48 Hours in LA: Top Things To Do, Where To Stay and Where To Eat

Ready for a weekend in Los Angeles? You bet you are! Whether you’re looking to pack everything in to one jam packed weekend, or pick your highlights from the top LA Things To Do, we’ve got options and ideas to suit every budget and every style of traveler. From Theme Parks to Museums, Shopping to Hiking, you can build your own itinerary to make sure you get the best from your 48 hours in Los Angeles. And with recommendations for where to stay and where to eat – we’ll have your city break to Los Angeles organized before you know it! 48 Hours in LA Top Things To Do | 48 Hours in LA Top Things To Do

48 Hours in Los Angeles Top Things To Do

48 Hours in LA Things To Do, Where to Stay and  Where To Eat

A Guest Post by Leslie Walker from Blue Skies And Open Roads

If one thing is for sure, you will never get bored in the “city of angels.” Although Los Angeles is infamous for its nonstop traffic and bottle blondes, the awesome attractions and beautiful California sunshine will show you other side of this huge city. From walking along the Pacific Ocean to getting lost in one of the many museums, there really is something for every type of traveler.

Top Things To Do Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory

48 Hours in LA - Top Things To DoDiscover your inner-astronomer side and enjoy beautiful views of Los Angeles from this popular spot. Fun Fact: More people have looked through Griffith Observatory’s telescope than any other telescope on Earth. Below the Observatory, Griffith Park also has great spots for hiking or a nice picnic.


Walk of Fame

48 Hours in Los Angeles - Top Things To DoFind your favorite celebrities stars along the Hollywood Boulevard between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue, and along Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset. They have streets full of celebrity names ranging from music legends like David Bowie to movie stars including Marilyn Monroe.

As an alternative, and located 1 block over on Sunset Boulveard, is the iconic Rockwalk – where musical artists are immortalized by their hand prints.

48 Hours in Los Angeles - Top Things To Do


Venice Beach

48 Hours in LA - Top Things To DoCome here to people-watch, shop the many vendors and stores, and enjoy the views of the ocean. This is a place where you will truly discover in the flesh the large and wide range of people and personalities that LA has uncovered.


Santa Monica Pier

48 Hours in LA Top Things To DoAlthough this a tourist-filled destination, you will have an amazing time exploring the pier or taking a bike ride/ walking along the beach. Santa Monica is also a great area for shopping and eating out!

Related: If you’re wanting to see more of the USA, why not plan a Roadtrip? 3-4 Weeks Across the States from LA to New York


Hollywood Sign 48 hours in Los Angeles top things to do

48 Hours in Los Angeles Top Things To DoFor non-hikers:

The Griffith Observatory has amazing views of the Hollywood Sign and of LA!

For dinner and a view of the sign, check out the Hollywood restaurant Yamashiro.

To get a close-up shot of the Hollywood sign, try the drive up Beachwood Drive.

For the hikers:

Hike Runyon Canyon, which is a park that starts on Hollywood Blvd where you must climb upward toward the sign.

Start at 6100 Rockcliff Drive Los Angeles CA 90068, which starts a 30min hike that will take you to great views of the sign.


Hiking 48 hours in Los Angeles top things to do

48 Hours in Los Angeles Top Things To DoImage of Runyon Canyon Lookout c/o Flickr Creative Commons

The reward for finishing the 3.4 mile hike of Cooper Canyon Falls in you guessed it… a waterfall!

For those who like to end their hikes with a relaxing dip in the ocean, the 4 mile Point Dume to Paradise Cove hike is perfect because it leads you down by the beach!

The most popular hiking spot in LA is Runyon Canyon, where you will find great views of the city and the Hollywood sign.


Check out the Many Museums

48 Hours in Los Angeles Top Things To DoLos Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) holds a large collection of art ranging from ancient to modern styles, with over 130,000 objects to gaze and stare in awe at. The museum also houses the Rain Room, a popular installation of falling water (rain) that pauses wherever a human body is detected. You’ll feel like you have magical powers with the ability to control rain. This is also the museum home to the enchanting Urban Lights display.

The Broad is a contemporary art museum (as you can probably tell from its modern-type architecture that makes the building look like a cheese grater) that holds over 2,000 works of art. This museum has many great perks including Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, a mirror-lined installment that houses a sparkling and endless LED light display. Not to mention, admission to the museum is free, which is a rarity in LA.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is the home of the LA philharmonic orchestra and is such a cool building – it’s worth a stop for a quick pic!

48 Hours in Los Angeles Top Things To Do


Universal Studios

48 Hours in Los Angeles Top Things To DoTouring the film studios is an awesome experience for even the non film buffs.   The tour includes viewing of many widely popular sets such as Bates Motel and even Jaws. Universal Studios also acts as a theme park with many rides and attractions, including the very popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.


Window Shop in Beverly Hills

48 Hours in LA Top Things To DoSpend one of SoCal’s famously sunny days window shopping as you walk along Rodeo Drive. Try to gain the self-restraint not to enter a store… you’ll be a whole heap richer if you can stick to window shopping!


Enjoy the Talent

48 Hours in LA Top Things To DoImage of the Wiltern Theater c/o Flickr Creative Commons

Check out the live music or a show at one of many venues in LA. Some of the most popular are: The Staples Center, The Wiltern, The Roxy, The Hollywood Palladium, and The Forum. One of the most inexpensive venues is The Smell, which is for those who enjoy experimental and punk and those who enjoy paying as little as $5 for a ticket.


WHERE TO STAY: Los Angeles Top Things To Do

48 Hours in Los Angeles Best Place to Stay

Peninsula Beverly Hills - Luxury Stay ($350+ per night)

Situated in Los Angeles, The Peninsula Beverly Hills offers elegant 5-star accommodation, as well as outdoor tennis courts, a Jacuzzi and a rooftop pool. It also features a sauna, a Turkish steam bath and free Wi-Fi.
The Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills is within walking distance of Century Plaza Towers, Rodeo Drive and Beverly Gardens Park. Activities such as scuba diving, water-skiing and horse riding are offered nearby.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
48 Hours in LA Where To Stay

Sirtaj Beverly Hills - Mid-Range Stay ($200-$350 per night)

Sirtaj Hotel Beverly Hills provides modern 4-star accommodation in Los Angeles. The numerous facilities this contemporary hotel features include a coffee bar, massage services and valet parking.
Sirtaj Hotel is close to Rodeo Drive. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is just an easy car ride from the hotel.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews
48 Hours in LA Where To Stay

Beverly Terrace - Budget Stay ($100-$250 per night)

Beverly Terrace Hotel provides comfortable 3-star accommodation in Los Angeles. A short walk from The Troubadour Nightclub, it offers comfortable rooms equipped with a flat-screen TV, wireless internet access and a refrigerator.
For those wishing to dine out during their stay at Hotel Beverly Terrace, there are a selection of eateries situated nearby. The Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios Hollywood are just a short car ride from the hotel.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews


where to Eat: LA Top Things To Do


Come to Egg Slut for amazing egg, cheese, and meat breakfast sandwiches and delicious coffee. They have high-quality ingredients that makes the food taste fresh and amazing.

317 S. Broadway, Stall D-1, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (213)625-0292


To eat like a true Californian, stop and pick up a Double-Double and animal fries from In-N-Out. A great cheap and fast option and not to mention, very delicious!


Guisados is a must visit for any foodie! They have a variety of options for tacos and other delicious Mexican food, made with fresh handmade tortillas.

2100 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (323) 264-7201



  • Groupon have awesome local deals for Los Angeles and is updated all the time – from massages and beauty treatments, to dining deals and money off things to do. Check out their local deals and see where you can save some cash on things you already planned to do!
  • Tour search engine Viator offers affordable organized tours to see different parts of LA
  • TicketNetwork and SeatGeek list the best events going on in Los Angeles – see if there is anything special on during your trip!


So there you have it a full run-down of the Top Things To Do in LA along with suggestions for where to stay and where to eat. I hope you have loads of ideas for how best to spend your 48 Hours in Los Angeles, and don’t forget to let me know you’re own highlights once you’re back!

Oh don’t forget to pin and share – I’d really appreciate it!

