1-day Itinerary in Los Angeles
Explore the best things to do in Los Angeles in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.
- 1#11View all Photos#11 in Los Angeles5.7 miles to city centerFree, Parks and Gardens, HikingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND5.7 miles to city centerFree, Parks and Gardens, HikingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Just two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard, Runyon Canyon Park is an often-overlooked urban park that offers some great views. The park boasts several hiking trails and is a popular spot for celebrities to exercise. During your hike, you'll see plenty of palm trees. Atop the canyon, you'll be treated to sweeping views of the San Fernando Valley.
Travelers say that the canyon is reminiscent of Old Hollywood with several old mansions and estates scattered throughout the park – keep your eyes peeled as you follow the trail. Because of the hot, dry climate, the hike can be rough (even for those in great physical condition), so bring plenty of water. Some recent visitors lamented the lack of facilities, while others raved about the views.10-15 minutes by car
- 2#24View all Photos
One of the most popular attractions in the Los Angeles area, Universal Studios Hollywood features rides and amusements based on some of the most popular scenes and characters from film and television. You can take the famous tram tour past the creepy Bates Motel from "Psycho" and get caught up in a high speed chase with the "Fast & Furious" cast. Kids can shake hands with cartoon favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants and Scooby-Doo. Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is another huge hit, as is Jurassic World – The Ride. If thrills are your thing, there are plenty of hair-raising coasters and rides. On Transformers: The Ride-3D, riders join Optimus Prime in his battle against the Decepticons; meanwhile, youngsters will love the 3D ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (complete with a Minion dance party).
Universal Studios welcomes hoards of tourists each day; to forgo the long waits, travelers suggest purchasing the Express pass (formerly Front of the Line passes), which cost $179 to $279 each, online. This brings up another pain point: the price. At $109 to $129 for one-day general admission for adults and $103 to $123 for little ones ages 3 to 9 (when purchased online), a family excursion to Universal Studios doesn't come cheap, something some visitors find off-putting.15-30 minutes by car
- 3#1View all Photos#1 in Los Angeles4.5 miles to city center4.5 miles to city centerMuseums, Free, Parks and Gardens, Hiking, Recreation, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Griffith Observatory sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood and overlooks the Los Angeles basin. Its location gives visitors impressive views of the surrounding area, which many rave about. But there's more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and features a top-notch planetarium.
Most recent visitors cited the beautiful setting as Griffith Observatory's main draw, though the free entry was certainly a bonus. However, you will have to pay between $3 and $7 to see the planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends. Free but limited parking is available along the winding roads leading up to the property, or visitors can park in the small lot by the observatory for $10 per hour. A gift shop and cafe can be found on-site as well. For more information, check out Griffith Observatory's website.15-20 minutes by car
- 4#4View all Photos#4 in Los Angeles4.9 miles to city center4.9 miles to city centerEntertainment and Nightlife, Free, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
One of Hollywood's most iconic and memorable sites, the TCL Chinese Theatre (originally Grauman's Chinese Theatre) opened in 1927 and represents the excess of Hollywood's Golden Age. You can tour the theater for $18 (kids tour tickets cost $8 and senior tickets are $14 each); tours are offered from 10:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Monday. Because of this attraction's popularity, it's best to reserve your spot online in advance. This working theater also shows various newly released films throughout the year.
Overall, previous travelers said the tour guides' passion for the subject was evident, making their experiences special. However, some wished the area offered a glitzier atmosphere and others complained the tour was overpriced for what you got. Parking can also be challenging to find in Hollywood. Additional information about the attraction's tours and movie showtimes can be found on the TCL Chinese Theatre website.10-20 minutes by car
- 5#14View all Photos
If you can catch a gig at the Hollywood Bowl, LA's beautiful outdoor amphitheater, don't pass it up. Since its inaugural season in 1922, this unique stage, set in the Hollywood Hills, has entertained thousands of fans and hosted some of the biggest names in music, including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Elton John and Tina Turner.
Many travelers praise the Hollywood Bowl, touting everything from the sound quality to the scenic overlook. Several also add that all of the seats offer great views and suggest arriving early with a bottle of wine and a picnic basket.
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