Hp108

TripAdvisor

Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable & passionate about giving us all the information in a clear & concise way. The tour was very well planned & organised & was not tiring.

Lisa Montesanti

Google

We did The Real Hollywood tour & loved it! The tour was at a great pace & the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable & made the tour fun. Thank you!

Steph S.

Yelp

Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour – so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.

Lucrezia Scamarcio

Facebook

We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante… thank you very much from the Italian girls… very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!

Passport17369220499

TripAdvisor

This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites – highly recommend!

Mel L

Google

Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn’t that much walking, to be honest. It’s very fun!

Michelle B.

Yelp

My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!

Sara Pozueta

Facebook

Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn’t have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!

Gregory

Airbnb

Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider’s as well as an insider’s perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.

Paula Lindgren

Google

We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.

12 Things Not to Do in LA

things not to do in LA

For visitors to Los Angeles, trying to make decisions about what they’re going to spend their precious time doing here, almost as important as adding things to the list is eliminating from it those things that they AREN’T going to do. Because in a city as big and varied as LA it just isn’t possible to do everything. If you try you’re just going to drive yourself crazy (probably quite literally), you won’t do any of those things properly and, after all, you’re on vacation – you should be relaxing. So, just for fun – and to help you – we’ve put together this list of things not do do in LA, to help you get the best possible experience from your trip here. It’s designed for those looking for a more authentic experience of Los Angeles than the traditional “movie stars and beaches” one, and is open to having their preconceptions challenged.

1. DON’T VISIT RODEO DRIVE

Go to the Fashion District in downtown instead. It’s vibrant, alive, affordable and it’s the real Los Angeles – basically everything that the famous shopping street to the stars isn’t. You almost certainly won’t see any stars doing their shopping on Rodeo Drive, it’s insanely expensive and you can find most of the designer shops on any high-end shopping street anywhere in the world. If the Fashion District is out of your way how about Venice’s trendy Abbot Kinney or the more fashionable shopping areas of Robertson or Melrose?

2. DON’T DO A STARS’ HOUSES TOUR

Why not? Well, unfortunately many of the tour buses aren’t safe and most of the “information” the operators tell their guests is wrong. Angelenos never do these tours, they’re really a joke here. The bottom line is it’s not an authentic experience of Los Angeles, the buses just clog up the area’s residential streets and the only thing that you will learn is that rich people have nice houses. That’s one thing that isn’t unique to LA.

If it's important for you to see someone famous while in LA read our guide to guarantee it (in an appropriate manner).

3. DON’T GET YOUR PRONUNCIATION OF LA PLACE NAMES WRONG

Los Angeles has many local peculiarities when it comes to pronouncing place names here. Wilshire Boulevard is not “Will-SHIRE”, it’s “WILL-sher”. The neighborhood below Griffith Park is not “Los FeLIZ”, it’s “Los FEElus”. We never use the names of the freeways here either, always the number – so it’s not the “Harbor Freeway”, it’s “the 110”. Also you never use the “i” before the freeway, as in the “i405”, it’s always “the 405”. Small details, but when you’re trying to get directions…

4. DON’T BE HOSTILE TO PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

An unacceptably high number of LA's residents are experiencing homelessness, it was the single biggest issue in the recent mayoral election. This huge, complex, issue isn't limited to people living in tents and other temporary shelters on the streets, but also includes many others sleeping in cars and mobile homes and on friends' couches. Recently the city has made big strides in providing temporary housing to many residents of 'Skid Row'..

These people deserve compassion and support, not condemnation. Just because they're without permanent housing, doesn't mean they're criminal. Los Angeles has the lowest number of housing units per adult of any major American city so, regrettably, it's hardly surprising we have this issue.

5. DON'T BELIEVE THAT LA IS A CRIME-RIDDEN POST-APOCALYPTIC MESS

This might seem like s strange one, but the idea's out there. It surfaces on reddit threads and social media and in conversations with people who really don't know what they're talking about. Crime has been trending down in LA for years but, unfortunately, there was a small spike during the Covid shutdowns, which explains why some people feel like it's a bigger issue.

