3 days in Los Angeles: the perfect Itinerary + tips


How to spend 3 Days in Los Angeles: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 3 days in Los Angeles and you’re looking for the best itinerary?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Los Angeles in 3 days.

I will start this guide with my best tips to save time and money at L.A must-see attractions.

Then, I will give you my optimized and detailed 3-day itinerary to make the most of your stay in Los Angeles!

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Los Angeles in 3 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

How to save a lot of time and money at Los Angeles tourist attractions

Los Angeles, one of the most touristic cities in the world, welcomes more than 50 millions tourists per year.

And they all want to discover the incredible attractions and activities the city has to offer, especially the world famous Universal Studios!

Maybe you have been to the Colosseum in Rome, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the Alhambra in Granada?

If yes, you already know what it means: endless waiting lines at all the must-see attractions!

But don’t worry: there are 2 very simple solutions that will allow you to save a lot of time (and money!) during your 3-day trip to Los Angeles.

1. Purchasing the Los Angeles Pass

The best way to save time and money when visiting Los Angeles is to purchase the Los Angeles All-inclusive pass by Go City.

With this pass, you have access to more than 40 tourist attractions. The pass is valid for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 days and the following activities are offered:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood (only if you get a 3 or more days pass)
  • Ticket for the Hop on Hop off bus
  • Warner Bros Studio Tour
  • Grammy Museum
  • Battleship IOWA Museum

Since all these attractions are among the best things to do in Los Angeles, this City Pass is really perfect for you visit!

For more information about this pass and the activities included, click on the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

The Los Angeles All inclusive Pass includes the standard entrance ticket to Universal Studio.

However, if you want to make the most of your visit to this iconic theme park, you should really get the Universal Express ticket.

While it costs a bit more than the standard ticket, it grants you priority access to all attractions!

You need to book your priority Universal Studio ticket by clicking on the green button below. You can choose between the “Normal” or “Express” ticket upon booking.

If you opt for the Universal Studios Express ticket, you should not purchase the Los Angeles Pass, but rather book skip the line tickets for other attractions one by one, depending on your interests. I talk about this just below.

2. Buying online tickets for Los Angeles best tourist attractions

Your 2nd option to save time is to buy tickets online for each attraction and activity, depending on what you will want to do during your 3-day itinerary in Los Angeles. 

I will now give you a list of all tickets, tours and activities that I will mention in this 3-day trip. For your convenience, you will also find these links throughout the article.

By purchasing them using these links, you are 100% sure to get the official tickets.

To see the prices and to book, just click on the orange links below:

3 Days in Los Angeles: Must-See Attractions:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to book other activities in Los Angeles, you should always use these 2 reliable and safe websites:

One Last Tip for a Perfect 3-Day Stay in Los Angeles

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Los Angeles is one of the most touristic cities in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Los Angeles by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Los Angeles.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Los Angeles, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

Los Angeles in 3 days: the best itinerary

Let’s now see how to visit Los Angeles in 3 days.

For each day, I will give you a detailed itinerary with all the details you need for your visits, along with a map of Los Angeles. This will help you optimize your trip and enjoy a stress-free stay in Los Angeles!

I assume that you will be staying in Los Angeles for 3 full days and that you have purchased the Los Angeles All inclusive pass or skip the line tickets online in advance. This way you will be able to see as many places as possible during your 3 day stay!

If, after reading this article, you still have questions (or need help organizing your trip), you can ask me in the comments section at the very end of this article.

So, what are the best places to visit in Los Angeles in 3 days?

Day 1: What to do in Los Angeles

3 days in Los Angeles Day 1 itinerary
3 days in Los Angeles – Day 1 itinerary

Day 1 tourist attractions:

A. Beverly Hills
B. Rodeo Drive
C. Sunset Boulevard / Sunset Strip
D. Hollywood Walk of Fame
E. Hollywood Sign
F. Griffith Observatory

A. Beverly Hills

Let’s start your 3-day Los Angeles trip in Beverly Hills, the most famous neighborhood of the city, known for its luxurious homes and celebrity residents.

Take a stroll or a guided tour around the district to see the extravagant mansions.

This guided tour is included with the Los Angeles Explorer Pass.

If you don’t have the pass, you need to book it here:

My favorite part was exploring the hidden gems in the residential areas, where you can feel the true essence of Beverly Hills’ luxury lifestyle.

B. Rodeo Drive

Next, head to Rodeo Drive, a world-renowned shopping street. Here, you can browse through high-end boutiques and possibly spot a celebrity or two.

