Pack Your Bags! 14 LA Experiences to Plan Your Trip Around

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Explore Los Angeles  

 

Los Angeles is more than just a city, it’s a culture and for some even a way of life. For me, one of the best things about traveling is the chance to encounter that way of life for yourself! This list will set you on the right path to experience the City of Angels and get your own little slice of this heavenly place. Be sure to take in both the sunshine and the waves and chill out LA style!

 

Hostel Hopper

Hostel Hopper Picture Credits: Hostel Hopper

 

Are you looking to travel, but a bit nervous about planning, organizing, and booking your trip and meals? Let Hostel Hopper take care of everything for you! Not only do they offer several different tours to many popular (and beautiful) destinations but they also book each hostel for you, and the tours include healthy meals along the way too! I highly recommend it if you’re a solo traveler or a small group and want to make some travel buddies while enjoying all the sun and fun Los Angeles has to offer. Most of their tours start or stop in Los Angeles so it’s a good way to explore some other nearby hotspots too!

 

 

Beach Now

Beach Now Picture Credits: Beach Now

 

Beach lovers rejoice! We all know that the key factor for any epic beach day is planning, and Beach Now has you covered for a day that’s sure to be full of sun, waves, and good vibes with you and your friends. They’ve truly elevated the beach day to an art form by thinking of everything you’d need that goes beyond beach chairs and sunscreen. They offer beach games such as cornhole, giant Jenga, and Twister as well as fresh fruit and even bluetooth speakers for your beach day playlist. With several different options available you can choose exactly what kind of beach day you’d like with none of the stress of planning or transporting anything to the beach with you. They’ll even deliver your favorite take-out lunch to you thanks to their super friendly beachside service.

 

 

California Dream Tours

California Dream Tours Picture Credits: California Dream Tours

 

If you and your friends are craving a dose of “Vitamin Sea” I highly recommend checking out California Dream Tours for your up-close and personal marine experience. Their highly trained and very friendly staff have everything you’ll need to get your sea legs and see the wonders of the ocean yourself. This is your chance to enjoy a relaxing and comfortable day with friends and family members, all while getting to see animals like sea lions, dolphins, and maybe even a whale or two! Their tours have a maximum of 6 people so you know you’ll be getting a guided tour to the sheer beauty of what the coast has to offer. With a staff this friendly and attentive you’d be hard-pressed to find a more memorable experience during your visit to Los Angeles.

 

 

Fun Surf LA

Fun Surf LA Picture Credits: Fun Surf LA

 

If you’ve been tempted to try out surfing but need a bit more guidance (like me), I would send you on over to Fun Surf LA and you’ll be riding the waves in no time! Whether you’re a beginner or are looking to sharpen your skills they offer instruction to surfers of any skill and experience level. This family-owned school is located right on the famous Venice Beach and you can even book your class online through their easy-to-use website. Their instructors will make sure you get all the help you need so that you can have a great day full of surfing and sun! They offer group classes with 4-8 people so you can make a day of it with your friends, or you can do a semi-private class with 2 people, or even a private class for those who want a more personalized experience.

 

 

Handlebar Bike Tours

Handlebar Bike Tours Picture Credits: Handlebar Bike Tours

 

If you’re looking for a tour but don’t feel like spending the whole day walking around Los Angeles in the heat, a bike tour from Handlebar Bike Tours sounds like it’s right up your alley! Your tour guide will handle all the logistics for you and will provide all the equipment you’ll need so you can focus on seeing the sights as a local would without worrying about the infamous Los Angeles traffic. All tours are designed for the casual cyclist so there’s no need to worry about trekking up big hills or going at too fast of a pace. With several types of themes available you’ll be able to find the perfect tour for your leisurely afternoon with friends, or solo!

 

 

Starline Tours LLC

Starline Tours LLC Picture Credits: Starline Tours LLC

 

There’s nothing quite like a relaxing tour with a fully knowledgeable and friendly tour guide, Starline Tours LLC has been in business since 1935 so they are the absolute experts in a hop on/hop off bus tours, along with many other types of tour to suit any taste or interest. With a sweeping base of knowledge on LA’s hottest landmarks and points of interest, I highly recommend these tours if you’re looking to get a taste of the celebrity lifestyle with one of their celebrity home tours, or even to get situated when you first arrive with a 50+ stop tour of the city! Pro tip: a lot of their tours also include free or reduced price entry to other points of interest and theme parks if you’re looking for a deal!

 

 

The Flight Path Museum & Learning Center

The Flight Path Museum & Learning Center Picture Credits: The Flight Path Museum & Learning Center

 

Do you love anything aviation-related? Then you’ll find aeronautical bliss at The Flight Path Museum & Learning Center! As this museum is the aviation equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you’ll get a chance to see the “stars” of aviation, past and present in a well organized and expertly presented manner. Learn about how aviation shaped and contributed to the history of SoCal and even try your piloting skills with their flight simulator! The museum is also located right next to the LAX airfield so it’s a great spot to visit to either begin or finish your stay in LA. This location is well adapted for learners of all ages so feel free to bring your kids with you so you can spend an afternoon with your head in the clouds!

