24 Hours or Less: 7 Genius Tips for a Stress-Free Los Angeles Day Trip
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
So, you fly into LAX (or better yet, Bob Hope) for 24 hours. Before you become paralyzed with the sheer number of options or the TRAFFIC, check out these 7 genius tips to guarantee an amazing, memorable day in the City of Angels.
LA Trip Tip #1: Narrow Down Your Scope (Because … Traffic).
LA is dense and there’s a lot to see, but if you plan incorrectly, you may end up spending the day sitting on the 405 freeway or the 10 or the 101 (cue The Californians SNL skit). Choose one landmark you’d like to hit (think Getty Center or Rodeo Drive) and build your day around it. Stay at a hotel nearby, try the local eateries, and take time to see the sights in your general vicinity.
LA Trip Tip #2: Skip Hollywood (Try Burbank).
Unless you’d like to get tackled by a man in a knock-off Spongebob Squarepants costume and enjoy perusing tourist shops that sell cheap T-shirts with palm trees on them, Hollywood is not where it’s at. Instead, if you’re hankering for a taste of that Hollywood life, try the more down-to-earth Burbank. You can venture to Warner Bros. and take a studio tour, visit a storied diner (Paty’s is a must try), and even run into a few famous faces.
LA Trip Tip #3: Get Some Steps In (On the Trail or at the Mall).
Contrary to popular opinion, there are plenty of great places to walk or hike in LA. Whether you’re more of the “shopping is my cardio” type (take a jaunt down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena) or the crunchy granola hiker (hit the wildly popular Runyon Canyon), there are plenty of spots to work off the animal style double-double you just ate.
LA Trip Tip #4: Eat Like the Locals (Yes, That Includes In-N-Out).
Just like pizza in Chicago or barbecue in Kansas City, don’t miss trying the local food. Eat a burger at In-N-Out, grab some fresh eats at a farmer’s market, and of course, don’t leave the city without ordering tacos (Taco Bell and Del Taco don’t count).
LA Trip Tip #5: Visit a Theme Park (No, You Don’t Have to Drive to Anaheim).
If you’re spending just one day in LA, you may not want to venture to Orange County to visit the famous Mouse. But if the kids are in tow (or you’re just a kid at heart), there are still some great LA options for amusement parks. Thrill-seekers can jump on the i-5 to Santa Clarita and brave the roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain, while movie buffs (or Harry Potter fans) will be enchanted by Universal Studios Hollywood.
LA Trip Tip #6: Make It Historic (Old Hollywood or Dinosaurs? You Pick).
LA may not be the oldest city in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own unique history. Visit Griffith Park (founded in 1896) and swing by the Griffith Observatory to reenact a scene from La La Land. If you end up on the West side of LA, check out the La Brea Tar Pits, where fossils were excavated in 1901. Then, visit the Natural History Museum to take a deeper dive.
LA Trip Tip #7: Stay Flexible (Because Everything Changes in LA).
Just like a Hollywood screenplay, there are always a few twists during a trip to LA. If you’re not ready to roll with the punches, freeway construction, a restaurant closure or even a protest downtown can throw a kink into your travel plans. The good news is that no matter where you end up, there’s more than likely a great eatery, unique shopping, and entertainment nearby.
LA in 24 hours isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a dense and congested city with enough food and entertainment options to keep you busy for years, not hours. But if you plan accordingly, narrow your scope, and are flexible along the way, you’ll be all set for a relaxing, stress-free jaunt to LA. For more Los Angeles Tips and Guides, be sure to subscribe to LA Today.