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Exploring Los Angeles: Must-See Sights for Every Tourist

Los Angeles, often referred to as the “City of Angels,” is a sprawling metropolis known for its diverse culture, iconic landmarks, and vibrant entertainment scene. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, LA offers a plethora of attractions that cater to all tastes. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most popular sights to visit in Los Angeles, ensuring your trip is filled with unforgettable experiences.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stretching along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street, the Walk of Fame celebrates the achievements of actors, musicians, directors, and other entertainment professionals with over 2,600 stars embedded in the sidewalks. As you walk, you’ll recognize names from every era of entertainment history, making it a nostalgic journey for fans of film, television, music, and radio.

Tips for Visiting

  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late evening to avoid crowds.
  • Nearby Attractions: The TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Museum are just a short walk away.

Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Perched on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory offers stunning views of Los Angeles, including a close-up look at the iconic Hollywood Sign. The observatory itself is a fascinating place, featuring exhibits on space and science, a planetarium, and telescopes available for public use. Griffith Park, surrounding the observatory, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, offering numerous hiking trails, picnic spots, and the Los Angeles Zoo.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: Limited at the observatory, so consider parking in the lower lots and hiking up.
  • Events: Check the observatory’s schedule for public star parties and special events.

Santa Monica Pier and Beach

The Santa Monica Pier is an iconic symbol of California’s coastal beauty. This historic pier offers a mix of amusement park rides, restaurants, and shops. Pacific Park, located on the pier, features a solar-powered Ferris wheel that provides breathtaking views of the coastline. Adjacent to the pier, Santa Monica Beach is a perfect spot to relax, swim, or enjoy a game of beach volleyball.

Tips for Visiting

  • Sunset Views: The pier is an excellent spot for watching the sunset.
  • Activities: Rent a bike and ride along the beach bike path, extending south to Venice Beach.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach is known for its bohemian spirit and eclectic mix of artists, performers, and vendors. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a lively promenade where you can watch street performers, shop for unique souvenirs, and enjoy a variety of food from local vendors. Muscle Beach, a historic outdoor gym, attracts fitness enthusiasts, while the Venice Canals offer a quieter, picturesque escape with charming pedestrian bridges and beautiful homes.

Tips for Visiting

  • People-Watching: The boardwalk is a prime spot for observing the diverse and vibrant local culture.
  • Best Time to Visit: Weekends can be crowded, so weekdays are ideal for a more relaxed experience.

The Getty Center

The Getty Center, located in the Brentwood neighborhood, is a world-renowned art museum and research center. The complex, designed by architect Richard Meier, features impressive modern architecture, beautiful gardens, and stunning views of Los Angeles. The museum’s collection includes European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, as well as an extensive collection of photographs.

Tips for Visiting

  • Admission: Free, but parking requires a fee.
  • Guided Tours: Take advantage of the free guided tours to enhance your visit.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is both a film studio and a theme park, offering a behind-the-scenes look at movie-making magic along with thrilling rides and attractions. The Studio Tour is a highlight, taking visitors through real sets used in famous films and television shows. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World – The Ride, and Transformers: The Ride-3D are among the park’s most popular attractions.

Tips for Visiting

  • Express Pass: Consider purchasing an Express Pass to skip the lines.
  • Best Time to Visit: Weekdays and off-peak seasons are less crowded.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, boasting a diverse collection that spans centuries and cultures. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, LACMA’s exhibits offer something for every art lover. The museum’s campus also features striking outdoor installations, such as Chris Burden’s “Urban Light,” a popular spot for photos.

Tips for Visiting

  • Admission: Free on the second Tuesday of each month and on select holidays.
  • Nearby Attractions: The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum are just next door, providing a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric Los Angeles.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is synonymous with luxury and high fashion. This world-famous shopping street is lined with designer boutiques, upscale shops, and glamorous storefronts. Even if you’re not in the market for high-end goods, strolling down Rodeo Drive offers a taste of LA’s glamorous side. The surrounding area, known as the Golden Triangle, also features charming streets with excellent dining options.

