Los Angeles Vacations
Your Los Angeles vacation
From the Sunset Strip to the Santa Monica Pier to Universal Studios, Los Angeles is full of silver-screen magic, beautiful people and American pop culture. Stroll the Venice Beach Boardwalk and count the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dream about the celebrities you'll see, or how many times you can visit Disneyland, and leave the travel planning to Orbitz.
Our insiders share the best time to go on a Los Angeles vacation, where to go, plus insider gems from Long Beach to Union Station.
Best time to take a vacation to Los Angeles
With Los Angeles weather, it is hard to find a bad time to go to L.A. and rates are competitive year-round. Get in on the action during peak season (June to September) when the beach is full, the temperatures range from the 70s and into the 90s, and dinner reservations are key. March and April, and October through November bring mild temps and sunny skies, as well as late fall's cool Santa Ana winds.
But if tourists and sunshine aren't a concern, visit during winter (December to March) when rain is common, and the scene is a little more laid-back (exception: the awards ceremonies). And to fill your itinerary with celeb spotting, start with the Golden Globes in mid-January to late February, and the Oscars in late February or March. (Television lovers, the Emmys are in late summer.)
Insider tips for Los Angeles travel
Work your artsy mojo at Saturday Nights at the Getty. This Bel Air hilltop museum curates quite a party with music, dance, theatre and spoken-word events.
Free Friday Shark Lagoon Nights (Long Beach)
Make friends with the ocean's ultimate predators at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Touch bamboo sharks and see sandtigers and sting rays as they swim by. Swap stories over beer, wine and snacks.
First Friday in Manhattan Beach
Forget the malls - shake up your shopping routine at Manhattan Beach's first Friday event. Check out trunk shows, snag deals in funky restaurants and boutiques, and dig those ocean views.
Traxx Restaurant in Union Station
Get on the right side of the tracks – this innovative restaurant pairs incredible architecture with creative eats and a California-focused wine list.
Dresden Restaurant (Hollywood)
This film siren restaurant is filled with Mandarin glamour. If you can't stay for dinner, slink into the lounge for late-night jazz and signature Blood and Sand cocktails.
Los Angeles highlights
Sunset boulevard, the Hollywood sign and its famous city still leaves visitors star-struck. See which celebrities have gold star status on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and compare your hand and foot prints with screen legends outside Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Bring your little mermaids to Ariel's Undersea Adventure, and Padawans to Jedi Training Academy. Join the Disney Princesses and fanfare down Main Street USA at Mickey's Soundsational Parade.
Universal Studios Hollywood (SM)
Get ready for the ultimate Hollywood movie experience! Go behind the scenes on the world famous Studio Tour to explore where Hollywood movies are made and see firsthand the world’s largest 3-D experience, King Kong 360 3-D, created by Peter Jackson. Then, face action head-on in heart-pounding rides, shows and attractions that put you inside some of the world’s biggest movies. And be part of the battle as you embark on a mission to defend the Allspark from the evil clutches of the DecepticonsTM in TransformersTM: The Ride-3D.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Grab a vitamin-packed juice and join the cast of characters. Check out the break dancers, mimes and seriously buff bods on Muscle Beach. Have your name written on a grain of rice, get a (temporary) tattoo, then take a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains (near the 405), this 110-acre museum is famed for its art collection, grounds and view. From Etruscan antiquities to Man Ray photographs, you can also see the LA skyline, San Bernardino Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Plus admission is free.
Santa Monica Pier
This carnival of to-dos is best known for its historic 1922 carousel. Take the tykes to the amusement park or the aquarium beneath the eastern deck of the pier. Sign up for a class at the trapeze school, or just unwind with cocktails and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
This three-block stretch of retail nirvana will test your (credit card) limits. Chanel and Cartier may play coy, but Agent Provocateur and Gucci will unapologetically seduce. If haute couture doesn't faze you, it just might be the celebrity you swore you saw go into Prada.
The park, occupying more than 4,200 acres in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range, features the Griffith Observatory, Greek Theatre and the L.A. Zoo. Or experience the outdoors with a picnic, hiking or horseback riding.
The Grove/Farmers Market
The Grove, an open-air retail and entertainment center, became The Place to Be in Los Angeles. Hear the glockenspiel coo-coo from the dome, shop Grove Main Street and catch the latest film. Watch the animated fountain show, and hop the trolley to the Farmer's Market.
Sunset Strip (West Hollywood)
Peer into LA's cruising culture on this 1.5-mile stretch in West Hollywood. From the Comedy Store to The Standard, and House of Blues to SkyBar, cruise your way through the stream of glittering Angelinos, billboards and rock history.