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36 Hours in Los Angeles

Published 30 March 2016

Rachel Birchley

Rachel Birchley

Los Angeles is a popular stopover and starting point for travels in the west of the US. The city is much bigger than you’d imagine and with so much on offer it’s hard to do the city justice in just a couple of days. However that tends to be how long many people have, so to help you get the most out of your time Rachel Lowe has  put together this itinerary based on her experiences of being in Los Angeles as a backpacker.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Day 1

It’s time to get your exploring shoes on!  The first stop has to be the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which features more than 2,400 stars set into nearly two miles of pavement. To benefit from a fantastic view of the iconic Hollywood sign, use the viewing platforms in the Hollywood and Highland Mall.  The Chinese Theater is a must-see and tourist hot spot.  You won’t miss the characters and superheroes walking about.  I queued in McDonalds behind Spiderman once, which was a bit random.

Once you’ve had your fill of the Walk of Fame, hop on a bus heading down N. La Brea Avenue.  If you jump off just before Melrose Avenue you can grab lunch at the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs, the place to pick up a dog in Hollywood since 1939.  Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for famous faces.

A crowd of people lining up outside Pink's hot dogs

Back on the same bus, alight at Wilshire Boulevard, and walk 15 minutes to the La Brea tar pits, which look like normal ponds with a bit of an oily sheen to the surface, until you realise that it’s bubbling!  To find out more, visit the fascinating Page Museum ($12 or $10.75 with a Metro ticket).

If you’re not cultured out, walk along to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ($15).  If shopping’s more your bag (pun very much intended!) then head back up to Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place to indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

Day 2

It’s time to hit the beach!  Start off in bohemian Venice Beach where you’ll find street artists, musicians and, of course, Muscle Beach.   If you’re feeling active there are plenty of places where you can hire bikes or roller blades.

Alternatively, take your towel and soak up some rays, although perhaps not in January, it’s not really warm enough!   Later, stroll along towards Santa Monica pier to enjoy the rides and the views back towards the city.

Heading up from the beach into Santa Monica itself you’ll find Palisades Park and art deco style hotels.  3rd Street Promenade is a great place to people watch, shop and grab a bite; it’s open until late.

Day 3

Option 1

Spend the morning in the historical monument, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, where you’ll find the oldest buildings in the city that date back Mexican rule.  After exploring, take the 2 hour bus trip to the Getty Center (told you LA was big!), which is a stunning gallery with a bird’s eye view of the city.  Unusually, it’s free to enter and houses artworks that include paintings by Monet, Turner, Van Gogh and Munch.  You could spend hours gazing at the art and exploring the gardens.

 Pot plants and bench at El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Option 2

Jump off the subway at Universal City and catch the tram to Universal Studios Hollywood ($84).  The park has amazing rides and experiences including the fantastic studio tram tour.  Don’t be put off it you’re travelling alone; I spent the whole day at Universal Studios by myself and it was still brilliant.

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