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Ultimate 3 Day Los Angeles Itinerary (From A Local!) 

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Looking for a fun-filled 3-day Los Angeles itinerary?

Then you’re in the right place!

Whether you’re thinking about visiting Los Angeles or are in the process of planning your trip, this 3 day Los Angeles itinerary will show you the highlights and take you to places that locals like to frequent.

I have lived in Los Angeles my entire life and love exploring the area to find new things to see and do. There are so many terrific places to visit in Los Angeles in 3 days—many of which go unseen by tourists who simply don’t know they exist.

I’m here to help change that through the following comprehensive itinerary created by a local. It provides a few different options so that you can plan an itinerary that is truly of interest to you.

From seeing the Hollywood sign to visiting cute South Bay beach towns to eating at some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, get excited for a memorable and fun-filled trip!

Short on time? Here are some recommendations for visiting LA:

🚘 Getting Around: The best way to get around Los Angeles is by car. Discover Cars makes it easy to quickly compare your rental options and save up to 70%.

📍 Tours & Experiences: Snag access to 30+ local tours & attractions for one low price with a Go City: Los Angeles Explorer Pass. Also, a few top recommendations for tours include:
Griffith Observatory Hike: An LA Tour through the Hollywood Hills
Old & New Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour
Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour
Click here for a full list of tours in Los Angeles

🎉 Events: Check for fun events & unique popup experiences on Fever

🥘 Local Culture: Dine in local homes & enjoy culinary experiences with locals through EatWith

🏨 Accommodation: My favorite is The Kinney, a hip boutique hotel walkable to Venice Beach! You can also view other accommodation options here.

🏥 Travel Insurance: SafetyWing (budget-friendly) & World Nomads (robust)

📞 Staying Connected: Airalo eSIM

Table of Contents

Free Resources For Your Los Angeles Itinerary

But first, before we go over how to spend 3 days in Los Angeles, I invite you to grab Jessie’s free Ultimate Travel Planning Kit—which includes 40+ travel resources from printables to quizzes to itineraries—all meant to help you explore the world beyond the guidebook!

Some highlights of the kit include:

  • Free “Where Should You Travel Next?” personality quiz
  • Travel budget calculators to help you save money
  • Pre-plotted Google Maps for 45+ destinations
  • Printable travel journal with writing prompts
  • Packing lists for different types of trips
  • And more!

Once you’ve grabbed your copy, keep reading for tips on planning a 3 day trip to LA.

Where Is Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is a major city in Southern California, covering about 470 square miles from the Pacific Ocean to Angeles National Forest. It is the largest city in California and the second most populated city in the United States.

Getting To Los Angeles

Reaching Los Angeles can be done by air, sea, or land. 

Getting to Los Angeles by air

Los Angeles is home to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and several nearby regional airports—including Hollywood Burbank Airport, Long Beach Airport, and John Wayne Airport.

LAX offers non-stop flights from 189 destinations in 41 countries, making it a convenient gateway to the city.

Upon arrival, you have several transportation options from LAX and the regional airports, including the Metro and rideshare services like taxis, Uber/Lyft, or a bus.

Getting to Los Angeles by cruise ship

Carnival operates the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, which is a short drive into Los Angeles. If you are on a cruise ship that docks in Los Angeles, you can use this itinerary to find fun things to do around the city. 

Getting to Los Angeles by train

You can also take the Amtrak train to Los Angeles. Amtrak stops at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. Once you disembark from the train, you can take a bus or car (Uber/Lyft/taxi) to your next destination.

Getting to Los Angeles by car

Los Angeles is a sprawling city connected by freeways. It is easy to get around and safe to drive; however, LA traffic is as bad as the hype.

Rush hour traffic typically starts around 6:30 a.m., lasts until 10:00 a.m., and picks up again around 2:00 p.m. Unfortunately, at some point, your LA itinerary for 3 days will likely involve you sitting in traffic.

