California’s largest metropolis is sprawling and offers a diverse range of activities for visitors in an often picture-perfect paradise. From surfing to skiing (yes, there are mountains in Southern California) and Hollywood to hidden gems, there’s so much to explore in Los Angeles that the average visitor won’t see it all at once.


Safety, entry requirements and COVID-19

Coronavirus restrictions have officially been lifted in Los Angeles and California as a whole.

The state still recommends that unvaccinated people wear a face covering indoors, but there are no city or state mandated testing or vaccination requirements.

If travelers need them, PCR and rapid antigen tests are widely available in the region.

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Ways to Explore Los Angeles

There’s an old adage that “nobody walks in LA.” Although this is less true these days, the sprawling nature of the city makes having a car the easiest way to get around.

However, plan your route properly, and you’ll find that between carpooling services and public transport on the metro and light rail services, it’s possible to do without a car, especially with the high cost of fuel in the state.

With so many options in Los Angeles, there’s no way to see it all in one visit. Travelers can visit one area of ​​the city at a time to get to know each region better.

Stay on the west side and spend time on the white sand beaches, enjoy the Santa Monica Pier and shop the boardwalk.

Explore Downtown and East LA, where visitors will easily experience some of the city’s best culinary districts in Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo, or stay in the heart of Hollywood and enjoy the area’s legendary entertainment hub .

Just beyond the city limits are endless hiking trails, hidden shopping hotspots, and charming communities.

Amusement park

Theme parks and studio tours are popular tourist activities for visitors to Los Angeles.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal City Walk are easily accessible in the heart of the city.

Nearby is Warner Bros. Studios, which offers daily tours, and in nearby Anaheim is the Disneyland Resort, home to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney.

Santa Monica Pier at night
Santa Monica Pier at night. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ershov_Maks)

Outdoor activities

With great weather all year round, Angelenos tend to be the outdoorsy type. For those looking for fun in the sun, the beach is the obvious place to start. Destinations such as Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and South Bay towns such as Manhattan Beach and Redondo, are dotted with luxury hotels and boutiques just steps from the Pacific. Visitors can play beach volleyball, schedule a surfing lesson, go stand-up paddleboarding, or just soak up the sun.

Hiking is also a popular pastime in Los Angeles. There are many trails through Griffith Park, to the Hollywood Sign and trails in the famous Runyon Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains or in Will Rogers State Park and Malibu Creek State Park.

Not far from the city of Los Angeles (about a 45 minute drive in good traffic) is the Mountain High Ski area. For those looking for the ultimate California outdoor getaway, plan your visit to ski or snowboard in the morning and surf in the evening.

Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles
Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. (photo via EddieHernandezPhotography/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

hidden gems

For those looking for under-the-radar attractions, visitors can stop for a snack at the city’s largest and oldest public market, the 30,000-square-foot Grand Central Market, which opened in October 1917.

Of course, you can visit the LA Zoo, but don’t miss seeing the old Los Angeles Zoo, abandoned in Griffith Park. Founded in 1912, the site features remnants of old enclosures, picnic areas and hiking trails.

Venture to San Pedro to visit the sunken city, where land filled with beachfront bungalows and homes has sunk into the shoreline. The area offers beautiful views juxtaposed with the remains of the concrete foundations, sidewalks, and drains of the neighborhood that once thrived on the San Pedro Cliff.