Sprawled out over more than 503 square miles, Los Angeles can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. After all, when you travel to such an iconic destination, you want to make sure that you’re able to explore all of those must-see sights.
Don’t worry, OROGOLD has you covered. Here’s a handy guide to eight of LA’s most exciting neighborhoods, so that you know exactly which areas to check out when visiting the City of Angels.
Let’s begin with the most legendary of all of LA’s neighborhoods; the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. This one neighborhood, on its own, is enough to attract crowds of tourists from all over the world, and for good reason too.
This is where several of your favorite movies will have been filmed, with many of the studios here offering daily tours to visitors. The Paramount studio is always popular, where you will be able to see everything from the famous bench from Forrest Gump to the New York City backlot that features ten distinct neighborhoods.
If you would rather be out and about, there are numerous Hollywood tours that not only take you to a variety of filming locations, but also to the homes of many famous movie stars. Whether you opt for a public tour or a private charter, this will be one of the highlights of your visit.
Of course, the Hollywood Walk of Fame needs to be seen too…
There are currently more than 2600 stars here, stretched out across 15 blocks, giving you the opportunity to learn more about some of your favorite celebrities. Stars are constantly being added too, so you may even be lucky enough to attend one of those ceremonies for yourself.
Finally, a visit to Hollywood would not be complete without taking in the revered Hollywood sign, which was originally built in 1923. The sign has been beautifully preserved over the years, and there are a few different ways for you to get up close to it. Whether you opt for a horseback ride, a hike, or even a helicopter trip, this world-famous sign is worth a visit.
Located in central LA, Koreatown, which is often referred to as K-town, is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood with so much to offer. While the residents here come from a mix of different backgrounds, Korean culture thrives in this area, hence the neighborhood’s name.
One thing that Koreatown is famous for is its Korean spas, with many of these open 24 hours a day. These usually offer soaking pools, dry and steam saunas, and other spa facilities, making K-town the perfect spot to go for some rest and relaxation. There are numerous spas to choose from, but some of the best include:
- Wi Spa – five different heated rooms, along with massages, lounge areas and more
- Crystal Spa – three heated rooms, plus an ice room, a lounge area and a cafe
- Century Sports Club – multiple heated rooms, along with a herbal pool and massages
- Beverly Hot Springs – famous for being home to the only mineral hot tub in the city
For those of you who are fans of Korean cuisine, you will find plenty of incredible restaurants and cafes all over K-town. The Korean barbecue here is a must-try, and, once you have eaten your fill, you could then dance the night away at one of Koreatown’s many nightlife venues.
Many of LA’s neighborhoods exude a sophisticated elegance, but Echo Park is slightly different. A little scruffy and quirky, Echo Park is quite a hipster neighborhood, complete with indie bars and music venues, trendy cafes and food trucks, and one-of-a-kind eateries.
While Echo Park may be quite a busy part of town, many love this neighborhood for Echo Park Lake, a large lake located in the heart of the neighborhood, perfect for a spot of tranquility. The path that surrounds the lake makes for a peaceful stroll, or you could even rent a paddle boat if you would prefer to be out on the water.
All of you baseball fans will probably already be aware of the Echo Park neighborhood, since this is where you will find the famous Dodger’s Stadium. If you are not lucky enough to be able to catch a game here, make sure that you sign yourself up for a behind-the-scenes tour.
Famous for its super-sweet and tangy oranges, Valencia is a neighborhood that boasts romance, mystique and exciting outdoor adventure. This is quite a relaxed and laid back part of Los Angeles, making it ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city’s busier neighborhoods.
Valencia’s most popular attraction is, without a doubt, the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park, which is home to the second-largest roller coaster in the world. The park is open throughout the year, and you will need to make sure that you set aside at least one full day to enjoy its many activities.
Valencia is also a fantastic shopping spot, with the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall being the first place that you should go. You will find several big-name brands here, including an OROGOLD boutique store where you will be able to sample various products and indulge in a VIP facial.
Los Angeles is famous for its beaches, and Venice is where you will one of the most iconic. This three mile stretch of sand runs parallel to the Venice Beach Boardwalk – a haven for people watching. From surfers, skaters and dancers to movie stars, acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and more, this boardwalk is literally buzzing with life.
Beach sports are also loved in this area, whether you set up your own game or join in on someone else’s. Try your hand at everything from skating and basketball to volleyball and handball, as well as, of course, swimming in the ocean.
While the eclectic nature of the boardwalk never fails to entertain, Venice does have a quieter side to it too…
Did you know that, back in the day, many of the streets in Venice used to be canals?
Fragments of these waterways still exist, and you can see them for yourself at the Venice Canal Historic District. The canals here are lined with houses, each one with a dock for their private boats. The two sides of each canal are connected by bridges, making it easy to explore the offerings on both sides. The bridges also make for some fantastic photo ops!
The famous neighborhood of the rich and famous, just about everyone has heard of Beverly Hills. Well, if you’re visiting Los Angeles, now is your chance to see these extravagant mansions for yourself.
Once you’re done checking out the lifestyles of the rich and famous, spend the rest of your time in Beverly Hills indulging in the following:
- Shopping (or window shopping) along Rodeo Drive. Don’t forget to also visit Anderson Court, which is the only shopping mall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
- Explore the gorgeous gardens at Greystone Mansion, a historic Tudor estate. You can also see the interior if you sign up for a tour
- Have your photograph taken by the famous Beverly Hills sign, which can be found in the Beverly Gardens Park
- View art by masters such as Picasso, Warhol and Kandinsky at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. Keep in mind that guided tours are available by appointment only
Planning on spending the night in Beverly Hills?
If you really want to live the life of luxury, the Beverly Hills Hotel is where you should stay. Everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Katharine Hepburn to Humphrey Bogart have done the same, with this hotel being synonymous with glamorous Old Hollywood.
Pasadena has such a quirky charm that most visitors instantly fall in love with. Home to the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl, Pasadena has made quite the name for itself over the years, making it no surprise that more and more tourists are now including this small city in their LA itineraries.
So, what’s there to do in Pasadena?
Well, if you time your visit right, it may just end up coinciding with the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which is held on the first Sunday of every month. Vintage lovers and bargain hunters will adore the discoveries available at this market, and even if you only end up “window” shopping, the lively atmosphere here is still worth experiencing.
A stroll around Old Town Pasadena is a must, especially if you aim to do this around a mealtime, since the restaurants and bars here are worth sampling. Another popular attraction in the vicinity is the Huntington Library. Some of you are probably thinking…
Why would I want to visit a library?
Because this isn’t just your standard, run-of-the-mill library – it’s most definitely a destination in itself. Its library holdings include a Gutenberg Bible, which was the very first book printed from movable type in the West. The art here is worth checking out too, while the grounds of this estate boast large outdoor spaces, including a stunning Japanese garden.
While there are plenty of city-based attractions to keep you busy in Pasadena, it’s always nice to spend some time in nature too. If you are up for a hike, take a walk to the Eaton Canyon Falls – a 40 foot waterfall that tumbles into a wide pool, perfect for cooling off after your hike!
Thanks to Pasadena’s close proximity to the San Gabriel Mountains, there are plenty of other hikes to be found in the area too. Give the Angeles National Forest a try, where you will find trails criss-crossing through 1600 square miles of mountainous landscape, in a variety of difficulty levels.
Los Feliz is quite a historic neighborhood, filled with elegant, stately homes, but don’t let this trick you into believing that this area is a thing of the past. After all, retro and vintage are having their moment!
The streets of Los Feliz are packed with vintage stores, along with numerous other locally-owned boutiques, giving shopaholics a good chance of finding a one-of-a-kind item here.
If you’re looking for some old-fashioned entertaiinment, the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park is a large amphitheater with just under 6000 seats, with a focus on outdoor concerts. Shows are held in the spring and summer, and many big names, from Frank Sinatra to Lorde, have graced this stage. Alternatively, for a movie, head to the retro Vista Theatre. Although this venue only has a single screen, it exceeds expectations when it comes to glamor, with everything from its own Walk of Fame at the entrance to unique Egyptian-styled decor.
Los Feliz also happens to be the neighborhood that offers up some of the best views of Los Angeles…
You will need to go to the Griffith Observatory for this, which sits at the top of a hill in Griffith Park. Climb to the roof of the observatory for incredible panoramic views of the city. If you visit in the evening, you can also use the telescopes here to watch the stars, and then learn more about them from the observatory’s educational astronomy exhibits.
Animal lovers will enjoy the Los Angeles Zoo, which can also be found in this neighborhood. There are more than 250 animal species living here, with the zoo placing a special focus on its conservation efforts for endangered animals.
There really is so much to see and do in Los Angeles, and it would be impossible to fully explore the area in a single visit. However, if you only have a limited amount of time to spend in the City of Angels, make sure that you put each of these eight neighborhoods on your itinerary!