skip to main content
Suitcase and Heels Suitcase and Heels

36 Hours in Los Angeles

Things to do in LA - Bus tourThings to do in Los Angeles in Less than 2 Days

I was booking a flight home from Las Vegas and the suggested flight routing through LAX got me thinking. Hmm…how much extra would it cost to turn that 4 hour stopover into a day or two? The answer kids, was $40 and that’s how I ended up spending 36 hours in Los Angeles. You might not think that’s enough time to really do anything in a new city but it turns out I can be quite an efficient travel machine when I want to be. So what did I do with my time?

What were my top 10 things to do with 36 hours in Los Angeles?

Table of Contents


I know, I know, bus tours aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but LA is a city for drivers and I was without wheels so I chose City Sightseeing’s hop-on/hop-off bus to see as much as I could with my one day pass. If you have the time, spring for a two-day pass. Just this May they also added a Venice route and a connector route to LAX. I took the yellow and red routes and passed by a lot of famous sights like the Beverly Hilton Hotel where the Golden Globes are held, the Viper Room where River Phoenix ODed, the original House of Blues, Capitol Records tower, and more.

Things to Do in LA - Eat at Pink's

Eat at Pink’s

Pink’s hot dog stand has been serving up dogs since 1939 and has become a Hollywood landmark. The walls inside are lined with photos of celebrities who’ve visited. Even with newer menu items added the chili dog remains the top seller and I highly recommend pairing it with onion rings. This was one of the bus’ stops and I timed it so that I could hit up the hot dog joint for lunch. I have no regrets.

Things to do in LA - Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Even though it’s cliché as cliché gets I just had to visit Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and put my hands in the prints of the stars. In this same area at Hollywood and Highland you’ll have an ok view of the Hollywood sign. I probably spent about an hour here checking out the various handprints, people watching and eyeing the setup for the Thor premier across the street.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame runs up and down Hollywood Blvd past Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and while I didn’t see all 2500 star plaques I saw a good many. Like the Strip in Vegas, you’ll see a good number of people dressed as popular Hollywood characters. I saw Superman chatting with Charlie Chaplin during my visit. If you want your photo taken with them, expect to pay.

Shop on Rodeo Drive

The transfer point for two bus routes was on Rodeo Drive. I would’ve liked to spend a bit of time window shopping here but I’d spent too much time trying to take a decent selfie with the Hollywood sign. It’s probably best I didn’t get to really ogle the goods in the Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Burberry stores.

Things to do in LA - Venice Beach

People Watch on Venice Beach

I spent an hour or so soaking up some rays and splashing around in the ocean but the real draw for Venice Beach is the characters you’ll see. During the summer there are performers at every intersection along Ocean Front Walk. There are tattoo shops next to medical marijuana joints next to t-shirt vendors. You can see muscleheads working out at Muscle Beach or dreadlocked hippies playing their bongo drums. It really is an experience.

Things to Do in LA - Rent a Bicycle

Rent a Bicycle

For my one night in town I stayed in Venice Beach and my hotel offered a free bike for a day which I took full advantage of. I rode the 3 miles of bike path all the way to Santa Monica and back again. There was just something so California about cycling along among the palm trees alongside the beach. If your hotel doesn’t provide them you can rent a bike from one of the shops along the beach for $6/hr or $20 for the whole day.

Things to do in La - Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is a great spot to people watch. I decided to act like a kid and bought myself tickets to ride the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel. The only issue was that they don’t let solo riders on the Ferris wheel so I had to share with a couple. Awkward. The view was pretty great though. If rides and midway games aren’t your thing you could always check out the aquarium, the arcade, take a trapeze lesson or get your fish on.

Shop at Third Street Promenade

Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian only shopping area in downtown Santa Monica that’s an easy walk from the pier. You’ll mostly find chain stores here but I liked checking out the ones we don’t have in Newfoundland such as Esprit, Steve Madden and Anthropologie. Shopping when I travel…it’s what I do.

So you see, while a day and a half really isn’t much time you can still get a good overview of even a large city like Los Angeles and even have time for reading a book on the beach!

What would you do with 36 hours in LA?


  1. Diana | JustWanderlustBlog says:

    December 18th, 2013 at 2:26 pm (#)

    I live in Southern California so this post intrigued me. You definitely got to sample the biggest attractions and neighborhoods in LA in that short amount of time – bravo! I’m not that into bus tours either, but I agree that it’s a great way to see the major attractions efficiently. If you had more time, you could stroll through UCLA and Westwood, Malibu, Robertson Blvd (where a lot of celebs shop), Melrose, hike to the Hollywood sign, and then venture out farther to Universal Studios and Disneyland. Now you have an excuse to come back! :)

Leave a Comment