The Ultimate 3 Days In Los Angeles Itinerary
Welcome to the City of Angels! Los Angeles, or LA as the locals call it for short, is a vibrant and diverse city that captures the essence of the American Dream. Situated in sunny Southern California, this sprawling city is famous for its stunning beaches, palm-lined streets, and a captivating blend of cultures and entertainment. From the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the laid-back vibes of the beach towns, LA offers a multitude of experiences that cater to every interest and taste.
In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of Los Angeles, providing you with an exciting itinerary to make the most of your visit. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler looking to delve deeper into the city’s hidden gems, our carefully curated three-day itinerary will help you explore the iconic landmarks, cultural hotspots, natural wonders, and culinary spots that make LA so captivating.
How to Get Around Los Angeles
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First, if you’re flying into LA you’ll want to fly into Los Angeles International Airport commonly referred to as LAX. Secondly, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but the traffic is as bad as they say it is in Los Angeles. As someone who has driven in LA countless times the best times to be on the road is during 11 am-1 pm or early morning before 7 am. However, be patient when driving from destination to destination and take in the beautiful scenery.
Additionally, Los Angeles County is huge so you will need to rent a car to easily see everything this itinerary has to offer. It’s the most effective way to get around. Since the public transportation in LA is not the best.
Best Things to Do in Los Angeles
3 Days In Los Angeles Itinerary: Day One Landmarks + Hollywood Glamour
Morning at Griffith Observatory
Starting off our first day with the best place to visit in Los Angeles, The Griffith Observatory. This art deco-style observatory sits atop Los Angeles and has sweeping views of the city below, the Hollywood sign, and even the pacific ocean on a clear day. It was opened in 1935 and has been a beloved landmark in LA since then. Furthermore, it’s been featured in countless movies such as Lalaland and the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause.
The observatory is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of astronomy and science. It houses a variety of exhibits and displays that explore topics such as the solar system, the universe, and the history of astronomy. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, view celestial objects through telescopes, and engage in hands-on activities to learn about space and astronomical phenomena. It is completely free to visit however, you will have to pay for parking.
As per the photos above the back of the observatory is where you’ll find sweeping views of the city and the front will have views of the Hollywood Sign. For my photography lovers, the lighting is best in the morning as well as the golden hour. Finally, I highly recommend getting there as early as possible as the small parking lot in front fills up quickly.
Optional Activity: Hike to the Hollywood Sign! If you’re feeling adventurous after exploring the Observatory, consider hiking to the Hollywood sign from here. You can hike the Hollyridge Trail, which is 5 miles. It’s the most popular and offers stunning views of the Hollywood sign. However, the Brush Canyon Trail is a great option as well. Since it’s less crowded and only 2.1 miles.
Furthermore, Runyon Canyon Park is one of the most famous spots to spot celebrities on a hike. While you can see the Hollywood sign, in the distance, whilst hiking. Finally, if you don’t feel like hiking at all just drive on over to Lake Hollywood Park, which is roughly 20 minutes from Griffith, walk up the road and here you’ll see an epic view of the Hollywood sign.
Afternoon IN HOLLYWOOD/WEST HOLLYWOOD
“Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this i”s Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t, but keep on dreamin’ – this is Hollywood.”
Despite the quote above from one of my all-time favorite movies, Pretty Woman. Hollywood is not the best part of town in LA, and it’s extremely touristy. However, if you’ve never been, you should start off your afternoon with a walk down Hollywood Boulevard to view the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Just to say you’ve experienced it. Here is a map that shows where the famous stars are. Along with that, head over to the TCL Chinese Theatre. This theatre has such a historical significance in Hollywood and boasts the largest IMAX auditorium in the world.
Finally, to complete your afternoon you can explore the neighborhood of West Hollywood. You can grab lunch at one of the trendy restaurants (The Butcher, The Baker, and The Cappucino Maker is a good one!). Walk around the Sunset Strip. Check out the coolest free art exhibit, Urban Lights at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum). Or do a little shopping at the infamous Grove Mall. And perhaps run into a celebrity or two at The Grove.
