There’s no place that screams “Instaworthy” like Los Angeles, California. LA is ground zero for prominent influencers with plenty of experiences that exist almost solely “for the ‘gram”. It’s iconic for a reason, LA’s sprawling metropolis has tons of parks and land set aside for the public. You don’t have to drop $10 million on a home in the hills to get sweeping views of the skyline, Pacific Ocean, or mountain backdrop. Here are the best spots to soak up the sun and make it look like you made it.
Griffith Observatory looks south over the Hollywood Hills with the downtown skyline behind. On a clear enough day (try the winter or just after a rainstorm), you can see all the way to the Pacific. You can drive right up, but the observatory is always jam-packed. Try parking down below and walking the half-mile up. It’s an invigorating hike and you’ll get more time to take in the views. If smaller crowds are your thing and you don’t mind a small hike, try the Griffith Park Helipad a few miles east. You’ll get a view of downtown AND the observatory while making it seem like you’re the only one there.
Driving through Topanga Canyon will make you feel like LA is hours away. In bad enough traffic, it can be, but most of the time it’s only about 30-40 minutes away. The scenic (but harrowing) drive through Topanga winds through piney forests and artsy communities filled with coffee shops, adorable restaurants, and the occasional bonsai stand. The drive to the overlook isn’t far, but the views over the San Fernando valley are incredible and instantly gratifying. This is a good one if you’re traveling with a family or someone who’s not much of a hiker.
The Getty Center is a breathtaking and totally free museum just off the 405 in northwest LA. ‘Museum’ here is an understatement. The Getty is an art museum, an architectural wonder, and a monumental garden all-in-one. You could probably spend an entire week here just taking Instagram photos (though who wants to be that person). The Getty is understandably popular, and everyone that visits goes ga-ga over the art, views, architecture, and variety of lush gardens that decorate the grounds.
First things first, it’s “Ill-leez-shin”. Now that’s settled, this cool LA mainstay is nestled on the eastside near Echo Park and Dodger Stadium. Inside the park is Angel’s Point, or “The Secret Swing” with a single, seemingly well-secured seat that swings out over the surrounding neighborhood. The view is prett-ay good and definitely worth the trip, but be prepared to wait or share it with others. Anything called “Secret” in LA is generally known about by everyone. Especially if it’s been posted to Instagram (it has).
Contrary to what pictures, adventurous YouTubers, and popular culture would have you believe, you can’t actually get that close to the Hollywood sign (legally). But, since it’s meant to be seen from just about anywhere in west LA, it’s big enough that you don’t need to. There are multiple spots where you can get a good picture, but the most well-known is at Lake Hollywood Park. This park is laughably small, especially given how iconic the Hollywood sign is. It’s best to park far down the hill and walk up, or try to visit early on a Sunday or Monday morning.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for beach pics, try driving north along highway 1 up to just south of the LA/Ventura county line. There’s a handful of state and county beaches that are worth multiple posts alone.
There’s no point in going to LA if you aren’t going to brag about it at least a little on Insta. All these spots are sure to light up your notifications, especially if you do your research, time it right, and are patient. Also, remember to experience where you’re at. Pictures just can’t do all these spots justice. And when you do, make sure you have a car from Avail to take you there.
Car rental is a must for anyone visiting southern California. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car in Los Angeles.
While you can get around some major cities without a rental car you’ll definitely want one while in Austin.