Getting Stamped: Guide to Los Angeles

By Getting Stamped,

The sunny metropolis of Los Angeles, California welcomes visitors looking for one of America’s ultimate vacation spots. Celebrity sightings, outdoor activities, fabulous food and chilled out beaches lend to LA’s wide appeal. If you’re looking for a place to begin planning your LA getaway, the folks at Getting Stamped offer some insight into can’t-misses and must-dos in the City of Angels.

Venice Beach boardwalk Los AngelesDowntown Los Angeles at nightLos Angeles Palm Trees
Photos by Marika BortolamiCraig Howell, and iPhone-shoot CC BY

Getting In 

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Landing over Los Angeles. Photo via VisualHunt

LAX FlyAway buses

The LAX FlyAway buses offer regularly scheduled round-trips, seven days a week from all LAX terminals. They drop you off at Van Nuys, Union Station, Westwood, Santa Monica, Hollywood, or Long Beach, depending where you’re staying.

Note: You can buy tickets on the bus, but it’s strictly no cash, only cards.

Cost: $8-10 depending on final destination

Super Shuttle

The Super Shuttle is a shared van, which runs 24/7, brings you right to your Los Angeles accomodation.

Cost: Around$17 Hollywood, $15 Santa Monica with prices depending on the destination.

Taxi

The most convenient albeit expensive way to get where you need to go are cabs. Ask for a flat rate per trip (group) in either direction for trips between LAX and Downtown.

Cost: $46.50 Flat rate to Downtown, plus $4.00 Airport-mandated Surcharge

Uber

A cost effective alternative to taxi service for private transfers. Download the app for convenience in booking any transportation in LA.

Cost: $30-39 to Hollywood, $19-24 Santa Monica, $20-27 Beverly Hills

 

Where To Eat

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The Legendary In-n-Out Burger. Photo by Peter F. CC BY

The Classic Drive-In Burger: In-N-Out

Dropping into a In-N-Out Burger is a must for any first time visitor to L.A. or California. Stop in for a cheap and tasty burger at one of over 200 locations in California. At first glance the menu looks deceivingly simple, but there’s a secret menu that visitors in the know order from: try an ‘Animal Style’ burger that comes with mustard cooked beef patty, pickle, extra spread with grilled onions. Don’t drive away without a shake in hand!

  • Hours: 10:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m. (Most locations)
  • Cost: Double Double $3.40 Fries $1.60

 

Huckleberry Bakery Los Angeles

Delicious local fare from Huckleberry. Photo courtesy of the Huckleberry Facebook page.

Best Breakfast Spot: Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe

The Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe is a farm-to-table bakery in Santa Monica. Everything served at Huckleberry is made in-house with the best local ingredients. The menu changes often to reflect the season and what’s available at the farmer’s markets.

 

For more incredible Los Angeles breakfast spots, check out our Eggs & Benny Guide to Los Angeles

Tender GreensTender Greens
Photos courtesy of Tender Greens Facebook page

Casual L.A. Lunch: Tender Greens

The motto at Tender Greens is slow food done fast. A great place for a good, yet quick lunch while exploring Los Angeles.

  • Multiple Locations: See locations as the hours vary by location

For the Sushi Lovers: The Izaka-Ya by Katsu-Ya West Hollywood

Come in for sushi done right by one of only four master sushi chefs in Los Angeles at Izaka-Ya. Chef Katsuya Uechi was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, and now calls L.A. home and is simply known around town as “KATSU.” This place is a must-do for sushi lovers who can expect high quality traditional sushi under the watchful eye of a real master.

  • Location: 8420 W 3RD ST. LOS ANGELES, CA 90048
  • Hours: Lunch Monday – Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dinner Monday – Thursday 5:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m., Friday 5:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., Saturday 5:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., Sunday 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

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Photos courtesy of the Misfit Bar Facebook page

Drinks & Appies:  The Misfit Bar

The Misfit is famous for their $5 Barfly Lunch deal Monday-Friday. Every day is a different deal, but three rules apply: 1.) You must be sitting in a bar stool, 2.) No holding bar stools and 3.) It’s over at 4:00 p.m. sharp. A Local favorite is the Wednesday Ahi Burger. If you miss the special, try a plate of lobster sliders to share and wash it down with a Basil Gimlet.

 

For more foodie-centric Los Angeles inspiration, check out Where to Escape Cooking in L.A 

What To See

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Find the star of your favorite celebrities. Photo by the authors.

Hollywood Walk Of Fame

A must on any L.A. itinerary is to walk among the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Find the brass stars of more than 2,500 celebrities from all corners of the entertainment industry. The stars are embedded in the sidewalks of 15 blocks along Hollywood Boulevard and another three blocks of Vine Street. Awarded to celebrities of the entertainment industry as a monument to their achievements, the stars permanently embedded in concrete are the names of actors, musicians, producers, theatrical groups, and even a few fictional characters.

 

Live show tapings in Los Angeles

Catch a live show taping. Photo by Jeff Christiansen CC BY

Go see a live TV show taping

You can be a part of your favorite T.V. show by sitting in on a live taping as part of the audience and even get to see some of your favorite celebrities be interviewed. Request tickets online in advance as they oftentimes sell out and have limited stand-by tickets.

  • Jimmy Kimmel Live – tapes Mon-Thurs (Age 18+)
  • Conan O’ Brien – tapes Mon-Thur (Age 16+)
  • Ellen Degeneres Show – Mon-Thurs (Age 14+)

 

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The lively Santa Monica Pier. Photo by Krzysztof Belczyński CC BY

Santa Monica Pier

A 100-year-old landmark, the Santa Monica Pier has been seen in countless Hollywood movies and makes for a great place to spend an afternoon in Los Angeles.

