Los Angeles is one of the most famous cities in the United States, known for dazzling Hollywood, sun-soaked beaches and the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland. After a week-long vacation there would still be plenty left to see and do. But what if you don't have a week? Los Angeles International Airport is the fifth busiest airport in the world and the second busiest in the United States, offering 692 daily flights to 85 domestic cities and 928 weekly nonstop flights to 67 cities in 34 countries. Many people find themselves in the City of Angels for a quick layover of less than 24 hours. Here are some of our favorite things to do that will still leave you plenty of time to catch your next flight.
What To Do On Your Next Layover in Los Angeles
1. Manhattan Beach
This quaint coastal town is located in southern Los Angeles, only minutes away from the airport and fondly known as "Heaven in Flip Flops." Grab a bite to eat at one of the award-winning restaurants, window shop at locally owned boutiques, and then catch the sunset as you stroll down the beach. Keep an eye on the ocean because there's a good chance you'll see some dolphins!
2. J Paul Getty Museum
Located in the gorgeous Santa Monica Mountains, the J Paul Getty Museum holds collections ranging from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary art. You could spend the entire day soaking in the art installations, but the unique design of the building by Richard Meier, the beautiful grounds, and the outstanding view of the city is worth the visit alone.
You can't visit Los Angeles without going to the famous Hollywood Boulevard. Look for your favorite celebrity's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and check out the Chinese Theater with many famous hand and footprints out front. The shopping center at Hollywood and Highland also provides a perfect view of the Hollywood sign.
4. Venice Beach
Also a short drive from the airport is the world famous Venice Beach. The home of Muscle Beach, an outdoor weightlifting area where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be a regular, also has an assortment of eclectic shops and is great for people watching. Grab an ice cream cone and watch one of the many street performers or stroll down the sidewalk the meanders through the sand. There are also plenty of places to rent bikes or rollerblades if you're tired of sitting in a cramped airplane seat.
5. Santa Monica
Just north of Venice Beach lies Santa Monica which has more than a few attractions. Palisades Park gives you outstanding views of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier holds the Pacific Park amusement park, and the Third Street Promenade offers four blocks of shopping, dining, and entertainment. For an even more breathtaking view of the ocean, check out the rooftop bar at Hotel Shangri-la, and if you'd rather relax after a long flight, ONE Spa at Shutters on the Beach is a must.
6. Rodeo Drive
If you seen movies like Pretty Woman or Clueless, you're definitely familiar with Rodeo Drive. Even if you don't want to drop the big bucks at one of the high-end designer boutiques, window-shopping is definitely welcome. Check out Two Rodeo, a $200 million European-inspired cobblestone walkway or Anderson Court, the only shopping mall designed by famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. For a quick snack, try out the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, and if you have a little more time, get an ice cream sundae from Sprinkles Ice Cream next door.
7. Griffith Observatory
If you're sick of the Hollywood stars, check out the stars in the sky at the Griffith Observatory. Known for the giant telescope, there is also the popular Hall of the Sky and Hall of the Eye, a pair of complementary displays that explores the connections between people and space. Of course the building itself is beautiful along with the stunning view of the city. If you brought your hiking shoes, take one of the many trails around Griffith Park. One of them even takes you right behind the Hollywood Sign.
8. Bar Marmont
This iconic hotel lounge is famous for its top-shelf cocktails and swanky atmosphere. Attention is paid to every detail, from the butterflies hanging from the ceiling to the framed images of charcoal fashion drawings adorning the walls. The bar is intimate with low lighting and secluded corners, so it's the perfect layover spot for your romantic getaway. It's also a popular venue for VIP Hollywood events so don't be surprised if it's closed for a private event.
9. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
If you came to Los Angeles, to be entertained, you're definitely in the right place. Upright Citizens Brigade, a theater and school based in Chicago, brought us the likes of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari. UCB now has two theater locations offering an unlimited amount of laughs. Check the schedule online and buy tickets for only $5 or show up early to get on the wait list. In fact, show up early even if you have a ticket to make sure you get a good seat! Other great places to catch a comedy show in Los Angeles are Groundlings, Second City, and IO West. If you're layover is too short to make the trek all the way to Hollywood, try Westside Comedy in Santa Monica.
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.