A local’s advice for visiting LA: Five top tips

Before you start planning your trip, check out our Chauffeur of the Month’s top tips for exploring the City of Angels.

Here's how to make the most of your time in LA. Image credit: LPETTET/iStock
Here’s how to make the most of your time in LA. Image credit: LPETTET/iStock

Three years ago Blacklane chauffeur Michael moved to Los Angeles from Amman, Jordan in pursuit of a better life for him and his family. Michael now knows all the city’s mainstays and trendy hot-spots thanks to his work driving people around the city and his monitoring social media.

“Los Angeles is very diverse and full of life, I know the town in and out,” Michael said.

Here’s how to make the most of your trip to LA according to this local expert.

Put in some prep work

“Call in advance and make reservations and use travel tips from family and friends who have visited LA already,” Michael said.

It’s not just for your peace of mind. Los Angeles County had 50 million visitors in 2018 alone, so spontaneity could mean big crowds and long lines. 

If you’re family and friends are new to the city too, don’t worry, we have you covered. Check out our ultimate LA city guide for our recommendations by neighborhood.

Get ready to hit the road

Aerial view of Los Angeles Freeway Interchange. Image credit: Art Wager/iStock

“Allow time between events because of freeway congestion,” Michael said.

LA is spread across nearly 470 square miles (over 1200 square kilometers) and the car is king. Driving is the most efficient and most popular way to travel in the city, which means all those jokes about LA traffic are strongly rooted in reality.

Having a knowledgeable local to navigate you through the crowded streets will allow you to really enjoy your visit. You can book chauffeurs like Michael with Blacklane in Los Angeles.

Eat your way around the world

“There are all kinds of restaurants and types of food due to the 150 different nationalities who live in Los Angeles,” Michael said.

While 150 may be a slight exaggeration, almost half of the population is Hispanic and more than 430,000 people are of two or more ethnicities, so it’s no wonder you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to food.

We recommend Bavel for Middle Eastern food, Broken Spanish for that sweet spot between Latin classics and Californian innovation, and Nightshade for an interesting spin on Asian. 

Of course, Wolfgang Puck’s iconic Spago in Beverly Hills is also worth a visit as a cultural mainstay of the city.

Play your best hand

“Hollywood is the main feature, but there are many casinos close by,” Michael said.

Movie lots aren’t the only entertainment Los Angeles has to offer, and Las Vegas isn’t the only place where you can put your poker skills to the test. You never know, you could find yourself playing a round of cards opposite one of your favorite movie stars.

One thing to keep in mind is that most casinos in LA are only allowed to have tabletop games like Blackjack and Texas Hold ’Em, so you won’t find any slot machines or roulette wheels.

Soak up the sun

Enjoy the sunshine at Venice Beach. Image credit: Ingus Kruklitis/iStock
Enjoy the sunshine at Venice Beach. Image credit: Ingus Kruklitis/iStock

“My favorite things about LA… I love the weather, I love the beaches, and the diversity of people,” Michael said.

Venice Beach is the perfect place to enjoy all three, but if you’re less concerned with people-watching than enjoying the sun and surf, head to the picturesque El Matador State Beach. The rock formations add some drama to the view, and if you time it right you can catch a beautiful sunset.

If you’re ready to start booking your trip, check the LA section in our best hotels on the beach in California article so you can wake up to those spectacular West Coast views.


Marlys Klossner

Marlys, a journalism major from Canada, now calls Germany home. She spends her days writing punchy copy and lovely long-form articles, and spends her evenings watching so-bad-it's-bad reality TV. Her prized possessions? Medals from her days as a synchronized swimmer.