The city of Angels and big dreams – welcome to the west coast of the USA.
We were limited with time and had only 2 days, but we tried to make the most of it. Are you also an LA first timer and have no clue what to do? Are you also short on time? We hope our “LA for first timers” will help. 🙂
The city is huge
Don´t underestimate its size – it´s really big! From one part to the other can easily take around 2 hours. When taking a bus from Downtown to Santa Monika, don´t be surprised if the bus will stop at more than 40 stations before you get there. Just to get an idea 😉
Short on time?
LA has a good bus system as well as an underground. If you´re short on time and would like to see the touristy stuff – take the hop on hop off bus. You are able to take picks from the bus, you get earplugs and have an audio guide, you can get off the bus where you want and hop on again. Before you´re there, search the internet for promotions or coupons. At the time of our visit they had 50% off on Tuesdays (but you had to buy it there).
*What to see?*
If you´re a fan of someone or not – this is a must; whole LA is based on this industry. Stroll down the Hollywood Boulevard on the Walk of Fame, search for familiar names if time allows go to the Chinese theatre, Hollywood museum, Dolby cinema – all in walking distance. If you´re into the world of the rich and famous, different “star” tours are available, like visiting their homes, visiting the movie scenes in LA.
Well, all we can say about downtown is: don´t arrive late at night, unless you want to see the Walking dead in real life.
Oh, Santa Monica, we just loved it. A must is a stroll on the beach, shopping or people watching on 3rd street and in the evening going to Santa Monica pier and having fun! Restaurants, souvenir shops, rollercoasters and different games will entertain you till late evening.
Just south of Santa Monica is Venice beach, a laid back surfers paradise. Marvel at the incredible skills of surfers from the Venice pier, or take a look if you can spot the next Arnold Schwarzenegger at Muscle beach.
*What to eat?*
We can´t recommend any posh restaurants (although LA is full of them), as all were out of our price range. We really liked the burgers at Pierburger on Santa Monica Pier and we had an excellent curry at Fishermans village next to Marina del Rey.
*Where to sleep?*
As mentioned, the city is big, so think twice where you want to stay.
We decided for Santa Monica, not knowing, we would enjoy this part of the city the most. Lucky 🙂 We stayed at HI Santa Monica – a great choice, as it´s located just one block from the beach and one block from the lively 3rd street. And it´s not just a random hostel – a part of it is the oldest building in Santa Monica and the new part was built as the biggest hostel in the USA! With private and dorm rooms, tasty breakfast (yes, it´s included), big kitchen and a lovely community room it´s the first address in Santa Monica.