Legendary Hollywood glamour, movie industry magic and dreamy California beaches on holidays to Los Angeles
There’s laid-back SoCal beach life vibes and the summer scent of palm-lined sidewalks as you pass clean-living LA natives’ rollerblading, jogging and flexing their muscles at oceanfront outdoor gyms. Amongst an ever-accelerating pace, Lycra and yoga mats sit alongside high heels and oversized sunglasses on Los Angeles holidays - there’s always coffee-on-the-go, Hollywood movie references on every corner and elaborate fashion stores lining Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue.
Chase the iconic Hollywood sign through the Hills, get a sugar rush from a candy-coloured cupcake ATM and take an open-air trolley tour past 90120’s A-lister mansions. Holidays to Los Angeles are as much about the movie industry as they are about scenic hikes, sun-drenched beaches and awe-inspiring sights. There’s the Walk of Fame celebrity handprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and an altogether different kind of stargazing at Art Deco Griffith Observatory, where, come dusk, state-of-the-art telescopes on the lawns offer spectacular views of the solar system. Then there’s Universal Studios where thrilling 3D rides and backstage film sets come to life but also that breathtaking view over the City of Angels from ever-peaceful Mulholland Drive.
See jugglers, fire dances and sword-swallowers on bohemian Venice Beach, the first ever portrait taken of Marilyn Monroe in Downtown’s Broad Museum and Instagram-worthy talent in hip gallery Hauser & Wirth’s Art District location. Drive out to hike Palm Springs High Mojave Desert, come back for charcuterie, rose and sunsets over Santa Monica Beach and end the night in an old-school-glamorous Hollywood bar. Dust off the cobwebs next day heading west to the Getty Museum, the exclusive sunny surf beaches of Malibu and a Pacific Ocean seafood feast at celebrity favourite Nobu.
If you’re California dreaming, give us a call or pop in store for a chat with one of our Personal Travel Experts who’ll help craft your Los Angeles holiday.
- Universal Studios HollywoodTM and Disneyland, both located in Los Angeles, provide the perfect day out
- Travel just a short distance from your city accommodation you will come to some of California’s most famous beaches – chic Santa Monica and eclectic Venice Beach
- The city of Beverly Hills is small in size but definitely not in style. Head here for famous high-end fashions and to see and be seen
- Once the heart of the silver screen industry Hollywood is where you will see the iconic sign, the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre
- Head south out of Los Angeles and you will reach the affluent waterside cities of Orange County – known for their beaches, surf, boutiques and restaurants
Best time to visit Los Angeles
• The most pleasant times to visit Los Angeles are between March and May and September and November with temperature highs in the low to mid 20s. There are also fewer crowds at these times
• The most rain falls between December and February while smog and rising temperatures affect the city in the summer.
Los Angeles holiday highlights
Surf beaches, sunsets, special effects studios and some pretty impressive museums and galleries are going to be top of your list on holidays to Los Angeles. Take a tour of celebrity mansions in Beverly Hills, spend a day at Universal Studios and drive the windswept route to Mulholland Drive for incredible LA views. Visit the elaborate City Hall, hike the Hollywood Hills in search of a photo opportunity under that famed sign and have a drink at an iconic Hollywood bar. Head to the Griffith Observatory for an amazing planetarium experience, Malibu’s Getty Villa for an extraordinary collection of Greek and Roman antiques and Walt Disney Concert Hall for an LA Philarmonic concert.
Feel the salty breeze in your hair on a bicycle ride along the 22 miles of beachfront in South Bay, head out to San Marino for the exquisite Huntington Botanical Gardens, or grab an oversized beach towel and lounge on Santa Monica Beach for the day. Make like ‘Pretty Woman’ and shop the Rodeo Drive route, take a studio tour of Paramount Pictures Studio, book a baseball game at Dodgers Stadium and grab a couple of bottles of water and hike celebrity favourite Runyon Canyon.
Where is Los Angeles?
On the Pacific coast of southern California, Los Angeles is a sprawling county encompassing mountains, lakes, desert and forests. It incorporates 88 cities, including Beverly Hills, Long Beach and Pasadena, but the Los Angeles Basin, San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley are where most of the population presides.
At first sight you’re going to be overwhelmed by the traffic-laden highways of Los Angeles county. This is a car-loving sprawling city, and most travellers find hiring a car the best option when it comes to getting around. This gives you the freedom to explore local neighbourhoods including Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Mulholland Drive and lets you go further afield to Palm Springs and Santa Barbra. If you’re travelling by public transport in the Greater Los Angeles area, you’ll find taxis, buses, light railway, subways and buses easy to navigate. The Metro takes you from Downtown to Hollywood in about 15 minutes and everywhere from Santa Monica to Universal Studios. Taxis are available only in their authorized ranks or by calling ahead. You can hire, use and then park Bike shares in the Santa Monica area or book an Ebike tour to the Hollywood sign.
Santa Monica Beach Pacific Ocean hotels line the beachfront and there’s a fantastic shopping promenade, the iconic Pier, soft sands and always lots going on.
Venice Beach Busy, vibrant and full of character this is the famed people-watching beach of Los Angeles.
Zuma Beach Los Angeles' northernmost beach is popular with locals and is great for surfing, swimming and winter whale watching.
Will Rogers State Beach For a peek at where early Baywatch episodes were filmed, great swimming, and beginner surfing.
El Matador Beach At the west end of Malibu, this beautiful south-facing beach may be tiny, but it’s a beautiful spot great for evening strolls, sea cave exploring and photography.
Malibu Lagoon White sands, mild waves, lots of marine life and right next to the exclusive celebrity houses of the Malibu Colony.
Food and drink
There’s the breathtaking 25 course tasting menu from LA’s most famous sushi chef, hip diners where gourmet burgers and cocktails go hand-in-hand and celebrity favourite midnight drive-thru’s. Expect Art Deco design, fairy-lit courtyards, Michelin star dining and a burgeoning food truck scene. There’s the classic American comfort food, but also a huge choice of upscale restaurants, farm-to-table cuisine and A-lister hot spots. You’ll find Californian-style eateries with Mediterranean cuisine, evocative bars where the likes of Clark Gable once came to drink and iconic Hollywood nightclubs that have made the news over the years.
Expect to find lots of antique and vintage shops favoured by glossy magazine stylists who come to LA to scope out unique items of clothing and jewellery for fashion shoots, as well as cool, contemporary labels and super glitzy designer flagship stores. In Beverly Hills, there’s the movie star glamour on Rodeo Drive with its luxury brand labels and up market salons, but also Wiltshire Boulevard for the big American department stores of Neiman Marcus, Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue. In the Fairfax District head to super stylish shopping and dining destination, The Grove, for stores including Anthropology and Nordstrom and the famous LA Farmers Market. Venice and Abbott Kinney are flooded with creative and independent boutiques and Santa Monica’s shopping promenade is perfect for a spot of high street shopping before hitting the beach. There’s more high-end stores on Melrose Avenue, and in Downtown’s Fashion District, Friday is sample day, when designers open up their showrooms to sell sample clothes at discount prices.