In Travel

The Ultimate Guide to 72 Hours in LA

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From the white sands of Venice Beach to the movie studios of Hollywood, Los Angeles is one of the most iconic destinations in the United States. And though it can feel like every second person you meet there is an actor, an aspiring actor, or someone somehow working within the film industry, there is a lot more to the City of Angels than just Hollywood alone.

Occupying an area roughly the same size as Sydney, Greater Los Angeles is brimming with eclectic sights and diverse neighbourhoods, each with a vibe entirely of its own.

Venice, Downtown, North Hollywood, Brentwood, or Los Feliz – this ultimate guide will help you uncover the very best of Los Angeles, plus a whole lot more, in just 72 hours.

Day One: Hollywood, North Hollywood and Venice

Venice Beach Photo: Chris Ashton

It would be criminal to visit L.A. without stopping by the heart of movie magic. Dedicate your first day in the glitter city to explore its world-famous attractions.

The illustrious Hollywood Walk of Fame, which now features more than 2,600 stars, can be found along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. If you don’t want to walk the full 15 blocks, the highlights can be seen around the popular Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

In between stargazing on the strip, you might also want to stop for a bite at Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant, the latest venture from Australian chef Curtis Stone. If you have time, Hollywood Bowl, a celebrated live music venue for over 100 years, is another must-see.

Beyond celebrity, Hollywood also a natural side to it – Runyon Canyon. A beautiful park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, it’s a popular spot for hiking and running, and is also known to be a regular haunt of some of the local celebrities.

Hotel Ermin Rooftop Bar Photo: Chris Ashton

Just 10 minutes away, North Hollywood is also worth a look. Home to over 20 live theatres featuring off-Broadway productions, NoHo is relaxed, low-key, and a great place to explore.

As the sun starts to set, head to Venice. Kitsch, quirky, edgy, and iconic: Venice is a place where the spirit of California is alive and well. Be entertained by street performers as you stroll along the vibrant beach promenade, stop to check out the skate park, browse the outdoor market stalls, admire the street art, or watch impossibly-buff locals working out at the famous Muscle Beach outdoor gym.

Hotel Erwin, situated just back from the beach, is home to one of Venice’s real hidden gems – an amazing rooftop bar offering 360-degree views from the beach to the hills. Kicking back with a few cocktails as the sun sets over the Pacific is one of those real pinch-me moments.

Day Two: Brentwood, Downtown L.A. and the Arts District

Walt Disney Concert Hall Photo: Discover Los Angeles

Move over Madonna, Downtown L.A. is the real superstar of reinvention. Though it was well off the tourist trail a few decades ago, it now ranks as one of the city’s must-visit precincts.

A few of its landmarks include the Walt Disney Concert Hall, an architectural gem designed by Frank Gehry and home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; contemporary art museum The Broad, a dazzling gallery space featuring works by artists such as Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns; and the Orpheum Theatre, a live music venue first opened way back in 1926.

Grand Central Market Photo: Discover Los Angeles

OUE SkySpace LA, California’s highest open-air observation deck, is a great spot to soak up the view from the hills to the sea, while the Grand Central Market – a European-style food hall which has been operating in the same location since 1917 – is a perfect window into the local culture of Los Angeles, not to mention an ideal place to satisfy those hunger pangs.

After lunch, head over to Brentwood. Known for its tree-lined boulevards and A-list mansions, Brentwood is one of the most well-heeled suburbs in L.A. More than just a residential area though, it’s home to an array of sights including the J. Paul Getty Museum, which features works from Van Gogh, Turner and Monet; and Brentwood Country Mart, an ultra-trendy dining and shopping precinct.

Day Three: Relax in Los Feliz

Griffith Observatory Photo: Discover Los Angeles

Time to take it down a notch, and relax in some of the best outdoor spaces LA has to offer. You may not know Los Feliz by name, but chances are you’ll recognise its star attraction – Griffith Observatory. Featured in numerous movies, the observatory offers incredible views of the city and is an excellent vantage for that classic photo of the Hollywood sign.

After exploring the observatory and its museum, be sure to go for a run or walk through the stunning Griffith Park – a 4,310-acre expanse of hiking trails, canyons, caves and picnic spots – or visit the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, located within the parklands.

Los Feliz is also home to two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed masterpieces, Hollyhock House and the Ennis House, as well as the famous Greek Theatre, an open-air concert venue that has hosted performers from Frank Sinatra to Elton John, Lorde and the Alabama Shakes.

Whatever your interests, Los Angeles is an electrifying city with something for everyone.

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Published 28 November, 2018