Planning 2 days in Los Angeles and don’t have that much time? Want to see all the Los Angeles has to offer in only a weekend? Don’t let the limited time stop you from having the best Los Angeles trip that you can. This 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary is sure to help you see all that Los Angeles has to offer. By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the famous LA traffic but we promise that with our tips and tricks you will be able to see Los Angeles in 2 days.
Speaking of traffic, it is pretty well known that Los Angeles doesn’t have the best public transportation but don’t let that stop you from seeing Los Angeles in 2 days. If you haven’t already, you probably want to plan on renting a car. Trust us when we say that renting a car will make your Los Angeles Itinerary a little easier to navigate.
We are also going to recommend that you take advantage of the Los Angeles Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour when you plan on going to the famous touristy destinations in Hollywood and the West Side of Los Angeles on day 1. For day 2 we recommend trying out the Los Angeles Metro to explore more local hangouts on the East Side of Los Angeles and Pasadena. If you are doing a West Coast Road Trip, this is the perfect way to begin or end!
You might already know that the famous Hollywood attractions are a must on your 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary and we don’t disagree. It is fun to wander in Old Hollywood hunts and take in the sites that makeup movie magic. We are also going to recommend that you hit up the beach on day 1 as well.
While other blogs will recommend the many theme parks located in Los Angeles for day 2 we want you to consider giving the less touristy but no less fun Eastside of Los Angeles. By doing this you will get to see all that Los Angeles has to offer in a fun 2day itinerary. If you are able to squeeze in a 3rd day then go ahead and visit one of the many theme parks found in the Los Angeles area!
The Ultimate 2 Days in Los Angeles Itinerary
Day 1: Classic Los Angeles
Stop 1: Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign
Day 1 of your Los Angeles Itinerary will start early if you want to get the most out of your 2 days in Los Angeles. You will start at the Griffith Observatory which is located at the very top of Griffith Park. It is free to park at the Observatory but be warned that the lot does fill up early, especially on weekends. Once you arrive take a few moments to look out over all of Los Angeles. Toward the Northside of the parking lot, you will look for the Mt. Hollywood Trailhead. From there its about a 3 mile hike to the Hollywood Sign.
Griffith Park is open from sunrise to sunset. If you get to the Griffith Observatory early enough you will avoid crowds cluttering up the hiking trail. You will also be able to enjoy the early morning hike before it gets too hot. Once you reach the Hollywood sign you’ll be able to look back toward the Observatory to the south as well as the view of the city.
To the west is the Hollywood sign. After heading back to the observatory you might want to consider taking a look inside. With many fascinating exhibits, the Observatory is known as Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! There are also some great tours that will take you from Hollywood to the Observatory and the Hollywood sign while giving you some insight into old Hollywood.
Stop 2: Hollywood Walk of Fame
At this point in your Los Angeles in 2 days trip, you can ditch the car and get yourself on the Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour. There are a few reasons why you might want to do this. First, parking can be expensive in Los Angeles and these next destinations aren’t all close enough to walk too which means you could end up paying anywhere from $10-$25 at each destination just to park.
The other reason we recommend taking one of these sightseeing tours is that they will give you lots of information about Hollywood and even point out famous places where the stars can be seen hanging out. You might even see a movie star or two. Purchasing a day ticket for the Hop-on Hop-off tour is going to make your 2 days in Los Angeles much easier to accomplish.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably one of the most beloved attractions in Los Angeles. Even locals get a kick out of finding their favorite celebrities along the walk of fame. This attraction is a must-do on your Los Angeles itinerary because it is free!
No matter where you start on the walk you will be able to see celebrity stars from radio, television, and film from both old and new Hollywood. If there is one particular celebrity star that you must see be sure to look on the Walk of Fame website for an interactive map with the location of all the stars.
There are also some side attractions that you might be interested in seeing while strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame that will make your 2 days in Los Angeles extra special. Hollywood and Highland is a multi-level shopping and dining destination that is a great place to stop for lunch and a little shopping. It is also the location of TCL Chinese Theatre which is famous for it’s Old Hollywood charm.
Adding the TCL Chinese Theatre to your Los Angeles Itinerary is worth it because this is where you will find the Forecourt to the Stars with hand and footprints from some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Besides the TCL Chinese Theatre consider making stops at the Pantages Theatre and Disneys El Capitan theatre.
Stop 3: Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive
Hop back on your sightseeing bus and head over to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive to see all the luxury, fame, and wealth that your Los Angeles trip has to offer. With every luxury designer brand imaginable in one place, this next stop will certainly leave you a little awestruck. You might even have a celebrity sighting while doing a little window shopping.