Los Angeles Top Things To Do   Los Angeles Top Things To Do

LA Top Things To Do


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48 Hours in LA: Top Things To Do, Where To Stay and Where To Eat was last modified: by

Hello! I’m Leslie and I’m a twenty-one year old recent graduate with a passion for happiness and adventure. Join me, my cat Lila, and my boyfriend/travel partner Andrew on our journey traveling the world!

Feeling social, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

57 thoughts on “48 Hours in LA: Top Things To Do, Where To Stay and Where To Eat

  1. Alexis Rivard says:

    I’ve never been to LA but I know I want to go there for a short trip on the way to other places so this is definitely helpful because of that. I wonder if the walk of fame is as disgusting as I’ve heard but it’d be pretty interesting to see how people are treating Trump’s star now.

  2. Only By Land says:

    I think I actually went to Guisados because I was with my ex wife who is Mexican. I have also been to about a thousand In’n’outs and double double is the way to go! Pinks hot dogs are popular too, I think they have them in Universal Studios. I heard on the Universal Studios movie tour that Clint Eastwood has joined the tour as a guide a few times, that would have been super cool!

  3. Stacey says:

    This is such a great guide. LA never appealed to me but it seems like there’s loads to do here! Have to save this so maybe I can’t spend an extended layover exploring!

  4. Fiona Mai says:

    Short guide for visiting LA but very easy to read and to save for future reference. It’s great that you give tips about where to eat, too! Often when I look at the list of restaurants on tripadvisor, I feel too overwhelmed with the number of options that I end up just choosing any random restaurant that I bump into, haha.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Fiona – I feel the same about restaurants – and love to hear recommendations when I’m on a short trip. It really narrows down the decisions I have to make!

  5. Romy says:

    Thanks for all the tips. I’ve always wanted to visit LA, but am afraid it’s a bit outside of my budget atm. I’m sure I’ll visit in the future.

  6. The Travel Ninjas says:

    LA get a lot of bad press, but you hit some great highlights of this great city. I lived in Santa Monica while attending UCLA, and I think its the best part of the city for visitors to home base a visit to LA. It has a big beautiful beach and is convenient to many other attractions and activities you mentioned.

  7. Clare says:

    I didn’t make it to many places in LA when I visited as there was a transport strike. I did manage to see the walk of fame and hollywood sign in the dark. Would love to visit some of the other places on my next trip though I will skip universal studios 🙂

  8. Gokul Raj says:

    The Walk of Fame is something I really want to see. Would love to get to the Griffith Observatory as well. LA can be distant dream for me as of now but maybe one day I will get there.

  9. Rhiannon says:

    I was in LA for 48 hours in August and honestly wish I’d seen this post first! There’s so many different things to see and do that it was all kind of overwhelming! I spent one day at Universal Studios and the next day seeing the main spots in Hollywood. I ended up on one of those overpriced Hollywood house tours, which may or may not have been a load of codswollop but either way it was quite an enjoyable 2 hours! And they only charged me $10 which wasn’t so bad. I really wish I’d gotten around to Santa Monica Pier though. It looks like a great place to visit. I suppose there’s always next time, right?

  10. Jing says:

    This guide is full of information. My impression of LA is that it is an expensive destination, but learning all the other places to see aside from the Hollywood sign, LA seems like worth a visit. 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Jing! LA is an expensive destination, but by knowing a lot of the things to do there makes it easier to prioritize what you want to do the most!

  11. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie says:

    Rodeo Drive and the Hollywood Hall of Fame are such musts on an L.A. visit, but I’d also love to do that hike for the sweeping city views and have a little fun on the Santa Monica Pier. I know I’m spoiled as a NYer but I just wish L.A. was easier to get around in. I much rather use public transportation than drive in a big city.

  12. Viajar pela história - Catarina Leonardo says:

    I never been in Los Angeles, and i really want to go there! All of the things seem very interesting to visit.

  13. Amy says:

    I can’t imagine ever getting bored in LA! I also can’t imagine trying to cover such an iconic city in 48 hours with so many incredible sites! I did the Walk of Fame as a kid, and I remember my grandmother telling me that one day I would know who John Travolta was 🙂 I’d love to take my own kids and visit Venice Beach and the Santa Monica pier for sure. If we make it that far on our summer road trip, this will be handy!

