Whether you love or hate celebrities, this Los Angeles itinerary has something for everyone. 

Los Angeles is often associated with its most (in)famous neighbourhood: Hollywood. And that’s certainly one of the main attractions – but that’s (obviously!) not all there is.

If you couldn’t care less about the rich and famous, you can still have a smashing time in LA. This Californian city has much more to offer beyond stars, fame and broken dreams.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying the best stuff to do in LA just rarely gets the spotlight (hey, this is still showbiz land). 

Just like the rest of the United States, Los Angeles is full of hidden gems and local friendly spots that will immerse you in the culture.

And, if you do want a dose of celebrity culture while you’re travelling LA, you’re in the best city in the world. It’s pretty hard to escape celebrity culture in Los Angeles! 

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los angeles itinerary

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How to plan your LA trip itinerary

All of the best things to do in Los Angeles fall into one of two categories: celebrity-related or not. Given the nature of the city, it’s just how it is. 

The good news is that there’s plenty of LA attractions that fall into both categories. You’ll have no problem filling two days in LA (or more!) no matter which side of the fence you’re on.

And, if you fancy a bit of both, you’ll have no problem filling more than two days in Los Angeles, if you wish. 

Planning your LA itinerary will depend largely on who you’re travelling with. If you all fall into one of those two categories, it will be easy! Simply follow the relevant option below.

If, however, you’re split between the two sides, you’ll need to plan your Los Angeles itinerary more carefully.

The sample Los Angeles itinerary has plenty of suggestions for both types of visitor. It’s up to you to decide how you want to split your time between the two options at each stage.


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How to use this Los Angeles itinerary

This LA itinerary doesn’t follow the standard “do this, do that” formula.

Instead, it offers two activities at every point: one that celebrity followers will love, and one that has nothing to do with celebs at all.

Travelling with someone who wants to get their full fame fix but not so keen yourself? It will be easy to split up at each point and meet in the middle. 

For each option, there’s a “do” and a “don’t” activity – so you can choose based on whether you do want to see the celeb-focused attraction or don’t. 

And, of course, you can always do both!

So, whether you’re a celebrity lover, Hollywood hater or somewhere in-between, there’s plenty to enjoy on this Los Angeles itinerary.

Pick, mix and mash it up as much as you wish!

The below itinerary assumes you have two days in LA, but you can of course adapt it if you’re staying longer. By all means, there will be enough to keep you busy!

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles California USA

Where to stay in Los Angeles 

Finding accommodation in LA can be a complete nightmare! Not only is it mostly overpriced, but sometimes it’s hard to find accommodation at all. 

If you want the full celebrity experience: There’s only one place to stay – The Hollywood Roosevelt. Staying in LA’s most iconic hotel will certainly set you back, but you’ll be following in the footsteps of some of the Hollywood greats. Rumour has it you may even spot the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, who’s said to haunt the famous hotel

If you’d rather get great value for money: Honestly, you’re going to struggle in LA. But, of the places I’ve stayed and seen, The Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel – no car required – is one of the most budget-friendly options in the city. As well as an ensuite room, with fridge and coffee maker, you’ll get the experience of staying in a retro motor hotel. 

TIP: If you do have a car, consider taking a road trip from California to Arizona.

If you want to be closer to the beach: You will have to sacrifice amenities or budget. The Ocean Park Hotel offers a nice balance of both, with shared bathrooms, parking onsite and a hard-to-beat location for the price.

An adaptable 2 day LA itinerary

Ready to explore? Great – because I’ve jam-packed these two days in Los Angeles for you. Feel free to pick and mix activities and attractions as you like. 

Day 1: Check out LA’s coastal hotspots

Start the day at Flake 

We have a busy day ahead, so you’ll want to start with a full stomach. Luckily, Los Angeles has some of the best food in Southern California.

Head to Flake for a filling breakfast sandwich or a hearty acai bowl. This small but quirky is a popular favourite among locals in Venice.

Address: 513 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291, United States.

Venice in Los Angeles California USA
Venice has some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, and the prices are reasonable.

Spend the morning in Venice 

Venice is my favourite part of Los Angeles, and I’m sure you’ll love it here too. 

Whether you’re interested in celebrities or not, there’s enough here to last an entire day. For the sake of sticking to a 2 day Los Angeles itinerary, we’re going to spend the morning exploring the best bits.

Admire the fitness scene

Venice Beach is home to the famous Muscle Beach, a favourite workout spot for gymnasts and athletes since the 1940’s.

Address: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291, United States. 

