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7 Unique Los Angeles Travel Plans Fused with Food Delights

Los Angeles, the city of dreams, entices travelers with a kaleidoscope of experiences. For the discerning tourist, this guide unveils seven distinct travel plans, weaving together the city’s iconic sights with hidden gems, gorgeous coastline and delectable vegetarian spots. Review this list of 7 travel plans to help you figure out what to prioritize on your visit.

Los Angeles, CA. Photo credit: Unsplash
Los Angeles, CA. Photo credit: Unsplash

Los Angeles, often abbreviated as L.A., is a bustling metropolis in Southern California, situated within LA County. Located along the West Coast of the United States, the city operates on Pacific Standard Time (PST). Stretching far and wide, Los Angeles comprises numerous neighborhoods, including Downtown LA (DTLA), Venice, Hollywood, Bel Air, Los Feliz, Santa Monica, Echo Park, Beverly Hills, and Culver City. Each of these areas contributes to the city's diverse cultural landscape and unique allure.


Los Angeles is a significant part of the sprawling 'Greater Los Angeles' region, boasting a staggering population of over 18 million people. Additionally, the city of LA graciously hosts a whopping 50 million tourists each year. This makes it imperative for travelers to plan ahead by purchasing tickets in advance and securing reservations for accommodations and dining establishments.


Navigating the city can be quite a challenge, given the notorious traffic congestion. Therefore, it's advisable to arrange your itinerary with proximity in mind. Don't be misled by distance alone; just because Google Maps indicates a restaurant is five miles away, it doesn't necessarily translate to a mere five-minute drive. The one-minute-per-mile rule doesn't quite apply here. For a more realistic estimate, rely on GPS tools like Google Maps or Waze, factoring in the unpredictability of crosstown traffic.

Los Angeles Freeway. Photo credit: Pixabay
Los Angeles Freeway. Photo credit: Pixabay

In the itineraries provided below, you'll find carefully curated restaurant options, each meticulously chosen for their exceptional vegetarian offerings. These dining establishments have been tried and tested, ensuring a delightful culinary experience. It's important to note that these are not fast-food joints; therefore, plan your budget accordingly, with meals typically falling in the $$-$$$ range, depending on your menu selections.


Rest assured, our recommendations are entirely unbiased. Our suggestions stem from our team's firsthand experiences, personal dietary preferences, and a genuine love for diverse culinary traditions. While not all the restaurants are strictly vegan or vegetarian, you can expect to discover excellent vegetarian and farm-to-table options on their menus. To avoid disappointment, we highly recommend making restaurant reservations in advance. Your dining experience will be as seamless as your explorations in the city!


Here are the 7 areas to explore:

  1. Hollywood

  2. Santa Monica

  3. Malibu

  4. Beverly Hills

  5. Venice

  6. Downtown Los Angeles

  7. Midcity / Fairfax


Scroll down further to learn more, and click on relevant links for a deeper dive.


Sample Itinerary - 1 (HOLLYWOOD)

Hollywood is not glamorous - Sorry to break the illusion! But it is going through a transformation with some cool celebrity hangouts! Centrally located in Los Angeles, Hollywood shares borders with scenic Hollywood Hills, stylish West Hollywood, lively Koreatown, and eclectic neighborhoods like Los Feliz. While its iconic attractions such as the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre draw tourists, there's more to discover.

Hollywood Sign
View from the Hollywood Sign Hike

Drive up to the Griffith Park Observatory. Take in the view, check out the observatory (if open) and hike up (2 hours) to see the Hollywood Sign. Learn more here. Alternatively, book a horse riding tour at the Sunset Ranch Hollywood and ride up to Hollywood Hills for a 360° view of Los Angeles, including the Hollywood Sign, the ocean and the valley.


Enjoy a romantic picnic at the Hollywood Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater tucked in the Hollywood Hills, or catch a film at the historic Chinese Theatre, famous for its celebrity handprints. For a unique experience, visit the Spare Room, a cocktail bar featuring a vintage bowling alley, or savor breathtaking views from the Hollywood Bowl Overlook.



