Only 2 days in Los Angeles? No worries: this Los Angeles itinerary will guide you through the best things to do in Los Angeles for first timers and what to see in Los Angeles in 2 days.
LA is like a cluster of cities, and it’s hard to say where is the center of LA. I wouldn’t know what to reply if you asked me! Therefore, if you have only 2 days in Los Angeles (maybe as part of an epic San Francisco to LA road trip?) or are planning a weekend trip to LA, it might be a little overwhelming to plan your visit.
That’s why I put together this 2-day Los Angeles itinerary to hopefully make things easier for you. Wondering what to do in Los Angeles in 2 days? Without further ado… start reading!
Day 1: The Essentials: Hollywood, Beverly Hills & Griffith Observatory
To check out Los Angeles in two days, you’ll begin by exploring Hollywood’s highlights, a must in your itinerary for Los Angeles. If you don’t feel too confident organizing transport and the day’s route by yourself, or just don’t feel like hitting the landmarks on your own, there are great tours that cover pretty much this day’s plan and are a great alternative.
➤ This Hollywood Sightseeing and Celebrity Homes Tour takes you around Hollywood in an open-air bus with an expert guide that will be pointing at all the important landmarks and answering all your questions. You’ll pass by Dolby Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Rodeo Drive, the movie studios and you’ll also get to see the mansions of famous stars. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ If you’re up for a full-day tour, VIP Hollywood and Beverly Hills Day Tour is your best bet. Starting early in the morning, you’ll be taken to Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre, Dolby Theatre, and get a great view of the Hollywood Sign before heading to the live outdoor taping of ExtraTV, where you’ll be able to meet famous presenter Mario Lopez. Highlights like Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Pier are included, among others. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Take a Walk Down Hollywood Boulevard
On your first morning, let the sun rise on Hollywood, the land of dreams on celluloid.
You can start off your discovery by taking a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, one of the biggest and everlasting cultural icons Los Angeles possesses, no matter how much time passes since the Hollywood golden era. With landmark spots, museums, and other bits of rich heritage, this is one of the must-go places in LA, and here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of Los Angeles in 2 days. by spending your first morning here.
⚠️ Before I continue, let me give you an honest tip: do not drive to Hollywood. Parking is hard to find, pricey, and the area is worth exploring on foot.
If you’re not staying in the area, you can easily reach the heart of Hollywood by bus (Metro busses run on Hollywood Blvd and the adjacent Sunset Blvd) or by metro (the Metro Red line stops 3 times between La Brea and Western), or of course, by calling an Uber or a Lyft. You’ll thank me later!
Another good option for moving around these 2 days in Los Angeles without a car is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. You’ll pass by famous sights and attractions and enjoy a recorded narration, but you’ll also be able to hop-off at whichever stop you want to explore the area and hop-on again later, with unlimited use for 24, 48 or 72 hours. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Hollywood Walk of Fame
If you came to LA to be among the stars, here’s your first chance to walk among them. Going down the road on Hollywood Boulevard, the sidewalk is filled with stars dedicated to over 2,500 of the greatest performers the world has ever known, from Michael Jackson to Paula Abdul, Louis Armstrong, Clint Eastwood, and many others.
The crossing at La Brea and Hollywood Blvd is a good starting point for this exploration; you’ll recognize it thanks to the white, circular arcade at the southeast corner of the intersection).
After a few blocks of stargazing, stop at the shopping center in front of Orange Ave. If you walk a couple of flights of stairs and look north, you’ll see the Hollywood sign blinking in the distance on the Hollywood mountains, a highlight on your LA itinerary.
The Dolby Theatre
The Dolby Theatre (formerly known as “The Kodak Theatre” and located at 6881 Hollywood Blvd) has been the home of the world-famous annual Academy Awards ceremony since it was opened up in November 2001. While it also serves as a host to other concerts and performances during the year, guided tours of the theatre are available every morning.
Check out the inside of the theatre, sit where your favorite stars have sat, and soak up in the glamour of it all; it’s one of the best things to do in LA for 2 days.
TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX
The TCL Chinese Theatre, just left of the Dolby Theatre and very visible from the street thanks to its over-the-top decorations, is one of the world’s most famous cinema houses. Besides screening some of the best movies, the cinema provides a great Hollywood experience.
You can pose for pictures with models of all your favorite stars from Darth Vader to Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill, and you can also place your hands and feet in the same places your faves did at the theatre forecourt.
Visit a Quirky Museum
If you are looking for a more structured display of Hollywood’s fine artifacts, then visit a museum.
➤ Check out the Guinness World Record Museum where all the documented feats of the world are brought to life.
➤ Visit the life-sized wax models of your favorite stars at the Hollywood Wax Museum.
➤ Alternatively, discover many of the obscure oddities displayed at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.
