Ready to take a vacation but responsibilities at work, with family, or financial stress, are making a big vacation this time of year impossible? You can still get out of the daily grind and feel like you took a break with a day trip in or around Los Angeles. If you’re ready to take a day or two off but don’t know where to start, this list of L.A.-centric adventures to recharge your batteries is for you!
If you live in L.A., you’ve driven on Hollywood Boulevard, but you may not have seen the sights. Despite how “touristy” it may seem, locals can have a lot of fun exploring the area. Find your favorite stars on the Walk of Fame, put your hands in Marilyn Monroe’s handprints, or R2-D2’s tires! Tour the Kodak Theater, the new home of the Oscars. Plenty of actors are dressed up as your favorite celebrities and characters outside Mann’s Chinese Theater. Take a tour of the theater, built in the 1920’s, catch a movie inside, or head down the street to the Hollywood Arc Light for a film and to catch a bite. Their 21 and over screenings mean you can also bring a drink into the theater. There are also plenty of stores and small museums to hit, like Madame Trussardi’s wax museum, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Add on a bus tour of Hollywood homes and this local side trip will last all day. Hollywood’s Golden Era awaits in an area you’ve probably driven through to get to the 101 a million times but may never have stopped.
Warner Brothers Tour
One of the most fun day trips in L.A. is a studio tour. A tram will drive you through sets from Old New York to the Gilmore Girls’ house. Explore the Backlot, sets from your favorite movies, and may see a star or two! Find out how summer in L.A. can become winter in Montana, and find out how film is shot, and what a sound studio does. Stop for a cup of coffee on the set of Friends. Or take the Classics Tour with an emphasis on old Hollywood. Tour outdoor sets to see the last standing set pieces from Casablanca. There’s plenty of shopping and dining on site. Buy tickets for either tour on their website.
Venice Beach is perfect for walking and people watching. Venice Beach is comprised of three separate areas: residential Venice, the Boardwalk, and the Skate Park. Venice is named for the small canals that dot the city.
By the shore, Venice is filled with many unique stores and restaurants. Walking the Boardwalk is not only good exercise, but also a chance to people-watch. Stereotypes come to life with plenty of blondes on roller skates, palm readers, and residents who are pretty sure it’s still 1969. Check out Muscle Beach to watch weightlifters; it’s been featured in many movies, as have romantic strolls on the beach.
Anaheim is a good 40-minute drive from L.A. in decent traffic, a perfect distance to feel like you got out of the hot city. Obviously, the amusement park has rides galore, from those in Fantasy Land that haven’t changed since the ‘50s, to wilder rides like Indiana Jones. Go for a walk on an island from Pirates of the Caribbean or sit back in a “doom buggy” to enjoy the Haunted Mansion; you may just decide to stay and become the 1,000th ghost! For those who want a more adult experience, Disney’s California Adventure features plenty of beautiful walking sights, and a “Wine Country” area that features fine dining, as well as wine made by the Disney company. Downtown Disney, which features shops, restaurants, and bars, is also a great spot for grownups who don’t want to pay to go into the park. It’s a favorite of locals on the weekend, so make reservations.
Los Angeles Electric Bike Tour
Burn thousands of calories and help the environment on a guided 5 hour electric bike tour of L.A. or take a shorter trip of just the beaches. The tour goes from the lovely beaches of Santa Monica down to Venice Beach, and all way through West Hollywood and Hollywood, and the movie studios, featuring stops at famous Hollywood destinations. While the tour is fun, it’s also 32 miles of strenuous exercise, so wear comfortable clothes and don’t forget the water! It’s recommended by 100% of participants!
Premiere Dolphin and Whale Adventure
Ready to get out of the city and enjoy the ocean? This small, personal tour with a maximum of 6 guests, starts in Long Beach near the Queen Mary. View the ship, Naval yards, the Long Beach waterfront, and the Korean Bell of Friendship from the boat. But the stars of the show of course are the dolphins and whales you’ll see along the way. The animals are more comfortable with a smaller boat than a larger ship and may come close for the ultimate nautical experience! To check availability and buy tickets, start here.
If you’re ready to take a fun day trip in or out of the city of Los Angeles, try these ideas for a vacation without the downtime and expense.