Los Angeles is one of those destinations that fills your eyes with stars and your heart with dreams. And with a sprawling landscape of endless traffic, pressed juiceries and want-to-be actors, you’ll find plenty to do (and stare at). If you want to see the best of LA in a short period of time, check out my 48 Hours in Los Angeles guide.
There are so many things to do in Los Angeles, it can get a bit overwhelming. So I’ve divided this guide into the West Side on day 1 and central/downtown Los Angeles on day 2.
Should you find yourself in LA longer than 2 days, try checking out the other options listed within this post or venturing out to Pasadena, Malibu or Long Beach!
8:00 am The Butcher’s Daughter
A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a trendy, vegetarian brunch spot. Known for their juices and egg-based dishes, The Butcher’s Daughter is a hot spot right in the heart of Abbot Kinney. Enjoy the surfer’s breakfast burrito, the local artisan gift shop and people watch eco-friendly hipsters who prefer an aesthetically pleasing breakfast nook with their green juice rather than their own kitchen.
Other options: Blue Star Donuts, The Tasting Kitchen, Cafe Gratitude, Gjelina
9:00 am Wander through Venice and Santa Monica
After breakfast, make your way down Abbot Kinney Street to the famous Venice Canals. You might recognize a couple of scenes from Californication or Starsky and Hutch in this man-made, Euro-Cali wonderland. After the canals, check out the buskers, muscle men and art scene on the Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach. I highly recommend visiting the Santa Monica Pier via rented bicycle or a thirty minute walk.
12:00 pm The Misfit
You’ve taken in the absolutely nutty Venice scene and soaked up some sun. Now you’re going to want to fuel up again. From the pier, walk up Colorado Avenue and dine at one of my favorite restaurants in all of Santa Monica. Enjoy the pleasantly dark, prohibition vibe of this restaurant and finish lunch with a sea salted chocolate chip cookie. From there you can check out all of the great shopping located around the corner on Third Street Promenade.
Other options: The Bungalow, Ivy at the Shore, Blue Plate Taco
3:00 pm The Getty
This place is an art lover’s dream! The Getty Museum is home to several art exhibits, events and jaw dropping architecture. But for those of you who think that art is a bit of a snooze, The Getty is still worth visiting. The back of the Getty faces all of Los Angeles providing the best views of the city. You’ll also be incredibly inspired by the gorgeous buildings and gardens. This place is worth visiting for at least an hour and a half!
Other options: The Getty Villa, LACMA, Fowler Museum at UCLA
6:00 pm Wander Around Rodeo Drive
You may not be able to afford some of these lavish designers, but you have to see what the Beverly Hills buzz was about in the 80’s, 90’s and even today! Check out Rodeo Drive, the famous Beverly Hills sign, the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM and even take a tour to see some of the most extravagant and ostentatious houses in LA.
Other option: The Grove, Melrose Avenue
7:30 pm Nosh on some Gracias Madre
It only makes sense that another dining spot on this 48-hour LA guide would be a hip, vegan joint. But it’s amazing, I swear! The ingredients used at this Mexican restaurant are so wholesome and delicious, you’ll forget it’s even vegan. The decor of this restaurant is what Pinterest dreams are made of and you have got to try the snow cone cocktails!
Other options: The Little Door, Animal, St. Felix, A.O.C.
9:00 pm Drink Up at The Skybar at the Mondrian
The Skybar is something of a trendy anomaly of WeHo. While most clubs come and go throughout LA, this club scene has withstood the test of time. Maybe it’s the Mondrian’s incredible reputation. Perhaps is the rooftop location that’s always an Angeleno favorite. Or maybe it’s the trendy events and guest list that’s always a “must-be-seen” attraction. Whatever the reason, this place is a must visit!
Other options: The Abbey, E.P. & L.P., Hamburger Mary’s, The Den on Sunset, Harlowe
8:00 am Eggslut
If there’s any slut you can get behind, it’s an eggy one. Eggslut is downtown’s latest breakfast craze and it’s really no surprise why. Eggslut is located in the famous Grand Central Market and provides greasy, delicious breakfast concoctions that will cure any hangover and fill every belly. After all, if you’re not doing vegan, do it big, right?
Other option: Valerie Confections Bakery & Café, Wexler’s Deli
10:00 am Skyspace LA
When was the last time you were able to jump off a skyscraper onto a glass slide over the streets of the city? Never, you say! Now’s the time to change that. Along with sliding down the US Bank Tower, Skyspace also has an incredible observation deck of the city and an interactive art exhibit before taking the elevator up. It’s a tad pricey, but if you make the most of your time here, it’s worth it!
12:00 pm Stuff Your Face at Bottega Louie
Another one of my personal favorites is Bottega Louie, an Italian restaurant, gourmet market, and French patisserie all in one! The restaurant is located inside the famous Brockman Building on one of the most iconic streets in DTLA. So in addition to the beautifil macarons or fancy cocktail you’ll enjoy, take in the amazing scene that is Downtown Los Angeles!
Other options: Preux & Proper, Faith & Flower, 71Above
3:00 pm Hollywood Walk of Fame
This might possibly be the most touristy thing you do in LA, but it’s worth seeing. Yes, Hollywood Blvd. is super fucking dirty. And yes, the busker’s in off brand costumes are kinda sad. But it really is amazing to see where the Emmy’s are held every year, see famous clubs like the Avalon, and even visit the famous Roosevelt Hotel located right across the street of the TCL Chinese Theatre.
Other options: Pantages Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Madame Tussaud’s (if you wanna be super cheesy)
6:30 pm Griffith Observatory
See one of LA’s greatest monuments. The Griffith Observatory highlights the beauty of space with the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater just inside. But it’s the view outside that brings thousands of tourists here daily. Come to the Griffith Observatory about an hour before sunset and enjoy the spectacular view of the skyline. Hike the area, explore the inside of the observatory or enjoy a casual picnic. Colors radiate the sky as DTLA and the Mid City skyscrapers flicker with lights as the sun goes down.
Other options: Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium
7:30 pm Local Peasant
A major part of Los Angeles that often gets overlooked is ‘The Valley.’ It has a strange reputation what with it’s valley-girl accents and vast cultural melting pot. But Ventura Blvd. is not only one of the best places to shop in LA, but to dine! If you have time, stop by one of the many second hand shops and finish your evening at the Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks. This dark but popular bar has amazing New-American food and is a major celebrity spot!
Other options: 1 Up, Boneyard Bistro, The Woodman
You’ve probably heard of LA’s gnarly traffic problem. Don’t let the hype fool you. It’s worse than those rumors.
And unlike other major cities around the world, Los Angeles doesn’t have a great public transportation system. Undergrounds and buses exist, but they are not the best way to get around town. If you can, I highly recommend taking shared rides (like Lyft or Uber) or renting a car while you are in town.
Your biggest expense in this town (besides accommodation) is going to be food. So try to visit these restaurants and bars listed above during happy hour for discounted food and drinks. And make sure to check out their Instagram accounts/Yelp in case they have special deals going on.
What else is there to see with 48 Hours in Los Angeles?