Insider’s Guide to Los Angeles

By Daniella Schoeman

Los Angeles is a sprawling urban metropolis with quite a reputation around the world. With almost 300 days of sunshine, upmarket bars and boutique shops, Los Angeles is full of glitz and glamour that you just won’t find anywhere else. This city appeals to people worldwide and attracts travelers eager for a glimpse of the luxury lifestyle. The following spots should be on any Los Angeles travel itinerary.

Best Old School LA Restaurant

Musso & Frank Grill is the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. Although established in 1919, this old school restaurant remains popular with tourists and locals alike. Probably because their famous clientele includes the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Bukowski and more.

Best Local Watering Hole

The Offbeat Bar is a local watering hole in Highland Park boasting dive elements with a twist. Expect stylish cocktails, retro pinball machines, good music, and even better vibes.

Best Hidden Gem

The Last Bookstore is a new and used bookstore with a unique design giving it a quirky personality. A treasure trove for literary lovers that includes a tunnel made from books and other artistic displays.

Best Selfie Spot

Stahl House is a historic-cultural landmark known for its modern architectural design. With phenomenal views out over Los Angeles, this is most definitely the spot for a selfie.

Favorite Touristy Thing to do

Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) which is a 20-acre complex of buildings filled with contemporary art. The grand entrance has the gorgeous Urban Light installment which is another great spot for a selfie.

Worst Tourist Trap to Avoid

The Hollywood Walk of Fame may immortalize the stars and sound appealing but it’s definitely a tourist trap. Rather avoid the claustrophobia-inducing crowds, star tour salesmen and inauthentic souvenir shops.

Favorite Local Lore or Fun Fact

Los Angeles is so diverse and the city is populated by people from over 140 countries speaking 220 different languages. Only about 40% of the population speak English as their first language.

Top Day Trip Destination

Take a ferry (1-hour trip) from Long Beach to Santa Catalina Island for a superb day trip. Reminiscent of the Mediterranean, this island offers plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Best Free Thing to Do

Take a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway for a fun and free activity that will appeal to all. The road hugs the coastline and offers up some spectacular views.

Most Outlandish Attraction

For those with a taste for weird attractions consider the morbid yet fascinating Museum of Death. Expect serial killer artwork, crime scene photos, and other strange exhibits.

Most Underwhelming Attraction

Chinatown may look like a Hollywood film set (and it has been) but it can definitely be skipped without missing much. For those that really want to visit, go at night when there’s a festival.

Most Incredible Attraction

Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory are must-visit attractions in LA. The park has numerous historic landmarks while the Observatory is an astronomy museum that also has the most stunning views.