Los Angeles Sights & Attractions
Los Angeles offers a choice of must-see attractions from world-famous Sunset Boulevard and Rodeo Drive to The Getty Centre and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Discover a choice of must-see attractions in Los Angeles, including…
Cruise the boulevard from downtown Figueroa Street to the Pacific Coast Highway, a 35km ride past everything that is L.A., including historic movie studios, infamous strip clubs, prime real estate (Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades) and legendary music and comedy clubs such as Chateau Marmont, the Comedy Store and the House of Blues.
Visit famous hotels including Johnny Depp's Viper Room (where River Phoenix overdosed in 1993) and the Whisky A Go-Go (where the Doors once played nightly) and see bars such as the Rainbow Bar & Grill (where Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Marley became legends). Last but not least, take to Malibu's famous ribbon of white-sand beaches.
(Beverly Hills) – Sip a cocktail or cappuccino while people-watching the rich and famous as they shop for designer threads along L.A.’s premier shopping street.
Or indulge in some retail therapy yourself inside some of the world’s most elite stores crowding the street, including Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Armani, Hermès, Harry Winston or Prada. If you feel peckish, several nearby restaurants will cater to your culinary needs.
(Santa Monica) – Once the respite for passenger and cargo ships, the wooden wharf now hosts seafood restaurants, a Mexican cantina, an amusement area complete with solar-powered Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a high-tech arcade shootout and several rides.
Check out the brightly coloured indoor wooden carousel (used in the movie The Sting) and an aquarium filled with sharks, rays, octopus and various other local marine life.
Examine historical photos of the pier or watch anglers fishing from the end. Summer evenings feature free concerts that range from Latin to big band sounds.
(Malibu) – This re-creation of an Italian country home buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD – the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum – was created by oil billionaire J. Paul Getty in 1974. It offers a permanent collection of 1200 Greek, Roman and Etruscan artefacts dating from 6500 BC to 400 AD, with changing exhibitions in five additional galleries.
Located among manicured gardens, reflecting pools and statuary on the edge of a bluff above Malibu, the former Getty residence offers stunning panoramas over the Pacific.
Admission to the Getty Villa is free but, unlike the Getty Centre, you need to reserve tickets in advance – available either online or by phone.
(Brentwood) – Perched on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains with stunning views over the Pacific Ocean, this indulgent travertine marble-swathed complex houses an extraordinary collection of Impressionist paintings, French decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts, contemporary photography and outdoor sculptures.
Originally founded in 1954 by the late J. Paul Getty, the billionaire oil magnate and art collector, at his Malibu estate, the centre opened in 1998. Take a guided tour or enjoy your own self-guided tour with a Getty audio guide through the five two-storey pavilions.
Don’t miss Van Gogh's ‘Irises’, one of the museum’s most famous paintings, bought at a cost of US$53.9 million. Also admire some of the world’s greatest sculptors, including Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miró and Isamu Noguchi. Admission to the Getty Centre is free.
(Downtown) – Discover more than 5000 permanent pieces at this museum, ranging from colourful pop art to photography by Diane Arbus.
The museum is split between three buildings: at California Plaza, the Geffen Contemporary in nearby Little Tokyo and at the satellite gallery at the West Hollywood's Pacific Design Centre. It’s best to visit online in advance to see what exhibitions are being held and in which gallery.
(Downtown) – Since opening in 1966, LACMA has astonished visitors with its vast collection of more than 150,000 works from around the world, including paintings by Degas, Rembrandt and Monet as well as works by contemporary artists such as David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Admire 2000-year-old pre-Columbian Mexican ceramics and a huge array of American, Latin American, Islamic, South Asian and South-East Asian artworks.
(Pasadena) – Explore one of the world’s finest private collections of American, European and Asian art with works by Degas, Picasso, Rembrandt and Goya and with sculptures from Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin.
See works by Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Klee. Don’t miss Goya's ‘Disasters of War’.
(Hollywood) – Take the 2-hour ‘cart tour’ around the only major studio still located in Hollywood. Get a real-life behind-the-scenes look at working movie and television facilities. You need to book in advance.
(Universal City) – Have fun at one of the world’s largest movie studios and theme parks. Take the 1-hour Studio Tour, past stars' dressing rooms, production offices and famous back-lot sets, encountering several staged ‘disasters’ along the way.
Choose from several theme park roller coasters including a fun-filled ride through a dark Egyptian tomb filled with creepy mummies from the Revenge of the Mummy, a Jurassic Park jungle boat ride past giant T-Rex dinosaurs and a high-tech cyberwar show that combines a live action shoot-out with 3D technology in Terminator 2.
Wander past realistic ruptured fuel lines and melting metal on the recreated set of Backdraft or watch trained animals such as monkeys, pigs and hawks perform various entertaining tricks on the Animal Actors Stage.
To avoid the crowds, try to visit midweek or sign up for a ‘Front of Line’ or VIP pass to access rides without queuing.
(Hollywood) – More than 2000 celebs have been honoured with a bronze medallion set into the centre of a five-pointed star along the world's most famous sidewalk.
Check out the ‘stars’, including James Dean (1719 Vine St), John Lennon (1750 Vine St), Marlon Brando (1765 Vine St), Marilyn Monroe (6744 Hollywood Blvd), Elvis Presley (6777 Hollywood Blvd), Greta Garbo (6901 Hollywood Blvd), Mickey Mouse (6925 Hollywood Blvd), Louis Armstrong (7000 Hollywood Blvd) and Eddie Murphy (7000 Hollywood Blvd).
(Downtown) – Architectural buffs may wish to tour this stainless steel creation by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Or instead, savour a concert in the acoustically renowned auditorium that is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
(Pat Moore Way) – Relax to the sounds of an evening concert at this elegant Greek-style natural outdoor amphitheatre nestled in a small mountain canyon.
This is the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl orchestras and the perfect place to round off an evening with a picnic dinner and bottle of wine: take your own or order a picnic basket from the on-site catering department.
Check out the Bowl's summer morning rehearsals, which are open to the public and free of charge on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
Rent a 10-speed bike and cruise one of the longest beach paths in the world. The 35km (22 mile) South Bay bike trail stretches along LA's Pacific beaches from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades in the north through Santa Monica and Venice to Marina del Rey in the south.
The middle section from Santa Monica Beach to Venice Beach boasts a carnivalesque venue of rollerbladers, joggers and the occasional eccentric.
You can also continue from Marina del Rey all the way to Torrence Beach, just south of Redondo Beach. There are plenty of water fountains, snack stands and public restrooms along the trail.
Kiosks along the route (especially in Santa Monica and Venice) rent bicycles and skates by the hour or the day.
Latest update Los Angeles honeymoon destination: 12 May, 2022