If you’re flying to Asia or even somewhere in the western part of the United States, you may very well have a layover in Los Angeles. This is a busy hub for air travel, which means that many people are stopping in Los Angeles without actually experiencing the city for themselves. The easiest ways to spend 24-48 hours in Los Angeles is to rent a car to get around or join an organized group tour to see as many of these sights as possible!
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See the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood sights are among the most well-known in Los Angeles and are certainly worth a visit if you’ve never been here before. There are thousands of stars that are part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but the most popular place to check them out if you’re pressed for time is on Hollywood Boulevard near the Chinese Theater. If you rented a car, you can pull over at a metered parking spot in this area to get out and see the stars. If possible, visit this area as early as possible in the morning to avoid the largest crowds and get the photos you want more easily.
Take a Film Studio Tour
Another great way to embrace the glamour of Los Angeles is to learn about the history of film-making in town. There are a few different studios that offer tours to the public, and you can join one if you have a few spare hours in Los Angeles. The Warner Bros Studio Tour is a popular tour that takes you behind the scenes, through film sets, and along the back-lot streets to see where parts of shows like “Friends” and “Big Bang Theory” were filmed. The Sony Pictures Studio Tour is also popular and involves walking to celebrate films like “The Wizard of “Oz” and game shows like “Wheel of Fortune.” Other options are the Paramount Studios Tour and Universal Studio Hollywood Tour. These are all very popular things to do in Los Angeles, so plan to buy your tickets in advance of your layover so you’re not disappointed or feeling rushed.
Eat a Meal in Koreatown
Los Angeles is an ideal place to have a layover if you’re a foodie, and Koreatown offers a lot for visitors who love great food. This part of town is only a couple square miles in size, but there’s a lot packed into that space. Parking can be rough, but restaurants like POT, Kang Hodong Baekjeong, and A-Won make all that effort worth it. This is typically a busy and noisy part of town that is exciting and full of energy. Some of the best Korean restaurants in the entire world are located here, so skip the airport food and come here for your layover meal.
City Views from the Griffith Observatory
If you want to see the famous Hollywood sign and get an awesome view of Los Angeles during your layover, head to the Griffith Observatory. You can drive or take a public bus to get here if you have a little time before your next flight takes off. It’s really nice to come here after dark to see the city lit up at night. But during the day, you can also make a point to go into the observatory to see the museum and planetarium. Admission to the grounds and building of the observatory is always free if you visit on Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 10pm and on weekends from 10am to 10pm.
Visit the Santa Monica Pier
To see a different side of Southern California during your layover, you can head to Santa Monica and enjoy the beauty of the ocean and the character of this iconic place. The Santa Monica Pier is home to roller coasters and a Ferris wheel that will make you feel like a kid again. Or alternatively, you can just hang out on the beach and watch the tourists and locals strut their stuff. Santa Monica is a wonderful place to spend the sunset and also find a dinner spot after you’ve walked along the beach.
Grab a Food Truck Snack
Los Angeles is often considered the birthplace of the food truck movement and credited for making food truck culture as popular as it is today. Therefore, stopping by one of the local food trucks during your layover is a must! There are hundreds of mobile food vendors around town, including the original Kogi BBQ Truck and lots of great taco food trucks and dessert trucks for sweet treats on the go. You can find food truck maps online to locate one near you if you don’t have time to wander around the city and stumble upon a hidden gem. Some popular ones to look out for include the Lobos Truck, Free Range, and NoMad.
Visit the Getty Museum
If you enjoy art, then definitely plan to spend part of your layover at the Getty Museum. This is a great place to marvel at art and architecture, and you’ll also get lovely views of the city and gardens from here. The Getty Museum is closed on Mondays but open from 10am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays and from 10am to 5:30pm the other days of the week. There’s also a restaurant/café in the building that offers full-service dining and lovely views of the nearby mountains.
Experience the Culture of Venice Beach
Another great place to experience the beach side of the Los Angeles area is to head to Venice Beach, which is known for big muscles, rollerbladers wearing bikinis, and hippie shops. You can watch the activities at the skate park, browse the boardwalk shops, and get some ice cream here. Venice Beach has lots of great surf spots and you can even take a surfing lesson here if you have time. It’s also fun to walk around the area of the Venice Canals a few blocks away to see the houses and waterway. Check out the street art, craft vendors, and street performers in this area as well before heading back to the airport.