Hazy pink and orange sunrise sky over the Downtown Los Angeles skyline with palm trees lining the foreground
Weekend Warrior

California Dreamin’: 48 Hours in Los Angeles

From the Walk of Fame and Venice Beach, to the Santa Monica Pier.

The beaches, warm weather, endless entertaining attractions and rich history (and the celebs of course) make L.A. one of America’s most popular destinations. Enjoy the beautiful people, the beautiful scenery, and the effortlessly cool and laid-back culture of this famed SoCal city.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Close-up of Hollywood Walk of Fame street corner Hollywood star with tourists and sunset in the background

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Yes, it’s touristy and kitschy, but you can’t visit L.A. without at least driving down Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Whether you want to search for your favorite stars, to stop at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, or you just want to get a good view of the iconic Hollywood sign, this should be your first stop in the City of Angels.

Warner Brothers Studios VIP Tour

And since the film industry is such a massive part of L.A., you might as well take a studio tour. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is fantastic, covering the soundstages, props, cars, costumes, and more. You’ll see a little bit of everything from “Casablanca” and “Batman,” to “Friends” and “Harry Potter.”

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is a legendary soul food joint that has several locations across the L.A. area, and they all serve up crispy, juicy fried chicken, fluffy, buttery waffles, and incredible sides. They’re open almost 24 hours a day, making it super popular with the late-night crowd, so if you go for lunch, you’ll find the line to be a lot shorter.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore is proof that L.A. can get pretty intellectually deep. Not only is this store gorgeous, with tons of space and a popular art gallery upstairs that features a labyrinth of books, but it’s also reasonably priced and filled to the brim with interesting titles.

Griffith Observatory

View of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California at dusk with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background

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Come to Griffith Observatory around sunset time for epic views of the Hollywood sign and a sweeping panorama of L.A. from the hills. Then stay after dark to use their giant telescope, explore the free museum, and catch a show in the planetarium. And if you’re more interested in the kind of stars you see in movies, the gorgeous old building was even used as a filming location for movies like “Rebel Without a Cause” and “The Terminator!”

Pinches Tacos

Since you’re in California, you should get some tacos. Located across from Chateau Marmont off Sunset Boulevard, Pinches is an inconspicuous joint that serves up cheap and delicious tacos in a massive variety of options: pork, shrimp, chicken, veggie, beef tongue, sopes, cactus, and more!

Whisky a Go Go

Make sure you snag tickets in advance to the legendary Whisky a Go Go, which is famous for hosting all kinds of legendary acts like the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin, among many others, and for spawning the “go-go dancer” fad of the late 1960’s. They still put on shows for cool up-and-coming acts, so it’s worth checking out.

The Comedy Store

If you’d rather see something a little lighter, then stop by The Comedy Store. Grab tickets to one of the shows in their three theaters, which offer all different kinds of performances, from big headlining acts to strange and offbeat smaller shows. There’s a two-drink minimum here, but it doesn’t have to be booze.

Farmer’s Daughter Hotel

If you’re looking for a very cool place to spend the night, Farmer’s Daughter Hotel is a stylish boutique hotel in an awesome location in West Hollywood. Its chic country theme makes it feel a lot homier than other hotels in L.A. Little details like fresh-baked cookies and rubber duckies in the pool take this place over the top.

Chateau Marmont

Grab some breakfast at the famed French-inspired Chateau Marmont, hidden in the Hollywood Hills. Whether you’re in the mood for decadent brioche French toast, or you want to revitalize with cold-pressed juice, you can enjoy it in this old-school Hollywood hotspot. Plus, it’s a pretty good place for celeb-spotting, if you’re into that.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

And now, for something a little more unusual. Visiting the Museum of Jurassic Technology is…pretty strange. Exploring the dark, mysterious rooms and checking out their bizarre exhibits makes for an interesting hour. Plus, upstairs, just past the portrait gallery of Russian space dogs, you’ll find a lovely tea room with cookies, and an aviary.

Poke-Poke

When you’re ready for a bite to eat, there’s nothing like enjoying fresh seafood on the beach. Poke is actually a traditional Hawaiian dish made of raw, marinated ahi tuna, but it’s not hard to see why it’s become popular in L.A. Here at Poke-Poke, you can get yours with various flavors and toppings. And if you’re not into raw fish, they have salads, edamame, granola, and more.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Next, hit up the iconic Venice Beach. Everything you’ve heard about Venice Beach is true. Within seconds of stepping onto the pavement here you’ll see fortune tellers, folk artists, people doing yoga in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, and probably even a couple guys in full teddy bear costumes skateboarding. If you’re worried about sorting through a full-on sensory assault of the strange and bizarre, just wander around and check out the skate-dancing plaza, muscle beach, the basketball courts, freak show, or join a drum circle on the beach.

Venice Canal Historic District

View of Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California at dusk with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background

Source: Shutterstock

The neighborhood’s name, “Venice,” was, at first, very literal. Developer Abbott Kinney actually built canals in 1905 in an attempt to mimic the look and feel of Venice, Italy here in Southern California. But, of course, the rocketing popularity of the automobile shortly after made people change their tune on the once scenic canals. Some were filled in for roads, while others fell into disrepair as disputes over how to deal with them raged for years. In the 1990’s, the Venice Canal Historic District was cleaned up and redeveloped, and you can see some pretty swanky homes here.

Time Travel Mart – Mar Vista

Is the next stop on your road trip the distant past, or the near future? If so, then you’ll need to stock up on supplies at the Time Travel Mart. Whether you need mad scientist goggles, a “pastport,” or a conquistador helmet, this quirky little store has all kinds of silly souvenirs that any quirky person will love. And the best part? It’s actually a front for a non-profit dedicated to helping kids improve their writing skills, and proceeds benefit 826LA.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier including rollercoaster and Ferris wheel along Santa Monica Beach on a clear sunny day

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The iconic Santa Monica Pier is definitely a classic stop on a trip to L.A. From the roller coaster to the aquarium, it’s got that fun, beachy boardwalk vibe, and the surrounding beach is pretty nice. Grab a drink at the end of the pier, watch the sun set, and enjoy the views.

The Wellesbourne

The Wellesbourne feels like the library of a mysterious and eccentric rich person’s mansion. Walls lined with books and English antiques somehow vibe perfectly with the foosball and shuffleboard tables at this bar and lounge, and with modern takes on old classic drinks, you’re sure to have a relaxing, but fun time here.

Are you heading out to La-La Land soon? Let us know what City of Angels attraction makes the top of your vacation bucket-list by tagging us on Twitter.

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