Answers from Our Experts (6)
If you have only one day to spend in Los Angeles, your best bet is to rent a car and take a driving tour of the city. Start off in downtown L.A., where you can see the historic sites of Bunker Hill. Around here is the Broadway Theater District, Pershing Square and the Bradbury Building on Third and Broadway, which was built in 1893. You will also discover contemporary architectural feats such as Frank Gehry's stainless-steel behemoth, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Rafael Moneo's beautifully asymmetrical, concrete house of worship, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Afterwards, order breakfast at the Original Pantry Cafe, which has been scrambling eggs and frying bacon since 1924. Then head to bright-lights, big-city Hollywood. Traveling along Hollywood Boulevard past Vine and Highland streets, you'll see the heart of Tinseltown, including the Pantages Theatre, the Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. You should also get some pretty good views of the Hollywood sign.
When you're ready for lunch, head down La Brea Avenue until you get to Melrose Avenue, where you'll find the famous Pink's Hot Dogs. You'll probably have to stand in a long line, but these legendary hot dogs are worth the wait; they're consistently hailed as L.A.'s best and the line — complete with its share of comedians, locals and tourists alike — is just part of the experience. Next, head west to Fairfax Avenue and make your way north to Sunset Boulevard. Once you get to Sunset, go west to the legendary Sunset Strip, where you'll see hot spots Chateau Marmont, the Roxy Theatre and the Viper Room. Continue cruising west down Sunset to Beverly Hills and you'll spy the famous Beverly Hills Hotel. Sunset will take you all the way to the 405 freeway; get on the freeway and go south. Then merge onto the 10 West and drive on until you hit the beach. Once you arrive in Santa Monica, make your way to the Santa Monica Pier to take a spin on the oceanfront Ferris wheel, or if you want some souvenirs, hit up Third Street Promenade for some shopping.
If you haven't overloaded on cotton candy and funnel cake, stop in the beachside Hotel Casa del Mar for an aperitif while you watch the sunset. For dinner, make a reservation at The Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel, where you'll dine on gourmet steak, mac and cheese, and sauteed spinach while taking in breathtaking panoramas of the city from the hotel's 18th floor.
The best way to see Los Angeles in one day is to take a private city tour.
The concierge team will arrange an expert tour guide and customize an excursion for you. You can opt for a sightseeing bus tour, in which you can hop on and off the bus. You can also take a Glitterati tour, targeting just the area you want to see most (the coast, L.A., the Hollywood Hills). Book a tour in the morning so it leaves the afternoon for a museum visit, studio tour, wine tasting or show taping. End the evening with dinner at an amazing restaurant, which the concierge can recommend.
The best way to see Los Angeles in one day is by taking a helicopter tour, which offers a unique perspective of the city. But if flying isn't your thing, hire a chauffeured car for the day to take you shopping and dining, or a private chauffeured tour company, whose guide can give you all the historic details and inside scoop on Los Angeles.
Go to Koreatown, East L.A., Echo Park, Adams district [San Gabriel Valley]. Then loop back around through the central core of West Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Los Feliz and the West Side. Hit up a co-op and fade out in Venice.
Los Angeles is nearly 503 square miles! If you want to get an overview of the entire city in a day, consider that you may be too exhausted from driving to really enjoy your experience. Panning a private car tour or helicopter tour can alleviate this.
If you want to do it yourself, focus on a handful of attractions that you would be most interested in seeing. Here's an itinerary that would cover many of the highlights. Begin your day at the Getty Villa in Malibu, leisurely perusing the Greek and Roman antiquities and the stellar views. Then drive down the coast with a brief stop or drive by the Santa Monica Pier. Head west for lunch in Beverly Hills and a stroll down Rodeo Drive. Follow Wilshire Blvd. east past LACMA to catch a view of Urban Light. From LACMA head northeast for a quick cruise down the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Blvd., past the Dolby Theatre, Walk of Fame and Capital Records Building. Don't forget to look north and snap a shot of the Hollywood Sign. Soon you'll land in Los Feliz where you can explore the Griffith Observatory that crowns the many hiking trails in Griffith Park. Head back to your hotel for a rest and hit one of the delicious downtown dining destinations—even a play at one of the Center Theatre Group's theaters. Don't forget to pass by the Walt Disney Concert Hall on your way. Cap your night 15 floors above downtown L.A. over champagne at Perch, or duck into the Varnish for an expertly crafted cocktail.