If you are in California, then Los Angeles should be on your “must-visit” list. This iconic city is the second-largest in the U.S. and a hub of culture, glitz and glamor, history, and beautiful beaches.
Choosing what to put on your itinerary when you’re there, and figuring out just where to start, can be tricky though. Planning a trip is not always easy!
I went to school down here (go Bruins!), and I’ve got a list of my favorite places that you have to hit up for the perfect LA weekend.
So I’m letting you in on my 2 day itinerary for Los Angeles to get your trip off to a great start when you choose to travel here!
Los Angeles 2-Day Itinerary
Santa Monica is technically a separate city, but who’s counting? It’s basically part of LA, and I totally recommend it as a place to go to escape the urban sprawl of the metropolis.
Located between the quirky Venice Beach and the more exclusive Malibu, Santa Monica is a balance between the two, complete with laid back beach community vibes that make it almost feel as if you’re on a day trip from the city.
Looking for things to do in Santa Monica? There’s Santa Monica Pier with its fun amusement park Ferris Wheel, and the sandy Santa Monica Beach itself. There’s also the classic Southern Californian coastline, with a great farmers market, great dining scene, and great shopping along Montana Avenue and 3rd Street Promenade.
The famously quirky Venice Beach draws crowds with its street performers, muscle-bound bodybuilders, and rollerskating (yes, that’s still a thing here).
Complete with its own bohemian subculture—think drum circles and mimes—there’s an awesomely chilled vibe here. Make sure you visit this Los Angeles icon on the first Friday of any given month for food truck heaven and live music, all on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Universal Studios Hollywood
If you’re into films and theme parks, or if you’re in Los Angeles with kids, chances are you’re going to want to make a beeline to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Celebrating one of the most iconic, and oldest, Hollywood studios still operating, it’s a film studio and theme park combination.
At the theme park, there are awesome rides (hello, Jurassic Park) and the chance to visit actual Springfield, as well as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If rides and butterbeer aren’t your thing, the studio tour is a winner.
On the south side of Mount Hollywood is the famous Griffith Observatory. Located in Griffith Park, and with views out over Los Angeles, visiting the observatory is a must for that panoramic view of the city.
It’s beautiful—and the park is free!
There’s also the chance to see exhibits, go to the planetarium, and glimpse the cosmos, but for most people, a visit to Griffith Observatory is a chance to see that all-important HOLLYWOOD sign!
It’s open ’til 10 pm, so if you miss the sign, you’ll have the chance to see the stars.
The planetarium inside is also super cool. Omied took me here for Valentine’s Day like ten years ago. ?
And you’ll recognize it from the famous scene in La La Land. V romantic.
Hollywood Boulevard is pretty iconic—for a street, that is. It’s here that you can see a lot of Hollywood attractions all in one place.
It may be touristy, sure, but if you’re in town, you kinda have to go and do these things. Who goes to Hollywood without seeing the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
There are more than 2,500 stars featuring names of the lates and greats spread over 18 blocks. Bring a camera!
Elsewhere, there’s the Chinese Theatre, where you can match your hands (and feet!) with all the handprints and footprints left by famous faces of the past and present.
There’s also the Dolby Theatre; it’s home to the Academy Awards, of course, but you can also catch a show or concert here. Check the schedule!
Rodeo Drive is basically THE place to go for shopping in LA. Spread across two miles, here is where you will find a whole host of designer labels and high-end fashion spread across stores and boutiques galore.
Located in Beverly Hills, the street is dotted with palm trees for that sun-kissed LA vibe. You’ll find everything from Jimmy Choo and Versace to Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
So if shopping is what you like to do, and you feel like adding a few items to your wardrobe, Rodeo Drive has got to be one of the top things to do in LA.
The La Brea Tar Pits
Not into high-end shopping? Well then, how about visiting the tar pits instead?
Officially called La Brea Tar Pits, it’s a pretty fascinating place to learn about the past—the really REALLY distant past, that is.
During the Ice Age, lots of plants and animals got stuck in the sticky tar that has seeped from the earth for over 10,000 years; their remains were preserved and rediscovered in the early 1900s.
It’s definitely one of the best things to do in the city if ancient history and learning about the world is what you like.
Malibu is the luxe beach destination that LA residents dream of—a shiny place with celebrities and elegant beach pads. Surrounded by mountains, and with a whole load of beach to lay back on, you can see why!
However, you don’t have to be rich and famous to enjoy Malibu. There are great hiking opportunities here, and some great places to eat and drink, with seafood galore to sample.
But if you feel like going further afield, you could always hop in your car and make a day trip from Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego.
The famous Route 1 has some beautiful beach towns dotted along it, and some amazing scenery to match. With San Diego just a couple of hours away driving, why wouldn’t you?!
Another one of LA’s famous roads, Sunset Boulevard should definitely be on your Los Angeles itinerary, especially if it’s your first time in the city.
Stretching for 22 miles from Hollywood to Malibu, there’s a lot of stuff going on here. From nightclubs to music venues, film studios, and historic sites, there are places to visit and things to do for everyone.
Spend the night at a famous hotel on Sunset Boulevard (Chateau Marmont, for example) or simply cruise along the boulevard in an open-top convertible to recreate your own slice of LA.
There you have it, people! My itinerary for LA—perfect for 2 days! You’ll have plenty of time to experience the city. A good option is to grab yourself a Go Los Angeles Card and get access to a load of sites around the city like the Getty Center!
Don’t forget to tag me (@wtfab) in your Insta stories and pics and show me all the cool things you’re doing in LA—travel inspo is always welcome! Also, let me know if you like LA or New York better!
The best month to visit Los Angeles is from March to May or between September and November.
Yes, LA is definitely worth visiting there are so many fun things to do and sights to see. You will not regret it!
It is recommended to spend at least 3 days in Los Angeles to explore what the city has to offer.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.