That Bucket List Couple

One Day in LA

How To Spend One Day In LA as Tourist

What to do In One Day in LA?

Ahh, LA. Also known as one of the biggest tourist areas in the US and the place people go to “re-invent” themselves. LA is home to pretty much anybody famous and rich. The land of music and acting. But what is there to do in one day in LA?

This famous city is one that any and everybody wants to see BUT lets be honest, its extremely expensive and traffic is horrible. That’s why many people only spend a day or two there.

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Before we jump in, you can follow our full itinerary by booking a flight to vegas here, a stay in Vegas here, and renting a car to drive to LA here.

santa monica pier
Santa Monica Pier

Heading to LA from Vegas

For Bucket List item #72, we wanted to see the famous Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles CA.

When we took our trip to LA, Andrew and I were spending a week in Las Vegas. We knew we wanted to spend a full day in LA and we wanted to see the Santa Monica pier, the Hollywood sign, walk of fame, and anything else we could fit in.

Our original plan was to leave early in the morning from Vegas and drive back to Vegas late at night.

The vehicle we rented in Vegas was a santa fe and we were getting a little bored gambling so we decided to be spontaneous and leave early to see LA by spending a few hours driving late at night, finding a rest area to sleep at, and driving the rest of the way to the Santa Monica Pier in the morning.

We decided to stop at the desert oasis rest area – Eastbound which was very quiet and felt extremely safe. We were there in January so it was absolutely freezing in the car while we were sleeping. I wish we would have planned that part better.

Once the sun came up (around 6), we decided to continue our drive when we finally made it to the Santa Monica Pier and let me tell you, the views on the way to LA are unbelievably stunning especially during sunrise!

As Floridians, we have never seen anything like this and it was so heart warming.

But, what is there to do in one day in LA?

Well, here was our full itinerary…

10:30am – 12pm Santa Monica Pier

12pm-1pm Driving to the Walk of Fame

1pm-2pm Explore Hollywood and the Walk of Fame

2pm-3pm Drive to the Hollywood sign

3pm-4pm Explore the Hollywood sign and take pictures

4pm-5pm Drive to downtown LA for a night out

5pm and on, eat, party, see a sporting event, etc.

Santa Monica Pier

santa monica pier
Santa Monica Pier Entrance

To start your one day itinerary, you’ll want to start at the Santa Monica Pier. Get there around 10:30am and park at the parking garage right across the road from the pier.

Here is the address for easy mapping. Note: It does cost money to park. Not just here but everywhere on this itinerary so be prepared.

1571 Second St.

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Once we arrived, we spent an hour exploring the pier, the look out, the local artist, vendors, and the sand and ocean. This was the first moment we ever touched the pacific ocean.

For true California vibes, check out this shack on the pier for a milkshake, fries, and a burger.

Walk Of Fame

walk of fame
I had to get a picture with Christina Aguilera’s Star

After your first stop to the Santa Monica Pier, get back in the car and take a short drive to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Here you can find a lot of souvenirs, the famous stars, and many other touristy things to do.

Once we arrived, we parked at this parking garage for easy access to the walk of fame.

1710 N Cherokee Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90028

Just a heads up: The parking in this garage is very unusual. You will either get blocked in or block somebody in. If you block somebody in, you will have to lend your keys to an attendant who will move your car if the person you are blocking needs to leave.

Something we would have done if time allowed, and what you could do if you really wanted to would be taking a Big Bus Tour of Hollywood and LA. You can book a tour starting at $45/pp here.

The Big Bus Tour will take you around the city and give you the inside scoop of Hollywood and more.

Instead of doing this, (which would have been awesome if time allowed) we decided to watch a basketball game which we’ll get to later.

The point is, you could easily have time to take a tour of Hollywood and see much more if you want to in your one day in LA with Big Bus Tours.

Hollywood Sign

hollywood sign lookout
Our short hike with a view to the sign

For bucket list item #72, we wanted to see the Hollywood sign. We had one opportunity to see it and we did not want to miss it.

After we spent our time at the Walk of Fame, we decided to take a drive through the hills, (which are beautiful by the way) to get to the famous Hollywood sign.

How to get to the Hollywood sign?

The route we took to get to the famous sign in LA was from the walk of fame to the Griffith Observatory.

Once we got to park, we saw the popular Griffith Observatory lookout that many tourist go to but we wanted to get closer to the sign so we decided to hike about half a mile to a more secluded spot with a good view of the sign.

Once you park near the Griffith Observatory, you can find many different hikes to take. We decided to take a very short hike to get a better view of the sign.

We definitely didn’t get all up close and personal to the sign but we did get close enough to take some pictures and satisfy our bucket list need.

hollywood sign hike
The Hollywood sign lookout

See a Sporting Event in LA

By this time it was about 4pm and we were extremely eager to go see a basketball game in LA.

There are many sporting events you can see in LA but for our time, we decided to use stubhub to see the Los Angeles Clippers play in downtown LA.

A few other sporting event options for you could be…

Basketball: LA Lakers or Clippers

Football: Rams or Chargers

Hockey: LA Kings

Baseball: Los Angeles Angels or the LA Dodgers

Soccer: LA galaxy

College: USC and UCLA

If your leaving from a basketball game, make sure you keep some cash on you to buy a unique after game snack outside of the stadium being cooked on the spot by many locals. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any cash left over to purchase but we will be prepared next time.

If you aren’t interested in sports, you could easily spend your night exploring the fine dining such as Felix‘s handmade pasta or Tito’s Tacos and clubs in LA such as Academy LA or Avalon Hollywood.

If you’re ready to book a night (or two) in LA, check out hotel deals with booking.com here.

Leaving LA

beverly hills
I didn’t want to say goodbye to those views

After we left that night we made it back to our hotel in Las Vegas at about 2am.

Reminiscing back to our adventure that day, I am not sure many people would do what we did, but we just had to take the opportunity to experience California and mark off item #72.

Our overall thought on LA was the traffic SUCKED, the views were AMAZING, the people were chill, and the prices…? Hella Expensive. We could never live there however, Its great for a visit. 

One Day in LA
Our One Day in LA

Is LA on your bucket list?

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