Traveling to California and only have one day in Los Angeles? Looking for just that perfect combination of must-see attractions to really make your trip shine?
We’ve put together a sample one day in Los Angeles itinerary to help you make your travel plans, so you don’t need to worry about what to go and where to see with so little time on your hands.
This one day itinerary includes:
- Sony Pictures Studio Tour
- Hop-on Hop-off Los Angeles Tour
- Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
- 3rd Street Promenade (free!)
- Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier
Save on Attraction Admission
Visit these top attractions and save up to 50% off vs. paying at the gate with a Go Los Angeles® Card.
Remember, this one-day itinerary is just one of many ways to experience Los Angeles.
The Go Los Angeles® Card gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.
Stop #1: Sony Pictures Studio Tour
This informative two-hour tour is a great introduction to the behind-the-scenes world of Hollywood movie magic.
See where iconic films such as The Wizard of Oz and the Spiderman franchise have been filmed, in addition to popular game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
You’ll also get to visit a famous sound stage and see where the Academy Awards are held each year. Best part? Sony Pictures Studio is a working studio, so you never know who you may run into!
If you’re starting your day with this attraction, plan to take the 9:30 tour.
Before you visit, check out our post on some of the best Los Angeles studio tours for help choosing which one(s) to see.
Getting In: Sony Pictures Studio Tour tickets are included on the Go Los Angeles Card. Reservations are highly recommended for this tour; remember to call in advance and mention that you are a Go Los Angeles® Card holder.
Stop #2: Hop-on Hop-off Los Angeles Bus Tour
If you’ve only got one day in L.A., then a tour is an excellent way to see a full overview of the city without getting bogged down in the details.
Starline Tours offers a hop-on hop-off option that gives you the flexibility to explore where you’d like, or just sit back and enjoy the narration. The entire route takes about two hours to ride straight through, so that might be your smartest bet if you want to fit the most into your one day.
Some of the top attractions and sites you’ll see on your ride include Rodeo Drive, 3rd Street Promenade, Fox Studios, and many more.
The tour departs from and returns to the Santa Monica Pier, so you’re right in the neighborhood for your next attractions, too.
Getting In: Hop-on Hop-off Los Angeles Tour tickets are included on the Go Los Angeles Card
Stop #3: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a must-see attraction in the Los Angeles area for nature and science lovers.
Featuring nearly 100 different species that are all native to Santa Monica Bay, this interactive aquarium has so many fascinating creatures to examine.
From eels and octopi to sharks and sea urchins, they’ve got it all. If you happen to visit on a Sunday, be sure not to miss out on the shark feeding and an informative presentation at the open-top shark exhibit.
We recommend reserving between 1-2 hours for this attraction. It’s only open in the afternoon, so post lunch is the perfect time to visit.
Getting In: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium tickets are included on the Go Los Angeles Card.
Stop #4: 3rd Street Promenade (free!)
This downtown Santa Monica destination is a must-see for visitors to the Los Angeles area. This is really the heart of downtown, filled with all the best shops, restaurants, and more.
You can just stroll about, window shop, and people watch, or spend a bit of cash on that perfect souvenir.
We recommend reserving about an hour to explore this neighborhood, perhaps more if you’re really interested in some shopping or drinks.
Stop #5: Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier
This amusement park is conveniently located right on the Santa Monica Pier, so it’s the perfect end to your day in Santa Monica.
Opened in 1916, this historic park is filled with classic rides and modern thrills. Take a spin on the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, whip around the iconic West Coaster–the only West Coast ocean front steel roller coaster–bounce around on Inkie’s Wave Jumper, surf simulation ride, drop 9 stories on the Pacific Plunge, and more.
They even have a bunch of arcade games for you to enjoy, from the classic “Wac-a-Mole” to the “Riptide Ring Toss.” It’s great fun for kids and adults alike. These arcade games do require additional costs.
In order to maximize your one day in Los Angeles, just check in to this attraction before 5:30 and then you can stay as long as you’d like until closing!
Getting In: Pacific Park – Santa Monica Pier tickets are included on the Go Los Angeles Card.
So there’s your perfect one day in Los Angeles.
From Hollywood and the silver screen to the natural world and the historical fun of a good old-fashioned theme park, this day is sure to make you smile.
With the Go Los Angeles Card you can save even more on included extras like dining and shopping!