Los Angeles is a mythical city that attracts a lot of people. The hills, the beaches, Universal Studios: in the post, an in-depth tour of California's most loved city!
Los Angeles - the City of Angels - is the mythical city in Southern California where the film industry has its beating heart.
Los Angeles it is huge in size and terribly busyFurthermore, the areas worth seeing are far from each other and poorly connected by public transport. So consider adequate times for travel e rent a car!
What I propose is a 3 days itinerary which will allow you to get just an idea of this many-headed Hydra that is Los Angeles - briefly called LA.
Ready? Let's go!
Day 1. The hills of Los Angeles
Let's start our day discovering the “Hills”, the hilly area of Los Angeles, from Beverly Hills to Hollywood.
First I propose a short long walk Rodeo Drive, a luxury shopping street and the heart of the hottest neighborhood in the city. I recommend that you park for free along North Crescent Drive, next to Beverly Hills Gardens, and take a short stroll to Rodeo Drive.
Then I recommend that you take a stretch of the famous one Sunset Boulevard and visit the gardens of Greystone Mansion Park. Enchanting and with a splendid view over the city. Many films have been shot at the Mansion, have fun discovering it on the information board located in the parking lot of the park!
Finally take your car back to continue on Sunset Boulevard through the area of Holmby hills. Here you can see the succession of luxurious dream villas! Then go up North Beverly Glen Boulevard to Mulholland Drive and walk the whole scenic drive (narrow but very charming) to the Hollywood Hills.
Here it is, the symbol of the history of cinema ... Hollywood Boulevard and the walk on the stars reminiscent of hundreds of characters from the history of TV, cinema and music known all over the world. Along this road there are the Dolby Theater, Capitol Records, the Chinese Theater.
The neighborhood is a bit kitsch, there are many tourist shops and some original and really funny shops full of unimaginable disguises, costumes and wigs. In front of the Chinese Theater you will find unlikely characters disguised as Superman or other well-known characters who will want to scrape a few dollars for a photo: it is part of the spirit of the neighborhood.
Parking in Hollywood costs a lot; a valid solution may be to park in the heart of the Boulevard, at the shopping center Hollywood and Highland Center, right next to the Chinese Theater, have a coffee at Starbucks or a drink at the Hard Rock Cafe and have your parking ticket validated in order to pay 2 dollars for 2 hours, more than enough time for a tour in the area.
From Hollywood Boulevard take your car and be prepared for a lot of traffic to reach Griffith Park and its observatory. The park will give you an unparalleled view of the city, especially at sunset.
From the parking lot you can take pictures very well the Hollywood sign. Clearly do not miss the opportunity to visit the observatory because it is free… what you will pay is the parking (4 dollars / hour)!
Day 2. The Ocean: the famous beaches of LA
The day will be entirely devoted to exploring LA's infamous beaches; a dip in the ocean and in the original expression of the many street artists, ending in the silent luxury of the most exclusive neighborhoods.
Famous for her Pier (pier), Santa Monica is an appendage of LA on the sea, a little less chaotic but certainly sparkling and lively, it will entertain you with various shops, clubs and restaurants.
Visit the pier with its famous Luna Park, take a stroll on the beach and don't forget a little shopping on the Third Promenade.
On the pier, one of the most famous road signs in the whole of the USA is on display the final point of the legendary Route 66.
How to park without spending a fortune
Even in Santa Monica, parking is a matter to be taken seriously, but luckily here the management is very careful; on the institutional transport website you will find the indications of Public Parking for short and free parking and not too expensive rates.
Definitely picturesque is the Venice Boardwalk, the wide and very long promenade from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean.
Strolling you will meet many tourist shops with all kinds of trinkets, some places to eat, but above all an infinite expanse of buskers.
You will also meet guys on roller skates and many skaters (there is a beautiful skate park at the center of the boardwalk where I recommend you stop to admire the evolution of these talented young people). In this area you will also see the famous Muscle Beach, where Californian fitness fashion was born in the 80s, and an area dedicated tograffiti art.
Beware, if you go to Venice on the summer weekend, when Californians are on vacation, you will find the same crowding of our seaside resorts! Parking could become impossible even several hundred meters away, as well as being extremely expensive.
Malibu is one exclusive and elegant seaside area which stretches for several miles, without a real center, along the scenic coastal road Pacific Coast Highway.
On the hills of this long coastal stretch there are the residences of many stars of the show business and of jet-set characters, well camouflaged in the landscape and often invisible from the road.
Stop by for a beer at the Malibu Pier, just down the pier on the terrace of the Bar.
Don't miss a walk at the Malibu Lagoon State Beach, area of undoubted naturalistic interest; then take a peek at the neighbor's luxury shops Malibu country mart, and get to the famous beach The Matador, maybe even stopping at Zuma Beach.
Stay until sunset, when the shadows of the hills stretch over the beach; the sunset is very impressive even if the sun does not dip into the sea.
To eat, I recommend a very nice restaurant that offers local products and offers fresh and original dishes. Is called Ollo and is opposite the Malibu Country Mart. Ample parking available, original and pleasant place, fast service and interesting offers at fair prices. The kitchen closes at 22pm, don't delay too long!
Day 3. Universal Studios: a journey into the cinema
Crowded but very well organized, it will surprise you without a doubt. Not just because you will have the opportunity to see the real Hollywood, that is the valley where the offices, houses and sets of the most prosperous film industry in the world reside, but also why you will discover how the magic of cinema is built. You will be surprised by the number of people working in the shadows, by the quantity and variety of special effects and by the level of technological development achieved.
Il tour of the studios it's great (but you have to know english!) and the attractions proposals are all highly involved, a virtual reality to the nth degree. You will live like in a movie!
The castle area of Harry Potter it's done really well and is heaven for fans of the character. You will meet the magic hat, talking pictures, the hanging candles of the central hall and even the voice of Mirtilla Malcontenta in the public toilets!
The proposed shows are all very well done; in particular Waterworld is a special effects and stunt masterpiece that will make you participate with enthusiasm in a small movie, complete with stunts, explosions, fires, fireworks and the raid of a real seaplane in the arena!
Some tips: parking costs $ 25. Unfortunately, getting around by public transport can be really complicated.
Go to the park early and check the opening and closing times on the park's website as they vary according to the season.
Buy tickets online or via the app: save time and money. If you want to fully enjoy the park you will have to spend more by purchasing the Front of Line Ticket, which will give you priority access to all shows and attractions.
When you have finished your jolly day in the park you can linger a little in theUniversal Citywalk, a sort of entertainment antechamber to the park full of shops and restaurants… there is even a beautiful cinema, Universal of course!
I had a great time stopping for dinner in a Texan-style restaurant right in front of the exit, the Saddle Ranch Chop House, with tables outside and inside. Typical atmosphere, excellent dinner, very wide menu and average prices.