Overview map: Top highlights and sights in Los Angeles
#1 Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios in the north-west of Los Angeles is one of the city’s most popular parks. And not without a reason: in addition to the many rides, shows and attractions, which are all based on well-known Universal film productions, the Studio Tour gives you a look behind the scenes of the film world.
Apart from the Studio Tour, the Harry Potter World and the Waterworld Show are particularly outstanding. You can definitely spend an exciting day here. You can find a detailed article about Universal Studios here.
#2 Warner Brothers Studios
The Warner Brothers Studios are located in Burbank, not far from Universal Studios. In contrast to the neighboring amusement park, there are no rides here, but “only” a fascinating behind-the-scenes experience that you probably won’t get anywhere else.
The tour is particularly exciting for movie and tv show fans. So it was a real experience for me to be in Stars Hollow, to see the set of The Big Bang Theory and to be told the secrets of the many movie productions by our enthusiastic guide.
#3 Santa Monica Pier
Next to Hollywood, Santa Monica is probably the most famous district of Los Angeles. The Santa Monica Pier is particularly popular. A fine, wide sandy beach, blue water, numerous fast food stalls and the Pacific Park funfair make it a popular destination. The pier also marks the official end of Route 66. If you don’t mind the crowds too much, you can take a leisurely stroll and watch the hustle and bustle.
#4 Venice Beach
If you follow the promenade from Santa Monica Pier, the so-called Ocean Front Walk, in a southerly direction, you will inevitably reach Venice Beach.
The walk is easy on foot. If you prefer, you can also hire a bike and cruise along the beach in a relaxed manner.
Venice Beach is lined with numerous stalls and sometimes curious showmen, framed by colorful murals. Bodybuilders tone their muscles in the blazing sun on Muscle Beach and skaters perform their tricks in the skate park to the cheers of the spectators. The colorful hustle and bustle and the serenity of the people characterize this district.
#5 Venice Canals
Four parallel streets away from Venice Beach are the enchanting Venice Canals. The housing estate with its charming houses is reminiscent of the European model, especially thanks to its bridges and the many small boats. After the excitement of Venice Beach, visitors can expect a quiet and idyllic atmosphere here, not least because not many tourists get lost here. This is perhaps because the channels are not as easy to find as you might think… or as I thought.
#6 Griffith Observatory
The classic and integral part of a visit to Los Angeles for every tourist: watching the sunset with a view of the city from the Griffith Observatory. And yes, the lengthy journey, the stressful search for a parking space and the gridlocked traffic on the way back are worth the experience.
During the day, you have a good view of the Hollywood sign from the viewing terrace and, at night, of the seemingly endless sea of lights of Los Angeles. If possible, you should avoid the Griffith Observatory at the weekend, as the crowds are considerable and parking spaces are scarce.
#7 Mulholland Drive
If you have some time to spare and are already close to Griffith Park, you can easily drive along Mulholland Drive. The almost 40 km long and winding road leads through a hilly landscape above Beverly Hills.
In addition to numerous high-priced residences, you also pass numerous vantage points that open up new views of the city. Surprisingly, the parking options are usually sufficient.
#8 Beverly Hills
If you leave Mulholland Drive and head south, you will reach Beverly Hills. The streets lined with palm trees and the stars’ mansions hidden behind walls illustrate how Los Angeles is actually imagined: Magnificent and glamorous. If you want to get even closer to the glamor of the rich and famous, we recommend a stroll along the famous Rodeo Drive.
Every conceivable luxury store is lined up here in a glamorous atmosphere. While strolling around, you can watch the well-heeled society shopping and secretly condemn them 😉
#9 Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles is probably not on the agenda of most tourists, even though it has a lot to offer. For those interested in sports, the Staples Center, home of the LA Lakers, is worth mentioning. At Pershing Square, you can take a leisurely break between the skyscrapers. If you are interested in unusual architecture, a walk past the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a must.
In the Grand Central Market, the smells of the numerous food offerings tempt you to eat. The Grand Park, at the east end of which is the City Hall, invites you to relax and watch the locals playing sport. However, Chinatown is hardly worth a visit due to its size, especially if you are traveling to San Francisco as part of a road trip.
#10 Walk of Fame & TCL Chinese Theatre
Last because Least the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre are on the list. It’s definitely not a highlight and not as glamorous as you might imagine, but it’s still part of the LA experience for most tourists. Because if you’re already in Los Angeles, you have to go to Hollywood! The large stars, which have been set into the sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd for a mile and are dedicated to the stars of show business, symbolize the Hollywood district like nothing else.
At the edge of the path, some strange figures cavort and at the Chinese Theatre itself, crowds of people gather to look at the hand and footprints of some selected stars pressed into cement. If you can’t stand the hustle and bustle for long, you can retreat to the Hollywood & Highland Center for a snack or visit an attraction such as Madame Tussauds Hollywood or Ripley’s Believe it or not.
Los Angeles has so much to offer tourists that you can spend 2-3 days here – depending on your personal interests – without getting bored.
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