Los Angles, for some reason, gets reviews similar to Marmite. Let us debunk the false press of a place that truly deserves the title ‘The City of Angels’.
First and foremost, LA is huge and unlike any European city. We guarantee anyone that gives it a bad rap booked a two-week stay in West Hollywood with the view they’d walk around or take transport. This is a crucial mistake that will ruin your holiday. LA should be seen as huge county in which you’re definitely going to need a car to get around. After spending lots of time living and spending time in LA, we’ve assembled a list of places to visit for a 2 weeks in LA holiday. It’s designed to give you the best taste of LA life and the surrounding area and ideal for first timers!
Laguna Beach – 3 nights
Pick up a rental car at LAX and head to the starting point of your 2 weeks in LA adventure; Laguna Beach, which is actually in the North of Orange County. So why is this the ideal first stop? Simple – you’ve probably burned yourself out cramming in as much work as possible and need to chill out. This is the perfect place to wind down and start your trip. Laguna is a small, quiet town, set around an incredible beach. The hotels have a calm boutique vibe, much unlike the tourist resorts of the south, and you’ll see a lot of locals living the typical California life here. It’s a dream place to retire to! Relax on the beach or by the hotel pool and wonder around town checking out the trendy shops and cafes. We had an incredible stay at the Laguna Inn, where you can stroll down a flight of stairs, stop off at the beach porter and chill on the beach all day.
Newport Beach – 2 nights
Next take a short 20-minute drive to another quiet beach town, Newport Beach. Newport has a similar low-key vibe as Laguna, but on a slightly bigger scale and a prominent surf culture. You’re also right next to Huntington Beach, which you’re likely to recognise from the live screens in Hollister if you’ve ever visited the store. The beach itself has a long stretch of sand perfect for surfing, volleyball and other sports, or quiet relaxation under the California sun. Walk around the town and enjoy the range of bars and restaurants along the beach, or if you’re like us, take a walk along the boardwalk and dream of which beach house you’re going to move in to.
Disneyland Anaheim – 1 night
The next stop isn’t for everyone but if you’re a Disney fan then you’ll want to spend at least a day at Walt Disney’s first ever park and former home. You’ll quickly see why people call it the happiest place on Earth! There are fun activities to suit everyone, adults and kids alike, however, if you’re a complete adrenaline junky then Magic Mountain would more likely be your scene. Disney Land has a handy app, which allows you to monitor the wait times and book ride fast passes. The fireworks evening fireworks are a must see for everyone and are a great way to end a magical day.
Hermosa Beach – 2 nights
Now you’re relaxed and in good spirits having been to the happiest place on earth, it’s time to get a taste of California nightlife. We’d recommend at least one night, ideally two or more, at Hermosa Beach. Hermosa has a typically picturesque LA beach, exactly as you would have seen in movies, alongside a typically California beach bar scene. Pier avenue, as you can probably guess, runs straight off the pier and into a small street filled with quirky beach bars, often full to the brim with chatty Californian’s. This is the Ideal place to roll in from the beach to enjoy some cocktails and have a great night out whilst still wearing your swim shorts. Hermosa Beach is often over looked by tourists but we highly recommend you make it an essential part of your trip.
Venice Beach / Santa Monica – 2 nights
Next, we head up the coast to Venice beach, which sits right next to Santa Monica. Both are must-see parts of Los Angeles and typical movie settings you’ll recognise. If you’re looking for an edgy vibe with cool coffee shops, bars and some of the best people watching in the world, then Venice Beach is where you should stay and venture for a day trip to Santa Monica. If you’re looking for somewhere more relaxed, with shopping and nice restaurants, stay in Santa Monica and make trips to Venice. Both spots are connected by the most famous board walk in the world! We recommend downloading the ‘Bird’ app, which allows you to rent motorised scooters and whiz around the area for a really cheap price. In Venice, you’ll find the famous beachside skate park, Venice Canals, Muscle Beach and the original Golds Gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to train. You can also find a row of independent bars and restaurants along Abbott Kinney. Santa Monica is home to a famous pier, featuring a small theme park and Ferris wheel, and of course a beautiful beach.
Hollywood – 1 night
Ladies and gentleman, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It’s time to head to Hollywood, but please be warned, it’s not the glitz and glamour you’re expecting. A lot of West Hollywood is certainly rough around the edges and there’s not a great deal to do here, however there’s some cool places that you have to check out as a necessity. Make your way down the walk of fame and find your favourite celebrities and stop by Kodak Theatre and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where the hottest movie premiers take place.
One thing to make sure you do is eat at Carneys **insert link**, a restaurant inside a Yellow Train Carriage on Sunset Blvd. Order the ‘Chilli Cheese Dog’ as a true American staple, you won’t be disappointed! Beat the afternoon traffic and head over to the Griffith Observatory for sunset. It’s a working observatory, but we didn’t head here for stargazing. Instead we came here for the most incredible view of the city, including downtown LA and the Hollywood sign. It’s a truly breath-taking place to watch the sunset. We recommend staying the night in Hollywood to make the most of the area, however you can see the whole district in a full day of sightseeing.
Malibu – 3 nights
Your final stop on the 2 weeks in LA itinerary will be Malibu, our favourite spot in the whole city and the place in the world we’d most like to live. You’ll drive 30-45 minutes along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway until you arrive at Zuma beach. This main Malibu beach is one of the best in California and you’ll want to spend as much time here as you can, soaking up some last-minute sun. If some daytime beach drinking is of your fancy, then we can think of nowhere better than Paradise Cove. If you’ve followed our advice and stayed in Malibu, then we recommend taking an Uber and having a few Blue Moon’s on the beach (make sure you get a fresh slice of orange in there). Our final recommendation would be to spend your last evening in California at The Sunset restaurant, also in Malibu. Aptly named, you’ll take in another breath-taking sunset and eat an amazing meal overlooking the ocean. A great way to sign off what we’re sure will be the holiday of a lifetime.
Thanks for reading our 2 weeks in LA itinerary! This lavish Californian coastline has a lot to offer and there’s no doubt that you’ll have countless things to do in Los Angeles during your trip. We recommend renting a car to get between places. It’ll save you both time and money! Find more USA travel guides and tips here.