You’ve made the first step: planning a trip to Los Angeles.  It’s a city where dreams are born, crushed, and even – sometimes – realized!  It’s also a huge city, one that covers more square mileage than any other US city, and offers a wide range of activities for the visiting explorer.  Coming to Los Angeles requires having wheels, so unless you can borrow a car from a friend, you’re going to want to rent a car and hit up these top spots of Los Angeles.

MUSEUMS

1.  The Getty Center

The best museums to visit in LA require a car.  The Getty Center, sitting atop a mountain just north of town off the 405, is free to get into, though there is a minimal per-car parking fee.  The collection and revolving exhibits at the museum are worth seeing, but the true enticement is the museum’s grounds itself.  The views of the Pacific, and the city of LA itself, are breathtaking.  The walls of the buildings themselves are also made up of travertine stone, and it doesn’t take an archaeologist to spot any number of plant and animal fossils contained within.

 2.  Huntington Library and Gardens

picture-2

Also on your list should be the Huntington Library and Gardens – a short jaunt out the 210 in San Marino.  Not only does it have a Guttenberg Bible on display, but the diverse gardens are worth an hours-long visit.  A highlight is the Desert Garden, with a wide variety of succulent and desert life on display year round.  They also have an impressive and mesmerizing collection of Bonsai trees that you will not want to miss.

BEACHES

3.  Malibu Beaches

picture-3

Many tourists think visiting Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach will fulfill their need for California beaches.  Don’t limit yourself to those more popular beaches: the finest surf and sand is north of Santa Monica up in Malibu, which features 22 miles of scenic coast.  The top beaches are the most northern beaches: La Piedra and El Matador.  These are for the true beach lover, and not those who are in it for the people watching and cheap souvenirs.  If you watch closely, you just may see dolphins dancing past close to sunset.  You can’t get much more idyllic than that!  Not to mention the commute to these beaches is along the Pacific Coast Highway – aptly named for being right on the coast, with the vast expanse of the mighty Pacific in its full glory for the entire drive.

4.  Laguna Beach’s 1000 Steps Beach

picture-4

If it’s south you want, then south you can get!  Head down to Laguna Beach, another township that’s mostly all coastline and various beaches to explore.  The top destination is the 1000 Steps Beach – make sure you GPS it and look carefully as its entrance is easy to miss.  But don’t worry: it’s not actually 1000 steps, more like 180.  Still, that’s a lot of steps, which deters the faint of heart from going to this beach.  Their laziness is your gain.

FOOD

One of Los Angeles’s most important attractions is the wide variety of food we have, from American food to cuisine from literally all over the world.

 5.  Daikokuya (Japanese)

picture-5

The most important spot is our famous Japanese ramen house called Daikokuya, located right in the heart of Little Tokyo downtown on 1st Ave.  You can expect to wait an hour, more on a peak weekend time, but there’s a reason why you’ll wait: it’s the best ramen in the United States of America, hands down.  Order a combo and you’ll be satiated and happy.

6.  Red Corner Asia (Thai)

You can’t go wrong in Thai town for Thai food, but a favorite among the locals is Red Corner Asia on Hollywood Blvd.

7.  Umami Burger (American)

The burgers at Umami are as good as their billing, though you may resent having to pay for extra ketchup!

8.  Philippe’s (Sandwiches, French)

Then there’s Philippe’s French Dipped sandwiches, also downtown, and also worth the lines.

 9.  Taco Trucks (Mexican)

picture-6

Late night, find a taco truck and get into some Pastor or Carnitas, or Suadero or even Lengua tacos and burritos.  A hipster favorite is Taco Zone in Echo Park: also worth the wait!

A lot of folks think visiting Los Angeles is meeting movie stars, seeing the Hollywood walk of fame, and driving around Beverly Hills.  That can get old quick!  Rent a car from Avon, and route yourself to these beaches, museums, and restaurants that the locals go to.  This is why we love Los Angeles!