Bryant and I visited Los Angeles for a couple of days for the first time to watch our Georgia Bulldogs play in the Rose Bowl (go dawgs!). While we weren’t visiting exclusively to be “tourists”, we did happen to have a day dedicated to exploring the area, so we tried to squeeze some of the most touristy things to do in LA in one day. We were up before the sun and didn’t get back to our Airbnb until well after dark, but we managed to do all of the things we planned to do in just a day! If we can do it, so can you. Here’s how you can do LA in one day:
1. Hike to the Hollywood Sign. I am sure there are lots of cute and fancy breakfast places in LA, but when it came down to choosing between hiking in the Hollywood Hills or sitting down for breakfast, the hike and a Clif Bar won out. It was a beautiful morning, and we got to see some awesome views of the Hollywood Sign, the LA skyline, and mountain scenery all on one hike. If you only have the day to explore, I recommend the Mt. Hollywood Trail that starts in Griffith Park. If you’re looking for something a little more intense and have more than just a couple of hours to devote to the hike, you could try taking the Brush Canyon Trail (also in Griffith Park). It’s a more strenuous, 6.5-mile hike, but you can get way closer to the sign.
Here are all of our views from our hike on Mt. Hollywood Trail:
2. Drive down Sunset Boulevard to In-N-Out for Lunch. After hiking, we were HUNGRY. In-N-Out was on my must-try list while in LA, so we headed to the location on Sunset Boulevard to consume every calorie we had just burned. Worth it! Make sure your order everything “Animal Style.”
3. Walk one block north to Hollywood Boulevard, and the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Boulevard is one block up from In-N-Out, so it’s the perfect next stop on the one-day tour. It’s really cool to see something in person that you have seen on TV for years, but it’s also a little overwhelming. I had no idea how many stars there were on the Walk of Fame. They literally go on for miles, and they’re on side streets off of Hollywood Boulevard, too. It’s a fun street to walk down, but if you only have one day in the area, don’t get stuck walking for hours! While you’re on Hollywood Boulevard, you can also check out the Chinese Theatre, the most famous movie theatre in the world, and compare your hand and footprints to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
4. Head over to Santa Monica to watch the sunset on the beach. Once you’re over Hollywood Boulevard and all its seediness, drive to Santa Monica Beach to watch the sunset. It’s so pretty, refreshing after spending some time in Hollywood, and a great place to take some pictures. Once the sun goes down, walk to the Santa Monica Pier for dinner and drinks at Mariasol. This Mexican restaurant is on the end of the pier. It’s a great place to relax and hang out after being on your feet all day.
5. Ride down Rodeo Drive. Being the shopaholic that I am, I am kind of surprised I didn’t prioritize this one above some of the other areas we visited, but cruising down Rodeo Drive at night was actually really cool. I knew we weren’t going to buy anything at any of the stores there, but I still wanted to see it. All of the Christmas lights were still up when we went, and it was another great time for a picture because there was literally nobody else around! I loved reading all of the designer names out loud to Bryant as we drove by them (he could not have cared less about being there).
After all of this, very little time in the day was left, and we were exhausted. We did a little bit of a driving tour around Beverly Hills, then headed back to our little house in the Hollywood Hills to grab a few hours of sleep before we had to catch our flight home. It’s really hard to choose which things to do in LA for one day, but not knowing when/if we’d be back to the west coast, we managed to check off all of our touristy bucket list items.
Winter dress code: I was in a tank during the day, but threw a sweater on over it at night. This Georgia girl was not used to the desert climate! Dress in layers if you want to maintain a comfortable temperature all day.
Watch where you park: Apparently, there are a lot of parking areas that close after dark. Bryant and I failed to read these signs and got a ticket – so pay attention to what you’re doing!
If you have a tight budget, Airbnb is the way to go in LA. We stayed in a cute little guesthouse in the Hollywood Hills. It was in a great central location for everything we planned to do, and so fun to drive through and see all of the houses in the hills. Click here for more details about our Airbnb.