Either way, just think of LA as being like any other city in the developed world, where there is an extremely low chance of law-abiding people being caught up in a crime, but that it's always important be vigilant, just in case.

6. DON’T BOTHER TRYING TO FIND AN OUTLET STORE

Angelenos don’t generally shop at outlets, there are hardly any here, apart from the Citadel. Discount stores like BurlingtonNordstrom RackTJ Maxx and Ross are widespread and more popular.

7. DON’T BE SURPRISED THAT THE TRAFFIC IS BAD IN LOS ANGELES

It’s famous for being awful (just watch any TV show or movie that’s set in LA). In fact, a recent study found we have the worst traffic on the entire planet. Remember while you sit in that jam that you are traffic. Best way to deal with it? Allow plenty of time to get to your destination. Or don't drive.

8. DON’T RENT A CAR

As referenced above traffic in Los Angeles is awful. All the time. Many travelers simply assume that there isn’t any public transport here and that therefore they have to rent a car. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Bear in mind that renting a car is expensive, taking into account the rental fee, fuel and parking. Traffic is usually bad and parking is hard to find too, so we recommend using a combination of ride-sharing and public transport, if you're visiting Los Angeles. We have a wide-ranging Metro system, which is also fast-growing, clean, efficient and cheap (the $1.75 flat fare is a bargain).

For more information on how to do this read our guide to using public transit in Los Angeles.

9. DON’T FORGET TO VISIT DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES

For most visitors to LA the main locale’s to check out are Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica/Venice. DTLA isn’t even on their radar. Big mistake! Huge! It’s the most interesting part of the city, both historically and architecturally, to such an extent that it’s usually the highlight for guests on our LA in a Day tour (and the other neighborhoods we visit on that tour are Hollywood and Santa Monica). One of the cool things about LA is how varied it is and if you miss downtown you’re missing a big piece of the picture (including gems such as Union Station, see below).

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10. DON’T BUY A PLASTIC OSCAR AT A HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD TOURIST TRAP!

You’re only encouraging them if you do. Get a book about movie or LA history, or buy a poster, from one of the few bookstores still hanging on in there, like Larry Edmunds.

11. DON’T THINK HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD AND VENICE BOARDWALK ARE THE REAL LA!

They both exist and they’re both in Los Angeles, but they’re completely atypical of the city, in the way that Times Square is not an authentic representation of New York. Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Boardwalk are the only two places that you’ll get hassled (and possibly hustled) here but, because most tourists feel compelled to go there, many leave with the impression that this is what LA is like unfortunately. It isn’t at all. Angelenos are nearly always polite, friendly and helpful, it’s just that these areas attract a lot of hustlers because so many visitors go there.

If you do go to these neighborhoods (and we do) just ignore the tour touts, CD sellers and pan-handlers and make a point of visiting other parts of this hugely varied city, like Griffith Park, Santa Monica and downtown. It’s often said here about Hollywood Boulevard that “It’s the place that tourists always go and Angelenos never go”, and while that may not be strictly true it tells you a lot.

12. DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A GRATUITY!

We’ve covered this extensively in our guide to tipping in the U.S., but when you’re in Los Angeles please tip whenever necessary. It’s probably not common to do this where you come from – or at least not as much as we do in the U.S. – but here it’s expected. It’s just how we do things. If you go to a restaurant, for example, and you leave without tipping the waiter you’re going to be making some Angelenos very unhappy. They probably won’t follow you out of the restaurant – which happens in New York – but if you were happy with your meal you’ve just been very disrespectful to the restaurant staff. For no reason. When you look at the prices on the menu just add 25% – 10% for the sales tax and 15% for the tip.

If you have any feedback on our list of things not to do in LA, or if you have some recommendations of your own, please email us and let us know. We’ll be sure to take it into account.

things not to do in LA