The trickiest part of planning a Los Angeles weekend trip (which is coincidentally also the most fun part) is deciding what to do, where to go and what to see.

Since Los Angeles is a large, sprawling city featuring a diverse lineup of multiple fun neighborhoods to explore, there are seemingly endless possibilities for what to do in Los Angeles for a weekend.

We’ve rounded up the best destinations to explore on three nights in Los Angeles to showcase LA’s finest and most fun spots to check out on a weekend trip.

Quick Answer Guide: 3 Nights in Los Angeles

  • Best for a quintessentially beachy Los Angeles tourism experience - Santa Monica
  • Best for entertainment enthusiasts - Hollywood
  • Best for those who seek a luxurious Los Angeles weekend getaway - Beverly Hills

‌Best Cool & Unique Areas of Los Angeles‌

  • Best for those who seek trendy and hip places to hang out - West Hollywood
  • Best for bohemian types - Venice Beach
  • Best for sunshine lovers and surfers - Malibu

‌Best Hidden Gems of Los Angeles‌

  • Best for history buffs, as well as arts, culture, and sports enthusiasts - Downtown Los Angeles
  • Best for culinary enthusiasts and those who prefer a walkable neighborhood - Koreatown
  • Best for surfers, beach lovers, and those just looking for low-key surfer vibes - Redondo Beach
  • Best for foodies and history buffs - Culver City

Most Popular Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

When you think of the most popular neighborhoods to visit for a weekend trip to Los Angeles, these three are the neighborhoods that probably first come to mind: Santa Monica, with its landmark pier; Hollywood, with its iconic sign and its Walk of Fame stars; and Beverly Hills, known for being home to many Hollywood celebrities.

1. Santa Monica

  • Perfect for:‌ A quintessentially beachy Los Angeles tourism experience
  • Highlights of Santa Monica:
    • Close proximity to the ocean
    • Easy access to public transportation
    • Beautiful pier with restaurants and rides
    • Plenty of places to eat and hotels and entertainment within walking distance

‌How to Get to Santa Monica‌

From LAX, it’s a roughly 40-minute drive (depending on traffic) to Santa Monica using the 405 North freeway. You can also take the Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica’s bus system) from LAX to Santa Monica using the TransitApp on your phone.

‌Things to Do in Santa Monica‌

Perhaps the most famous thing to do in Santa Monica is to visit the Santa Monica Pier. From here, you can gaze out onto the California coastline and admire the ocean sights or visit the amusement park on the pier called Pacific Park. The end of the pier is where you’ll find a piece of American history — the sign marking the “Endpoint of Route 66.” Santa Monica also features a wide, sandy beach where you can spend the day relaxing.

There are plenty of world-class shopping and dining opportunities in Santa Monica. Explore the Third Street Promenade to discover a range of favorite classic shops and smaller, more local spots, or go off the beaten path and explore a more local enclave of shops and restaurants on the tree-lined Montana Avenue.

‌Where to Stay in Santa Monica‌

There are plenty of Airbnbs in Santa Monica, like this cute little California bungalow sitting in a quaint, exclusive district near Montana Avenue, offering easy walking access to plenty of local shops and the beach.

Airbnb cute little California bungalow Santa Monica Book Now

If you’re seeking a classic Santa Monica experience in an upscale, historic hotel, stay at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, which has welcomed guests in a lavish, seaside setting since 1921 and is situated on five large acres on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Santa Monica Book Now

2. Hollywood

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  • Perfect for:‌ Entertainment enthusiasts
  • Highlights of Hollywood:
    • Walkability
    • Public transportation access
    • Plenty of restaurants, hotels, and entertainment within walking distance

‌How to Get to Hollywood‌

The easiest way to get from LAX to Hollywood is to drive or catch a rideshare. It’s approximately 45 minutes from LAX to Hollywood by car.

‌Things to Do in Hollywood‌

It’s not a trip to Hollywood without exploring the iconic Walk of Fame, which encompasses 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street, showcasing the legacy of thousands of legendary names in the entertainment industry. It’s a free attraction, with a chance to learn about the mix of actors, directors, producers, musicians, and even fictional characters that have paved the way in film and music.

There are also a collection of famous theaters, museums, and building landmarks in Hollywood, including the Capitol Records Building, which you can take tours of. For an off-the-beaten-path museum, check out the Museum of Broken Relationships, which displays personal objects from lost loves along with notes about them.

If you want to enjoy a nice meal with a spectacular view, check out Yamashiro, which is a beautiful historic mountain top restaurant serving sushi and Cal-Asian fare amongst lush garden scenery (including a koi pond!) nestled into the Hollywood Hills overlooking the city.