Explore Hollywood's rich history at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place of legends like Cecil B. DeMille, or step into the past at Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, frequented by icons like Charlie Chaplin. Check out Ripley's Believe it or Not, Guinness World Records Museum & Hollywood Walk of Fame,


Discover cultural gems like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House or enjoy cinema classics at the Egyptian Theatre. Indulge in diverse cuisine, from spicy Thai delights at Jitlada (Bobby Flay & Ryan Gosling favorite) to fusion cuisine at Yamashiro (Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp favorite). Broadway enthusiasts can relish top-tier musicals at the Pantages Theatre, while those seeking a unique experience can step into the 1970s at Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, accessed through a retro refrigerator.


FOOD OPTIONS

(Some are East of Griffith Park, others are South, closer to Hollywood):


Coffee at BUTCHER, THE BAKER, THE CAPPUCCINO MAKER
Coffee at BBCM



























Sample Itinerary - 2 (SANTA MONICA)

Morning or night - Santa Monica, CA, invites travelers to explore its unique blend of natural beauty and vibrant city life. Start your journey at the renowned Santa Monica Pier, where you can enjoy the lively atmosphere of Pacific Park, funnel cake and carnival games. The pier lights up in the night and sunsets are beautiful too!



Into biking? Look no further. Experience coastal breeze as you cycle along the scenic 22-mile bike path, stretching from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance. For an added thrill, consider renting an electric bike from Pedego or join a guided bike tour with The Bike Center for a communal ride. Start early, and rent bikes at Perry’s Cafe and Beach Rentals. There are restrooms along the bike path. If you are lucky, you may see a dolphin or two in the water so keep a look out!



Pick up baked goods from Tartine and relish a leisurely picnic with panoramic views at Palisades Park, where the ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains create a picturesque backdrop. Dive into classic beach activities at Santa Monica State Beach, offering opportunities for beach volleyball, sunbathing, and invigorating surfing experiences. Discover the cinematic legacy of Santa Monica at the Aero Theatre, an Art Deco gem, hosting screenings of timeless films and independent cinema, transporting audiences to a bygone era.


Push your limits at the Santa Monica Stairs, where you'll find two sets of stairs designed for different intensity levels, promising fulfilling workouts. Immerse yourself in a vibrant shopping and dining scene at the bustling Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian-friendly district brimming with diverse restaurants and stores tailored to various preferences.

As the day winds down, find tranquility at Tongva Park, a peaceful oasis graced with cascading waterfalls, meandering pathways, and picturesque viewpoints that showcase awe-inspiring vistas of the Pacific Ocean.


Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica
Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica

For a deeper dive, read these articles:


FOOD OPTIONS


Sample Itinerary - 3 (MALIBU)

Malibu, CA, invites tourists to experience LA's breathtaking coastline! Looking for an Instagrammable moment? You will find it here. Explore the El Matador State Beach, known for its unique rock formations and stunning sunsets, offering a paradise for photography enthusiasts. Know parking is tough here.

Adele Payman on Unsplash
Photo credit: Adele Payman

Care about a beach day? Enjoy the pristine sands of Zuma Beach, a family-friendly haven with ample parking. If the weather and wind are right, plan to pick up kites to fly at Toy Crazy, Malibu Country Mart.



Nature lovers can venture to Malibu Creek State Park, where gorges, open pastures, hidden pools, and jagged peaks create a fun hiking experience. For a delightful combination of outdoor adventure and wine tasting, Malibu Wine Hikes at Saddlerock Ranch offer a scenic two-mile loop with panoramic views, culminating in a wine-tasting session. Indulge your taste buds at Neptune's Net, an iconic seafood spot offering delectable deep-fried seafood and panoramic ocean views. Alternatively, savor the farm-to-table goodness of Malibu Farm while watching surfers in action at the pier.


Read this article for a deeper dive: Plan Your Visit to Malibu, CA


FOOD OPTIONS




Sample Itinerary - 4 (BEVERLY HILLS)

Beverly Hills, with its famed zip code and luxurious reputation, offers more than just high-end shopping experiences. Begin your visit by posing beneath the iconic Beverly Hills Sign at Beverly Gardens Park, a lush oasis spanning 1.9 miles along Santa Monica Boulevard, adorned with tree-lined streets and the famous sign, creating the perfect photo opportunity.



Along Rodeo Drive, let your imagination wander as you window-shop amidst high-end designers and serious spenders. Step into the timeless allure of Hollywood at the Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons gem made famous by "Pretty Woman." Explore the exterior gardens of the Greystone Mansion, a Tudor estate offering a glimpse into L.A.'s historical elite. Marvel at the whimsical 1921 fairytale collage called Spadena House.