Optional Afternoon: If you prefer something other than Hollywood Blvd you can spend this time visiting The Getty Center. The architectural design by Richard Meier is an attraction in itself, characterized by its white travertine-clad buildings, open spaces, and meticulously landscaped gardens. You’re able to admire masterpieces by renowned artists, including Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, and Renoir. Finally, it has panoramic views of Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and the Santa Monica Mountains.
Evening IN DOWNtown LOS ANGELES
Unlike most cities, Downtown is not a happening spot in Los Angeles. It’s pretty grimy and there are so many other areas that are worth exploring. However, over recent years there has been more development with hotels, apartment buildings, and trendy restaurants. Consider checking out the Proper Hotel’s rooftop, Cara Cara. It has beautiful views of the LA Skyline and the food and cocktails were delicious! For a more casual option consider the Grand Central Market. An emporium that hosts food vendors & florists, plus game nights, movies & other events. It’s been around since 1917!
For your second activity of the evening, you have two options. One would be to see a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The other is seeing a ballgame at Dodgers Stadium. Personally, if it’s baseball season I would choose the latter. There is nothing more LA than seeing a Dodgers game at Dodgers stadium. It’s one of the prettiest baseball fields I’ve visited. Finally, if you choose the Dodgers add an hour for Echo Park Lake. It’s a historical reservoir surrounded by a park offering boat rentals, picnic tables & walking paths. It’s the perfect spot for that classic California sunset.
Day Two Beaches, Art, + Culture
Morning in Santa Monica
For day two of these 3 days in the Los Angeles Itinerary, we’re keeping things coastal! I mean that is what Los Angeles is known for, right? Starting off our morning at the famous Santa Monica Pier. This iconic landmark extends into the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean, offering breathtaking views of the coastline and an amusement park. Pacific Park offers thrill-seekers a few rollercoasters and rides on the iconic pier. I highly recommend taking a ride on the Ferris wheel for stunning views! Finally, this is a great place to post up on Santa Monica beach and enjoy a to-go breakfast and people-watch.
Afternoon in Venice
Secondly, you’ll head down Pacific Coast Highway to Venice Beach (roughly 20 minutes south of Santa Monica). Venice Beach encapsulates the free-spirited and artistic essence of Los Angeles. With its vibrant Venice Beach boardwalk, colorful street life, outdoor recreational opportunities, and diverse cultural offerings. It continues to attract locals and tourists who are looking for a one-of-a-kind experience in Southern California. So whether you’re visiting the famous boardwalk, strolling through the charming canals, or shopping on Abbott Kinney Blvd – there is a little something for everyone to enjoy!
Whatever you do, do not miss the Venice Canals. They are tucked away from the bustling boardwalk and offer a tranquil and picturesque retreat. Modeled after the canals of Venice, Italy, these man-made waterways wind through beautiful residential neighborhoods with charming bridges and lush greenery. You can easily spend an hour walking around enjoying the unique serene neighborhood. Finally, Abbott Kinney Blvd is a trendy and stylish street lined with unique boutiques, upscale restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops. Check out the new Belles Beachhouse for a chic spot for lunch.
Early EVENING IN BEVERLY HILLS
When most people think of LA they think of Beverly Hills. This world-renowned neighborhood is known for its luxurious lifestyle, upscale shopping, and iconic mansions. Synonymous with glamour and exclusivity, Beverly Hills has become the epitome of luxury and sophistication. There are ample things to do when visiting Beverly Hills. You can go shopping on Rodeo Drive, grab a bite at one of the many Michelin restaurants, visit the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, and check out the hidden gem Greystone Mansion.
One of my favorite things to do is drive by the quirky Spadena House that gives off total Hansel & Gretel vibes. Along with driving down Canon Drive which is the epitome of palm-tree-lined streets in Beverly Hills. It’s also famous for its lavish estates and celebrity residents. One of the more popular things to do is to take a celebrity homes tour. There are various tour operators who offer guided tours that take visitors through the neighborhoods, providing glimpses of the opulent homes of the rich and famous. Finally, below I’m sharing the best restaurants for a nice splurge-worthy dinner in Beverly Hills. You deserve it!
- Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura
- Ocean Prime
- The Hideaway
3 Days in Los Angeles Itinerary: Day Three Nature, Entertainment, + Cuisine
Morning in Malibu
Malibu is a beautiful subset of LA that feels more like a small beach town vibe. I would suggest starting your morning very early in Malibu (arrival time 8 am) to truly enjoy the peacefulness of this little slice of paradise. Start with a walk on El Matador State Beach (you will have to pay $10 to park here but it’s well worth it). This natural beauty is known for its rugged coastline and pristine water. You might recognize this beach because it has been seen in many movies such as Grease and The Notebook.
Next, head over to the Malibu Pier and brunch at Malibu Farm. If you want to make the most out of your Malibu visit consider visiting the Getty Villa. The Getty Villa is designed to replicate the architecture of a Roman villa, specifically the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy. It’s absolutely stunning and is free to visit. However, you will need to pay $20 for parking. Nevertheless, you truly feel as though you’re transported to Italy when visiting!
3 Days In los angeles itinerary: AFTERNOON + Evening THEME PARK
Since Los Angeles is such a hub for entertainment it has a variety of thrilling theme parks that cater to visitors of all ages. Universal Studios Hollywood is a famous one where visitors can experience exciting rides, behind-the-scenes studio tours, live shows, and immersive experiences that bring the magic of the movies to life. Popular movies and TV shows, such as Jurassic Park, Minions, The Simpsons, and even a full land dedicated to Harry Potter. Furthermore, the new Super Mario Bros just opened this year (2023) and is said to be a blast!
Additionally, Disneyland is the ultimate theme park and I’m a firm believer that it’s the “Happiest Place on Earth”. Since it’s the original Disney resort, it has to be experienced by everyone at least once in their life. Visitors can experience rides from all the popular Disney movies along with parades, character interactions, and just all-around fun. If you’re a foodie there are so many culinary delights to indulge in. Finally, make sure to spend the extra $$ and get the Park Hopper Pass to experience California Adventure which has Cars Land as well as the Avengers Campus.
Celebrity Hotspots according to DEUXmoi
I’m an avid DeuxMoi reader and I always enjoy seeing the restaurants, bars, and cafes the celebs are frequenting. Since Los Angeles is the epitome of Hollywood Entertainment. I hope you enjoy this list of hotspots where the chances to run into a celebrity is high. The only rule is you have to comment and let me know if you see one!
- Tower Bar
- Beverly Hills Hotel
- Polo Lounge
- The Cabana Cafe
- Nobu Malibu
- Laurel Hardware
- Giorgio Baldi
- Jon & Vinny’s
- Gracias Madre
- Mother Wolf
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
No matter where you choose to stay in Los Angeles, it’s essential to consider factors like location, budget, and the attractions or neighborhoods you want to explore. With its diverse range of options, finding the perfect place to stay in Los Angeles is just a matter of matching your preferences to the city’s neighborhoods and accommodations. Here are my top recommendations based on this 3 Days in Los Angeles itinerary.
Andaz West Hollywood – Boutique hotel located on the Sunset Strip. Offering a rooftop pool and stunning city views. Book your stay here!
West Hollywood Edition – if you want to splurge on a luxury hotel and stay central consider the West Hollywood Edition. Book your stay here!
Santa Monica Proper – The most stunning interiors I have ever seen in a hotel, and I travel A LOT. The proper hotels are architectural masterpieces. This particular one offers a rooftop pool and is centrally located. They are pricey however if you’re looking to splurge this is the hotel for you. Book your stay here!
Maybourne Beverly Hills – If you want to be close to the luxurious glam side of town this is the hotel for you. It’s definitely a splurge but if you’re looking to treat yourself, this is the spot! Book your stay here!
As you can see in just three days, you can cover a lot of ground in Los Angeles. Its vibrant energy and diverse attractions are endless. From iconic landmarks to beautiful beaches, and world-class museums to thrilling theme parks, this city has offered a multitude of experiences that have left a lasting impression. I’ve been more times to count and I am still experiencing new activities each time. This town has a magical feeling about it. Cheers to your trip!
If you’re looking for more of my California Guides don’t miss my Ultimate San Diego Itinerary. Thanks for reading my Ultimate 3 Days in Los Angeles Itinerary!