The Perfect Los Angeles Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

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With its sprawling landscape, Los Angeles can be an intimidating destination for first-time visitors. Unlike more compact cities, the jewels of L.A. are scattered across its vast expanse. If you hail from a less populous area, the sheer size of Los Angeles could be overwhelming.

As you design your trip itinerary, bear in mind LA’s infamous traffic jams, which could curtail your plan to explore extensively within a short 3-day duration. It’s impractical to target an extensive list of over 20 attractions and anticipate visiting them all. You could rent an RV from Travellers Autobarn if you want, but make sure to use a GPS.

The proposed itinerary below focuses on the essential landmarks of LA without the frantic rush. Attempting to pack more into your three-day visit may just result in exhaustion and confusion.

Unveiling the Charm of Los Angeles: Day 1 Itinerary

Santa Monica Beach

Below is an itinerary that covers the most iconic sites of Los Angeles while minimising the impact of traffic congestion and timing.

Embark on a Leisurely Stroll along the Santa Monica Beach and Pier (Free)

Begin your three-day LA adventure with an invigorating visit to Santa Monica Beach, a short 20-minute journey from downtown Los Angeles. Framed by the historical Santa Monica Pier, the beach extends its sandy reach on either side. You’ll find ample parking and facilities, including restrooms and beachfront cafes. A paved trail traces the coastline to Venice Beach, offering a haven for walkers, cyclists, and rollerblades.

Rental shops pepper the area, providing everything from bicycles and rollerblades to boogie boards, chairs, and umbrellas. Choose to lounge on the beach or rent a bicycle for a scenic ride from the Pier to Venice Beach and back. The heart of Santa Monica’s bustle resides at the Pier, located at the end of Colorado Avenue. This lively wooden dock, with its shops, eateries, arcade, roller coaster, and colossal Ferris wheel, remains a family favourite and iconic Los Angeles attraction.

Traverse to Venice Beach – On Foot, By Bike, or Rollerblade (Free)

As you leave Santa Monica Beach, continue southward through the bohemian Venice Beach. This iconic spot draws a diverse crowd of tourists, street performers, artists, and fitness enthusiasts. The route along Ocean Front Walk offers an array of eye-catching attractions from muscle beach to lively vendors and graffiti art walls.

While exploring the area, make sure to stop by the famous Venice Beach Skatepark, which often hosts exciting skateboarding competitions.

Admire the Opulence of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive (Free)

After soaking in the sun and sand, take a stroll or drive to Beverly Hills, one of L.A.’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. The picturesque streets lined with palm trees are adorned with designer boutiques and posh restaurants.

Visit Rodeo Drive, the most famous shopping district in Beverly Hills, to marvel at the luxury stores and celebrity sightings.

Experience Hollywood Glamour at Sunset Boulevard (Free)

As you continue your journey towards downtown LA, make a pit stop at Sunset Boulevard. This iconic street has played an instrumental role in the rise of Hollywood’s cinematic scene. Take a walk down this boulevard, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a melting pot of music, fashion, film, and architecture.

Stop by the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see the stars dedicated to some of your favourite celebrities.

Exploring Los Angeles: Day 2 Itinerary

Universal Studios

Today’s itinerary will take you on a cultural journey through some of LA’s most iconic locations.

Discovering the Culture of Downtown LA (Free)

Embark on a captivating journey in downtown Los Angeles, a vibrant hub where diverse cultures and unique experiences intertwine. Start your day at Olvera Street, fondly known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles,” immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Mexican heritage through its lively marketplace and vibrant shops.

As you continue your exploration of downtown, be sure to marvel at the architectural wonders of The Broad Museum and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, both showcasing LA’s thriving arts scene in all its splendour.

Indulge in the Magic of Universal Studios Hollywood (Ticket required)

Experience the ultimate afternoon at Universal Studios Hollywood, the renowned “Entertainment Capital of L.A.” Discover a world of excitement with exhilarating rides, captivating live shows, and exclusive behind-the-scenes studio tours.

This extraordinary theme park offers limitless entertainment for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re enchanted by the enchanting world of Harry Potter, thrilled by the prehistoric wonders of Jurassic Park, or captivated by the iconic characters of The Simpsons, Universal Studios Hollywood promises an unforgettable adventure.

Get a Taste of LA’s Vibrant Food Scene (Cost varies)

As the sun dips below the horizon on your second day in Los Angeles, it’s time to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culinary landscape. From chic celebrity-owned establishments to mouthwatering street food, LA presents an eclectic array of dining options.

Delight in the vast selection of international cuisines and savour local delicacies such as tacos, sushi, and gourmet burgers.

Discovering the Hidden Gems of Los Angeles: Day 3 Itinerary

On your final day in Los Angeles, explore some lesser-known but equally enchanting locations.

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign (Free)

Embark on an invigorating adventure by starting your day with a scenic hike to the iconic Hollywood Sign. This delightful 45-minute trek not only treats you to awe-inspiring views of the city but also grants you an up-close encounter with this renowned landmark.

Relaxing in Griffith Park (Free)

Once you’ve finished your hike, make your way to Griffith Park, an expansive urban oasis that stands as one of the largest in North America. Spanning over 4,200 acres of vibrant greenery, this park provides a serene retreat from the bustling city.

Whether you choose to indulge in a delightful picnic or simply take a leisurely stroll, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of Los Angeles that are sure to captivate your senses.

Exploring the Getty Center (Free)

Indulge in an enchanting afternoon at the Getty Center, a magnificent architectural marvel and vibrant cultural hub. Immerse yourself in a treasure trove of global artworks that grace its galleries.

Meander through picturesque gardens, bask in awe-inspiring vistas of Los Angeles and delve into captivating exhibitions.

Ending Your Journey on a High Note at the OUE Skyspace (Ticket required)

Conclude your three-day journey with a thrilling finale at the OUE Skyspace. This observation deck provides panoramic 360-degree views of Los Angeles from the tallest building on the West Coast.

Experience the exhilaration of gliding on the glass slide that extends beyond the building, as if you were soaring above the iconic city skyline.


Los Angeles, a city that has it all – from breathtaking beaches to a thriving arts scene and vibrant city life. In this three-day itinerary, immerse yourself in the very best that LA has to offer, creating memories that will last a lifetime in the City of Angels. So, pack your bags, slather on some sunscreen, and prepare yourself for an unparalleled adventure in the enchanting realm of Los Angeles!

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