Welcome to Los Angeles! The land of sky-high palm trees, sunny temperatures and all of your favorite celebrities. Because there is just so much to do in this incredible city, you cannot expect to cross everything off your to-do list in one trip. LA is a sprawling metropolis and it takes awhile to get from place to place. With that being said, I recommend creating a list of hotspots that you cannot live without seeing and mapping them out by location. To help you do just that, here are a handful of some of my favorite photo opportunities in Los Angeles, California.
1) Carrera Cafe
Start your morning off at Carrera Cafe at 8251 Melrose Ave. I gotta tell ya, this is one of the coolest cafes I have ever been to. Their latte art is unreal. You can get anything from Drake and Ryan Gosling to classic LA palm trees on the top of your coffee. Grab a pastry, snap some photos and be on your merry way.
2) Paul Smith Limited
If you spend a lot of time on Instagram (do we follow each other yet?), it’s likely you’ve seen photos of “That Pink Wall” outside of of Paul Smith’s LA flagship. It’s directly across the street from Carrera Cafe so you won’t miss it, especially with the line of fellow Instagrammers waiting to snap a photo. It has become a bit of a social media landmark much to my confusion. Either way, it’s funny to see the dozens of people posing for their winning shot at this famous pink wall.
3) Girls Tour Mural
Since you’re already on Melrose Ave. you might as well walk down to the Girls Tour mural outside Sorella Boutique for a quick picture. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk but there are tons of amazing shops to stop in along the way. Plus… hello girl power!
4) Venice Beach
After a morning on Melrose Ave., I recommend catching an Uber to Venice Beach. Venice is a buzzing beach town with funky shops, street performers and a free-spirited boardwalk. Its colorful vibe and eccentric nature makes it a must-see stop on your trip to Los Angeles. I suggest renting a bike from one of the many bicycle shops on the boardwalk and biking towards Santa Monica Beach. It’s a perfect way to see the area and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. We had a great experience renting with Ride! Venice and felt the prices were reasonable, too.
5) Santa Monica Pier
What’s a trip to Los Angeles without visiting the Santa Monica Pier? The iconic ferris wheel and amusement park rides have been the backdrop for decades’ worth of California postcards. Although the pier is crowded and smells like funnel cake, it’s a classic SoCal experience you have got to cross off the bucket list. We locked our bikes up at the beach and stopped for lunch at True Food Kitchen. I cannot recommend their Grilled Chicken Salad more highly! Seriously delicious.
6) Malibu Farm
Malibu is about an hour-long journey from Los Angeles and it can take even longer to get there depending on traffic, but its beauty is just what you picture when you think of the California coast. All of our Uber drivers said Sunday is the best day to go to avoid traffic, and they were 100% right. Our journey to Malibu on a Sunday was perfectly stress-free. While you’re there, be sure to hit Malibu Farm for a fresh and local lunch with stunning views.
7) The Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is obviously an iconic Los Angeles landmark, and you can pretty much see it from anywhere in the city. However, if you REALLY want to see the sign, the best way to do so is by getting right up behind it. You can read about the different hiking trail options that will get you there here. This was one of my favorite Los Angeles experiences! It’s tiring, rewarding and so much fun.
8) The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel is the epitome of old Hollywood’s golden age! I read that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lived in Bungalow 5 at one point and had a standing room service order for two bottles of vodka with breakfast and another two bottles with lunch. Anyone think they can keep up?
9) Beverly Hills Palm Trees
While you’re in Beverly Hills, you should absolutely drive around the residential areas and check out the fancy houses. My face the entire time looked like the shocked emoji with its hands glued to its cheeks. The houses are gigantic with perfectly manicured lawns and the cleanest sidewalks I have ever seen. Plus, most streets are lined with those classic California palms!
10) Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Urban Light by Chris Burden consists of 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s. You may have seen this exhibit on Instagram or in the movie No Strings Attached, and it’s certainly worth stopping by on your trip to LA.
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So, have you been to Los Angeles before? There are so many amazing spots not included in this guide that I think I am going to make a part two. Leave me a comment and let me know which of these activities sound most fun to you!