That being said, it’s the best way to get around, especially as you can then do a fun California road trip, like Los Angeles to Big Sur!

traveler looking out of the car window at Joshua Trees during a road trip from Califoria from Los Angeles
It’s recommended to rent a car when visiting Los Angeles, which also means you can enjoy a road trip to other California destinations. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Getting Around Los Angeles

Driving in Los Angeles

If you are in LA for the weekend, I highly suggest renting a car. Even as a local, I prefer driving to taking public transportation because public transportation can be slower and less direct. 

Check out Discover Cars to quickly compare your rental options. Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have 10+ tabs up trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!

Rideshares & taxis

If you are not comfortable driving in Los Angeles traffic, the next best option is to use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft or schedule a taxi. Rideshares provide a convenient and stress-free way to navigate the city. 

Metro Rail System

The Metro rail system has improved significantly for those who prefer public transportation, and you can reach most places by combining the Metro line with a taxi/rideshare service.

For example, you can take the Metro Expo Line from Downtown Los Angeles (7th and Figueroa) to Santa Monica Place in about 45 minutes, or you can go from the Hollywood/Highland station to Downtown Los Angeles in about 25 minutes.

Biking

Biking has become extremely popular in Los Angeles due in large part to designated bike lanes and traffic. There are places around the city where you can rent a bike to get from point A to point B using Metro Bike Share

Palm trees sway gently in the foreground, framing a bustling street lined with eclectic indie shops, creative businesses, and vibrant graffiti art. This vibrant scene captures the essence of Venice, Los Angeles, California, where artistic expression meets community spirit in a dynamic urban setting.
There are many great places to bike in Los Angeles. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Best Time To Visit Los Angeles

If you are staying in Los Angeles for 3 days, you will want to take advantage of the sunshine.

To enjoy sunny days as well as fewer crowds, the best time to visit Los Angeles is in September and October. This is when the weather is still nice and the kids start to go back to school—which means many of the popular attractions are less crowded.

However, since Los Angeles doesn’t get much rain and the temperature swings are minimal, it is a great place to visit any time of the year. 

Is Los Angeles Safe?

Yes, you can have a safe and fun trip when visiting Los Angeles.

However, according to Travel Safe-Abroad, one of the biggest issues when it comes to safety is tourists assuming everywhere is safe and glamorous because of all of the celebrities that live here. This is not the case.

Los Angeles, like any major metropolitan area, has some crime. What’s important, though, is that you are aware of your surroundings.

Simple things like keeping your purse in view instead of leaving it on the back of a chair or not walking down dark alleys are easy ways to stay safe. Using common sense throughout your LA weekend itinerary will help keep you safe while you are having fun.

I have lived in Los Angeles my whole life and feel safe. Additionally, for those traveling alone in California, traveling solo in LA is common. In fact, many women report feeling safe in the city, even when exploring on their own.

sign welcoming visitors to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, California
When visiting Los Angeles, make sure to stop by the Santa Monica Pier. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Where To Stay in Los Angeles

There is no shortage of places to stay in Los Angeles. Since Los Angeles is so spread out, ideally, you want to be in a central location. Below are a few options that coincide with the stops on this 3 day LA itinerary.

Hollywood

Hollywood is a fun and convenient area near restaurants, iconic highlights like the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Boulevard, and endless bars and clubs. It’s also close to the 101 Freeway and the Metro.   

➡️ Click here to view top-rated Hollywood hotel options.

Santa Monica

Another option is to stay in Santa Monica, which is near the beach, has delicious restaurants, and offers excellent shopping. Santa Monica is close to the 10 Freeway, making it easy to reach other parts of Los Angeles. You can also catch the Metro from Santa Monica to different parts of the city.

➡️ Click here to view top-rated Santa Monica hotel options.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills hotels tend to lean toward the 5-star experience. That makes sense, given that high-end shops and restaurants surround them; however, Beverly Hills is also in a central location. It is about halfway between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica and about a 45-minute drive to the South Bay. 

