From Ocean to Hills: The Best L.A. Sights to See

Flying into Los Angeles and looking down on the vast, sprawling city, it becomes obvious that this is not a place to be taken lightly. The world knows that L.A. is one BIG place, with snarled traffic to match, but did you know it actually encompasses 472 square miles? And that's just the city; Los Angeles County covers more than 4,000 square miles! So what's a tourist to do, when visiting the place where Hollywood was born, surfing is king and Mars explorations originate (at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena)?

Make a driving plan before you begin, for many of the city's top sightseeing attractions are – obviously – some distance apart. So visit Hollywood and the movie studios on one day, Venice Beach and Beverly Hills another. Plan to spend most of a day downtown, where the city first began way back in 1781. Downtown L.A. is in the midst of a Renaissance revival as well, as iconic structures like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the Staples Center are joined by numerous new galleries, shops and condominiums, as Angelenos rediscover the joys of living in an action-packed part of town. And once you've checked off all of these top sightseeing spots, plan to do ten more – places like Malibu, the Museum Miracle Mile and Manhattan Beach – for this city is too vast to be held at just ten!

Rodeo Drive
Photo courtesy of Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive needs no description, as it is certainly the most famous shopping street in the world, thanks to Hollywood. So many movies have filmed scenes here it is too hard to count; but as the ultra-luxe shops come and go, one thing remains...  Read More

Griffith Observatory
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Since 1935, the Griffith Observatory has been wowing kids and adults with fantastic views of the city outside and engrossing programs inside. The Samuel Oschin Planetarium offers $7 tickets to three exciting shows that take viewers into the...  Read More

Universal Studios
Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios is the real thing, a working movie studio that also happens to have a theme park attached to it. Which means visitors get the chance to go right onto the lot to see where some of their favorite movies and television shows are...  Read More

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is near the site of the early Los Angeles pueblo (town) where forty-four settlers of Native American, African and European heritage arrived after a journey of more than 1,000 miles across the desert...  Read More

L.A. Live
Photo courtesy of Marriott International

For a look at what's happening in downtown Los Angeles, there's no better place to visit than L.A. Live. It's the center of the action, with the Staples Center across the street, the Nokia Theatre right on the central plaza, the Grammy Museum on...  Read More

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is a relatively new addition to the landscape of downtown Los Angeles. Completed in 2002, the modern structure designed by Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo is built with architectural concrete designed...  Read More

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Photo courtesy of Timothy Norris

Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry and completed in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a stainless-steel marvel with transcendent acoustics in the grand, vineyard-seating designed auditorium. Created to evoke a ship at sail, the hall...  Read More

Griffith Park
Hollywood Sign
Photo courtesy of Pedro Szekely

There's nothing quite like seeing the Hollywood Sign to let you know you've arrived in L.A. Built in 1923 as a real-estate advertisement, the sign originally read "Hollywoodland," but the last four letters were dropped in 1945. In 1978, the sign...  Read More

Hollywood Walk of Fame
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Located along Hollywood Boulevard from Gower to La Brea and on Vine Street from Yucca to Sunset, the Hollywood Walk of Fame began in 1958 when the first eight honorees (including Burt Lancaster, Joanne Woodward and Preston Sturges) got sidewalk...  Read More

Venice Beach
Photo courtesy of California Visitor's Bureau

Venice Beach isn't quite sure what it is, but it sure is interesting. The boardwalk stretches from Venice Boulevard north to Navy Street, with Muscle Beach, the basketball courts and skate park to the south and many of the head shops, surfboard...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny

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