Depending on whom you talk to, there are roughly 25 major attractions in Los Angeles. Again, that number depends on the source. There are some people that have no problems placing the number of LA attractions at 50 or more and others that claim at least 100 or more without hesitation. The folks that place the number in the hundreds are probably right. The thing about Los Angeles is that it isn’t just one area. Much like Chicago or New York, where people don’t necessarily live in the heart of the city, but claim residence anyway, Los Angeles can mean any one of literally hundreds of areas, neighborhoods or even beach towns -- which is why most guides will lump the regions’ attractions under one famous city – Los Angeles.
That being said, there are still several dozen attractions that we hear about every day in the mainstream media, and hundreds more that find their way into the pages of major travel magazines or end up on the Travel Channel. We managed to come up with an excellent list of attractions that (we feel) are absolute musts, and we mixed them in with some of Los Angeles’s most well known attractions. This way, you can decide what appeals to you the most. We even threw in an off-the-beaten path attraction or two for good measure. So without further ado, here are some of Los Angeles’s best attractions.
The J. Paul Getty Center
The many spectacular things about The J. Paul Getty Center (of just “Getty Center”) are not just about what’s inside. The grounds, the unique gardens, and the views are spectacular as well. The Getty Center features European paintings, drawings, sculptures, and illuminated manuscripts, as well as decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The Getty Center has also recently unveiled the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Malibu on January 28, 2006. The location houses 44,000 works of art from the Museums collection of Etruscan, Greek, and Roman antiquities. 1,200 works are on display.
Santa Monica Beach & Venice Beach
Besides being two of the most scenic public beaches on the map, the millions of visitors to Santa Monica and Venice Beach will find a variety of notable landmarks and famous boardwalks to explore. The Santa Monica Pier was built in 1906 and it is the city’s number one landmark. The 9 ½ -acre pier has starred in dozens of films and TV shows, and it has appeared in hundreds of magazines and music videos. The Santa Monica Pier has been featured in The Sting, Ruthless People, The Net, Cellular, and Fat Albert, as well as the popular TV show Baywatch. Venice Beach and adjacent Muscle Beach are as popular for odd sights as they are for sunning and swimming. People come here to stroll the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk where dozens of street vendors, and wacky performers set up shop each day to entertain the enormous crowds of tourists and locals alike. People watching is also a favorite pastime here, so don’t be surprised if you see plenty of bikini-clad cuties rollerblading, biking, and strolling along the boardwalk or the path that connects the beaches.
Angels Flight Railway
Angels Flight Railway is a turn-of-the-20th-century funicular. It is considered the shortest railway in the world. From 1901 to 1969, the railway operated without fail, then it was dismantled. Roughly 27 years later, Angels Flight returned with its two original cable cars. It carried people up the 298-foot incline from downtown’s Hill Street up to the Watercourt at California Plaza. A fatal accident occurred in 2001, so the railway is currently closed, but reports have suggested that the railway will reopen soon. For now, visitors can still view the site and at night, the railway is illuminated with old-fashioned bulbs at both ends. A beautiful sight! Angels Flight Railway is located at 351 South Hill Street, (between Third and Fourth streets), Daily 6:30 a.m. -10:00 p.m.
Los Feliz and Silver Lake
The Los Feliz and Silver Lake neighborhoods of Los Angeles are two of the most unique areas in Los Angeles. Los Feliz is excellent for dining, dive bars, and celebrity-sightings, as well as recreation at nearby Griffith Park, while Silver Lake houses a number of funky boutiques, restaurants, bars, and live music clubs such as Club Spaceland, Tantra on Sunset, Tangier Restaurant and Lounge, and Den of Antiquity (3902 W. Sunset, 323.665.1616), to name a few. In Los Feliz, grab a bite at Fred 62 or order up a beer at Ye Rustic Inn after a long day of sightseeing and hiking at Griffith Park. Ye Rustic Inn is located between Franklin & Russell at 1861 Hillhurst Avenue, Phone: 323.662.5757.
L.A. Flower Mart and Flower District
Hey guys -- don’t knock it until you try it. You might even meet someone special here – remember the fairer sex loves flowers – hint, hint. Besides, the place smells like heaven and it opens to industry at 2 a.m. for a reason! The Flower District is the largest flower market in the country and it features virtually every type and variety of cut flower, potted plant, and exotic flower on the market today. The market consists of two vast warehouses and 100 individual stalls, and it also features a design school and a cozy French bakery and cafe. The Flower District provides flowers for just about every flower shop, and garden on the west coast and beyond and it unites growers, shippers, wholesalers, distributors, floral designers, and retail florists from all backgrounds. Locals come here in droves to pick the perfect flowers for any occasion. L.A. Flower Mart and Flower District opens to the public at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Other must see Los Angeles area attractions include:
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery (323) 469-1181; Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park (310) 474-1579; Forest Lawn Memorial Park (800) 204-3131
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
If you want more information about what’s to see and do in LA pick up a copy of the LA Weekly -- L.A.’s largest and most popular free weekly featuring information about art, attractions, entertainment, film, music, dining, and events in and around Los Angeles or pick up a copy of The Weekly Time Out.
Another great place to find out about everything L.A. is the entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times – L.A.’s only major metropolitan newspaper. Check out the Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal Blog for other ideas on attractions and things to do in and around L.A.
You can also find useful information about everything L.A. by visiting the following popular websites:
Excellent place to find out about events and tours around L.A. as well as information on dining, shopping, hotels, recreation, attractions, and nightlife.
Fodors.com or Frommers.com
Fodors.com and Frommers.com features summaries of places to shop, see, dine, and sleep in and around L.A. If you want a quick list of the top spots in L.A., you’ll find it here!
Lonely Planet features background information and fast facts about L.A., as well as places to see, an image gallery, and travel tips.
Read reviews from people just like you that have been to the places you want to go. Expect to find raw reviews (and opinions) on just about everything from restaurants and nightlife to hotels, shopping, and attractions.
More information for tourists.