Experience Los Angeles Like a Local – 5-6 Day Itinerary

Experience Los Angeles Like a Local – 5-6 Day Itinerary

Pacific Coastal Highway PCH Santa Monica

Santa Monica Beach PCH

Do what the locals do

This 5-6 Day How to Visit Los Angeles itinerary will help you plan an efficient visit to Los Angeles. You will see unique and non touristy places. Find the best places to eat, fun activities and more. Experience the City of Angels like a local!

Day 1 – Santa Monica

Arrive Santa Monica and choose a hotel in the Santa Monica area. One of my favorites is The Georgian.

The Georgian Hotel Santa MonicaThe Georgian Hotel – Ocean Avenue

​Built in 1933, it was designed to be an intimate hideaway, catering to Los Angeles high society. At the time the hotel was developed, it was nestled in a heavily-wooded shoreline of the little-known seaside community of Santa Monica.

It is located on Ocean Avenue right in the center of Santa Monica overlooking the Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Bay.

After checking in and dropping your bags, take a walk in the Palisades Park and check out the spectacular views looking West towards Malibu. You will also have a view of the Santa Monica Pier and the ferris wheel.


Walk down to The Loews Hotel about a mile down the beach walk, and experience the best Happy Hour. Arrive early to settle into comfortable seats around a fire pit. These seats are the best sunset view on the West Side. You’ll enjoy seeing the ferris wheel light up as the sun goes down on the Santa Monica Bay.

hotel casa del mar santa monica

 As twilight falls you can walk past the historic Hotel Casa Del Mar.  Head back towards The Georgian Hotel,  and on 2nd and Arizona is a trendy restaurant called Elephante‘. The food is good but the view is wonderful. Make sure to have reservations. It is definitely “sceney” and has a bar atmosphere, but the decor & people watching is A+.

elephante santa monica

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Day 2 – Biking, Malibu, Venice, Abbott Kinney, Venice Canals

Do as the Angelenos do…workout! Well..you can make it fun. Rent beach cruisers down by Shutters Hotel on the beach walk. You can go South first and ride through Venice Beach. Riding through is plenty in my opinion. Turn around and head back North towards Malibu. You will pass the original muscle beach, the pier, the tunnel under the pier, and continue North towards Will Rogers State Beach.
beach path santa monica

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After your bike ride you can catch an uber or walk up the Stairs to Montana Avenue Shopping District. There is a restaurant called Kreation offering healthy and delicious food. If you are a tea fan, order the Honey ginger tea. The avocado toast is amazing. You will find that in LA avocado is on just about everything. You can do some shopping with the celebs on Montana Avenue.
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How to visit LA like a local

So… I told you to make a quick stop at Venice Beach.. just to see it. But..don’t miss the trendy part of Venice. Abbot Kinney is a hipster shopping street with very expensive wares and apparel. There is definitely a gritty vibe, but that is on purpose.
abbot kinney venice california
flake venice

rose avenue venice california

After stopping on Abbot Kinney, head over to the Venice Canals. This is a neighborhood built in 1905 by Kinney himself to mimic Venice Italy. Now it is a cute neighborhood with tiny cottages and large ultra modern homes.
venice california canals

venice california canals

Time for dinner at The Ivy at the Shore on Ocean Avenue. This is a super charming restaurant and Los Angeles instituition. Simple but excellent California Cuisine with a grand view of the Ocean. Make sure to have reservations.
the ivy santa monica

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Day 3 – Malibu – Point Dume, Matador Beach & Getty Villa

A relaxing morning with breakfast on the front porch of The Georgian. But..you still need a workout right? Drive North to Point Dume in Malibu.  A lovely short hike up a hill with a dramatic view South and North West. If you are feeling adventurous you can climb down the stairwell to the alcove beach a few stories below.
point dume malibu california

Next stop is Matador State Beach a few more miles North in Malibu. If you make your plans during low tide you can walk the beach for a mile or two, but make sure you are back prior to the high tide. If you are not…you will get very wet.
el matador beach malibu

Time for a late lunch at Malibu Farm. This is a charming cafe and restaurant that sits on the Malibu pier. The food is yummy and the views are wonderful. Just watch out for the nose diving seagulls who will take your lunch in 2 seconds flat!
Malibu pier

If you are not exhausted, you can stop at The Getty Villa. This is the original home to the Getty Family which is now an art museum with lovely grounds. The Getty Museum is up the hill in Brentwood, and is incredible, but is a full day outing that would be difficult to squeeze into this 6 day itinerary. This is probably the night to go low key for dinner. But..if you change your mind, Patrick’s Roadhouse is right there to grab a burger.