‌Where to Stay in Hollywood‌

This Hollywood luxury apartment on Airbnb will make you feel like you’re a celebrity, sitting in the heart of Hollywood within walking distance to many of the neighborhood’s top attractions and featuring a gorgeous city skyline view.

Airbnb Hollywood luxury apartment Hollywood Book Now

If you’re looking for a historic spot that many celebrities have beloved over the past century, check out the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. This property is located right on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. It dates back to the Golden Era of Hollywood, emitting an upscale sense of timeless glamor (there’s even a “Marilyn Suite,” in tribute to a certain movie star who spent a lot of time there in her heyday).

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Book Now

3. Beverly Hills

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  • Perfect for:‌ Those who seek a luxurious Los Angeles weekend getaway
  • Highlights of Beverly Hills:
    • Clean, safe, and walkable
    • Lots of shopping and dining and hotels
    • Upscale and elegant

‌How to Get to Beverly Hills‌

It’s traditionally a roughly 40-minute drive from LAX to Beverly Hills. You’ll take CA-1 North to Sepulveda Blvd. Then you’ll switch to CA-90 East, then I-405 North, taking exit 55A and following the CA-2 East route toward Santa Monica Blvd to Beverly Hills.

‌Things to Do in Beverly Hills‌

Go shopping or just stroll and enjoy people-watching along the iconic upscale shopping street, Rodeo Drive. Take a photo by the famous Beverly Hills Sign.

Dine at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, which just opened a new restaurant boasting a menu of coastal Mediterranean flavors accented by European influences, and features a gorgeous rooftop restaurant with the most scenic sunset sights in the city.

Enjoy tea time at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, which is adding a trendy take on a timeless tradition by adding a DJ at their weekend “Tea Party” sessions, which are offered on Saturdays and Sundays

‌Where to Stay in Beverly Hills‌

This modern Beverly Hills Villa on Airbnb offers an over-the-top classy quintessential LA experience for those who seek an exceptionally luxurious overnight stay.

Airbnb modern Beverly Hills Villa Book Now

You can also stay at The Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, which is right on the corner of Rodeo Drive in a perfect location for setting as a home base on a Beverly Hills adventure. This timeless property is perhaps best known for its cameo as the filming location for “Pretty Woman,” but has since treated countless visitors and residents to a lavish spot to dine, drink, or relax at the on-site spa.

The Beverly Wilshire Book Now

Cool & Unique Areas of Los Angeles

Whether you want to discover nightlife and history in West Hollywood, watch the body builders working on Venice Beach, or watch the surfers at Malibu, these cool and unique areas offer something interesting for your three-night getaway in Los Angeles.

4. West Hollywood

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  • Perfect for:‌ Those who seek trendy and hip places to hang out
  • Highlights of West Hollywood:
    • Very LGBTQ+ friendly
    • Great for nightlife
    • Plenty of hotels and restaurants
    • Walkable

‌How to Get to West Hollywood‌

It’s about a 45-minute drive from LAX to West Hollywood. You’ll be taking the 405 to La Cienega and merging onto Fairfax before arriving at your destination.

‌Things to Do in West Hollywood‌

West Hollywood technically encompasses less than 2 square miles of geography between Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills, but boasts a big personality, known for its high-energy nightlife and historic destinations friendly to the LGBTQ+ community. There are three neighborhoods that make up this district — the Sunset Strip, the Design District, and Santa Monica Boulevard — which each have their own distinct atmosphere and offerings.

In the Sunset Strip, eat at The Den on Sunset, a true LA institution nestled into the Sunset Strip on Sunset Boulevard featuring an intimate, lively atmosphere and a fantastic cocktail program. Then, see the sights of the city from Skybar, atop the Mondrian Los Angeles.

In the Design District, which is Southwestern part of Melrose Avenue, eat at the famed hangout Craig’s and see who you can spot. On Santa Monica Boulevard, stop into one of the many nightlife spots or grab an award-winningly pretty pastry at Bottega Louie.

‌Where to Stay in West Hollywood‌

This dream villa Airbnb in West Hollywood can host up to 10 guests and is in a superb location for exploring all the best of this trendy neighborhood.

Airbnb dream villa in West Hollywood Book Now

The Pendry is hands down one of the most luxurious spots to stay in West Hollywood, sitting right on the Sunset Strip just steps from all of the famous WeHo haunts like The Comedy Store.

The Pendry West Hollywood Book Now

5. Venice Beach

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  • Perfect for:‌ Bohemian types
  • Highlights of Venice Beach:
    • Walkable
    • Tasty food and drink
    • Low-key, laid-back, and friendly atmosphere

‌How to Get to Venice Beach‌

From LAX, get on CA-1 North Sepulveda Blvd. Follow CA-1 N to West Washington Blvd and follow this roadway to Abbot Kinney Blvd and N Venice Blvd to the destination.