This itinerary of LA in 2 days also includes all the yummy food that California has to offer, so while you’re in Hollywood you should treat yourself to a classy lunch.
A great option is the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, Musso & Frank Grill, open since 1919 at 6667 Hollywood Blvd. Order a dry martini and a stake for a very astounding meal in the land of classic cinema.
Ride Down Rodeo Drive
With the morning over and your nice walk of Hollywood completed, get in a car and explore Beverly Hills as you take a ride down Rodeo Drive, about 15 minutes away from Hollywood with no traffic.
Rodeo Drive has more than 100 stores, restaurants, and hotels lining its path, enclosed in three blocks in the Beverly Hills exclusive shopping district – The Golden Triangle (between Rexford Dr, Santa Monica Blvd, and Wilshire Blvd). Park for free and window shop at any of the ultra-high-end stores where the mega-rich visit.
If you didn’t have lunch yet, find something to eat and drink at any of the outdoor cafes or restaurants.
➤ My to-go place here is Guisados (120 S Linden Dr), for the best tacos in LA.
➤ Not into Mexican food? Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa (212 N Canon Dr) is always a wonderful treat for high-class sushi, even if it’s at another price level than Guisados, as well as the minimalist nook Walter’s Cafe (153 S Beverly Dr), for good easy food at a good easy price.
Wherever you eat, consider a handcrafted, delicious cupcake at Sprinkles Beverly Hills Cupcakes (9635 Santa Monica Blvd) on your way out.
▶ Not very interested in this afternoon plan? You can go on a self-guided walking tour in Downtown LA instead. Downtown LA didn’t use to have a great reputation, but it’s now really great to spend a few hours.
Tour Celebrity Homes in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air
After your food and shopping stop on Rodeo Drive, get back in your car and take a ride around Beverly Hills and the nearby neighborhood of Bel Air. You can drive around and take a tour of the magnificent homes where some of America’s biggest stars have lived (and where some still currently live).
If you’re an architecture buff, do check out Spadena House (516 Walden Dr) and O’Neill House (507 N Rodeo Dr), two very unique buildings that deserve a peek. Take also a look at The Playboy Mansion (10236 Charing Cross Rd), where the legendary Hugh Hefner lived for many decades, or at the Spelling Mansion, also known as The Manor (594 S Mapleton Dr), home of the great producer Aaron Spelling.
Last but not least, I always like a stop at the Graystone Mansion (905 Loma Vista Dr), where you can do a self-guided tour of this omnipresent film location. No matter the house you’ll be looking at, for the best tour from Rodeo Drive, I recommend driving west on Wilshire, then take a right on Beverly. Glen. This way, you can take a right on Sunset Blvd and explore from there.
➤ If you’re not up for a drive, check out Starline Tours, the original company that started doing celebrity homes tours. The classic Hollywood Celebrity Homes Tour can take you through more than 30, giving you the history of these landmark homes as you go along. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Drive to 3000 Canyon Lake Drive
With your celebrity mansion tour complete, you may think you have seen Hollywood. But have you really seen Hollywood if you have no proof? That proof awaits you at 3000 Canyon Lake Drive, where you can take the best photos of yourself with the renowned Hollywood sign. It is not difficult to find, too.
From your Bel Air and Beverly Hills photo driving tour, take Mulholland Drive all the way to the Cahuenga Pass under the 170 Highway.
Otherwise, if you’re ready for an early dinner and don’t want to wait for the Hollywood sign sight, drive north to Studio City and stop at the In-N-Out Burger there (3640 Cahuenga Blvd). Not familiar with In-N-Out Burger? Welcome to the best fast food on the west coast, serving freshly made cheeseburgers and a set of secret dishes, such as the animal-style fries.
➤ Another fun way of finishing your first day and experiencing the amazing views of LA from above is hiking one of the highest peaks in Griffith Park, all the way to the iconic Griffith Observatory. On this Griffith Observatory Hike, you’ll be able to get shots of the Hollywood Sign along the way and listen to your guide’s tales of Hollywood’s history.
Right before sunset is the perfect time to do it, as you’ll get unobstructed views of the city in the gorgeous golden light. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
A Night at The Griffith Observatory
You’ve spent the morning walking through the Boulevard and the afternoon driving through the streets of Beverly Hills. A great way to spend the first evening of your Los Angeles 2-day itinerary would be to head down to the Griffith Observatory, where you can enjoy some of the best views in town.
The Griffith Observatory is a must visit for two reasons; firstly, it has the best close up view of the Hollywood Sign. Second, there are lots of awesome attractions in the Observatory and admission is mostly free!
Look at distant stars through telescopes, explore various exhibits, and see shows like “The Once and Future Griffith Observatory” in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. All of this is free of charge, although you’ll need to be early as there may be a line on most days.
