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The Best Ice Cream Shops in L.A.

By Shauna Murray

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…well, you know how the rest goes. It’s the middle of summer in Los Angeles, and as the temperature outside gets hotter and hotter, nothing sounds better than cooling off with a delicious frozen treat. Of course, the climate in Los Angeles feels right for ice cream just about any time of the year so whether you’re in town during the peak of summer or the dead of winter, any time is the right time to treat yo’ self.

With dozens of ice cream shops in the city – each serving up their own frozen delicacies – it can be hard to narrow the options down. We recommend trying all of the shops on this list…just maybe not all on the same day.

Some of these businesses have set up shop in more than one location, and a few have stores outside of L.A. County, but we tried to keep it local and represent businesses that serve the greater L.A. area primarily, if not exclusively. You won’t see the big national chains here because c’mon, you can get that stuff anywhere. Los Angeles is all about being a little extra and your ice cream should be, too.

McCONNELL’S FINE ICE CREAMS

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Churros con Leche wants to gently usher you into the weekend, and you should let it. 🍨 #churros #cinnamon #creamy #icecream #mcconnells

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McConnell’s is more than an ice cream brand, it’s a family tradition. For 70 years and three generations, the company is still family run and takes pride in making all-natural fine ice creams from scratch using the fewest ingredients possible. All flavors start with the basics – milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar – before flavoring with fruits, nuts, chocolate and such. Their ice cream tastes the way real ice cream should taste. No bells, whistles, or fancy gimmicks needed.

Originating in Santa Barbara, McC’s now has multiple location in Los Angeles from Pacific Palisades to Los Feliz so there’s bound to be one near wherever you are. You can even find pints of McConnell’s in some grocery stores outside of California; even so, nothing beats the taste of a hand-scooped ice cream cone so pay a visit to this SoCal staple while you’re in town.

WANDERLUST CREAMERY

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Back in the early summer of 2015, just before opening our first store in Tarzana- I was r+d’ing recipes in our home kitchen. At that time, we had been back from a recent trip to the Croatian coast, where we ate grilled purses of fresh cheese wrapped in fig leaves. Inspired, I plucked some young fig leaves from our fruitless tree in our backyard and steeped it into hot cream sweetened with wildflower honey. What resulted was an ice cream with a green & verdant, yet subtly floral scent…with a flavor reminiscent of coconut- but not quite. A handful of raw pistachios & a few tweaks later later, one of Wanderlust Creamery’s first flavors was born: Fig Leaf + Pistachio. We’ve been bringing it back every start of summer since. It’s not quite fig, and not even close to traditional pistachio; it’s something entirely different you’d have to taste to know firsthand. 🥄 @adrienneborlongan #wanderlustcreamery #eatwanderlust #figleaf Photo by @mxmlla.

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Courtesy of Wanderlust Creamery

As the name suggests, the creators of Wanderlust Creamery take inspiration from destinations all around the globe. One of their first signature flavors ‘Fig Leaf + Pistachio’ (pictured) was inspired by a trip to Croatia. Other notable ice cream flavors include ‘Vegan Sticky Rice Mango’ inspired by Thailand, and ‘Abuelita Malted Crunch’, inspired by their upbringing in Los Angeles.

With locations in Venice, Atwater Village, Tarzana, and at the downtown Sunday market, Smorgasburg, chances are there’s Wanderlust Creamery near you serving up 100% natural dairy and dairy-free ice cream. Stop in and see why they say there’s a “destination in every scoop.”

MATEO’S ICE CREAM & FRUIT BARS

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one time i went on a date with this guy who proclaimed he doesn't eat fruit because fruit is just sugar is sugar and he doesn't eat sugar and then he got vegan ice cream and natural wine on our date and then i said ok bye. #sugardaddy #sugarfatty #microcheating . . .

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Photo by @thedelicious

Mateo’s has been serving up frozen treat in Los Angeles for the past twenty years, specializing in paletas (popsicles) and ice creams in exotic and tropical flavors. The company’s founder,

Priciliano Mateo, moved from his home in Oaxaca, Mexico, to Los Angeles in 1982 and brought with him the Mexican tradition of colorful paletas in tropical fruit flavor. On any given day at Mateo’s you’ll find 29 ice pop flavors, 25 ice cream and sorbet flavors, and even fresh pressed juices and smoothies. Everything is home-made in the Mateo’s kitchen using fresh fruits and the colorful display at the counter is unlike anything you’ll find in another ice cream shop.

Try a ‘Smoked Milk with Cactus Fruit’ fruit cream popsicle if you’re taste buds are feeling adventurous, or stick with a more familiar strawberry or mango flavored pop. Either way, you’ll be getting a delicious taste of Angeleno culture.

SAFFRON & ROSE

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We know how to satisfy your needs – Pink Rose, Mango, Green tea. Stop by and enjoy the scoops of Organic ice cream – Never enough #sweetlife #westwood #ucla #icecream #food #sandwich #smile #dessert #persian #lunch #organic #foodphotography #saffronandroseicecream #wednesday #uci

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Photo by Katrin Leo Pako

Saffron and Rose has been serving up genuine Persian Ice cream in Southern California for nearly four decades. Using all natural and organic ingredients, Saffron & Rose takes pride in creating highest quality ice cream for its loyal customers. Specializing in unique flavors, you’ll find unexpected menu offerings like ‘Poppy Seed Slush’, ‘Cucumber’, and ‘White Rose’.

If you have a somewhat less curious palette, you’ll find plenty of familiar flavor options, too. Some flavors are even available as a vegan option so there is something for everyone at Saffron & Rose.

You can explore the diverse menu at their locations in Westwood and Irvine.

MILK

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Matcha Green Tea Rose 💕 Perfect way to start the weekend! #treatyoself #matcha #greentea #rose

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Courtesy of MILK

Dessert lovers rejoice: MILK has just about every kind of confection you can think of from frozen treats to creamy indulgences to baked goods. MILK’s goal is to “provide guests with an elevated ice cream experience, transporting them back to the classic ice cream parlor with shakes, floats, sundaes and ice cream novelties” and everything on the menu is made from scratch in their Los Angeles kitchen using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

Not in the mood for a frozen treat? MILK has plenty of other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. You’ll find an assortment of cookies, cakes, puddings and more in MILK’s bake shop, and you can wash it all down with milk served in an old-fashioned glass bottle.

Pop in to indulge at either of MILK’s locations: in the Fairfax District and in Silverlake.

LITTLE DAMAGE

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Monochrome magic 🖤⚡️Tag a friend who would LOVE Coffee Caramel #LittleDamage

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Courtesy of Little Damage

As you might have guess from the image, Little Damage’s claim to fame is its signature black ice cream cones. The almond-flavored cones are hand-rolled get their black color from activated charcoal. You won’t find ice cream by the scoop at this DTLA hotspot – Little Damage makes soft-serve only, offered in unexpected flavors and colors. Their menu rotates seasonally with recipes that are often unconventional but unexpectedly delicious.

 

Everything at the shop from the ice cream to the décor is an Instagram dream so don’t forget to snap a pic before you devour your cone of ‘unicorn tears’. Bonus points if your manicure matches your ice cream cone.

KIPPY’S ICE CREAM

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Drooling over the gorgeous #flavors in our case today!! The Mint Chocolate Chip is back! Kippy’s colorful #nondairyicecream is the perfect #tuesdaytreat ! . . . . #5ingredientsorless #glutenfree #sugarfree #soyfree #beyondicecream #veganoptions #paleo #kippys #kippysicecream #coconutwhippedcream #coconutcream #venicebeach #venice #dairyfree #dairyfreeicecream #sundae #treatyoself #treatyoselftuesday

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Courtesy of Kippy’s

For some folks, the words “vegan” and “ice cream” have no business being together, but at Kippy’s, vegan ice cream is their business. Kippy’s ice cream starts with a raw, organic coconut cream base sweetened with local honey or dates. All of Kippy’s ice creams are made in-house daily using five ingredients or less, and all flavors are free of dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten.

Don’t let what’s not in Kippy’s recipes fool you, their ice creams are big on flavor and there is always a wide variety to choose from. Stop by their location on Main Street in Venice for a cool treat you can feel good about eating.

AFTERS

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SUMMER IS COMING ⛱ #aftersicecream

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Afters is on a mission to ruin your diet, and with their tempting flavor combinations available at more than twenty SoCal locations (most open ‘til midnight), they’re making it too easy to do just that. Afters serves up hand-crafted ice cream in unique flavors like ‘Milk and Cereal’, ‘Cookie Monster’, and ‘Jasmine Milk Tea’ and their toppings bar includes all of your favorite childhood cereals like Fruity Pebbles, Cookie Crisp and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

If you’re really determined to ruin your diet, try the Milky Bun, a glazed doughnut stuffed with ice cream that’s warm on the outside and cold on the inside.

CAFÉ BORA

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#Repost @urbancell_gastronomy with @get_repost ・・・ LOS ANGELES Cafe Spotlight : Who’s fan of K-pop & K-desserts ? @cafebora_la in K-town elevates the pastry experience with their famous Korean purple sweet potato inspired desserts !! 💥⚫️ Canon EOS 6D DSLR @canonusa ⚫️💥 Sigma 50mm f1.4 art @sigmaphoto ————————————————- #culinaryart #zipkick #gastronomia #foodartchefs #limitlesseats #foodinfluencer #latimesfood #lamagfood #bestfoodla #FoodPhotographer #top_food_of_instagram #DiningOutSD #forbestravelguide #eaterla #foodstagram #eattheworld #culinaireinspiratie #vscofood #eeeeeats #infatuationla #timeoutla #CafeBoraLA #LOCALeLA #koreatowneveryday #ktownla #koreandesserts #sandiegofoodphotographer

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Photo by @urbancell_gastronomy

 

Café Bora snuck by our “locals only” rule, but it deserves a place on the list. As part of the popular Korean dessert chain, the Koreatown shop in L.A. is the first location in the United States. Café Bora offers traditional Korean desserts such as the purple-tinted sweet potato soft serve, and ‘bingsoo’, Korean shaved ice covered in fruit puree.  The menu also includes a few items that fuse different dessert traditions, such as matcha tiramisu.

