Photograph by Choness/iStock.

This city is so full of iconic attractions, historic landmarks, international cuisine, famous faces and beaches, that you could easily spend more than three days exploring it—and that’s before adding Universal Studios Hollywood or Disneyland to the mix.

Day 1

Santa Monica Pier, photograph by Stella Levi/iStock.

Morning: Explore the city’s architectural heritage with a Los Angeles Conservancy walking tour of the Theatre District, Angelino Heights, City Hall and other landmarks. Be sure to peek at the ornate ironwork inside the Bradbury Building, and see the mission-revival Union Station.

Afternoon: Fuel up with a Mexican feast on Olvera Street, referred to as the birthplace of L.A., or at Grand Central Market, the city’s food court since 1917, with 38 vendors including Wexler’s Deli, Sticky Rice and Tacos Tumbras A Tomas. After, feed your eyes at The Broad, one of the city’s boldest art museums, exhibiting Yayoi Kusama’s popular Infinity Mirror Rooms.

A cocktail creation at The Varnish, photograph by Pouring with Heart.

Evening: Happy hour doesn’t get any better than at The Varnish, named best cocktail bar in the U.S. at the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation 2019 Spirited Awards. To get there, enter through Cole’s, which claims to have invented the French dip sandwich in 1908.

Day 2

Muscle Beach Gym, photograph by Anna Bryukhanova/iStock.

Morning: Jump into the L.A. lifestyle by exploring its famed beach towns. Funky Venice Beach Boardwalk is lined with bohemian shops, street performers and unique sights, including outdoor Muscle Beach Gym, where a young Arnold Schwarzenegger used to flex his pecs. Rent a bike and cruise along the beach path to the Santa Monica Pier, where the thrills include a roller coaster and trapeze classes.

Afternoon: Drive the Pacific Coast Highway to neighbouring Malibu and the incredible Getty Villa. Originally the site of the J. Paul Getty Museum, it is renowned for its Greek and Roman antiquities.

Evening: Take a sunset spin along the twists and turns of Mulholland Drive to Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, to shop and dine, see the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are held, and to snap a picture of the iconic Hollywood Sign.

Day 3

G & B Coffee at Grand Central Market, photograph by Mike Baker.

Morning: Order a breakfast burrito at the Original Farmers’ Market, a favourite spot for locals since it began as a roadside produce stand in the 1930s. Now a buzzing cluster of 100-plus food stalls and stores, it’s adjacent to The Grove, L.A.’s much-loved outdoor shopping mall.

Afternoon: Drive to the Petersen Automotive Museum, one of the world’s largest collections of historic and valuable automobile gems, including Hollywood icons such as the Batmobile from the 1989 film Batman. Walk across the street to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for special exhibits and free Sunday music concerts.

Evening: Enjoy an unforgettable performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a Frank Gehry masterpiece built for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Master Chorale. At the Hollywood Bowl, fans of classical, jazz and rock music can picnic under the stars with food by one of L.A.’s most revered chefs, Suzanne Goin.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Ace Downtown Los Angeles

This is easily the hippest place to stay in downtown. The dramatic, gothic building was the headquarters of the United Artists film studios (co-founded by Charlie Chaplin) and includes an incredible, ornate theatre. There’s also a rooftop bar, Upstairs, and plunge pool, both with killers views.

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Fairmont Miramar’s pool, photograph courtesy of Fairmont Miramar.

This Santa Monica property is the perfect place to feel like you’ve escaped the hustle of the city. You’ll find a cool pool scene, complete with private beach butlers, and you’re just a quick walk to the Pacific Ocean. After a swim, unwind at the on-site spa and dine at the Mediterranean bistro, Fig.

See more great places to stay in Los Angeles

[This story appears in the September 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]