If you are planning on visiting Los Angeles then there is a long list of activities that you should consider when you are planning your itinerary. As well as being home to the stars, LA has some amazing beaches, famous landmarks, great restaurants, awesome shopping areas and lots of cultural places too. To avoid missing out on all of the best bits of LA make sure that you do these eleven things as a minimum:
- Walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Walk of Fame has a long set of stars laid into the pavement to acknowledge the talent of artists and other significant people. You will find everyone from Muhammad Ali to Renee Zellweger and many, many more stars that have brought entertainment and joy to the world.
- Shop on Rodeo Drive
If you’ve watched Pretty Woman, the shopping trip scene was filmed on the famous Rodeo Drive, a favorite shopping area for the rich and famous. If your budget won’t stretch to cover the designer labels that you will find in the shops here, you should at least have a walk around and nosey through the windows! Shops such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Cartier attract shoppers with big bank balances.
- Visit the Chinese Theatre
Many of the greatest ever films to be released were premiered at the Chinese Theatre, which is now an IMAX theater. Outside the famous building, you will find the celebrity imprints where stars were asked to put hand and feet prints into the cement to capture their prints forever, some imprinted their face, legs or ice skates! Stars dating back to the 1920s have left their mark for visitors to see.
- Griffith Park/Hollywood Sign
You will be able to see the famous Hollywood sign from most locations across the city but if you want to get a bit closer and see some amazing sights over LA, head to Griffith Park for a walk or climb a bit higher if you have the energy.
- Visit the Getty Center
Whether you love architecture, art, gardens or history, a visit to the Getty Center should be on your itinerary. The impressive J. Paul Getty Museum is located in Brentwood.
- Venice Beach Boardwalk
Venice Beach is definitely worth a visit, although it can get a little bit crazy at night, so you might be better visiting during the daytime. You can see the muscle-bound people pumping iron on Muscle Beach, watch street performers or cycle along the route if you want to do something active.
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour
There are loads of different studio tours to choose from, with LA being home to so many of the big studios. Universal is another option and most people tend to choose based on their favorite TV shows or movies. The Warner Bros. Studio has props from Harry Potter, cars such as the Batmobiles and the set from Central Perk in Friends. If you are a big Friends fan, this is definitely the right studio tour for you.
- Catch a performance at Hollywood Bowl
If you are lucky enough for there to be a performance lined up at the Hollywood Bowl during your visit to LA, then you should take your chance and get tickets. Throughout the summer, the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform here, whilst most of the best music artists have played here from The Beatles through to Katy Perry.
- Santa Monica Pier
Just outside of central LA, Santa Monica is a short drive away and the Santa Monica Pier has had many movie scenes set here. One of the scenes from Forrest Gump, on his long run is filmed here, as well as the final scene in Hancock and a scene from Iron Man where Iron Man flies over the pier. There is a funfair here along with lots of other tourist attractions and great photo opportunities.
- Dine in West Hollywood
West Hollywood boasts some great restaurants and bars and many of The Oscars after parties take place on this side of the city. The famous Sunset Strip is home to some fabulous eateries, as well as vibrant nightlife. There are so many great restaurants to choose from depending on what type of cuisine you fancy but Amarone Kitchen and Wine, Warrior, Sushi Park and Rainbow Bar and Grill all come highly recommended.
If you haven’t visited any of the other Disney parks, or you simply love all things Disney, then whilst you are in LA you should spend a day at California’s Disneyland. It probably doesn’t really need any introduction but it is packed full of exciting rides, parades with all your favorite Disney characters and a whole load of fun things that add to the Disney experience.
Planning for your trip to LA
As well as choosing all of the great places to visit whilst in LA, you will need to make sure that you have all of the right travel documents to visit the US. A valid passport with six months validity is generally required but you will also need a visa, or an ESTA. Citizens of countries that are in the Visa Waiver Program are able to apply for ESTA instead of a visa, which is much quicker and easier to do.
Filling in the ESTA application takes less than 20 minutes and you will usually receive a response within 72 hours to confirm whether your application has been approved. A very high percentage of applications get accepted but it is recommended to apply well in advance of your intended trip to LA, so that you can deal with any problems such as needing to apply for a visa instead, or if you make a mistake on your ESTA application and need to resubmit another one.
When you get your ESTA approved, it links electronically to your passport and will be valid for two years, or until your passport expires if that date is sooner. So, you might be able to squeeze more than one trip onto your US travels!