Though it might look like food coloring is to thank for the colorful ice creams and sauces, all of the desserts get their bright coloring from 100% natural ingredients. Often garnished with green mint leaves and delicate flowers, Café Bora’s desserts are almost too pretty to eat…almost.

By Shauna Murray

Top 10 Beaches for Swimming in Southern California

By Shauna Murray

It’s no secret that California is home to some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline
in the world. Millions of people flock to the California coast each year to visit its beaches
or take scenic drives along the Pacific Coast Highway.

When the temperatures rise outside, there’s nothing like a cooling down with a
refreshing dip in the Pacific surf…if you know where to go. While each stretch of sandy
coastline has its own unique charm, some are better than others when it comes to
dipping a toe (or your whole self) into the water.

So which beaches have the softest sand, calmest surf, and everything you need for a
great day at the beach? This list takes the guess work out so all you have to do is grab
your towel and sunscreen, and get ready for a day of fun in the California sun.

 

1. SANTA MONICA BEACH

 

Photo by Shauna Murray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is perhaps no other beach in Southern California quite as iconic as Santa Monica
Beach. The world-famous Santa Monica Pier provides the backdrop for a picturesque
beach day, and the waters of Santa Monica Bay are usually quite calm for swimming.
There’s plenty to do out of the water, too, with shops and restaurants on and around

the pier, as well as the games and rides at the amusement park. There’s also a great
little aquarium under the pier with activities for kids to learn about the local marine life.
Don’t be surprised if you see a pod of dolphins swimming by as you splash in the surf –
they regularly swim close to shore, delighting beach goers of all ages.

 

2. VENICE BEACH

 

Photo by Blake Everett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venice Beach might be known for its quirky charm and for the daily circus of artists,
vendors and street performers along Ocean Front Walk, but it’s also home to some of
the best swimming beaches in Santa Monica Bay. The smooth, sandy beach is wide and
flat with plenty of room for sun bathers to stake out a spot without feeling crowded,
and a rock jetty offers swimmers some protecting from stronger surf.
Of course, when you’re ready to head in from the sand, you’re in for the best people
watching of your life. There’s a reason millions of people visit Venice each year to
experience all of its sights, sounds, and unique characters.

 

3. CORONADO ISLAND

 

Image by nathanhill0070 from Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Coronado is technically a peninsula, the “island” moniker feels much more fitting
for this little escape from the mainland. Located just off the coast of San Diego,
Coronado actually has five white sand beaches including Coronado Central Beach, North
Beach, Glorietta Bay Beach, Silver Strand State Beach and the Ferry Landing
Marketplace. The crystal clear waters are just right for swimming, and Glorietta Bay is
especially great for young swimmers with its calm waters.
When the sun hits it just right, the pristine beaches of Coronado literally sparkle thanks
to flecks of mica in the sand. So to recap: in Coronado you’ll find clear and tranquil
waters, and sparkly golden sand. Need I say more?

4. MANHATTAN BEACH

 

Photo by ChildofMidnight at English Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located just a few miles south of Los Angeles International Airport, Manhattan
Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Southern California and one of three Beach
Cities in the South Bay region along with Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.
This sunny stretch of coastline is a favorite among all types of beach goers including
families, surfers, sunbathers, and professional athletes. Manhattan Beach has
something for everyone. Widely considered to be the birthplace of beach volleyball,
you’ll find plenty of volleyball nets along the sand that are free to use – just remember
to bring your own ball.
Other can’t-miss activities include a cruise along The Strand bike path, checking out the
cute shops and restaurants downtown, and visiting the free aquarium at the end of the
Manhattan Beach Pier.

5. HERMOSA BEACH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep heading south along the coast from Manhattan Beach and you’ll find yourself in
the beachfront city of Hermosa. The beach itself is pretty much the same as Manhattan
Beach, with a wide expanse of sand, friendly waves to swim and surf in, and volleyball
nets aplenty. What sets Hermosa Beach apart is the bustling bar and restaurant scene
on Pier Avenue, where there’s often live music and an active nightlife. Hermosa Beach is
just far enough away from L.A. and the freeway to feel more like a local surf hangout
than a tourist attraction, which might be why USA Today called it a “Beach Boys song
come to life”.

 

6. HUNTINGTON BEACH

Image by skeeze from PixabayClose your eyes and imagine the perfect Southern California beach: soft sand stretchingwide and far, surfers, sun bathers, a long pier over the water, and a laid-back vibe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close your eyes and imagine the perfect Southern California beach: soft sand stretching
wide and far, surfers, sun bathers, a long pier over the water, and a laid-back vibe
wherever you go. If this sounds like what you have in mind, Huntington Beach is where
to find it. Also known as Surf City USA, USA Today named Huntington Beach “The Best
Beach of California” in 2018 and it’s not hard to see why.

Photo by Shauna Murray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. CATALINA ISLAND

Surrounded on all sides by the Pacific, the water off of Catalina can feel a bit colder than
on the mainland beaches, but what it lacks in temperature it makes up for in beauty.
Catalina boasts some of the best diving spots in the world and you don’t have to be a
certified scuba diver to experience them. Rent a snorkel and fins from a local dive shop
and swim right off the beach to see the famous kelp forests and marine life that live in
the Channel Islands.
If snorkeling isn’t your thing, fear not; the Descanso Beach Club has a great swimming
beach and there’s even a little beach right in the harbor, where you can wade in and
kids can play on the floating playground.

8. MOONLIGHT STATE BEACH

 

Photo by Invertzoo via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moonlight State Beach is located on the coast of Encinitas, just north of San Diego.
Moonlight is a popular destination for all kinds of beach goers and is especially great for
families as there’s a snack bar and a grassy park area with a playground. The white sand
beach slopes gently into the ocean, so the water is usually pretty calm for swimmers
and there are plenty of lifeguards on duty, too. There are also fire pits along the beach
so you can cozy up around the fire after the sun goes down. Even on a hot day the
temperature gets cool by the water at night.

9. NEWPORT BEACH

The coastal city of Newport Beach is well-known for its 10 miles of pristine coastline, it’s
yacht-filled harbor, and the Balboa Pier and amusement park. It’s also famous for its
beaches, namely the surf break known as “The Wedge” and the Corona Del Mar State
Beach, which is wear you’ll want to head for a swim. Two rock jetties off the coast of
Corona Del Mar offer some protection from high surf, making the waters safer for
swimming, and the wide, flat beach has plenty of room for sun bathing and volleyball
games.
On the other side of the parking lot opposite the main beach, the small Pirates Cove
Beach is tucked away offering another good swimming beach as well as some fun caves
and rock formations for kids to play on.

10. ZUMA BEACH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zuma occupies 1.8 miles of beach front in Malibu and at 105 acres of property,
it’s one of the biggest beaches in L.A. County. Unlike some of the nearby
beaches in Santa Monica Bay, Zuma opens right on to the Pacific Ocean so it’s
waters can be a bit colder and more unpredictable, but on a calm day it’s a
great spot to swim and body surf. Rough surf or not, Zuma remains one of the
most popular beaches in southern California. Visitors love it for the wide open
sand, ample parking, and convenient amenities like food stands and restrooms.
It’s also a great place to observe grey whales during their migration (December
through March) and dolphins and sea lions can be spotted year-round.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Here

By Shauna Muray

Guests can become part of the story as they sample galactic food and beverages, explore an intriguing collection of merchant shops and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. (Disney Parks)

The Adventure Begins
The wait is finally over…sort of.

After nearly four years of growing anticipation, Disney Parks’ newest themed land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s
Edge will open May 31, 2019, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and August 29, 2019, at Disney’s
Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Disney Parks announced that they are opening the new
land ahead of schedule “in anticipation of high guest interest,” with one caveat: it will happen in two
phases. One of the land’s two major attractions, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, won’t be revealed
until phase two opens later in the year.  In the meantime, the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction will be up and running, as well as the restaurants, shops, and other interactive experiences throughout the land.

Inside Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Disney guests will take the controls in one of three unique and critical roles aboard the fastest ship in the galaxy when

The Attractions

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge features two signature attractions (some of us might call them “rides”) that
promise to put you right in the middle of the action and bring the “galaxy far, far away” a little closer to
home.
Aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, you’ll step into the cockpit and take the controls of the
Falcon as the “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” flies through space at light speed. During the
mission you’ll be in one of three critical roles: as a pilot, a gunner, or a flight engineer. Set to open later this year,

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is being touted by Disney Parks as “the most ambitious, immersive and advanced attraction ever imagined, which will place guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance and will blur the lines between fantasy
and reality.”

Life on Batuu

Upon entering Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll find yourself on the planet Batuu, a remote destination on the Outer
Rim of the galaxy. More specifically, you’ll be in Black Spire Outpost, the largest settlement on Batuu
and an infamous port for smugglers, traders, and adventurers. Oga’s Cantina will be serving up exotic
drinks – including the first alcoholic beverages ever served at Disneyland – while a droid plays tunes as
the cantina’s DJ.

If you consider yourself well-versed in Star Wars history but the names Batuu, Black Spire Outpost, and
Oga’s Cantina don’t sound familiar to you, there’s a good reason for that: everything in Galaxy’s Edge is
new. Rather than re-create a setting from one of the films, or combine elements from several of them,
the designers challenged themselves to create something no one has seen before, but still has the
unmistakable look and feel of Star Wars.

