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5 Places to visit in LA from the Westside to the Eastside

a sunset over a city

Randy Newman wrote “ From the South Bay to the Valley, from the West Side to the East Side, everybody’s very happy ‘cause the sun is shining all the time. Looks like another perfect day, I love LA”. And he was right. Where ever you go, the sun is shining and LA is a perfect vacation spot. There are so many places to love in LA. Here are a few of our favorite from the West side to the East side. And yes, you will be very happy to have visited them before you leave.

Hollywood Sign

One of the most iconic signs in the world, The Hollywood Sign truly shows that you are in L.A. It is not only indicative of Los Angeles, but of the entertainment industry, which L.A. is famous for. When it was built in 1923, it was meant to be a massive outdoor ad campaign for a new housing development known as “Hollywoodland”. Constructed from metal squares, each of the 13 letters was 30 feet wide and approximately 43 feet tall and lit up at night.  While the housing development eventually failed due to the Great Depression, the sign still stayed and the city eventually removed the “land” from the title to create the now famous sign, “Hollywood”. While you would have to hike up to the sign itself, there are also many places to take a photo with the sign as a back drop. It is a favorite spot with our customers on our variety of tour opportunities.

Santa Monica Pier

A great place for families to visit while in Santa Monica is, of course, the Santa Monica pier. While there, you can take a spin on the solar powered Ferris Wheel at Pacific Amusement Park or enjoy an ice cream after riding the carousel originally built in the 1920’s. They also have an awesome aquarium located just below the carousel on the beach level. It has over 100 species of marine animals and plants that are located in the Santa Monica Bay. It is an interactive and fun place to take the kids while visiting the pier. Another fun activity you can do while at the pier with the kids is a scavenger hunt. Just like you used to do as a kid, they have a full map with clues you can download online and when you take your kids to the pier you can have some extra fun while the kids run around the pier answering a myriad of questions.

Griffith Observatory

The most visited public observatory in the world, The Griffith Observatory hosts around 1 million people a year. It is one of the first institutions in the United States that was dedicated to public science and is still a national leader in public astronomy. As stipulated in the will of Griffith J. Griffith’s (who gave the land to Los Angeles), entrance to the Observatory is free of charge. While at the Observatory, you can view shows at the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium for a nominal fee or participate in monthly public star parties, daily talks and presentations, and periodic special events. Last, but certainly not least, you can view the spectacular, sweeping views of Los Angeles from atop this amazing part of Los Angeles.

The Last Bookstore

Calling all book lovers! There is a 20,000 square foot bookstore in downtown LA that not only sells new books, but also sells used books and vinyl records. You might have to pinch yourself, but it is true (so maybe just believe us and don’t pinch yourself… because it might hurt). The Last Bookstore was first opened in 2005 when owner Josh Spencer decided to take all of his sales experience and focus on books. From its first loft space to its current location, The Last Bookstore has taken off and is one of the largest independent booksellers in the world. You can get lost in the store while perusing thousands of books, vinyl records, graphic novels and just enjoying the really cool atmosphere. If you have a few hours, check it out… it will make you want to put down your e-reader and pick up an actual book to read. “Novel” idea.


Malibu is known for its sweeping beaches, beautiful views, million dollar properties and great surfing. As we shared in our Outdoor Filming Locations blog last week, it is also a popular place to film scenes from some of our favorite movies, TV shows, commercials and music videos.Surfrider Beach, one of the best surfing spots in Southern California, was actually made famous by “Gidget” and Point Dume will forever be recognized from the final scene of “Planet of the Apes”. Plus, the now iconic “Baywatch” was filmed along the beaches of Malibu along with pretty much every surfer movie from the 1960’s. Let’s not forget about reality TV shows either… both “Millionaire Listing” AND many of the “Bachelor” houses are filmed in Malibu. If you head up into Malibu Creek State Park, you will find great hiking and some famous filming locations, like the ambulance hulk from “M*A*S*H”. Come to Malibu to relax and enjoy the beach. It is an unforgettable experience.

Let us show you around on one of our 5-Star rated Private Tours! Choose from our All LA in a Day, or Build Your Own Tour of any length and choose exactly what you want to see. We have had a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor since 2011 and all of our tours are completely private, custom tours with just you and your family — like your friend in LA taking you around town.

Call us at 800-549-6625 or email us today to book!