The City of Angels where each day is surrounded by sparkling sunshine and countless memories. Easily one of the best places I have ever visited and compiling everything you can get up to in Los Angeles into five choices was an incredibly difficult task. These choices are my own personal choices so feel free to agree / disagree with any of them but it just gives you a taster of what this beautiful city is all about. So here are my top 5 things you MUST do in Los Angeles.
Hike the Hollywood Sign
If you’ve got the legs for a nice walk I can’t recommend the Hollywood sign enough. A beautiful walk up to the top of Mount Lee and bask in the beautiful views of the Los Angeles skyline. An iconic landmark that was originally erected in 1923 under the name ‘HOLLYWOODLAND’ and was used to advertise housing developments in the Hollywood district. It was in 1949 that the Hollywood chamber of commerce repaired and rebuilt the sign after Albert Kothe (The sign’s caretaker) caused an accident that destroyed the letter H. The chamber of commerce upon rebuilding the sign asked for the LAND to be removed so it reflected the area and not just the property development side of things. Over time the sign started to deteriorate once again and in 1978 Playboy owner Hugh Hefner started a public campaign to restore the sign.
Standing at 45 foot high and 350 feet long the sign is a must see for anyone visiting Los Angeles and make sure you head towards the Chinese Theatre and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame afterwards. There are lot’s of touristy attractions all in one place along Hollywood boulevard, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Dine at In-N-Out Burger
I get friends coming up to me on a monthly basis saying Sean, Sean come and check out this burger at such and such a place it’s the best one you’ll ever taste! After my initial excitement each and every single time I always leave said restaurants utterly disappointed. No burger on earth up until this very day can compete with the god like tastiness that is In-N-Out Burger. Forget Five Guys, McDonalds, Wendy’s or any other burger you’ve tasted in your life there is just nothing that can compare to the fresh taste bud orgasms that In-N-Out brings to the table. I’d live in Los Angeles forever JUST for those burgers.
Based primary in the American Southwest and Pacific Coast In and Out burger has locations in Lathrop, California, Phoenix, Arizona, Draper, Utah and Dallas. Those have got to be the luckiest states in the world to have this exclusive experience. Oh how I walk amongst the British streets hoping that one day In-N-Out graces our little country and astounds people with their miracle burgers.
In-N-Out keeps it simple. You have a three burger menu and that’s it. A hamburger, a cheeseburger and a Double-Double which is two burger patties and two slices of cheese. The fun thing about In and Out thou is that they have a secret menu (or not so secret if you live in LA) where by you can say a few magical keywords and upgrade your meal. When you order if you say the words ‘Animal Style’ you’ll get melted cheese, spread and grilled onions over your fries. Say ‘Protein Style’ and you’ll get a burger but instead of placed within a bun it’ll be wrapped in lettuce. There are many other secret menu keywords and the fun is in discovering them all.
Los Angeles Studio Tours
This one goes without saying. Both times I was in Los Angeles I went on the studio tours as each and every single time the tour is different. Universal, Warner Brothers and Paramount were all live sets when I was there meaning that shows and films were being shot whilst you are taking your tour. Sony studios was the quietest of the studio tours and shaded in comparison to the other three.
Whilst I did enjoy the Paramount tour I felt as thou I was a little too young for that tour as it was aimed at the golden age of cinema rather than current productions. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy classic movies but I couldn’t relate to the tour as many of the films mentioned were films that I hadn’t even seen. My two favourite tours were Universal and Warner Brothers as they were fun, jam packed and their VIP options really make for a special day out.
Universal Studios is more of a theme park than a studio tour as you take a tram ride around the venue and explore. Pyro effects, 3D rides and learning how effects are produced in various movies was a fun experience but it certainly isn’t the knitty gritty studio tour. You whizz past all of these legendary landmarks of cinema in your tram listening to your tour guide on the ride past. It’s only when you take the VIP option that you can get out of the tram and walk around some of these iconic landmarks of cinema history.
