Planning a getaway in Los Angeles can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. With all the beautiful beaches, shopping, restaurants, bars, clubs, museums, parks, theatre, music, and themed attractions it’s pretty overwhelming! There, quite simply put, are just too many things to see and do. If you’re only going to be in the city for a few days, that makes it even harder to visit everything and really get the full L.A. experience. Hopefully this day-by-day guide will help! We’ve picked out some of the hottest spots and most interesting ways to make the most of your stay in Los Angeles.
Day One: Friday
Your first day in L.A. will be a fun variety of sights. Start off at the California Science Center and enjoy four different permanent exhibits plus the special exhibits that change throughout the year. Also check out the hands-on exhibitions, shows and demonstrations! Also on site is a 7-story IMAX theater, making you feel like you are actually in the movie.
Next on the agenda is a trip to The Broad, a new contemporary art museum that houses 2,000 works of art. Some of these pieces are considered to be the most prominent works of postwar and contemporary art from around the globe. If you visit before September 2016 you can experience one of the most talked about modern art displays, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. Step into a mind-boggling seemingly endless chamber of LED lights that truly do appear to go on forever. Be sure to check for current and upcoming exhibitions.
In the late afternoon or early evening, head up to the Griffith Observatory for a visit to the planetarium. You can also enjoy a film in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater before heading outside to enjoy a stunning sunset. The star attraction at the observatory is the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope, making the observatory one of the best locations in the world to observe comets and other celestial events. The namesake of the observatory, Griffith J. Griffith, wanted to “broaden human perspective” by providing the public with the opportunity to visit as observers.
Finish off the evening by going to the movies at the TCL Chinese Theater, one of the most iconic movie theaters in the world. Tour its rich history and culture, then settle into the world’s largest IMAX auditorium for a movie experience that is truly one of a kind.
Day Two: Saturday
Start your morning bright and early to avoid the crowds and hit the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Here you will find the most comprehensive collection of information about Hollywood’s greats, including stars from motion pictures, television, music recording, radio, and live theater. You might even be lucky enough to attend one of the induction ceremonies!
Next make the drive over to Paramount Studios, the one remaining major Hollywood studio still operating. In 1912, Paramount’s founder released the first full-length film, Queen Elizabeth, through the Famous Players Film Company, which later morphed into Paramount Pictures. Today you can tour the lot and get the real behind-the-scenes scoop on all your favorite films and actors. You’ll get to see props, visit sets, and learn how the magic happens. Some of the television shows currently being filmed there include Blacklist, Hawaii Five-O, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Veep.
Your next stop for Saturday is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. You might not think a cemetery would be worthy of a stop during your vacation but Hollywood Forever is a unique place. On top the usual funeral home services you’d expect, there’s also a Library of Lives, showcasing the countless Hollywood stars that are laid to rest here. You can read stories and see photos of some of the people who made Hollywood what it is today. There are also special music events at the Masonic Lodge on site and even movie viewings. That’s right – movies on the lawn at the cemetery. This is a seasonal event, however, so check the website frequently.
Day Three: Sunday
Sundays are meant to be lazy so this is a good time to get your culture on. Start off with a drive out to the Craft & Folk Art Museum, a cultural center that’s been challenging minds since 1965. Featuring inspiring and thought-provoking exhibits, the CFAM constantly surprises guests with new and unusual works of art. Exhibitions are constantly changing so don’t miss out on any opportunity to visit and expand your mind.
Moving on to another museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the western United States. With over 130,000 works of art, the museum is a fair representation of nearly the entire history of art from around the world. There are currently ten exhibitions on view, ranging in style from Asian impressionism to African film to an interactive immersive environment featuring perpetual rain that stops when it detects a human present.
Wrap up this easy-going Sunday with a trip the Getty Center, the world’s largest cultural visual arts collection. The J. Paul Getty Trust is also a philanthropic organization whose complex goals include mirroring the imagination of humanity. Featuring art, architecture, and gardens, the Getty offers a tremendous opportunity for guests to step into other minds and worlds. Current exhibitions include collections of photographs, French drawings and prints, manuscripts, tapestries and more.
In between your stops, there are plenty of delicious restaurants and cafés to visit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and coffee. There are also many beautiful hotels to stay in so book your accommodations early, ensuring you get the kind of room you want. As you’re out and about, you’re sure to see more places you’d like to check out so please do feel free – Los Angeles has so much to offer it’s impossible to see it all, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying!