The City of Angels, City of Flowers and Sunshine, or the Big Orange are just some of the names of this vibrant city. Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest in the United States. With so much to see, let’s check out our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary for those last-minute travels.
Los Angeles is famous for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity as well as the largest entertainment industry in the world, Hollywood. The Los Angeles Container Port is also ranked one of the busiest in the world.
If you are planning a last-minute trip to Los Angeles and what to know if 5 days are enough in Los Angeles and where you should stay in Los Angeles, you have landed on the right page.
Let’s get started!
- Where is Los Angeles?
- Are 5 days enough in Los Angeles?
- Where should you stay in Los Angeles?
- What is the best month to go to Los Angeles?
- Is LA expensive to visit?
- Is Los Angeles worth visiting?
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Where is Los Angeles?
This city lies in a basin in Southern California, near the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by mountains on one side and deserts on the other. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is home to 13.1 million people which makes it the second-largest metropolitan area after New York City.
International trade, entertainment, aerospace, petroleum, fashion, and tourism are some of the drivers of economic activity in Los Angeles. The city is the “creative capital of the world” as one in every six residents work in the creative and entertainment industry.
The Tongva and Chumash tribes were the early settlers of the coastal areas of Los Angeles. The city was founded from the village of iyáangẚ which means “poison oak place”.
The modern history of the city began with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga which took place after the US military occupied the city after the Battle of Rio San Gabriel. Los Angeles was only ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American War in 1848.
The California Gold Rush led to a total of $2 billion worth of gold being discovered all around California. This sped up California’s entry as the 31st state of the Union. The environmental impact of this rush altered California’s landscape forever.
In 1892, oil was discovered with the Los Angeles City Oil Field being the first to be exploited. The other fields were the Beverly Hills Oil Field and Salt Lake Oil Field.
The completion of the Southern Pacific Line from New Orleans to Los Angeles led to the arrival of railroads in California. Hollywood merged with Los Angeles in 1910 with at least 10 movie companies already in operation at that time.
The 2028 Summer Olympics would be hosted by Los Angeles. This would be its third hosting as it hosted the event in 1932 and 1984.
Los Angeles is home to 16 regions, 158 cities, and 114 neighborhoods within the city, based on Mapping LA. Although these regions are developed as piecemeal regions, each of these neighborhoods is well-defined city signage marking all of these cities.
The streets in the city follow a grid plan with uniform blocks. Another feature is that the streets are designed to move large volumes of traffic. Sepulveda Boulevard is the longest at 25.4 miles while Mulholland Drive is 23.8 miles. The longest streets in Los Angeles can reach as far as San Bernandino.
Are 5 days enough in Los Angeles?
Yes, 5 days is enough to explore the city’s must-see destination. In our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary, we explore downtown LA, the Pacific Coast Highway, Central LA, Westside LA, and end it with a visit to the theme parks.
Day 1: Downtown LA
On day 1, we visit downtown, Los Angeles. We start at Bradbury Building and end our day at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The first of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Bradbury Building. This architectural landmark was built in 1893 by gold-mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury. The building was operated as an office building.
The building’s most distinct feature is its wrought-iron geometric patterned staircases and oak railings that have been featured in many movies and dramas such as Blade Runner, Quantum Leap, and Lethal Weapon 4.
Is the Bradbury Building free?
Yes, access to the building is FREE until the first staircase landing. A security guard is stationed on that floor to ensure that visitors do not proceed to the levels above without authorization. Do note that this building still maintains several offices within its premises.
Read the landmark review of the building and This Building Is The Biggest Architectural Movie Star In Los Angeles to know more.
The second of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is The Last Bookstore. This bookstore is a 6-minute walk from the Bradbury Building. The Last Bookstore is described as California’s largest new and used book and record store.
There are books on both levels including the vault. According to Vox, the store has creative displays of merchandise in the hopes of converting Instagram users to paying customers.
Is the last bookstore expensive?
This bookstore is home to over 250,000 books and the prices can range between US$1 to US$2,300 for rare, first edition books. Read This Bookstore Has a Very Special Collection of Rare and Expensive Books to know more.
Grand Central Market
The third of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Grand Central Market. This market is in Homer Laughlin Building which is a 6-minute walk from The Last Bookstore.
The market is a food haven and is a perfect stop-over for a meal before continuing with our last two sightseeing for the day. The ground floor and basement of the two adjacent buildings make up the Grand Central Market.
The market was known as the “Wonder Market” when its doors first opened. This historical icon is home to over 40 vendors selling Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and German cuisine.
Whats’s good at Grand Central Market?
These are the good stuff that is worth every penny at the Grand Central Market. They are:
- Kismet Falafel at Kismet Falafel
- Avocado Toast at Ramen Hood
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich at DLTA Cheese
- Chocolate Chess Pie at Fat & Flour
The above are LA Eater’s guide to the 10 Delicious Things To Eat at Grand Central Market. Read the review of this place at Conde Nast Traveler.
Is there parking at Grand Central Market?
The on-site parking is directly next to Grand Central Market. The address is:
308 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
The rates are:
The first 90 minutes is $4 with each additional 15 minutes is $2 and the daily maximum rate is $25 per day. To get to this garage, click Directions.
The fourth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is The Broad. This museum is a 10-minute walk from the Grand Central Market. This contemporary art museum was named after philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad.
The most notable art here is Yayoi Kusuma’s Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away that was installed in 2013. The museum houses almost 2,000 pieces of contemporary art by 200 artists such as Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, and Andy Warhol.
How much does The Broad cost?
Although the general admission is FREE. Visitors are expected to have reserved timed tickets on hand that is bought in advance.
Museum Opening Hours:
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday are 11 am to 5 pm.
Saturday and Sunday are 10 am to 5 pm.
Guided Tour Rates:
Self Guided Group Visit is $10 per person
The Broad Collection Tour is $25 per person and lasts an hour
The Broad Collection and Special Exhibition is $50 per person and lasts 1.5 hours
Guided Before Or After Hours Combo Tour is $150 per person and lasts for 1.5 hours
Read A Complete Guide To The Broad Museum and The Broad Is An Old-Fashioned Museum for a New Gilded-Age to know more.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The fifth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This concert hall is a 2-minute walk from The Broad. This hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
The first movie to hold its world premiere here was The Matrix Revolutions. For an orchestra, the hall they play in, to an extent becomes an instrument of its orchestra. The main feature within the hall is the 6,134 pipe organ that is known as the “french fries”.
Day 2: Pacific Coast Highway
The first stop is Getty Museum followed by Getty Villa in Day 2 of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary.
The Getty Museum
The sixth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is The Getty or the J. Paul Getty Museum. This art museum is divided into two campuses, the Getty and the Getty Villa. The museum features artworks from the eighth to the twenty-first century.
Some of the notable paintings include The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt, Irises by Vincent Van Gogh, and Sunrise by Claude Monet.
How much is the entrance fee?
Admission is FREE. For those driving, there is a 7-story underground car park for visitors. The parking fee is $20 for cars and motorcycles.
Getty Villa Museum
The seventh of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Getty Villa. This is the second location of the J. Paul Getty Museum with its first location being in Brentwood. Getty Villa is located in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood and is a 20-minute drive by car.
The design of this villa was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. The villa is on a hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is home to Greek, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts which date back from 400 AD to 6,500 BC.
How much is the entrance fee?
Admission is FREE. For those driving, there is a 7-story underground car park for visitors. The parking fee is $20 for cars and motorcycles.
Read The Top 10 Must Sees & Hidden Gems of the Getty Center and Get To Know The Getty Museum to know more.
Point Dume, Malibu
The eighth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is Point Dume. This beach is a 25-minute drive from the Getty Villa Museum. Point Dume is a promontory coast that juts out into the Pacific Ocean.
For hiking enthusiasts, you can hike the Point Dume Cove Trail which is a 2.3 kilometer short and easy trail that delights with beautiful views of the ocean, cliff, and rocks.
Can you swim at Point Dume?
With crystal clear water, Point Dume Beach is perfect for swimming. Read the review of the beach by CN Traveler to know more.
Point Dume is ranked 5th in The 9 Best Beaches in Malibu while Little Dume Beach is one of the Top Dog-Friendly Beaches in Malibu.
Santa Barbara Harbor
The ninth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is Santa Barbara Harbor. This harbor is about 1.5 hours from Point Dume. This is the place to be for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, kayaking, and sunbathing at the beach.
Does Santa Barbara have a boardwalk?
Stearns Wharf is Santa Barbara’s most iconic landmark. When it was completed in 1872, it was the longest deep-water Wharf between San Francisco and San Pedro and is the oldest wood wharf in California.
Day 3: Central Los Angeles
On day 3 of our 5 days in Los Angeles, we explore Central LA and three of its main sites.
The tenth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Griffith Observatory. This observatory on Griffith Park with views of the Los Angeles Basin on its southeast, Hollywood at its south, and the Pacific Ocean to its southwest.
In 1896, Griffith J. Griffith donated the land that the observatory is on to the City of Los Angeles with the funds for an observatory, exhibition hall, and planetarium. In his will, he stated that the should be no entrance fee as he wanted astronomy to be accessible to the public.
A notable feature within the observatory is the Astronomers Monument which pays homage to the six greatest astronomers of all time. They are Hipparchus, Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and William Herschel.
Another feature is the Foucault Pendulum which demonstrates the earth’s rotation. The Zeiss Refracting Telescope and the Triple-Beam Coelostat or solar telescope are other features that should not be missed.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
The eleventh of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre or TCL Chinese Theatre. The TCL stands for The Creative Life after a Chinese manufacturing giant, TCL Corporation purchased the naming rights to the theatre.
This theatre came after Grauman’s successful Egyptian Theatre. The Chinese Theatre, like many others in Hollywood, is designed as a movie palace. The design is that of a Chinese Pagoda complete with Ming Dynasty guardian dragons at its entrance.
Read the 10 Fun Facts About Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and TCL Chinese Theatre: The Story of an LA Icon to know more.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The twelfth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This museum is a 10-minute drive to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This is the largest art museum in the western United States and attracts at least 1 million visitors annually.
The museum houses modern and contemporary art with the Back Seat Dodge (‘38) by Edward Kienholz continues to bring in large crowds to it. In the American and Latin American art, houses North, Central, and South American art as well as pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, and modern Spanish artworks by Diego Rivera, Rufina Tamayo, and Francis Alÿs.
However, the museum is known for its Urban Light permanent art installation by Chris Burden. This installation consists of 202 antique cast-iron street lights from various cities in and around Los Angeles. The lights are functional and switch on in the evening.
Is there any entrance fee to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art?
The entrance fee is shown in the table below:
|People from LA Country||People Outside LA County|
|Seniors (65+ with ID)||$16||$21|
|Students (18+ with ID)||$16||$21|
The museum is CLOSED on Wednesdays and the opening hours for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are 11 am to 6 pm. The opening hours on Friday are 11 am to 8 pm. The hours for Saturday and Sunday are 10 am to 7 pm.
Day 4: Westside Los Angeles
This is a residential and commercial neighborhood and includes the areas of Santa Monica, Venice, and stretches east towards Western Avenue. The major cities in Westside include Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Santa Monica.
On Day 4 of our itinerary, we would only be exploring two places on Westside Los Angeles which are the Venice Canals and Santa Monica Pier.
Venice Canal Historic District
The thirteenth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is the Venice Canal Historic District. This district is in the Venice residential neighborhood known as the Venice of America. The canals comprise six waterways: Carroll, Sherman, Howland, Grand, Eastern, and Linnie.
Can you walk around the Venice Canals?
The Venice Canal Trails are a 4.7-kilometer moderate trafficked loop suitable for walking, running, and bird-watching.
Where do you park to walk the Venice Canals?
The closest parking lot would be the South City Parking Lots at 2100 Ocean Front Walk. This parking is near the Venice Canals, Venice Recreation and Parks, Muscle Beach Gym, and Skate Park.
The parking rates are $5 during winter from 6 am to 9 am and $9 from 9 am to 12 am. The summer rates are $9 from 6 am to 9 am and $15 from 9 am to 12 am. Check Parkopedia for other parking lots close to the Venice Canals.
Santa Monica Pier
The fourteenth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is Santa Monica Pier. The current piers are a combination of two piers. The first is the long and narrow Municipal Pier that was opened in 1909 and the other is the shorter Pleasure Pier that was built in 1916.
The Municipal Pier was the first concrete pier on the United States West Coast which saw thousands attending its opening day to see the USS Albany, a US Navy Cruiser.
The pier was soon known as a famous fishing spot as legends of the “500 pounders that got away” which referred to the giant Black Sea Bass that were frequently caught in these waters.
Can you walk from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier?
Yes, you can. The walk takes about an hour and is at a distance of 2 miles. For biking enthusiasts, you can explore the Marvin Braude Bike Trail that begins at Will Rogers State Beach and ends at Torrance County Beach.
How long do people spend at Santa Monica Pier?
An average of 2 hours would be suitable as the pier has an amusement park, merry-go-round, arcades, and a trapeze school. Access to the pier is free and visitors only need to pay for the rides on the park separately.
Day 5: Theme Parks
On our last day in Los Angeles, we explore the two major theme parks in the state. As these parks are huge, you can either extend your stay at these parks to fully immerse yourself in all that these parks have to offer.
Universal Studios Hollywood
The fifteenth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is Universal Studios Hollywood. This film studio and theme park are in San Fernando Valley. Universal Studios is the “Entertainment Capital of LA”.
In 2017, there were about 9 million visitors visited the park making it the 9th most-visited park in North America and 15th in the world.
How much does it cost to go to Universal Studios CA?
There are various ticket prices with the California Resident 1-Day ticket costing $99-$134, the California Resident Universal Express costs between $169-$279, the 1-Day General Admission costs between $109-$134, and the VIP Experience is from $379 onwards.
You can book your tickets online at Tickets & Passes.
The sixteenth of our 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is Disneyland Park or Disneyland. This theme park is one of two parks that were built under direct supervision from Walt Disney. The park spreads over 100 acres and has nine themed zones.
Among the key attractions here are Animation Academy, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Haunted Mansion, and Mark Twain Riverboat.