I chose the Universal VIP experience and you spend the whole day looking around sound stages, the famous Universal prop house, production suites, iconic buildings such as the clock tower used in Back to the Future and have front of line access to all the rides in the park for the whole day. You start with breakfast in the morning in the Universal VIP lounge and a gourmet lunch in the VIP dining room in the afternoon.
It’s very exclusive and even hours after the tour is over you can use your VIP passes to get to the front of every line on every ride. There is no such thing as queuing when it comes to VIP. I haven’t been for a while and since I last went they’ve added the Harry Potter castle, hosmeade village and rides and even the new Walking Dead walkthrough experience. I imagine it’s even better than when I went last time so it’s well worth checking out.
Find out more about the Universal Studios VIP tour HERE
Warner Brothers was a tour worth returning twice for and I did exactly that. I experienced both the normal tour and the deluxe tour on two separate occasions and if you feel like splashing out, I’d certainly upgrade to the 6-hour deluxe tour to experience the full range of what the Warner Brothers experience has to offer. As you enter your tour you start in a screening room and watch a video on the history of Warner Brothers, once the normal tour group leave, VIP pass holders stay behind for a photo opportunity of holding a real Oscar award. My god how heavy those things are!
Walk around the most famous backlot in the world, visit sets from your favourite TV shows, bask in the museum of ever changing cinema. Why not grab some lunch in the Commissary Fine Dining Room? A place where producers, actors, writers and studio executives meet to discuss their latest projects or pour over top-secret scripts.
The Warner Brothers tour was easily my favourite by a long, country mile. Visiting the Central Perk set of Friends is a memory I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. My favourite TV show in the world and I’ve been on the set and sat on the famous couch. The very same couch that was used in the last few seasons of the show and i’ve stood behind the Central Perk counter where Gunther, Rachel and Joey have all been before me.
Sets like the Ellen Show, Big Bang Theory and Two Broke Girls were all on the tours when I went. I was disappointed not to see the Two and a Half Men set when I went but that has since been taken down and added to Stage 48, a new interactive walkthrough experience where you learn how films are crafted and created from script to screen.
I really need to go back and explore the deluxe tour once again as it seems as thou even more has been added to the incredible experience. It’s a must-do if you love movies and you’ll certainly be able to spot a celebrity when you’re on the lot at Warner Brothers, there’s always something going on.
Find out more about the Warner Brothers Deluxe tour HERE
Go To A Lakers Game
Whilst I’ve never been a huge fan of Basketball I was told by everyone I met over there that I had to go and see the Lakers play. So I hopped on Stubhub and brought some last minute tickets to a game that very same night. I had no idea what the seating plan was or where the tickets were located in the Staples Center but when I found out the tickets were only a few rows behind court side I couldn’t quite believe it. My first Lakers game and what an atmosphere.
To really soak up the LA sports scene you can’t go wrong with a basketball, soccer game or baseball game. It’s a shame I only got to see a basketball game whilst I was there but at least my options are open for the next time I visit.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, a trip to the legendary Staples Center is always a good night out.
Shopping on Rodeo Drive
I wouldn’t be much of a luxury blogger without including this one. The two mile long iconic street that is Rodeo Drive is something that’s not to be missed. Whether you’re window shopping or ready to splash some serious cash it’s still worth seeing. Celebrities litter the streets, sports cars litter the road and designer shops pave the sidewalk as far as the eye can see.
Located in Beverley Hills, Rodeo Drive is another iconic part of LA life. The ficus trees that line the road, the extravagance of every shop facade and the mouth watering custom Bugatti Veyron. The car is always parked outside of the Bijan store as a tribute to deceased designer Bijan Pakzad.
Whether you’re dining in some of the finest eatery’s in Los Angeles, shopping at Gucci, YSL, Louis Vuitton or any of the other broad range of designer outlets. Rodeo drive is a must for any luxury enthusiast. A MUST!