Los Angeles is one of those destinations that fills your eyes with stars and your heart with dreams. And with a sprawling landscape of endless traffic, pressed juiceries and want-to-be actors, you’ll find plenty to do (and stare at). If you want to see the best of LA in a short period of time, check out my 48 Hours in Los Angeles guide.
You’ll likely be flying into LAX. Assuming you’ve packed light (it’s just 48 hours, after all), take the Flyaway Bus to Union Station. This iconic train station, built in the 1930s, is notable for its gorgeous Art Deco style, public art, and its role in films, including Blade Runner and To Live and Die in L.A.
LA is a city that is overwhelmingly large in size. Notorious for both its hard-to-navigate public transport system and terrible traffic jams, crossing the city is no mean feat. Hiring a car is almost essential; though if this isn’t an option we recommend making use of phone apps Lyft or Uber – both of which are readily available and rides can be shared with others in order to lessen the fare.
A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a trendy, vegetarian brunch spot. Known for their juices and egg-based dishes, The Butcher’s Daughter is a hot spot right in the heart of Abbot Kinney. Enjoy the surfer’s breakfast burrito, the local artisan gift shop and people watch eco-friendly hipsters who prefer an aesthetically pleasing breakfast nook with their green juice rather than their own kitchen.
After breakfast, make your way down Abbot Kinney Street to the famous Venice Canals. You might recognize a couple of scenes from Californication or Starsky and Hutch in this man-made, Euro-Cali wonderland. After the canals, check out the buskers, muscle men and art scene on the Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach. I highly recommend visiting the Santa Monica Pier via rented bicycle or a thirty minute walk.
You may not be able to afford some of these lavish designers, but you have to see what the Beverly Hills buzz was about in the 80’s, 90’s and even today! Check out Rodeo Drive, the famous Beverly Hills sign, the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM and even take a tour to see some of the most extravagant and ostentatious houses in LA.
The Skybar is something of a trendy anomaly of WeHo. While most clubs come and go throughout LA, this club scene has withstood the test of time. Maybe it’s the Mondrian’s incredible reputation. Perhaps is the rooftop location that’s always an Angeleno favorite. Or maybe it’s the trendy events and guest list that’s always a “must-be-seen” attraction. Whatever the reason, this place is a must visit!
If there’s any slut you can get behind, it’s an eggy one. Eggslut is downtown’s latest breakfast craze and it’s really no surprise why. Eggslut is located in the famous Grand Central Market and provides greasy, delicious breakfast concoctions that will cure any hangover and fill every belly. After all, if you’re not doing vegan, do it big, right?
When was the last time you were able to jump off a skyscraper onto a glass slide over the streets of the city? Never, you say! Now’s the time to change that. Along with sliding down the US Bank Tower, Skyspace also has an incredible observation deck of the city and an interactive art exhibit before taking the elevator up. It’s a tad pricey, but if you make the most of your time here, it’s worth it!
Drive up to the nearest In-N-Out burger joint for lunch. This fast food joint is an iconic LA establishment and most Angelenos will give it two thumbs up. Make sure you order your burger “Animal Style” (more pickles, extra spread, grilled onions and mustard fried onto each meat patty) for the ultimate experience.
This might possibly be the most touristy thing you do in LA, but it’s worth seeing. Yes, Hollywood Blvd. is super fucking dirty. And yes, the busker’s in off brand costumes are kinda sad. But it really is amazing to see where the Emmy’s are held every year, see famous clubs like the Avalon, and even visit the famous Roosevelt Hotel located right across the street of the TCL Chinese Theatre.
See one of LA’s greatest monuments. The Griffith Observatory highlights the beauty of space with the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater just inside. But it’s the view outside that brings thousands of tourists here daily. Come to the Griffith Observatory about an hour before sunset and enjoy the spectacular view of the skyline. Hike the area, explore the inside of the observatory or enjoy a casual picnic. Colors radiate the sky as DTLA and the Mid City skyscrapers flicker with lights as the sun goes down.
You’ve probably heard of LA’s gnarly traffic problem. Don’t let the hype fool you. It’s worse than those rumors.
And unlike other major cities around the world, Los Angeles doesn’t have a great public transportation system. Undergrounds and buses exist, but they are not the best way to get around town. If you can, I highly recommend taking shared rides (like Lyft or Uber) or renting a car while you are in town.