Becca Tapert

The City of Angels: Places to Stay & Things to do in Los Angeles

Vianca Meyer

Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Universal Studios, Disneyland Park, Santa Monica. Do any of these names ring a bell? Well, they all have one thing in common as they are all located within the same Californian city: L.A.

The City of Angels burst into bloom to become a hub of entertainment, culture, arts, and vibrant beach culture sitting in Southern California. As you can imagine there’s plenty to see and do in the City of Angels, all so utterly exciting that planning your trip here can get quite challenging. So even before you dive into a complex web of information about Los Angeles let us make things easier and present you the best neighbourhoods, hotels and places to visit all-in-one.

 

 

Key-Areas in Los Angeles

Sasha • Stories

Downtown LA

Downtown Los Angeles is without a doubt the beating heart of this soulful cityscape and the immense amount of history that can be found here is pleasantly overwhelming – particularly when touring the buoyant Broadway Theatres, Olvera Street and Broad Museum. Downtown LA is known for its upscale accommodations, avant-garde art galleries, corporate towers, lively clubs and bustling Mexican street markets.

 

Furthermore, the bordering LA River offers a picturesque reminder that even though globe-trotters might find themselves in one of the busiest parts of Los Angeles, there is still genuine, natural beauty to be found when venturing just outside of its active streets. Additionally, the shopping experiences in Downtown LA are sure to entice those looking for the most on-trend fashions and hosts an impressive 2.5 billion dollar shopping and entertainment complex within its midst. It’s a great place to have as one’s base when visiting the city of Los Angeles for the first time, especially if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the true Los Angeles experience.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Downtown LA

Situated just a block away from the Staples Center, The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, L.A. Live hotel offers genuinely lavish stays. Its encompassing modern-contemporary decór and decked out marble bathrooms are sure to have guests feeling as if they have just stepped onto cloud nine, while the gorgeous rooftop terrace features a heated pool and sweeping views across the twinkling LA skyline. Moreover, The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, LA Live hotel is home to one of the top restaurants in the city (WP24 Restaurant), where the famed head chef, Wolfgang Puck, puts a modern spin on traditional Chinese cuisines and delicacies. There is plenty to see and do in the area, with The Disney Concert Hall and Dodgers Stadium being within walking distance. Additional attractions surrounding this luxurious hotel include The Vista Hermosa Natural Park, Wiltern Theatre, Dolby Theatre and Hollywood Bowl, while the centre of Downtown LA and the Fashion District are just a hop, skip and a jump away.

 

Found in Downtown LA’s historic Giannini Building, The NoMad Los Angeles hotel offers a quirky, hipster-haven for weary-legged travellers. Featuring several, scrumptious dining options and a rooftop terrace pool that offers wonderful views across LA, The NoMad Los Angeles hotel gives off a charismatic atmosphere where young travellers can kick back and relax while still being within arms reach of many of Downtown LA’s top attractions. The California Science Centre is but a 5-minute walk away and other nearby landmarks include Pershing Square (where year-round concerts, skating and events take place), the Grammy Museum LA Live, CBS Television City and the ever popular Toy District.

 

If you’re looking for a truly eye-catching hotel in this bustling part of the city, look no further than the palm-leaf plastered walls of Hotel Figueroa Downtown LA. The interiors are genuinely charming, featuring modern and edgy decór throughout. Hotel Figueroa Downtown Los Angeles has two fabulous restaurants and four bars onsite, serving tantalizing Mediterranean cuisines, while the outdoor pool is perfect for travellers wanting to chill out after a busy day of sightseeing. Nearby attractions include the ArcLight Theatre Hollywood, Grand Hope Park (where one can view the iconic mosaic-adorned clock tower) and the commercial district of South Park. Additionally, the 7th Street Metro Centre is situated just down the road from Hotel Figueroa, enabling travellers to navigate freely throughout the greater Los Angeles districts.   

Lauren Fleischmann

Hollywood: West Hollywood & Mid-City

Hollywood used to be the quite the densely populated, low-income neighbourhood back in the day, however since renovations started taking place in the early 2000s, the Hollywood district couldn’t have become any more enticing. The intricate combination of both the thriving corporate and creative world in Hollywood mixes well with the area’s rich history, making it one of the most diverse areas to visit while making your way through Los Angeles. Here you will find a fantastic array of things to do and see, from designer-influenced strip malls, quaint French bistros, an abundance of art galleries and various boutiques.

