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How to Spend 24 Hours in Los Angeles

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Because of its sheer size, Los Angeles can be a little intimidating. And if you stay only in the downtown core, you’ll miss a lot of what this place has to offer. That’s why we’ve picked out the absolute must-sees and created an itinerary for a perfect day in Los Angeles. Welcome to MojoTravels and get ready to hop in your rental car and hit the filling station, because we’re going to be covering some serious mileage. Thanks to Getty Images for the pictures and videos!
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Los Angeles


Because of its sheer size, Los Angeles can be a little intimidating. And if you stay only in the downtown core, you’ll miss a lot of what this place has to offer. That’s why we’ve picked out the absolute must-sees and created an itinerary for a perfect day in Los Angeles. Welcome to WatchMojo, and get ready to hop in your rental car and hit the filling station, because we’re going to be covering some serious mileage.


We also won’t be focusing on food for this video, but foodies should check out our video on How to Eat Your Way Through Los Angeles. [link to food video]


As noted, the thing that makes LA such a difficult city to explore is just how spread out its neighborhoods are. This place is anything but walkable, and the kind of snobby sounding adage that “no one walks in LA” is true for a reason. The public transit isn’t great, and if you’re trying to pack in as much as we are, a car is a must. LA traffic is just as bad as people say it is, so we’d recommend avoiding the major freeways during rush hour.


To get your day started, you’ve got to do something quintessentially LA and go for an early morning hike. This city is seriously health-focused, and the abundance of beautiful landscapes surrounding LA make it perfect for exploring on foot. Our pick is Runyon Canyon, which is popular with both LA residents and celebrities, and offers trails of varying difficulty. You’ll get a great view of the city and a glimpse of the Hollywood sign too. It’s also very dog friendly, so feel free to bring your pup along if they’ve traveled with you!


If you want to get an even closer look at the Hollywood sign, the best spot is at nearby Lake Hollywood Park. It’s about as close as you can get without actually hiking to the sign. There’s a very easy mini hike to get a little closer to the sign itself up Mulholland, which you can do if you’re not too tired from Runyon Canyon.


After that, it’s time to head downtown. For the most part, LA’s downtown core is comprised of office buildings, but there’s one thing that has made it a must visit for travelers: The Broad [yes, pronounced with a long "o," like “go”]. Financed by Eli Broad and opened in 2015, this modern art museum is a must visit, even if galleries aren’t your thing. Admittance is free, though it’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance to avoid waiting in the standby line. The draw for most people is Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room, which has definitely popped up on your Instagram feed.


After that, it’s time to head to the beach. LA is a coastal city after all, situated alongside miles of gorgeous sandy beaches. We’ll start at the Venice Boardwalk, which is pretty much exactly as its portrayed in the movies. The locals are wacky and the storefronts are tacky but it’s kind of an LA rite of passage. For more scenic views, head inland a couple of blocks to see the gorgeous Venice canals, which many tourists manage to miss.


The next stop is the Santa Monica Pier, which is about a 45 min walk north along the beach. For a quicker trip however, rent a bike at one of the many local shops and you’ll be there in just a few minutes. The pier itself is home to Pacific Pier, an amusement park which is free to wander around, although you do have to pay to actually get on the rides. Take a moment to sit on the beach and take in the incredible ocean views.


Make your way back into town by driving towards ritzy Beverly Hills. This is the neighborhood that many people imagine when they picture LA: gleaming clean streets, designer shops, the ladies who lunch and of course the famed Rodeo Drive. Doing a little window shopping never hurt anyone, so take a little while to stroll around this area and soak it in.


Next it’s time to head to Hollywood itself. Like Times Square in New York, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is something you probably only need to see once. It’s overrun with tourists and people trying to sell you things, just like its East Coast counterpart. But if you’ve never seen it in person before, it’s still worth a quick visit to see a piece of old Hollywood history. Get a glimpse of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (officially now known as TCL Chinese Theatre), which has been host to many famous movie premieres over the decades.


After the sun has set, it’s time to head to Sunset Boulevard and the famed Chateau Marmont. Even if you don’t stay at this hallowed Hollywood institution, you can absolutely pay a visit to the bar. The building has been around since 1929, and has been called home by famed figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter S. Thompson, Annie Leibovitz and the legendary Jim Morrison. You can feel the storied history as you walk through the dark halls, and take a seat at Bar Marmont. Just be sure to keep your cool if you do happen to spot someone famous!


For your last stop of the day, it’s time to head back to Mount Hollywood to visit the Griffith Observatory. If you have more time in the city, wandering through Griffith Park is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but with only one day, seeing the observatory is a must. It’s an incredible place to watch the sunset, but the views are perhaps even better at nighttime. You’ll be able to see the whole city laid out before you, and get a bird’s eye view of all the neighborhoods you explored throughout the day. There’s something magical about this spot, and it’s the perfect place to end your ideal LA day.


Of course, 24 hours is only enough to scratch the surface of what Los Angeles has to offer. Check back for upcoming lists where we’ll delve even deeper into the joys of LA!
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