Ok, so I really could go on with this list for awhile since there is so much happening in LA and the surrounding area, but I’ve tried to narrow it down to a few of my fave freebies.
Griffith Park and Griffith Park Observatory
Griffith Park has some great trails, and amazing views of Los Angeles and the iconic Hollywood sign. The Griffith Park Observatory has some of the best views and you may recognize it because it was a feature location in the James Dean flick, Rebel Without A Cause.
View of the Hollywood sign from Griffith Park - June 2011
Griffith Park Observatory - June 2011
View of LA from the observatory
Santa Monica Pier and Beaches
The pier has some awesome views, plus the ferris wheel synonymous with Santa Monica. In person the pier/ ferris wheel does seem smaller than on the big screen, but it’s still a great place to stroll, people watch and stop for some photo ops. The beaches around the pier are surprisingly wide with lots of space to stretch out in the sand and people watch.
My view of the ferris wheel, June 2011
Boardwalk From Santa Monica to Venice Beach
It’s more fun to rent a bike to travel down the boardwalk between the Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach, but if you want to do free it’s definitely walkable. In Venice Beach you’re right next to the ocean, plus have tons of entertaining people watching and artisan stalls to peruse. It’s a little more bohemian than some of the more chic areas in LA and there are some characters strutting the boardwalk. Plus there really is a muscle beach with ridiculously buff, tanned people working out oceanside.
Pacific Coast Highway
The drive from Santa Monica to Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway is pretty awesome, with some spectacular views of cliffs overlooking the water. Not to mention, some fancy real estate. It’s definitely fun to roll down the windows, take in the California sun and some views. There are a few places you can stop along the drive for photo ops.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
You can definitely kill an afternoon celebrity spotting on the sidewalk. Plus check out the handprints at Graumann’s Chinese Theatre along the walk. My personal fave was John Wayne.
Me With John Wayne