Ultimate Los Angeles Itinerary Ideas for first time visitors

Glitz and glamor. World-class art and stunning architecture. Michelin-starred restaurants. 

venice ale house. hollywood hills. orange county.

Los Angeles has perfected the dream destination vibe and is a bucket-list destination for many travelers. 

Whether you are visiting Los Angeles for the first time or the tenth, the city leaves most visitors awestruck and starry-eyed!

From its chaos and crowds on Hollywood Blvd to attractions such as Griffith Observatory and the Broad Museum, visiting LA is the ultimate Southern California experience!

Also Read: 32 Best Things to do in Los Angeles, California

Fun fact: We first visited LA on our epic three weeks long honeymoon – we partied in Las Vegas, hiked in the Grand Canyon, became star struck in Tinsel town, visited the theme parks in Anaheim, and biked the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco!
And that’s why Los Angeles will always be special to us!

Here is a detailed Los Angeles travel guide that makes the most of this amazing city.

Spend anywhere from a day to three, Los Angeles LA has enough attractions to offer for all kinds of travelers. 

How many days to spend in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is a huge city with plenty of things to do, so how many days should you spend there?

If you’re a tourist, three or four days might be enough to see the main sights.

But if you want to explore more of LA and its suburbs- maybe take a trip down the coast or see the theme parks, then five or six days would be ideal.

Keep in mind that Los Angeles is a very spread out city, so it’s important to plan your trip accordingly.

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Los Angeles Itinerary Ideas

In this post, we have suggestions for several different itinerary ideas for all types of visitors. 

Whether you are in the city for a week or looking for a weekend in Los Angeles itinerary, you can easily customize and use our trip planner ideas to have the best Los Angeles trip.

Also Read: 24 Best Places to Visit in California in winter

Los Angeles Itinerary 2 Days

If you are like most visitors, then you have just a weekend to visit LA.

The city has many attractions and it is really hard to see all of them in just a couple of days. 

And that’s why we suggest focusing only on the top attractions here. 

2 days in Los Angeles itinerary is perfect because you have enough time to go explore the city’s highlights such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica, and Getty Museums. 

This is also enough time to decide whether you like the LA vibe. If you like, you can always return for a longer visit.

Follow our Los Angeles 2 Days itinerary to plan your trip and see the most popular attractions in the city as listed below.

Day 1: Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, And The Beach At Venice And Santa Monica

We suggest starting your first day of two days in Los Angeles itinerary bright and early at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

This is downtown LA top-rated tourist attraction and gets crazily crowded later in the day. 

Don’t even think of visiting the area on a weekend evening – you will have to stand in line to see most of the engraved stars on the sidewalk.

Hollywood Walk Of Fame

The Walk of Fame is the famous 15 blocks of sidewalk along Hollywood Blvd where the names of over 2500 stars are embedded. 

It is fun to search for names you recognize and take a picture with the names of popular/favorite stars. 

If you can’t find any famous names, just follow the crowds on Hollywood Boulevard.

Most popular film icons have people waiting in line to get a photo. 

The Hollywood Walk of Fame while a ‘must’ tourist attraction on every 2 day Los Angeles itinerary, can feel overrated to those who don’t like crowds. 

Just like Times Square in New York City, it can seem like a big tourist trap with buskers, costumed characters who take photos for tips, and shops selling kitschy shirts and souvenirs at every corner.

Also Read: Los Angeles to Joshua Tree Road Trip

If you don’t like the vibe, then see a star or two and go on to our next attractions.

Other must-see attractions in Hollywood include the Chinese Theatre, Dolby (Kodak) Theatre, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. 

The Chinese Theatre and Dolby Theatre are worth a visit and definitely more interesting than the Walk of Fame. 

The Chinese Theatre has beautiful architecture and handprints of several celebrities on the sidewalks.

The Dolby Theatre hosts the Academy awards and is also beautiful to walk around. 

We visited the Wax Museum since we had never been to any Madame Tussauds but if you have seen another location, then it can be definitely skipped – unless you want a photograph with a particular celebrities’ wax statues that are only in L.A.. 

Overall I would suggest not spending more than 2 to 3 hours in the Hollywood Blvd area.

Sunset Blvd

Be sure to walk along approx 1 miles stretch of Sunset boulevard in West Hollywood!

This is known as the Sunset Strip and extends all the way upto Beverly Hills.

Here you will find everything from boutiques, bars, and restaurants to souvenir stores and flashy billboards.

The famous Beverly Hills Hotel is also located here.

Hollywood chinese theatre celebrities hand footprint
Hollywood chinese theatre celebrities hand footprint

Rodeo Drive

In the afternoon, we recommend window shopping on Rodeo Drive.

This is one of L.A’s premier shopping destinations where you will find all high-end fashion labels and spot a celebrity or two out shopping.

Rodeo Drive was made popular as L.A’s most snobbish shopping enclave by Julia Roberts in the movie ‘Pretty Woman’.

Since then, it has been a must-see in Los Angeles in 2 days.

If you love shopping, Rodeo Drive is a must on your 2 Day Los Angeles itinerary.

Window shopping in Rodeo Drive is a shopper’s delight; here you will find Gucci, Prada, Tiffany’s, Armani, and Cartier next to each other. 

Hollywood stars can often be spotted on Rodeo Drive, making this a top attraction!

Tip – Star sightings were common in the past, but if you are lucky you might spot an actor, supermodel, or other icons from Tinseltown.

We recommend stocking to window shopping and spending an hour or two here unless you have a fat wallet and actually want to buy something!

If you don’t like shopping, like me, you will still love Rodeo Drive.

Rodeo Drive has charming architecture and if you happen to visit in December, is covered in wreaths and holiday decor. It looks pretty, festive, and vibrant. 

Car lovers also enjoy coming here. In the parking spaces, you will find every premium luxury brand including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and Porsche. You can also often spot classic motorcycles. 

Taking a photo with these beauties on Rodeo Drive is one of the most popular things to do in any Los Angeles travel itinerary.

Luxury shops in Rodeo Drive at night
Luxury shops in Rodeo Drive at night

Beverly Hills

After checking out Rodeo Drive, hop across to Beverly Hills.

This is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles and several movie stars have their homes here.

On a tour of the iconic homes, you can see a variety of architectural styles, splendid palm-lined driveways, and perfectly manicured gardens. 

You can just drive around the area in your car but it’s hard to tell who lives where.

If you are really into celebs, then we would recommend a guided Beverly Hills Mansion tour that will point out specific homes owned by popular movie stars. 

For movie buffs, these Hollywood mansion tours are the most exciting part of Los Angeles trip itinerary!

You can check out Beverly Hills in the afternoon – take a photo with the famous Beverly Hills sign for the ‘gram!

We recommend ending the first day of the Los Angeles 2 Day itinerary either at the iconic Santa Monica Pier or Venice Beach Boardwalk. 

Both are great places to watch the sunset over the Pacific and enjoy a slice of beach life.

Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills, California

Venice Beach

Venice Beach is LA’s trendy, bohemian neighborhood. 

The area has lots of hip stores and restaurants along the boardwalk.

This area can be either a hit or a miss, depending on when you go. 

In summer it is often crowded and not very clean; it can also seem not very family-friendly.

However, if you visit off season, then Venice beach feels quite different, including the touristy boardwalk. 

There are a lot of eclectic shops and street performers on the boardwalk. 

The beach is also nice for a walk and for people watching. You can see people biking on the beach as well. 

Venice Beach has a really cool skateboarding area and visitors enjoy watching the talented skateboarders.

Another attraction while in Venice is nearby Muscle Beach where you can always spot muscle builders hard at work. 

An often-overlooked attraction in Venice is the canals – we definitely recommend adding them to your la itinerary if 2 days.

Resembling the canals in Venice, Italy, these canals have pretty arched bridges and are very pretty for a stroll. 

Venice Beach
Venice Beach

Historic Santa Monica Pier

For families on a 2 day trip to Los Angeles, we would recommend visiting the famous Santa Monica Pier instead of Venice Beach. 

There are many things to do at Santa Monica Pier with kids.

The wooden pier is home to the Pacific Park amusement park and its roller coasters, a vintage merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, and other thrilling rides. 

The pier also has many places to eat, souvenir shops, shopping areas, and arcade games. 

Taking a stroll along the pier is a favorite with couples out for a romantic time.

The views of the Pacific from the Santa Monica Beach are excellent, especially at sunset. 

The pier is also great for people watching. You can also see people fishing from the pier.

Another cool attraction here is the End of Route 66 sign.

Yepp, this is officially the end of a Route 66 road trip! Taking a photo with the sign is one of the most popular photo ops while in Los Angeles.

Also Read: Route 66 road trip from California to Texas

If you have the time, you can also visit both Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier together in one evening. 

These two neighborhoods are located only 3 miles apart from each other and you can actually walk the distance along the shoreline. 

Also, the Santa Monica Pier is open late into the night and can be easily fit in after visiting Venice Beach and the canals first.

