If you're here having a research because you're visiting LA, then let me tell you straight off the bat: I'm jealous. And really upset. If you're in need of an irritating little meatball to hit LA with, then I am available for hire. Will link my email. 😂
All jokes aside, LA is a really unreal place. It's not somewhere that everyone overhypes and that movies make look way cooler than it is - it's worth all the hype and more (even in the rain). There's no shortage of sun (except for the first 3 days of my trip anyway), an abundance of cool places to eat, beaches you can chill on at the weekends and you'll never need to wear more than 3 layers at most - sold yet?!
There is so much to do here that 7 days simply isn't enough if you want to do LA right. It does mean that a second trip is always warranted though, so below I've done all the hard work for you so you can sit back and relax reading through your new itinerary, including rare rainy day suggestions if you happen to be one of the unlucky chosen ones.
visit griffith observatory for sunset
You can't come to LA without experiencing the most unbelievable sunsets you'll ever see. Noted - you'll probably see amazing sunsets in other places - but there's nothing quite like LA. The sky turns a beautiful candy floss colour and although you'll see this wherever you are in the city (doh), it's even more special if it's seen from up high.
Griffith Observatory was our chosen location (and clearly everyone else's too) and although it was busy, you can see why. From Griffith you're able to see out as far as the coast in the distance, while also watching the city go up in lights from the same spot. The crowds clear out very shortly after sunset, giving you a little more freedom to have a wander round (and actually go inside the observatory if you're a nerd like me), and from there it's only a short ride down to Hollywood for you to enjoy the rest of your evening after having a mooch.
hike the hollywood hills (just not in a shirt)
Sure, getting up close to the most famous sign in the world is cool, but it looks even better from above! If you're an active person, or if you're just actively pretending that you've moved to Hollywood by slipping into LA culture, then hiking the Hollywood Hills is a good place to start. Just for your own sanity, make sure you're not wearing a shirt. Take water. Don't be like me.
There are plenty of awesome trails around the area which are great for walking and hiking. The particular one I did started directly below the Hollywood sign, round and up to the Wisdom Tree Trail to the American Flag, then across to above the sign. I've linked here an informative blog post you may want to check out if hiking is your thing and you fancy giving it a go, but I can promise you it's well worth nearly dying of dehydration for.
take a roadtrip to santa barbara
You can't come to California without cruising up the PCH, and you most definitely can't visit Santa Barbara without planning your early retirement. To be honest, I'm not sure I know the right way to describe Santa Barbara to do it the justice it deserves - it simply just boils down to falling in love when you visit. It's the place to be if you're looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and it has a much more relaxed way of life.
A nice drive to take is to go through Santa Monica, through to Malibu, and then from there to Santa Barbara. Google Maps will try to give you a different route, however this is much more scenic and means you'll be driving next to the coast whenever you're able. It also means that if you forget anything important (exactly like I did) you can stop off in either SM or Malibu to rectify the situation.
New SD card to replace the one I forgot = $35.
The total death glare Matt gave me when I told him = priceless.
There are also plenty of vineyards around the area which offer wine tasting and tours (I wish I'd done this and stayed the night!), as well as an abundance of (expensive) shops - but it's not the place to come if you're looking for a party. A nice hotel to check out is the Eagle Inn (linked), it's a boutique hotel not far from the beach and in perfect walking distance to the pier (just beware of the pelicans dive bombing you).
spend golden hour in malibu
This quiet, unspoilt beach is a hidden gem along the PCH just outside of Malibu. It's not well sign posted though, so you need to know it's there (thanks, Instagram) or you'll miss it, which isn't necessarily such a bad thing as it keeps the crowds at bay.
The beach is made up of beautiful rocky coastline and is exactly what you'd dream a sunset on a Malibu beach would be like. We planned our visit on the way back from Santa Barbara and made it to the beach just in time for sunset - it's a really nice place to bring a small picnic and watch the sun go down. It's not one for the less able though - you'll need to go down a good few flights of wooden stairs and also jagged cliff edges - so again, don't be like me. Don't wear flip flops unless you want to dice with injury.
visit venice and hire a scooter
get lost in walt disney concert hall
spend a rainy day in downtown
be a cliche tourist for the day at the walk of fame
walk from LACMA to the grove: shop and enjoy the farmers market