If you’re not ready yet to call it a day, exit the Griffith Observatory park on Los Feliz Blvd and drive west until you reach Franklin Ave. Here, between Western Ave and the 101 Highway, you’ll find something very special to end the first day of your L.A. itinerary: a walkable area with lots of things to do!
➤ If you’re into book and music shopping, you must visit Counterpoint Records & Books next door to the theater and open until 11pm on a weekend (needless to say, you can use this guide as a weekend in Los Angeles itinerary!).
➤ Finally, for a late dinner, you’ll find the vibrant French restaurant La Poubelle Bistro (5907 Franklin Ave).
Day 2: Beach Towns & Studios
Day One of your 2-day itinerary for Los Angeles was spent seeing the essential attractions of glamorous stars and VIPs.
Spend Day Two playing, shopping, and visiting the beach towns and studios for some enjoyment on the go; trust me, with this LA itinerary, 2 days will fly by and seem like weeks at the same time, you’ll be having so much fun!
READ ALSO: Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach: The Perfect One-Day Itinerary
➤ If you’re looking for a more athletic exploration, I recommend taking an electric bicycle tour and completing your Santa Monica and Venice Beach route on 2 wheels. You’ll enjoy the ocean breeze and get a tan to die for as you ride the e-bike that you can pedal yourself or change to the electric-powered cycle with the flick of a switch.
They only take small groups, so it’ll feel very personalized and it’s a great way of meeting new people if you’re traveling solo. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Looking for an even more fun way of exploring Santa Monica and Venice Beach? Try getting around on a Segway! On this Santa Monica and Venice Beach Segway Tour, you’ll zip along many attractions in these two coastal areas, including the famous Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach and the Venice Boardwalk.
The guide will provide insightful commentary of the area’s culture and history, and you’ll also enjoy snacks and beverages along the way. It’s a great tour if it’s your first time in Los Angeles! ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Visit Santa Monica Pier and Beach
Santa Monica Pier was opened in 1909 and has since grown to become a must-experience location for its sun and warm weather. It’s not a chance that it’s one of the best stops on the LA to San Francisco drive!
Head down to the spot where some of your favorite films – like Iron Man, The L Word & Species – were shot and get ready to have some fun; your two days in Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this area!
At the Pier, you’ll find the Pacific Park, with a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and more than a dozen other rides. It also has midway games like Cat Rack & Whack-a-Mole, which adults and kids alike can have a great time trying to beat.
Just south of the pier, you may find the Historical Carousel (where you can enjoy a ride or schedule a private party), the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and the Pier Shop (where you can get gifts and souvenirs to mark your visit). To beat the heat and still enjoy your stay, buy a refreshing lemonade at the Hot Dog on a Stick classic red stand.
When you are ready to move from the pier to the sand, Santa Monica Beach welcomes you with three and a half miles of soft, well-maintained sand and clear, beautiful water. Take out your sunscreen and spend your morning sunbathing on the beach, or paddle into the water for a swim.
You can also head down to the North Beach Playground for free access to slides, climbing equipment, and swings. These activities in Santa Monica should definitely be on any 2-day Los Angeles itinerary; be sure not to miss it!
Santa Monica Third Street Promenade
If the Pier and the beach aren’t really your thing, Santa Monica still has a lot in store for you. The Third Street Promenade, literally a couple of blocks from the Pier, is an upscale, pedestrian-only complex in Santa Monica where you can shop for everything, from designer fashion brands to fresh fruit from a farmer’s market.
There are also restaurants with deliciously cooked meals, and entertainment centers from indoor spots to street performers.
➤ If it’s still too early for a real lunch but you’re craving something good, I suggest sipping a well brewed coffee at Demitasse (1149 3rd St), where they brew their own beans and have a very eco-friendly approach to coffee making!
Just like Santa Monica, Venice is a bustling beach town that calls to millions of visitors every single year. And like its Italian counterpart, the town holds beautiful canals that you can walk through in the warmth of a late morning or sail through on a little boat.
Venice Beach is great for a good stroll on the sand and for a surf or swim. It is also known to many people as the world-famous Muscle Beach, fully fitted with an outdoor gym that is free to use and open to all who want to work out or simply watch other people perform daring and difficult feats of physical fitness. If you want to work out with some of the fittest people in the world, Venice Beach is the place to go.
➤ If you’re feeling adventurous, change the weight-lifting for a 2-hour Group Surf Lesson in Venice Beach! You’ll share it with a group, which is a great way of meeting people and cheering each other on, and after some training on the beach you’ll hop in the Pacific Ocean to catch some waves! It’s definitely an experience you’ll want to tell everyone about, and a highlight on your trip. The lesson is suitable for all levels, whether you’re a first timer or want to enhance your skills. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
READ ALSO: One Perfect Day in Venice Beach, California
After all that workout, you will probably be very hungry. Check out Abbot Kinney Boulevard for a gastronomic lunch treat with options from superb Mexican and Asian food, to gourmet burgers that give diners a taste of the American spirit.
