The City of Angels, Tinseltown, City of Stars—you know that we’re talking about Los Angeles. It’s a magical place, and as the second largest city in the U.S., one of the most recognizable in the world, visiting LA should be on the top of your list. And because there are so many things to do in Los Angeles, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to come back for more. Doing the top ten things to do in Los Angeles is great for the first trip, but there’s more than ten fantastic things to do here (there’s at least a few hundred).
However, with so much to offer, it might be hard to plan all you want to do. You might be wondering if it is possible to do it on your own. Perhaps you are someone who just prefers to explore a city by yourself to discover your own version of the place. No matter what the reason, there are plenty of fantastic ways to see Los Angeles on your own. Here are five of the best:
Self-Guided Bike Tour
Touring a city by bike is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles. You can move faster and go farther, meaning you can see more in less time. Also, it is a great way to get in some exercise and enjoy the beautiful LA sunshine while on vacation.
One great way to see the city on your own is to take a self-guided bike tour. These tours are great because they give you the freedom to explore at your own pace and to see the things you want to see. Yet because the bike comes equipped with GPS and a loudspeaker, you won’t ever get lost and you can easily direct yourself. If you change your mind and decide you’d like someone to come along, you can also take group bike tours with a guide. It’s up to you!
Hollywood Landmarks Walking Tour
No Los Angeles tour would be complete without visiting the landmarks and other Hollywood sights. From the Capitol Records Building to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Crossroads of the World, it’s all there for you to see. But don’t get caught up in taking a guided LA tour if you don’t want to. It’s often overpriced and you might want to linger at a location (I know I did).
With a map and some background information on the sights you plan to see, you can easily do this LA tour by yourself. Hitting all the best sites takes about 2 hours and requires a little less than 3 miles of walking. You can take longer, of course; it all depends on how many photos you take! You also might want to take the least efficient path (who says you can’t tone your legs while on vacation) and soak up more of the culture while you look at the city from different angles.
Arts District Tour
Finding the arts scene and taking in a city’s architecture can often be hard to do. Luckily, though, it is possible in LA. A few years back, the LA Conservatory did a one-time guided tour of the city’s art district, highlighting some of the more intriguing pieces of architecture. Now, you can download the guide online, read it and do the tour yourself. It’s a short tour that takes place within a few blocks, but you can see and learn about some interesting buildings, such as the E. Angel City Brewery, and also take a look at some of the city’s more interesting street murals.
One small LA tour you can do on your own, and that is great if you have children, is to walk around Griffith Park. These 4,400 acres were donated by a Welsh businessman, Griffith J. Griffith, in 1896, and are now a park full of all sorts of interesting attractions. For example, you can visit LA Live Steamers (a club of large-scale train aficionados), the LA Zoo or the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum.
Also, if you go in the evening, you can enter the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium to get great views of the surrounding area. Here you can find free exhibits and telescope viewings to help satisfy your inner stargazer. If you get starstruck, you can schedule an evening outside of the city lights to see the stars with your own eyes!
One other tour you can do on your own is what you would call a “DIY tour.” This involves you downloading the FieldTripper app onto your phone and then essentially wandering around the city. This app is great because it uses GPS to determine your location and then notifies you when you are near a historic or interesting building or landmark. So, to have an interesting and educational tour, all you need to do is explore and pay attention to alerts from the app.
If you do use this app though, consider running your activity through a secure connection so that your location and personal information can’t be accessed by others on the same network. Once you do that, start wandering and see what you can learn about this amazing city for yourself. If you want to consider something truly random, just pick a direction and start walking until you reach an area with absolutely nothing interesting.
What Are You Waiting For?
As you can see, doing a tour of Los Angeles on your own is perfectly possible. If you plan just a little ahead, it can be way more rewarding than hiring a guide or jumping on a tour bus. The important thing to remember when doing these types of things is to be flexible. You might get lost here or there, or have trouble finding something, but this is part of the fun. With time, you’ll learn to love this way of traveling.
So, what are you waiting for? Most of these tours aren’t expensive and you can become the master of your own fate. Book your ticket to LA and start exploring!
Author Bio: Caroline is from the UK but has been living in LA for more than five years now. She loves to travel, and whenever she does, she always passes up tours in lieu of solo exploring. It allows her to see the city her own way, and it makes the experiences she has on the road much more rewarding. Now she likes to blog for travel websites to encourage others to spend more time sightseeing on their own.