➡️ Click here to view top-rated Beverly Hills hotel options.

A sun-drenched view of Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, California, showcasing its luxurious boutiques and designer storefronts. Palm trees line the iconic street, adding a touch of California charm to the upscale shopping district.
Shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is an iconic LA experience. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Manhattan Beach & Hermosa Beach

Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach are gems in the South Bay that offer great places to stay. Both are home to wide sandy beaches, delicious restaurants, and a laid-back beach vibe. It takes about 45 minutes to get from Manhattan Beach to any of the destinations on the itinerary below. If you are in Hermosa Beach, you should add another 10-15 minutes to your trip time.  

➡️ Click here to view top-rated Manhattan Beach hotel options.

➡️ Click here to view top-rated Hermosa Beach hotel options.

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles is another popular area to stay that offers great restaurants and is close to sporting events, a music venue, art galleries, and museums. Several freeways converge downtown, making it easily accessible.

That being said, much of downtown isn’t ideal for walking around at night. So, if you like explore in the evening, it’s recommended to choose a different area to base yourself.

➡️ Click here to view top-rated Downtown Los Angeles hotel options.

Hotels & Rentals In Los Angeles

If you want to research local hotels and self-contained stays for your Los Angeles weekend itinerary, this map can help you compare your options. It’s set to show hotels and rentals in Santa Monica, but you can easily change this:

3 Day Los Angeles Itinerary: Breakdown

Without further adieu, here is a breakdown of the best Los Angeles itinerary for 3 days, which includes everything you should see and do for an unforgettable trip!

Day #1: See LA’s Iconic Sites

This portion of our itinerary for Los Angeles in 3 days includes traveling around the city and hitting a mix of hot spots and hidden gems.

woman looking out at the Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Hills from Griffith Observatory during a 3 day Los Angeles itinerary
Enjoying the views from Griffith Observatory. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Morning: Visit the Hollywood Sign & Griffith Observatory

Breakfast at the Alcove

Today is going to be an active day, and you’ll want to fuel up before you get started. Begin your day at the Alcove near the Los Feliz neighborhood.

The delicious order-at-the-counter restaurant offers fresh California fare that is popular with locals. Sit in the garden and pair your breakfast with a hand-roasted coffee.

Explore Griffth Park to see the Hollywood Sign

When talking about how to spend 3 days in LA, you must mention seeing the famous Hollywood Sign. So today after breakfast, head to Griffth Park to see the Hollywood Sign and explore Griffth Park Observatory. 

There are several ways to see the Hollywood Sign. You can:

  • hike to a view of the sign (either on your own or with a local hiking guide)
  • see it from the air in a helicopter
  • take a horseback ride to enjoy the views

If you opt for a hike, there are three popular options:

When guests come to town, I usually take the Mount Hollywood trail because the views are stellar, and it is a quick hike to see the Hollywood Sign and close to the Observatory.

Scenic view of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, California, with the iconic Hollywood sign perched prominently against the hillside. The sprawling urban landscape below contrasts with the natural beauty of the hills, encapsulating the allure of Hollywood's legendary fame and glamour.
Don’t miss your chance to see the famous Hollywood Sign. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Pro Tip: The Mount Hollywood trailhead shares the same parking lot as Griffth Observatory. It can be challenging to find parking in the lot on the weekends. As a heads up, parking gets pricey in this lot. 

After the hike, walk across the parking lot to check out the Griffth Observatory and the views of Los Angeles. The iconic building has been seen in movies like La La Land, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, and Terminator.  

While at the Observatory, you can use the coelostat (solar telescope) to see the sun and potentially see sunspots and solar flares. You may also enjoy the Samuel Oschin Planetarium for a live presentation using the Zeiss star projector. 

Pro Tip: Tickets can only be purchased at the Observatory for that day’s showing. So, before heading out on your hike, go to the Observatory to get your tickets. Griffth Observatory is closed on Mondays. 

