Los Angeles - What NOT to do in Los Angeles

Published 2021-11-28
The Don'ts of visiting Los Angeles, Califronia. What you should do and not do in LA. From the La Brea Tarpits and Hollywood to the baches of Santa Monica and Malibu there is so much to see and do in LA, and there are some things to watch out for. Here you have the best list of travel advice for visiting Los Angeles on your vacation.
Filmed on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California
Copyright Mark Wolters 2021

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All Comments (21)
  • Grace A
    As a LA native I have a few words and tips for new visitors:
    -avoid the Downtown area. Trust me, you don't need to go, and you'll only stress yourself as you attempt to navigate its streets. There are plenty of restaurants/bars/breweries in Silver Lake, Loz Feliz, HW, and other surrounding areas.
    - visit at least one museum. Natural history, Getty villa, LACMA, etc.
    -carry both card and cash for parking and tipping.
    -you only need an hour or so to visit Grauman's Chinese theater/ El Capitan/ Hollywood stars. That street is overrated. Do it early morning and you'll avoid many headaches.
    - plan a hike, as we have many hiking paths with amazing views. For instance, Griffith park contains hiking trails, the LA zoo, and an observatory.
    - don't plan too much in one day because it won't happen. Do your research!
    -if you've never tried certain ethnic foods, LA is the place to do so. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Latin American, Ethiopian, Persian, etc. The list goes on.
    - visit the South Bay/ Orange county/ San Diego if you have enough time.
    - attend a concert or sporting event.
    - if your sole purpose of visiting is to see celebrities, you will be extremely disappointed.
    -we are a heavily mask/vaccinated mandated state. If you disagree with that, don't bring your defensive attitude here. Servers/ employees are doing their job. Just stay home.
    -if you're a slow driver, PLEASE STAY ON THE RIGHT LANE of the freeway. I can't stress this enough.
    - don't be afraid to ask strangers for help. Angelenos are friendly for the most part.

    - assess your environment, and you shouldn't run into any problems.

    Whatever preconceptions you have of LA, let them go. There's plenty of great things about this county.
  • hikeluver
    LA native here .. everything in this video is pretty spot on! Don’t forget to check out surrounding cities in LA too like Malibu Pasadena !
  • Julio Hernandez
    Wolter makes yet another fully accurate video! As an LA native, I fully agree with everything here but I will add the following: the metro (our rail system) is very nice and helpful IF it happens to be in an area you are staying AND going. So, on the whole, I agree that public transportation is not recommended for tourists, but if you're in an area that the metro operates, it's worth considering.
  • Michael Gardner
    Some of my don'ts in LA is: do not stray far from the major boulevards and avenues. A general rule based on my experiences is that if you are on one of the major boulevards or avenues wherever you are in LA you're going to be okay almost no matter the hour. Once you move away from the boulevards and you get into the neighborhoods that's when things can get a little dicey. If you visit the traditional "Downtown LA" area don't forget to visit The Last Bookstore ... it's an amazing place. The downtown area also has some beautiful Art Deco buildings. But there are some things to be aware of: once the business people leave at 5pm there is a huge drop off in human traffic. Because of generous tax brakes there have been a number of new bars and restaurants opening, but at times the area can seem desolate. There is a large homeless population in that area (because that's where most of the services for them are ... and good luck finding a homeless shelter in Beverly Hills) and LA homelessness is a 'hard' homelessness ... It was genuinely heartbreaking seeing the condition that some of these people were in. The host is spot on about the tours in the tour guides. I took one of the smaller tours and it was a fun experience, but what really helped was that the tour guide was awesome.
  • As an LA native all i can say about Downtown is to visit Little Tokyo and Chinatown. They're neat places with lots of great food and an awesome night life. I wish I was kidding but expect homeless people to just be peeing and pooping on the streets, maybe in front of the restaurant where you're trying to have a good meal. Homeless has only gotten worse from the pandemic and I don't recommend spending all your time in downtown.
  • Diana
    Don't miss the Griffith Observatory! Such beautiful grounds. We took a guided hike up to the Hollywood sign at dusk and were at the back of it looking down on the city at night. Beautiful sight!
  • Marky The Larky
    As a local, the only "don't" I want to add is: Make sure to stay in reputable hotels that are clearly meant for tourists. There are all kinds of hotels here, some are very cheap (under $80/night) but many of them are not exactly meant for tourists, if you know what I mean.

    One myth I want to dispel: Downtown is not horrible. The problem is what "downtown" are you referring to. Obviously, you want to stay away from the areas in and around Skid Row, but there are parts of downtown around The Music Center which are a museum onto themselves with sculptures, fountains, architecture, and art everywhere. You could spend an entire evening walking from the John Ferraro building and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion down towards the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Grand Ave past The Broad and MOCA towards California Plaza (free outdoor concerts in the summer) to the Los Angeles Central Library which itself is massive and full of stuff to see. And finally, right next door, the US Bank building which has a small museum, an observation deck, a glass slide, and a upscale restaurant.
  • RideShareGold
    Used to live in Oakland, went down to LA a few times per year. I flew to Burbank or Long Beach whenever possible. Strongly disagree about "staying away from public transport." Nothing is worse than driving in LA as a tourist. Especially in trying to get to the airports. The LAX Flyaway Bus is a lifesaver and has its own lane for most of the trip to Union Station. The train at Burbank airport also makes life really easy.
  • I am probably a little biased having grown up in Pasadena but there is so many places around Pasadena to visit in including the Norton Simon Museum, the Huntington Library and Art Museum, the Pacific Asia Museum, the Gable House (Doc Brown's house from Back to the Future), the Wrigley Mansion, the Rose Bowl and like 28 historic districts.
    If I travel alone to LA I try my best to show that public transit can be used in LA such as taking the Flyaway bus to Union Station then taking the Gold Line (soon to be the Blue Line) to Pasadena or wherever I am going. Next year I believe the new tunnel opens in downtown that will allow a through ride between Long Beach and Pasdena. Althouh my next trip in March will be with my family and with 3 teenagers we will be renting a car especially since we plan to go to places beyond the reach of public transit.
  • Joe Dazey
    If at all possible, I very much recommend to fly in to Hollywood Burbank Airport instead of LAX for two reasons. 1- Hollywood Burbank Airport is considerably closer to the majority of tourist attractions than LAX. 2- This airport is much easier getting in/out and navigating of the two.
  • Terry White
    The Metrolink and Amtrak trains can be useful for getting around and avoiding a lot of traffic. There's a lack of public transportation at LAX, but there's a train station right at Burbank Airport. You can take a train right from Burbank to places like Anaheim or Santa Barbara and a limit number of stops in between. Getting from Burbank to Santa Monica or Beverly Hills via Metrolink or Amtrak isn't possible, but there are places you can get to by train. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner is a great way to travel up and down the coast and can be faster than driving and a lot more relaxing. If you want to go to the beach and not deal with the insanity of Venice Beach or Santa Monica, head up to Ventura or Santa Barbara on Amtrak. Metrolink can also get you up to Santa Clarita area near Six Flags. Both Amtrak and Metrolink also go down to Anaheim and the station is few miles from Disneyland and right next to the hockey arena and baseball stadium.
  • Nathan Winant
    An important tip if you’ll be near the beach: dress in layers and bring sun protection.

    Depending on the time of year, your day may start off with mild shorts weather, then get hot by early afternoon, only for temperatures to plummet by late afternoon. And the whole time, if you’re not careful, you can burn—even if you’re just hanging out at restaurant patios.

    The climate seems mild—and often is—but you’re still in a desert next to the beach, where the sun & wind are real considerations.
  • Anthony17MORENO
    I have spent half of my life here in Los Angeles, and for all of those watching this video all I have to tell you guys is that everything he’s saying is so accurate!! 👍🏼👌🏻
  • Scott Markus
    There are so many anti-LA videos out there that I was expecting a fight.... nope, this is a solid video! Lots of great things to do all over. Planning ahead is everything. I do have to say (in non-pandemic times anyway), if you're into bar hopping and night life, then downtown is a can't-miss place. The Edison, Cliftons, Perch, Mrs. Fish... you can see a lot of amazing places in one fun night in downtown. During the day, I also think the Plaza/Pueblo de Los Angeles is a fun location.
  • Connor Cook
    Just a heads up, locals often describe distance in terms of how long it takes to get there. Also, when a local says it’s a “20 minute drive” that means it can vary from 10 minutes to 45 minutes and a when it’s a “40 minute drive” it can vary from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.
  • SFforlife
    Moved recently to LA from upstate for the last few months... very accurate video. I would definitely stress that visitors and drivers do not underestimate the traffic. Either plan for an early day trip or try to simply wait out rush hour times because it can be an absolute nightmare getting anywhere. Getting used to the traffic culture is also another big change. The amount of near crashes, and crazy drivers I’ve seen in only a few months doesn’t even phase me anymore because it’s so common place. So please, be careful driving here. Also, make sure everyone has used the bathroom before driving and your vehicle is gassed up because when you eventually will be stuck in traffic, that can become a real issue! Lol. One thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised by however, is that most people are quite friendly and helpful for such a large and diverse metro area.
  • Bryant Steury
    One thing I always did with people the day of a flight out was go to Venice, Manhattan or Santa Monica. That way you're within striking distance of the airport guaranteed under 30 minutes AND you have stuff to do
  • ofallsadwords
    I've used public transit to get around LA on my last three trips - the only time I got in an Uber was to head out to Disneyland. I always plan on doing more walking to fill the gaps than I would in a city like NYC, but that's part of the fun.
  • Edward Garren
    LA Metro (including our bus system is one of the largest transit systems in the world. You can go just about ANYWHERE in the region on the bus. It may take some time because the region is SO big, but you can take transit from most places in LA to Disney and Knott's Orange County. Just use a map program and use the transit option. Of course you can drive, but use your GPS for turn by turn instructions. Apple Maps also gives traffic advice and computes traffic times.
  • Julie A.
    Having lived in LA (and hoping to live there again), your tips are spot on! Not being on time and not having anyone else be on time took some getting used to, but it is a way of life. Most Angelenos aren't usually late for work -- but they could be. It's impossible to be sure when you leave the house what might happen. Thank goodness we're in the cell phone age! Great video, thanks!