A Guide to Visiting Los Angeles in One Day with a Car

One of the cities I was most excited to visit during my trip to California was Los Angeles.  I feel like every fashion and lifestyle blogger I follow lives in Los Angeles and they make the city sound like the coolest place to be.   Los Angeles is deceivingly big and with the constant traffic jams, commuting to different parts of the city to visit will eat up all your time.  Putting together an itinerary for a day in Los Angeles inevitably will leave out some cool museum or trendy bar.  However, you can definitely catch some of the highlights Los Angeles has to offer by being realistic about LA traffic, wearing the comfiest shoes you have, and getting an early start to the day.

Hollywood Boulevard (Expected Duration: 1.5hrs)

When you arrive by car, there are plenty of parking lots and street parking on the side streets around Hollywood Boulevard.  Just make sure to clearly read the parking regulations

Once parked, walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame and spot your favourite star. If you check out my photo below then you will know that I have a huge crush on Arnold circa 1994 when he did True Lies.  This is also the place to shop.  With a number of stores lining the street you can find the usual souvenirs of t-shirts and key chains to bring back home. As you approach the Dolby Theatre expect large crowds of tourists and the occasional street performer. Spend some time looking at the the iconic foot and hand prints near the  TCL Chinese Theater.

 

Sunset Boulevard (Expected Duration: 1hr)

Once you are done on Hollywood boulevard, pick up your car and drive by Sunset Plaza on the famed Sunset boulevard. It has lots of shops, quaint restaurants and the iconic Whisky a Go-Go.  There is a terrific place for brunch, called the Guild that serves fresh and innovative meals including bottomless Mimosas (enough said).  While there a ton of cute boutiques, if your time is limited don’t spend more than an hour browsing.

Beverly Hills & Rodeo Drive (Expected Duration: 3hrs)

From Sunset boulevard drive to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. You can visit the Beverly Hills Hotel, but there is also the amazing Will Rogers Memorial Park just across the street. It’s a quiet and lush park that is the perfect place to relax and get away from the crazy LA bustle.  From the park you can move your car closer to Rodeo drive, which has tons of free 2hr street parking so it should not be hard to find.

Heading to Rodeo Drive, make a stop at the Tourist Information Office (9400 S Santa Monica Blvd) to snap a picture with the Beverly Hills sign.  The shopping at Rodeo Drive is great if you like to see all the top brands on one street (and dream of buying a luxury item!).  It also has a quaint European feel with the cobbled streets and vintage lamp posts.  After Rodeo Drive, if you want a more affordable shopping experience head to the Grove.  You will find all the major brands at this shopping complex.  If you are hungry, I recommend Nordstrom’s Due Verde Restaurant for a meal on their terrasse.  The light and refreshing menu will replenish you for the afternoon without putting you in a food coma.

The Hollywood Hills (Expected Duration: 2hrs)

After spending the morning the city, it’s time for a change of pace and take in the natural beauty the city has to offer.  Drive to the Hollywood hills and stop at the Hollywood bowl overlook.  This is one of the best place for a beautiful view of the city and of course a picture of the Hollywood sign. The parking lot is very tight and there only a few spots.  It gets full quickly and the parking enforcement regularly patrols the area ticketing those parked illegally along the side of the street. There is some legal roadside parking about a 6 minute walk higher upon the street.  Don’t be put off by the hike back up, the views are really amazing.

Santa Monica Pier (Expected Duration: 1.5hrs)

Conclude a very busy day in Los Angeles by heading out of the downtown core.  Discover the sand and surf at Santa Monica pier.  It is a popular destination with tourists and locals, however don’t skip out.  There are a number of amusement park rides and food kiosks on site.  My recommendation is to take the time to ride the Ferris wheel at Pacific Park and eat funnel cake, cause we all know my love for deep fried food.  If the weather is sunny and warm, go dip your toes in the water or bring a picnic to enjoy on the beach.  There are also bike rentals for further exploring.

More time in Los Angeles?

If you have more time in the city then definitely at add a museum to your visit like the Guinness World Records for the morbid and fascinating, La Brea Tar Pits for the science nerd, or head to the iconic Universal Studios and visit Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade Village.

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