Afternoon: Explore Hollywood

Once you are done at the Observatory, head into Hollywood to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the famed handprints at TCL Chinese Theatre. The Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre stops are usually quick.

Pro Tip:  You can use the official STAR map to find your favorite star!

traveler putting her feet in the molds of the famous handprints and footprints at the TCL Chinese Theatre during a 3 day trip to Los Angeles, California
See the famous handprints and footprints at the TCL Chinese Theatre. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Eat lunch at The Grove & The Original Farmers Market

By now, you might be hungry again. Whether you want a full meal or a snack, The Grove, which is also right next to The Original Farmers Market LA, is an excellent place for shopping, eating, and people-watching.

A few of my favorite places are:

  • Du-Par’s Restaurant for their world-famous pancakes. My dad and I are absolutely obsessed, though the pies are yummy too.
  • Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market for a glass of wine and snack.
  • Singapore’s Banana Leaf for a quick bite.
  • The French Crepes for the Nutella and banana crepe. My family won’t share it with me anymore because I usually end up eating the whole thing myself. It’s that good!
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar if you have a sweet tooth or are traveling with kids.
giant sign on the exterior of The Grove food court in Los Angeles, California
The Grove is a great place to eat lunch in LA. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Visit an LA museum

If you have steam left, you can venture a few blocks away to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the La Brea Tar Pits, or the Peterson Automotive Museum

Evening: See live entertainment or have dinner in Hollywood

See a show at the Hollywood Bowl

If you are in LA during the summer months, try to get tickets to the Hollywood Bowl.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter who is performing; being at the Hollywood Bowl is a unique experience you won’t find elsewhere. The outdoor amphitheater’s design lets you see the stage—even from the cheap seats in the back!

Some other neat things about the Bowl are that the tickets are inexpensive—unless you sit in a box, which I recommend—and you can bring your food and wine for non-leased events.

performers on stage with neon red and purple lights at The Hollwood Bowl in LA, California
Fun some fun nightlife in LA, see a show at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

If you decide to bring a picnic, you can get provisions at the LA Farmers’ Market, Trader Joe’s (across the street from the Farmers’ Market), or stop at Gelson’s prepared food counter on the way. You can also buy food at the Bowl.

Pro Tip:  If you park near the Bowl, your walk is shorter; but, you are likely going to get stuck in stacked parking. I prefer to park just south of Franklin on Highland, where you can leave whenever you want. 

See a play at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

If you are not going to the Hollywood Bowl, you might enjoy seeing a show at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Seeing world-class Broadway productions in an Art Deco building is an iconic LA experience.

Pro Tip:  If you didn’t buy tickets in advance, sometimes you can score seats on the day of the performance. 

red seats underneath a giant chandelier inside the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California
Inside the Pantages Theatre. Photo via Christian Dionne / Wikimedia Commons.

Have dinner with a celebrity

If you are going to the Pantages, you might enjoy Cleo or Katsuya for dinner. Both restaurants are within walking distance of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

For something a little more upbeat, Beauty & Essex or Tao are fun too, and are just a short drive away.

If you prefer to skip live entertainment, you can catch a sunset and have dinner in Hollywood at Yamashiro, where the sunset views are incredible!

If you are into celebrity sightings, you might like Craig’s, Mother Wolf, or Catch LA, where paparazzi are known to wait outside to snap the perfect photo. 

Pro Tip: These restaurants are expensive, so if you are on a tight budget, stopping in for a drink might be a better option than dinner. If eating, dinner reservations are highly recommended. 

Day #2:  Discovery Los Angeles Beach Cities

On day 2 of this 3 days in LA itinerary, you will explore the South Bay. The South Bay consists of several cities south of LAX, but the most known to tourists are Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches.

Morning: Eat breakfast by the beach

Enjoy breakfast at Martha’s in Hermosa Beach. This local favorite is less than half a block from the beach and gets crowded on the weekends.

