Putting together an all-inclusive travel nurse guide for a city like Los Angeles is challenging! This city is full of so many activities for every single person. Want a singles group? There are plenty. Into The Office? There are trivia bar crawls. Into magic shows? There is a magic castle. I mean really, there is something for everyone in the City of Angels.
In big cities like this, I always make it a point to do some “touristy” stuff when I first arrive in the city. Being a tourist gets a bad rap from locals, but I truly have learned some of the coolest things about a city by doing the bus tours, bike tours, etc. Sometimes I end up knowing more about the city than said locals! My suggestion at the beginning of every nursing assignment is to cross the “touristy” things off your list first, so you start with a good base. This also helps ensure you don’t scramble towards the end of the assignment to cross off the big things.
Touristy Must-Do’s in LA
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Park in a parking garage. It can be a little pricey, but worth saving the headache of trying to find other parking. Take in the Walk of Fame and check out the stars. If there is a particular celeb star you want to see, you can Google it easily. Check out the Chinese Theater and put your hands in Marilyn Monroe’s hands, or my husband Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. 😆
Next I love the celeb home bus tours. The Star Line celeb home tour is the one I have done several times. It takes you sight-seeing as well as drives you past celebrity homes in the Hollywood Hills. Even for a local, this is fun to take visiting friends on. You get to sit back and relax and not have to worry about driving through the busy LA traffic!
Although there are many spots to catch a good glimpse of the Hollywood sign, my favorite is from Lake Hollywood Park. Type that into your Google maps and GPS will take you right there. Perfect photo-op.
If you take the bus tour mentioned above, you will check all of these off the list. If not, make sure you drive the Sunset Strip into Beverly Hills. On the way you will catch famous Comedy clubs, famous clubs, restaurants, and shops. You will also drive through West Hollywood and see the fun clubs and restaurants there. Once you hit Beverly Hills, head to the Beverly Hills Hotel, featured in many movies. You can drive up, take a pic, and drive away without having to park or get out of the car. Next hit the famous Rodeo Drive. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled, as you’ll probably see a celebrity or at least the car they are driving. Then drive by the Beverly Wilshire, which is where part of Pretty Woman was filmed!
If you have all day to check out the beaches, then I highly recommend starting up in Malibu and driving down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). My favorite spot to catch in the morning before crowds are there is El Matador Beach. It involves climbing some stairs, but it is so beautiful and worth it. Parking can be limited, so an early visit on a weekday is best. Then head south down the PCH and catch morning brunch at either Geoffreys Malibu or Paradise Cove. Geoffreys is a little more high-end and you may catch a celebrity, and Paradise Cove is gorgeous and right on the beach. After you eat, drive down the PCH and catch the views before heading to Santa Monica Pier for some pictures. Next up, drive down to Venice Beach or stay parked in Santa Monica and rent a scooter down to Venice! The boardwalk is beautiful! Once in Venice, catch the famous Venice skate park and Muscle Beach. Once you have checked those out, head to the Venice Canals – lots of history here! After this very busy day, you will probably be hungry. Hit up Abbot Kinney shopping center for some dinner and shopping. This area is very hipster and very adorable!
Disneyland, Warner Brothers Studios, and Universal Studios
All very fun and something I personally all checked off my list when I was here as a traveler. The tickets are pricey, so if you cannot do them all, I’ll give a little breakdown. Disney is the most iconic and should be top of the list. The food and rides make it totally worth it. If lots of kids aren’t your thing, Universal is so much fun for both the rides and the studio tour. The Warner Brothers Studio tour is worth it for TV and movie fans. Don’t miss the Friends Central Perk store, too.
Specific Destinations in LA
Ok, that’s a lot to keep you busy for the first part of your nursing assignment! After you check some of these off, below are more specific lists of some of my other LA favorites. I always recommend keeping a running list of places and events you want to check out.
Top Sites I Get my Ideas/Events
- Secret Los Angeles (follow them on Instagram or Facebook)
- TikTok (once you like a couple LA related things, more keep popping up. I have found the coolest places through here!)
- Events pages on Facebook
- Runyon Canyon (most touristy, beautiful views, parking can be tricky so get there early or Uber)
- Griffith Park (parking in the Griffith Observatory lot is free before noon, so get there around 9 am and use the hiking trail that starts in the back of the lot. This one is my favorite as it has a beautiful view of both the Hollywood sign and observatory. Hike up the Captains Roost for amazing pics! There are many trails in Griffith Park so this is one you could go to several times)
- Echo Park (pretty views of downtown, can rent paddle swan boats to paddle around the lake, or you can just take a pretty walk)
- Hollywood Sign Hike (this one can take awhile, but worth it. Google and YouTube directions, being sure to watch the YouTube videos and save screenshots of turning points in case you don’t have a phone signal while on the hike!)
Top Brunch Spots
- Home (adorable outside patio, good for dinners too)
- Malibu Farm
- Hamburger Mary’s Drag Brunch
- No Jealousy
- Met Her at a Bar
- The Grove (very popular, can sometimes spot celebs! Their farmers market is amazing, so come hungry!)
- Abbot Kinney
- Rodeo Drive
- The Americana
Top Rooftop Bars/Restaurants
- EP/LP WeHo
- Mama Shelter Hollywood (my personal favorite happy hour spot)
- Perch LA (gorgeous downtown city views)
- Harriet’s (great music and vibe)
- Highlight Room
- Spire 73
- Rooftop at Hotel Erwin
- Dodgers Game
- Griffith Observatory
- Resort Pass (can buy a ticket for a pool pass at a hotel for a day, so much fun. My favorites are the W hotel in Hollywood and The Beverly Hilton)
- Farmers Markets (each neighborhood has one, google when yours does! The best ones seem to be Brentwood and Beverly Hills)
- Glen Ivy Hot Springs (amazing day spa, great for girls trips or getaways)
- Urban Lights at the LACMA
- Malibu Wine Safari (drink wine, meet a Giraffe, what more could you ask?)
- Rooftop Cinema Club (different rooftop locations that show outdoor movies)
- See a show! (Price is Right, The Ellen Show, etc. Google Live studio audiences and catch a game show or a tv show taping!)
- Comedy Shows (Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store have world famous comedians performing almost every night)
- The Last Bookstore (Downtown LA, historic)
- Catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl
- The Broad Museum
All of these items are just the tip of the iceberg! If you want pictures and videos of these along with other ideas, feel free to follow me on Instagram and take a look at my “LA” and “LA pt 2” story highlights. Enjoy your LA assignment!