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US CA Los Angeles Beverly Hills
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US CA Los Angeles Venice canals Igor kyryliuk unsplash
US CA Los Angeles Beverly Hills
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10 Essential LA Highlights

Welcome to the city of angels and the cradle of the entertainment industry - Los Angeles! Immerse yourself in the glamorous world of Hollywood, soak up the sun on picturesque beaches and explore iconic neighbourhoods.

Whether you're a cinephile, a nature lover or a gourmet foodie, Los Angeles has something extraordinary for everyone. Let our 10 best highlights inspire you and help you to experience the fascinating magic of this Californian metropolis.

Woman standing over the LA Hollywood Sign view
LA is a destination that should be on every traveller's bucket list
© Little America
Enjoy the sunset against the palm trees in LA, California
Enjoy unforgettable California sunsets and weather while here
© Jake Blucker / Unsplash

1. Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard is one of the most famous streets in the heart of Los Angeles. It offers 3.5 kilometres of museums, shops, restaurants and cafés. The true highlight, however, is the Walk of Fame with more than 2,760 stars honouring the names of celebrities from the fields of film, television, music, theatre and radio. Look out for the star of your favourite star! It is also home to the famous Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars are awarded every year. Take the chance and book a guided tour of the premises of these venerable halls. Directly opposite is the TCL Chinese Theatre. It impresses not only with its imposing architecture, but also with its famous hand and footprints of the stars on the square in front of it. The TLC is not only a historical landmark, but also a popular cinema that still hosts regular film screenings. Here you have the opportunity to see current films while experiencing the unique atmosphere of the theatre.

Our tips: The Walk of Fame is a very popular place for tourists - we therefore recommend an early morning visit if you want to have the place more to yourself. From here you can walk to another highlight away from all the hustle and bustle.

The El Capitan Entertainment Center on Hollywood Boulevard is the venue where the famous "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" late-night show is recorded. Here you have the unforgettable opportunity to sit in the audience, but you should take care to reserve this at least three weeks before departure.

Enjoy the diverse theater scene in LA, California
Marvel at the Chinese Theatre, an iconic movie palace
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
Spot Hollywood stars outside the Dolby Theater in LA, California
The Dolby Theatre is where the Oscars are presented each year
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

2. Runyon Canyon

Within walking distance of the bustling Walk of Fame is a true oasis of tranquillity and nature - Runyon Canyon. Here you will find both accessible asphalt walking trails and more challenging natural trails. They all wind through the breathtaking hilly landscape for which Los Angeles is so famous. No matter which path you choose, you will be rewarded at the end with a unique view. Only here do you realise the enormous size of the city. From here you can see Hollywood, the skyscrapers of downtown and the beaches of Venice and Malibu. You can also catch a glimpse of the Hollywood sign and impressive mansions in the Hollywood Hills from some corners of the park.

Our tip: In Runyon Canyon you will mainly only meet locals who are jogging or walking their dogs. A visit to the park is particularly beautiful in spring, when the hills still bear a lot of green and the wildflowers are sprouting. Between the palm trees and chirping birds, this is the perfect spot to recharge your batteries.

Hike the trails through Runyon Canyon in LA, California
Hike through the nature of the Runyon Canyon...
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
Get out to nature near LA, California, in Runyon Canyon
...and enjoy its fabulous views
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

3. Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is an impressive landmark, and education centre, perched high above the city in the Hollywood Hills. Here you can admire interactive exhibitions on astronomy or a huge telescope in its dome - all with free admission! The site's outdoor area is also picturesque and offers a breathtaking view of the city as well as the famous Hollywood Sign. Especially at sunrise or sunset, it's a true spectacle with the thousands of lights of the city. Take a taxi or Uber up the serpentine streets and walk back down to Griffith Park.

Get a view over all of LA, California from Griffith Observatory
From the Griffith Observatory you have a magnificent view over LA...
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
You can actually spot the Hollywood sign while at Griffith Observatory in LA
...and the Hollywood sign
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

4. The Hollywood Sign

Just about every visitor to LA would love to have a picture of the iconic Hollywood sign as a souvenir. It's perfectly understandable - after all, it's the symbol of the entertainment industry that shines as we know it today after its renovation in the 1970s. There are numerous places and hiking trails from which you can see the white letters. However, the distances are often too great for a good view, which is inconvenient for the perfect photo. As already mentioned, Runyon Canyon and Griffith Observatory are good starting points, but you can get even closer.

Our tip:
An absolute insider tip is to take the Mulholland Drive. However, since it is a small road and residents might feel disturbed, we recommend Lake Hollywood Park. Located near the city's picturesque reservoir, this small unassuming park in the Hills offers the perfect photo motif! For a change of perspective, you can also take a hike through Bronson Canyon to the Canyon Drive car park. From here, a steep climb will take you behind the Hollywood sign. You can't get any closer than this to the famous letters!