The food is always delicious, and the outdoor tables have great ocean views. One of my favorite menu items is the eggs benedict with bacon instead of Canadian bacon. 

Afternoon: Have a beach day

Today, you have a few options while you are in the South Bay:

Option 1: Spend the day at the beach. If you have towels and chairs, then after breakfast, you can head straight to the beach or drive a few minutes to Pier Avenue, where there are shops and restaurants.

Beach volleyball is popular near the pier, which helps to make this a great beach destination for solo female travelers as you can meet other people.

If you need to gear up, stop into Beach Bound Sports on Pier Avenue, where you can rent chairs and umbrellas. 

surfers catching waves at Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles, California
In LA, you can do some surfing. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Option 2: Do some surfing or bodyboarding. Head north to Manhattan Beach, where the surf is usually bigger and the beaches are equally nice. You can rent a board in town at Spyder Surfboards or Nikau Kai Waterman Shop

Pro Tip:  Once you walk to the beach, head either a few blocks north or south of the pier to avoid the crowds.

Option 3: Stroll or Rent a bike from Hermosa Cyclery and ride along The Strand. If you head south, you will reach Redondo Beach Pier. If you head north, you will end up at Manhattan Beach Pier, where there are cute clothing stores and boutiques throughout town.  

woman cyling The Strand during a 3 day Los Angeles itinerary
Cycling The Strand is a fun way to spend an afternoon in LA. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Option 4: Spend the afternoon going full throttle at the Porche Experience Center Los Angeles. Here you can drive on the track and test your skills on the various courses. This is just one of the many luxurious things to do in Los Angeles

Evening: Enjoy the beauty & flavors of Manhattan Beach

Catch the sunset

As sunset approaches, it might be time for a cocktail at Shellback Tavern—you can go in your bathing suit—or, for a more upscale experience, check out the StrandBar, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and terrific ocean views.

The two bars are across the street from each other and are local favorite spots to watch the sunset; though, if neither works for you, you can always sit on the beach and take in the view. 

yellow and orange sunset glowing brightly over the Manhattan Beach Pier in Los Angeles, California
Head to Manhattan Beach Pier at sunset for spectacular scenery. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Dine in Manhattan Beach

There are several terrific dinner options in Manhattan Beach. Some of my favorite restaurants are Esperanza, Fishing with Dynamite, and The Arthur J.

If you like sushi, you cannot go wrong with Sugarfish or The IZAKA-YA by KATSU-YA Manhattan Beach. One of my favorite items at IZAKA-YA is the baked crab hand roll with soy paper. 

Pro Tip: If you are dining in Manhattan Beach, I highly recommend you make a reservation at least one week, if not two, in advance to get a table at your preferred restaurant. 

Have a drink at a local bar

If you are in the mood for an after-dinner drink, there are a few local bars I recommend. These include Sandbar 66 (casual), X Speakeasy (speakeasy), Ercoles 101 (bar & grill), Shellback Tavern (dive bar), Hennessey’s Tavern (sports bar), and Shade Hotel (luxury).

Additionally, most upscale restaurants in Manhattan Beach have bars.

waves lapping up against the shore with palm trees blowing in the wind in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, California
There are so many great places to eat and drink in beautiful Manhattan Beach. Photo via Henrique / Pexels.

Day #3 in Los Angeles: Broaden Your Horizons

The plan for day 3 of my 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary is to mix it up and take you to new neighborhoods.

Option A: Explore Downtown Los Angeles & Beverly Hills

Have breakfast in Downtown LA

For breakfast, head downtown to Zinque – DTLA, where the food is always good. My go-to order here is the avocado toast. 

After breakfast, head to the Broad Museum on Bunker Hill. Home to the famous Infinity Mirrored Room, the Broad is a world-class art museum featuring pop and modern art. Admission is free to The Broad, but there is a small fee for temporary exhibits. 

Pro Tip: The Broad is closed on Mondays. Note that to access the Infinity Mirrored Room, you will need to acquire a ticket in advance. Tickets are free and are released on the last Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. PT for admission the following month.

