Skip to Content

A FIRST TIMER’S GUIDE TO LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles, like any city, can be a bit overwhelming for a first-timer. As I recently made my first visit to L.A., I’ve taken the time to write down what to hit, miss, and save for later. I hope you enjoy my favorites!

GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, CaliforniaYou may recognize Griffith Observatory from its recent appearance in the hit movie, La La Land. This observatory has everything to make it the perfect tourist attraction: it’s free, it’s beautiful, and it offers a stunning view of both Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign. For me, this was the perfect solution to getting a quick glimpse of the Hollywood sign during my busy 3-day trip. We parked a short walk away from the observatory and spent about 45-minutes exploring the grounds and snapping photos. Remember that this attraction is closed on Mondays, so be sure to visit another day!

LACMA

LACMA, or the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, is another “typical” tourist attraction that you’ll want to fit into your trip. The most photographed part of the museum has to be Chris Burden’s Urban Light (pictured above). If you’re hoping to catch a particular exhibit, make sure that you buy your tickets ahead of time. Particularly popular events at this museum tend to sell out quickly. You can check the LACMA calendar here. General admission for an adult will cost you $15, and remember, this museum is closed on Wednesdays.

THE BROAD

If you’re a bit of a museum nerd like myself, you’ll want to visit both LACMA and the Broad during your time in LA. The Broad museum, unlike LACMA, offers free admission, which you can reserve in advance here. For popular artwork that is on display, such as in the case of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room at the moment, you’ll have to reserve your time to enter after arriving at the museum. This cannot be done in advance.

STREET ART

Bleeding hearts mural in Venice, CaliforniaLos Angeles is a haven for some of the most beautiful, vibrant murals. Nonetheless, they can often be hard to find if you don’t know where to look! Here are my five favorite pieces of street art in LA: 

  1. The Polka Dot Wall by The Most Famous Artist, located at 608 Mateo St. 
  2. The Paul Smith Pink Wall, located at 8221 Melrose Av. (This wall even has an Instagram account dedicated to photos taken at this location!)
  3. The Made in LA Wall, located at 8025 Melrose Ave.
  4. The Love Wall, by Curtis Kulig, and located at 8549 Higuera St.
  5. The Global Angel Wings Project Wall, by Colette Miller, located at 8401 West 3rd Street

THE LAST BOOKSTORE

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe first time I saw a photo of this magical bookstore, I knew it would be one of my ultimate bucket list items to visit this place. The Last Bookstore is a used bookstore in downtown LA that has become quite a sensation due to its book-inspired décor. It’s the perfect place to spend a rainy day in Los Angeles, browsing the thousands of bookshelves. If this fun shop is on your bucket list as well, you can find it at 453 S Spring St. 

FOOD/COFFEE

Los Angeles has a vast array of delicious, quirky places to eat. However, in my short visit, the following had to be my favorites:

Looking for even more to do? Check out 100+ things to do in Los Angeles.

Did you enjoy this post? Pin it for later!

Los Angeles, California can be a bit overwhelming to visit as a first timer! But no worries, follow my guide to make the most of your first trip to L.A.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Swati & Sam (The Tales of a Traveler)

Friday 7th of April 2017

LA is definitely on our list. Lots of my friends stay there. I really want to visit Lamca and Griffith observatory for sure. And the last bookstore is awesome.

Rashmi and Chalukya

Friday 7th of April 2017

Los Angeles Country Museum of Art sounds interesting and that Chris Burden’s Urban Light is something of a kind we never saw before. Street art and murals have always fascinated us so we definitely not gonna miss these streets you mentioned here. Thanks for the information on the places to eats that helps a great deal when visiting a new city.

Rosie Benton

Thursday 6th of April 2017

Awesome list of things to do in LA, I absolutely love your pictures too, so colourful. We love street art and murals so I'd definitely want to check out some of the places you mentioned! Pinned this for when we finally make it - thanks for sharing!

Only By Land

Thursday 6th of April 2017

I too visited Griffith Park when I went to LA, I enjoyed the view of the city as well as the Hollywood sign. I didn't know La La Land was filmed there, I'll check that movie out this week. I missed LACMA, I would have loved to have photographed the urban lights, you took this shot very well!

The Travel Ninjas

Thursday 6th of April 2017

Cool tips about LA. The Griffith Observatory sounds like an interesting spot to get great views of the city. I bet the night views there are awesome to - of the city and of the skies.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.