Windows down, music up, and the long winding road in front of you with nowhere to go but beautiful destinations. Los Angeles isn’t just a place where our favorite TV shows and movies are produced, but also where many of them are set – and for good reason, too. It’s beautiful here. When visiting the LA area, there are several road trips worth the miles. We share five of the best, including popular stops along the way.
This 21-mile road snakes along the eastern Santa Monica Mountains into the Hollywood Hills. David Lynch, who directed the film Mulholland Drive, has said it is a route where you can “feel the history of Hollywood.” Mulholland almost splits Los Angeles – the Valley on one side and Hollywood on the other. The road was originally developed to bring housing into the Hollywood Hills, and, as you’re curving around the route’s many hills, you’ll pass countless mansions burrowed back from the road that belong to the rich and famous, as well as several places to stop and enjoy the view of the city’s twinkling lights at night.
Angeles Crest Scenic Byway
The scenery of the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway looks more like the Midwest than Los Angeles: The mountainous forest seems out of place in this part of California, but that’s what makes it so appealing. Most of the 66-mile byway runs north of the city, through Angeles National Forest, and brings you upward of 7,000 feet above sea level – seemingly a long ways away from SoCal’s beaches – where vista points provide gorgeous views of the Pomona Valley and the Mojave Desert.
Starting west of Hollywood, near the ocean, Sunset Boulevard traverses 22 miles, from Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean, and offers a glimpse of the city’s many faces, from luxury in Beverly Hills to the iconic Sunset Strip. A must-stop for music lovers: Amoeba (6400 Sunset Boulevard.), which is one of the largest independent music stores in the world. Keep in mind that while Sunset is frequently congested, there sure is plenty to look at.
Pacific Coast Highway
Whether you know it or not, you’ve seen the Pacific Coast Highway, or “The PCH” as its referred to by Californians, in many car commercials. And after one pass through this 40-mile route, it’s easy to see why. The PCH runs along the Californian coast and is a favorite of Los Angeles locals and tourists alike for the unmatched sun-drenched views of the beaches on one side and the world-class, exclusive real estate on the other. While it’s a drive you don’t have to stop along to enjoy, one spot that you might want to take a few moments at is the cliffs of Point Dume in Malibu, which Marvel movie fans may recognize as the setting of Tony Stark’s mansion in Iron Man.
Yes, Hollywood Boulevard is touristy and congested. But it would be a sin to exclude the famous street from the list. The 15 blocks that are most interesting to visitors stretch between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street and contain boulevard mainstays like The Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Guiness World Records Museum, the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Kodak Theatre, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. No first-time visit to Hollywood is complete without it.
The Portofino Hotel & Marina