 

The district is centrally situated in LA, connected by the 101 freeway and offers a number of metro lines that makes navigation to and from the area a total breeze, while bespoke coffee-shops, cocktail bars and upscale celebrity hangouts come aplenty.

 

When heading to West Hollywood (or “WeHo” as the locals like to call it!), travellers will discover a fabulous LQBTQ+ scene and a variety of deluxe accommodations to check out. Each bar, café and restaurant is completely on trend and the shopping experiences come in hordes. The area offers a charismatic atmosphere and should definitely be checked out when heading to Hollywood. Furthermore, when venturing more to the south and east, Mid-City homes the Miracle Mile, where some of the best museums can be found and streets like Melrose Ave. boasts a number of vintage, punk and rock ‘n roll styled clothing stores.

 

Hollywood is famously edgy and travellers will be delighted to know that it has more than its fair share of celebrity mansions to admire and utterly cool and trendy nightclubs to attend. It truly is the beating heart of “The City of Dreams”, where young creatives come to showcase their talents. Become inspired when walking down Hollywood Boulevard and enjoy the endless sights that Hollywood so skillfully shows off.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Hollywood

There are few accommodations in Los Angeles that scream “Old Hollywood Glamour” than that of the Chateau Marmont boutique hotel. Situated on the ever famous Sunset Strip, Chateau Marmont features a tasteful, classic decór – one that beckons its guests to step back in time and spend a few hours in its gorgeous, wooden-clad bar sipping on a glass of bourbon. Views across the gardens can be seen from selected rooms, while nearby attractions include The Hollywood Walk of Fame (5-minute walk away), the iconic Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios Hollywood and the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

 

Situated just a 10-minute drive away from the archetypal Capitol Records Building, the Kimpton Everly Hotel exudes a minimalistic, Scandinavian decór and offers clear views of the Hollywood Sign and Downtown Los Angeles from selected rooms. The in-house, Jane Q restaurant prepares satisfying meals with ingredients sourced from local vendors and the vibe is generally casual. Some of the perks the hotel offers are free bike rides to guests and complimentary wines during happy hour. The Hollywood Wax Museum, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, the Thai Town district and centre of Hollywood are just a few of the top attractions located within arms reach of this stellar accommodation.

 

The Mama Shelter Hotel can be found primely located between the Hollywood Hills and Sunset Boulevard and is a total hot-spot for young travellers. Featuring modern and utterly quirky interiors it’s easy to understand why so many youths are drawn to its relaxed and vibrant atmosphere. The guest lobby is lined with old-school candy machines and the hefty foosball table that can be found here is something that has to be seen to be believed! One of the coolest and most eye-catching features of the Mama Shelter Hotel would have to be its chalkboard painted ceiling, splashed with pretty scribbles and doodles. The on-site restaurant caters to every palate, whether it be meat, vegetarian or vegan. The Hollywood Vine Station is but a 5-minute walk away, making navigation throughout LA a piece of cake, while other nearby attractions (such as The Museum of Death, The ArcLight Theatre, The Hollywood Walk of Fame and The Hollywood Museum) are all easily reached either by walking or by cab.

Kevin Bhagat

West LA

It is said that “The Westside is The Best Side” and this couldn’t be any more true for the awesome selection of things to do and see within this diverse corner of Los Angeles. West LA is situated just beyond Hollywood and boasts some of the city’s most expensive neighbourhoods and real estate within its midst. The district is stunningly bordered by the Santa Monica Mountain ranges in the north, the Santa Monica freeway towards the south, Hollywood to the east and the charming beach towns to the west – making it the perfect base for avid travellers who wants to see it all!

 

This is a destination brimming with wildly recognised landmarks and neighbourhoods such as Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Holby Hills and Sunset Boulevard. It is where the stars have long since claimed residence and travellers shouldn’t be surprised if they catch a glimpse of one of their idols shopping at the designer boutiques on Melrose Ave. and Rodeo Drive.

