Since I live in LA, I get this question about once a week from friends planning their Los Angeles trip. I sometimes forget I have a travel blog. Now with this
great Los Angeles itinerary article, I can just point them here!
Only two days in Los Angeles…
There are so many things to do in LA and places to visit in Hollywood
that could easily take up the whole day, but my goal here is to create an itinerary where you get to see a lot of LA in just two days.
Staying near LAX with only one day in LA? Don’t worry about, you can still have an amazing time. This itinerary is perfect for you if you’ve:
- Never been to LA before
- Don’t know what to do in LA
- Like to squeeze a lot in
- …Enjoy life.
If this sounds like you then lets gooooooo…
DAY ONE IN LA
BREAKFAST AT THE GRIDDLE
Eat at the Griddle for a full-on American style breakfast. Translation: Pancakes stacked to your face with sauces and bacon for days. They do not take reservations here so there is always a wait on weekends for a table. During the week, it can vary, just give yourself enough time in case you do have to wait a little.
This is why you came to LA right? Head straight to Beachwood Canyon, drive all the way up to Sunset Ranch. You’ll see the sign on the way but once you parked by the ranch, walk up the dirt path. After 5 minutes you have an amazing view of the city with the Downtown skyscrapers in the distance. Keep following the path another 5 mins and you’ll have the best view of the Hollywood Sign. Snap away. Trust me, this is the best place to sign the Hollywood Sign in all of LA. If you have an hour to kill you can carry on with the hike and eventually find yourself behind the Hollywood sign with an amazing view of all of LA, including Lake Hollywood. Bet you didn’t know we had a lake… called Lake Hollywood.
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
Head straight down Beachwood Canyon to Hollywood Boulevard and then head west. You will start to see the Hollywood Stars on the Sidewalk. Once you get to Highland Ave you are in full on tourist central. You have the Disney Theatre, Jimmy Kimmel, The Doble Theatre, Mans Chinese Theatre(with the famous hand imprints on the ground), Madam Tussauds and plenty of other tourist attractions and shops. You’ll also see loads of actors dressed up as movie characters walking around. I personally just suggest driving through here, it’s fun to see but if you want to stop and walk around there are many parking structures available.
Just one road south is Sunset Boulevard where you will find California’s cult fast food chain In ’N’ Out. Yes, it is as good as people say, and Yes, you should ask for your fries ‘animal style’. The fries aren’t actually that good but having them ‘animal style’ covers them with their special cheese and sauce – which honestly would make anything delicious. The burgers, however, are amazing, and as far as fast food goes, pretty healthy-
If you have a car, drive to the Hotel
Erwin and park here. They will say it’s customer parking only but you will be having drinks here later so it’s ok. If they are weird about it then there is a parking lot opposite which depending on when you go could be between $10 and $30 for the day.
Park and walk towards the beach. You’ll find yourself on Venice boardwalk. Here you can see the famous muscle beach, skaters at the skate park, street performers, art, weirdos, crazies, homeless people..Lots of stuff about Aliens(!?)… Am I selling you?!
The Venice Beach boardwalk us not for everyone but its definitely a place to experience. There’s plenty of cool shops here to check out. As you walk North, it slowly gets nicer and nicer until you reach Shutters hotel, which is super nice.
You can also rent bikes and cycle along the boardwalk. With bikes, you can cycle as far as you want. I would suggest going past Shutters Hotel to the Santa Monica Pier and checking that out. You could even cycle South all the way to Manhattan Beach. This is more of a commitment though. Depending on the weather and how much time you have you can also lay out on the beach or go surfing.
Feel free to lay out on the beach at any point.
SUNSET AT HOTEL ERWIN ROOFTOP
The only open rooftop bar in Venice or Santa Monica. Head here late afternoon / early evening and enjoy the view with a nice cocktail. If there’s a big group of you and you would want to sit down then call ahead to reserve a table. If it’s not a hot day it can get cold up here, but they will give you blankets upon request. The view up here is pretty spectacular.
Oh boy. I’m not even going to try and suggest where to eat, there are SO many great restaurants in LA and everyone has different tastes-SCREW IT I’m doing it. All my suggestions are going to be expensive because I’m not going to suggest average restaurants for one of your only two nights in LA! It goes without saying the food is incredible at all 3 restaurants.
CATCH – an offshoot of the famous New York seafood restaurant set on an incredible rooftop in West Hollywood. The atmosphere and decor don’t get any better than here. The menu is mainly small plates and if there’s anywhere you are going to see celebrities on your LA trip it will most likely be here.
