Los Angeles downtown at night with urban buildings and lake
Los Angeles downtown at night with urban buildings and lake

Cruises From Los Angeles: Cool Things to Do Before You Go

Published on January 27, 2021

From the star-studded streets of Hollywood, to the vibrant boardwalk of Venice Beach, to the swanky mansions of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles refuses to be anything but exciting. In this guide, we'll share the coolest things to do for those taking cruises from Los Angeles. Get ready to see celebrities, check out the beaches and enjoy the artsy side of Los Angeles.


What to Know Before You

Looking for a quick cruise getaway? Consider spending a day or two in the City of Angels before taking a two- to four- day cruises from Los Angeles. This will bring a balance of big city life and laid-back relaxation.

Because Los Angeles traffic can be notoriously unpredictable, you'll want to leave plenty of time between activities and returning to port. A day tour with transportation included is ideal for those who want to see plenty of places without the hassle of dealing with freeway interchanges and dodging traffic jams. If you do venture out with your own set of wheels, consider spending more time at just a few of your top-choice areas rather than packing in a full day of sightseeing throughout the sprawling city.

Theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios warrant a full day to enjoy. You'll want to make a visit to either of these attractions the main item on your list, especially with kids in tow.

When it comes to settling a growling stomach, go ahead and try something at any of the food trucks or hole-in-the-wall restaurants with a line trailing from the cashier counter. Food competition is fierce in Los Angeles, and mediocre digs don't tend to stay open for long.

Seeing Stars in Hollywood

In the early 1900s, Hollywood blossomed from a tiny agricultural town into the hub of the country's film industry as filmmakers ventured west in search of freedom to create the movies they dreamed of. Today, you can venture out on a tour of Hollywood to see where this exciting industry all began.

Packed within the 3-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard is a gamut of museums, hotels, bars and restaurants worthy of wandering into. There are multiple hop-on hop-off buses and sightseeing tours that weave around the neighborhood, stopping at all major attractions.

Begin your day at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where nearly 2,700 stars embedded into the sidewalk span along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. These stars honor the actresses, broadcasters, musicians, producers, directors and other big shots in the industry. Star ceremonies where new stars are issued take place regularly and are free for all to attend. All along the road, expect to see a lot of street performers and celebrity impersonators putting on their best performances.

Also on Hollywood Boulevard, you'll find the TCL Chinese Theater. Aside from intriguing architecture, you can check out autographs, footprints and handprints of some of the city's most famous Hollywood stars. Pop in for an in-depth tour of the theater or stop to admire a feature film on their gargantuan IMAX screen. The Dolby Theater, where the Academy Awards are held each year, is also very close.

If real celebrities are being evasive and the street impersonators simply aren't cutting it, you can take a selfie with lifelike wax figures of your favorite stars at Madame Tussauds. The Hollywood Wax Museum, which settled on the strip in 1965, also has ultra-smooth figurines of celebrities.

However, your highest chance of seeing a celebrity in person is by sitting as an audience member at one of the live TV shows taped in Hollywood. Occasionally, you might find film crew scouts combing the streets of Hollywood seeking guests to fill seats during a show taping. These shows can range from sitcoms to reality shows to game shows to talk shows. If you have a favorite, it's worth reaching out in advance to see if tickets are available for the date of your visit. In Los Angeles, anything is possible — you could be pulled onstage and made into a star overnight.

Punctuating Hollywood Boulevard and located across from the TCL Chinese Theater is the glowing sign of The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The hotel hosts a suite named after one of its long-term guests, Marilyn Monroe, who supposedly spent two years in the hotel during the start of her iconic career.

To get an inside glimpse of how celebrities live day to day, join a celebrity home tour with a company like Starline Tours or Ultimate Hollywood Tours who drive through the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Hollywood. Though most stars guard their homes with high fences, you might get lucky and spot one on their way to film the next flick.

As you're venturing around Hollywood, it's hard to miss its namesake sign in the background. In 1923, the Hollywood Sign was erected as part of a film set (originally saying Hollywoodland) and spans over 350 feet across Mount Lee. Locals often hike in the area through Runyon Canyon Park, where you can admire the live postcard perspective from multiple angles.

Change from stars on the silver screen to stars in the sky at the Griffith Observatory, a site where many Angelenos take their loved ones for a romantic date. From the observatory, you'll have prime views of the Los Angeles skyline, the Hollywood Sign and shots of the cosmos through the lens of a telescope — free to look through for all who visit.

Beach Hopping in Los Angeles

Those who love to take cruises from Los Angeles probably have a strong penchant for sunshine and sandy shorelines. Fortunately, there are plenty of beaches in Los Angeles to enjoy the sea.

No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a visit to Santa Monica, where the Santa Monica Pier entertains the young and the young at heart. Strolling along the pier is free, and tickets can be purchased to play arcade games, ride roller coasters, master the art of trapeze and go for a spin on the Ferris wheel. The pier also marks the western end of Route 66 — a fact that could come up during a game of trivia.

Basketball courts, a skate park and an outdoor gym at Muscle Beach ensure that nobody stays still for too long. And unlike the posh parts of Los Angeles, Venice Beach is alive with street art. Murals cover many of the city's main buildings and it's common to see artists posted up at the community street art walls, open to anyone who wants to create.

Wander inland to the Venice Canals, a section of the city that was dredged to resemble those found in Italy's Venice, complete with quaint footbridges. Start at the intersection of Washington Drive and Strongs Drive, where you'll find an entrance to the grid of waterways.

The neighboring beaches of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach welcome those in search of good surf and relaxed vibes. Quirky cafes, restaurants and bars are found within each of the neighborhoods, frequented more by locals than out-of-towners.

Near the Los Angeles World Cruise Center, the golden sands at Long Beach's main beaches are worth visiting for those short on time. At little Alamitos Beach, you can catch prime views and take tours of the RMS Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner that was built in 1934.

An Art Tour of Los Angeles

Get inspired by the thriving Los Angeles art scene that spans from paint-splattered streets to some of the most impressive museums in the country.

The Getty Center is worth visiting for its architecture, gardens and outdoor sculptures alone. Its onsite J. Paul Getty Museum hosts artwork, artifacts and photographs that span more than two centuries. The museum rotates between permanent and visiting exhibitions. Best of all, admission is free.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) hosts over 142,000 objects, making it the largest art museum on the west coast. The museum's most famous installation, called "Urban Light" by artist Chris Burden, was created using 202 streetlamps from the 1920s and 1930s salvaged from the streets of California. Today, these streetlamps are often seen as symbols of the city.

Spread over two locations in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) also pushes its visitors to think about how art and modern times intermingle. The Broad postwar and contemporary art museum also reveals incredible work from artists all around the world.

Even if you don't step inside, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is worth stopping by to admire as an architectural feat. Renowned architect Frank Gehry designed the concert hall to resemble sails. The sprawling sheets of metal seem to defy gravity. If you want to take a look inside, the concert hall also offers tours of the facility. To enjoy the hall's fullest potential, stay for a philharmonic orchestra performance.


Ready to See the City of Stars?

Like the night sky, the city of Los Angeles is ever-changing. Creatives venture to the city to make their wildest aspirations into a reality, shops open and close on a whim, and it can feel like the city itself has a multifaceted personality all of its own. For those considering a two- to four-day cruises from Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and tack on an extra day to see the exciting city in a new or different way.



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