 

The thriving LGBTQ+ community pave their way through the numerous gay bars and nightclubs here, while a seemingly endless amount of trendy and upscale eateries are located throughout the area and one will find some of the most forward-thinking dishes to gnaw on. There is something for every flavour in West LA, and visits to this vibrant part of the city are sure to have travellers leaving pieces of their hearts scattered wherever they may go.

Where to Stay

Hotels in West LA

If you’re in search of an accommodation absolutely dripping in luxury, the esteemed Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel has you covered. Upon your arrival, you will be met with dashing, contemporary, French-styled interiors and marble-adorned bathrooms. The services alone are worth every penny spent staying at this beautiful hotel and guests will feel completely taken care of by the friendly staff and splendid amenities. The in-house, award-winning Belvedere Restaurant is known to be one of the top eateries in West LA and serves delectable Mediterranean cuisines with a focus on fresh seafood. The large rooftop terrace features a relaxing pool and bonfire area, while perks include things such as private Rolls Royce pick up and drop off services. With just a 5-minute walk to the bustling Rodeo Drive and nearby attractions of Universal Studios Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier and The Garden of Allah, guests will have their schedules packed to the brim with everything there is to see and do in and around the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel.

 

On the other side of the coin, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills hotel takes modernism and lavish interior designs to a whole new level and guests will absolutely adore the beautiful rooftop terrace offering views of the Los Angeles skyline and famous Hollywood Sign. Serving a variety of authentic American dishes, guests will have the opportunity to experience classic, grand services from The Waldorf Astoria. Situated just a short walk away from The Paley Center for Media, The Annenberg Space for Photography and the Museum of Tolerance, visitors will get their fill of the arts and culture surrounding the hotel. Additionally, travelling to the centre of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive couldn’t be easier, so guests will be truly treated with the best of what Beverly Hills has to offer.

 

The Hotel Bel-Air – Dorchester Collection hotel has a rich history hiding within its backbone (stemming from the 1950s) and offers an opulent, natural vibe coupled with rooms overlooking its lush gardens. Once again, head chef Wolfgang Puck adds his unique touch to the delicious Mediterranean dishes served here and guests will be delighted to dine in the Bar & Lounge featuring a grand piano and two cosy fireplaces. Offering gorgeous views of the Holmby Hills, Hotel Bel-Air gives travellers a chance to escape the hustle of West LA while still being closely situated to the action. Although no major attractions are located within walking distance of the hotel, a short drive will take you to the centre of Beverly Hills and all it has to show off. Additionally, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is easily reached by car or cab, while the stunning natural sceneries of both Stone Canyon and Dry Canyon beckon outdoor adventurers to explore their vast and mesmerizing landscapes.

Ruben Gutierrez

Santa Monica, Venice Beach & Malibu

It’s no secret that Santa Monica is a laid-back, hippie central for those who yearn to spend their days sunbathing, surfing and indulging in the prominent beach culture that lingers here. It is Los Angeles’ easiest access to the stunning oceanfront that borders it and here, globe-trotters will find an eclectic mix of surf schools, sandy beaches, cycling paths and piers, amusement parks, street artists and buskers, carnivals and boutique shopping experiences (especially on Abbot Kinney Boulevard!). With Venice Beach situated in the south and Malibu in the north, there is no end to what your ideal Santa Monica getaway has to offer.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Santa Monica

Casa Del Mar is an immaculate beachfront hotel that features a modern, beachy interior while giving its guests breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean when peering out the floor to ceiling windows. Sporting two in-house restaurants (serving fresh seafood & a daily raw bar) and hydrotherapy spa tubs in each room, you just know that Casa Del Mar knows how to do leisure. The hotel offers pet-friendly rooms, so guests won’t need to leave their furbabies out of the adventure and live music events take place every Sunday for guests to enjoy some recreational entertainment. Nearby attractions include the gorgeous Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Marina Del Rey and The Getty Centre when travelling more inland.

 

The distinguished Shutters On The Beach resort hotel is situated directly on the beautiful Santa Monica coastline and oozes a southern-style, luxury beach home look and feel. With the in-house spa, panoramic views across the white, sandy beaches, delectable cuisines and 5-star services, guests will certainly get a taste of the high-life and may just be tempted to stay here forever. It is the ultimate oceanside stay and the wide array of recreational activities are sure to keep guests’ schedules filled to the brim. Some of the nearby attractions include the iconic Santa Monica Pier, Tongva Park, Pacific Park and Crescent Bay Park.

