Best things to do in Los Angeles besides Disney and Universal

Whether you’ve been inspired to visit Los Angeles because of La La Land, the Kardashians or Robbie Williams, there’s plenty to do in the Californian city.

From seeing the bright lights of Hollywood to shopping until you drop on Rodeo Drive – Los Angeles is a fun place to be.

However, if you’re not into commercialism and theme parks (like myself) then going to LA can seem like an odd decision.

But you’ll be happy to know that it’s not all Disneyland and Universal; there are many other attractions to suit the history buffs and sun-seekers among us.

Here’s what not to miss on your first trip to Los Angeles –

1. Griffith Observatory

An iconic Los Angeles attraction that’s best visited in the evening, the Griffith Observatory boasts some of the best views of the Hollywood Hills.

Along with the observatory itself, the sunset is also not to be missed, hence the reason I say to visit in the evening.

2. Long Beach

Upon arriving in California, I will admit I was disappointed with my first impression. Thanks to 90210, I’d imagined a cool beach vibe with long promenades, but found the complete opposite in Hollywood.

However, on a whim, I decided to visit the Queen Mary which is located 30 minutes from Los Angeles in Long Beach- and what a pleasant surprise it was.

The ocean seaside city has a beach, marina and promenade along with designer boutiques and upscale restaurants.

And of course, it has the Queen Mary, number three on your must-see list.

If it wasn’t a 13-hour flight, I would go back in a heartbeat.

4. The Getty Center

If you like art, you’re in for a treat at The Getty Center as Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Rubens house their paintings here.

However, don’t fear if you lack an artistic eye as the gardens are spectacular.

According to the official website, the garden was created by California artist Robert Irwin, the 134,000-square-foot Central Garden lies at the heart of the Getty Center.

More than 500 varieties of plant material are used in the landscaping and a stream cascades over a stone waterfall into a pool where you might spot some cute ducklings!

5. El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

Los Angeles has a brilliant Mexican representation and nowhere shows that better than El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.

The area has the appearance of a Spanish village but celebrates many cultures including African American Chinese and Italian.

From traditional shops to public museums, to appreciate LA you must attempt to understand its multiculturalism.

6. Los Angeles City Hall

The centre of the city’s government is one of the major sights of Downtown LA.

Architecturally, the City Hall is impressive and was once the city’s tallest building.

On the 27th floor, there’s also a free observation deck that provides a 360-degree view of the city.

7. Hollywood Walk of Fame

No trip to LA would be complete without seeing the Walk of Fame, but be warned it is a tourist trap.

Heaving with visitors, you’ll have to fight your way to match your handprints with an A-lister’s.

Be prepared to fight off touts, flogging anything from their new CD to cheap wristwatches.

8. Angels Flight Railway

Many will recognise the funicular railway from the film La, La Land where Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone famously take a romantic ride.

Located in the Bunker Hill area of Downtown LA, Angels Flight has been named the “world’s shortest railway” and has since been restored to its early 1900s glory.

9. Pantages Theatre

It may look like a jewellery store on the outside, but inside it holds an impressive secret.

Pantages Theatre opened in 1920 but closed its doors in 1975 opening later as Downtown Jewelry Exchange.

However, much of the theatre still remains including baroque ornaments.

10. Santa Monica

One of the most famous beaches in California, Santa Monica is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of LA.

Full of healthy food and drink cafes and restaurants, Santa Monica is perfect for a stroll on a lazy day.

And if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, the Pacific Park has 12 electrifying rides.

11. Grand Central Market

After a quick trip down Angels Flight railway, stop off for a bite to eat at Grand Central Market.

Home to a number of different stalls, you can mix and match cuisines to suit your tastebuds.

12. Union Station

Another one for film buffs, Union Station has been serving Californians since 1939 as a major train station.

Combining different architectural styles, the building is a marvel to look at and has since become a cinematic hotspot.

Blade Runner, Pearl Harbor and Catch Me If You Can all used Union Station as a filming location.

13. Walt Disney Concert Hall

Whilst Disneyland may be ruled out of this list the Walt Disney Concert Hall certainly isn’t.

Home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the concert hall has a sweet story.

Lillian Disney pledged $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of LA and as a tribute to Walt Disney.

Eventually, the Walt Disney Concert Hall would be completed in 2003 and serve as a major art hub.

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