates are slim. The tour also includes a drive past of the exclusive stores on Rodeo Drive, the ‘Walk of Fame’ where 200 celebrity hand prints are embedded in the pavement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, then climbs the Holly Hills to see the gigantic Hollywood sign exclusive stores along Rodeo Drive.

David Wickers is Director of Bridge & Wickers.

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Comments (2)

  1. Very informative article, and you are spot on, stargazing. We did road trip to LA last year and went multiple times to Beverly Hills, for stargazing, but you need to be very lucky to get one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Anuj for taking the time to comment and I’m glad you approve of the stargazing in Los Angeles. Do share any other suggestions you have for things to do in LA. Regards, David

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