We could simply list all of the stunning sandy beaches in LA and call it a day, but we're nothing if not thorough at Plum Guide. There's such a variety of eye-catching Los Angeles attractions, not to mention a lack of rainy days. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so we have to account for the fact that some of you will be more impressed by the aesthetics of the Getty Center than the sandy strands of Santa Monica and Malibu. So, we’ve endeavoured to create an eclectic mix to whet your appetite and guide you towards beauty in the City of Angels. And if all else fails, you could always just hang around the Hollywood Walk of Fame and hope to see stars. Disclaimer: famous actors and musicians are unlikely to visit this area - the only stars you’ll see are the ones on the sidewalk. Here are the most beautiful places in Los Angeles.
The Getty Center
Lake Hollywood Park
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Korean Bell of Friendship
Echo Park Lake
1. The Getty Center
A low-angle view of The Getty Center on a sunny day, Los Angeles, USA
In terms of beauty, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Getty Center is an architectural wonder in the district of Brentwood. Explore the Getty Museum within for its array of art, including original pieces by Renoir, Van Gogh and Monet among other big names. Remember that Mr. Bean scene where he sneezes on the art? Don’t do that. Aside from the art, the main draws here are the spectacular architecture and wonderful views of Los Angeles from way up high. Sit with a picnic on the grass just outside the building and take in the remarkable vistas. Back inside, check out the exhibits on French decorative arts and photography.
2. Rodeo Drive
Shops and palm trees on Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, USA
Hang on, we’ll get to the beaches, but put the suncream and swimming costume on hold for just one second. As we said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and, for many, there’s nothing better than beholding some new clothes or shiny presents. This is the exclusive street where Julia Roberts’ character dreams of being able to shop in Pretty Woman. It’ll feel for a moment as though you’ve stepped out of the US and into the cobbled lanes of Rome or Madrid. It even has a shopping mall designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It runs for 2 miles (3.2 kilometres), so you’ll get a proper work out carrying all those bags for the full distance. At least your credit card will feel a little lighter after all the spending you’ll be doing.
3. Venice Beach
People walking along Venice Beach Boardwalk on a sunny day, Los Angeles, California, USA
Who needs Italy's Venice when you’ve got its Californian namesake right here in Los Angeles? Enjoy browsing the quirky items in the quaint boutiques of Abbot Kinney, then wander through the canals at the back of the district. Then, head to the stretch of sand for one of the liveliest and most eclectic beach experiences in the world, and certainly one of the most beautiful places in Los Angeles. Mixing with the muscle-heads (on the so-called Muscle Beach) and street artists working on the main promenade are skaters and sunbathers. The sandy beach is wide and long, making for excellent sunbathing conditions. Head to one of the exclusive restaurants at the back of the strand for lunch or dinner. You’ve got a choice between 26 Beach, Felix Trattoria and James’ Beach among myriad other restaurants.
4. Griffith Observatory
A view of Griffith Observatory on top of a hill, overlooking Los Angeles, USA
Griffith Observatory tops many lists of the most beautiful places in Los Angeles. Arrive and appreciate the majestic building, with its long white façade and green domes. Head inside for a glimpse through its vast telescope at the night’s sky, spotting a different kind of star to that of the Hollywood Walk of Fame (which is actually nearby). Wander through the displays of the Hall of the Sky and its rhyming counterpart, the Hall of the Eye. Who doesn’t like rhymes? Put together a picnic in the adjacent Griffith Park and watch the sun go down in this picturesque part of the city. Look back on the impressive observatory, as it becomes a silhouette against the night’s sky. As it happens, you’re right by some of the main attractions in Hollywood, so could combine your visit with a trip to the Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles Zoo, or the Universal Studios Hollywood.
