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Last Updated: June 24, 2020
First Published: September 6, 2016
LA in 3 Days: An Easy Intro Guide: I lived in LA for four years and absolutely adored it there. My love for the City of Angels along with one of my own three-day LA trips inspired me to write this guide from my actual itinerary. I realize how overwhelming it is when you have so much to see in a big city and very little time in which to do it!
LA in 3 Days: An Easy Day One Itinerary & Guide: Day One included popular attractions in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, and Disneyland
LA in 3 Days: An Easy Day Two Itinerary & Guide: Day Two included fun times in Burbank, Pasadena, downtown LA as well as some evening recommendations.
Now here we are on the final day of our Los Angeles 3 day itinerary! I love the itinerary for this final day because it has an eclectic collection of several unique things to do. So, how about we get to them?
Los Angeles 3 Day Itinerary: Day Three
Just like Day Two, we opted for breakfast on-the-go to save time. However, if you are wanting recommendations, try Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. It’s a unique place with a lot of options. The closest location for today’s itinerary would be the one on Pico which you can find on the map at the end of this post.
Urban Lights at LACMA
After breakfast, head on over to see the iconic Urban Lights that are outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They are a collection of 202 restored cast iron antique street lamps and have been featured in many movies and TV shows.
It is such a neat exhibit and a fabulous place for photos both during the daytime and at night. In fact, the Urban Lights are one of the most instagrammable spots in Los Angeles! I’m betting they are familiar to you, right?
While you’re at LACMA, check out what current exhibits they have on display. You never know what you might find. During one of my trips in 2016, I heard about the Rain Room on the local news and decided we HAD to try it out!
Although it isn’t currently at LACMA, the Rain Room does travel around the world and museum officials informed me that the exhibit visits periodically. It’s a really cool technology exhibit where the same 528 gallons of water are recycled to “rain” in a room with an accommodating setup. The technology senses when a human is present therefore enabling visitors to walk through the rain and not get wet!
TIPS: If you do happen upon a cool exhibit and tickets are sold out to the public (as was the case for us with the Rain Room), I did find a loophole. LACMA sometimes will keep tickets open for its members. It’s a nominal fee to join the museum for a year and I did this since I’m a former resident of Los Angeles and I visit quite a bit. Becoming a member enabled us to get tickets for a time slot within the hour. I realize it’s a bit extreme so it does depend on how badly you want to get into the exhibit!
Treats in Koreatown
Why the vague recommendation? Unfortunately, my absolute favorite Koreatown eatery moved. And by moved, I don’t mean to another part of LA. Nope, I mean moved…to TEXAS!!
Left: Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich Right: Iota Cloud
Yep, Iota Brew Cafe is now in Dallas. However, I do have other recommendations if you want to try treats similar to the ones pictured above:
- Oakobing: features Korean shaved ice in beautiful presentations
- Caffé Bene Wilshire: features sweet waffles, savory toasts, traditional Korean drinks, a library, and $2 parking
- Document Coffee Bar: features coffee drinks, pastries, scones, breads, patio, and parking
TIPS: You should be able to find a macaron ice cream sandwich as they aren’t that uncommon. The Iota Cloud might be a bit more difficult. It features mochi ice cream, fresh fruit, macarons, and cotton candy. I would try asking the place you choose if they make anything like it and show them this photo.
Hiking Mount Lee
(the Hollywood Sign Mountain)
So now you’ve figured out why, instead of a hearty lunch, we chose yummy treats. Yes, we planned a hike! Now don’t worry, if you’re already saying “Hiking? No thanks!”, I have a great alternative listed below.
Hear me out. This is the perfect way to get exercise AND see possibly the greatest views in all of LA. Why you ask? Because you are getting to view Los Angeles from above the Hollywood Sign. Also, it’s free and free things to do in Los Angeles are fantastic right?
Sadly, we did not complete the hike. What was projected to be a mild day in the mid-70s turned out to be a stifling 86-degree day! Since the hike is unshaded, after a mile in, it was just too hot for
us me. So that will have to be an exciting adventure for another trip.
I highly recommend this hike at a cooler time. Or, go in the morning if you don’t mind somewhat foggier views due to LA’s marine layer.
TIP: I don’t recommend this hike in June due to “June Gloom”, a weather pattern resulting in overcast skies that is strongest during the La Niña years. It can occur as early as May and as late as July or August.