Black Spire Outpost’s marketplace offers a diverse menu of galactic food and beverages, including the
Blue Milk first seen in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” and the merchant shops offer plenty of
opportunities to pick up an authentic souvenir. You can even construct your own astromech droid that
can interact with elements in the land. (No word yet on the price tag for a custom droid.)

When you enter Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll not only be visiting the newest themed land at Disney, you’ll be
exploring uncharted territory on the edge of the Star Wars galaxy. Though Batuu may be new, you’ll still
see some familiar faces from the current Star Wars film trilogy like Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8 and Chewie.

Of course, no Star Wars experience would be complete without the music of legendary composer, John
Williams, who composed an all-new suite of musical themes for the land and its attractions.

Handbuilt Lightsabers, guests will have the opportunity to customize and craft their own lightsabers. In this exclusive experience, guests will feel like a Jedi as they build these elegant weapons from a more civilized age. (Disney Parks)

The Force is Strong

At 14 acres, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Disney’s largest single-themed land expansion ever and promises
to be the most technologically advanced, too. Galaxy’s Edge is the first land at Disney designed to integrate
with the Play Disney Parks mobile app. Once you download the app to your phone, you can use it to
interact with a variety of elements like droids, ships, media screens and door panels, as well as participate
in missions by accomplishing certain tasks. “This depth of storytelling is part of the total immersion that
will distinguish [Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge] from any other themed land in history,” Disney Parks said in a
recent press release.

Until now, we’ve only been able to experience Star Wars on screen; now, on Batuu, you’ll get to
experience the galaxy’s sights, sounds, smells and tastes in a whole new way. You can touch the
Millennium Falcon’s controls, taste the Blue Milk Luke Skywalker drinks, and feel the Force in your very
own customized lightsaber. Star Wars will never be the same. May the Force be with you.

Know Before You Go:

  • You don’t need a separate park pass to access Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. As part of Disneyland
    Park, a valid theme park admission is all you need, except:
    –If you plan to visit between May 31 and June 23, 2019, you will also be required to make
    a no-cost reservation, subject to availability, to access the land. Visit Disneyland.com for
    details.
    –Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels during these dates will
    receive a designated reservation to access Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during their stay (one reservation per registered guest); valid theme park admission is required.

By Shauna Murray 7/6/19

 

 

Top 10 Disneyland Hotels

By Shauna Murray

The Disneyland vacation. It’s an experience unlike any other that beckons people of all ages and from all over the world to Anaheim, California, to make special memories, start family traditions, and celebrate milestone moments with a little help from mouse ears and Disney magic. Whatever your reason for visiting, you’ll need somewhere to kick your feet up and recharge after a long day at the park.

The number of hotel options near Disneyland can seem overwhelming at first as there are dozens of options to choose from. Where you choose to stay really comes down to several key factors: how close you want to be to the park, the environment you want to stay in, and, of course, your budget.

If you want to keep the “Disney Magic” feeling even after you leave the park, one of the three Disney properties—Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel—can offer an uninterrupted Disney experience and special perks like early entry to the park and visits from Disney characters. There are plenty of other nearby hotels ranging from chic and trendy to no-frills economy, all of which are a short walk or shuttle ride to Disneyland, Downtown Disney, and Disney California Adventure Park.

Whether you’re on family vacation, your honeymoon, or celebrating your retirement, there’s a hotel that will fit your needs and your budget. Here are 10 of the best hotels near Disneyland, in order of their distance to the park

1. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

1600 S Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, CA, 92802, United States, 800-491-6126

4.5-star

Distance to Disneyland: 0.2 miles

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4 out of 5

As an extension of the California Adventure park, the Grand Californian carries on the theme of California’s national parks with Craftsman-style architecture reminiscent of a mountain lodge, complete with roaring fireplaces in the lobby. The grand hotel strives to live up to its name with an impressive offering of services and amenities that include treatments at the full-service spa, three outdoor pools, “magical morning” access to the park before it opens to the public, and a variety of on-site restaurants and lounges.

It’s worth mentioning that the Grand Californian charges pretty “grand” prices for their rooms and services. During peak travel times, the hotel’s average nightly rate can be two to three times as much as the other choices on this list, but if staying in the Disney mindset for your whole vacation is important to you, then it could be worth it. The rooms are average size but the beautiful buildings and grounds really do set the Californian apart. With views of the park during the day and the fireworks at night, plus visits from Pluto and friends, you’ll be surrounded by Disney Magic throughout your visit.

 

 

2. Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

1717 S Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, CA, 92802, 800-491-6126

3.5-star

Distance to Disneyland: 0.3 miles

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4 out of 5

Tucked away right outside of California Adventure Park, the Paradise Pier Hotel is just close enough to be part of the magic, but secluded enough to offer a respite from the crowds and noise. A private entrance leads from the hotel to the park so it’s easy to come and go as you please. (Nap time, anyone?) The kids will love the expansive pool, the Paradise Theater showing Disney films, and hanging out with Minnie Mouse & Friends at breakfast. Parents will love the Yamabuki Japanese restaurant and the Surfside Lounge. Babysitting services are available, too, if Mom and Dad need a date night.

The only way you could get any closer to the action is if you slept in Sleeping Beauty’s castle. While Princess Aurora’s digs might look great from the outside, the amenities at Paradise Pier Hotel make for a much more comfortable stay.

3. Disneyland Hotel

1150 W Magic Way, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 800-491-6126

4-star

Distance to Disneyland: 0.3 Miles

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4 out of 5

Originally built in 1955, the Disneyland Hotel was the first Disney-themed hotel and is still one of the most popular places to stay near the park. The 4-star hotel has gone through several major renovations over the years; the current interior design gives a nod to mid-century nostalgia with modern luxury and, of course, lots of Disney flare. The hotel has four restaurants, three pools, and lush gardens with waterfalls and a koi pond. Disney characters regularly make appearances during breakfast hours and you can catch the nightly fireworks from the club-level cocktail lounge with a glass of complementary beer or wine.

The Disneyland Hotel is just steps away from Downtown Disney, and a short walk to the park gates. You can even skip going in the park’s main entrance and take the monorail from Downtown Disney right into Tomorrowland.

4. Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance
1420 South Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 855-239-9399
3.5-star
Distance to Disneyland: 0.4 Miles
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Located just a ten-minute walk to the Disneyland gates and loaded with amenities like an on-site water park, free WiFi and cooked-to-order breakfast, the Courtyard Anaheim consistently ranks the highest among area hotels. Rooms can sleep up to six people with two showers and double sinks, the family won’t be fighting for bathroom time while getting ready in the morning. The lobby restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there’s a Starbucks where you can fuel up before a big day in the park. Best of all, you can put on your PJ’s and watch the nightly Disneyland fireworks from your balcony.
Tip: Double-check when you’re booking that you’re at the “Theme Park Entrance” Courtyard.
There are two other Anaheim Courtyard hotels: one at the Convention Center and another at Buena Park.

5. Best Western Plus Anaheim Inn

1630 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 866-573-4235

 2.5-star

Distance to Disneyland: 0.5 Miles

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Best Western Plus consistently receives some of the best guest reviews of any Anaheim Hotel. Happy guests frequently mention the friendly staff, clean rooms, and they like that the hotel is less than a 10-minute walk to the Disneyland gate. While many area hotels charge a hefty daily fee for parking, the Best Western offers parking to its guests for free. There’s also free hot breakfast every morning so you can fuel-up before hitting the park. These perks can really add up—especially if you’re traveling with kids and staying for several days.

6. Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

1240 S Walnut St, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 855-239-9227

3-star

Distance to Disneyland: 0.6 Miles

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4 out of 5

 Of the several Holiday Inns in Anaheim, this one is the closest to Disneyland. This family-friendly hotel will be a bit (or a lot) easier on your wallet than some of the nearby hotels, while still delivering on the goods. Perks include a second-floor firework viewing deck, the Splash Zone Waterpark, poolside food and beverage service and optional Disney-themed suites.

Dogs are welcome for an additional fee—they’re family, too!

7. Desert Palms Hotel & Suites, Anaheim
631 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 800-491-6126

3-star
Distance to Disneyland: 0.6 Miles
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4 out of 5

The Desert Palms is another favorite of budget-conscious travelers. The hotel is a short walk from the Disneyland main gate and in close proximity to several shops and restaurants. Guests love the complementary breakfast buffet, the safe and well-lit underground parking, the modern décor, and the clean rooms. Parking isn’t included but is only $16.00 per night, which is about half of what you’ll be charged at many neighboring hotels.

8. Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort
1800 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 714-971-1800

3.5-star
Distance to Disneyland: 0.7 Miles
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4.5 out of 5

While some visitors like the idea of a 24/7 Disney-themed vacation, others prefer a little reprieve from the hustle and bustle after a long day in the park. If that’s you, the Hyatt House is a great option for your stay. This hotel will feel like your “home away from home” with spacious suites that include a kitchen, plus a free grocery shopping service to stock the fridge for you. The swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and social gathering areas offer everything you need for a relaxing getaway.

The Hyatt House is conveniently located near Anaheim activities and attractions, too. Catch a game at Angel Stadium or the Honda Center, visit Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, or shop ‘til you drop at one of the nearby shopping centers or outlet malls.

The Hyatt House is conveniently located near Anaheim activities and attractions, too. Catch a game at Angel Stadium or the Honda Center, visit Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, or shop ‘til you drop at one of the nearby shopping centers or outlet malls.