If you do not get a ticket for the Infinity Mirrored Room, ask to put your name on the waiting list and see if a spot becomes available while you are wandering around. 

white exterior of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, California
One of the best attractions in Los Angeles is the Broad Museum. Photo via Belle Co / Pexels.

Have lunch at Grand Central Market & explore Downtown Los Angeles

Open since 1917, Grand Central Market is Los Angeles’ oldest and largest public market. Today, over 40 stalls sell a diverse mix of food, spices, and goods. Part of the fun is wandering around and seeing what looks good to you. 

After lunch, you can visit three Los Angeles landmarks: Angels Flight, the historic Bradbury Building, and The Last Bookstore. While The Bradbury Building and The Last Bookstore are a little walk away, it’s all doable in a comfortable pair of shoes.  

Visit Beverly Hills

For the second half of day three of your Los Angeles vacation itinerary, head to Beverly Hills.

Here, you can either go shopping (or window shopping) or take a photo tour of some of the top photo spots in town, like the Beverly Hills Sign, Greystone Mansion & Gardens, and Beverly Gardens Park (sculpture garden)

sculpture of a chrome hand giving the peace sign at the Beverly Hills Sculpture Garden in Los Angeles, California
See art in the Beverly Hills Sculpture Garden. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Pro Tip:  Stores are closed in Beverly Hills on Sunday. So, if you are there on a Sunday, reverse days 2 and 3. 

A few additional fun things to do in Beverly Hills include getting a drink at Wally’s, having a snack at the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, or enjoying high tea at one of the local luxury hotels like the Peninsula or Hotel Bel-Air

Have dinner & drinks in West Hollywood

You don’t have to go far to find another delicious meal. For an upbeat vibe but not as pricey as Craig’s, opt for dinner at Bottega Louie—an Italian restaurant where eating family-style is encouraged.

On the way out, don’t forget to stop at the patisserie upfront to pick up a sweet treat. They are known for their cookies and macaroons.  

To round out your Los Angeles 3-day itinerary, consider going out for drinks at EP & LP, TomTom, Laurel Hardware, The Belmont, or Barney’s Beanery.

silhouetted palm trees stand tall in the foreground, their fronds outlined against a vibrant sunset sky. Beyond stretches the sprawling cityscape of Los Angeles, its iconic buildings and landmarks illuminated by the warm glow of the setting sun
There are loads of great restaurants, bars, and entertainment options in West Hollywood. Photo via Roberto Nickson / Pexels.

Option B: Spend the Morning Outside

Enjoy breakfast & a hike at Temescal Canyon

If you want to be more active during your Los Angeles itinerary for 3 days, then option B might be more your speed.

Grab a coffee and a small bite at Huckleberry or Tartine before heading to Temescal Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. 

If you’re interested in waterfall hikes in Los Angeles, Temescal Canyon is a 3-mile loop trail with 833 feet of elevation gain. The hike offers two rewards: a bridge that provides optimal viewing of a small waterfall and incredible ocean views at the summit. 

When hiking Temescal Canyon, I prefer to hike the east side up (waterfall side) to take optimal advantage of the ocean views on the way down.

Afternoon: Explore Santa Monica or Venice

palm trees and garbage cans covered in colorful graffiti on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California
See the colorful graffiti on Venice Beach. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Once you finish your hike, head into Santa Monica for lunch and a bit of shopping.

One of the best views in Santa Monica is at Élephante, an upscale restaurant with insane ocean views. Élephante is very popular, so make a reservation in advance and ask for a table with a view.

Pro Tip: If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, try Urth Caffe or Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery.     

After lunch, head to the Santa Monica Pier, where you can act like a kid again while playing games and riding the Ferris wheel. From the Pier, you can take a quick stroll down 3rd Street to see if any souvenirs might interest you.

