How to Spend One Day in Los Angeles

Only visiting for one day? These are the must-see places!

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
If you love the movies, this museum is just for you. Featuring exhibits that house a variety of props, costumes, clothing, and items from famous movies, visitors will get to peruse R2D2, the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, the only remaining shark from Jaws, and many more. Other exhibits focus on historical filmmakers, contributions from African American filmmakers, and technical and production exhibits that focus on how movies were made throughout history.
6067 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, California, 90036
California African American Museum (CAAM)
The California African American Museum (CAAM), found in Exposition Park, has a focus on the history, heritage, and cultural of African Americans. Specifically, it covers topics related to African Americans in California and the western region of the United States. Visitors will find a variety of art exhibits as well as events for adults and children. Public educational programs, rotating exhibits, and concerts and film screenings are all part of this museum's programming.
600 State Drive, Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California, 90037
If you're looking for more information about Los Angeles, read Historic Buildings in Los Angeles and Local Finds and Hangouts in Los Angeles.
California Science Center
This is one of the largest science museums on the west coast, and it has an impressively large list of exhibits, many of which feature fun, hands-on experiences which are great for kids and adults alike. Visitors can also see an aquarium, various ecosystems featuring a variety of animals, plenty of air and space vehicles (some are outside), and even more rotating exhibits about biology, chemistry, physics, and more. On site is also an IMAX theater.
700 Exposition Park Drive, Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California, 90037
Disneyland Resort
Located right outside of Los Angeles, for many families Disneyland offers the trip of a lifetime. It has been an iconic California destination since the 1950s and it is filled with thrilling rides, engaging shows, and attractions that appeal to people of all ages. In addition to rides and shows, Disneyland is the place to go to meet many of Disney's famed princesses. Characters wander the park or set up meet and greets in specific areas. The Disneyland Resort will thrill kids of all ages.
Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA, 92802
Getty Center
Getty Center
This art museum, which has beautiful architecture and gorgeous gardens, is the home of a huge collection of art. The works are part of the J. Paul Getty Trust's collection which were formerly housed at the Getty House, but moved to this new location after its completion in 1997. The galleries are extensive, and visitors can peruse the impressionist paintings, works by French artists, an outdoor sculpture garden, and plenty more. Any art lover will feel right at home here. Admission is free, but parking is not.
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, California, 90049
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory lies on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. With a gorgeous view of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, this spot is a popular tourist attraction for a variety of reasons. From here you also have a great view of the Hollywood Sign, too. Inside, visitors can find a variety of space and science exhibits, as the building is a stellar observatory after all. Admission is free. A planetarium is on site with fun shows that educate the public about astronomy, too. (Planetarium tickets are not free.)
2800 East Observatory Road, LA, California, 90027
Hammer Museum
With an emphasis on local artists, the Hammer Museum is partnered with UCLA to showcase modern art, design, photography, and works from Armand Hammer's collection before he died. Admission is free. Lectures, film screenings, and concerts are also on their calendar of events, which are quite popular.
10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood Village, LA, California, 90024
Hollywood Sign
Hollywood Sign
Located on Mount Lee, the famous Hollywood sign can be seen for miles around and has been a historical symbol of the town for decades. It's possible to hike or drive to the area above the sign, although no one is allowed to get too close - it is protected by fences. Some of the best views of the sign can be found at the Griffith Observatory, at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave, or from the Hollywood Bowl Overlook on Mulholland Drive. More details are on the website.
LA, California, 90068
Interested in more travel advice for Los Angeles? Check out The Best Neighborhoods for Ethnic Food in Los Angeles and Neighborhoods for Students in Los Angeles.
Hollywood Wax Museum
With a large number of was replicas of famous movie stars and characters, kids and adults alike will enjoy visiting this fun museum and experience where they can see all of their favorite movies and TV shows come to life before their eyes. Located in Hollywood along the walk of fame, it's fun for the whole family.
6767 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
Japanese American National Museum
With a goal to preserve and showcase the culture and history of Japanese Americans, this museum is located near downtown L.A. in Little Tokyo. Many of the exhibits are dedicated to Japanese immigration, the internment during WW2, and various artwork from historical and current artists in the community. An admission is normally charged, but it's free on Thursdays.
369 East 1st Street, Little Tokyo, LA, California, 90013
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This large art museum has a variety of exhibits inside and outside. Inside visitors will find a variety of modern and historical art by famous names such as Andy Warhol, Picasso, Cezanne, and more. The exterior artwork of the museum has become somewhat famous recently due to a very photographic sculpture, Chris Burden’s Urban Light, which brought old streetlights from around town back to life. This area of the museum is free, but admission is required for entry to the inside galleries.
5912 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, LA, California, 90036
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
This free museum features contemporary art from 1940 to the present by artists such as Jackson Pollock as well as plenty of lesser known names. In addition to the main location, the museum actually has two other locations in L.A., so don't miss those, either.
250 South Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, LA, California, 90012
