Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Los Angeles itinerary in 6 days

Hotels

Los Angeles:

Orlando Hotel

♥♥♥♥♥

This hotel is renovated and modern. There is a small pool which is nice on hot days. It is in an excellent location in West Hollywood, between The Grove and the Beverley Centre. Lots of cool shops and restaurants nearby. Highly recommended.

We love California and in particular, Los Angeles. It is so vibrant and has many interesting neighbourhoods, great beaches, excellent museums and fantastic shopping. It is one of our families' favourite destinations. We always have fun in Lala Land!

We combined this trip with San Diego in five days.

Day 1

 

Afternoon

We arrived in Los Angeles and checked into the chic and modern Orlando Boutique Hotel and grabbed a bite to eat along West Third, near the hotel. This hotel is perfectly situated between the Grove Shopping Centre, an upscale outdoor mall next to a farmer's market, and the Beverley Centre shopping mall.

 

West Third is a lively street with interesting restaurants and cafes and is in walking distance to Melrose Avenue - which stretches from up-scale Beverley Hills to hipster West Hollywood and beyond. 

We drove to Venice Canals to meet our tour guide, Jonathan Kaplan, of Vintage Venice Tours. He took us on a very interesting walking tour of the Venice Canals and Venice Beach. Jonathan described how the canals were built and gave us the history of the area.

 

We were there in the late afternoon and into dusk. This was a very beautiful time to be there as the bridges on the canals were lit with Christmas lights and it allowed us to catch glimpses into some of the houses - we even saw an Oscar or two on some book shelves!.

 

It was really fascinating as we had never been to the canals beforehand. We continued through the Venice neighbourhood and onto the lively beach. 

Evening

We went to the Third Street Mall and had dinner at one of the restaurants there.

Day 2

 

Morning 

We had breakfast at Toast, one of our favourite brunch restaurants on West Third, not far from our hotel. Their shakshuka is delicious.

We drove out to a beautiful state park and beach called El Matador State Beach which is north of Los Angeles. This beach is perfect for a hike along it's dramatic cliffs and huge rock formations. The weather was glorious and we spent the entire morning walking along the dunes and climbing some of the rocks. It is quiet and serene with very few people.

Afternoon

We stopped for lunch in Malibu at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. This is a great place to have lunch as it is located on a beautiful and sandy beach. If you have  a reservation at the restaurant (which is highly recommended) you get to park in the lot by the beach for a highly discounted fee (parking is expensive otherwise). It is worth it as the views from inside the restaurant are stunning and then you can walk along the beach or bring a ball to throw around and enjoy the afternoon.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Getty Villa which is on the coast north of Santa Monica. This is one of two locations of the Getty Museum. It is a museum dedicated to the arts and culture of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria and is surrounded by beautifully groomed and lush Roman style gardens. 

Evening

After a rest at the hotel we headed out to dinner. As it was Christmas Eve not too many restaurants were open. We had dinner at Genghis Cohen - a Jewish-Chinese restaurant not far from our hotel serving New York style Sichuan fare with a Jewish twist. 

 

Day 3

Morning

This morning we went to Santa Monica and went for a walk along the beach. 

Afternoon

We went for a hike in Griffith Park, which is on the eastern end of Santa Monica. It is one of the largest urban parks in North America. It has wonderful trails and the Griffith Observatory at the top of the hill with gorgeous views of the city below. The Observatory is also a planetarium with exhibits inside.

We then drove to Bronson Canyon (which is a part of Griffith Park) and hiked along the trails. We saw some recognizable spots along the trail, including the Bat Cave made famous in the opening scene of the Batman tv show, as well as the iconic Hollywood Sign.

 

 

Day 4

 

Morning

This morning we booked a studio tour at the Paramount Studios in Hollywood. On a previous trip we did the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Both tours are very similar and give you an intimate behind-the-scenes experience.

 

The guides are entertaining and informative, telling stories about the movies and tv shows shot at the studios. It was exciting to see the sets of some of our favourite shows such as Friends, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, as well as sets, backlots, sound stages and props for tv and movies such as Batman. We learnt about the history of Hollywood and the development of the area. This is a fun activity for all ages.