Shane Stagner

Orange County: Laguna Beach, Anaheim & Newport Beach

Orange County is the perfect paradise for those wanting to catch some waves and bask in the sun. The white, sandy coastline stretches all the way from Long Beach to San Clemente, offering a wondrous beachside escape to those eager to get out of the bustle of inner Los Angeles. There are many spots throughout OC that will catch a beach-bums eye, but the three major destinations within the county are sure to outshine the rest.

 

Laguna Beach has long since been the highlight of Orange County – and with good reason! Here you will find a wide variety of pristine beaches, gorgeous oceanfront resorts, recreational activities aplenty, gourmet dining experiences and world-renowned festivals. It may just be the very soul of OC, which is most likely why a hit reality television show and ongoing series was based around the area.

 

Anaheim is known as the residence for the LA baseball team and has a long list of attractions to check out, the most popular being Disneyland Los Angeles and the California Adventure Park. It also features some of the best shopping and dining experiences, making it a pleasurable stay for those wanting to look into the town’s history while indulging in the family-fun oriented atmosphere that lingers here.

 

Newport Beach creates a diverse platform for all types of travellers looking to bask in a sunny beach experience. Here one will find everything from upscale restaurants and accommodations, to quaint beachfront guesthouses and a variety of shopping experiences. Regardless if you’re a surfer in search of the next great wave to catch, a foodie looking for the trendiest coffee shops and bistros to dine at, or an avid traveller wanting only the most luxurious of experiences – Newport Beach has it all and so much more.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Orange County: Laguna Beach, Anaheim & Newport Beach

Located right on the coast of Laguna Beach, is the stunning Montage Laguna Beach resort hotel. Featuring a large, ocean-facing pool and sun terrace, the Montage offers plush, high-end accommodations to suit your every need. Selected rooms show off sweeping views across the ocean, while the large, beachfront pool provides the perfect “lazy summer’s day” spot. Featuring four great choices of eateries in the resort, namely Studio Restaurant (which adds a touch of opulence with their twelve-seater chef’s table in a private dining room), The Loft Restaurant, the poolside Mosaic Bar & Grille and The Lobby Lounge which offers nightly entertainment. Nearby attractions include the Museum of the First People, Laguna Playhouse, Underwater Park & Tidepools and Dana Point Harbor. It’s a stunning stay for any who wants a convenient, comfortable and lavish base within arms reach of the sparkling Laguna Beach.

 

When travelling inland, the Hilton Anaheim hotel positions guests just 15-minutes away from Disneyland Los Angeles and the Disney California Adventure Park. The hotel’s elegant and comfortable finishings will have guests feeling right at home, while the on-site fitness club and spa create the perfect atmosphere for guests looking to unwind after a long day filled with recreational activities. The hotel offers various ticket purchases to Disneyland and the theme park, while their pick up and drop off services are ready to take you wherever you wish. It’s a fantastic stay for families and couples alike, particularly if you’re there to indulge in the magic of Disneyland. Additionally, the popular Huntington Beach can be reached within half-an-hour by car, making for a pleasurable day excursion away from the busyness of Disney.

 

When it comes to 5-star accommodations, Newport Beach takes no prisoners and although hotels, guesthouses and inns vary to suit each person’s budget, the relaxing and laid-back atmosphere of Newport Beach beckons you to take it easy and let competent and friendly staff handle all the daily stresses of travelling. One of the top recommended places would have to be, hands down, the Balboa Bay Resort (overlooking the beautiful Balboa Bay and Newport Beach). Featuring opulent decór, an on-site hair salon, spa, pool and two superb restaurants, guests will feel as if they have landed straight into the lap of luxury. Some of the highlights surrounding the hotel are the Balboa Yacht Mason (situated right on the hotel’s doorstep), Balboa Island (which is easily accessed by boat), while Huntington Beach is just a 10-minute drive away and Disneyland a 20-minute drive from the resort.

Close to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

There are some pretty remarkable hotels situated within close proximity to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), so whether you’re staying for a few nights, checking in for a business meeting or if time isn’t exactly on your hands, you’re sure to still find some stellar stays while you jet-set.

Where to Stay

Hotels Close to Los Angeles International Airport

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