Rodeo Drive is fun to explore and one of the best drives in LA! While you are walking around make sure you stop and take the iconic Instagram photo at the entrance to Two Rodeo Drive, the most recognizable part of Beverly Hills.
Since most of us probably can’t afford Harry Winston, Chanel, or Gucci you might be wondering what else there is to do while exploring this iconic Los Angeles location. Rodeo Drive is also the location of the world-famous Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, best known as the location of the 1991 film, Pretty Woman.
The hotel is a nice place to stop for afternoon tea in their Lobby Bar or if it’s a bit later in the day for a glass of wine. The perfect end to this part of your 2 days in Los Angeles is taking a look at the Anderton Court Shops which were designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. After stopping for some more photographs it’s time to move on to your next stop.
Stop 4: Santa Monica
No 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary would be complete without a trip to the beach. Perhaps the most famous and icon beach in Los Angeles is Santa Monica Beach and our favorite place to stop whenever we on a Los Angeles Trip.
Between Santa Monica State Beach, the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade you could spend the rest of your day here and be perfectly satisfied. You have plenty of options here but we suggest you start with either the beach and pier or Third Street Promenade. It just depends on what is most important to you. You can walk between the two areas but the bluffs and cliffs of Palisades Park lay between the two destinations.
To be honest, Santa Monica State Beach isn’t the nicest beach to visit in Los Angeles and most of the year the beach is pretty crowded. For that reason, we usually chose to start our second half of day 1 on our 2 days in Los Angeles at Third Street Promenade and save the Santa Monica State Beach and pier for sunset.
Third Street Promenade is a multi-block outdoor shopping and eating destination. This pedestrian walkway is a nice mix of familiar and unique. While you will find Gap, Anthropologie, Sephora, and the Apple Store, you will also find some unique boutiques and on Wednesday and Saturday, their famous farmers market. As you stroll through the shops and restaurants you will also see plenty of street performers.
Once you have finished up at Third Street Promenade you can hop back on the bus to the beach or walk through Palisades Park for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the beach below. Since these views are something to be enjoyed during your Los Angeles trip we suggest walking.
After taking in the views, head down to the beach and dip your feet in the cool water. Most likely there will be plenty of sunbathers, children playing and people vying for the perfect Instagram worthy picture under the pier. If crowds aren’t your thing just walk a few minutes past either side of the pier to the less crowded section of the beach. No matter what part of the beach you chose to enjoy, you won’t be disappointed in the quintessential California beach vibe.
A little before sunset, we suggest you make your way up to the pier for the perfect ending to the 1st day in your 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary. When you first enter the pier you will be greeted by street vendors and carnival rides that make up Pacific Park.
Go ahead and skip this part for now. Keep walking past Pacific Park and head toward the end of the pier. There you will find viewing areas to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Once the sunsets you will want to walk back and enjoy the night lights of the world-famous Ferris wheel and roller coaster. This is also a fun place to buy a Santa Monica t-shirt or get a henna tattoo. Keep walking past Pacific Park and head toward the end of the pier.
Day 2: The East Side of Los Angeles
As we said earlier, you will see a lot of people recommending that you head to one of Los Angeles’ many theme parks on your Los Angeles Trip. While we absolutely do recommend that if you have the time, we also think that if you truly want to see what Los Angeles has to off you should dedicate day 2 of your 2 days in Los Angeles to exploring the East Side of Los Angeles.
While Los Angeles isn’t known for public transportation there are some great Metro lines that take you through unique areas of Los Angeles. One of our favorite lines is the Gold Line, also known as the L line. This metro links East Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley. It also goes through some of the best cultural areas that the city has to offer.
A day pass for any Metro line costs around $7. Just purchase a TAP card at any of the Metro kiosks and you will be set to explore East LA. We recommend starting in Pasadena but really you can start on either end and have a full day of fun on your Los Angeles Trip.
Stop 1: Pasadena
You know it because it is famous for it’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade and Rose Bowl but starting the 2nd day of your 2 days in Los Angeles in Pasadena is a good idea for many reasons. The first of which is parking. Unless you are staying in Pasadena you will need to drive there and park. It is much easier to get to Pasadena and the parking is much less congested.
The other reason we recommend starting off the 2nd day of your Los Angeles trip in Pasadena is because this Los Angeles suburb has more restaurants per capita than New York. What better way to start off day two than with some brunch in one of Pasadena’s many restaurants! There are many excellent options that are right by Metro stops. Some of our favorites are Maestro for authentic Mexican, we recommend enfrijoladas!