Tips for Visiting

  • Window Shopping: Enjoy the elaborate window displays and people-watching.
  • Dining: Explore nearby streets like Canon Drive for a variety of dining options.

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, becoming a vibrant hub of culture, dining, and entertainment. The area is home to historic landmarks, modern skyscrapers, and a diverse array of attractions. Highlights include the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad Museum, and the historic Olvera Street, which offers a taste of LA’s Mexican heritage.

Tips for Visiting

  • Public Transit: Use the Metro to navigate downtown and avoid parking hassles.
  • Historic Sites: Don’t miss the Bradbury Building, a stunning architectural gem featured in numerous films.

The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is perhaps the most recognizable landmark in Los Angeles. Originally erected in 1923, the sign sits atop the Hollywood Hills and offers a panoramic view of the city. While you can’t get right up to the sign, there are several hiking trails in Griffith Park that provide excellent viewpoints.

Tips for Visiting

  • Best Views: The Griffith Observatory and Lake Hollywood Park offer great vantage points.
  • Hiking Trails: The Brush Canyon Trail and the Mount Hollywood Trail are popular routes.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard stretches from downtown LA to the Pacific Coast Highway, passing through some of the city’s most famous neighborhoods. The Sunset Strip, located in West Hollywood, is known for its vibrant nightlife, live music venues, and trendy bars. Farther west, Sunset Boulevard winds through Beverly Hills and Brentwood, offering scenic views and a glimpse of LA’s upscale residential areas.

Tips for Visiting

  • Nightlife: Check out iconic venues like the Whisky a Go Go and The Roxy Theatre.
  • Scenic Drive: Drive west on Sunset Boulevard for a picturesque route to the coast.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is a must-visit for families and science enthusiasts. The museum’s extensive exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from dinosaurs to gemstones to the history of Los Angeles. The Dinosaur Hall, featuring impressive fossil displays, and the Butterfly Pavilion are particularly popular with visitors of all ages.

Tips for Visiting

  • Family-Friendly: Interactive exhibits and educational programs make it a great destination for kids.
  • Special Exhibits: Check the museum’s calendar for rotating special exhibits and events.

Los Angeles Farmers Market and The Grove

The Original Farmers Market, located at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax, has been a beloved LA institution since 1934. The market offers a diverse selection of fresh produce, gourmet foods, and international cuisine. Adjacent to the market, The Grove is a popular outdoor shopping and entertainment complex featuring upscale shops, restaurants, and a historic trolley.

Tips for Visiting

  • Dining: Sample a variety of foods from the market’s many vendors.
  • Entertainment: The Grove frequently hosts live music and events, adding to its lively atmosphere.

Getty Villa

The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades is a museum dedicated to the art and culture of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Modeled after a Roman country house, the villa itself is a work of art, featuring beautiful gardens, fountains, and architectural details. The museum’s collection includes antiquities such as sculptures, pottery, and jewelry, providing a fascinating look into ancient civilizations.

Tips for Visiting

  • Admission: Free, but advance reservations are required.
  • Guided Tours: Take a guided tour to learn more about the villa’s architecture and collections.


Los Angeles is a city that offers something for everyone, from cultural landmarks and historic sites to beautiful beaches and world-class entertainment. Whether you’re exploring the star-studded streets of Hollywood, hiking in Griffith Park, or relaxing on the sandy shores of Santa Monica, you’ll find endless opportunities for adventure and discovery. Plan your visit to Los Angeles with these must-see sights in mind, and get ready to experience the magic of the City of Angels.


Want to see it all in a day? We at Surf City Tours have curated a collection of three unique tours that cover all of the greatest highlights of the city. Our most popular tour covers the Hollywood and Beverly Hills area, celebrity homes, filming locations, historic sights and much more – we call it The Perfect Los Angeles Tour

You can also see even more with our Malibu Tour and Venice Tour to explore the most popular beaches, celebrity hangouts, and more in Los Angeles!