9. Hotel Indigo Anaheim
435 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 800-491-6126

3.5-star
Distance to Disneyland: 0.7 Miles
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Hotel Indigo Anaheim is a trendy and charming boutique hotel in the Anaheim Resort District, just a 15-minute walk to Disneyland a 4-minute walk to dining, entertainment and shopping at Anaheim GardenWalk. Amenities include gated covered parking, an outdoor pool, a restaurant with an inspired menu, and a bar/lounge. Hotel Indigo is family-friendly but if you’re traveling without children, this hotel has a lot to offer. The hip and trendy atmosphere, lively bar and restaurant, and close proximity to the GardenWalk makes the Indigo a fun choice for grown-ups, too.

 

 

10. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
1640 S Clementine St, Anaheim, CA, 92802, 855-239-9401

3.5-star
Distance to Disneyland: 0.8 Miles
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Country Inn & Suites opened for business in late 2016, which makes it one of the newer hotels on the block. The hotel offers a lot of valuable extras like free continental breakfast, free WiFi and free parking. There’s a movie theater for kids, an on-site bar for the adults, and the pool area doubles as a viewing deck for the nightly Disneyland fireworks.

Disney Annual Passport members get a booking discount, and Disneyland passes are available at the front desk so you can skip the long lines at the ticketing window.

So there you have it…everything you ever wanted to know about hotels in Anaheim, CA. Whether you’re seeking a luxury experience, something new and hip, or just a safe place to rest your head at night, there’s something sure to meet your needs. Whatever you do, there’s no doubt your Disneyland vacation will be one to remember.

Related Articles:

The History of Disneyland

What’s New at Disneyland and Universal Studios

–By Shauna Murray 4/20/2019

The History of Disneyland

The History of the Happiest Place on Earth

By Shauna Murray

For more than 60 years, the “Happiest Place on Earth” has been a little park in southern California called Disneyland. Ok, maybe it’s not so little, but this 160-acre piece of land had humble beginnings as an orange grove before Walt Disney transformed it into an enchanted land that’s had more visitors since it opened than any other theme park in the world.

Disneyland has grown and evolved with the times but has managed to hold on to the magic that beckons people of all ages to visit, and dream of visiting, year after year. Fans of the park will tell you there’s just something about it—something special—that makes it a place unlike any other.

Upon entering the gates of the park, visitors pass through a tunnel and under the famous plaque that reads:

HERE YOU LEAVE TODAY

AND ENTER THE WORLD

OF YESTERDAY, TOMORROW

AND FANTASY

So just how did Disney transform this place from farmland to fantasyland to become one of the most beloved places in the world? Let’s take a trip through yesterday, today and tomorrow to find out.

 

Disneyland Resort

The Beginning

Walt Disney first spoke of creating an amusement park while taking his daughters to ride the carousel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. As he watched his girls from a park bench, he dreamed of creating a place that families could enjoy together; where children could play and parents could relax.

By the 1940’s, Walt Disney Studios had become well-known for its cartoon characters, including Mickey Mouse, and animated films like Snow White. Disney started receiving letters from fans who wanted to visit the studios; they wanted to do more than just go to the movies, they wanted to be part of an experience. Disney knew the actual studio wouldn’t offer much in terms of entertainment for the public, so he started dreaming up a place for tourists to visit. He spoke of creating a place both children and adults would enjoy, where their favorite characters and films could come to life.

The Concept

In 1948, Disney sent a now-famous memo to the studio production designer, Dick Kelsey, outlining his ideas for “Mickey Mouse Park”. The typical amusement park in those days wasn’t a family-friendly place to visit. They were dirty and disorganized, known for over-serving patrons at the beer stand and for attracting a criminal element. Disney wanted his park to be different.

The original concept was slated to be a small park with a boat ride and a few themed areas on an 8-acre plot across the street from Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, but the project soon outgrew the proposed location. Disney started visiting other parks for inspiration and as his ideas grew and more designers got involved in the planning, it became clear they needed a much bigger space to hold the park they envisioned. They found the space they needed at a cost they could afford 27 miles southeast of Los Angeles, purchasing a 160-acre orchard of orange and walnut trees in Anaheim. The “Mickey Mouse Park” project became “Disneylandia” and finally “Disneyland”. In 1954, construction began on the site. Just one year and 17 million dollars later, Disneyland was ready to open its doors to the public.

The Opening

 

This is a rare color image of opening day taken outside the Main Entrance of Disneyland on July 17, 1955. (Disneyland Resort)

On Sunday, July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its gates for the first time with 18 rides and attractions and five lands including Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street USA. Park admission cost just $1.00, plus tickets for individual attractions. That sounds like quite a deal compared to the $129.00 single day pass in 2019.

July 17th was meant to be a preview day for invited guests and members of the press before opening to the public the following day. Unfortunately, the event was nothing short of a total disaster.

The dedication ceremonies, which included California Governor Goodwin Knight and Walt Disney’s Hollywood friends Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter and Robert Cummings were televised live on ABC. The broadcast attracted over 90 million viewers—the largest TV audience in history at the time—which meant all eyes were on Disneyland for what Disney executives would come to call “Black Sunday” and would lead the press to deem Disneyland “Walt’s Folly”.

So, what could possibly have gone wrong in the “Happiest Place on Earth”? In a word: EVERYTHING.

The weather was scorching 101 degrees.

More than half of the 28,000 people in attendance had “invited” themselves by forging tickets or jumping the fence to get in.

Women’s heels were sinking in to the freshly-poured asphalt.

Due to a plumbers’ strike, Disney had to choose between working toilets or drinking fountains. He chose the former—which people might have been grateful for—but some thought it was a conspiracy by event sponsor Pepsi to make people buy their beverages.

Traffic was gridlocked on the newly-constructed freeway and celebrity guests like Frank Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds were delayed for their scheduled appearances.

As if that weren’t enough, a gas leak forced operators to close down three of the five “lands” just hours after the park opened.

Ever the optimist, Walt Disney still delivered his official dedication:

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome! Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

Walt Disney reads the Disneyland dedication plaque before a national television audience. (Disneyland Resort)

After receiving all the bad press and criticism that day, Disney learned from its painful mistakes and fixed them. Even today you’ll notice the plethora of restrooms and drinking fountains, assuring no guest will have to be thirsty or uncomfortable. Whatever they did to turn things around must have worked because within seven weeks of opening, one million people had walked through Disneyland’s gates.

The Rest is History

In the years that followed, Disneyland pushed the boundaries of technology and creativity and influenced the design of theme parks, roller coasters and other attractions around the world. To this day it is still the most popular theme park in the world. Here’s a timeline of the Disneyland’s milestones, innovations and firsts:

1956 – Just one year after opening, Disneyland had welcomed 5 million visitors.

1957 – Make that 10 million visitors.

1959 – The Matterhorn Bobsled ride became the first tubular steel coaster ever built. Its design still influences the design of modern roller coasters.

1963 – The Enchanted Tiki Room was the first of its kind to use new Audio-Animatronics technology and have three-dimensional birds, flowers and Tiki gods perform a live show.

 

1966 – It’s a Small World water ride opened featuring 500 Audio-Animatronics dolls representing cultures around the world. We’ve been trying to get the theme song out of our heads ever since.

 

 

 

 

 

1967 – Pirates of the Caribbean made its debut. It remains one of the most popular rides to this day and was the inspiration for the hit blockbuster movies of the same name.

 

 

1969 – The Haunted Mansion and its 999 ghosts – always with “room for one more” – started haunting park visitors.

 

 

 

 

1972 – The Main Street Electrical Parade premiered including more than 500,000 twinkling lights.

 

 

1976 – 150 million people had visited Disneyland

 

1977 – The Space Mountain coaster blasted off in Tomorrowland. Astronauts John Glenn and Alan Shepard were part of its inaugural journey.

 

 

1979 – Big Thunder Mountain railroad opened in Frontierland.

 

 

1989 – Splash Mountain opened and it’s five-story waterfall drop still has us packing a poncho in our purse.

 

 

1993 – Mickey’s Toontown was added as the newest “land”.

 

 

1995 – Indiana Jones Adventure invited guests to be part of the action with a thrill ride based on George Lucas’ films.

 

2001 – Disney California Adventure Park opened to the public, offering a whole new world of rides, restaurants and attractions modeled after California’s most notable parks and landmarks.

 

 

2005 – Disneyland celebrated its 50th anniversary.

 

 

2017 – 708 million people had visited Disneyland.

 

 

2019 – The much-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is scheduled to open May 31, 2019 featuring characters and places seen in the popular George Lucas films.

Disney Parks

 

-Shauna Murray
3/16/2019

The Best Murals in Los Angeles

10 Places to Find the Best Murals in Los Angeles

Photo by Chris Christian on flickr

If you’re looking for creative inspiration, you need look no further than the streets of Los Angeles. Thousands of murals adorn the outer walls of buildings from the beach to the East Side, and they’re as much a part of the landscape as the Pacific Ocean and Hollywood Hills. The artwork both reflects and colors life in Los Angeles and is a great source of pride for the city. Los Angeles is a cultural melting pot and its murals are as diverse as the people who live here.

In a city filled with artists and centered around show business, it should come as no surprise that the whole city itself has become an art show. Local artists create work influenced by their surroundings, and visiting artists travel from all over the world to leave their mark here, too. The result is an eclectic mix of styles and cultural influences; life-like portraits, narrative tableaus, geometric patterns, bright washes of color, and inspirational messages all coexist on L.A.’s buildings, bridges and walls.

While it’s nearly impossible to narrow down the ever-changing roster of murals from thousands to a handful, here’s a round-up of some of the most popular, beautiful, and downright weird works of art you’ll find around the city. Chances are if you make your way to any one of these works, you’ll find yourself around the corner from many more.

Taking up the whole side of a two-story building, the Bloom Wall impresses with its magnitude. The burst of color was painted by artist HUEMAN; it’s not hard to see why she’s been sought after by brands like Nike and NYX Cosmetics

Where to find it: 298 Rose St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Without further delay, here’s a list of the best murals in Los Angeles!