5. Lake Hollywood Park
A view of the Hollywood Sign from Lake Hollywood Park, Los Angeles, USA
Speaking of Hollywood, there’s few places in LA more scenic than Lake Hollywood Park. With a children's play area, a dog-friendly policy, and views of the famous Hollywood Sign, it’s perfect for all the family to enjoy a memorable day out in one of the most renowned locations on the planet. Getting a photo with the Hollywood Sign is on almost everyone’s bucket list, so grab your snap to share with friends and family back home (just be prepared for some mild jealousy). The Sign isn’t the only attraction here however, with Hollywood Reservoir (or “Lake Hollywood”) making for a remarkably picturesque setting. Lose yourself in the tranquillity of the area, and enjoy the water drifting calmly underneath the captivating hills while you relax on the green grass below. If you’re truly on the hunt for the prettiest places in Los Angeles, Lake Hollywood Park is simply unmissable.
6. Walt Disney Concert Hall
A close up view of the curved walls of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, USA
This one may not have a serene lake or the towering hills, but it has a huge amount of beauty in its own right. The appeal of Walt Disney Concert Hall all lies in the architecture, with its unique, curved walls making for some seriously impressive sights. Of course that isn’t it's only appeal, as it is a working concert hall, so popping in to catch a show is definitely something to tick off the LA itinerary. To say it is a “working concert hall” is a bit of an understatement by the way - it’s renowned as one of the top destinations for musical performances in the world. Home to one of the world’s most respected orchestras, Walt Disney Concert Hall has a reputation for quality, and its exterior does that reputation absolutely no harm. Definitely attend a show, but definitely admire the building itself too. Incredible architecture and world-class music - we’ve had worse days.
7. The Korean Bell of Friendship
A close up view of the The Korean Bell of Friendship, Los Angeles, USA
Whether you’re travelling with friends or not, this monument still has to be high on your list of things to see (disclaimer: you won’t get turned away if you’re traveling solo). Built in dedication to American veterans of the Korean war, this impressive attraction celebrates peace and friendship, and is among the world’s largest bells. You can occasionally hear its knell, on dates such as Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and Korean-American Day - just don’t stand too close. The Korean Friendship Bell overlooks the Pacific Ocean, which really adds to the beauty on show. There’s so much to take in when visiting this fascinating monument, with intricate designs and different deliberate touches provoking new thoughts everywhere you look.
8. Echo Park Lake
A view of Echo Park Lake from above, with Downton Los Angeles in the background, Los Angeles, USA
For those of you hoping to get away from the buzz of city life for even a moment, Echo Park Lake is the place for you. With a picturesque view of Downtown LA at the end of the pristine water, you’ll feel so distant from the rush of LA, while still being so conveniently near. The lake, the palm trees and the skyline all combine to make this one of the prettiest places in LA, and the perfect location for a relaxing day out with the family. Hop aboard a pedalo and enjoy roaming the ripples, or park down on a bench and watch the action pass by as you admire the serenity of the area. It’s a great spot for a picnic, and is arguably the perfect family photo opportunity - this one will definitely make this year’s Christmas cards.
9. The Broad
A close up view of the unique exterior of The Broad, Los Angeles, USA
This one is slightly unique, because it offers eye-catching beauty both inside and out (just like you, of course). Even strolling past The Broad will have you stopping and admiring the interesting architecture, and will almost certainly encourage you to venture inside, where you’ll see enough within the first 2 minutes to completely justify your decision. The contemporary art museum is located in Downtown LA (maybe you’ll spot it from Lake Echo Park), and showcases more than 2,000 pieces as well as rotating exhibitions. Even if you’ve visited before, you’re guaranteed to be presented with nre are every single time, so there will never be a reason to turn away - especially with free general admission. Take a family trip to this fascinating museum, and watch the childrens’ inspiration soar as a result of the creativity and artistry on show.
10. Descanso Gardens
A close up view of white flowers next to a path at Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles, USA
Rounding off this guide to the most pretty places in Los Angeles, we have Descanso Gardens. Spanning a staggering 150 acres, this botanical garden is bursting with colour and culture. Wander over the famous (and small) red bridge, and take the time to admire the impressive collection of plants. Snap as many photos as your camera will allow (you may need a back up), and make the most of the gorgeous LA weather, which incidentally helps the desert plant life thrive. Time your visit to catch one of the unforgettable light shows, or even arrange to tie the knot in the grounds to mark a memorable trip away with the perfect moment. You won't find many more picturesque settings in the entirety of Los Angeles, so don’t miss this one for anything - we’ve warned you.