You could fill an entire shelf with Los Angeles guidebooks, and spend countless hours reading blogs telling you what to see and do in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the surrounding area. And if you’ve got a week or two to work with, that can be pretty helpful—but what if you’re only in LA for just one day? What if you essentially just have 24 hours to burn, perhaps between meetings or before jumping onto a plane to head somewhere else?
There’s obviously no shortage of attractions in the City of Angels. Your ideal day may not look much like the next person’s—but nevertheless, these quick suggestions may help you to make those 24 hours count.
Get Some Good—and Quick—Food
First, let’s get the culinary stuff out of the way. L.A. is one of the great food cities in the country, but if you’re just there for a day you may not want to spend two or three hours in a restaurant. Fortunately, the creativity of the L.A. food scene is by no means confined to five-star restaurants. Actually, some of the best food in town can be found from food trucks and in hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
Indeed, the L.A. food scene is as much about ethnic eccentricities, mini pizzas, and gourmet burger joints as anything elegant or fancy. Just spend some time on the streets seeking out a quick and creative venue with a decent-sized line, and you’ll probably be just fine.
From there, you may be tempted to visit a museum or some other cultural spot—but really, if you’re just in L.A. for the day, you may be better off doing some of the fun Hollywood stuff you always see on TV. Start with the Walk of Fame, a great way to celebrate the city’s showbiz legacy and get an up-close-and-personal experience with a true L.A. landmark.
You can also take a trek up to the famous Hollywood sign, and perhaps even get a picture snapped in front of it. Griffith Park is probably the best way to get some good views, so try heading there.
If you want to condense the whole L.A. experience into just an hour or so, try taking a drive up Sunset Boulevard and Sunset Strip—a great way to see seedy old-time Hollywood, new Hollywood, lavish Beverly Hills homes, and basically everything else that makes L.A. what it is. It’s a fun and breezy drive that’s arguably more revealing than any historic tour you could take. You might even end your day at Santa Monica Pier—a lovely and culturally rich site in its own right, and a perfect capper to your day in L.A.