  1. Collette Miller’s Angel Wings
  2. Bleeding Hearts
  3. Jim Morrison Mural
  4. Technicolor Ooze
  5. West Hollywood Library
  6. 4th Street / Art District
  7. The Pope of Broadway
  8. Freedumb
  9. A Day in LA Tours Mural

 

Collete Miller’s Angel Wings

Photo from Twitter

Artist Colette Miller created the Global Angel Wings Project in 2012 “to remind humanity that we are the angels of this Earth”. These human-sized are designed to be interactive – people can pose for photos in front of the wings and become part of the art. The Global Angel Wings Project has truly gone global, with wings on almost every continent but they started right here in the city of angels.

Where to find it: One set of wings can be found at 8401 W 3rd St, Los Angeles 90048, another at 453 Colyton Street, and there are more throughout the city. Search for more locations by using #globalangelwings on Instagram.

 

Bleeding Hearts

Photo by Chris Christian on flickr

Venice Beach has long been known as an enclave for artists, and even with recent changes to the neighborhood, art remains a prominent feature. The crown jewel of Westside murals is Abbott Kinney Boulevard, a mile-long stretch of retail, restaurants, murals, murals and more murals. “Bleeding Hearts” aka #LOVEWALL by James Goldcrown (@jgoldcrown) is one of the most popular places to visit–and photograph– on Abbott Kinney.

Where to find it: Greenleaf, 1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, 90291

 

Jim Morrison Mural

Photo by Mike McBey on flickr

“Morning Shot” is the 35-foot-tall mural of Doors front man, Jim Morrison, created by artist Rip Cronk in 1991 and revamped in 2012. From the side wall of an apartment building, Morrison towers over the Venice Beach boardwalk; a fitting place for this larger-than-life figure as The Doors met and started the band in Venice in 1965.

Where to find it: 1811 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

 

 

TECHNICOLOR OOZE

Photo by jenstark.com

Arguably the most psychedelic mural in town, “Technicolor Ooze” is the work of artist Jen Stark. She’s since brought her Technicolor magic to collaborations with Miley Cyrus and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.

Where to find it: 8850 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

 

WEST HOLLYWOOD LIBRARY

West Hollywood is a community known for its vibrancy and freedom of expression, and its public library is no exception. The parking structure of the West Hollywood Library is home to three of the most recognizable murals in the city: “Peace Elephant” by Shepard Fairey, “An exercise in spontaneity” by Kenny Scharf, and a striking blue and white abstract design by L.A. artist RETNA.

Photo by obeygiant.com
Photo on Pinterest
RETNA Photo by rocor on flickr

Where to find it: 625 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, 90069

 

4th STREET / ARTS DISTRICT

Photo by Shauna Murray

The L.A. Arts District truly lives up to its name with more than 100 murals covering the walls and sides of buildings in the neighborhood. One of the most striking works can be found at the intersection of 4th Street and Merrick. The collaboration between Christina Angelina (@starfightera) and Fanakapan. (@fanakapan) will give you allll the feels.

Where to find it: Arts District, Downtown L.A. @ 4th Street and Merrick, LA 90012

 

THE POPE OF BROADWAY

Photo by Pawel Biernacki on flickr

Some murals have a lifespan of only a year or two (or less) before they’re painted over and replaced. Some, on the other hand, have become semi-permanent fixtures in the city. “The Pope of Broadway” is one such classic. Originally created in 1985 by muralist Eloy Torrez, who also worked with the city to restore it in 2017, the 70-foot mural depicts Mexican-born actor Anthony Quinn, celebrating two of L.A.’s biggest cultural influences: the film industry and the Latino community.

Where to find it: The Victor Clothing Company Building, 242 S. Broadway, Los Angeles 90012

 

FREEDUMB

Photo by Duncan c on flickr

Jules Muck, the “Queen of Venice Beach,” is among the most well-known street art and mural painters around. Her works can be seen all over Venice; on its walls, garage doors, vans and even discarded appliances. Perhaps her most famous work is “Freedumb”— a green-tinged mural depicting five legends of the stage and screen who died before their time.

 

A DAY IN LA TOURS MURAL

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the “Day in L.A.” mural. The mural was painted in 2017 by artist Dim Morisov at the A Day in L.A. Tours headquarters in Santa Monica. “If Los Angeles was an amusement park, this map would show you where all the rides are,” Morisov says. He somehow managed to fit all of Los Angeles on the side wall of A Day in LA’s HQ so you can take a tour of the entire city and its key points of interest without ever taking the tour! Plan to spend some time looking up-close to discover all of the Easter eggs and hidden pop-culture references; you might even find Waldo (as in “Where’s Waldo?”) hiding in the City of Angels.

Where to find it: 410 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401

–Shauna Murray

2/07/2019


Summary: Los Angeles is home to thousands of murals that are as diverse as the people who live here. The artwork both reflects and colors life in Los Angeles, and is a great source of pride for the city. While it’s nearly impossible to narrow down the ever-changing roster of murals from thousands to a handful, here’s a guide to ten of the best places to find the most powerful, colorful, and downright weird works of art you’ll find around the city.
Tags: Los Angeles, Murals, LA street art, murals of LA, graffiti, public art, street artists, mural painters, arts district, venice beach, west Hollywood, shepard fairey, jules muck, jen stark, retna, hueman

Top Museums in Los Angeles

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over and over again since moving to L.A. ten years ago, it’s that this city is hard to put in a box. It’s a metropolis, a beach town, a mountain hideaway and a suburban neighborhood all at once, and it expands for miles in every direction. The same can be said for the collection of museums that call Los Angeles home. From art and culture to science and technology, the past, present and future all converge here and are put on magnificent display.

L.A. has some of the best museums in the country (yes, really) and with so many to choose from, there’s bound to be something to pique nearly everyone’s interest. It might be hard to imagine spending the day indoors when you could be soaking up rays at the beach, but trust me, a visit to any one of these museums will be well worth the trip. (Plus, there’s many outdoor exhibitions so you can enjoy the weather while expanding your cultural knowledge.)

Here’s a sampling of the most recognized, beloved, awe-inspiring, and downright weird museums in Los Angeles:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Miracle Mile

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA (pronounced LOCK-MAH), opened in 1965 and “has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, mirroring Los Angeles’s rich cultural heritage and uniquely diverse population” ever since. LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States and sees more than a million visitors each year. Some of the most sought-after works on display are by Diego Rivera, Henri Matisse, Barbara Kruger and local artist, Ed Ruscha. The most iconic of all works at LACMA is Chris Burden’s Urban Light, a sculpture composed of 202 restored streetlamps from the Los Angeles area during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The sculpture has become a ubiquitous symbol of LACMA and one of the most identifiable landmarks in the city.

THE GETTY

Formally called the J. Paul Getty Museum, The Getty is an art museum split between two equally-stunning locations: the Getty Center in Brentwood, and the Getty Villa off of Highway 1 in Pacific Palisades. The Getty Center’s permanent exhibits include paintings, drawing, sculpture and photography from around the world, from ancient history to the modern era. The Getty Villa is dedicated to works of art from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Both campuses are nestled in beautiful hilltop settings with grounds and gardens to wander through and impressive panoramic views of the city and ocean.

Admission to both the Center and Villa is FREE. Parking is $15 at both locations.

THE BROAD                            

DTLA

One of the newest museums to arrive on the L.A. scene, The Broad is a contemporary art museum that features rotating temporary exhibitions and interactive installations. Visiting The Broad is a refreshing break from tradition; there’s always something new to see when you visit, and opportunities to interact with and become part of the art experience yourself. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms have been hugely popular with visitors since the museum opened its doors in 2015.

Admission is free, reservations recommended but not required if you’re willing to wait in the standby line. The Broad tweets expected wait times so you can check before you go if you don’t have tickets already.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Exposition Park

The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NMH) was the first dedicated museum building in L.A., opening its doors in 1913. Today NHM protects over 35 million specimens, some as old as 4.5 billion years. From the biodiversity of the planet to the human culture that has evolved in it, NHM covers the history of our planet from the beginning of time, up until now. Where else can you look at 100 million-year-old dinosaur fossils and living butterflies in the same place?

The Museum recently underwent a massive renovation is more impressive than ever, including a new entrance atrium that houses a giant 63-foot long Fin whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling. The Gem and Mineral Hall is another favorite among visitors with more than 2,000 specimens on display and you can touch a selection of gems, minerals, and even a meteorite.

Bring your lunch or pick something up at The Grill and head out to the beautiful Rose Garden for a picnic lunch.

Ticket prices range from $6 for kids to 14 for adults with special pricing for students, seniors and groups.

PETERSON AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM

Miracle Mile

You don’t have to be a gear head to enjoy a visit the Peterson Automotive Museum. This museum is much more than a car show; it tells the story of the automobile as an art form, a technological achievement, and a cultural phenomenon. Cars have had a huge impact on our lives and culture, from everyday transportation to Hollywood movies. And there’s nowhere car culture is more pervasive than here in Los Angeles.

Fun Fact: Miracle Mile, where L.A.’s Museum Row is located, was the first street to have a dedicated left-turn lane and had the first timed traffic light.

The museum itself is a feat of art and technology; recently undergoing a $90 million renovation

that included an ambitious redesign of the building’s façade. Once inside, you’ll experience the artistry, industry, and history of the automobile while viewing 150 cars on three floors, along with optional interactive and VR experiences.

Tickets start at $11 and for an extra fee you can book a special tour of The Vault.

ANNENBERG SPACE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Century City

The Annenberg Foundation that founded and oversees The Annenberg Space for Photography set out to create a place where people can “see the world through a different lens and leave feeling motivated to make a positive change.” The Space opened in 2009 and is the first museum in Los Angeles dedicated solely to photography and photographic culture. The interior design of the building was even modeled after a camera and its lens.

