As with any city, Los Angeles is filled with neighborhoods and districts, each with their own vibe and history. From the charming beachfront towns to the vibrant culture of Chinatown, there’s something new to discover around every corner. No trip to California is complete without exploring a few of the popular Los Angeles neighborhoods.
But before you start aimlessly roaming the city, use our guide to find out which neighborhoods spark your interest.
10 Los Angeles Neighborhoods You Must See
Keep these areas of LA in mind when organizing your travel plans.
1. Downtown Los Angeles
Although Hollywood may get all the fame and glory, downtown Los Angeles is in the middle of a revitalization. Filled from end-to-end with history and new developments, this neighborhood houses attractions such as:
- OUE Skyspace Observation Deck
- The Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Staples Center
- Little Tokyo
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
- The Broad
While exploring this buzzing neighborhood, also be on the lookout for historic and iconic landmarks including:
- The Aoyama Tree
- Chinatown Gates
- Spanish-American War Memorial
- Bradbury Building
- Union Station
Of course, what would a trip to Los Angeles be without a stroll through Hollywood? Among the top destinations for tourists, Hollywood is jam-packed with things to do and see. Be careful, though! Visit at a peak time and you’ll be swarmed by crowds.
While in Hollywood, make time to see:
- The Hollywood Walk of Fame
- The Hollywood Bowl
- Runyon Canyon
- The Hollywood Sign
- Dolby Theatre
- Chinese Theatre
- Universal Studios Hollywood
If you’re interested in the Hollywood of yesterday and today, be sure to sign up for one of the many tours. With an abundance of walking and bus tours, you’ll be able to learn about how Hollywood came to be and its future, along with inside stories about your favorite celebrities.
Although Chinatown is the destination for out-of-this-world food (hello, dim sum!), there is so much more to do in this neighborhood. Right near downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown also boasts incredible festivals and celebrations year-round for unparalleled entertainment and culture.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chinatown, secure your spot on a walking tour. These tours cover the neighborhood’s history, culture, and upcoming areas.
Some of the top places to check out in Chinatown include:
- Thien Hau Temple
- Chinese American Museum
- Chinatown Central Plaza
4. Beverly Hills
Get ready to discover the life of luxury as you visit one of the richest Los Angeles neighborhoods: Beverly Hills. Take a drive to this ritzy area of LA and walk around along the palm-tree lined sidewalks. Bring your camera for Instagram-worthy shots. Along the way, you’ll also see towering mansions, quaint cafes (with pricey menus), and the famous Rodeo Drive.
Want to see some of the top celebrity mansions? A Movie Stars’ Home Tour can help you do just that!
Don’t forget to add these top things to do in Beverly Hills to your plans:
- Greystone Mansion
- Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalow
- Spadena House
- Sprinkles ATM (You can thank us later!)
- The Paley Center for Media
- Virginia Robinson Gardens
You’ll feel like a star when you spend time in Beverly Hills.
5. Santa Monica
Surfs up in Santa Monica! Over in the West Hollywood area, Santa Monica boasts everything pertaining to sun, surf, and sand. A trip to the Santa Monica Pier is a must, along with time to lounge on the beach. The area’s unique architecture and beachy vibe are perfect for a sunny day adventure.
Santa Monica also offers these treasures you must see:
- The Getty Center
- Marina Del Rey Dining Cruises
- Palisades Park
- Third Street Promenade
- Tongva Park
- Santa Monica Stairs
A word of advice: only try the Santa Monica Stairs if you’re in super great shape or up for a challenge. Pick your choice of 199 concrete or 170 wooden steps—either way, you’re in for a workout!
Also among the beachfront Los Angeles neighborhoods, Venice offers a mix of artistic venues, tech companies, culinary destinations, and so much more. For a beautiful stroll, hit up the Ocean Front Walk where you’ll find quirky street performers and impressive views. Or, if you’re into skateboarding, a trip to the Venice Beach Skate Park is a must. And, if you’re looking for a way to spend a night out, you have to check out the many rooftop bars popping up in the area.
Some of the top places to visit in Venice include:
- Venice Beach Boardwalk
- Venice Canals
- Abbot Kinney Boulevard
- Venice Murals
- Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
If you’re looking to sample the California cuisine, visit any of the beachside food trucks for delectable food from fish tacos to desserts.
Located north of the city, Pasadena offers another world of attractions and entertainment for Los Angeles travelers. For awe-inspiring architecture, a trip to Pasadena City Hall is a must. This towering building was built in 1927 and attracts visitors from all over due to its design. Plus, the world-famous Rose Bowl is found in Pasadena, too!
If you’re a fan of museums, parks, and more, check out these places to go in Pasadena:
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Brookside Park
- Norton Simon Museum
- Old Town Pasadena
- Huntington Library
- Pasadena Playhouse
If you’re searching for an outdoor adventure in one of the Los Angeles neighborhoods, the trail to Eaton Canyon Falls in Pasadena is also a popular choice.
Visitors interested in the film and media industry of Los Angeles need to visit Burbank. Film studios such as Warner Bros. have their gigantic lots out in Burbank. Get tickets to a taping of your favorite show or take a studio tour for a behind-the-scenes look! For an outdoor adventure, go check out Griffith Park where you’ll find winding hiking trails and Griffith Observatory. You’ve likely seen this observatory in a plethora of movies, including La La Land.
Other entertaining things to do and see in Burbank include:
- Starlight Bowl
- The Oldest Bob’s Big Boy Location
- Burbank Farmers’ Market
- Wildwood Canyon Park
- Live TV Show Tapings
- Shopping in Magnolia Park
Quick tip: see what Burbank TV shows offer free tickets to their live tapings. You never know what celebrities you’ll get to see!
9. Long Beach
Boasting top attractions such as the iconic Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, and the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach is a premier waterfront destination. As one of the top Los Angeles neighborhoods, Long Beach offers visitors a wealth of activities from harbor cruises to urban hidden gems.
While exploring the neighborhood, check out these popular spots:
- Long Beach Museum of Art
- Catalina Island
- El Dorado Nature Center
- Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
- Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor
Don’t forget to spend time walking along the harbor for picturesque ocean views!
Did you know Malibu is home to the historic Pepperdine University? On top of the prestigious school, this beach neighborhood has six beaches, plenty of museums, and endless things to do. Plus, it is also where numerous celebrities call home. For the perfect beach day and a possible celeb sighting, a trip to Malibu is a must.
While you’re there, visit these attractions and places as well:
- Getty Villa
- Leo Carrillo State Park and Beach
- Paradise Cove
- Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum
- Surfrider Beach
Why not grab a surfboard and take a lesson or two while you’re in Malibu?
Which Los Angeles Neighborhoods are Your Favorite?
Did we miss your favorite neighborhood? Add to our list of Los Angeles neighborhoods by commenting below!