If you are interested in a more traditional brunch then try one of the two sister restaurants, the Luggage Room and La Grande Orange. They are located in the old Pasadena train station and are worth checking out for their historical setting as well as the food! You may also want to try the Old Pasadena Food Tasting Tour to experience more of Pasadena food culture.
Both restaurants are located at the opposite ends of Old Town Pasadena so before hopping on the Metro make sure you take some time to explore the area. No 2 days in Los Angeles is complete without looking at all the historical buildings that Pasadena is known for. Once you’ve had your fill, hop on the Metro and head to your next stop.
Stop 2: China Town
Your journey on the Metro from Pasadena to Down Town LA will take you through many historic neighborhoods that make up the foundation of Los Angeles. You absolutely can stop and explore some of these charming neighborhoods as a great way to make sure you experience the most on your Los Angeles trip.
If you feel like you have the time, get off in South Pasadena and grab some ice cream at Buster’s Ice Cream Shop. You may also want to make a stop in Highland Park and explore the many unique vintage shops that have recently sprung up in the neighborhood.
Otherwise, your next stop is Chinatown. Encompassing the area below Dodger Stadium, this neighborhood is one very close to Down Town LA and some of the oldest areas of the city. There are many shops that sell a mixture of traditional and modern wares. There is a great self-guided walking tour that you can take to learn a little bit more about the historical and cultural aspects of this Los Angeles neighborhood.
If you are hungry and looking for places to eat we have two great recommendations and will make your 2 days in Los Angeles perfect. The first is a Los Angeles institution, that if you ask, most Angelinos will recommend as a must-have if you are planning a trip to Los Angeles. Philippe The Original opened in 1918 and is known for their french dip sandwiches. If you are there at lunch-time it can get quite crowded but the line moves fast and is worth the wait.
If you are looking for something a little more authentic then we recommend you add The Phoenix Inn to your 2 days in Los Angeles Itinerary. This is the original and first of many Phoenix restaurants dotted around Los Angeles county. It is top-notch for traditional Chinese food and you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for a quick sweet treat, try the Phoenix bakery and their famous strawberry cake.
Stop 3: Union Station and Olvera Street
Hop back on the Metro for a quick trip to your next stop on your 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary. Between Union Station and Olvera Street, you are about to experience a step back in time to long-ago days that were the founding of Los Angeles. Both known for their history there is a lot to explore at these famous landmarks.
As soon as you step off the Metro at Union Station you might start to recognize this famous landmark. Used in countless movies, television shows, and commercials, Union Station is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. It was built in the famous Mission Moderne style and is a prized architectural gem in Los Angeles.
Whenever we are on a Los Angeles trip we like to make a stop at Union Station to imagine what travel must have been like in a bygone era when the only way to travel cross country quickly was a week-long train trip from east to west. Make sure you spend some time exploring all that Union Station has to offer before walking outside and heading across the street to Olvera Street.
Olvera Street is often called the birthplace of Los Angeles. As it is known today it is an outdoor marketplace that celebrates Mexican culture and contributions to the city and is the perfect stop on your 2 days in Los Angeles. You can stroll the market buying traditional leather goods, Mexican glass, and costumes.
Most days there are authentic Aztec or folkloric dancers in the plaza as well as a fantastic guided walking tour that covers the history of Los Angeles and the changes of this famous street. We love to stock up on Mexican candy and traditional pastries whenever we are visiting.
Stop 4: Little Tokyo and the Arts District.
You can walk from Union Station/Olvera Street to Little Tokyo or you can get back on the Metro and go one stop to Little Tokyo/Arts District. As you exit the metro and cross the street you will see a large building that is the Japanese American National Museum. If you have time, go inside as they always have excellent exhibits exploring Japanese culture and America.
Otherwise, head across the street to the hub of Little Tokyo, another must-see stop during your 2 days in Los Angeles. The Japanese Village Plaza is an Instagram worthy spot with colorful lanterns to enhance your photos. The plaza also has many cute shops to find great s0uveniers from your Los Angeles trip. You will also find lots of small restaurants serving sushi, ramen, mochi, and other Japanese cuisines.
You could spend the rest of your time exploring Little Tokyo during your last day on your 2 days in Los Angeles. There are great bars and nightlife that include karaoke and Japanese influence cocktails or you can walk a few blocks into the Arts District where some of our favorite breweries are located.
Like many cities these days, Los Angeles has a thriving microbrew culture that isn’t to be missed and should be added to your Los Angeles itinerary. As you walk away from Little Tokyo the landscape will start to look a little more industrial and you know you are headed in the right direction.