The Space features both traditional prints and digital media, and shows works by world-renowned photographers as well as emerging artists. There are roughly two special exhibitions each year showcasing innovative and thought-provoking work–plenty of reasons to keep coming back to see what’s new. Best of all? Admission is always free.

THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART (MOCA)

DTLA

L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art is spread out across three locations, but the main branch is at 250 S. Grand Ave in Downtown L.A. All of the works at MOCA were created from 1940 to present, and while many of the exhibiting artists’ names might be new to you, they’re worth checking out. MOCA takes great pride in finding and presenting what it considers to be “the most significant and challenging art of our time.” Works by more well-known artists like Jackson Pollack, Roy Lichtenstein and Mark Rothko are part MOCA’s permanent collection. Admission is free on Thursdays from 5:00-8:00PM.

THE MUSEUM OF JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY

Culver City

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is, without question, the most unique museum in Los Angeles. The dimly-lit space is a winding maze full of oddities and cultural artifacts that make up its 30 permanent exhibits—some presented in familiar museum format while others are more esoteric. David Wilson, the museum’s founder and director, received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (aka the “Genius Grant”) in 2001 for his work challenging “perceptions of what is real and what is not” and demanding “reinterpretations of our understanding of science, natural history, mythology, and vernacular art forms.”

In all likelihood, you’ll exit the museum with more questions and confusion than you entered with, but that’s kind of the point. You might love it, you might hate it, but you’ll certainly have something to talk about at your next dinner party. Don’t miss the Tea Room on the rooftop patio, it’s one of those hidden urban oases that L.A. is famous for and makes you feel like you’re in another world, not a strip mall off Venice Boulevard.

–Shauna Murray

12/18/2018


Summary: From art and culture to science and technology, Los Angeles is home to some of the finest museums in the country. We assembled a list of some of the most recognized, beloved, awe-inspiring, and downright weird museums in Los Angeles…
Tags: Los Angeles, art museums, natural history museum, Getty museum, LACMA, MOCA, Jurassic technology, the broad, Annenberg, photography

Los Angeles Walking Tours

Are you planning a visit to Los Angeles? Already live here and looking to get to know the area better? As you might be aware, Los Angeles has some notoriously bad traffic for the United States. However you don’t have to be stuck in that mess. A lot of the famous sights and attractions are in a few concentrated areas. So if you’re looking to beat the traffic when you visit Los Angeles on your vacation or trip and want to sight see in the fresh air and sunshine, pick your area and just explore it by foot. You won’t have to wait in stand-still traffic with frustrated and angry drivers laying on their car horns all day. Yes, believe it or not but LA is a much more walk-able city than you might think.

Taking a walking tour of parts of Los Angeles is actually not Mission Impossible with famous places like Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach and Santa Monica having their attractions clustered close together making walking the most convenient option. Of course nothing beats walking in LA’s year round beautiful weather – with sunshine and low humidity you’ll be happy and dry as you explore and sight-see Los Angeles in a way that you might have never thought or known existed!

 

Santa Monica Walking Tour

A lot of people will say downtown Los Angeles is the urban and walkable environment most akin to New York City in Los Angeles. But wouldn’t an urban environment just steps away from the beach be as nice if not nicer? Wouldn’t you prefer to breath the ocean breeze than the smog of the highway? Enter Downtown Santa Monica – The City by the Beach. Santa Monica is an actual city in Los Angeles county as opposed to some other famous LA areas we’ll talk about which are in Los Angeles city as well as the county. Santa Monica was primed for tours and tourism from the start. Originally envisioned as an industrial shipping harbor city, Santa Monica’s beautiful coastline had other plans for the city’s future and today it is definitely a place you don’t want to miss on your California visit.

Strut your stuff and check out the great, bountiful shopping on the 3rd Street Promenade, an open air shopping mall strip situated in the three blocks between Broadway on the south and Wilshire Blvd on the north. Blocked off to cars, it is a perfect place to mosey on down and have an iconic Southern California moment. Check out the beautiful sunset view of the Pacific Ocean off the historic and lively Santa Monica Pier. And of course, soak up the Southern California sun on the beach or on the bike path that snakes up and down the Los Angeles coastline – Pacific Palisades on the north (where a lot of stars like Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Ben Affleck live) to Torrance Beach on the south.

Downtown Santa Monica is designed in an easy to understand grid system with 1st Street, more commonly known as Ocean Avenue, flanking (you guessed it) the Pacific Ocean situated on the west – at “the edge of western civilization” as the Los Angeles band The Red Hot Chili Peppers sang in the lyrics to their hit song “Californication”. Ocean Ave goes to 26th Street and beyond to the east. From south to north we have Colorado Ave, Broadway, Santa Monica Blvd, Arizona Ave and Wilshire Blvd – the less famous (the more being Sunset Blvd, location of the Sunset Strip) Boulevard that’s spans the lion’s share of the length of Los Angeles. Every corner you go to in downtown Santa Monica you are bound to be steps away from some of the best eating in town, such as Michaels (classic Californian in arty digs) or Cassias (French-Asian). If you want to not only check out beautiful Santa Monica, but to learn all the famous characters that have been part of it’s story than check out our Santa Monica Walking Tour!

 

Hollywood Walking Tour

Hollywood is known around the world as the center of the entertainment industry of the western world. Now an industry over a century old, “Hollywood” is all over Los Angeles. Studios and production companies have outgrown the technical neighborhood of Hollywood by this time but the name of course has stuck and has become synonymous with the entertainment industry. Charlie Chaplin used to stroll down the street to his favorite restaurant (still there! – Hollywood Blvd, between Cherokee and N Las Palmas Ave) “Musso and Frank Grill” after filming all day at his studio.

These days Charlie Chaplin and many other stars of today and yesterday are honored on the walk of fame which spans a bit over a mile on Hollywood Blvd from La Brea Ave on the west to Gower Street (original location of Warner Bros, now in Burbank) on the east. You can walk that stretch of Hollywood Blvd and see your favorite stars from today and your favorite classic stars from yesterday. You might also see your favorite characters lining the boulevard as people dress up as famous Hollywood characters to give you a true Hollywood moment!

Check out the first outdoor shopping mall in the world on the famous Sunset Blvd (“Crossroads of the World”) where the central building is designed to resemble an ocean liner. Head up on the stretch of Highland Avenue between Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd to check out Mel’s Drive In, a 24/7 retro diner perfect for families and famous for being the place in George Lucas’s “American Graffiti”. Continue on up and across Hollywood Blvd and nestled right next to the Wax Museum will be the Snow White Cafe, named after the Snow White art and murals on the walls, some of it done by actual classic Disney animators, it was the place for the after party of the Snow White premiere back in the day.

For fun and scandalous Hollywood stories and history consider taking our Hollywood Walking Tour!

 

Beverly Hills Walking Tour

Seeing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is best epitomized in Beverly Hills and best experienced on foot. Of course Beverly Hills (named after an east coast farm town) evokes exclusivity but downtown Beverly Hills is actually a very walkable area. With the famous Rodeo Drive (pronounced Row-day-oh, not like a rodeo!) at its center and the subway from downtown Los Angeles adding a stop by 2022 or 2023 (purple line, Wilshire Blvd), Beverly Hills is destined to become an even more walkable area. Shop Rodeo Drive with everyone from Gucci to Salvatore Ferragamo (legendary show maker to the classic stars) lining this fashionistas paradise, check out the inventor of red velvet, “Sprinkles Cupcakes” with its cupcake vending machine and walk off the calories in the beautiful Beverly Gardens Park when you need a respite.

The next street over from Rodeo Drive is Beverly Drive where at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd is The Paley Center for Media where you can check out costumes from current and classic productions as well as other great Hollywood memorabilia and exhibitions. Celebrate Los Angeles Mexican history (“Los Angeles” means “The Angels” in Spanish after all) by having some organic Mexican cuisine at Sharky’s Woodfried Mexican Grill further down on Beverly Drive. Further down Beverly Drive: If you’re a cheese and wine kind of person definitely don’t pass up an opportunity to visit “The Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills” where you are guaranteed to find lots of things to whet your appetite.

If you keep going down Beverly Drive and arrive at Wilshire Blvd you won’t be far at all from the internationally famous Beverly Wilshire hotel at the Four Seasons. The Beverly Wilshire is the Los Angeles hotel of choice for many a celebrity and dignitary. And if you want to maybe see a celebrity check out “The Grill on the Alley” just around the corner on a little alley side street called Dayton Way. At The Grill on the Alley there could be some power players striking a Hollywood deal or just enjoying brunch.

If you are a car nut you might want to stay on Wilshire Blvd and mosey a little east to check out the Ferrari’s and Mclarens stocked in the Wilshire car dealerships.

For fun Beverly Hills stories about its famous faces consider taking our Beverly Hills Walking Tour!

 

Venice Beach Walking Tour

Conceived as a “Venice of America” complete with canals, these days you can walk these former canals that lead to and from the beach, as well as the actual canals themselves. Venice has gone through quite a transformation, from undeveloped marsh lands to a bohemian and artistic hotspot to now a quickly growing hub of tech industry activity, and many different phases in between. Learn about the fun stories and cool characters of Venice on our walking tour!  

The focal point of Venice is the famous “Venice Beach” on the boardwalk which is lined with lots of souvenir shops where you can load up on the sunglasses you’ll need to sport to shield yourself from the California sun, all the better to see the skaters do they’re tricks at the skatepark or the tons of street performers that line the other side of the boardwalk from the shops.

Take your shoes off and put your toes in the sand! The beach and the sea are just steps away from the boardwalk. Check out the surfers catching the waves if the conditions are right.

