This past summer I worked for EF Education First as an Activity Leader in Long Beach, CA! When I wasn’t running around Los Angeles guiding international teens on full-day excursions, I was at Cal State Long Beach leading on-campus activities, facilitating English lessons, and ensuring the well-being and safety of the students. This job was the most fun and rewarding I’ve ever had! One of my best friends, Emily (Hi Em!), joined me for my last few days in California. In just three days we managed to see all of Los Angeles’ major sights. Keep reading for the best 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary.
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally written in December 2019 and was updated in winter 2022 for relevancy.
Day One In Los Angeles
Aside from countless tacky souvenir and smoke shops, Hollywood Boulevard is home to the Walk of Fame and an array of interactive museums, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an iconic LA landmark, sporting stars for celebrities like Walt Disney, Ellen Degeneres, and Meryl Streep.
The Boulevard also has the Chinese and Dolby theaters. The Chinese Theater has hand & footprints of famous celebrities on the ground outside of it. The Dolby theater is part of the Hollywood and Highland shopping center (where you get a great view of the Hollywood sign btw), and is famous for the Oscars’ red carpet. You can walk down the stairs where the celebrities famously gather to take photos!
Fun fact: The columns on either side of the stairs have the names of all the films that have ever won an Oscar! My favorite is probably the Titanic… what’s yours?
The Hollywood Sign
Seeing the Hollywood Sign is a 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary must! It’s visible from most places in the city, but I recommend getting up close & personal.
There are several hikes that bring you close to the sign, but many of them cut through private property. I recommend driving to a place called Strategic Perception in the Hollywood Hills. From this drop off point, it’s a 15 minute walk through a neighborhood to a dirt path that will bring you right up under the Hollywood Sign. Although it’s not much of a hike, I think it’s one of the easiest ways to get right under the sign.
The Grove is a well-known, luxurious outdoor shopping mall in Los Angeles. It has tons of stores, restaurants, fountains, a movie theater, and even a trolley you can ride! This place is famous for frequent celebrity and influencer sightings, but my favorite thing about the Grove is the Farmer’s Market! The market has dozens of food stands from around the world, making it the perfect place to grab a bite to eat. Whether you’re craving sushi or tacos, you won’t leave disappointed.
LACMA stands for Los Angles Contemporary Museum of Art and I’m sure it’s fabulous… but I didn’t go inside. We visited LACMA for the same reason most do: to take photos at the outdoor light exhibit. This art piece has been featured in several movies and makes for a fun photo-op! It’s open during the day too, but I really liked taking photos here at night.
Day Two In Los Angeles
To kick off day two, Emily and I did a downtown Los Angeles city tour. The tour brought us to the El Pueblo area of Los Angeles, known for its Spanish influence, along with city hall, the Grand Central Market food hall, and The Broad museum. Aside from Tokyo, this museum has the only other infinity mirror room in the world, an exhibit I definitely recommend checking out!
Once our DTLA tour ended, we ubered to Beverly Hills. First, we took photos in front of the famous Beverly Hills sign and walked down Rodeo Drive to window-shop (that’s all college students can afford to do here!).
From Rodeo Drive, we walked 20 minutes to the famous Beverly Hills hotel. Emily and I wanted to come here for a drink, but were denied access to any of the restaurnts and bars because we were underdressed. I think one of the bellmen felt bad for us because… HE GAVE US A PRIVATE TOUR OF THE HOTEL! Yep! So cool. He showed us around the different villas, gardens, tea rooms, ballrooms, and even the famous pink pool. He also showed us photos with famous people who frequent the hotel. This ~VIP~ experience ended up being so much better than our original happy hour plans!
You can’t visit the west coast without stopping at In & Out! This fast food joint only has a few things on the menu, but the burgers are bomb. Ask for animal sauce on your fries! It’s on a secret menu and you won’t regret it.
Day Three In Los Angeles
To make the most of your last full day of this 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary, head to the coast and spend the day at the beaches! I recommend starting at Venice beach to see the famous boardwalk, skatepark, and the Venice canals. Emily and I also really enjoyed walking down Abbot Kinney Blvd to check out the coffeeshops and stores. We got brunch at Butcher’s Daughter and loved it!
While in Venice beach, rent a bike from one of the several bike shops located on the boardwalk and bike to Santa Monica! The bike ride only takes about 15-20 minutes and is such a nice ride.
Santa Monica Beach & Pier
Once you arrive in Santa Monica, lock up your bike, and head onto the pier! Santa Monica pier is one of the most famous sights in LA because it’s the end of Route 66. The pier is always packed with people enjoying rides, playing games, and watching the entertainers. At the end of the pier, you’ll find lots of people fishing.
Once you make your way off the pier, I recommend walking to 3rd Street Promenade for food and some shopping. This street is for pedestrians only and is a nice area to walk around! Don’t forget to bike back to Venice beach! That’s all for my 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary! If you’re looking for accommodation options, check out this list of unique Airbnbs in California! Of course, Los Angeles offers so much more to do that just this. If you have more time, I recommend:
- Watch a Dodgers Game
- Go to DisneyLand!!
- Go to Griffith Observatory – during the day to see the Hollywood Sign and during the night to check out the telescopes!
- Check out the beaches south of LA – Laguna, Huntington, and Newport are my favorites!
- And if you can, take a day trip to San Diego! It’s only a two hour drive from LA!
Doing a road trip through the Golden State? Be sure to check out some of these unique places to visit in California! Enjoy Los Angeles!
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