How to Tackle Los Angeles as a First Timer
The City of Angels and home of Hollywood can be overwhelming for first-time visitors, with cinematic treasures and palm-lined beaches tucked among dense urban sprawl. Whether you want to feel like a kid at theme parks, soak up Southern California culture, or walk in the footsteps of the stars, here’s our newcomer’s guide to the essential LA.
Get Starstruck in Hollywood
The heart of the US film industry, Hollywood is a must-see stop on any first-time LA itinerary. Equal parts grit and glamour, this iconic (and spread-out) area is best explored on a tour that takes you straight to highlights such as the Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theater, and Sunset Strip. To get a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, join a celebrity-homes tour that cruises past Beverly Hills mansions and well-heeled hot spots such as Rodeo Drive.
Go Behind the Scenes on a Studio Tour
See how movie magic is made at one of Los Angeles’ famous film studios. Visit the sets of hit TV shows at Warner Bros. Studio, or hop on the tram for the legendary studio tour at Universal Studios. This urban theme park is worthy of a full day, featuring a small city’s worth of movie-themed rides, shows, exhibits, and shopping for all ages.
Cruise Around on a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
Los Angeles traffic is notoriously bad, so save yourself the stress of driving and enjoy the view aboard a double-decker hop-on-hop-off-bus tour. Customize your ticket with single- or multi-day options and different routes with stops at dozens of top LA attractions such as the La Brea Tar Pits, Getty Museum, Santa Monica Pier, Farmers Market, and Hollywood Bowl.
Feel the Magic at Disneyland®
A bucket-list Disneyland vacation brings millions of visitors to Los Angeles, with the world-famous Anaheim theme park less than an hour away from downtown LA. Easily reach the Disney resort area with an airport transfer from LAX, and save a long wait in line by purchasing your tickets in advance. That way, your family will have more time for rides such as Splash Mountain, the Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Tours.
Explore the SoCal Coast
If you want a break from movie madness and LA’s urban bustle, set aside a day or two to venture along the Southern California coastline. A quick trip south lands you at the postcard-perfect beaches and bays of San Diego, or head north to Santa Barbara, considered the “America Riviera” thanks to its posh Mediterranean feel.