As the day starts to come to an end, and you are an art lover, you might enjoy the Getty Villa Museum, where you can enjoy a glass of wine and catch the sunset. Advance tickets are required.

Pro Tip: If the Pier is not your speed, you might enjoy shopping on Abbott Kinney in Venice. Abbott Kinney offers an eclectic blend of local and national stores, interesting pop-ups, and a few places to grab a snack.

After you have had your fill of shopping, you can walk to Hotel Erwin to see the sunset over the ocean or walk along the canal streets. 

By the way, there is also a really fun and funky hotel to stay at in Venice that also has a rooftop pool and hot tub called The Kinney.

A female traveler in a green sundress sits comfortably on the eclectic rooftop of The Kinney Hotel in Venice, Los Angeles, California. Surrounding her are vibrant sun chairs, a sparkling pool, a bubbling hot tub, and colorful murals adorning the walls, creating a lively and inviting atmosphere.
The Kinney is a hip hotel in Venice, LA. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Spend an evening in Santa Monica & Venice

For your last dinner on this 3-day itinerary, Cobi’s Southeast Asian—a delicious Michelin Star Bib Gourmand restaurant—is a terrific option.

Pink-colored walls complimented by green plants bring a calming yet exciting atmosphere. In terms of food, the traditional Southeast Asian dishes have a creative spin that keeps the restaurant packed. I like the curry puffs and the green papaya salad.

If you are in Venice, then Gjelina and Ospi Venice are great places to have dinner.

Gjelina is dark and broody and has been popular since opening its doors in 2008. It specializes in pizzas and a wide range of small plates.  

Ospi Venice is a newcomer that stands on its own. Two of my favorite items on the menu are the kale salad, which is very popular, and the spicy rigatoni.

After dinner, head to Belles Beach House, a tropical-inspired restaurant and bar featuring tiki cocktails to complement your vacation vibes.    

traveler visiting the Venice Canals during a trip to Los Angeles
One highlight of Venice is the Venice Canals. Photo via Jessie Festa.

3 Days In Los Angeles Travel Map

To help make it easier to explore, here is a Google map with the above-mentioned LA attractions pre-plotted:

Google map of the top Los Angeles attractions

You can also click here for the interactive version of the map.

Cost Of A 3 Day Trip to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a great place to visit; but, it can be pricey depending on where you stay and dine. Luckily, there are ways to save, including taking advantage of free activities and saving money on accommodations and restaurant choices. 

Accommodation

A budget hotel in Los Angeles can run $150-$200 a night, while a hostel can cost $50-$100 a night. If you have a little bit more money to spend, a mid-priced hotel may run $200-$450 a night, while a luxury hotel can cost more than $500 a night.

To help you find the perfect accommodation to suit your budget and preferences, this map can help you compare your options. It’s set to show hotels and rentals in Santa Monica, but you can easily change it to your desired location:

Transportation

While LA has improved its transportation options, for this LA trip itinerary, you will probably want to rent a car. An economy car can cost about $12+ a day before taxes and fees. In Los Angeles, most hotels charge for parking. 

Pro Tip: Along with using Discover Cars to compare your options, another way to score a deal on a car rental is to use Costco (if you are a member).

Activities

Most of the activities in this 3 day Los Angeles itinerary are free or budget-friendly. If you include the cost of parking and the activities mentioned herein, you can expect to spend between $100 and $400 over 3 days.

Pro Tip: These costs can be reduced by buying cheaper tickets to the Pantages Theatre or the Hollywood Bowl or catching a matinee.

Food & drinks

The cost of food and drinks for this LA 3 day itinerary, will run you between $200 and $800, depending on the type of restaurants you decide to eat at.

Pro Tip: You can reduce the cost by eating at less expensive restaurants. For example, in Manhattan Beach, you can swap Fishing with Dynamite for Tacolious, or instead of eating at Cobi in Santa Monica, opt for Ramen at JINYA Ramen Bar. 

Total cost of your 3 day LA trip

Overall, the cost of this 3 day itinerary in Los Angeles can run between $450 and $3,000.

