Welcome to La La Land: 9 Things You Can Only Do in LA
Los Angeles is famed as the playground of Hollywood’s rich and famous, so it’s no small wonder how this fantasy-fuelled destination became better known as ‘La La Land’.
Discover why this city is even more dazzling than it appears on screen with our guide to the most unreal attractions in LA.
Browse the boutiques of Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive has been cited as a must-see destination more times than one can count, but there’s a reason this Beverley Hills boulevard has held its top spot on LA's list of attractions. Cramming an almost inconceivable amount of top end retailers, restaurants and bars into a three-block radius, this self-proclaimed epicentre of fashion, luxury and entertainment represents glamorous LA living at its best.
See the sun set behind Santa Monica Pier
Another well known (albeit worthy) LA attraction, Santa Monica Pier has been drawing flocks of tourists for decades. And while you may find similar seaside precincts around the world, there’s nothing quite like seeing the sun disappear behind the Ferris wheel at this popular summertime spot. Best of all, beyond the colourful horizon at dusk, there’s still plenty of things to keep travellers entertained, from historic walking tours and amusement park rides to fishing, surfing and wharf-side fine dining.
Watch world-class magicians perform in a castle
Magic shows and medieval settings may conjure childhood memories for some, but there’s nothing amateur about LA’s Magic Castle. Home to The Academy of Magical Arts, this members' clubhouse has strict conditions of entry, including advance reservations and a formal dress code. Those lucky enough to score a guest pass are in for an evening beyond belief, with regular performances by some of the most revered magicians in the world.
Dine on gourmet Mexican cuisine around-the-clock
It’s hotly debated whether anything served on the side of the road can be dubbed ‘fine dining’, but sample the Mexican fare from one of LA’s food trucks and you might just find yourself convinced. Far removed from nationwide franchises like Taco Bell, these street corner chefs combine contemporary South American cuisine with convenience, gaining acclaim from locals, tourists and food critics alike. Our top pick? Guerrilla Tacos in the Downtown Arts District, where you’ll find a weekly rotating menu served up day and night.
Beef up your knowledge at a fast-food university
You don’t need to visit LA to sample one of In-N-Out’s famous burgers, but it’s the only place you’ll be able to get your hands on ‘Animal-Style’ novelty goods. Visit the fast-food chain’s flagship location for a meaty haul of In-N-Out souvenirs, from t-shirts and beach towels to branded Christmas ornaments. Just want the fries, shake and burger to go? Visit the restaurant next door to sample this cult favourite for yourself.
Enjoy an outdoor cinema in a cemetery
A cemetery may not seem like the ideal setting for date night, but Cinespia’s weekly film screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery are known to sell out – so grab a picnic blanket, pack some movie snacks and leave any concerns of supernatural activity behind. Not only will you get to watch some of Hollywood’s most iconic films beneath the stars, you’ll also get to do so in the company of native Angelinos – both above and below ground.
Hike to the top of the Hollywood Sign
The novelty of this iconic landmark might have dwindled for the city’s locals, but hiking to the top of the Hollywood Sign is still a rite of passage for first-timers to LA. And with three routes to choose from, even second and third-timers to the city can enjoy the climb. For the easiest access, take the popular Mt. Hollywood Trail from Griffith Park, or join resident fitness enthusiasts on the Cahuenga Peak Hike – a rugged, undefined track that keeps the lion’s share of tourists at bay.
Rub shoulders with Hollywood’s biggest celebrities
From the Hollywood Sign to the Hollywood Hills, the odds of spotting celebrity in LA’s various suburbs are in your favour – but you don’t have to wait to stumble across your big screen idols in the street. Head to the city’s more prestigious postcodes, like Beverley Hills and Malibu, and you’ll soon be rubbing shoulders with LA’s A-listers in their natural habitat.
Go back to the future at a time travel supply store
Whether you want to relive the best moments of your trip or simply speed up the return flight home, the Time Travel Mart can tend to all your space-time continuum needs. And while we’d like to say it's one of a kind, this quirky convenience store actually lays claim to two LA locations, with outposts in Mar Vista and Echo Park. Of course, there’s no guarantee these novelty souvenirs will help you defy quantum physics, but they’ll help you hit replay on your holiday memories once your return home.
Experience the real La La Land. Book flights to Los Angeles with Virgin Australia today.