Day 4 – UCLA Campus, Bel Air, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Greystone Mansion, East Side of LA

West Side

It is time to depart the West Side of Los Angeles and head East. Take Sunset towards Bel Air. If you are a college campus aficionado like I am…you may want to take a stroll though UCLA’s campus. It is gorgeous and you will be surprised at the stately brick architecture. Royce Hall is commonly used in Hollywood to film the colleges of the North East like Harvard & Princeton.Keep driving East on Sunset and up into the neighborhoods of Bel Air. The most expensive listing in the U.S. is offered for $150 million.

Beverly Hills

Next stop is Beverly Hills. it is always fun to drive through the Hills and search for the homes of old Hollywood Legends. The Greystone Mansion was built in 1928 by Ned Doheny the Son of Edward Doheny who struck Oil to make his fortunes. The movie “There Will be Blood” was loosely based on his story.  The grounds to the mansion are open on certain days and there is no parking or admission fee. Check prior.

Next stop is Rodeo Drive. Unless you are a serious shopper, a drive down Rodeo Drive is plenty. If you have watched the movie “Pretty Woman” you get the idea. Continue on and find the Hancock Park neighborhood. This is a gorgeous neighborhood of stately homes developed in the 1920’s by the Hancock Family also oil barons.

Mid-Wilshire

Grab lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area. Make it quick, because you have a couple more stops. The La Brea Tar Pits and LACMA are two museums in the Mid-Wilshire area. The Tar Pits and Museum take you back to Pre-historic times. But…there are actually still tar pits in the middle of LA! LACMA is a great art museum and make sure to take a photo in front of the lamp posts.

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The Mid-Wilshire are has some great hotels such as The Wilshire Kimpton and The Line Wilshire.

Day 5 – Silver Lake, Secret Stairs, East Side LA

East LA

Start your day early as you still have a lot to accomplish! I suggest having a wonderful breakfast at Sqirl in Silver Lake. Sqirl is a minimalist hip cafe/diner in a hipster neighborhood on the East Side of LA. The food is kind of healthy, kind of decadent but definitely mouth watering. Go before 8:30 a.m. if it is a weekend.

Hollywood

Next stop is Beachwood Canyon in Hollywood. This is a neighborhood developed in the 1920’s as “Hollywoodland”. The sign on the hill advertised the new development . In the mid- 1940’s the City took over ownership of the sign. The “L” fell off and the city removed the “and” leaving Hollywood!

Here in Beachwood Canyon you are going to climb 861 steps to work off your breakfast at Squirl. If you google “pdf” secret stairs Beachwood Canyon, you can follow the directions and walk up & down the 6 granite stairwells in the community. It is a 2 hour urban hike through the backyards of multi-million dollar homes, views of The Griffith Observatory, Hollywood sign, The Pacific, Downtown, and incredible styles of architecture. It is a must-do!

secret stairs hollywood

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secret stairs hollywood

secret stairs hollywood

A fun dinner after this long day is at Rockwell Table & Stage just down the Street. Elevated comfort eats and a rustic-chic patio. Live music & creative cocktails.

Day 6 – Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)

If you are taking a red-eye out or a late flight, there is more time to explore! Let’s go Downtown! Downtown LA has had a renaissance of sorts. Not quite the level of glamour it experienced in the 1920’s, but people are back downtown after deserting it back in the 70’s and 80’s. Grab the best Iced Latte in the U.S. according to the NY Times at G&B Coffee in The Grand Central Market. Next walk across the Street & take a ride on the shortest train ride in the U.S. at Angel’s Flight. A walking tour of Downtown is highly recommended. Many fun stories of the Cities history and changes.
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This is an ambitious schedule and will keep you busy all day long. If you decide to add on a few extra days, my favorite entire day outings include, The Getty Museum in West LA, The Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, and a Studio tour in Burbank. If you have a weekend to add on, there is Palm Springs, but that will be a separate blog entry! Enjoy!
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How to experience LA like a Local

Published by Judy Hughes

I am a small group trip leader for 2 travel clubs. We check out cool and off the beaten path places around the World. Adventure is our specialty. I love to take notes and share the travel tips with you in my blog! Hope you check it out!

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