Even if you’re not shopping, the window displays and the overall ambiance are worth experiencing.

Rodeo Drive is not just about shopping; it’s a cultural icon, representing the luxurious lifestyle L.A is famous for. Make sure to snap a photo at the Rodeo Drive sign for a souvenir!

Rodeo drive Beverly hills
Rodeo drive Beverly hills

C. Sunset Boulevard / Sunset Strip

Then, move on the legendary Sunset Boulevard, and particularly the part called “Sunset Strip”.

This stretch is famous for its vibrant nightlife, historic music venues, and neon-lit billboards. So don’t miss it while you’re in L.A!

Sunset Strip has a rich history in the music industry, having been the launchpad for many famous bands.

Take a moment to visit some of the iconic clubs like The Viper Room or Whisky a Go Go.

Personally, I really loved the mood of this area; it’s where you can truly feel the pulse of Los Angeles. The Strip is also home to luxury hotels, beautiful rooftops, restaurants and boutiques.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For Sunset Boulevard, be sure to check out the local event schedules. There might be a live show or event happening that could be the highlight of your 3-day stay in Los Angeles.

Sunset boulevard Los Angeles
Sunset boulevard Los Angeles

D. Hollywood Walk of Fame

Your 3 days in Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Stretching over 15 blocks, this famous sidewalk celebrates the stars who made significant contributions to the entertainment industry. Look for your favorite celebrities’ stars and don’t forget to take a selfie with them!

The Walk of Fame is not just about the stars; it’s a place buzzing with energy, street performers, and historic theaters like the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re looking for an original activity to do during your 3 days in Los Angeles, I have something for you:

You can create your own star in your own name!

And, of course, have your photo taken in front of it. It’ll be a great memory of your trip!

You need to book the “Get your own Star” activity in advance by clicking on the button below:

Hollywood walk of fame
Hollywood walk of fame

E. Hollywood Sign

Next up, make your way to the iconic Hollywood Sign.

While you can see it from various points in the city, hiking up to the Hollywood Sign offers a unique experience and stunning views of Los Angeles.

There are several trails heading to the sign, with varying levels of difficulty. If it’s your first time in L.A, I would recommend the 5.6km long Hollyridge trail, starting from Beachwood Drive area.

Note that a 90-minute tour to the Hollywood sign is included in the Los Angeles Explorer Pass.

If you don’t have the city pass, you can opt for a guided walk: your guide will tell you interesting facts and anecdotes about L.A and will take you to the best viewpoints for superb photos. Click here to book your guided hike and get more information!

If you’re not up for a walk, there are also viewpoints that don’t require you to walk. The best ones are Griffith Observatory (more info below) and Lake Hollywood Park. They are both perfect to take great photos!

Hollywood sign sunset
Hollywood sign sunset

F. Griffith Observatory

Finish your first day in L.A with a visit to the Griffith Observatory.

This landmark not only offers some of the best views of Los Angeles but the observatory also features fascinating exhibits, a planetarium, and telescopes for public use. And it’s free!

Check the schedule for special events or planetarium shows.

The view of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign from the observatory, especially at sunset, is breathtaking. It’s the perfect spot to end your first day in the city, with the lights and stars above creating a beautiful atmosphere.

Tomorrow, we will continue to explore the best of Los Angeles in 3 days but now it’s time to rest.

You can find my selection of the best hotels in Los Angeles a little further down this article.

Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory

Day 2 in Los Angeles: A Day of Entertainment

Option 1. Universal Studios Hollywood

For the second day of your 3-day Los Angeles itinerary, you will experience the magic of Hollywood’s entertainment industry.

Get ready for a day filled with excitement and fun at Universal Studios Hollywood.

This theme park offers a blend of thrill rides, live shows, and a real working movie studio.

Start your visit with the famous Studio Tour to see behind-the-scenes of some of the most popular movies and TV shows. You will for sure recognize the sets of iconic films!

After the Studio Tour, dive into the world of movies with rides and attractions based on blockbuster films. From the adrenaline-pumping ‘Jurassic World – The Ride’ to the interactive ‘Despicable Me Minion Mayhem’, there’s something for everyone.

My favorite part was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The attention to detail in this area is phenomenal, and the rides are truly immersive.

Don’t forget to explore the themed areas like Springfield, home to The Simpsons, or stroll through the cobbled streets of the Parisian Quarter. Each area is meticulously designed to transport you into different worlds.

And let’s not forget the latest open universe, Super Nintendo World!

To end your day, you should go to CityWalk. With a variety of shops, restaurants, and cinemas, it’s the perfect place to relax after an exciting day.