Museum of Neon Art
MONA, the Museum of Neon Art, showcases a variety of artwork and signs made of neon lights and other electric lights. It describes artwork made with neon lights as part science and part artwork. Some of the exhibits are modern sculptures created in neon, while others focus on historical neon signage.
Glendale, California, 91210
Museum of the American West
This museum, as the name implies, focuses on the history of the western United States. Their overall goal is to provide an inclusive view of this history, so many of the exhibits focus on Native Americans as well as minorities and their contributions to American history and culture. A large portion of the museum also focuses on the culture of cowboys and the idea of "the wild west" as a frontier which was tamed by explorers. Children and adults enjoy this museum, and it's located in Griffith Park. It's free on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, LA, California, 91201
Los Angeles has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: An Art Lover's Guide to Los Angeles and Educational Places and Activities in Los Angeles.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Boasting a huge collection that is second only to the Smithsonian, the Natural History Museum of LA Country will take you quite some time to explore every level. From dinosaurs to gems to animal skeletons to an outdoor natural area, kids and adults will love spending the day here learning about a variety of topics. Even the building itself is a bit of a masterpiece.
Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California
Petersen Automotive Museum
Petersen Automotive Museum
Focusing on all things automotive, this car-themed museum has a lot to offer. When visiting, you can see supercars, vintage historical vehicles, and famous cars from the movies. Other exhibits focus on the history of the automobile and how it shaped communities and culture.
6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Carthay Circle, LA, California, 90036
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
This large and vibrant pier is an iconic destination in Los Angeles. It's located at the foot of Colorado Avenue along a beautiful golden sand beach in Santa Monica. The pier is more than just a pier - there's a small amusement park, concession stands, and plenty of places to take in the views or enjoy some fishing. Perhaps the most notable attraction at the pier is the iconic Ferris wheel.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, 90401
The Broad Museum
The Broad Museum
This free museum is full of contemporary art. It's most famous for the immersive mirror rooms in which you will see yourself multiplied in Yayoi Kusama's modern art installations. If the line is long, don't worry, plenty of other modern exhibits are on display, including some from Andy Warhol and other famous artists. Also, relax in the beautiful courtyard or dine at Otium, the on-site restaurant.
221 South Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, LA, California, 90012
The Hollywood Museum
Located in the historic Max Factor building, this amazing museum is one of the most visited in L.A. Visitors can see a variety of memorabilia, props, costumes, and other paraphernalia from their favorite movies and TV shows. The collection has more than 10,000 items such as Marilyn Monroe's famous dress to costumes from Star Trek, I love Lucy, Glee, and more. Part of the museum also includes makeup rooms where movies stars were prepped for their shows and films.
1660 Highland Avenue, Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
Third Street Promenade
This high end pedestrian area is perfect for shoppers looking for everything from the quirky to the posh. There are boutique shops, fine dining restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options in the area. The district attracts locals and tourists alike and it is easily accessible from Downtown Los Angeles. There's also a 26 mile bike path that runs along the waterfront. The promenade is famous for its street performers and fascinating people-watching.
Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California
If you're looking for more information about Los Angeles, read Los Angeles Bucket List Places to See and The Best Art Museums in Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios is famous for its adrenaline-filled rides that are based on the theme of blockbuster movies. This is more than just an amusement park, it's also a working movie studio. Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy Universal Studios and for many people it's a must-see attraction in Los Angeles. Popular rides and attractions in the park include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, The Simpsons, Transformers, and Jurassic World - The Ride. Also affiliated with the park is CityWalk, which is a three block area that's filled with shopping, restaurants, and theaters.
100 James Stewart Avenue, Universal City, LA, California, 91608
Venice Beach
Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a famous tourist destination for its narrow canals and one-lane bridges. The community has grown into one of the wealthiest parts of the city, but it still has it's original surfing town charm. Today Venice has an excellent restaurant scene, impressive shopping, and plenty of opportunities for celebrity sightings. Head to Main Street to see the eclectic architecture of the area, but the famous Ocean Front Walk is where you'll have the quintessential Venice Beach experience. With it's Mardi Gras style street performers, the area is sure to entertain.
466 Sherman Canal Ct. Odd Numbers) / Howland Canal Ct. (Even Numbers), Venice, LA, California, 90291
Walk of Fame
Walk of Fame
Located along Hollywood Blvd, the popular Walk of Fame is a series of stars embedded into the sidewalk with the names of famous people from the movie industry. Visitors can see more than 2,600 brass stars that honor movie and TV stars, producers, musicians, directors, and even fictional characters. With millions of visitors every year, this is a very popular attraction in Hollywood. The streets of the Walk of Fame are also lined with shops, restaurants, and other Hollywood tourist attractions.
Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $8 to $556. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $76. A few of the best options are below.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

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Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.

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Interested in more travel advice for Los Angeles? Check out The Best Children's Museums in Los Angeles and The Best History Museums in Los Angeles.
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