Los Angeles is known across the world for being the home of Hollywood. Its boulevards are renowned, and almost every building in the area has its tales of Golden Age stars who might have dined there. Los Angeles is a busy place full of beautiful people, rolling hills, and iconic sites. It's home to the Chateau Marmont, the Walk of Fame, and the Chinese Theater. Overlooking all of this is the Hollywood Sign. But as many things as there are to do, there are also things not to do in Los Angeles.
Although everyone gets the appeal, shelling out for a tour of celebrity homes might not be the best idea. There is so much more to see in Los Angeles than its stars. Furthermore, if you do want the chance to run into somebody famous, you’re far more likely to do so in a Starbucks than you are on one of these. Not to mention LA residents, both celebrity and non, are understandably annoyed when tours are blocking their drives.
Runyon Canyon might be the easiest and most convenient hike in Los Angeles. That being said, that’s also its downfall. Yes, the Hollywood Hills trail itself provides some excellent views of the city, but it’s also incredibly busy. A lot of Los Angeles residents take to Runyon Canyon with their dogs. For them, it’s a nice place to take their dogs for a walk and, according to locals, not always pick up their mess. Instead of this hike, you should try Griffith Park instead. There are plenty of trails there, with one of them leading to the park’s highest peak. On it, the stunning Griffith Observatory.
Venice Beach and particularly its Boulevard are crazy busy at the weekends. The same thing goes for Santa Monica Pier. That being said, if you don’t mind your strolls being slowed down by the crowds or you’re visiting Los Angeles for longer than a few days, it might be worth the visit. This isn’t to say you should avoid Venice Beach altogether, however. During the week, it’s much less busy, and on a Tuesday afternoon, you might just fall in love with it.
Although Los Angeles has public transport in the form of buses, they aren’t the most reliable. To get around Los Angeles, you need to be in a car. Whether you rent a car for the duration of your trip or take ride sharing everywhere, you’re going to have to opt for the car. Even then, there are so many drivers in LA that the traffic can be so congested it can take you hours to get somewhere.
Not only is the Hollywood Sign difficult to get to, but it's also illegal to get up-close-and-personal. Despite the fact there are several different hikes up to the sign including the Hollywood Ridge trail, once you get up there, you’ll find a tall fence surrounding it. If you hop over the face, you can face the possibility of a night behind bars. The closest you can get to the sign is from the ridge over the top of it, accessible from Griffith Park.
Nobody is going to frown on you if you decide to spend some of your time in Los Angeles shopping. There are fashion boutiques all over the city containing items you might not be able to get anywhere else. However, one mistake that visiting shoppers tend to make is going to Rodeo Drive. On Rodeo Drive, you'll probably spend more time trying to weave in and out of crowds than shopping. Instead of doing this, you can get some real shopping done on Robertson Boulevard. Robertson Boulevard is one of the trendiest shopping districts in LA and is criminally underrepresented.
As tempting as posing next to kitschy figures of such stars like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis might be, the Hollywood Wax Museum is nothing short of a tourist trap. Not only are the tickets to what VICE has dubbed as being "The Worst Wax Museum in America" an extortionate $30, most figures barely resemble who they're supposed to be. Of course, the halls of the museum, located on Hollywood Boulevard, are always packed.
Pink's Hot Dogs in Venice offers up the most overrated hot dogs in Los Angeles if you ask locals. It might be an institution, but nobody wants to line up for close to an hour when they're craving what should be fast food. Besides, there is no shortage of hot dog stands in LA. Instead of Pink's - and the Wax Museum - try Skooby's on the Hollywood Boulevard.
Although most tour buses offer packages for tourists, you'll also be spending two hours of your Los Angeles day in a cramped, double-decker bus. Furthermore, most of these rides barely scrape the surface when it comes to locations. As well as passing glimpses of the busiest spots in LA, you'll get to see the cool hedges around celebrity homes. That's right, not even the homes. Instead of this, just take a walk downtown.
Bizarrely enough, most people who visit Los Angeles don't ever go to the actual center of the city. The Downtown neighborhood is full of the historic, Los Angeles architecture you always see aerial shots of in Hollywood blockbusters. There are also dozens of things to do there From visiting Grand Central Market to The Last Bookstore; there's an option for every kind of traveler. If you miss this neighborhood, you're missing out on a huge part of what makes Los Angeles great.