‌Things to Do in Venice Beach‌

In Bohemian Venice Beach, be sure to explore the famous boardwalk, which hosts dozens of artisan craft booths and seemingly endless eclectic shops and enthusiastic entertainment from street performers.

Stroll the boardwalk and people-watch. If you’re visiting in the evening, be sure to stop into Winston House, which serves as a restaurant, bar, and live music venue all in one right off the boardwalk. Brunch at The Waterfront on the boardwalk, or at The Rose just steps away, both of which serve fresh cuisine made from ingredients sourced from local farms.

Be sure to stroll down Abbot Kinney Boulevard — a mile-long, pedestrian-friendly street with some of the hippest stores, thoughtful street art such as murals, and trendy food restaurants and bars just a few minutes away from the beach.

‌Where to Stay in Venice Beach‌

This newly remodeled Airbnb on the Venice Canal offers guests a jacuzzi to enjoy and is located a 10-minute walk to many of the best bars, restaurants, and shopping opportunities (including Abbot Kinney) in Los Angeles.

Airbnb newly remodeled in Venice Beach Book Now

Stay at Hotel Erwin, which is right on the boardwalk and boasts an awesome rooftop bar with views of the ocean.

Hotel Erwin Venice Beach Book Now

6. Malibu

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  • Perfect for:‌ Sunshine lovers and surfers
  • Highlights of Malibu:
    • Easy access to the ocean
    • Beautiful scenery seemingly everywhere
    • Great hiking and water activities

‌How to Get to Malibu‌

Get on CA-1 North Sepulveda Blvd to the I-405 North before merging back onto Highway 1 and arriving in Malibu.

‌Things to Do in Malibu‌

Malibu is a classic coastal California beach town known for its beautiful scenery and celebrity beach homes. ​​Sit on the sands of Zuma Beach or admire the amazing rock formations at El Matador State Beach. Spend some time on the Malibu Pier grabbing a bite at Malibu Farm Cafe.

Speaking of bites, Malibu is home to one of the most famous sushi establishments perhaps in the world — Nobu Malibu, which is right next door to Nobu Ryokan Malibu — a well-known, Asian-inspired property owned by iconic chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

‌Where to Stay in Malibu‌

This private Airbnb oceanside oasis in Malibu is exactly what dreams are made of nestled away in a canyon offering privacy but also boasting a lineup of upscale amenities like a pool, jacuzzi, barbecue, and amazing ocean sights.

Airbnb oceanside oasis in Malibu Book Now

Hotel June Malibu is a great choice if you seek a retreat that’s off the beaten path nestled into the hills right off the Pacific Coast Highway. There are 13 secluded recently renovated bungalows boasting a modern, beachy, and minimalist aesthetic with amenities including an on-site pool.

Hotel June Malibu Log Angeles Book Now

Hidden Gems of Los Angeles

It's hard to call downtown Los Angeles a "hidden gem" because of course it isn't hidden! but it does have a lot of appeal that could easily be overlooked, such as theaters, dining spots, and walking tours.

Koreatown is the place to go for food and culture. Redondo Beach is a laid-back beach time that has a slower pace. Culver City also has trendy restaurants and exciting shopping and nightlife.

7. Downtown Los Angeles

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  • Perfect for:‌ History buffs, as well as arts, culture, and sports enthusiasts
  • Highlights of Downtown Los Angeles:
    • Walkability
    • Public transportation
    • Abundance of restaurants, hotels and entertainment

‌How to Get to Downtown Los Angeles‌

It’s about a 45-minute drive from LAX to downtown LA. Get on I-105 E from CA-1 S/S and follow the 105 E to W 116th Pl in West Athens. Then take exit 7A from I-105 East onto the 110 North.

Continue on I-110 N to 4th Street and take the 4th St/9th St/3rd St/6th St exit from CA-110 to arrive in downtown LA.

‌Things to Do in Downtown Los Angeles‌

Music lovers will rejoice at the opportunity to spend time at the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, just one of many iconic theaters in the city. Downtown L.A.'s South Park neighborhood is where L.A. Live is located, home to Arena and L.A. Live, Microsoft Square, and the L.A. Convention Center.

At Grand Central Market in the Bunker Hill neighborhood, order one of everything from local vendors at this beloved food hall. Or embark on a Historic Downtown Walking Tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy and learn more about this neighborhood’s rich history including its architecture and landmarks dating back centuries.

‌Where to Stay in Downtown Los Angeles‌

This modern Airbnb studio in the heart of downtown LA can host two people in a homey, welcoming environment close to all the fun of this buzzy downtown district.