A few tips for your visit:

  • Arrive early to beat the crowds, especially for popular attractions like the Studio Tour and Harry Potter. This way, you can enjoy more rides with less waiting time.

  • Don’t forget to download the Universal Studios Hollywood app. It’s a handy tool for checking wait times, show schedules, and got a park map.

Voyage Tips - Advice

As I mentioned above, to make the most of your visit to Universal Studios, you should purchase the Universal Express Ticket.

It will allow you to save a ton of time and ensure you get to experience all the major attractions of the theme park in a day!

You need to book your ticket by clicking on the green button below.

Admission to Universal Studios is included in the 3-day or more Los Angeles pass, but please note that this is a normal ticket. It doesn’t give you priority access to the attractions.

Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood

Option 2: Exploring Los Angeles’ surroundings

3 days in Los Angeles Day 2 itinerary option 2
3 days in Los Angeles – Day 2 itinerary option 2

Day 2 visits:

A. Battleship USS Iowa
B. Aquarium of the Pacific
C. Whale watching cruise

A. Battleship USS Iowa

If you are not in the mood for Universal Studios and prefer a more relax option, you should start the second day of your three-day trip to Los Angeles with a visit to the Battleship USS Iowa, located at the L.A Waterfront in San Pedro.

This historic battleship, also known as “The Battleship of Presidents,” offers a glimpse into naval history and life at sea.

On board, you can explore the decks, control rooms, and living quarters of the ship. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about American maritime history and the daily life of sailors.

The ship also offers interactive tours and exhibits, making it a fascinating visit for all ages. Kids will for sure love it!

Entrance to the battleship is included with the Los Angeles Explorer Pass.

If you don’t have the pass, you need to book your ticket online by clicking on the green button below:

Battleship Iowa Museum
Battleship Iowa Museum

B. Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach)

Next, you can continue your 3-day stay in Los Angeles by heading to the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach.

This spectacular aquarium is home to over 11,000 marine animals, representing the diversity of the Pacific Ocean.

The aquarium features a variety of habitats, from the sunny California Coast to the chilly waters of the Northern Pacific.

Be sure to check out the interactive exhibits, touch pools, the shark lagoon and the beautiful outdoor habitats where you can see animals like penguins and sea otters.

You should plan to spend at least 2-3 hours at the Aquarium of the Pacific, to fully enjoy all the exhibits. And don’t miss the feeding times, which are always interesting to see!

The entrance ticket to the aquarium is included in the Los Angeles Explorer Pass, and if you don’t have it, you need to get your skip-the-line ticket by clicking here.

C. Whale Watching Cruise (Newport Beach)

To end your day in style, you should go on an unforgettable whale watching cruise from Newport Beach.

This experience offers you the chance to see magnificent marine creatures like blue whales, gray whales, and dolphins in their natural habitat.

The boat ride itself is a pleasure, offering beautiful views of the coastline and the ocean. Your knowledgeable guides will also provide insightful commentary about the marine life and ecosystem, making the cruise both educational and enjoyable.

Voyage Tips - Advice

You absolutely need to book your whale watching cruise in advance.

The boat tour is included with the Los Angeles Explorer Pass. If you don’t have the pass, you need to book the cruise by clicking on the button below:

Newport Beach
Newport Beach

Day 3 in Los Angeles: The best places to visit

3 days in Los Angeles Day 3 itinerary
3 days in Los Angeles – Day 3 itinerary

Day 3 visits:

A. Helicopter tour
B. The Getty Center
C. Santa Monica Pier
D. Venice Beach

A. Helicopter Tour

On the third and last day of your 3-day trip to Los Angeles, you should do an helicopter tour over Los Angeles.

This is a unique way to experience the city from a different angle!

You’ll get an unparalleled perspective of landmarks like the Hollywood Sign, downtown LA, and even some celebrity homes.

Book your helicopter flight over Los Angeles by clicking on the button below:

If you prefer doing this activity at the end of the day, you can alternatively opt for a night helicopter flight by clicking here!

Helicopter tour Los Angeles
Helicopter tour Los Angeles

B. The Getty Center

Next, visit the Getty Center, home to a vast collection of artworks.

The center’s buildings, gardens, and views are as impressive as the art collections they house. Here, you’ll find works from masters like Van Gogh, Monet, and Rembrandt.

Take your time to explore the exhibitions, stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, and enjoy the panoramic views of Los Angeles.

If you like museums, it’s a must see during your 3-day trip to Los Angeles.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Admission to the Getty Center is free but you need to book a time slot by clicking here.