This part of Los Angeles is home to many studios for all types of art. Admire the many murals on the side of the building and top to take a picture or two. To sample some of the best beer in Los Angeles make sure you stop in at Angel City Brewing, Arts District Brewing Co., Boomtown Brewery, and many more.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a large city with many different neighborhoods to stay in. To make your 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary easy to manage we’ve chosen hotels in a few of the locations in our list. Each hotel is either in a starting or ending location and centrally located to many of the attractions we have suggested.
1. Gold Diggers Hotel – Hollywood
The Gold Diggers Hotel is located near a lot of the action and nightlife in Hollywood. Just a short walk to the Capitol Records building, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and many of the attractions we’ve suggested for day 1. You won’t be disappointed if you chose to make this your stoping grounds for your 2 days in Los Angeles. There is a lobby bar as well as free wifi.
Check Rates: Booking.com
2. Wyndham at the Santa Monica Pier
If ending each day near the beach is on your to-do list for your trip to Los Angeles in 2 days then try the Wyndham at the Santa Monica Pier. After watching the sunset over the Pacific ocean you can make your way back to your hotel with just a 5-minute walk. The hotel features a salt-water pool, lobby restaurant and free wifi.
Check Rates: Booking.com
3. Courtyard by Marriott Pasadena/Old Town
If you’d like to completely ditch the car for your 2nd day in Los Angeles then we suggest you stay in the charming suburb of Pasadena. Just 10 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles and about 25 minutes to Hollywood, on a good day, the Courtyard by Marriott is an excellent choice for your Los Angeles trip. Located within walking distance of Old Town Pasadena and two metro stops the hotel has everything you’d expect from a Marriott.
Check Rates: Booking.com
4. Hotel Indigo Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown LA has been revitalized over the past few years and you really can’t go wrong with many of the hotel choices but we especially like the Hotel Indigo as the perfect resting place for your Los Angeles Itinerary. Centrally located the hotel pays homage to the city. Each room has amazing city views and a cool LA vibe. You will also enjoy that the hotel has a restaurant, lobby bar and room service.
Check Rates: Booking.com
Getting to Los Angeles
There are two airports that service Los Angeles. LAX is the large International Airport and then there is the smaller Burbank Airport. It will be easier to get flights to LAX and that is the airport we prefer to fly into if we are staying in Santa Monica or Hollywood. If you fly into LAX and are staying in Downtown Los Angeles or Pasadena you always run the risk of running into traffic. But really, if you are coming to Los Angeles, most likely you will hit traffic during your Los Angeles trip.
We mentioned earlier that we do recommend renting a car during your stay in Los Angeles. You will want to do that at the airport to get the most out of your 2 days in Los Angeles. You can possibly get away without renting a car in Los Angeles so if you’d rather be car-free this is what we suggest.
To go car-free on our 2 days in Los Angeles Itinerary make sure you fly into LAX and stay in either Downtown Los Angeles or Pasadena. After you have gotten your luggage at LAX you will go out and look for the convenient FlyAway bus to Union Station. The cost for the bus is around $10 and you can purchase them at the kiosk outside. The bus will take you to Downtown LA Union station where you can either hop on the Gold Line to Pasadena or the Purple and Red Lines to the many hotels in Downtown LA. The Red Line also goes into Hollywood.
Getting Around Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a driving city and we do suggest you rent a car for you 2 days in Los Angeles but we also planned these 2 days so you could be car-free if you want to. Here are just a few things to know about getting around and navigating your Los Angeles Itinerary.
There absolutely is traffic. If you are driving you will always want to account for traffic and consider travel time and not how many miles away our destination is. For that reason, we suggest you use the Waze app when driving in Los Angeles. The app is excellent at estimating how long it will take to reach your destination.
If you are going to forgo renting a car during your 2 days in Los Angeles make sure to utilize the Metro system and tours like the hop-on and hop-off busses. We suggest staying in Downtown Los Angeles as well. The only location on this Los Angeles itinerary that would be impossible to get to without a car is the Griffith Observatory and Hollywood Sign. Otherwise, the Red Line services Downtown LA to North Hollywood. The Expo Line services Downtown LA to Santa Monica and the Gold Line services Pasadena and Downtown LA.
2 days in Los Angeles is plenty of time to make the most out of your Los Angeles trip. Between the glamour of Hollywood, the casual cool of the beach, and the historic vibe of East Los Angeles there is much to do and you won’t be disappointed. We hope you get a chance to see and do everything you want to because Los Angeles is a great city to explore.