So last month it was finally happening. I traveled to the country that was already on the list since I was 10 years old: the United States. This country has a lot to offer, but I have seen nature, went to the big cities, drove around in the mountains and made several beach walks. I also tasted typical American life and thus fully adapted my meals to this country. Now, every state has its own assets and one state is different from the other. In total, I have discovered three states on my trip to the United States of America: California, Nevada and Utah and I have visited more than five big cities. First on the list and the city where we were flying into was the City of Angels, Los Angeles. It’s a city in California on the west side of the United States. Most know Los Angeles as a glamorous city with many celebrities, glitter and parties, and dream seekers. In this travel guide, I am telling you what Los Angeles must knows are.
Sights you must see/experience
Griffith Observatory, watching the stars
Not only does Giffith Observatory offer an observatory base, but it is also located on a plateau which gives you a fantastic view of Los Angeles. This was one of my favorite places to relax and escape the chaos in the center of Los Angeles. By the way, around the observatory, there are hiking trails and there is sufficient parking space. Do you want to make a challenging but impressive walk? Then it’s best you park on a parking lot at the bottom of the hill. No problem, the car parks are well marked.
Instagram-worthy lanterns at LACMA
There was a time when the Instagram dashboard of my blog’s account was full of photos of LACMA’s lanterns. It has become quite popular to score the best shots at these high lanterns. Now, this trend disappeared more or less, but I still think it is a nice place to walk around and indeed, to take pictures. My tip? Go just before sunset. At this moment you have both the beautiful transition from light to dark and the lanterns that prove their use: make light.
Discover the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice Beach
Santa Monica is perhaps one of the most famous beaches in Los Angeles, made possible by the famous Santa Monica Pier. It is wonderful to stay here and if you had enough of that you can walk around in Pacific Park, a small amusement park on the pier. A little further and you’ll end up in Venice Beach. This beach is easy to reach by bike if you come from Santa Monica. The beaches are connected with a road specially built for cycling, skateboards, scooters, etc. Near both beaches, you have Muscle Beach with people who prefer to work out in the fresh air.
Interactive OUE Skyspace
OUE Skyspace is known for its outdoor observation platform where you can also glide from a glass sliding tunnel (which protrudes from the building). I personally didn’t do the SkySlide, as I expected more from it than a small drop. So I didn’t do it for the extra price you had to pay. In addition, I found the observation deck definitely worthwhile. You have two platforms, one closest to the elevators and the other one next to the bar. That next to the bar has the least people but gives an equal view of the Los Angeles skyline.
Taking pictures in front of the Hollywood Sign
You can not possibly leave Los Angeles without making a visit to the letters of the Hollywood Sign. These letters are perhaps unattainable, but together with We Love L.A. (a local tour operator) you can go to the nearest spot to enjoy the view when you are by car. Bonus? There is not a single person out there. So you have that whole place for you and you alone.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were perhaps the biggest disappointment of Los Angeles. Sounds strange when you know that this is one of the biggest attractions over there. Some people find it very nice to spend their time there, but most don’t have the time of their lives. With full expectations, I walked with my guide, Kelly, to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. My ideal image, however, was immediately made realistic when I had to look where I was walking, avoid the pickpockets and try to exclude the extreme hustle and bustle that prevailed.
Things to do
Spend money at The Grove
Los Angeles is also known for its many shopping sites. This city stands for large shopping centers and The Grove is one of them. Well, basically it’s an area. But this shopping center is popular with the people of Los Angeles and I can’t deny it: it seems like a village and the space of the stores are larger than the average.
Driving through Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is a city in Los Angeles County and also one of the biggest attractions. You can drive around here, wondering how it’s like to live in such a villa and wish there was a celebrity collecting his/her letters from the mailbox. Unfortunately, that chance is minimal. However, Beverly Hills is so peaceful to drive through and of course, to take a photo for the Beverly Hills Sign.
Warner Bros Studios Tour
Are you a big movie fan like me? Or is the whole film world fascinating you so hard? If that’s you, I find it more than logical to have a look behind the scenes at large studios. I myself booked a ticket at Warner Bros Studios and I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot of interesting things and even saw my first-ever celebrity: Tom Ellis, from the TV series Lucifer.
Getting lunch in Farmers Market
The farmers market or The Original Farmers Market is a hotspot for foodies, locals, and tourists. It is a cozy place where I have eaten a delicious pizza. I, therefore, advise everyone to go here if they want to eat lunch. The good thing about the Farmers Market is that the prices are fair but still cheap. Win-win.
Planning your trip to Los Angeles
On this trip to Los Angeles, I have worked with We Love L.A. and this tour operator is absolutely amazing. I don’t say this because it was a collaboration because of course, I am always honest in what I do or say, but because Kelly (the guide) was excellent. She felt more like a friend than a guide. Nevertheless, she knew how to answer my questions with professionalism. Because of We Love L.A. I have been able to visit most of Los Angeles in one day without losing quality.
We Love L.A. as a tour operator
This tour operator started as a family business, and if I believe Kelly, it really feels like family now. We Love L.A offers private tours for half a day or a whole day. I worked together for the full day and did the beaches, the Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Farmers Market, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and The Grove. In short, I did a lot without feeling like I was in a hurry. Kelly was also open to suggestions. I wanted to take pictures at the “Pink Wall”, an attraction. It was not on the tour, but she did everything to drive to this place.
My experience with this company
I would never have been able to see and do much without We Love L.A. and I am fully in favor of booking a guide with We Love L.A. Their knowledge of this city, the professional as well as the family attitude and the quality ensures that I would immediately board the plane to participate in a tour at We Love L.A. again. Their customer service is just phenomenal.
Los Angeles does have its negatives and may not be as glorious as people think, but I have had a great time in Los Angeles.
What are your thoughts on Los Angeles?
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* Disclaimer: I collaborated with We Love L.A. to review this full-day tour. Yet, as always, all opinions are fair and mine. If you want to read my full disclaimer, go ahead and click here.
Sanne Grieten is the travel blogger of Mostly Abroad. Just like any travel blogger, she loves to travel and discover new places. In addition, she also fights every day with her mental health. To end the stigma, she also writes about this regularly.