Among the favorite spots for a great lunch are La Tostaderia (1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd), a small counter-serve spot for some bomb ceviche and fish tacos, and Yours Truly Venice (1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd), if you are looking for globally-inspired California cuisine.
Afternoon: Visit One of the Parks
After a delicious lunch, you’ll likely be ready to spend your last afternoon of this 2 days in LA itinerary exploring some more. It’s time to get to your car and check out an amusement park like Universal Studios and Warner Bros, or the museum complex (practically an amusement park!!), the Getty Center.
Universal Studios Theme Park
After building a great studio (which went on to produce some of the biggest films ever), Universal Studios opened its doors to public tours in 1915. It features movie-themed rides and roller coasters, including many well-known movies like King-Kong, Jurassic Park, Transformers, and Despicable Me.
➤ If you have little time to visit, I suggest you get the Skip the Line Express Ticket to skip the line and enjoy one-time express access to every ride, show and attraction the park has to offer. There are limited Express Tickets available each day, so get yours beforehand. ➥ BUY IT HERE
➤ Another option is to get the Hollywood General Admission Ticket. You’ll have access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, get a behind-the-scenes look at film production and explore the place where movies are made with the legendary Studio Tour. You’ll also enjoy access to all the attractions of the park. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Warner Bros Studio Tour
For movie lovers that don’t want to go on roller coasters, the Warner Bros Studio Tour allows you to fully experience the magic that goes into some of your favorite movies and shows from Casablanca to the Ellen Degeneres Show, and Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them.
Through your tour, you will get to see many of the props and exterior sets used to create these shows, as well as archives with exhibitions dedicated to some of the biggest franchises like the DC Universe and the world of Harry Potter.
➤ To get the most of your visit, book a Warner Bros. Studio Tour to discover all the secrets of movie-making and explore nearly 100 years of Studio History. If you’re a Friends fan, you’ll see your dreams come true: get a selfie in the real Friends Fountain and visit the Central Perk set from the show. At the end of the tour you’ll get to shop for souvenirs in the world’s only WB Studio Store. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
The Getty Center
The Getty Center is the home of the Getty Museum, which is an art museum that features some of the most prominent pieces of art that the world has to offer.
Admission is free (just be prepared for the $15 parking fee!), and you can spend hours just walking through the exhibits and soaking in the artistic atmosphere. If you’re into art, this visit is a must even if you only have two days in LA!
A Night in Hollywood
To bring this awesome two-day adventure to a close, end your day on Sunset Boulevard. While you may recognize the name from the 1950 film, the Sunset Strip is also a great place to enjoy nightlife and have a good time, because in this Los Angeles itinerary, 2 days can perfectly fit some night-time fun!
➤ For dinner consider The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker (8653 Sunset Blvd) for a seasonal trendy meal of European influence, which you’ll enjoy sitting in cool yellow-leathered booths.
➤ For a more traditional experience featuring a staple of LA dining (“an American classic since 1947!”), you can also dine at Mel’s Drive In (8585 Sunset Blvd).
After dinner, grab a well-shaken cocktail at the Mmhmm Cocktail Bar or have some well-aged whiskey at Rock and Reilly’s Irish Pub to cap off your night. Still awake and in search of adventures?
This stretch of Sunset Blvd—the Sunset Strip—never sleeps and between Phyllis St and Holloway Dr you could bar hop or spend hours in the same clubs.
➤ Options include David Arquette’s vaudeville-inspired Bootsy Bellows (9229 Sunset Blvd), they gritty The Viper Room (8852 Sunset Blvd), which Johnny Depp partially owned, and Sunset, a subterranean heaven for creatures of the night found inside the Edition hotel (1090 N Doheny Dr).
Wherever you go, no matter the time of day or night, just be prepared to be always amazed by Los Angeles and its many scenes, palm trees, and glamorous actors.
2 Days in Los Angeles FAQ
2 days in LA is definitely not enough. If you wonder how many days in LA are sufficient, you’d probably be short even with 2 months, with all the attractions, day trips and fun things you can do in the city! But if you only have 48 hours in Los Angeles, seeing the city’s highlights and exploring some of the best coastal areas in LA in two days is possible. With this guide you’ll be able to plan your 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary to make the most out of your time!
The best place to stay in Los Angeles for tourists, especially if it’s your first time, is Hollywood, as it’s close to most landmarks and has great public transportation. If you’re traveling on a budget you should consider Venice Beach, a place with great vibes and a fun atmosphere, or Santa Monica if you’re there with your family (though it’s more pricey). Downtown LA is not as safe, especially at night, than the other areas, but it’s the place to be if you’re mostly interested in nightlife, parties and concerts.
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