View of the Hollywood hills and Sign in LA, California
From Griffith Observatory you can get a distant view of the Hollywood Sign
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
Close up view of Hollywood sign on green hill in LA, California
But it doesn't get much closer than Lake Hollywood Park
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

5. Go to a classic diner

For a snack or a relaxing end to the day, visit a typical American diner for a culinary journey through time. Here it seems as if time has stood still. For example, visit Mel's Diner in West Hollywood, where you can enjoy American delicacies in a retro-inspired atmosphere. For comparatively low prices, you get large portions and delicious desserts like chocolate cake or pumpkin pie. What's more, each table has its own little jukebox. Throw in a quarter and pick your favourite song.

Visit classic diners in LA, California
LA diners are also a great way to see what's known as 'googie' architecture
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

6. Beverly Hills

If you want to see how the rich and famous live in Los Angeles, we recommend a walk through the residential areas of Beverly Hills. Here, no two houses are alike and there is a wide variety of architectural styles to admire - from Mediterranean homes to romantic cottages to neoclassical mansions. What they all have in common, however, are magnificent front gardens and a touch of luxury. The streets of Beverly Hills are lined with avenues of giant palm trees reaching for the sky - a beautiful photo motif. Take a quick souvenir photo in front of the big neighbourhood sign, visit the Spanish-style police station where "Beverly Hills Cop" was filmed and stroll along Rodeo Drive where luxurious boutiques await you.

Fun fact: Did you know that the palm tree became the iconic symbol of LA in the 1930s?

View of Beverly Hills entrance sign in LA, California
The Beverly Hills district is known for its affluent residents
© Tommao Wang / Unsplash
Admire endless palm trees and blue skies in LA, California well as for the huge palm avenues
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

7. Malibu and El Matador Beach

Away from the hustle and bustle, in the northwest of the city, is Malibu. This part of town is rarely visited by tourists and is therefore a retreat for many celebrities who live here. Travellers looking for less touristy places with some peace and quiet are at the right address here.

Our tip: El Matador Beach is a real local's spot. Its dramatic rock formations and arches on the beach will leave you in awe. Walk along the beach, put your feet in the wild Pacific Ocean and enjoy the silence.

Explore Malibu beaches while in LA, California
As you walk along El Matador Beach in Malibu...
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
Visit El Matador Beach while in Malibu, California
... You'll discover mystical rock arches
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

8. Warner Bros. Studios

Los Angeles offers numerous museums and tours for film lovers, such as the Hollywood Museum, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Icons of Darkness or the famous studio tour at Universal Studios. However, while Universal Studios is a very popular theme park, a visit to Warner Studios is less popular but a good insider tip.

The experience includes an approximately one-hour tour through the large grounds and famous film sets from movies such as Jurassic Park or Batman. The tour takes place in small groups and the passionate guides provide exciting information about the tricks used in filming. During the tour, there are several stops and exits to see certain sets from the inside. The tour also includes the famous stages that can be seen in the opening credits of every Warner production. Keep your eyes peeled here, because productions take place here every day and one or two famous people might be taking a break. Photos are not allowed in this part, however.

The guided tour is followed by an independent tour through halls where you can marvel at numerous costumes, vehicles and memorabilia. There are also numerous interactive stations, such as dubbing your own film sequences. Furthermore, you can take great souvenir photos in sets from Harry Potter, Big Bang Theory or Friends. Great fun for big and small film fans!

Take a tour of movie sets with Warner Bros. in LA, California
Here you will drive around the impressive grounds where entire towns are recreated
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

9. Venice Beach and the Venice Canals

Immerse yourself in the colourful and creative atmosphere of Venice Beach. Here you'll find street performers, musicians, fortune tellers and quirky shops. The beaches here are lined with graffiti-covered palm trees and athletes show off their skills on Muscle Beach, where legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger once trained. While here, treat yourself to a hearty breakfast burrito and watch the tricks of the many skaters and roller skaters in the skate parks.

Not far from the seafront, yet a complete contrast in landscape, are the Venice Canals. Here you can see why the district was named after its Italian model: numerous canals and charming little bridges characterise this residential district. The alternative houses with their beautiful gardens are a sight in themselves. There is a scent of the many flowers in the air, and the tranquillity that this place exudes makes it something very special.

Our tip
: Rent a bike and ride along the beach while feeling the sea breeze. That way, you'll be at our last highlight in just 15 minutes' ride.

See palm trees, soft sand and skaters while in Venice Beach, LA, California
Venice Beach has an alternative atmosphere with numerous skaters
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
See the iconic water canals in Venice Beach, LA California
The Venice Canals, on the other hand, are a picturesque oasis of tranquillity
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

10. Santa Monica Pier

You can already see it on the horizon from Venice: the Santa Monica Pier. The pier is a popular place for families and visitors of all ages. Attractions such as a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster, amusement arcades, restaurants and a dreamlike view of the Pacific Ocean await you.

The Santa Monica Pier is also the end point of the legendary Route 66, which is marked with a sign and is a popular photo spot. Enjoy the leisure activities and walk along the pier to experience its distinctive atmosphere.

See the end of Route 66 on Santa Monica Pier, LA California
The famous Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier
© Little America _ Lara Mariano
Walk the boardwalk of Santa Monica Pier, LA California
The pier offers a great view of the Pacific Ocean
© Little America _ Lara Mariano

Whether you are exploring and shopping along Hollywood Boulevard, or relaxing by the seaside in Malibu, Los Angeles offers something for every traveller.

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