Los Angeles with limited time to explore

Los Angeles with limited time to explore

Recently I went to Los Angeles with my husband to attend a one-day music festival. We took a few extra days to do some exploring.

Equipped with my two-page list of architecture and sites I wanted to photograph, I quickly realized there was no way I was going to see most of my list.

Thankfully, due to the time zone difference, we were up and out early each day. That made it perfect for avoiding crowds in some of the places. It also meant that some of the locations weren’t open yet so we didn’t get to go inside a few of them.

A half-hour at Griffith Observatory

Since 1935, the Griffith Observatory has been open to the public. It’s one of those spots that everyone recommends when they find out you’re going to Los Angeles. 

We got there early and just wandered around enjoying the views. Griffith Park is quite large and surrounds the area of the observatory. It’s a beautiful location overlooking Los Angeles. 

Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory
Downtown LA – 11 image pano
Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory improve

For me, I was off to find some unique architectural perspectives and a few images that a client might use for a project. 

Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory
Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory
Los Angeles
Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory

And of course the tourist shots as well.

Los Angeles - Griffith Observatory

Not quite a half-hour at Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl wasn’t on my list of stops but we passed by the road leading in a few times so we figured why not stop. Luckily it was on a day that it was open to the public. If you’re planning on going I would suggest double-checking to see what days the public is allowed in to look around. 

After being there and seeing this iconic venue, I really want to plan a trip to attend a concert.

Los Angeles - Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles - Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles - Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles - Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles - Hollywood Bowl
Even the bathroom was photogenic

Hollywood Boulevard in 40 minutes or less

This was not on our must-see list, I’ll be honest. We were close though and had some time so figured why not. It’s touristy to the max and definitely not the type of place we typically spend time when we’re traveling. 

But, when in Hollywood. It was interesting and fun to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars and the handprints at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (which is now called the TLC Theater).

Los Angeles - Hollywood Stars
Los Angeles - Hollywood Stars
Los Angeles - Graumans Chinese Theater
Door Details
Los Angeles - Graumans Chinese Theater
Ticket Booth
Los Angeles - Graumans Chinese Theater
Roy Rogers & Trigger
Los Angeles - Graumans Chinese Theater
Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine
Los Angeles - Graumans Chinese Theater
The Avengers
Los Angeles - Graumans Chinese Theater
Details at the Grauman Theater

As always, my eye is drawn to the architecture and there were a few buildings that caught my attention in the short time we were there. 

Los Angeles - Hollywood Blvd Architecture
El Capitan Theater
Los Angeles - Hollywood Blvd Architecture
Hotel Roosevelt
Los Angeles - Hollywood Blvd Architecture
Hotel Roosevelt
Los Angeles - Hollywood Blvd Architecture
The Netflix Building
Los Angeles - Hollywood Blvd Architecture
The Netflix Building

I would imagine that this is a fantastic location for street photography although it may be a bit crowded. Definitely all types of characters and people wandering around though, from tourists to performers and those dressed up in Mickey Mouse and Spiderman costumes.

Two hours at The Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Broad Museum

For me, these were the pièces de résistance. 

I’ve long been a fan of Frank Gehry and his work. The list of places I have to photograph his work is long. Finally, I’ve been able to cross the Walt Disney Concert Hall off my list. Not completely though because I’ll definitely be back. 

Gehry’s designs change with every second the light changes. It is fascinating to see. Having two hours was not nearly enough and like in other places on this trip, we arrived quite early and while I did get to go inside the concert hall in some areas, The Broad was not open yet.

Los Angeles - Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles - Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles - Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles - Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles - Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles - Walt Disney Concert Hall Improve after

The Broad Museum was designed by the architectural firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. It holds its own next to the concert hall and they work well together. This is another place that will offer up many possibilities at different times of day depending on the light. It’s also a great place to practice patience and just wait for the right moment to happen.

Los Angeles - The Broad Museum
The front facade
Along one side
Los Angeles - The Broad Museum
The back of the building reflected

One hour at The Getty Museum Campus

The Getty Museum Campus is a place that one could visit once or twice a month and still feel like they’ve missed something. Because we only had an hour, I focused on the architecture. Yet another location on my list but not nearly enough time. Besides the architecture by Richard Meier, the Getty Museums have incredible exhibits. I wandered through one exhibit of photographer, Imogen Cunningham’s work. And a quick walk-through of the Writing for the Camera exhibit. Those were a definite bonus as quick as it was.

Getty Center Imogen Cunningham
Minor White photographed by Imogen Cunningham
Getty Center Writing for the Camera
Los Angeles - Getty Center
Los Angeles - Getty Center
Los Angeles - Getty Center

Under two hours at Santa Monica Pier

The last stop before the day of the concert. My husband had to put his feet in the ocean so we chose to drive to Santa Monica Pier for lunch. It’s a fun spot but far too touristy for me. We walked by Tongva Park which I think would be interesting to go back to. There are some very interesting architectural sculptures there and the park was designed in partnership with Frederick Fisher & Partners.

We also passed by Chez Jay, which my husband was quick to point out was the local hangout for the main character in the Goliath TV series. It actually has quite a long history.

Santa Monica Beach 2 girls
West Coaster Santa Monica pier
West Coaster
Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel
Pacific Park Ferris Wheel
Santa Monica Chez Jay
Chez Jay
Santa Monica Chez Jay
Chez Jay
Tongva Park sculpture Santa Monica
Tongva Park
Route 66 sign Santa Monica

Using our time the best we could in Los Angeles

Because I had researched some of these locations ahead of time, mostly the architectural sites, I already had some idea of what I could create once I got there. That helped me just get the camera out and start taking photos. So, even though the time was limited in each location I was prepared to make the best of it.

However, I am already planning a return trip, solely for photography. If you’re in the area and interested in meeting up for a photowalk let us know in the comments. It is my plan to get a group together next time I’m there.

If you’d like to see a few more images from this trip check out my last few Instagram series of posts.

Leave a Reply