Indulge your sweet cravings at Sprinkles, where a 24-hour cupcake vending machine awaits. Immerse yourself in the art scene at the UTA Artist Space and catch a performance at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.



FOOD OPTIONS



Sample Itinerary - 5 (VENICE)

Venice Beach in Los Angeles offers a ton of fun activities for tourists seeking both relaxation and excitement. Take a leisurely stroll along the enchanting Venice Canals, a picturesque oasis filled with arching pedestrian bridges and charming beach houses.

Skate Board Park in Venice, CA
Skate Board Park on the beach in Venice, CA

Catch the high-flying tricks of skateboarders at the iconic Venice Skate Park (1800 Ocean Front Walk), a hub of energy and skill against the coastal backdrop. Step into the vibrant world of the Mosaic Tile House, a testament to artistic passion and creativity. Dive into the trendy vibes of Abbott Kinney Boulevard, a treasure trove of chic boutiques and gourmet eateries.


Along the lively Venice Boardwalk, witness a bustling spectacle of T-shirt stands, pot shops, and street performers. Wrap up your day with a sunset drink at the High Rooftop Lounge, where the sky meets the sea in a breathtaking display. And for a dose of awe, marvel at the sculpted physique of bodybuilders at the iconic Muscle Beach. Please know that you may find encampments on the boardwalk due to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.


Venice Canals in Venice, CA (Los Angeles)
Venice Canals in Venice, CA (Los Angeles)

FOOD OPTIONS




Sample Itinerary - 6 (DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES)

In the heart of the city, Downtown Los Angeles beckons with its cosmopolitan allure and historic charm. Here, where skyscrapers touch the sky, immerse yourself in a world of art and culture.


Road to Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles

Begin your day with a delightful breakfast at Eggslut in Grand Central Market, where flavors come alive, or savor the tranquil ambiance of Zinc Cafe in the Arts District. As the morning unfolds, drive past the architectural marvels of the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Grand Park, soaking in the city's artistic ambiance. Explore Union Station, stroll through the Olvera Street (for a vibrant Mexican experience), and meander through the streets of Chinatown. As the afternoon transitions into evening, visit The Last Bookstore, drive through the cultural enclaves of Little Tokyo and the Art District, where creativity knows no bounds. Conclude your explorations at The Broad (around 4 PM), a bastion of contemporary art and dinner at Otium.



Read our review on the DTLA Arts District. You can easily spend four hours here.


FOOD OPTIONS


Sample Itinerary - 7 (MID CITY / FAIRFAX)

Mid City (between Hoover Street and La Cienega Boulevard) has a few interesting experiences for visitors. One of the standout landmarks is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest art museum in the Western United States, showcasing a diverse collection of over 150,000 works, including ancient and modern art.


If you are visiting this area in the evening, you must check out the LACMA Urban Lights Exhibit, a free popular toast spot.

Right outside LACMA
'Urban Light' by Chris Burden, right outside LACMA in Los Angeles

Adjacent to LACMA, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum provide a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric life, featuring one of the world's most famous fossil excavation sites. For car enthusiasts, the Peterson Automotive Museum offers a (3-hour) journey through the history of automobiles, featuring a diverse collection of vehicles, including famous movie cars like the DeLorean from Back to the Future.


For fashion enthusiasts, Melrose Avenue beckons with its trendy new and vintage clothing stores, making it a paradise for those seeking fashionable attire. Meanwhile, Little Ethiopia on Fairfax Avenue offers a distinctive culinary adventure, allowing diners to relish Ethiopian delicacies in a communal setting, complete with injera, a traditional flatbread.


In the midst of this vibrant neighborhood stands The Grove, a beloved outdoor shopping and entertainment complex, where visitors can enjoy charming boutiques, dancing fountains, and a vintage trolley car. Right next door, the Original Farmers Market presents a delightful blend of flavors, featuring a variety of food stalls and eateries offering delectable treats. As the day transitions into night, those seeking a touch of elegance can uncover the hidden gem that is The Roger Room, a secret speakeasy on La Cienega Boulevard, known for its meticulously crafted cocktails and vintage ambiance.



FOOD OPTIONS

 

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