 

 

The Groundlings

The Groundlings Picture Credits: The Groundlings

 

If you love to laugh (and who doesn’t), The Groundlings Theatre is a well-recommended place to spend an evening. The theatre itself has been entertaining audiences since 1974 with a wide range of improv and sketch comedy shows that are as hilarious as they are affordable. With a full lineup of shows planned for the summer months and beyond, you’re sure to find something that will tickle your funny bone. This theatre and improv school has churned out comic geniuses like Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrel, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and many, many more! For those who are staying in LA for a longer period of time, they also offer classes where you can train on the same stage that’s springboarded many careers in comedy and has helped shaped the industry as we know it today. So whether you’re taking a class or seeing a show, The Groundlings Theatre is a place I recommend any comedy-lover to enjoy.

 

 

Melrose Trading Post

Melrose Trading Post Picture Credits: Melrose Trading Post

 

If you’re looking for something a bit unexpected, it’s possible you’ll find it at the Melrose Trading Post. This weekly artisanal market is open and bustling every Sunday and is filled to the brim with well-curated artists bringing anything and everything you can imagine! Local musicians are also showcased here every week so you can really get immersed in the artistic scene of LA during your trip. And what market would be complete without some amazing food created, prepared, and served by locals to fellow foodies with all kinds of cuisine on the menu during any given week. Bring the family and enjoy all the different types of art LA has to offer. You certainly will find a treasure to bring home with you, and you can be confident you’re supporting local artists at the same time!

 

 

Self Help Graphics & Art

Self Help Graphics & Art Picture Credits: Self Help Graphics & Art

 

Originally founded in 1970 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1973, Self Help Graphics and Art has been promoting local art and encouraging local artists ever since. I would absolutely recommend dropping by to one of their exhibitions during the week from 10 AM to 5 PM to see the fun and creative spirit that Self Help Graphics and Art is so passionate about. You can also attend one of their workshops and get some time to enjoy hands-on self-expression. Their staff is incredibly friendly and guide, and are willing to guide you as much or as little as you may need! With a full calendar of events on their website, it will be hard to visit only once during your stay in gorgeous LA. While you’re there you also have the option to support the work that they’re doing in the community and make a lasting impact on the creative culture of LA.

 

 

Two Bit Circus

Picture Credits: Two Bit Circus

 

Two Bit Circus is a must-see for technology and game lovers of all kinds. This techie amusement park offers a series of VR games, and classic arcade games as well as even more high-tech options. Check out Club01 for a fully interactive (and hilarious) show that incorporates technology, humor, and charm in a unique and very successful way. They also offer a full menu including carnival favorites like corn dogs, tater tots, and chili cheese fries. And don’t forget to check out the impressive beer and wine list, in addition to their human and even robotically made cocktails! The human bartenders are charming enough but the robotic bartender is certainly a welcome addition to this tech-driven paradise. Be sure to take your friends and enjoy a truly uniquely futuristic experience in present-day LA.

 

 

Hotel Figueroa

Hotel Figueroa Picture Credits: Hotel Figueroa

 

Experienced travels know that the place you stay in is as important to your trip as what you choose to do during the day! The Hotel Figueroa (a.k.a. “The Fig”) is a vibrant, exciting, and quite artistic place to stay during your visit to beautiful Los Angeles, and an experience you won’t soon forget! With 268 rooms to choose from, there is no doubt that you’ll find one that leaves you feeling rested and relaxed whenever you may need it. You can also beat the LA heat in the rooftop pool, which is an absolute must-see to soak in the gorgeous views of this sunny city. Originally built as a place to rest for female travelers it’s played an active role in the women’s rights movement and has hosted many historical and modern women’s clubs and events. Don’t miss out on this historical, yet freshly modern masterpiece!

 

 

Hotel Erwin

Hotel Erwin Picture Credits: Hotel Erwin

 

Hotel Erwin is a picturesque beachside experience with views that are hard to beat. Featured as “One of Los Angeles’ 10 Best Hotels” by TripAdvisor, it’s easy to see how this hotel lives up to its motto: “Never Normal.” A trip to the High Rooftop Lounge will give you some of the best views of the Westside and be sure to enjoy the great ocean breeze (and a well-crafted cocktail) to help cool you down! I also highly recommend going to the new Erwin’s Kitchen & Cocktails to check out some of the culinary creations Chef Aaren Gutierrez has cooked up! If you’re looking for a dose of genuine SoCal, this is the place to go!

 

 

Shade Hotel

Shade Hotel Picture Credits: Shade Hotel

 

If you’re looking to relax in true luxury after a busy day in LA, The Shade Hotel is just the place! The hotel’s location in the heart of Manhattan Beach is perfect for travelers looking for a sun-filled, beachside vacation in style. The Shade has been listed by Condé Nest Traveler® as the #6 reason to visit LA due to their widely recognized reputation for amazing service and beautiful spaces. Do yourself a favor and spend some time relaxing at the rooftop Skydeck pool and then an upscale dinner on their outdoor terrace. There are even fire pits there for you to enjoy on those brisk evenings with friends and family. The rooms themselves don’t disappoint either with every room being equipped with Tempur-Pedic mattresses, complimentary (and delicious) breakfast, and 24-hour room service for those late night cravings. Spend your day in the sun and your evenings relaxing in the Shade.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Keith Perrotta

Keith is a freelance writer, English teacher, baker, and travel junkie currently based in Madrid, Spain. When not creating content or teaching ESL he enjoys going to the beach, researching bread recipes, looking through bookstores, and relaxing with a glass of wine. Having lived in the USA, France, Ghana, Kenya, and now Spain, his main goal in life is to visit every continent once (including Antarctica). You can usually catch him eating ice cream in the park or stopping someone in the street to ask to pet their dog.

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