Most first-time visitors to Los Angeles are interested in seeing some of the places made famous by movie stars and film directors. Top on most lists are Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you're truly devoted to all things Hollywood, consider buying a Hollywood CityPass, which costs $49.95 and admits you to tours and museums that would cost $89 if you purchased separate admissions. The CityPass is good for nine days.
Visiting the original Universal Studios, while not exactly a bargain experience at $67, is a great way to experience Hollywood. Your ticket admits you to the theme park, studio tour and special effects stages. Many parts of the theme park are wheelchair-accessible. If you're planning to visit several other theme parks in addition to Universal Studios, take a look at the Southern California CityPass, available through Universal Studios, which gets you into five parks in a 14-day period (including Disneyland) for $259.99, a savings of $106.00.
Los Angeles has its fair share of interesting and unique museums. The Page Museum (popularly called the La Brea Tar Pits, after the paleontological site outside its doors) features exhibits about the many thousands of fossils found under the city. During the dig season, usually July and August each year, you can watch paleontologists at work. You can watch paleontologists clean and catalogue fossils all year long at the museum's laboratory. The Page Museum is wheelchair accessible and offers a senior discount.
If you'd like to learn more about L.A.'s love affair with cars, head down Wilshire Boulevard to the Petersen Automotive Museum. Here you can see cars made famous in Hollywood movies and television shows, displays featuring early 20th-century cars and Los Angeles streetscapes and special exhibitions dedicated to the history of automobiles. The Petersen Automotive Museum offers a $5 discount to seniors and is wheelchair accessible.
The Getty Center in West Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu showcase art, architecture and gardens. The Getty Villa emphasizes ancient Greek and Roman antiquities, while the Getty Center concentrates on Western art. Both are free to the public but charge $10 for parking. If you'd like to visit the Getty Villa, you'll need to book your timed entrance ticket online in advance. Both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa are wheelchair accessible and offer assisted listening devices.
Los Angeles Events and Festivals
Television show tapings are popular with visitors and locals alike. While you may be able to get same-day tickets, it's best to plan ahead and request your free tickets online.
L.A. is also known for its concerts. You can find every type of music here, from classical concerts at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to pops at the Hollywood Bowl to rock, hip-hop and world music at clubs and concert stages around town.
If you prefer sports to sonatas, you've come to the right place. Die-hard Dodger fans will be glad to point the way to historic Dodger Stadium in Griffith Park (don’t forget to try a Dodger Dog). L.A. has almost every type of professional sports team except pro football. NCAA favorites UCLA and USC play here, too.
The annual festival season kicks off January 1 with the Tournament of Roses Parade in nearby Pasadena. You can jostle through the crowds on Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards for a streetside seat (bring something to sit on and arrive early). For a relaxed, up-close view of the floats after the parade, head to the end of the parade route to see the Showcase of Floats on Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards. (Admission is $7.00; seniors can come two hours early on January 2 and 3 for their special viewing hours.)
Of course, the annual Academy Awards (Oscars) is the best-known film-related event in L.A. You won't be able to attend the award ceremony itself, but you can go to Oscar-related events and exhibits around L.A. during this special time of year.