Airbnb studio Los Angeles Book Now

If you want somewhere historic, stay at The Biltmore, which has served as a filming venue for countless movies and TV shows like "Mad Men." Luxury lovers will relish in a visit to the Conrad Los Angeles, which is an extremely upscale, new hotel in the heart of downtown across the street from the concert hall, boasting multiple restaurants and one of LA’s best spas.

The Biltmore Book Now

8. Koreatown

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  • Perfect for:‌ Culinary enthusiasts and those who prefer a walkable neighborhood
  • Highlights of Koreatown:
    • Awesome Korean barbecue food
    • Very walkable
    • Plenty of culture

‌How to Get to Koreatown‌

Get on I-105 E from CA-1 S/S Sepulveda Blvd and continue on I-105 E. Take I-110 N to S Normandie Ave. Take the Normandie Ave exit from I-10 W/Santa Monica Fwy. Then continue on S Normandie Ave to Irolo St.

‌Things to Do in Koreatown‌

Koreatown is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles. This district offers multiple bars and a spirited nightlife scene. Visit one of the many Korean BBQ restaurants that feature tabletop grills, belt out some tunes at a karaoke joints, check out some trendy speakeasies, or catch a show at the iconic Wiltern Theatre.

“K-town,” as the locals refer to it, is densely populated and easily walkable. There is a mix of traditional spas and specialty grocery stores to explore as well.

‌Where to Stay in Koreatown‌

This lovely, luxurious Koreatown unit offers guests a comfy spot to spend the night in a central location, with a rooftop featuring scenic views.

Airnb lovely, luxurious Koreatown unit Koreatown Book Now

Stay at The LINE L.A. which is known for its trendy atmosphere, picture perfect greenhouse style restaurant and mid-century architecture.

The LINE L.A. Koreatown Book Now

9. Redondo Beach

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  • Perfect for:‌ Surfers, beach lovers, and those just looking for low-key surfer vibes
  • Highlights of Redondo Beach
    • Plenty of tasty restaurants within walking distance
    • Welcoming, laid-back surfer attitude throughout the city
    • Friendly, happy locals

‌How to Get to Redondo Beach‌

It's about a 20-minute drive to get to Redondo Beach from LAX. Turn right toward CA-1 South and use any lane to merge onto CA-1 South via the ramp to I-105. Then continue to follow CA-1 South. This will take you to Redondo Beach.

‌Things to Do in Redondo Beach‌

Redondo Beach sits in the South Bay region of Los Angeles and is known as a laid-back surfer town with a pier, a buzzy harbor, and plenty of restaurants and entertainment opportunities.

‌Where to Stay in Redondo Beach‌

This “Little Pink House” Airbnb is an iconic beach cottage built in 1909 (which has since been modernized and remodeled!) offering guests a cozy, welcoming home base with all the comforts of home, including a large backyard with a lighted pergola and ample space for California style al fresco dining.

Airbnb “Little Pink House” Book Now

Stay at The Portofino Hotel & Marina, which is close to everything and even has its own marina by the iconic Hermosa Beach Strand.

The Portofino Hotel & Marina Redondo Beach Book Now

10. Culver City

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  • Perfect for:‌ Foodies and history buffs
  • Highlights of Culver City:
    • Easily walkable access to restaurants along the main street
    • Trendy and historic hotels
    • Film tours of Sony Pictures

‌How to Get to Culver City‌

Get on I-105 E from CA-1 S/S Sepulveda Blvd, then take I-405 N to Culver Blvd in Culver City. Take exit 51 from I-405 N and arrive in Culver City.

‌Things to Do in Culver City‌

Culver City offers many trendy spots to hang out on your weekend getaway in Los Angeles, including the new development, Ivy Station, which is home to the local brewery LA Ale Works. Down the street, visit the shopping complex, Platform LA, with its trendy restaurant Margot, serving up delicious rooftop cocktails amidst a collection of cozy fire pits.

Check out Citizen Public Market, which is a collection of hip new restaurants in a historic 1929 building with beautiful architecture.

‌Where to Stay in Culver City‌

This trendy, new, one-bedroom Airbnb modern townhouse in Culver City is located close to downtown, boasts upscale amenities like a fancy steam shower, and is within walking distance to Culver City’s best attractions.

Airbnb trendy, new, one-bedroom modern townhouse Book Now

Stay at the district’s most innovative hotel, The Shay, which just debuted recently and serves as a great spot for settling down and relaxing, while also being in the heart of all Culver City’s action. Here, you’ll also find an awesome on-site restaurant called Etta.

The Shay Book Now

As you can see from the list above, there is no shortage of answers to the question of what to do in Los Angeles for a weekend. Whether you focus on the star-studded, chic environs of Beverly Hills or the laid-back surfer vibe of Redondo Beach, there are numerous reasons to start planning a Los Angeles weekend trip!