Beverly Hills Sign as seen across a clear pond covered in water lilies
Snap a photo of the Beverly Hills Sign. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Los Angeles Travel Insurance

Your Los Angeles 3 day itinerary may include advance purchases like your hotel and car rental. If you have to cancel your LA weekend getaway, you want to protect your financial investment. 

For this, I have two recommendations:

SafetyWing. If you’re looking for something straightforward and budget-friendly, you can’t beat SafetyWing. They offer one global policy that you can cancel at any time or continue paying for long-term coverage (making it the perfect option for digital nomads!).

Their plan includes medical coverage, trip interruptions, personal liability, unplanned overnight stays, lost luggage, and more.

World Nomads. For something more comprehensive, World Nomads is a great option. While you’ll pay a bit more, you’ll typically get higher coverage maximums as well as additional inclusions—like trip cancellation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Los Angeles

Q) Is 3 days in LA enough?

This 3 day itinerary for Los Angeles is jam-packed with fun things to do. Three days is enough to get a taste of Los Angeles; however, if you have more time, there is always more to see and do. 

Q) How many days is ideal for LA?

Seeing LA in 3 days is ideal because you can cover a significant amount of what Los Angeles has to offer without feeling like you missed anything.

waves lapping up against the golden sand shore of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles, California
One highlight of visiting Los Angeles is enjoying the beauty of Manhattan Beach Pier, which is also great for biking. Photo via Michelle Steinhardt.

Q) Can I visit LA without a car?

Yes, you can visit LA without a car; however, since this 3-day itinerary in Los Angeles takes you across the city, it is more convenient to rent a car. 

Q) Can you go to LA on a budget?

Yes, you can visit LA on a budget. If you are budget-conscious, you can easily modify this itinerary for LA by opting for less expensive restaurants and hotels.

Q) What is the safest part of LA to visit?

When you plan a trip to Los Angeles, you want to ensure you know the safest parts of LA. The South Bay (Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches) tend to be some of the safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. This is, in part, because they are less touristy than other parts of Los Angeles, such as Hollywood. 

Los Angeles 3 Day Itinerary: Final Thoughts

This LA travel itinerary will allow you to hit the main highlights during your 3 days in Los Angeles while giving you ideas for things to see and do on your next visit.

I hope you enjoyed this ultimate Los Angeles trip itinerary! From exploring the beach cities to catching a concert at the Hollywood Bowl to checking out celebrity hot spots, Los Angeles has it all. 

What would you add to this 3 day Los Angeles itinerary?

About Michelle Steinhardt

Michelle Steinhardt is the founder of The Trav Nav, an award-winning luxury travel blog for active travelers. She has written for Matador Network and has been quoted in publications such as CNN Underscore, Yahoo!, USA Today, and GOBankingRates. Follow her travels on Instagram.

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3 Comments

  1. Maldives Times on at 1:37 am

    The post is written in very a good manner and it contains much useful information for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Electrical Contractor on at 9:19 am

    This is a fantastic itinerary for anyone wanting to experience the diverse offerings of Los Angeles in just 3 days! Splitting time between Hollywood, exploring Santa Monica and Venice Beach, and venturing outdoors to Runyon Canyon hits all the major spots. The inclusion of Grand Central Market for foodies is a great touch.

    Since you mentioned this itinerary being perfect for first-time visitors, were there any hidden gems or unexpected finds that you particularly enjoyed during your trip? Sharing some off-the-beaten-path recommendations would be a great addition for future Angelenos exploring your itinerary.

  3. Vaidhainshi Jindal on at 9:56 am

    Your 3-day Los Angeles itinerary is fantastic! I love how you’ve balanced iconic sights with local experiences, giving a well-rounded view of the city. Your detailed suggestions for each day make planning so much easier. The tips on transportation and dining options are particularly helpful. Thanks for creating such an engaging and practical guide for exploring LA!

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