By Chloe Mulliner, on August 21, 2015

Soak up Los Angeles in just one day

One man’s long layover in Los Angeles is another man’s adventure. When you find yourself with 24 hours to spare before your connecting flight, don’t even think about cozying up in the airport lounge. We’ve got a better idea—hail a cab and take on the “City of Angels” in between flights.

The good news is you won’t have to explore too far once you’ve booked your flights to Los Angeles. LAX is less than 15 miles away from major hot spots like Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Griffith Park, making it easy to get a taste of Los Angeles in a day.

Getting around town

Time’s a wasting! Once you deplane, head straight for the curbside on the Lower/Arrival Level to flag down a taxi. Although the airport does offer free shuttles to the Metro Bus Center, which connects to city buses, a cab ride will get you to your destination quicker. You can also rent a car in Los Angeles ahead of time and pick it up at the terminal’s rental counter.

Don’t underestimate the traffic jams in this city. Because Los Angeles is notorious for its grid-locked highways at any hour, we suggest giving yourself some wiggle room to ensure you make it back in time for your connecting flight. 

Where to go in Los Angeles

Chances are it’s 70 F and sunny, so get out there and soak up some rays. A day in LA must include a visit to one of the many beaches along the coast—from Venice Beach to Santa Monica—so pick your poison.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Sandra Gilliom/Via/

Venice Beach is like a circus scene, where you’ll find freakish sideshow acts, eccentric buskers, and jacked bodybuilders spanning the boardwalk. Get past the whimsical fortune tellers and juggling acts though, and Venice Beach is an inviting strip of shoreline overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Walk across the pier for an up-close look at the surfers carving the waves, or simply plop down underneath a palm tree and relax with a view of the coast.


Just north of Venice Beach is Santa Monica, another seaside spot. Though not as peculiar as Venice Beach, this stretch of shoreline serves up some kitschy attractions of its own. Seashell shops, seafood shacks, and amusement rides line the wooden stretch that juts out over the ocean. Still doing good on time? Mosey away from the pier and take a swing on the beachfront jungle gym, which was the original Muscle Beach, or join a pick-up game of volleyball on the sand courts. 

While the beach vibes epitomize LA, we understand if you don’t want to get sand in your carry-on bag. Instead of spending your Los Angeles day trip at the seaside, check out some of the other attractions around town, such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Griffith Observatory. The concert hall, which was gifted to the city by the famous animator’s widow, is the home base for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Listen to a little Beethoven, or take a tour of the building’s extraordinary architecture. As for the Observatory, it’s a massive facility in Griffith Park. It features a planetarium, exhibit hall, and outdoor decks that boast views of the Hollywood sign and Downtown LA.

During your next layover at LAX, don’t let a time crunch prevent you from seeing the sights in “La La Land.” Relish every second you have between deplaning and boarding your next flight. If you’re lucky enough to have more than 24 hours in the city, book one of the best Los Angeles hotels and let the good times roll.

What sights would you see if you only had 24 hours in LA?

Viewfinder Tip: The city gets congested, so consider riding the Metro Rail to avoid traffic.