Los Angeles is the City of Dreams. You can spot more film stars in Rodeo Drive than anywhere else in the world and if you are really star-struck you can take a guided coach tour past the luxury houses where the celebrities live.
But there is so much more to do in Los Angeles as you will see from the list below. These attractions are not in any order of preference but they are all worth doing when you are in the Californian city.
10 Olvera Street
This is the oldest street in Los Angeles and it is here you will find the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument which stands on the general site of the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles.
Near the monument is the world-renowned Mexican market which has existed for more than 75 years and is open seven days a week 10am-7pm.
When you enter Olvera Street it is like stepping back in time and you will find historic walking areas, great flea and street markets and historic landmarks.
Various special events are held in the street like the “Blessing of the Animals” and “Dia De Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), so if you’re lucky you’ll visit while there’s a street celebration going on.
If you want to see where Los Angeles began then this street should be on your list.
9 Queen Mary
You cannot visit Los Angeles without visiting the Grand Old Lady of the sea the Queen Mary. Although she has not set sail since the 1960s you can get the feel of what it must have been like to cross the Atlantic in the heyday of liners before the days of fast air travel.
Tread the same rooms where royalty, heads of state and film stars walked and see the cabins they inhabited. Enjoy a drink in the wonderful art deco bar or eat in one of the restaurants. You can even stay on the boat in the Queen Mary Hotel.
There is a Queen Mary Museum a few steps away where you can see photographs and passenger lists and the history of this magnificent ship. While you are there you can also visit the Russian submarine Scorpion which lies nearby.
8 Santa Monica Pier and Muscle Beach
These are great free attractions and places to have fun. The focal point of Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica Pier opened in September 1909 with a magnificent ceremony. An actor dressed as King Neptune climbed from the sea on to the pier saying he was going to destroy the new pier, but Queen Santa Monica pointed out it was made of concrete.
Admitting defeat, the King of the Sea dived back into the sea in a blaze of flames. So the fun began and it continues today. There is a giant ferris wheel, an aquarium and fairground games plus a historic carousel and vintage soda fountain, as well as a trapeze school.
Just south of the pier is the original Muscle Beach where you can work out with the bronzed Californians who go there every day to tone their bodies. On Saturdays they run free Roga (a combination of running and yoga) classes on the pier.
7 The Griffith Observatory
This impressive building with its magnificent copper-clad domes opened in 1935 and the entire building was renovated in 2007. It lies on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood with a view of the Los Angeles Basin.
It sits in lovely grounds stretching for 3,015 acres and they have a full program of events including monthly space lectures.
It is open six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday and there is a lot to see including the Zeiss telescope which was installed when the observatory opened.
The Samuel Oschin Planetarium is where the lectures take place and when there are no lectures you can just go in and watch the show.
A newly installed glass-walled walkway 10 feet wide by 150 feet long allows visitors to stand watching the motions of the sun, moon and stars.
6 Grauman’s Chinese Theater and Walk of Fame
This magnificent theater is where you will find celebrities’ hand and foot prints and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The tradition of getting stars to leave their prints in cement began when legendary star Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped in the wet cement when the building was being constructed.
This gave theater owner Sid Grauman the idea for the walk and he invited Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to start off the tradition by planting their hands and feet in the cement.
You can see the prints of all the great stars including Judy Garland, John Wayne, and Humphrey Bogart. The Grauman Theater is a great place to see a movie as well.
5 The Getty Center
If you are a lover of art then you have to visit the Getty Center. You cannot miss this hilltop acropolis comprising a complex of white pavilions which you reach by taking a tram ride from the bottom of the hill. The location offers spectacular views.
The collections are housed in four two-level pavilions linked by walkways and you can visit them in any order. But if you want to see the collections chronologically you should start at the North Pavilion which has works dating from before 1600.
The East and South Pavilions have collections from the 17th and 18th centuries and the East Pavilion specializes in Dutch and Flemish masters including several works by Rubens.
The West Pavilion goes from 1800 to the present day. They also have temporary exhibitions by artists from all over the world.
This was Walt Disney’s original theme park and those who have visited other Disneyland parks will find this one a bit tame — but it’s still got plenty of magic.
Disney wanted to create a park where parents and kids could do things together, including go on the rides, so they are more gentle than the massive ones found in places like Orlando.
But you will find castles galore and all the familiar characters including Minnie and Micky Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck.
The park is in Anaheim, which is east of downtown Los Angeles and in the summer there are daily fireworks, shows and parades.
Next door to Disneyland is a separate theme park called California Adventure which has a collection of rides based on animated films.
Both parks are flanked by Downtown Disney where you will find shops, dining and entertainment areas.
3 Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
This is a great place to visit as it is set in 133 acres of beautiful gardens. Founded in 1966, the City of Los Angeles owns the entire zoo, the animals and the gardens.
Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association for its work saving animals from around the world from extinction they all roam freely in their natural environment.
The pride of the zoo are the 15 year-old African lion and lioness Hubert and Kalissa who came to LA from another zoo in March 2014. You can also get close-up and personal with the zoo’s beloved rhino, gorillas and see the Asian elephants.
A lot of conservation work is done here and the botanical gardens will give you as much pleasure to visit as the zoo.
2 Universal Studios
This is the oldest and most famous Hollywood studios still in use, combined with a theme park devoted to the movies, and there is a lot to see.
You can get on a bus for a tour of all the studios or go on the Jurassic Park ride or a ride based on The Simpsons.
See films like The Mummy and Transformers brought to life and visit the individual studios where your favorite films were made. There is a recreation of a Western, complete with the obligatory gunfight.
Come face-to-face with the mighty King Kong in 3D, created by award-winning film director Peter Jackson, and learn the secrets of how special effects are created as well as entering the wonderful Waterworld.
You can also go into the House of Horrors if you dare and stroll down the colorful City Walk where you can buy some great Hollywood memorabilia to take home.
1 Petersen Automotive Museum
If cars are your thing you will enjoy this museum which focuses a large part of its collections on historic vehicles, which they collect and preserve. Their first ever exhibit was a donated and beautifully
restored 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet.
They have various exhibitions running throughout the year and they change the exhibits every three to seven months.
Situated on Wilshire Boulevard you can actually sit in a Model T Ford, on a Kawasaki police motorcycle and in a Lola Indy race car in the May Family Discovery Center on the third floor.
The permanent collections include many items relating to the history of the automobile.