Bazaar – My favorite LA restaurant. High-end Spanish influenced gastronomy by award-winning Chef José Andrés’. I suggest their 18-course Omakase for the ultimate dining experience. Found at the SLS hotel, the restaurant it whimsically modern, and worth all the $$$$.
Lucques – Almost restaurant Royalty at this point. Beautiful French Mediterranean cuisine in a gorgeous fine dining setting on Melrose Ave, right in the heart of West Hollywood.
Being the entertainment capital of the world, there are plenty of things to do at night in LA and going to a stand-up comedy show is one of them With the majority of the world’s actors living LA, every night at the Improv has world famous comics on their lineup. Their main room show is on at 8:30pm and 10:30pm. You can book tickets ahead of time online.
LATE NIGHT OPTIONS
If you are want to go all out, depending on what type of person you are I have 3 suggestions.
If you want to go full Vegas-style club, with celebrities and most likely terrible people, then head to 1OAK. Better hope you are with beautiful girls or are willing to drop money for a table, otherwise, you won’t get in.
If you want a cool place to dance but don’t want to go 100% club, then jump in an UBER and head to No Vacancy in Hollywood. An outdoor Indoor Lounger bar/club that used to be an old hotel, hence the name. They make great cocktails, the douche level is low and oh yeah IT HAS A SECRET ENTRANCE.
You are already on the Sunset Strip! Home to some of those famous music venues in the world like The Roxy and The Viper room where legends have been born, and some even died. I would go online and see who’s playing and if anyone tickles your fancy.
DAY 2 IN LA
RODEO DRIVE & PRETTY WOMAN HOTEL
Malibu is a must see, and on the way are plenty of opportunities to tick some iconic places off your list. There are so many interesting places to see in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Wilshire is the first. Having been featured in ‘Pretty Woman’ it is the most famous hotel in LA. It is also at the bottom of the most famous/expensive road n LA, Rodeo Drive. Rode Drive is a super fancy street, with stores you probably can’t afford to even walk into. There are usually not one, but two Bugatti Verons parked on this street, that’s how ridiculous this street is.
BEVERLY HILLS HOMES
From Rodeo Drive, you can drive north up through the ‘flats’ of Beverly Hills. Here you get the famous palm tree-lined streets that you see in the movies. Feel free to drive around this area and check out some of the amazing houses or head straight up to Sunset Blvd and head West. Sunset will take you all the way to the beach. On the way you can see UCLA, Bel Air, and check out the Playboy Mansion as well as many other celebrity homes – you can buy ‘star maps’ off people on the side of the roads. Trust me, you’ll see them.
Once you get to the ocean, you will take a right and then be on the Pacific Coast Highway(PCH). The PCH can actually take you all the way to San Francisco. If you had more time, this would be one of the most beautiful drives of your life. The California coastline is breathtaking. However, I would suggest only taking it up to Malibu Pier. You can take a nice walk along the pier and get some nice photos. There is also a great restaurant here if you want to have lunch.
Paradise Cove – Another option for lunch is Paradise Cove. This is a private beach, further up the coast and into deep Malibu. The beach is small but beautiful with one big restaurant, that does
El Matador State Beach – Further up from Paradise is El Camino beach. This beach is a must see. The topography of this beach is unlike anything else in LA. It is characterized by many dynamic arches that jut out from the ocean. Feel free to take as many photos as you can and sunbathe for as long as you want. Traffic can be bad leaving Malibu so leave enough time to get back in time for Dinner.
I already gave you my fancy options! OK. here are some less fancy but still great options: AOC, Sugarfish and Petty Cash Taqueria.
After Dinner head to Saddle Ranch on Sunset Blvd, a very over the cowboy-themed bar. Here you can get pittures of beer, play pool and even ride a bull. How very American. (If you are coming to LA from another part of America, skip this one. This is mainly for non-Americans who would get a kick out of this place).
Just across form Saddle Ranch is Sky Bar at the Mondrian hotel. Here you will have a completely different experience form Saddle Ranch. Arrive early to make sure you get into their bar, called Skybar. Skybar, as the name suggests has arguably the best skyline view in the city. On the weekends the bar becomes almost club like. Well, as a club like as you can get for an open air pool deck.
LATE NIGHT OPTIONS
If you still have any gas left in the tank, kudos to you. Refer back to my previous 3 suggestions.
You deserve it