3 Days in Los Angeles: How to Make the Most of 72 Hours

“In Los Angeles, everyone is a star” Denzel Washington hit the nail on the head when he uttered these words. Located within the Golden State, Los Angeles feels like it’s studded with diamonds.

From the glittery sandy beaches to delightful luxury goods and beautifully tanned people, everything sparkles in LA. If you only have 3 days in Los Angeles, we have the perfect guide to help you sort through what can’t be missed and what can be saved for next time.

Summer lives perpetually in LA. A warm, comforting breeze can always be found. Within a matter of an hour, you can have stunning coastal views or picturesque mountain hikes.

Add to that the thrill of a celebrity sighting at unexpected moments, and you may want to move to Los Angeles in a heartbeat!

Follow along as we show you all of the can’t-miss experiences for a quick trip to the City of Angels. 

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a vast city. It is the most populous county in the U.S.! Incorporating 88 cities and over 12,000 square kilometers of land area, it is larger than Delaware, and Rhode Island put together.

From Downtown to Anaheim and everywhere in between, you can book with confidence, knowing you are always getting our best rate online.

Downtown Los Angeles

Hotel Normandie

We cannot recommend Hotel Normandie enough. A historic boutique hotel, Hotel Normandie gained notoriety in the 1920s and 1930s. Plus, it’s located conveniently within a 5-minute drive from Paramount Studios, Staples Center, Echo Park, and the LA Convention Center. 

Combine your savings by booking these amazing Hotel Normandie deals by Tripster. Choose between Universal Studios Hollywood Hotel Package and Disneyland Vacation Package to score a great room and experience together!

Are you craving a burger? The onsite restaurant, Cassell’s Hamburgers, is not to be missed. Having opened its doors in 1948, it beckons you to its historical interiors. Decorated in terrazzo flooring and mahogany doors, this is the perfect place to catch a bite of history!

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events in Los Angeles

Fun Fact: Hotel Normandie is where Malcolm Lowry wrote his bestselling book “Under the Volcano.”

Hotel Normandie is also home to Woody Lovell’s classic-style barbershop that attracts celebrities and sportsmen alike. Offering expert grooming and men’s life and advice, Lovell’s is a welcomed step back in time.

lobby of the hotel
photo credit: Hotel Normandie via Facebook

The Pacific Inn

Amazing hotel deals await you at The Pacific Inn at Seal Beach. Pacific Inn is conveniently close to great LA attractions like Disney California Adventure Park and Knott’s Berry Farm.

The Pacific Inn brings together the personalized service of a quaint bed and breakfast with the conveniences of a large-scale hotel. People can’t stop raving about it once they have stayed there, and we guarantee that will be your experience. 

Pro Tip: Take a dip in the pool between sightseeing trips to soak up even more California sun.

Try your Pacific Inn bookings with these great packages:

Ultimate Los Angeles Hotel Deals

Can the hotel deals get better? You bet they can!

Diversity is what keeps LA alive and vibrant, and hotels are no different. Whatever your price point may be, LA hotels have a room for you.

Related Post: Sightseeing in LA: 16 Can’t-Miss Stops

Alamo Inn and Suites

Try Alamo Inn and Suites for a comfort-filled experience surrounded by palm trees and local shops. Get to know the locals, make friends with fellow guests and maximize your savings by bundling with Disneyland or Universal Studios!

Good Night Inn Buena Park

Another stellar option, Good Nite Inn Buena Park, will redefine convenience for you. Incredibly close to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland, Good Nite Inn is the perfect place to unwind in LA.

Pro Tip: The best deal for Good Nite Inn bookings comes with Tripster’s Disneyland package.

Los Angeles Landmarks You Cannot Skip

Time constraints in big cities can be painful. However, your heart wants to make the most of the city, and your mind knows you need to be practical.

To satisfy your heart and mind, we have created the ultimate “LA Essentials” list for you.

Palm Trees and Store Fronts along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, USABeverly Hills

Palm trees, perfectly manicured mansions, and Rodeo Drive. All that and more awaits you when you head to Beverly Hills.

A trip to LA is incomplete without Beverly Hills, and we stand by this statement. Beverly Hills brings to the fore your deepest desires. It fires the passion of your dreams by showing you what is possible.

Walk or drive through Beverly Hills and soak up your surroundings. Then, have brunch at Rodeo Drive and shop at your favorite designer’s store!

Photo Alert! The famous Regent Beverly Wilshire from Pretty Woman is just one street over from Rodeo Drive!

Enjoy the glitz and glamor of Beverly Hills with these Tripster approved products:

Pro Tip: The most reliable celebrity spotting is on Alpine Drive, Bedford Drive, Benedict Canyon Drive, and Mulholland Drive.

Hollywood Sign

A picture of the Hollywood sign is synonymous with Los Angeles. So whenever someone says they’re visiting LA, we expect that Instagram update.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Disneyland: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

The Hollywood sign was completed in 1923 and overlooks the beautiful Hollywood Hills. It’s one of the most photographed landmarks on the west coast.

Pro Tip: Head to North Beachwood Drive to catch the best city views of the Hollywood Sign.

Catch the VIP Los Angeles Tour. You will relish a guided tour and enjoy the bragging rights of the amazing photos you will score of this landmark.

drone aerial view of the hollywood sign at sunset in Los Angeles, California, USA
photo credit: Vincentas Liskauskas via Unsplash

Hollywood Hills

Inhabiting the central region of Los Angeles, Hollywood Hills is worth a visit. So many celebrities call it home, and the houses are stunningly magnificent.

You could drive around on your own, but why not leave it to the experts?

Take a guided tour of Hollywood Hills in a 1976 Cadillac on the Classic Car Tour of Los Angeles. Feel like a movie star while cruising the streets in all your magnificence!

Staples Center/Crypto.com Arena

The Staples Center (which has recently been renamed the Crypto.com Arena) is possibly the most famous sports venue on the West Coast.

This arena hosts 250 events annually, ranging from professional sports, boxing, live music, family events, and even the Grammy awards! Each year over 4 million flock to the Crypto arena to watch the magic unfold.

Fun Fact: Home to the Los Angeles Clippers, Crypto.com Arena is where they’ve experienced historic NBA success

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Looks familiar? You may recognize the Walk Disney Concert Hall from the video game Midnight Club.

Since its construction in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall has been a significant attraction for tourists. An architectural marvel, the Concert Hall glows from the confidence of its status as one of the most stunning buildings in LA.

Photo Alert! Featured in movies like Collateral, Fracture, and The Soloist, the Concert Hall is perfect for Instagram-worthy pictures.

ground distant view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall on a sunny day with a blue sky in Los Angeles, California, USA
photo credit: Douglas M. Kampner via Facebook

Universal Studios

Head to Universal Studios to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how movies are made. Check out the sets of Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Home Alone 2, The Grinch, and so many more!

Related Post: Insider’s Guide to Universal Studios Hollywood™

The sets are not the only thing that will set your heart racing. Universal Studios is home to a fantastic theme park with great rides, experiences, and shows.

Pro Tip: Lines at Universal Studios can be massive. Save yourself much-needed time by investing in Express Tickets!

If theme parks are your thing, you will love these Universal Studios packages:

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Have you ever dreamt of having your name added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Who hasn’t! Head to this 1.3 mile stretch on Hollywood Boulevard and inspect the location of your future stardom!

Photo Alert! Kneel on one knee and touch your favorite celebrity’s star with one hand to look like a superstar!

Names on the stars range from celebrities in motion pictures, television, radio, recording, live theatre, and sports. So when you walk this mile, you are tracing the steps of Jennifer Aniston, Lucille Ball, Bob Barker, Betty White, and Tom Cruise! Isn’t that so exciting?!

Pro Tip: Los Angeles Big Bus Tours is the perfect way to combine the Hollywood Walk of Fame with other LA attractions!

Close up of Betty White's star on the Wall of Fame covered in flowers and a magazine saying "Farewell Betty" in Los Angeles, California, USA
photo credit: E! News via Facebook

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier is an extremely popular choice for filming for the same reasons for visiting. It’s one of the most filmed piers ever! The sweeping ocean views, glittering sand, wooden boardwalk, and ferrous wheel are a sight to behold.

Fun Fact: Santa Monica Pier has been featured in movies like 2012, Forrest Gump, Iron Man, and My Sister’s Keeper!

The Pier is lined with local artists showcasing their handmade goodies and keepsakes. A cut above your average boardwalk, Santa Monica Pier is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Related Post: Los Angeles on a Budget: How to Save BIG With a Go City Pass

Indulge your senses by taking a dip in the ocean and heading to the Pier for some fresh fish and chips.

Buy a handmade painting and a personalized keychain, then take in spectacular views at the Pier’s edge.

Venice Beach

The famous Venice Beach is just a 30-minute picturesque walk from Santa Monica Pier.

Venice Beach is a popular destination for health enthusiasts, known to be the birthplace of outdoor gyms. Should you fancy it, you could join in on a few exercises or kick back with a cone of fresh fruit.

A sunset that fades from like blue to orange with palm trees infront of it and people standing on the pier and watching at Venice Beach near Los Angeles, California, USACan’t-Miss Los Angeles Experiences

There’s no such thing as a dull day in LA! The list of great views and experiences in Los Angeles is as long as a Target receipt!

Los Angeles is a universe in itself. Mountains, beaches, piers, theme parks, and other attractions come together to create a magical time.

Enhance yours with these great activities and experiences:

Griffith Observatory & Park

Located on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood, Griffith Observatory is a gateway to the stars! This is an unparalleled opportunity to explore an observatory, a spectacular hike, and fantastic views of the Hollywood sign!

Pro Tip: Take the Griffith Observatory shuttle from Los Feliz to skip the parking headache at the top of the hill.

The stunning planetarium at Griffith Observatory is the crown jewel. This is a sight to behold, featuring a Zeiss star projector and digital projection system.

A real Roman Sundial and an illustrative system inside make Griffith Observatory a star attraction for history lovers. Speaking of time, the Observatory also features an Indian calendar! Learn how to mark off your days with this original California invention.

Related Post: 25 Unforgettable Romantic Things to Do in Los Angeles for Couples

Any green space you see on your way up to Griffith Observatory is Griffith Park. Located on the East side of the Santa Monica mountains, it is the largest municipal park in the United States. Spanning over 4,000 acres, Griffith park has over 5o miles of hiking trails.

Photo Alert! Hollyridge trail within Griffith Park has amazing views of the Hollywood Sign.

aerial sunset view over Griffith Observatory and downtown Los Angeles, California, USAAquarium of the Pacific

Did you know that the Pacific Ocean is often referred to as the Serengeti of the Sea? Home to over 200k aquatic species, the Pacific Ocean is a thriving ecosystem!

Feel like diving in to meet them all? Then, we have the perfect answer! Head to the Aquarium of the Pacific to enjoy the company of over 500 of them. Thirty-two unique exhibits give insight into sharks, Magellanic penguins, and even tropical reefs!

Art Galleries of Los Angeles

Where one art form thrives, another quickly follows suit. First, Los Angeles is home to hundreds of art galleries. Second, only to New York, LA is an art lover’s delight!

We love these art galleries for bringing meaning to everyday life through their beauty:

  • Art + Practice
  • Blum & Poe
  • Commonwealth and Council
  • Hauser & Wirth Art Gallery
  • Laxart
  • The Mistake Room

Best Hikes in Los Angeles

Los Angeles mountains and surrounding rugged terrain offset by the soothing beach create great hiking trails.

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Head to Griffith Park for the best hiking trails. However, the best coastal and canyon hikes are between Santa Monica and Malibu.

We particularly love:

  • Ocean and Canyon View Trail
  • Point Dume Cove Trail
  • Coral Canyon loop Trail
  • Solstice Canyon Loop

Pro Tip: Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen, that Los Angeles sunburn is brutal!

Eat Your Heart Out in the City of Angels

Los Angeles is a particular favorite of foodies. No one has ever been to LA and comes away with an unsatisfied palate.

You absolutely have to add these food experiences to your LA bucket list:

Food Tours and Markets

Food in Los Angeles is so abundant that you can dedicate parts of your trip to food alone!

Try the Temecula Wine and Vine Tour to visit four different wineries! Sample the best wines and get up close and personal with the process of making vino. The ‘jewel’ of Riverside county awaits you on your wine, cheese and meats experience!

Photo Alert! This tour traverses the LA Arts District which has plenty of murals and graffiti that make stunning photos!

Instead, if you’d check out where the locals eat, Grand Central Market is your answer. It is a remarkable mixture of food from different cultures, much like the city itself! Tantalize your palate with cheese, Japanese food, Mexican staples, and so much more at this culinary treasure.

Related Post: When is the Best Time to Visit Los Angeles?

Wide shot overlooking endless rows of grapes with building in the far distance on the Temecula Wine & Vine Tour in San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: Best Coast Tours via Facebook

Ice Cream and Gelato shops in LA

Need a sugar boost? Want to refresh your palate on the food tour?

It should come as no surprise that ice cream and gelato are the top desserts of LA. In a city that boasts of a summer lasting 12 months, sugary frozen delights rule the dessert roost.

Get your fix at:

  • Carmela Ice Cream & Sorbet
  • Fatamorgana Gelato
  • Mashti Malone Ice Cream
  • Fosselman’s Ice Cream Co.
  • Bumsan Organic Milk Bar
  • Salt & Straw

Pro Tip: Salt & Straw’s vegan chocolate ice cream is to die for!

Getting around in LA: Bus Tours and Passes

LA traffic is legendary, yet driving is the top choice for all residents and visitors.

Don’t want to be bothered with traffic and parking?

Consider the  Big Bus Tours Los Angeles and Hop-On Hop-Off Los Angeles Bus Tour. With varying levels of flexibility, both these tours give you access to all the attractions covered above.

Want even more savings and bundling? Try the Go Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass and Go Los Angeles Explorer Pass.

Both these passes deliver incredible savings on theme parks, studios, and attractions like Madame Tussauds.

Related Post: How to Devise the Perfect Los Angeles Packing List

Los Angeles will not only steal your heart, but it will become your happy place. That happy place in your mind that you turn to when you need a cheer-up.

The weather, food, and natural beauty will keep you coming back, and it’s all just as well. You’re about to build some long-lasting memories in this star-studded city! 

If you’ve fallen in love like never before and are looking to call Los Angeles home, check out Neighbor Who. Learn on a deeper level which neighborhood may be right for you!

Have Any Can’t-Miss Experiences in Los Angeles to Add?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Sarina Byron

Sarina Byron is a California-based writer whose work has been featured in leading publications such as  Authors Publish, Introvert, Dear, Thrive Global, Book...

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Los Angeles Itinerary