While you can expect to see plenty of ripped gym-lovers here, don’t expect to spot any celebrities. For that, you’ll want to head to the $250-per-month Gold gym just a few blocks away. Even if you don’t step inside the training spot of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the outside is pretty cool to see.

Address: 360 Hampton Dr, Venice, CA 90291, United States.

Soak up the sun on the beach

Los Angeles enjoy year-round sun, meaning you can enjoy the beach no matter what time of year you visit.

Venice Beach also happens to be one of the best beaches in LA. If you want to escape the crowds, though, head a little further down the coast.

The beach between Venice and Santa Monica has considerably fewer visitors – and considerably more dogs.

If you’re a Hollywood fan, you’ll be excited to learn that this quieter beach was one of the filming locations for Bay Watch – even if San Diego looks more like a scene from the famous franchise.

See if anything looks familiar!

Venice Canals in Los Angeles California USA

Take a stroll inland 

Venice is one of those destinations where one of the best things to do is to simply stroll around. 

If you’re a movie buff, consider taking a walk up Venice Boulevard, which will take you to an iconic film location. Venice High School was the setting for Grease and is still a functioning school today.

Address: 13000 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066, United States.

If not, head slightly further south and you’ll arrive at the Oxford Basin. One of the few ecotourism spots in Los Angeles, this wildlife reserve is a great place for bird spotting. 

Address: 4360 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292, United States.

Whichever way you go, make time to visit the beautiful Venice Pier. 

You also won’t want to miss the Venice Canals. Although they’re much smaller than the Italian canals in the city of the same name, they’re just as fun to explore. They’re also surprisingly quiet, so it’s a great spot for finding a moment of peace in the busy city.

Head to Santa Monica for lunch

After working up an appetite in Venice, it’s time to head up the coast a little to Santa Monica. 

If you want to attempt celeb-spotting, head to Cha Cha Chicken. This counter-serve restaurant is a favourite of Kendrick Lamar. If you’re lucky enough to see him, there’s a good chance you’ll get a free lunch. He usually buys chicken for everyone in line when he makes an appearance.

Address: 1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405, United States.

If you’re not a fan of Kendrick (or chicken), head all the way to Santa Monica pier for an equally fast lunch at Pier Burger. 

This fast food spot puts its prime real estate to good use, serving up delicious burgers and fries. For non-meat eaters, there are at least two veggie options on the limited menu.

Address: 330 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States.

Rollercoaster and ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles, California, USA

Burn off lunch on Santa Monica pier 

You could easily whittle away an entire afternoon on Santa Monica pier. 

Stop by the fairground for a post-lunch wake-up call, take in the ocean breeze from the very end of the pier or spot the next big name among the many musicians who entertain the crowds.

Head to Beverly Hills 

Beverly Hills is the upmarket home of many of LA’s rich and famous. While it’s very possible to spot a celeb here, you’re just as likely to bump into their plastic surgeons, personal trainers and dog groomers.

If you want to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at these multi-million dollar homes – and the platinum fire hydrants! – join a Beverly Hills tour

If rich people’s houses aren’t of interest to you, though, don’t skip Beverly Hills altogether. Right by the famous Beverly Hills sign is one of LA’s best hidden gems: a cactus garden. 

This little known slice of nature contains succulents from continent in the world bar Antarctica. Take a short stroll north-east from the famous sign to find it. 

Cactus Garden in Beverly Hills Los Angeles California USA

Experience the LA entertainment scene 

Los Angeles in the home of the entertainment industry. Don’t leave without experiencing it first-hand! 

Many bands, including Soundgarden and System of a Down, have found their start at Whisky A Go Go. Head there to catch some of the city’s freshest talent – and potentially spot the next big thing.

Address: 8901 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States.

If comedy is more your jam, you’ll also be spoilt for choice. Just down the road you’ll find The Comedy Store, one of the best spots for stand-up in Los Angeles. With three stages, you’re sure to find someone to make you laugh.

Address: 8433 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, United States.

The Comedy Store in Los Angeles California USA

Day 2: Explore Hollywood

To make things easier, I’ve split this LA itinerary into two areas: Hollywood and the coast. 

Don’t worry if you’re not here for the fame and fortune – Hollywood isn’t all about the stars. It also has a surprising amount to offer regular folk, too.

Start the day with breakfast at Swingers Diner 

Swingers Diner is a popular breakfast spot among Hollywood locals. 

It’s the sister restaurant to the Santa Monica diner of the same name, which has been featured in Knocked Up and provided the inspiration for the movie of the same name. 

