Los Angeles is a top travel destination in the United States and one of the most famous cities in the world. The glamour of Hollywood combined with the California beach lifestyle draws thousands of tourists to LA each year. Because Los Angeles is so spread out, it can make navigating LA a little more tricky than other major cities. That being said, if you have the right route and game plan, you can see and experience some of the best sites that this legendary California city has to offer – even in just 24 hours. So, let’s not waste our time and let’s dive into the ideal things to do for 24 hours in Los Angeles.
Hike at Runyon Canyon
Start off your day in LA like a true Angeleno: by working out. Los Angeles locals are known for their obsession with all things health and fitness. California might be known for beaches, but it also has stunning mountains that are great for hiking. The benefit of hiking is that you don’t need to pay in order to do it. The most famous hiking trail in Los Angeles is Runyon Canyon. The entrance is at 2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046. This entry is in West Hollywood just above Franklin Ave. Here you will see lots of beautiful, aspiring actors and models getting in their daily workout, but there’s also a chance you may see some celebrities hiking here too.
Breakfast at Salt’s Cure in West Hollywood
After working up an appetite from your hike at Runyon Canyon, get yourself something to eat at a popular local breakfast spot called Salt’s Cure. The venue is located at 7494 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046. The good news is that it is also close to the Runyon Canyon entrance, so it won’t take you long to get there, which is definitely a blessing in LA. Because Salt’s Cure can be busy, it is best to head there on a weekday if you can. I would recommend the Oatmeal Griddle Cakes for a delicious breakfast option.
Santa Monica Pier
After breakfast, you’ll already be on Santa Monica Blvd, which means it’s an easy shot to the Santa Monica Pier. If you’re heading by bus to Santa Monica, make sure to go across the street for the buses going westbound. You can take either the 4 or the 704 bus lines. If you take the 704, it’s a quicker route since it doesn’t have as many stops, but make sure it says Santa Monica, not West LA. Not all 704 buses will go all the way out to Santa Monica.
Once you are on the bus, your stop will be at Broadway and Ocean. From there you can walk over to the pier. The Santa Monica Pier has amusement park rides, food, music acts, and of course, beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
The other iconic beach spot to see in Los Angeles is Venice Beach. The good news is that Venice Beach and Santa Monica are right next to each other. You could easily walk south along the beach from Santa Monica until you hit Venice. You will notice that the vibe of Venice is very different from Santa Monica. In Venice, you’ll find lots of souvenir shops, performance acts, skateboarders, and all sorts of quirky characters.
Lunch at In-N-Out Burger
After exploring Venice Beach, it’s time to head back to Hollywood for lunch at In-N-Out Burger at 7009 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. To save time, take an Uber or Lyft back.
This burger joint is loved by the Californians, and you’ll notice that by the length of the line in the drive-thru alone. Even if it’s a little busy, this place is a must when traveling to LA. Ordering is easy here too. It’s a simple menu. A cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake are all you need to complete your In-N-Out experience.
After lunch, you will want to head to Universal Studios. If you walk up to Hollywood Blvd from In-N-Out, you can catch the red line subway train at Hollywood and Highland. Take this subway line to Universal City station. It’s only one stop away, so be mindful of that. Once you exit the subway station at Universal City, you can cross the street and catch a shuttle up to Universal Studios and Universal CityWalk. Harry Potter fans will enjoy a brand-new exhibit at this theme park, but the real draw of Universal Studios is the fact that the LA location is connected to the actual movie studio! Oh yes, you will be right next to where the movie magic happens.
One of the best rides at the theme park is the Universal Studio Tour. This is an incredible experience to see a real major movie studio backlot, including the famous Hill Valley and clock tower from Back to the Future. The ride also includes exciting special effects. Another couple of highlights to catch at Universal Studios are the Animal Actors show and the Waterworld show.
After Universal Studios, you’ll want to catch another Lyft or Uber over to the Griffith Observatory, which is located at the top of Griffith Park next to Universal City and Hollywood. Not only does the Griffith Observatory offer incredible views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign, but it’s also a famous filming location. Key scenes from the classic James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause were shot there, and a monument dedicated to the actor is out front. More recently, it was featured in the film LA LA LAND, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. By going there in the evening though, you also get a gorgeous sunset with your visit.
Dinner and Drinks at Pig ‘N Whistle
By now you’re probably ready for dinner, so take one more Uber or Lyft down into the heart of Hollywood where you’ll have a fantastic dinner at a classic Hollywood staple. The Pig ‘N Whistle is located at 6714 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. This restaurant has been in business since 1927 and to this day, retains the glamour of Old Hollywood. Even the cocktails celebrate the history of the restaurant’s hometown. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail with your dinner, I would suggest the Jack Lemon Drop Martini.
After dinner, you’re already on Hollywood Blvd. and have easy access to walk around and see some of the most famous spots in LA, including the hand and footprints at the Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Nighttime on a weekday is one of the best times to go since the crowds won’t be nearly as bad. It’s kind of hard to take a photo with someone’s star when crowds of people are milling about. The Dolby Theater at Hollywood and Highland is now the home of the Academy Awards and right across the street is where late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel tapes his show Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Dancing and Live Salsa Music at El Floridita
Now that you’ve seen the best of Hollywood history, it’s time to end your epic day in the City of Angels by dancing the night away. One of the most popular local salsa clubs is only a few blocks away from Hollywood Blvd, so all you have to do is just walk over to your last destination at El Floridita. This Cuban restaurant becomes a lively dance club at night. It is located at 1253 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038. There is a $10 cover charge to get in, but they also provide a live Salsa band as well. Unless you are eating there, it is standing room only, so be sure to have some comfortable shoes with you.
Updated: September 23, 2018