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No other city has as many top-rated theme parks


 

Scenic Drives  · Los Angeles Area

Los Angeles - Anahiem - Hollywood - Santa Monica - Long Beach - Catalina - Pasadena

Los Angeles touring requires a bit of planning and a good map – print this one and bring it with you. The Los Angeles area is too spread out to see in a single day, especially given the traffic on the main freeways.  nstead, pick one of the three scenic drives on our map and enjoy a section of the city at a leisurely pace. There is no "off season" for LA due to the balmy climate but the most popular beaches and attractions fill up on summer weekends.
 
These three drives highlight the main attractions of Los Angeles – huge sunny beaches, urban sophistication, kid-friendly theme parks and entertainment, elegant coastal towns and, of course, the center of the movie and music industries. The map shows the top attractions but there are many more as you explore on your own.

Enjoy Los Angeles your own way with a scenic drive from our free printable map.

Los Angeles Scenic Drives

Visitor Info
Los Angeles Hollywood
Scenic Drive Index Print/Zoom

SCENIC DRIVES: Bring your sunscreen and sunglasses and pick a drive or two. Los Angeles cannot be "done" in a day but there are many ways to "do" a day, a weekend or week in LA you’ll never forget. Remember not to try to cover too many miles during commute hours as the freeway system is too crowded then to be considered "fun."
 
Instead, organize your adventures with the scenic drives on our map. In addition to these drives, while in LA, consider a stop in Pasadena to enjoy the attractive downtown, take architectural tours or visit the Norton Simon Museum (art). The nearby Huntington Library in San Marino also is famous for its gardens and art collection.

Downtown LA has attractions for visitors too – Olvera Street, the Library, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Staples Center – but if time is limited, head elsewhere.
 
One more thing to remember – for LA’s most popular tours and attractions, book tickets well ahead of your visit, especially during the summer and holidays.
 
Drive 1: Hollywood to Beverly Hills to Griffith Park
  
Start at 101 and take the Vine exit to Hollywood Blvd. Turn right and follow it to Mann’s Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame. Hollywood is probably not exactly what you expected but judge for yourself and when you find a stretch to explore, park and enjoy. Take a left to pick up Sunset Boulevard and another left to head towards Griffith Park via Western Ave. Turn right on Los Feliz Blvd. to the entrances to the park on the left. This is a huge urban park with the LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory, and the Greek Theatre (and a great deal more) to draw you in.
 
You can immerse yourself in studio tours nearby – Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and NBC are close.Sony Picture Studios is in Culver City near the 405 and 10.
Take Forest Lawn, bear left at Barham Blvd., left on Cahuenga and right onto Mulholland Dr. – head west to follow this famous curvy foothill road – hopefully with the top down and dark sunglasses on for the full LA affect. Stay on it or, for a truly memorable experience, go past 405 freeway, turning left on Sepulveda heading south to visit the Getty Center. Oil money has created an oasis of art, light, gardens and incredible views you won’t want to leave. The ride up and back on the tram is half the fun.
 
Back on Sepulveda, turn left onto Sunset Blvd. again to see the real 90210, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. If you have a map to stars’ homes, well, you’re set. Otherwise, keep your eyes open and marvel at the expansive homes. Head towards Rodeo Drive (a right turn) to see where the stars shop and dine. It helps to dress up if you want to blend in or feel really welcome in these stores.
 
If you are now ready for a visual experience of another sort, go to the nearby LA County Museum of Art – huge, world-class museum with both permanent and temporary collections. Take a left on Wilshire Blvd. – the museum is on the left, just after Fairfax.
 
Drive 2: Los Angeles Beaches: Santa Monica to Redondo
 
Each beach and beach town has a personality so try a string of them to find your favorites. Start by taking the I-10 westward to Santa Monica. Head to the Pier an its many shops, restaurants and rides. Enjoy the beach scene or just walk the bluff to take in the views. Head eastward into town to the Third Street Promenade where every block is loaded with interesting boutiques and restaurants. Weekends get especially interesting on these car-free streets as locals and visitors gather to shop and watch street performers of all types.
 
Go south to Venice Beach for a very different set of performers and shopkeepers amid the bodybuilders, in-line skaters, market artists and beach goers. A funky atmosphere loaded with local characters and street hawkers prevails. A bit seedy after dark. To head south, take Venice Blvd. back to Highway 1 (Lincoln Blvd.) to go around LAX airport.
 
Take Rosecrans Ave. to reach Manhattan Beach and its distinctive pier. Think Beach Boys, surfing and Coppertone.
 
Just south, Hermosa Beach offers easy strolling, lifeguards for swimmers, a playground, shops and parking on nearby streets.
 
Redondo State Beach – two miles of lovely sand for strolling, swimming, jogging or surfing.
  
Drive 3: Disneyland/Anaheim to Long Beach and Orange Coast Beaches
 
Anahiem and the surrounding areas do not appear on any scenic tours but the pull here is clear – amusement park heaven – Disneyland, Knott’s Theme Park and a whole constellation of attractions designed to entertain families. 
 
Families could spend a day or a week here and never venture beyond the parks and local attractions. But then you remember the Pacific Ocean – that’s a big pull, too.W hen it is time to get out and explore again, LA-style, Long Beach and the Orange Coast are perfect. Take 22 to Long Beach, one of the most active ports in the U.S., where there are three big draws for visitors.The Queen Mary, a long-retired 1936 cruise ship is a great tour – at Pier J, across from the Queen’s Marketplace shops and Shoreline Village.  Y ou can actually rent rooms and spend the night.
  
The Aquarium of the Pacific is easy to spot and a great place to spend a few hours – consider buying tickets in advance during the summer season.
 
The last big draw to Long Beach is a sidetrip:
 
SIDETRIP: From Long Beach, take a catamaran to Santa Catalina Island for a few hours or a few days.The town of Avalon is so compact cars are not necessary (or available) but golf carts, buses and bikes are everywhere. There are glass-bottom boat tours, horse trails, beaches, botanic gardens, and buffalo herds (courtesy of Hollywood). The marina and the casino are famous, the town is unique and most of the island is a reserve to help protect the indigenous species. If you want to stay over, book ahead.
 
From Long Beach, follow Ocean Blvd. eastward to return to Highway 1 to hop from one great beach town to another starting at Seal Beach, then Huntington Beach (famous to surfers). Prices for food and lodging generally rise as you head south.
  
SIDETRIP: Stay on 1 to explore elegant Newport Beach with its Balboa Island in the bay. Laguna Beach follows, the artiest of the Orange Coast bunch, hugged by hills and tres chic. If you make it as far as Dana Point, head inland to check out the famous mission, San Juan Capistrano, where the swallows arrive every year on March 19.

   


 
Jon Sullivan/PDPhoto.org
Mission at San Juan Capistrano

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