Getty Center
Getty Center

C. Santa Monica Pier

In the afternoon, head to Santa Monica Pier, the next stop of the day.

This historic pier offers plenty of activity, with its amusement park, aquarium, and dining spots.

Enjoy the rides at Pacific Park, like the famous Ferris wheel which offers amazing views of the coastline.

Don’t forget to try some local seafood or indulge in a classic beach treat like ice cream or churros.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier

D. Venice Beach / Venice Canals

End your day at Venice Beach and the nearby Venice Canals.

Venice Beach is known for its lively boardwalk, street performers, and eclectic crowd. It’s a great place to relax, shop at unique boutiques, and see the famous Muscle Beach and skatepark.

Just a short walk away, the Venice Canals offer a peaceful contrast.

These charming canals, inspired by Venice, Italy, are lined with beautiful homes and bridges, creating a picturesque setting. It’s a serene spot to conclude your Los Angeles adventure.

It will now be time to spend your last night in LA.

You can find my list of the best accommodations in the city just below.

Venice Beach skatepark
Venice Beach skatepark

Where to stay in Los Angeles

Now that you know how to visit Los Angeles in 3 days, you will need to find a hotel.

In order to help you out, here are my favorite hotels of the city, each in a different price category.

And as always, if you already know your travel dates, book your hotel right now! In Los Angeles, the best hotels are fully booked very quickly.

Here is my selection of the best hotels to stay in Los Angeles:

  • HI Los Angeles – Santa Monica Hostel: Located 200 meters from Santa Monica beach. Dormitory beds from €50. Strong points: cleanliness, location next to the ocean. The perfect hostel if you’re looking for a cheap accommodation in Los Angeles.
  • El Royale Hotel – Near Universal Studios Hollywood: Located close to Universal Studios, comfortable and spacious double room from €190, breakfast included. Strong points: friendly staff, free parking, comfortable beds.
  • Park Plaza Lodge: Located close to LACMA and Farmers market. Modern and comfortable double room from €190. Benefits: swimming pool, parking, convenient location for sightseeing.
  • citizenM Los Angeles Downtown: Located in Downtown Los Angeles, 400 metres from City Hall. Brightly decorated contemporary double room with large window overlooking the city, from €260, breakfast €19. Strong points: design, friendly staff, panoramic view of LA.
  • Loews Hollywood Hotel: Located next to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Beautiful double rooms, some with views of the Hollywood sign, from €255, breakfast €33. Strong points: heated swimming pool, geographical location, direct access to the shopping centre with lots of restaurants and a casino. My favorite hotel in L.A for its excellent value for money!
  • Pendry West Hollywood: This 5-star hotel on Sunset Boulevard offers sublime, elegantly decorated rooms with large picture windows. From €620 per night, breakfast €56. Strong points: the rooftop pool, the view over Los Angeles, the design of the hotel.
  • Shutters On The Beach: Magnificent 5-star hotel located directly on Santa Monica beach. Rooms with balcony and some with ocean views from €880, breakfast €46. Strong points: the view, the good restaurant, the style of the hotel, the swimming pool, the attentive staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Los Angeles!
Shutters on the Beach Where to stay in Los Angeles
Shutters on the Beach – Where to stay in Los Angeles

How to visit Los Angeles in 3 days with kids

You’re planning to visit Los Angeles in 3 days with your kids?

Great idea!

Well, good news: even with kids, you can easily follow my 3-day itinerary.

Here are, in my opinion, the best things to do in 3 days in Los Angeles with your family:

More place to visit and activities for your 3-day stay in Los Angeles

You’ve followed my 3-day itinerary in Los Angeles and still have some time left?

You should thus read my guide of the 45 best things to do in Los Angeles!

There, you’ll find even more ideas of places to visit and activities to enjoy.

And who knows, maybe after reading my other guide, you’ll even want to extend your stay in Los Angeles and spend 4 or 5 days there instead of 3!

Map of your 3-day itinerary in Los Angeles

To help you visualize your daily itineraries during your 3 days in Los Angeles, I have created this map with all the places to visit day by day. You can view the map’s legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow.

You can thus see the suggested itineraries for each day.

Flight prices to Los Angeles

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.

To check the rates and schedules for flights to Los Angeles, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:

Now you know the best way to visit Los Angeles in 3 days!

If you need help organizing your 3-day stay in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below.

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling in the US? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about USA: All my articles to help you plan your trip to USA are listed there.

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Los Angeles 3 days itinerary
Los Angeles 3 days itinerary

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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