The City of Angels has long been a destination for listless Americans and striving people the world over. For years, people have uprooted their lives in search of greater opportunity. During the Great Depression, struggling farmers from far-flung places like Oklahoma and Missouri piled into the family car and headed west down Route 66 seeking a new life in sunny California.
Today, Los Angeles remains a major world-renowned destination. Situated at the western terminus of Route 66, there's so much to see and do in LA after you've touched down in California following your long trek down the Mother Road. Here's just a sampling of the must-visit locations.
Santa Monica Pier
Do you know where Route 66 actually ends? The highway terminates at one of the most stunning locales in Greater Los Angeles: the Santa Monica Pier.
Surrounded by Santa Monica State Beach, this wildly popular tourist attraction dips its toes in the Pacific Ocean. On the pier, you'll find an amusement park featuring a Ferris wheel and roller coaster as well as a classic arcade and carousel. Beneath the carousel building sits an educational aquarium.
Enjoy concessions and stroll the pier taking in the sights as you see fit. If you'd like to spread out your towel or jump in the water, go for it! You can even cast your lines and do some fishing here.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Take a beachfront walk just three kilometres south of the Santa Monica Pier and you'll find yourself in another amazing oceanside destination: the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Home to an assortment of New Age merchants, bohemian street performers and people from all walks of life, the Boardwalk is a beloved location for people-watching and a scenic vista from which to take in the view of waves crashing against the shoreline. Public art, skating facilities are basketball courts abound.
Additional nearby attractions include the fitness-focused high-intensity workout spot known as Muscle Beach Venice and the Venice Canals. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the canals provide a quieter scenic walk than the Boardwalk, and they're unlike anything else you'll see in the states.
Nestled on the side of Mount Hollywood in sprawling Griffith Park, you'll find the historic Griffith Observatory, a venue from which to view points of interest around, and above, Los Angeles.
The observatory offers free admission, and visitors are welcome to use public telescopes, join stargazing parties and experience the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.
Elsewhere in Griffith Park, visitors can spend time with exotic animals in the Los Angeles Zoo, enjoy scenic hikes and embark on adventurous equestrian trails.
Don't leave the observatory behind too quickly, however. This popular destination boasts some of the best views of the world-famous Hollywood Sign that you'll experience anywhere in the surrounding area.
Speaking of Hollywood, who would leave Los Angeles without first making a stop in Tinseltown? Long understood as a metonym for the American film industry, Hollywood is a cinema lover's paradise.
Among the glitzy studios and glamorous theatres of Hollywood, you'll find luxurious retail and famous dining destinations. At the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, find the Hollywood Walk of Fame where you'll find stars representing everybody from Marilyn Monroe to Jack Black.
For a slightly more macabre experience, visitors are welcome at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which houses the remains of many influential celebrities and hosts popular outdoor film screenings and seasonal festivals.
Universal Studios Hollywood
It's more than a theme park. A theme park is a collection of rides and attractions with a loosely connected motif. Universal Studios Hollywood is an adventure.
Located in Universal City, this exciting destination combines studio tours, thrill rides and interactive experiences to provide its customers with a totally unique entertainment experience. From Harry Potter to Jurassic World, the rides and spectacles seem to never end. Film buffs and adrenaline junkies alike will find something to enjoy at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Universal Studios offers packages that cater to adults, kids and families, and the attractions on display cover a wide array of popular film and television properties.
If you haven't heard of the Getty, you probably won't get what it is just from the name.
Housed in two locations, one in the Brentwood neighbourhood and the other in Malibu, the Getty is a world-class art museum.
Brentwood's Getty Center features an extensive collection of European and American art spanning back centuries and incorporating contemporary work. The grounds are a spectacle in themselves. The campus features stunning architectural features, lush ornamental gardens and breathtaking views.
Likewise, the inspiring grounds of the Getty Villa in Malibu house collections of artifacts from Greece and Rome.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, better known by the acronym LACMA, houses an enviable collection of artwork that extends from ancient times up the present.
While construction is underway for a new building, the museum collections remain open to visitors in the meantime. Popular collections include Greek ceramics, Islamic art, jewellery and crafts, design, colonial art, glass, woodcuts, portraits, fashion and Latin American contemporary art.
You'll marvel at the latest contemporary works and pieces by beloved artists like Degas, Cezzane, Monet, Renoir and Rembrandt.
La Brea Tar Pits
Next door to LACMA, you'll fall in love with another Los Angeles staple, the La Brea Tar Pits. This National Natural Landmark, as the name implies, is a collection of tar pits. What's so spectacular about them is that they've preserved the remains of many species of plants and animals. Over the last 50,000 years, these tar pits have preserved flora and fauna dating back to the Ice Age.
Excavations at the tar pits began about 100 years ago, and today, visitors to the museum can explore the remains unearthed by those efforts.
Visiting Los Angeles and exploring all it has to offer is almost reason enough to travel Route 66. Reach out to us today to discuss our tours and see if we can save you a spot.