Despite its retro vibe, Swingers has plenty of modern favourites on the menu. Vegan chilaquiles, avocado toast and oat milk lattes accompany all the usual classics.

This branch – the only other one – is less famous than its Santa Monica counterpart, but decorated in exactly the same fashion. With colourful cows prints on the walls and plaid plastic booths, it’s a fun All-American experience that everybody will enjoy.

And, if you listen carefully, you may just overhear the next writers of the next big Hollywood blockbuster discussing script changes (I did!).

Address: 8020 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, United States.

Swingers Dine in West Hollywood Los Angeles CA USA
Wake up in the most American way possible at Swingers diner.

Spend the morning exploring Melrose Avenue 

The former home of punk in LA, Melrose Avenue is quirky, colourful street. 

Lined with vintage and independent design stores, Melrose Avenue is a hub of creativity and expression. 

Drop by one of the most famous schools in LA

Fairfax High School is a central part of life in the neighbourhood. Walk in the footsteps of its famous alumni (including Demi Moore and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers).

Or, if you’re in town on the weekend, stop by for the Sunday market, the Melrose Trading Post, to shop for antiques and collectables.

Address: 7850 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, United States.

Kobe Bryant street art mural in Melrose Avenue Los Angeles California USA

Soak up the local art 

As you’d expect of any alternative area, Melrose Avenue is a full of murals and outdoor art to enjoy. 

A number of Kobe Bryant murals are the most recent addition to the streets, following the sudden shocking death of the basketball legend in January. 

If you’re not a sports fan, there are still plenty of other murals to enjoy here. Many of them have a positive or inspirational message to share, so take the time to wander and discover them.

Popular spots include the “angel wings” (address: 8221 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood) and the “do not Instagram this” sign at Milk Bar.

A street art mural in Melrose Avenue Los Angeles California USA

Connect with the dearly departed 

The Hollywood Forever cemetery is the final resting place of many famous icons. Here, you can see the tombstones of Judy Garland, Rudolph Valentino, Johnny Ramone and many more. 

Address: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038, United States.

If you’re not interested in celebrities, consider taking a “Dearly Departed” tour instead. As well as showing you where some of the most famous stars spent their final moments, you’ll also learn about LA’s most infamous gangsters, murders and other scandals. 

Take a tour

The Paramount Studios tour is one of the most popular things to do in Los Angeles. If you’re a movie fan, it’s a must. 

Address: 5515 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, United States.

If you’re not such a fan, however, I’d recommend exploring the neighbourhood around it. You can hire an e-bike or e-scooter on the street, so grab one and start exploring!

The entry gate to Paramount Studies in Los Angeles California USA

Stop for lunch at one of West Hollywood’s best restaurants

If you’re a fan of Frank Sinatra, there’s only one place to eat is LA: Frankie’s on Melrose

This New York Italian restaurant is hard to miss thanks to the large mural of Frank on the wall, while the inside is decorated with Rat Pack memorabilia. 

Address: 7228 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, United States.

For a slice of Italian with no celebrity strings attached, head further down Melrose Avenue. You’ll soon stumble across Pizzeria Mozza, which was recently voted the best pizza restaurant in Los Angeles.

Address: 641 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States.

Spend the afternoon closer to Hollywood’s iconic sign

It’s hard to miss the famous Hollywood sign when you’re visiting Los Angeles. Whether you have any interest in it or not, I recommend spending the afternoon a little closer to it. 

If you’re a fan of the rich and famous, head to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Spanning a total of 15 blocks, there are more than 2,600 stars to take in. 

Address: 6255 Sunset Blvd #150, Hollywood, CA 90028, United States.

If you’re not interested in the Hollywood greats, head towards to the Hollywood sign instead. A hike to the Griffith Observatory will give you one of the best views of it,  but it will give you great views of the rest of the city. Plus, there’s lot of nature to enjoy around here.

Address: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, United States.

Famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California, USA

End the day with dinner at the Farmers Market 

The Farmers Market is a must-visit for everyone who spends time in LA. 

The long-standing market has seen numerous celebrities pass by its stalls, but is also an important part of everyday life. 

Many of the businesses that operate here are family-owned, having been passed down from one generation to the next. 

I recommend stopping for empanadas at Nonna’s. And, if you need a caffeine or sweet fix, don’t miss Bob’s Coffee and Donuts.

Address: 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States.

Farmers Market in Los Angeles California USA
The Farmers Market is a must-visit for foodies.

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