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, 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.
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:
Downtown Los Angeles
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.
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.
(Some are East of Griffith Park, others are South, closer to Hollywood):
Tocaya Organica (Modern Mexican, Hollywood location)
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (Los Feliz location)
Zhengyalov Hatz (Armenian, pick-up)
Din Tai Fung (Taiwanese, Glendale location)
Beachwood Cafe (American, farm-to-table)
Good Good LA (Eastern-European, vegan)
The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker (check out their cool latte designs!) This spot offers modern California cuisine with European influences.
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.
For a deeper dive, read these articles:
Tartine Bakery (Santa Monica location)
Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee (Santa Monica location)
JINYA Ramen Bar (Japanese, Santa Monica location)
Flower Child (Healthy, vegetarian, Santa Monica location)
UOVO (Pasta from Bologna, Italy - Santa Monica location)
True Food Kitchen (California cuisine, Santa Monica location)
Sweet Rose Creamery (Santa Monica location)
Wine at Wally’s Santa Monica
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.