Los Angeles is one of my favorite travel destinations in the US! The weather is perfect year round and there’s so much to do and see. I grew up visiting family in Huntington Beach and lived in Santa Monica for a year and a half. Based on the time I spent living there and visiting, I complied a list of the top places to see and best activities during your trip to Los Angeles. I would highly recommend spending at least a full day in each place!
Things to Do in Santa Monica
Take a stroll down the iconic Santa Monica Pier.
Explore Pacific Park (located on the Santa Monica Pier). Ride roller coasters and the famous Pacific Wheel Ferris Wheel. It only costs $10 per person and provides amazing views of the beach and the ocean!
Visit the Santa Monica Aquarium at the Pier.
Rent a bike to ride down the beach.
Play Beach Volleyball.
Shop the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade.
Hike in Topanga State Park. One of my favorite hiking trails is Temescal Canyon Trail.
Where to Eat in Santa Monica
Brunch: The Penthouse Restaurant at the top of The Huntley Hotel (One of the most incredible ocean views in Santa Monica!)
Brunch: Blue Daisy Cafe (American)
Bougie Brunch with delicious cocktails: The Bungalow.
Donuts: DKs Donuts.
Lunch or Dinner: The Misfit (American).
Lunch or Dinner: Pono Burger (Burgers and Shakes) or Umami Burger (Burgers and the most delicious truffle fries EVER!)
Lunch or Dinner: Blue Plate Taco (Mexican) Their margaritas are amazing!
Dinner: Sugarfish (Sushi). They don’t take reservations but it’s the best sushi on the planet! Get their early and be prepared to wait anywhere between 1 to 3 hours.
Dinner: Tar & Roses (Wine and cheese bar).
Cocktails: Bar Chloe or The Bungalow.
Rooftop Cocktails: ONYX Rooftop Bar at the top of the The Shangri-La Hotel.
Wine Bar: Sonoma Wine Garden.
Things to Do in Malibu
Visit the Malibu pier.
Go shopping at the Malibu Country Mart.
Book a Malibu Wine Safari. You can sample wines from Malibu Wines and feed animals including Stanley the giraffe, zebras, llamas and more!
Go Wine Tasting at Malibu Wines.
Explore El Matador State Beach.
Hike Corral Canyon.
Where to Eat in Malibu
Brunch: Malibu Farm Pier Cafe (American). Located on the Malibu pier with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
Brunch: Malibu Cafe (American) Large beautiful, outdoor space with cocktails, delicious food and games.
Lunch or Dinner: Duke’s (Hawaiian) My favorite restaurant in all of SoCal. I highly recommend their fish tacos, Mai Tais and famous Hula pie! Their patio is beautiful at sunset.
Dinner: Mastro’s Ocean Club (Seafood). Book a reservation a month in advance and definitely order the lobster mashed potatoes!
Dinner: Nobu (Sushi). Book a reservation a month out.
Things to Do in Venice Beach
Explore Abbott Kinney Blvd. with tons of shopping, restaurants and bars.
Take a photo in front of the famous Venice sign.
Rent a bike to ride down the beach.
Play beach volleyball.
Check out Muscle Beach.
Explore the Venice Canals.
Discover murals by local artists.
Where to Eat in Venice Beach
Brunch or Lunch: The Butchers Daughter (Vegan & Vegetarian)
Brunch: Eggslut (American). The best breakfast sandwiches you’ll ever have in your life!
Rooftop Cocktails: High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin.
HUNTINGTON BEACH (SURF CITY USA)
Things to Do in Huntington Beach
Walk to the end of the Huntington Beach Pier and order a milkshake at Ruby’s Diner.
Check out Pacific City for shopping, restaurants and an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.
Visit Huntington Dog Beach, especially if you’re traveling with your furry BFF!
Enjoy a smoothie bowl from Banzai Bowls.
Watch the surfers below the pier. Hopefully you’ll be visiting when there’s a surf competition going on!
Where to Eat in Huntington Beach
Lunch: Ruby’s Diner (Burgers and shakes).
Lunch or Dinner: Duke’s (Hawaiian) My favorite restaurant in all of SoCal. I highly recommend their fish tacos, Mai Tais and famous Hula pie!
Lunch or Dinner: Fred’s (Mexican).
Dinner: Sushi on Fire.
Lunch or Dinner: Aloha Grill (Hawaiian). Make sure you try one of their famous Rainbow cocktails! Their Kalua pork tacos are delicious.
Things to do in Laguna Beach
Enjoy a beach day!
Hike ‘Top of the World’.
Drive through Laguna Canyon.
Where to Eat in Laguna Beach
Lunch or Dinner: The Beachcomber Cafe (On the beach at Crystal Cove. Perfect for cocktails at sunset!)
Dinner: Javier’s (Upscale Mexican and the best margaritas!)
Cocktails with a view: The Montage Hotel Bar
BALBOA ISLAND & NEWPORT BEACH
Things to do
Shop at cute boutiques on Balboa.
Rent an electric boat to ride around the marina. BYOB and enjoy the sunset!
Ride the Balboa Ferris Wheel.
Order a famous Balboa Bar (Chocolate covered frozen banana)
Where to Eat
Lunch or Dinner: Newport Landing (Seafood).
Lunch or Dinner: Woody’s Warf (Seafood).
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
Visit the famous Chinease Theater & check out The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Buy a box of donuts from California Donuts. They have a famous panda and unicorn donut. (Enough said!)
Hike to the Hollywood Sign.
Visit the Griffith Observatory.
Go to an Angels or Dodgers baseball game.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES
Go shopping Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive!