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6 Important Things to Know Before Visiting Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an incredible city full of entertainment, art, museums, and more. But before you get all caught up in the glitz and the glamour of planning an L.A. vacation, there are a few things you need to know.

Here are my top tips and things to know before visiting Los Angeles.

A special thanks to CheapOair for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California

Top Tips for Visiting Los Angeles

1. Figuring out what to do in L.A. can be overwhelming

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles has so many attractions to choose from that it’s hard to know where to start.

From seeing the Hollywood Sign to visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the thrill of Universal Studios Hollywood, there are so many different activities in L.A.! You could do a celebrity homes tour, take a downtown food tour, visit the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, or just take a sightseeing tour to cover it all.

CheapOair has created their Things To Do video series to provide reliable insights about popular destinations, starting with L.A.!

2. You’re going to want a car

Downtown Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is a sprawling city and you aren’t going to be able to walk to all the sights you want to see. You’re going to want to rent a car or rely on Uber and Lyft to take you where you want to go.

Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Downtown, Venice Beach, Silver Lake, and Echo Park are all different areas of L.A. that you’ll probably want to see, but you won’t be able to walk between them.

While we’re on the subject of cars, know that the traffic in L.A. is no exaggeration. Avoid traveling in rush hour, if you can, and always have a traffic app like Google Maps handy so you can factor in traffic to your schedule.

3. Choose where you stay wisely

Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Los Angeles, California

Since Los Angeles is so huge, choosing the right accommodations can make all the difference. Make sure your hotel is located near as many of your top attractions as possible so that you don’t have to face L.A. traffic at every turn.

You might even consider splitting your stay, staying in Downtown for the first half of your trip and then getting a hotel in Santa Monica for the second half so you can experience the beaches. This can save you the headache of trying to plan around the dreaded rush hours.

Also, when booking your hotel, pay attention to which Hollywood neighborhood it’s located in.

East Hollywood and North Hollywood are separate neighborhoods from Hollywood and will put you further away from the action. Hollywood is where you’ll want to be for the Walk of Fame, while the neighboring West Hollywood contains the hilltop mansions and the Sunset Strip.

Here’s a map that can help you easily find the best area of L.A. to stay in:

4. While L.A. is always sunny, it can still get chilly

Los Angeles, California Beach

Los Angeles is sunny nearly year-round, so you’ll likely have great weather. But don’t forget to pack a light jacket! In the morning and evenings, the air can get chilly and windy.

The water is also chilly in L.A. If you’re used to swimming in Florida, you’re in for a shock. The Pacific Coast is notoriously cold thanks to the currents bringing in water from the north.

In the summer, L.A.’s ocean usually doesn’t get above 70 degrees. You can expect the air to be cooler on the beach than in Downtown, too.

But just remember, you’ll still need sunscreen!

Check out my handy beach vacation packing list for everything you’ll need for your beach vacation.

5. Los Angeles has tons of great hiking spots

Woman and Dog Hollywood Sign Hiking, Los Angeles, California

Don’t just think of L.A. as a giant film set; it’s a great place for outdoorsy travelers to visit. There are a lot of great hiking spots for some exercise and for getting great views of the city.

Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon are popular hiking spots in L.A. You’ll be able to get out, get some exercise, and breathe in the fresh air, and your reward will be amazing views of the city.

Hiking is also a budget-friendly activity, which is great since L.A. is an expensive city to visit. With all the sunny weather Los Angeles gets, a hike is the perfect way to spend your day!

6. Los Angeles makes for an amazing vacation

Beach Los Angeles, California

There are so many things to do in Los Angeles, from museums and art galleries to gorgeous beaches and hiking trails. Once you cut through the Hollywood stereotypes, you’ll find a unique and amazing city full of character.

I hope you have an amazing visit to Los Angeles!

Top Los Angeles Tours

Save on Los Angeles’s Top Attractions

Want to save big on Los Angeles’s top attractions? You’ve got three great options:

  • Go City Los Angeles Pass — Save up to 50% on the cost of entrance tickets to 45+ museums, tours, and attractions all around the city!
  • Los Angeles Sightseeing Pass — Save up to 50% on admission to 15+ attractions and activities.
  • Southern California CityPASS — Get discounted tickets to Southern California’s famous theme parks, like Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and LEGOLAND California.

Visit bucket list attractions, enjoy top tours, and discover hidden gems handpicked by local experts. With one of these passes, you have everything you need right on your phone.

Get your Go City Los Angeles Pass here, or get your Los Angeles Sightseeing Pass here, or get your Southern California CityPASS here.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Things to Know Before Visiting Los Angeles FAQ

What should I know before traveling to Los Angeles?

Here are a few things to know before visiting Los Angeles: Figuring out what to do in L.A. can be overwhelming, so get the help of local bloggers and experts. You’re going to want a car because L.A. is not walkable. Choose where you stay wisely so that you’re located near the attractions you want to see. While L.A. is always sunny, it can still get chilly, so bring a light jacket. Los Angeles has tons of great hiking spots you won’t want to miss. And Los Angeles makes for an amazing vacation!

Is L.A. tourist friendly?

Yes, Los Angeles is safe for tourists to visit. You’ll find most of the tourist attractions and popular sites in the nice parts of town.

How many days do you need in L.A.?

I recommend spending 4 to 5 days in Los Angeles to see a variety of attractions and all the different neighborhoods and sights that L.A. has to offer.

Is downtown L.A. worth visiting?

Downtown Los Angeles is definitely worth visiting, with attractions like The Grammy Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Downtown Art Walk.

More California Travel Tips

Ready to explore California? Check out these top guides:

Ready to visit Los Angeles, California? Plan your trip with these tips.



6 Things to Know Before Visiting Los Angeles

Did you find these tips for visiting Los Angeles helpful? Let me know in the comments!

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