How much is the entrance fee to Disneyland?
The standard 1-Day General Admission fee is $104. A 5-Day General Admission ticket is $72 for non-Californian residents. Californian residents can purchase the 3-Day General Admission costs $83 one park per day ticket.
Where should you stay in Los Angeles?
There are many places to stay in Los Angeles. For this itinerary, we explore the five areas such as Hollywood, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills.
Hollywood For First Time Visitors
If you are a first-time visitor to Los Angeles, staying in Hollywood would be your best bet. This is because Hollywood is the hub of public transportation with popular tourist attractions nearby. Our choices of hotels in Hollywood are:
Santa Monica For Family-friendly Shopping and Dining
Santa Monica is the perfect place to be for family-friendly entertainment, dining, and shopping. Head over to Muscle Beach and try the outdoor gym on that beach. For shopping, head inland towards Montana Avenue where you can find at least 150 stores, boutiques, and restaurants from 7th to 17th Street. For accommodation, our choice of hotels are:
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
West Hollywood For Young Couples
The city of West Hollywood is best for walking and sightseeing. Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, and the Design District are some of the main tourist areas in this district. Our choices of accommodation are:
Ramada Plaza by Wyndham West Hollywood
Best Western Plus Sunset Plaza Hotel
Banana Bungalow West Hollywood
Downtown Los Angeles For Sightseeing
Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is the central business district area of Los Angeles and is home to Little Chinatown, the Staples Center, and the Arts District. While the area is popular for its skyscrapers, there are several parks where you can relax, have a picnic, and spend your day.
The parks are the Blue Ribbon Park, LA State Historic Park, and Grand Park to name a few. For accommodation, our choices are:
Beverly Hills For Luxury
This upscale residential area is home to Rodeo Drive, a high-end shopping street within Beverly Hills. When one mentions Beverly Hills, the famous 90210 zip code comes to mind. Beverly Hills became home to the stars after Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford built their mansion, Pickfair there.
The view above was taken at the Rooftop Bar at Waldorf Astoria. This is one of our accommodation choices when staying in Beverly Hills. Our other choices are:
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel
What is the best month to go to Los Angeles?
The best time to visit Los Angeles is during the spring months of March till May which is also the low season. The temperature is pleasant with minimum smog and lesser crowds. Some key events during these months are the LA Marathon, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and the Jazz Reggae Festival.
Peak tourist season begins in the summer months of June till August. These months are characterized by soaring temperatures, crowded tourist attractions, and skyrocket hotel rates. The key festivals are LA Pride and Nisei Week Japanese Festival.
The autumn months of September till November are another best time to visit Los Angeles. These months bring cooler weather as the crowd disperses. Some key events are the Emmy Awards, LA Auto Show, and DTLA Film Festival.
The winter months begin from December till February with the winter rains. These months bring lower temperatures and cheaper airfares and hotel accommodations. The key events are Hollywood Christmas Parade, LA Art Show, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Chinese New Year and Golden Dragon Parade.
Is LA expensive to visit?
According to Budget Your Trip, the average daily cost per person per day in Los Angeles is $190. This amounts to $1,328 per person for a one-week stay at the City of Angels. Accommodation at a hostel for one person is $111 while the average cost of food is $35 per day.
Local transportation costs amount to $29 per day while parking at a hotel could set you back by $22. A taxi ride to the airport could cost $55 per person. Entertainment such as admission tickets could set you back by $64 per person per day.
Check out How To Visit Los Angeles On A Budget, A Budget Traveler’s Guide To Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Travel Guide to know more.
Is Los Angeles worth visiting?
Yes! These are some of the reasons why you should visit LA at least once:
- Beaches. With 70 miles of coastlines, beaches are just a short car or train ride away. Check out the beaches at Santa Monica, Venice, and Orange County and it’s all beautiful.
- Diversity. Los Angeles is as diverse as it gets. You can have Korean BBQ chicken for lunch and an Indian dinner, maybe Ethiopian for supper? With its diverse population, the food is as many as its people.
- Film and Television. As a major contributor of the film and television industry, the real-life locations of your favorite films and series are all nearby.
These are just some of the reasons, check out the 16 Reasons Why You Should Visit Los Angeles At Least Once, the 9 Things You Should Know About LA Before Visiting, and the 20 Ultimate Things To Do In Los Angeles.
Beautiful Lavender Fields In California
A free-spirited traveler who dreams to conquer the world one country at a time, exploring local vegetarian cuisines and discovering off the beaten path destinations. Yes! That's me.
I've always loved creating itineraries for family and friends. With this website, I help you plan your travels by making it easier.
Our guides are mostly free self-guided walking tours, specifically trips that you can do within a day or two. We will be expanding our itineraries to cater to longer trips in the future.
Thank you for reading my blog.