If you can’t do the hike or are visiting at the wrong time of year, an easy substitution to still see incredible sights and get a fantastic view of the Hollywood Sign is:
The Griffith Observatory is a great place to take in panoramic views of Los Angeles and close up views of the Hollywood Sign as shown in the photo above. It’s also a planetarium and has live shows from time to time.
Entrance to the grounds and the building is always free so coupled with the fantastic views, it makes it a very popular location. This is a gorgeous spot to watch the sunset!
TIPS: CLOSED on Mondays. There is a parking lot outside the observatory but space is limited and it is a long, winding, narrow drive to the top. Street parking along the way is first-come, first-serve but I don’t like parking there because it’s difficult to get in and out due to the narrow roads and the neverending line of traffic. Limited parking is available near the Greek Theater and is a good, free option as long as there are no concerts taking place. There is also a shuttle service throughout Griffith Park. You can decide which parking/shuttle option is best for you.
9/11 Memorial in Malibu
After the Observatory, drive over to Pepperdine University in Malibu to reflect in Heroes Garden, the 9/11 Memorial. While you reflect, you can also take in stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Dedicated on September 11, 2002, the memorial opened to the public a year later on September 11, 2003.
A 10th-anniversary rededication took place on September 11, 2011, as the Thomas E Burnett, Jr Heroes Garden. This honors the Pepperdine Alum who was on United Flight 93 that fateful day. It is a sanctuary designed for quiet reflection and you can often find people praying, studying or taking photos. Please do be respectful if you visit!
TIPS: It is free to visit. If coming from the Observatory, take Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood west all the way to the coast then turn right onto PCH/Highway 1. This is a great direct, scenic drive and you will pass many iconic landmarks along the way.
Once you arrive at Pepperdine, tell the guard at the gate you are going to Heroes Garden and they will let you through. Ask for directions to the top. There is a small parking lot right in front of the Memorial. Park there and if it’s full, be cognizant of parking signs around campus.
If you want to eat dinner and watch the sunset in Malibu my recommendations are Moonshadows or Nobu Malibu. However, if you want to make the most of your Los Angeles 3-day itinerary, then head for…
The Santa Monica Experience
Just get back on PCH/Highway 1 south until you come into Santa Monica. Park the car and enjoy the outdoor atmosphere that is the famous beachside town. There’s the 3rd Street Promenade that has countless shopping and restaurant options.
Bruxie is located on the 3rd Street Promenade and is known for its cute little waffle sandwiches with both savory and sweet options. They serve breakfast all day as well.
My Original Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich
I highly recommend their specialty, the Original Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich. It’s fantastic! The waffle itself isn’t overly sweet but is quite fluffy for only 250 calories.
The Original consists of chicken, lettuce and is served with 100% Vermont pure maple syrup. For sides, you have the options of fresh fruit, tomato soup, or caesar salad.
TIPS: It is an indoor/outdoor cafe but no doors separate the two areas. Park in one of the many public parking decks around the Third Street Promenade.
Santa Monica Pier
After you finish dinner, head down to the water to take a stroll out onto the famous Santa Monica Pier. If it’s your thing, ride the Ferris wheel and roller coaster in Pacific Park. Check the calendar before you go as sometimes there are special exhibits like Cirque du Soleil shows under the big top in the parking lot!
TIPS: Information on Pacific Park such as tickets and operating hours can be found here. You can stay parked in the same lot as Bruxie or the Third Street Promenade. How easy is that?
Me with Jay Leno
Keep your eyes open wherever you are in LA. You never know who you are going to run into in LaLaLand. During my four years as a resident and countless return visits, I’ve seen, met, and talked with many celebrities! However, this celebrity photo from back in the day is my favorite.
It was my second time to attend The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Both times I was chosen by Jay to come onstage in front of a full audience for a photo-op. Please excuse the quality as the staff took the photo with a polaroid camera.
TIPS: Although Jay Leno no longer hosts The Tonight Show pay attention during audience warm-ups of any show-taping you attend. If the host opens it up for questions, ask if you can come on stage for a photo. All they can say is no but they may very well reward you with a yes!
And there you have it, a full Los Angeles 3 day itinerary! This concludes the series and I hope it inspires you to travel to Los Angeles even if you don’t have a lot of time to spend. It’s definitely a busy but fun itinerary that takes you to most of the major LA tourist attractions in a short timeframe. Afterwards, if you want to continue your adventures to other parts of the state then this 10-day road trip of California is perfect!
Drop me a comment below if you visit and follow this Los Angeles 3 day itinerary. If you have already been to LA, I would LOVE to hear what your favorite thing is to do there!
‘Til next time…
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