 

What To Do 

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Get a view of LA from the Griffith Park Observatory. Photo by Ron Reiring CC BY

Hike Griffith Park

Get lost in LA’s largest public green space and the largest municipal park in the entire United States. The Famous Hollywood sign can be seen right from the parking lot of the Observatory, but there are lots of nice hikes with great viewpoints.

 

Venice Beach Los Angeles

Plonk down on the sand and watch the people wander by. Photo by the authors.

People Watch on Venice Beach

Possibly the most colorful and crazy three miles of sand anywhere in the world can be found at Venice beach. The main attraction of Venice beach is the shopping and people watching. In summer and weekends, there are street performers at every intersection along Ocean Front Walk. The acts include musicians, jugglers, acrobats, mimes, comics, magicians, fortune tellers, and just about anything else you could think of. Aside from the colorful characters at the beach, Venice also has plenty of unique shopping and restaurants. Don’t miss Muscle Beach for a dose of testosterone before leaving the beach.

  • Cost: City Parking Lots around $4-15 per day
  • Location: See Map

 

Runyon Canyon hike Los Angeles

Spot a celeb or just enjoy the lovely hike. Photo by Jeff Gunn CC BY

Celeb spotting in Runyon Canyon

If you are dead set on seeing someone famous, hiking up into Runyon Canyon, which is a notorious celeb spotting area, is your best shot. In the park there are three main trails: Runyon Canyon Road, Star Trail, and Hero Trail. Star Trail actually got its name from the numerous star sightings along its paths. For a more challenging hike, try Hero Trail with steep inclines.

From Runyon Canyon, you can get a pretty decent view of the Hollywood Sign — many people don’t realize it’s actually illegal to get close to the Hollywood Sign. The famous sign is locked up behind gates and protected by security cameras and Park Rangers.  There is actually an L.A. Police officer stationed at the sign 24 hours a day.

 

Where to Stay

There is an infinite amount of hotels to pick from in Los Angeles. Decide which area you want to stay in — Koreatown has seen some recent revitalization, Venice Beach sets you up for many a beach visit and Beverley Hills is by far the most famous Los Angeles postcode — 90210.  January through April tend to see the lowest room rates and occupancy.

 

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Photos taken from trivago

The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles

The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles is located in the city’s downtown area right next to L.A. Live and close to both the Staples Center and the Nokia Theater. Outstanding pampering, luxurious service and fabulous amenities can be expected from this 5-star hotel. The rooms are large and come with a minibar, a flat-screen television, Wi-Fi and turndown service. The marble bathrooms add another level of class to this prestigious property. The hotel has a pool and spa and features three restaurants, an espresso bar and two bars. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck is a popular dining spot; this restaurant offers an interesting modern twist on traditional Chinese food, a lengthy wine list and a fantastic view of downtown Los Angeles.

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Photos taken from trivago

Hollywood Hotel

The Hollywood Hotel is a pet-friendly family hotel situated in Los Angeles that features a sauna on every floor along with AC in all the rooms, free breakfast, a bar and an outdoor swimming pool. They also offer complimentary WiFi, shuttle service and concierge service. The hotel is located close to Griffith Park, Greek Theater, The Hollywood sign and Universal Studios.  Golfing, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing, biking and hiking are a few of the outdoor activities that can be arranged in the area.

 

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Photos taken from trivago

Westin Los Angeles Airport

The Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel is located a short drive away from LAX Airport and 17-miles away from downtown Los Angeles and offers visitors a complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle and ample parking. The rooms at The Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel have pillow-top mattresses and luxurious down comforters for a peaceful night’s rest. The room also comes with a coffee maker, cable TV and the Westin’s signature line of toiletries. There is a fitness center and a heated, outdoor pool. Guests can get their work done at the fully-connected business center and unwind at the hotel’s spa.

 

LA Apartment 2LA Apartment
Photos taken from trivago

LA Luxury Apartments By Stay City

All of the LA Luxury Apartments by Stay City rentals offer the comforts of home – and a little more. The hosts try to think of everything you’d need, within good reason, while traveling. The apartments are well kept and located in highly desirable areas. During your stay you can communicate with the hosts any time as there is a 24/7 support team via phone and live agents available for emergencies around the clock. They do not equate themselves to “Airbnb” as they have a no-lockbox policy at their rentals. You’ll get an entire apartment home designed with you and your needs in mind. And most importantly, you will get a clean vacation home!

 

Insider Tips from Getting Stamped

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The view over downtown Los Angeles. Photo by the authors.

LA City Hall Observation deck

For some of the best views of the city, head up to the observation deck of the Los Angeles City Hall. First, sign-in at the desk and receive your visitor sticker (ID required). Next, take the express elevator to 22nd floor. Then leave the express elevator and find the elevator to 26th, and then walk up to the 27th floor. Here you’ll find an outdoor observation deck with fantastic views of the city.

  • Hours: Monday – Friday, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Location: 201 Main St, Los Angeles
  • Cost: Free  –  meter parking nearby is $4 an hour

 

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Grab lunch at the Grand Central Market. Photo by Neon Tommy CC BY

Grab lunch at Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market has been continuously operating since 1917 and still makes a great place for a lunch stop. Choose from over 30 food vendors offering Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian, and even Salvadorian dishes.

  • Hours: Sunday -Wednesday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Thursday – Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Location: 317 S. BROADWAY

 


See more Los Angeles travel inspiration on Room5:

The Neighborhood Guide: Koreatown

The Eggs And Benny Guide To Los Angeles

The Hottest Desert Road Trip From L.A. To Palm Springs