Top 5 Places to Visit in Los Angeles
Sometimes when you are visiting a new city, you don’t have a lot of time to get to every destination that might be in your travel guide. Whether you are in town for business, a quick stay or just a few hours for a layover, there are some spots in LA worth checking out. Even if you only have time for one of them (or you can visit them all on one of our tours), here are 5 of some of the top places to visit in Los Angeles.
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.
Walk of Fame
No doubt about it, one of the most iconic things about Hollywood is the historic Walk of Fame – where you can literally walk all over your favorite stars. Running 1.3 miles East to West on Hollywood Boulevard, the walk consists of over 2,500 five pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded along the sidewalk.
Originally conceived in the 1950’s, the walk was created to encourage redevelopment of Hollywood Boulevard. While it took close to a decade to come to fruition, The Hollywood Walk of Fame attracts 10 million visitors annually. Some of our favorite actors, directors, producers, musicians & performers have the opportunity to be nominated for a star in 5 different categories – Motion Picture, Television, Recording, Radio and Theatre/Live Performance. A celebrity can have a star in all of these categories. The only person, to date, to receive all 5 is the incomparable singing cowboy Gene Autry.
The Hollywood Sign
You know you are in LA when you look towards the mountains and see the Hollywood sign. One of the most iconic images in the world, it is truly a sign that dreams are made of. But, did you know that the Hollywood sign wasn’t originally to be a beacon of the film and television industry? Back 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”.
LA has some awesome beaches and one of our favorites is Santa Monica. A beach town in a big city, Santa Monica is the perfect destination for relaxation and play. You might not have heard much about Santa Monica, but we bet you’d recognize it form some of your favorite movies – Rocky III, Forrest Gump, The Sting, just to name a few. And, of course TV shows such as “Private Practice”, “Three’s Company”, “Pacific Blue”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” were all filmed in Santa Monica. Sean Penn, Jack Black, Robert Downey, Jr. , Anjelica Houston, Emilio Estevez and many other famous actors and producers have all called Santa Monica home as well. Whether cruising its beaches along Pacific Coast Highway, riding the carousel on The Santa Monica Pier or stepping into the shops on Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica offers something for everyone.
The Getty Museum
Opened in 1997, this 1.7 BILLION dollar structure was designed by architect Richard Meier. This incredible arts center is located in Brentwood and sits upon a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles. The whole experience of the Getty Center is fabulous at the start – from the hovertrain that takes you from the underground parking garage to the top of the mountain to the amazing 134,000 square foot central garden to the J. Paul Getty Museum. The structure seems like it is almost a part of its mountaintop location. If you want to experience beautiful art, in all forms, this is definitely a “must see” on your vacation to Los Angeles.
You can check out any and all of these sites on one of our tours. We hope to see you soon!