First time in Los Angeles, but overwhelmed with all the things to do? We list our top 10 places to visit in the LA metro area. Whether you like the major attractions, theme parks, museums, or nature – we have a wide variety of places to add to your next trip.
1. Hollywood Sign
A classic picturesque shot on every California visitor’s bucket list. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby too – with great views of downtown LA.
2. Griffith Observatory
A must-do if you want views of LA & are interested in space. Parking at or near this observatory does have a charge, but the museum itself is free. If you plan on hiking up to the observatory, there is parking at the base for free. We recommend the planetarium show for an additional $3-$7 per person. Plan on spending at least 2 hours at the observatory. Extra tip: If you are short on time, you can see the Hollywood sign from here (albeit at a distance), but you can knock out the first two items on our list quickly. *Closed on Mondays*
3. The Getty Center
If you are interested in seeing one of the most popular museums in the LA area, the Getty Center is the place to be. While admission is free, parking does come at a cost. There are tons of paintings & sculptures from as far back as the Roman empire. Also, the garden is large and quite lovely to walk through. *Closed on Mondays*
We can’t mention LA, without giving homage to the original Disneyland created by Walt Disney. This theme park is loved worldwide and is made up of two parks – Disneyland itself and California Adventure. It is located in the southern potion of the LA metro in Anaheim.
5. Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is another theme park, located in the northern LA area. Many rides that can’t be found (or no longer found) in Orlando are here, so it’s worth checking out. Did we mention Hogwarts was also here?
6. La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
A unique area in LA is the tar pits. This naturally occurring asphalt bubbles from underground and has preserved many animal bones. They offer free admission the first Tuesday of every month (except in July and August), as well as free admission every Tuesday of September.
7. Battleship USS Iowa Museum
This battleship served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. They offer a self-guided tour via an app, which can be helpful in learning about this ship’s history. Parking is free for the first hour, with a $2/hour additional charge after that.
8. Chinese Theater/Hollywood Walk of Fame
Probably the second most famous tourist hotspot in LA (next to the Hollywood sign), is the Chinese Theater & Hollywood Walk of Fame. Here you can see dozens of stars with your favorite actor/singer/etc.’s name. At the Chinese Theater (located at the center of the Walk of Fame) is where your favorite celebrities have immortalized their hand & shoe prints into the concrete. It’s a fun place to find your favorites and take some great pictures.
9. Pacific Ocean
We couldn’t mention California without highlighting the beaches along the Pacific coast. It’s hard to go wrong with any beach in the area, but a few were named in TripAdvisor’s Top 100 Beaches in the US. At the very south end of the LA metro area, Newport Beach was ranked #17 and Crystal Cover was ranked #24.
10. Eaton Canyon
Eaton Canyon trail leads to a beautiful 40 ft. waterfall and refreshing waist-deep pool. While the trail itself is only moderately long and generally easy difficulty, we do not recommend traversing past the waterfall. It is warned that any point past that is dangerous and not advised.