Also, Venice beach is populated with beautiful street art – pop off the boardwalk every once in a while to the side streets a step away to admire these artists handiwork, which includes a Van Gogh “The Starry Night” recreation! (by Rip Kronk, longtime Venice mainstay). And don’t forget to check out the legally sanctioned graffiti wall. All you need is an easy day permit that you get from the police station next door and you’re good to go!

Abbot Kinney Blvd is another focal point in Venice Beach. Named “Coolest Street in America” by GQ, the street name is named for the founder of Venice, and the best shopping and eating awaits you here! Stroll the blocks of Abbot Kinney perusing the many offerings and when you need to re-fuel grab your coffee at Blue Bottle or Intelligentsia.

One thing you definitely don’t want to miss is the Venice Beach canals – a tranquil place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Admire the beautiful waterways and the modern architecture and wander over to the park to see the wandering ducks!

For fun stories about Venice and its many characters consider taking our Venice Beach Walking Tour!

The Ultimate California Circuit

Touring California from the West Coast to the Wild West

California dreamin’

On such a winter’s day….

If those words are starting to sound more like your reality than lyrics from the Mamas and Papas song, it might be time to start planning your next getaway to the west coast. From up north in San Francisco to the south in San Diego – and many points in between – there’s a lot to explore.

And while you’re out west… Las Vegas might not technically be a city in California, but don’t tell some residents of Los Angeles that. At just a four-hour drive from L.A., Vegas makes for a quick and easy trip whether you’re looking for entertainment and night life on the world-famous strip, or you’re more interested in the natural beauty of nearby national parks.

Whatever kind of adventure you’re seeking, We’re here to help make sense of it all and point out some highlights you’ll find along the way.

SPECIAL OFFER: A Day in L.A. has partnered with Dylan’s Tours in San Francisco to help you explore even more of the Golden State. If you book a tour with Dylan’s and A Day in L.A., you’ll receive 10% off of both tours.

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Fisherman’s Wharf

As one of the most famous tourist destinations in San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see. Take in views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island while dining on clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. Visiting the sea lion colony that lives there is a fun stop, too.

Haight Ashbury

This neighborhood was the epicenter of hippie counter-culture in the 1960’s, and you’ll still get a sense of that history when you visit the Haight today. Tie-dyes, vintage stores, mural-covered buildings, and the smell of incense in the air will have you feelin’ groovy in no time.

Golden Gate Bridge

Nothing symbolizes the city of San Francisco quite as much as the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see it from many places in the city, but it’s worth a visit to see this modern wonder up close. You can even walk across the bridge if you have time.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Located in Mill Valley, just outside the city, this National Monument is famous for its gigantic old-growth redwood trees. Most of the coastal redwoods have been growing for hundreds of years, and the oldest is believed to be 1200 years old.

Chinatown

This neighborhood is the oldest Chinatown in the United States, and also the biggest outside of China. Enjoy the colorful scenery, ornate temples, and dim sum restaurants, and pick up a souvenir at one of the many shops that line the streets.

 

Los Angeles

Santa Monica Pier

One of the most recognizable sights in the Los Angeles area, the pier is a must-see stop on any visit. Snap a photo by the famous Route 66 sign and then hop on the giant Pacific Wheel to take in 360-degree views from the bay to downtown.

Venice Beach

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a stop in Venice Beach. From the Venice Canals to shopping on Abbot Kinney to walking along the boardwalk, there’s plenty to do in this beach community. The Venice Boardwalk is home to some real characters, like those that frequent Muscle Beach and the skate park. You never know what you’ll see in Venice on any given day.

Getty Center

Perched high atop a hill in Brentwood off the 405 freeway, the Getty Center boasts some of the finest works by world-famous artists, as well as some of the best views in town. Art buffs will appreciate the exhibits inside the museum, and everyone will appreciate the beautiful grounds and gardens surrounding it.

Griffith Park and Observatory

This urban oasis is nestled in the hills behind the Hollywood and Los Feliz neighborhoods, and home to the famous Greek Theatre. Wander the trails to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign and a panoramic view from Downtown to the beach, then step inside the observatory and look to the stars through one of the telescopes.

Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater

If you’re visiting Los Angeles for the first time, you’ll probably want to make a stop here. Stars bearing the names of famous actors and actresses line the sidewalks while the restored theatre, originally opened in 1927, provides the backdrop. Great for a photo op or two before you move on to the next stop.

 

San Diego

San Diego beaches and coves
La Jolla Cove

Balboa Park

Balboa Park boasts an impressive 1,200 acres of trails, gardens, museums, and is also home to the San Diego Zoo. The largest urban cultural park in the U.S. has something for everyone, from hikes through palm forests to art installations…or just grab a seat by the Lily Pond and take in the view and beautiful architecture of the Botanical Building.

San Diego Zoo

One of the most famous zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo opened over 100 years ago and is home to thousands of animals. Don’t miss the giant pandas while you’re there – they’re a perennial favorite of zoo visitors.

Mission Beach

San Diego is famous for its beaches for a reason: they’re beautiful to look at and fun to play at. Mission Beach is popular for its paved boardwalk that runs the length of the beach and makes it easy to walk, bike, and access its many shops and restaurants. The Belmont Park amusement park has fun rides and attractions, too, including a roller coaster and miniature golf.

Old Town San Diego

Established in 1769 with only a mission and a fort, Old Town San Diego is California’s oldest settlement of the Spanish colonization period. Today, Old Town is filled with shops, restaurants, and museums that will give you a taste of San Diego’s heritage. It’s a great place to wander around with the family for an afternoon.

Gaslamp District

This neighborhood is an interesting convergence of old and new. The Gaslamp Quarter, as it was originally called, was once home to San Diego’s brothels and saloons. Today, those nineteenth-century buildings have been fully restored and are occupied by a plethora of shops, restaurants, and nightclubs.

 

Las Vegas

Stay on the Strip

Themed hotels, 24-hour casinos, world-class entertainment and millions of glittering lights are just a few of the things you’ll find yourself surrounded with here. The Vegas strip is completely over-the-top, and proud of it. Staying in the heart of strip makes it easy to get from place to place. For a luxurious hotel experience, book a room at the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, or the Venetian. Traveling with kids? The Excalibur has long been a family favorite with activities that are fun for all ages.

See a Show

From Cirque du Soleil to stand-up comedians and magicians to larger-than-life concert experiences, there is never a shortage of entertainment in Las Vegas. Some shows play throughout the year while some rotate in and out, or only play for a limited run. New shows are added regularly so check the Visit Las Vegas website before you go and see what’s playing during the dates of your visit.

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy their impressive seasonal displays in the 14,000-foot conservatory. Bellagio’s horticulturalists design wildly imaginative installations using a combination of natural and man-made materials. While you’re there, step outside and enjoy the water show at the Bellagio Fountains.

Hoover Dam

This National Historic Landmark is quite a site to behold. More than 80 years after its creation, the Hoover Dam is still the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere and was named one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century. You can drive from the Las Vegas strip to the Hoover Dam in under an hour.

Grand Canyon

It’s hard to believe it when you’re standing on the bustling strip, but Las Vegas sits smack in the middle of the desert and is a stone’s throw to some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the country. A drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon will take about 4.5 hours and you’ll get to experience the beauty of the southwestern landscape along the way.

PLANNING YOUR TRIP

  • We recommend starting your California adventure by flying into San Francisco. You’ll want to spend at least a couple of days there to take it all in.
  • From there, either rent a car and drive along the long and winding Highway 1 down the coast to Los Angeles, or hop on a short 1-hour flight.
  • Once you’ve arrived in LaLa Land, A Day in L.A. can arrange tours of L.A., plus transport to and from San Diego, including a tour of the highlights there.
  • For extra credit, add a stop in Vegas to your west coast circuit. Day in L.A. can provide transportation from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and arrange for tours there, too.
  • Finally, book a flight home from Vegas and reflect on all the new memories you’ve just made.

Shauna Murray

12/11/2018


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SUMMARY: Dreaming of your next west coast adventure? You can tour the Golden State of California with stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, then head out to the wild west to visit Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. A Day in L.A. is partnering with Dylan’s Tours in San Francisco to help you get the most of your trip.

Top Los Angeles Attractions

Top Los Angeles Attractions

A trip to the City of Angels is a top on many travel wish lists. If you’re among the fortunate planning a trip to LA, you’ll want to make sure you include the following 14 Los Angeles attractions on your list of things to see, do and experience during your stay.

1. Join in the Activity at Venice Beach

Originally designed to measure up to its Italian namesake, Venice Beach developed an identity all its own offering broad appeal to visitors who enjoy the funky open-air vibe of the beach and quirky boutiques and restaurants.

The boardwalk is the main attraction for visitors to Venice Beach and comprises a pedestrian-only two-and-a-half mile promenade.

Here you’ll find a variety of shops, activities and attractions to enjoy. Top attractions in the area include:

  • The skate park
  • Cycling
  • Rollerblading
  • The beach
  • The boardwalk
  • Street performers
  • Fortune tellers
  • Muscle Beach

More than a location, some view Venice Beach as a state of mind. Some consider it a bohemian sort of spirit permeating the area, making it one of the best things Los Angeles has to offer visitors looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.

2. Take a Walk on the Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is an attraction worth visiting in its own right. It is a trendy destination for surfers, skateboarders and even yoga practitioners. The iconic locale is a favorite attraction day and night and boasts the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel.

You’ll find a wide range of shops to meet all kinds of tastes and budgets through the vintage stores, quirky little shops and high-end boutiques. Some people go just for the shopping while others go to people watch. From musicians and tourists to locals offering their wares, there are plenty of people to watch in this delightful little corner of LA.