 

Afternoon

This afternoon we headed to Pasadena to meet friends for lunch and walk around the main street. We ate at a local restaurant called Green Street Restaurant. The food was fresh and it is known for it's delicious homemade zucchini bread.

Pasadena's main street is lively with many shops and cafes. 

On our way back to the hotel we decided to go back to the Venice Canals and Venice Beach for a walk. We love the contrast between the serene and quiet residential neighbourhood and the lively beach boardwalk scene.

Evening

We had dinner at Loteria Grill in Hollywood. This restaurant serves creative dishes of classical Mexican cuisine. It's busy and noisy but fun.

Day 5

Morning

This morning we had a few hours and decided to check out the Peterson Automotive Museum, located on Wilshire Boulevard on Museum Row. We learnt about the history of the automobile, some of the revolutionary features developed over the years. the artistry that goes into designing cars and saw some luxury and famous cars.

 

Afternoon 

We always love food tours when we're visiting a city. This afternoon we went on the Ethnic Neighbourhoods Food and Cultural Tour with Urban Adventures. We visited Koreatown, Little Armenia and Thaitown. We learnt about the history of these immigrant communities and their neighbourhoods and got to taste some delicious and unique food along the way. No need for dinner after this tour! 

Evening

After the food tour we stopped at the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Wilshire Boulevard on Museum Row. It is open late on Friday evenings which is perfect as we were very full from our food tour.

 

This is the largest art museum in the Western United States. It houses an incredible collection of art dating from antiquity to the present. It is housed in a series of modern buildings. It's permanent collection is outstanding and it also hosts world-class temporary exhibits. While we were there they were hosting a stunning exhibit of works by Alexander Calder, displaying many of his iconic mobiles. 

 

 

 

Day 6

 

Morning

This morning we went on a walking tour of downtown Los Angeles given by the Los Angeles Conservancy. On this 2.5 hour tour we learnt about some of LA's history and architecture from the 18th century to present day. 

The tour focused on the area around Pershing Square, with stops at the beautiful Central Library, the newly renovated Grand Central Market, the Bradbury Building, which is the location of many movies, as well as several other buildings and sites.

Afternoon

We spent the afternoon at the Getty Center Museum which sits on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighbourhood of LA. This museum complex features a collection of Western art from the middle ages to the present. Its modern design, open spaces, stunning gardens and breathtaking views make it a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Evening

We had dinner at one of our favourite LA restaurants, La Vecchia Cuccina in Santa Monica. It has delicious Italian food and we always go back there on every trip.

Day 7

 

Morning

We departed our hotel and drove down the coast to San Diego. See my San Diego itinerary for ideas of thing to do in that area.

Guides and Tours

Los Angeles:

Noteworthy Restaurants

Los Angeles:

  • Toast. This is a great brunch spot on West Third. Their shakshuka is delicious.

  • Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. This Malibu restaurant is right on the beach. If you make a reservation, parking is minimal and you can hang out at the beach for a while.

  • Genghis Cohen. A Jewish-Chinese restaurant not far from our hotel serving New York style Sichuan fare with a Jewish twist.

  • Loteria Grill. This Hollywood restaurant serves creative dishes of classical Mexican cuisine. It's busy and noisy but fun.

  • La Vecchia Cuccina. Located in Santa Monica this restaurant serves delicious Italian food. We have eaten here almost every time we visit LA.

Favourite Museums

Los Angeles:

  • Getty Villa. Located on the coast north of Santa Monica. This is one of two locations of the Getty Museum. It is a museum dedicated to the arts and culture of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria and is surrounded by Roman style gardens. 

  • Peterson Automotive Museum. Located on Wilshire Boulevard, Museum Row. Dedicated to the history of the automobile, the revolutionary features developed over the years, the artistry that goes into designing cars, and a collection of luxury and famous cars. Highly recommended.

  • LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Wilshire Boulevard on Museum Row. Largest art museum in the Western United States. It houses an incredible collection of art dating from antiquity to the present. Highly recommended.

  • Getty Center Museum. Sits on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighbourhood of LA. Features a collection of Western art from the middle ages to the present. It has a modern design, open spaces, stunning gardens and breathtaking views. Highly recommended.

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Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with: