The Top Mistake To Avoid When Visiting Los Angeles

Many visitors who travel to Los Angeles each year have long bucket lists of what to see when there. From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Santa Monica's famous pier, the city of LA knows no bounds when it comes to what to see and do. The options can certainly feel overwhelming, and many travelers mistakenly try to cram everything in on their singular visit. If you want an enjoyable visit to the City of Angels, take our advice: Don't try to see everything in one go.

While Los Angeles itself is only approximately 500 square miles, the areas surrounding it, including many sought-after destinations like Venice, Malibu, and even Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, cover much more ground. Unless you want to spend the majority of your trip honking your horn and essentially sitting in a parked car due to LA having some of the country's worst traffic, it's crucial to cut back on your itinerary and prioritize your top must-see and do's when visiting Los Angeles. For context, even LAX Airport is around 25 miles from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which, during rush hour, could easily take up to two hours to get to.

Where you stay is crucial

Whether it's West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Burbank, where you stay in LA will play a crucial role in your itinerary. While there is public transportation in Los Angeles, to best enjoy your time here, you'll want to rent a car, as it's extremely difficult to get around LA without a set of wheels.

If you're interested in ticking off all of the classic Hollywood "things to do," West Hollywood is a stellar place to base yourself out of. Not only will you have great access to nightlife, thanks to the plethora of bars in the neighborhood, but you'll be close to Beverly Hills where you can visit the famous glitzy Rodeo Drive. Closely situated to Hollywood, The Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre) are also close to West Hollywood (aka WeHo). If you stay on Santa Monica Boulevard, take the road all the way west and you'll eventually be at Santa Monica Beach. If you do plan a beach day, make sure to dedicate an entire day for it.

If you're more interested in experiencing LA like those who live there, you'll want to head slightly more east. Los Feliz is a fantastic option. From there, you can visit Griffith Park, explore the tasty flavors of Koreatown, and still be close enough for a day in Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame. Also try hiking Runyon Canyon for some of the city's best views.

Staying outside of LA

If you care less about the city itself and are more interested in some of Los Angeles County's beaches, save yourself the time and don't stay in any of the major neighborhoods in Los Angeles proper. Each beach has its own characteristics, so don't make the mistake of assuming that all LA beaches are the same.

For a rugged, artsy feel, Venice Beach is a must. You'll also have the bragging rights of saying you stayed at the most filmed beach on the West Coast, and once you see Venice's beauty for yourself, you'll understand why it has ended up on so many big screens.

If you want to visit one of the most popular beaches in Los Angeles, along with one of the most famous piers in Southern California, Santa Monica has your name all over it. The Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade are a must. Venice and Santa Monica are close to each other, so you can easily see both of them in one trip.

For a more off-the-beaten path beach, head to Hermosa or Redondo Beach. Loaded with surfers, these beaches offer more of the typical laid-back SoCal vibes. Note that if you do plan to base yourself out of either of these beach cities, you will be far enough away from the actual city of Los Angeles that, should you want to sightsee in the city itself, you might want to consider switching over your accommodation to one of LA's neighborhoods.