A Beginner’s Guide to Los Angeles, California

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I’m bias when I say it’s the greatest city ever. Visiting Los Angeles can be a truly fantastic experience. Although travel restrictions are in place, there may be those interested in going on a safe road trip or visiting a new site while social distancing.

However, I’m all too familiar with certain…scams (for lack of a better word) that look deceivingly awesome. To help ensure the best trip for you and also (hopefully) reduce the amount of scamming that goes on, I’m laying down straight what you should – and shouldn’t do – when visiting Los Angeles.

Let’s start with the DON’T’s of visiting L.A., since there’s only a few.

The DON’T’s of visiting Los Angeles:

1. Tour buses.

This applies to most tour bus companies. I don’t care if you have a $60 non-refundable ticket. Since you’ve wasted your money, try to save your precious time. (They are time-consuming machines of lies and germs)

Stay away!

2. Star Maps.

They’ve shown time and time again to be illegitimate. “Big house = property of…ermm…Elon Musk!

You’ve been warned!

3. Too much time in Hollywood.

You will either (1) spend all your money on junk, (2) get hollered at, (3) be stuck in traffic (either car or foot).

Just don’t.

PHEW! If you followed this list up to this point, your trip to Los Angeles is already well worth it.

Now onto the DO’s.

The DO’s of visiting Los Angeles:

1. Do go to the fruit stands.

If you’re walking or driving and happen to pass by one of these, do yourself a favor and go to it.

Purchase a fruit bowl (no more than $10) with lots of Tajin and enjoy the refreshing burst of flavors.

2. Do hike at Runyon Canyon.

This is the most fundamental prerequisite to experiencing LA like a true Angeleno.

The hike itself is gorgeous and not too demanding, but my favorite part the dog-show that goes on while you’re hiking.

Almost everyone can be seen with their dogs to this hike, and I am no exception! Once you get to a set elevation, enjoy the view of the Hollywood Sign.

Runyon Canyon Park

3. Do eat at Urth Caffé.

(And order the “green tea blended boba” or “iced honey vanilla latté” to accompany your tostada salad.)

4. Do visit the museums.

The museums in LA are truly hidden gems. I recommend visiting The Broad if you want a more contemporary selection and the Getty Villa if you want to see more classic art.

(Both museums are free admission, but this doesn’t include parking). Remember to reserve tickets in advance.

Some museums are offering virtual tours online to maximize social distancing and reduce capacity. Be on the lookout for these options.

The Getty Villa
The Broad

5. Do eat an açai bowl.

According to the web, açai is “a South American palm tree producing small edible blackish-purple berries.” The tree’s fruits are best enjoyed blended with granola, coconut flakes, honey, and berries as toppings.

Personally, there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a well-made açai bowl. Like it or not, at least you’ll have tried one. (Might I suggest getting one from Juice Crafters?)

6. Do visit the Santa Monica Pier & Third Street Promenade.

Be sure to leave a morning or afternoon free to explore all this area has to offer. There’s Santa Monica beach, the pier itself with rides, stores along the promenade, live-music if you’re lucky, and a mall close-by to shop fall essentials (check out some product favorites here). You will highly enjoy this area. 

7. Do shop at the Fairfax Flea Market.

Sunday’s only from 9 am to 5 pm; this market is hosted at Fairfax High School.

Local artists and artisans display their products for sale, and you can find gems for n extremely reduced price.

I would plan to go earlier rather than later because it can become hot and crowded.

8. Do eat at In-N-Out.

Cheese and/or animal fries are highly recommended. Check out their secret menu here.

That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoy your visit to Los Angeles and hit at least one of the things on this list.

For more travel guides, check them out here.

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