Alternatively, you can also visit the beach at Malibu for a quieter beach experience during your Los Angeles two day itinerary. The beaches in Malibu are gorgeous and less crowded. 

Here you will find surfers, seagulls, seals, and the occasional celebrity. You can also see oceanside mansions in Malibu. 

In winter, you can also go whale watching – all within half an hour drive away from downtown Los Angeles!

The Santa Monica Pier at night, in Santa Monica, California
The Santa Monica Pier at night, in Santa Monica, California

Day 2: Museum Row On Miracle Mile, Farmers Market, And Griffith Observatory

After a day of soaking in the Hollywood vibes, we suggest devoting this day to admiring L.A’s top cultural attractions. 

Los Angeles is a great city for cultural travellers and boasts some of the finest museums in the country.

Museum Row On Miracle Mile

You can start this day by visiting the Museum Row on the Miracle Mile.

The museums located here are world-class and some of the best things to see in Los Angeles in 2 days.

This area of Los Angeles is home to 4 great museums: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), La Brea Tar Pits / George C Page Museum, The Petersen Automotive Museum, Architecture and Design Museum (A+D Museum), and the Craft Contemporary.

Here’s a little information about the museums: 

LACMA has an extensive collection of art exhibits spanning over many centuries.

The famous ‘Urban Light’ sculpture, which has become one of LA’s top Instagrammable spots, is located at LACMA. 

The Petersen Automotive Museum is a must for car lovers. It has antique cars, futuristic vehicles, as well as famous cars including Lightning McQueen from the movie ‘Cars’. 

Looking for what to do in la for 2 days for design fans? A + D Museum is a must if you are into contemporary architecture and spatial design. 

However, by far the coolest museum to visit on Miracle Mile is the La Brea Tar Pits.

An astonishing number of Ice Age fossils have been discovered and excavated at La Brea. 

The excavated artifacts are on display at the adjacent George C. Page Museum and visitors can see skeletons of mammoths, ground sloths, and other extinct animals. 

You can also see paleontologists at work in the fossil lab.

If you or your kids love fossils and prehistoric animals, then definitely add La Brea and Page museum to your Los Angeles weekend itinerary.

Other cool things to do in LA in 2 days while in the Museum Row area include seeing the largest section of the Berlin Wall outside of Berlin at the Wende Museum, which is a part of LACMA.

La Brea Tar Pits Museum
La Brea Tar Pits Museum

Farmers Market

Early in the day, visit one of the museums on Miracle Mile based on your interest and then head over to the Original Farmer’s Market for lunch. 

LA’s Original Farmers Market is one of the biggest and most popular in the country.

It has fresh produce, baked goods, many eateries as well as souvenir shops. You should definitely add it to Los Angeles itinerary 2 days.

This is also a great place to buy artisan goods and gifts. 

We love strolling through the market and taking a look at all the items on sale.

Exploring the market can easily take up 1-2 hours of your time. 

If you don’t have time to visit the Farmers Market or would like to see another museum in that time, then you can have lunch at the Museum Square. 

Here you will find many restaurants, cafes, as well as a variety of food trucks.

Los Angeles has many other museums besides the ones located on Museum Row.

Here are a few alternative ways to spend your morning. 

LA Farmers Market
LA Farmers Market

Getty Museum

The Getty Museum is a free art museum spread over two different locations: Getty Center and the Getty Villa. 

The artwork collection includes Western as well as ancient European pieces. 

Getty Center’s impressive collection includes Van Gogh and Monet and is architecturally spectacular. 

The gardens can be seen on a free tour and are very well planned and maintained.

They also have many sculptures of interest.

The Getty Villa in Malibu features beautiful Italian architecture and transports you to Rome.

The collection includes Roman art and sculpture.

Getty Center and Museum
Getty Center and Museum

The Broad

If Instagram is your thing, then you should absolutely visit LA’s newest museum, the Broad. 

This is also a free museum and features contemporary exhibits and modern art collections. 

Their ‘Under the Chair’ exhibit and Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms are some of the most photographed locations in Los Angeles.

The Broad should not be skipped even if you can spend only 2 days in la.

Tip – Visit the famous Grand Central Market for a bite after visiting the Broad!

The Broad Museum building at night, Los Angeles
The Broad Museum building at night, Los Angeles

Griffith Park And Observatory

After you have had your fill of the various museums, visit the Griffith Park and Observatory in the late afternoon. 

The Griffith Observatory has beautiful architecture and cool exhibits while the iconic view of LA and the Santa Monica mountains from the lookout at the top is breathtaking.

