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Got Only 24 Hours in LA? Here’s What to Do to Maximize Your Los Angeles Layover

After visiting Cleveland for two weeks for my best friend’s wedding, I found myself with 24 hours in LA. Actually, I was on the way home to the Philippines and had this memorable layover.

Going home meant I had to fly from Cleveland to Los Angeles and then to Cebu. As such, I had a 24-hour stop in LA, a perfect opportunity to see a bit of California.

This is a rundown of the things I did and places visited during this short time. Hopefully, it can help you plan your own 24-hour itinerary in the City of Angels.

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Only 24 Hours in LA? Is It Worth Exploring?

If you find yourself on a 24-hour layover in Los Angeles, you might think that this is such a short period. You might just be tempted to stay at the airport or in your hotel to while away the time.

That is such a waste though because LA has so many things to offer the traveler. Yes, you cannot see everything in just one day and one night. But there are still some great places to visit in the area for a memorable 24 hours in LA.

my friends and I enjoying 24 hours in LA
Got only 24 hours in LA by my friends made sure I make the most of it! Thank you!

Hamburger and History at In-N-Out

My plane from Cleveland landed at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) at around 8 PM. Thankfully, I had a friend in the city who kindly picked me up at the airport. She offered her place for me to stay the night.

I hopped into Victoria’s car and readily agreed to her suggestion to explore. So, we visited a few famous landmarks in the area before heading to her apartment.

Since I was hungry, food was definitely the first thing that came to mind. Luckily, there was an In-N-Out hamburger joint just outside LAX. We promptly headed there. I did not know it at that time, but I got myself a double treat. A tasty burger and a piece of California history!

ate a burger in LA at In-N-Out
My first In-N-Out experience ^_~

It turned out that In-N-Out has a long history and is the first drive-thru hamburger stand in California. It opened in 1948 and by 2015, they had 300 stores in various parts of the US. Operating for 70+ years now, they are definitely an established name in the burger industry.

As I said, I was hungry. So I ordered the Double-Double burger. Yum! To really get that local experience, Victoria asked me to do the ordering. I went ahead and did that. The process was similar to ordering at a Jollibee here in the Philippines, except that you get to fill your own drink cup.

Digging into my In-N-Out Double Double burger

You pay for food and drinks at the counter and you’re given a priority number. While waiting for the food, you go get your drink from the dispenser. The drink cup is huge by the way. In fact, most food and drink serving sizes in America are huge compared to Philippine servings.

Griffith Observatory – Viewing the City Lights

Arriving in the evening meant a lighted up Los Angeles. And where best to get a great view of the city lights and beautiful nightscape than at the Griffith Observatory?!

Griffith Observatory at night

The Griffith Observatory is considered “Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos.” There are telescopes there for you to view the stars. Regular art and celestial-related exhibits are held there as well.

Most importantly, the observatory is located on top of a hill. This gives you access to gorgeous views of Los Angeles day and night.

Los Angeles nightscape view from the Griffith Observatory
beautiful Los Angeles nightscape view from the Griffith Observatory

Admission to the building and grounds: FREE

Opening Hours:

  • Tuesday – Friday – 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – Sunday – 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Monday – Closed

More Lights at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

To cap off the night, Victoria drove us to LACMA or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This place is really famous for its Urban Light exhibit. That is an assemblage sculpture of 202 street lamps arranged in a grid.

The Urban Light streetlamps exhibit at the LACMA entrance

Of course, since it was evening, each one of those lamps was lighted up! We arrived there at around 10 PM and there were still many people taking photos of the lamps. I joined in, naturally. 😀

There is more to LACMA than the collection of street lamps at its entrance, though. As an art museum, it has art exhibits and shows. There’s also a cafe and a restaurant there. You can find the details of the museum’s hours and current ticket prices here.

I was feeling tired at this point so we didn’t check out the galleries and other parts of the museum anymore. I did find a nice street art across the street and was happy about that.

street art across the street from LACMA
I enjoy street art and I often take the opportunity to admire them wherever I travel.

After that, we headed to Victoria’s apartment and I got myself a good night’s rest. Thanks so much, Vic, for letting me stay the night!

Walk Around Hollywood

The next day, Victoria and I met another friend of mine (Lenz) for lunch. Side note: I am so blessed by the Universe to have had friends in the city who were willing to tour me around and spend time with me.

Lenz, Victoria, and I caught up over Korean barbecue. You can easily replace this part with another food trip in the city.

lunch with a friend in LA

After lunch, we headed to Hollywood. The area is probably the most famous landmark associated with Los Angeles.

If you only have 24 hours in LA, then this area is a must-visit. As you may know already, Hollywood is home of the stars. Huge movie and TV personalities who can make hundreds of people swoon frequent this part of the city.

taking a photo with the Hollywood sign in the background

Unfortunately, I didn’t meet any Hollywood star during my visit. But it was still great to walk around the area and take photos with the Hollywood sign in the backdrop.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

If you cannot meet with Hollywood stars face to face while in LA, the next best thing is to walk through the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

at the Hollywood Walk of Fame

It is laid out along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and serves as an exhibit or memorabilia of famous movie stars.

There you’ll see more than 2,600 five-pointed stars and embedded in them are the names of well-known actors, actresses, directors, musicians, etc.

some of my favorite stars at the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Another fun thing you’ll enjoy at the Walk of Fame are cosplayers dressing up as famous movie characters. I saw people in Spiderman, Ironman, and Superman costumes. And the kids and adults flock to them for photos.

Note that gratuities or tips are expected if you have your picture taken with these cosplayers.

Ironman cosplayer and a cop
Not sure what’s going on here but I found it interesting anymore so took a photo

Goodbye Icecream at Wanderlust Creamery

As a poetic end to this LA stopover, Victoria took us to Wanderlust Creamery for some goodbye ice cream. My flight back to the Philippines was that night and so we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying a sweet treat and chatting with each other.

Wanderlust Creamery is all about ice cream flavors that are inspired by feelings of wanderlust and fond memories.

I was really happy that Victoria took us there because as someone who loves travel, enjoying ice cream at a shop inspired by traveling is just fantastic!

travel-inspired ice cream at Wanderlust Creamery

This is definitely a great addition to your 24 hours in LA itinerary. But, if you’re not into ice cream, I’d suggest visiting a local diner or spending more time in the Hollywood area.

It was a delight choosing among delicious and interesting flavors like Apple Wasabi Sorbet, Yuzu Cheesecake, Salted Maple Taffy Quebecois, Rosemary Butterscotch, and more!

interesting flavors at Wanderlust Creamery

This artisanal ice cream shop has four branches and you can find the addresses here.

Wonderful 24 Hours in LA Experience

I definitely had a wonderful time exploring Los Angeles even though I only had one night and one day in the city.

Thank you so much to my lovely friends, Victoria and Lenz, for taking the time to meet with me. It was so much fun hanging out with you ladies and I am super grateful from the bottom of my heart!

with my friends in LA

So there you have it. 24 hours in LA may not seem much but you can still visit a few great landmarks and enjoy yourself.

Let me know about your LA experience down in the comments. What did you enjoy most about the city?

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