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Amy – I totally agree it would be hard to do all of the things in the guide and that’s why I think if you’re short on time in LA you really need to pick out your own highlights to have the best trip you can. I’ll keep my fingers crossed you make it there on your summer road trip!

  14. Kreete says:

    I had no idea there was actual hiking in and around LA. I would be the one hiking up to Hollywood sign for sure! This guide has all the major hotspots listed, which is great. I would love to see all of them!

  15. Drew says:

    Love LA. Such a fun city (minus the traffic) with so many great neighborhoods. I love that you can escape the chaos and head to Silver Lake, go hiking, or if you really need to get away, you can even go skiing within a few hours drive.

  16. Brianna says:

    I haven’t been to LA- in fact I haven’t even been to California. I’ve heard LA is really spread out and it can be difficult to get from one place to another. Do you agree? Any tips on transportation?

    • Vicki says:

      We found LA to be quite spread but but navigated the local buses from West Hollywood to Venice Beach and then back from Santa Monica – so we were quite pleased with ourselves for that! I don’t think it is as hard as people think it is!

  17. Megan says:

    I grew up just outside LA and this is a great round up. Love that you include Venice Beach, one of my favorite places to just wander. I’d also add the Huntington Library in Pasadena to the museums worth exploring. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Carol Perehudoff says:

    Nice tips. I think I’ve done just about all of these activities, but I have never hiked up to the Hollywood sign. I’d love to do that! Also, I can spend hours cruising around Sunset Boulevard. And shopping! You got that right.

  19. Sandy N Vyjay says:

    This sure promises to be a great 48 hours in LA. A complete guide which is a great reference. For me the favourites would be Hollywood , the walk of fame and of course Universal Studios, given my unabashed obsession for movies.

  20. Boyd says:

    Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

  21. Vicky and Buddy says:

    I’ve never been to LA, but I think it would be really cool to visit. You see it so often in movies and TV shows! I would love to go to all the places you see so often, like rodeo drive and the Griffith Observatory. I wouldn’t have had a clue of where to eat though, so I appreciate your suggestions.

  22. Alina Popescu says:

    Awesome guide! I haven’t made it to the West Coast, but I’m dying to 😀 I’d love to visit LA and Griffith Observatory is the first place I’d go to. I’d give the Hollywood attractions a go, but weirdly enough, that doesn’t hold the greatest appeal for me.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Alina! LA has so many things to do, it would be easy to only focus on what you want to do and not what everyone else is doing! I think once you’ve seen the Hollywood attractions once, thats enough – but at least you can say you’ve seen them!

  23. Eemma Iseman says:

    Love! I had so much fun when I went to LA! Thankfully my friend is from the area and she showed me a lot of the best spots! My favorite was Venice. That area is so fun and quirky. I do wish however that I was able to go to the Broad! Hopefully next time!

  24. Karla | Karlaroundtheworld says:

    Great suggestions! I also recommend Huntington Gardens in LA. OMG it is so pretty, you have to pay it a visit.

  25. Greg Kennon says:

    Wow! Cooper Canyon falls seems awesome! We love to hike so if we went to LA that would be at the top of our list. Thanks for the great info! Now we are itching to fly to LA!

  26. Lily Travella says:

    LA is at the top of my bucket list! Walk of fame , venice beach, the whole lot. I’m hoping to go later in the year. Fantastic post. Made my wanderlust so much worse though haha.

  27. Danielle says:

    LA is a great city if you can stand the traffic. I live just south of there so I spend a lot time in LA. The Huntington Gardens are absolutely beautiful if you have a chance to go. There are so many great places to eat I can’t even list them all. But one of my all time favs is Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle. Also Mama Lu’s dumpling house. Oh, and Marugame Monzo. So many great places.

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Danielle! A lot of people have commented on the traffic – but I suppose living in big cities, it just didn’t bother me! I can understand how it would be overwhelming for first time visitors though – and super frustrating for the folks that live there.
      Thanks for the foodie recommendations too! I’ll have to check them out next time I’m in the area!

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