You can see the city views including LA Downtown and extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. 

This is one of the most photographed views of the city.

Seeing the panorama when the sky turns golden will definitely be the highlight of your two days in la. 

We suggest checking out the observatory and exhibits first and then capturing the sunset over the city later.

Another popular time to check out the view is at sunrise.

The famous Hollywood sign is located on Mount Lee in Griffith Park and can be easily seen from Griffith Observatory. 

This is your chance to photograph the iconic LA landmark. 

The Hollywood Sign is also visible from most places in the city but we really loved the clear views from the top of Mount Hollywood, where Griffith Observatory is located. 

Most people visit Griffith Observatory but don’t explore the surrounding Griffith Park. 

The park is a great urban park and has many hiking and biking trails and other outdoor activities including golf courses and tennis courts.

It also has train museums, but you won’t have time to add them to la itinerary 2 days.

There are also many hiking trails within Griffith Park that lead to the summit of Mount Lee with great views of the Hollywood sign. 

For more information about these hiking trails, check the article here.

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California
Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California

3 Day Itinerary Los Angeles

Day 3 In Los Angeles

We definitely don’t want to end this perfect Los Angeles Itinerary for 2 Days without suggesting ideas to spend more time in the city. 

You can also use this plan to see something else instead of the museums on your Day 2 of LA trip. 

The way we planned the itinerary, you cover most Los Angeles highlights on Day 1 itself. 

We are museum lovers and so enjoyed visiting the famous Museums on Day 2. 

Here are some other ideas for spending your time in LA.

‘Behind The Scenes’ Movie Day

While the Hollywood oriented activities that we included on Day 1 are entertaining and thrilling, you can take it up a notch if you are a hardcore movie and television fan. 

To experience the magic of movie-making, you can go on a VIP tour of several movie studios. 

Such tours are offered by Warner Bros, Sony, and Paramount. 

You can also attend the live taping of a TV show for free and see first-hand how TV series are made.

A Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles
A Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles

Theme Park Fun

Los Angeles is a wonderful, wonderful city for thrill-seekers. 

We visited our first Six Flags ever in Los Angeles and fell in love with the adrenaline rush of the rides. 

Apart from Six Flags, Los Angeles also has other theme parks including Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City. 

For a movie making cum roller coaster experience, visit Universal Studios. 

We loved touring their sets and watching some popular film sequences in action at Universal.

Universal Studios, Los Angeles
Universal Studios, Los Angeles

Disney Time

Anaheim, located less than an hour away from Los Angeles, is home to Disney amusement parks. 

There are hundreds of things to do at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure from having breakfast with popular Disney characters, watching the Disney parade, riding themed rides, and so on. 

If you want the Disney experience without breaking the bank, consider visiting Downtown Disney instead of the theme parks. 

Downtown Disney also has cast members, lots of Disney souvenirs shopping, and excellent dining options along with free entry! 

We love the Star Wars virtual reality experience here.

Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Disney LA
Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Disney LA

Explore Los Angeles Off The Beaten Path

You need not even leave the city if you have extra time in Los Angeles.

There are lots of underrated attractions in Los Angeles to satisfy most travelers.  

We especially love exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes in Los Angeles: you can take a guided tour of the Hollyhock House or check out the Anderton Court shops on Rodeo Drive. 

LA also has many other FLW homes but they are not open to the public. Driving up Mulholland Drive at sunset is another hidden gem. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's House
Frank Lloyd Wright’s House

Take A Trip Down The Pacific Coast

If you want more beach time at some of the best beaches in California combined with gorgeous drives, we recommend hitting up the Pacific Coast Highway. 

Car rentals are easy to find in the city with most major car rental companies being located at the airport and a trip along the coast is a top favorite with visitors!

The drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco is one of the best drives in the world and has amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. 

Drive to Ventura, a charming beach town, and visit the secluded Channel Islands National Park.

Or enjoy the trendy vibe of Santa Barbara. 

Visit vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley for exclusive wine tastings.

Another great option is Catalina Island with its picturesque setting and fascinating history.

Or head down to San Diego and explore attractions such as Balboa Park, La Jolla, and the San Diego Zoo.

Also Read: Los Angeles to Yosemite Road Trip Itinerary

Potato Harbor in Channel Islands National Park in California
Potato Harbor in Channel Islands National Park in California

We hope you like our Los Angeles itinerary Ideas. How long are you planning to visit Los Angeles?

Do you have any other itinerary ideas or know of any attractions that we missed in this post? Let us know in the comments!