8 Touristy Things To Do In Los Angeles

Thursday, November 9, 2017

California wasn't really at the top of the places on my bucket list to visit.  As an introvert, visiting such a crowded city like Los Angeles can be a daunting task.  I've always known that there were a lot of blog worthy spots to tour and take pictures if I were to go to LA, but planning always seemed overwhelming.  Like other Filipinos, I too have relatives living in the West Coast, which makes it a little odd that I've never actually tried to go.  With me running out of ideas for destinations, it was time for me to visit the city of angels. 

With all my reservations, I am pleased to say that I cannot wait to go back!  I know that I missed a lot of other hot spots in LA.  Overall, my favorite thing about LA is its culture.  At every turn, there's always someone speaking a different language.  You don't have to drive too far to find a really good authentic restaurant to try; in addition, there's always a place to explore and try for the first time.  The only down side would have to be getting to those places.  My friends and family weren't kidding about LA traffic.  If you're going for the first time, brace yourself because it can be quite a frustrating experience to drive through the interstate.  Depending on the time and day, you'll come across bumper to bumper traffic, to the point that a 10 mile drive in the freeway could cost you an hour and a half on the road.  

As a first time visitor, I didn't really care much about being cliche and going for places that California natives would stay clear of.  If I was travelling with my little brother, these are activities that he would absolutely hate to be seen doing.  When I listed these stops to him, he responded with three words, "Tourist AF" 😂 .

Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard

There is so much to see and do in this strip.  Here is where you'll find a good amount of tourist attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theater.  I planned on spending more time exploring the strip, but because of traffic, our plan kind of got derailed.  Other attractions here include: The Hollywood Museum, Hollywood Wax Museum, El Capitan Theater, Madame Tusauds, the Roosevelt hotel, and the Four Ladies of Hollywood statue.  

Take a picture of the Hollywood Sign

If you're up to the challenge, you can definitely hike to get up close to the sign.  From what I've heard there's trails and paths to take to get close view of the sign.  I was on vacation mode, so I wasn't too motivated to physically walk up the Hollywood Hills.  Fortunately, we managed to drive up the steep, winding road, and pull over an edge to get this view. 

Visit a unique museum

There are plenty of museums to stop at in LA.  Being an Instagram obsessed person, I wanted to go to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  If modern art isn't really up your alley, but you want to take that infamous lamp post in LA photo, you'll be happy to know that LACMA's most popular sculpture, Urban Light, is open to the public. 

Unfortunately, we thought we could be spontaneous and visit LACMA on a Wednesday; come to find out, we just happened to go during the one day of the week when the museum was closed.  We took advantage of the situation because Urban Light was empty of tourists during this day!  We were able to snap a lot of fun pictures without many photobombers.

Get on a Hollywood tour bus

At least once, Hollywood tourists should get on a tour bus.  It was a really good way for us to preview hot tourist spots around Hollywood BLVD.  It might seem dorky, but going on a tour bus with a fun guide is an attraction of itself.  There are several tour bus companies in LA; we picked The Ultimate Hollywood Tours which had really good reviews.  Our tour went on for a little over 2 hours, which is pretty short compared to the other tours.  A good portion of the tour was spent looking at celebrity homes.  I took so many pictures, but what's funny is that I can't even remember who's house these were.  If you know the celebrity owner of these homes, go ahead and comment at the bottom. 

I'm pretty sure one of these houses are Manny Pacquiao's LA home

Shop or GAWK at the world famous Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive

It's definitely an experience to stroll down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and see all the high end stores. I bought my first YSL bag, and I have yet to use it.  It feels like such an extravagant item to be carrying around on a daily basis.  

Take what I say with a grain of salt; you can go in the different stores, browse at the merchandise, and feel slightly judged by the sales associates.  None the less, it's still a great place to take beautiful photos for your vacation album.  

Visit an ethnic enclave

LA is one of the most diverse cities in the US.  That being said, there are many districts in LA where similar ethnic or racial backgrounds have populated the area.  Little Manila, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Korea Town are just some of the many examples of the districts you can visit in LA.   

I was hit with a craving for Korean barbecue, so we decided on going to K-town.  I was pretty overwhelmed to see so many choices for restaurants to try Korean barbecue at.  We looked up the best rated one, and chose Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong.  Consider yourself warned!  This restaurant is one of the most popular joints in the US! That being said, you will likely be waiting for at least 45 minutes to an hour.  After trying the place, it's worth the wait!  The food is obviously delicious, but the service is also really good, which is a departure from the many bad experiences I've had at other Korean barbecue places.  They even cook the meat in front of you and clean your grill often.  This restaurant is now a spot I HAVE to go to every time I visit LA. 

Of course, I stocked up on Korean and Japanese beauty products.

Watch a taping for a show

While planning an itinerary for the trip, watching a taping of a show didn't even cross my mind.  I got the idea from talking to my boss about his last California trip.  If you're trying to see famous people while in LA, getting in a show taping is a surefire way to do so.  The Ellen Show, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Voice are just some of the many shows taped in LA.  We ended up going to The Late Late Show with James Corden.  We saw Charlie Puth and Josh Gad!

Surprisingly, it's really easy to reserve a seat at one of these shows.  You just really have to plan ahead of time because the tickets are free.  The earlier you try to reserve a ticket at one of these shows, the more likely you are to get in them.  For example, I wanted to try The Ellen Show, and all the tickets were sold out a month and a half ahead of time.  If you do end up getting in a show taping, it's honestly a lot of waiting.  You're allowed to carry your phone and a purse, but no cameras  and backpacks are allowed in the studios.  I probably won't be doing this again if I were to go back to LA.

Shop and pig out at The Grove and
 the Farmers Market

The LA Farmers Market is just amazing.  They have so many different local business in this one area that it's almost overwhelming.  While there are a plethora of choices to eat and buy, they keep the place pretty neat and clean.  If I lived in LA, I'd be going to the Farmers Market every weekend.

We pigged out on Brazilian steak for lunch. 

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