Still, others walk the length of the pier to sit at the end and take in the ocean breezes.

The pier, which is more than 100 years old, is also home to an outstanding nightlife along the shore. A short walk just east of the pier lies the Third Street Promenade, a lively section with shops, restaurants, entertainment and more.

The fact that the Santa Monica area of the city is very walkable makes it an excellent choice for tourists on an LA bus tour who want to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere that is so prevalent here.

3. Take a Bite out of Beverly Hills

One of the iconic attractions in Beverly Hills today is the Beverly Hills’ Sprinkles bakery where you can buy cupcakes through an ATM at any time of the day or night. It’s going to be hard to top that anywhere in the city, especially after you’ve tried one of these delectable goodies.

Beverly Hills Sprinkles Bakery

Fortunately for your waistline, it’s not the only attraction Beverly Hills has to offer — though it may be the tastiest. Other Beverly Hills attractions you’ll surely want to include on your list of places to visit in LA are:

  • Beverly Gardens Park
  • Greystone Mansion and Gardens
  • Rodeo Drive
  • Spadena House
  • The Saban Theatre
  • Virginia Robinson Gardens
  • Will Rogers Memorial Park

Don’t forget to take in a tour of The Beverly Hills Hotel, located in the coveted 90210 ZIP code, where you can walk in the footsteps of the rich and famous.

4. Shop ‘til You Drop on Rodeo Drive

Perhaps the most famous nearly two-mile strip of real estate in the U.S. for exclusive boutique shopping — like Giorgio Armani, Versace and Valentino — is Rodeo Drive. Whether you’re there to make purchases or just want to window shop and take in the fashions and styles the wealthy wear, it won’t take long to realize why the three blocks between 200 and 500 of North Rodeo Drive top almost every list of what to see in LA.

5. Snap a Pic of the Hollywood Sign

While one favorite access point to the Hollywood Sign is closed, there are ways to hike to it and several other places you can go to get a fantastic photo of the sign.

For many, the Hollywood sign is one of the quintessential “musts” of a trip to LA, and it remains one of the top Los Angeles attractions in the hearts and minds of visitors from around the world. The sign is so famous it has its own website, complete with tips on how to hike to the sign and information about its history.

6. Marvel at the Wonders of Universal Studios

Los Angeles is where movie magic happens, and there is no place where it happens bigger, better and bolder than at Universal Studios. The theme park is one of the most popular Los Angeles tourist attractions.

From behind the scenes tours of your favorite television shows and films to thrills and chills of midway rides, there’s plenty to do at Universal Studios. You may even get to meet some of your family’s favorite characters. Top attractions include:

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • The Walking Dead Attraction
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Grinchmas — during the holidays
  • Fast & Furious: Supercharged

There are plenty of rides, shows and attractions to delight people of all ages at Universal Studios. Of course, you can’t forget the world-famous tram tour, which introduces you to dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, allows you to witness the parting of the Red Sea and lets you experience the adrenaline surge of being attacked by the shark from Jaws. Who could ask for more?

7. Find Your Favorite Movie and Film Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame tops many lists of things to see in Los Angeles. The walk now contains the stars of more than 2400 Hollywood legends and runs one-mile along Hollywood Boulevard.

You can walk along the path for hours exploring beloved icons of film, past and present. It’s a great way to spend your time in LA — especially if you consider yourself a fan of the film industry.

8. Watch a Premier at TCL Chinese Theatre

Perhaps the most iconic movie palace around the world, the TCL Chinese Theatre is home to more than 50 events each year including movie premieres, film festivals and imprint ceremonies.

TCL Chinese Theatre

As an icon in Hollywood since 1927, the theatre is home to many of the most prominent film and movie debuts and premiers. Plus, it’s a wonderful place to visit while exploring the Walk of Fame.

Another claim to fame for the TCL Chinese Theatre is the fact it’s home to the largest IMAX auditorium in the world, which makes watching movies here a memorable event. Not only can you watch a blockbuster film at TCL Chines Theatre, but you can also purchase a VIP tour ticket for a behind-the-scenes look at the theatre and its history.

Of course, you don’t have to watch a premiere to enjoy the experience of the TCL Chinese Theatre, on a huge IMAX screen — any film will be a fantastic treat to the senses when viewed here.

9. Pay Your Respects to Movie History at Dolby Theatre

Of all the LA attractions available, many people believe the Dolby Theatre to be one of the most essential for their Hollywood experience. The theatre is home to live performances throughout the year, as well as dozens of other events.

What it is most famous for, though, is the star-studded red-carpet event you know and love as the Oscars. Other significant events taking place at more than 640,000 square feet Dolby Theatre include:

  • Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
  • The American Idol Finals
  • The ESPY Awards
  • The Star Wars: The Force Awakens World Premiere
  • The AFI Life Achievement Ceremony

This doesn’t even include the many concerts held each year by some of the biggest names and talents in the music industry. Guided tours are available to allow you to see an Oscar statuette and view images from previous Academy Awards ceremonies held at the Dolby Theatre.

10. Check out the Action on the Sunset Strip

From its gangster past during the heart of the Roaring ’20s to the playground for Hollywood royalty, the Sunset Strip is a can’t miss nighttime hotspot for LA visitors over the age of 21. Here you’ll find cutting-edge attractions and the hippest nightlife LA has to offer. You may even rub elbows with rising stars on the Hollywood scene while you roam the streets or check out the various clubs, restaurants and boutiques.

Though any time is perfect for taking a drive on the Sunset Strip, the best time to explore it in-depth is after the sun goes down when the streets fill up with partiers strolling from one venue to the next amidst a sea of neon signs.

Sunset Strip

Sunset Strip attractions you might want to check out during your stay include the following:

  • The Laugh Factory
  • Chateau Marmont
  • Carney’s — a giant yellow train car restaurant and a favorite of Andrew McCarthy and Cuba Gooding Jr.
  • House of Blues
  • Sky Bar — at Mondrian Hotel
  • The Whisky
  • The Roxy
  • The Rainbow Bar & Grill

The real estate may be small, only occupying 1.5 miles of Sunset Blvd, but the legends are large. This is the place LA visitors to go to walk in their footprints — especially if you’re walking along the pavement outside Kenneth Cole Shoes at 8752 Sunset.

11. Experience Architecture and Art at the Getty Center

This spectacular museum is home to works of art crafted by some of the world’s most exceptional talents. Among the displays at The Getty Center include works from:

  • Monet
  • Van Gogh
  • Cezanne
  • Rembrandt
  • Michelangelo
  • Degas
  • Bellini

The center continuously adds new exhibitions, so you can enjoy a unique experience even after visiting several times.

In addition to the incredible works of art you’ll find displayed at Getty Center, you will also appreciate the stunning architecture. The style manages to incorporate thoroughly modern architecture with the gorgeous open spaces, gardens and LA city views.

Some visitors refer to the Central Garden as a work of art in itself. It features more than 500 plant varieties in the landscaping, as well as various fountains and gardens, so you can enjoy a feast of sight, sound, and scent while exploring.

Consider a private LA tour that allows up to one and one-half hours in Getty Center.

12. Explore History at The Grove and Original Farmers Market

One of the most beloved landmarks by LA locals, The Original Farmers Market traces its origins to 1934. Today, the facility attracts locals and tourists alike to enjoy shopping. Come hungry, though, as there are plenty of tasty dishes available for you to enjoy while exploring the stalls and vendors throughout the building.

The Grove is a separate entity from the farmers market. While the Original Farmers Market is quaint and charming, The Grove is a thoroughly modern mega-mall featuring many of your favorite shops and restaurants, along with several high-end mall stores.

Visiting The Grove and Original Farmers Market is an experience you can savor. In fact, The Original Farmers Market and The Grove make a great lunch stop on a full-day bus tour of LA.

13. See the Stars and an Amazing View of the City at Griffith Park Observatory

More than just a park, Griffith Observatory allows visitors to enjoy stunning views of the Los Angeles basin while offering informative exhibitions and an excellent planetarium with top notch shows. The observatory also offers a gift shop and café for your convenience.

Griffith Observatory

There is an impressive park here, as well. Offering 4210 acres, Griffin Park is the largest urban park in the United States. It features more than 50 miles of trails for hiking and biking, as well as various lagoons and waterfalls.

Other attractions in the park include:

  • Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  • The Hollywood Sign
  • Autry Museum of the American West
  • Train Rides
  • Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
  • Greek Theatre Los Angeles

In other words, Griffith Park is another LA attraction you can build an entire day of your travels around — or more.

14. Hit the Winding Road With Legends on Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive is the drive all drives wish they could be. You will find few better opportunities to enjoy the scenery of LA in a car than on this 24-mile drive. In fact, this drive almost makes dealing with LA traffic entirely worthwhile.

Unfortunately, you have to keep your eyes on the road while making this drive — it isn’t a straight shot, but instead is filled with twists and turns. Consider taking turns driving, so everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the views. Be sure to stop at one — or all — of the seven scenic overlooks.

Many movies feature the road, including one of the street’s namesake.

Take in Top LA Attractions in Comfort With a Bus Tour

A Day in LA Tours allows you to explore many of the best things Los Angeles has to offer from the comfort of a bus without fighting traffic, worrying about getting lost or missing all the attractions because your eyes are on the road.

As a five-star-rated Yelp and five-star-rated TripAdvisor LA bus tour, we take the hassle out of getting around Los Angeles, so you can relax and enjoy every attraction. We provide personalized, safe and fun tours, so you’re sure to have a great time seeing the sights.

We offer:

Choose the option that works best for you and your group.

Tour Information

Check-in Locations

Hotel Pickups

To Book:

Book your full LA day tour here — approximately 7 hours

Have questions? Reach us at 818-538-6287 or info@adayinla.com.