Things to Do in Los Angeles: Before or After Your Cruise

You’ve booked a cruise departing from Los Angeles and are dreaming of your upcoming vacation in Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska or the Panama Canal. Your imagination is filled with thoughts of such adventures as horseback riding along the coast of Ensenada, dog sledding across a glacier or snorkeling the coral reefs off Kona.

In all the anticipation it can be easy to forget about one of the key destinations in your itinerary — Los Angeles. The sprawling, sunny Southern California city and its surroundings offer plenty of incredible sights to see and adventures to pursue, so allow an extra day or two – or more – before or after your cruise to explore LA.

Keep it Local in Long Beach

Los Angeles’ cruise ship terminal is located in Long Beach, the second-largest city in the county. Right next door to the terminal is the Queen Mary, the city’s most famous tourist attraction. When she was first launched in 1936, the ocean liner was considered the most luxurious in the world, and a tour off its pristinely preserved ballroom, cocktail bars, swimming pools and spacious decks is a fitting way to start or finish your own modern day cruise. Long Beach also offers a top-notch aquarium and over five miles of beaches.

shoreline village in long beach, ca

Explore L.A.’s Other Beach Cities

LA’s string of beach cities fulfill picture postcard fantasies of California, with wide stretches of golden sand, year-round sunshine, surfers riding Pacific waves and locals and tourists alike soaking it all in. Travel north from Long Beach to Redondo Beach to stroll its iconic pier, watch or join the surfers or lie out on the sand. A little further up the coast is Venice Beach, an eclectic enclave known for the chic boutiques and restaurants off Abbot Kinney Boulevard and a beachfront boardwalk where the people-watching cannot be matched. Take a stroll or bike ride, see the sun-soaked bodybuilders at Muscle Beach and pick up a pair of cheap sunglasses ready for your cruise. In Santa Monica, you can shop or dine along the bustling Third Street Promenade and feel like a kid again at the arcades and Ferris wheel on the pier.

venice beach at sunset

See L.A.’s Iconic Sights

You can’t visit the “Entertainment Capital of the World” without experiencing a little of Hollywood’s magic. The hand and footprints embedded on Hollywood Boulevard immortalize the most beloved figures in movie history, while more than 2,400 embedded stars comprising the Hollywood Walk of Fame honor the greats of the entire entertainment industry. You can see where today’s celebrities live with a tour of Hollywood stars’ homes, or hike in their backyard on the steep, scenic trails of Runyon Canyon. Hiking trails are also among the enticements of Griffith Park, the site of the world-famous Hollywood Sign and one of the largest urban parks in the nation. The park is also home to a zoo, a historic observatory and a number of museums. More world-class museums await along Museum Row, a section of the Miracle Mile in Mid-Wilshire. If a day of shopping appeals to you, perhaps you’ll be drawn to the elite boutiques along Rodeo Drive, or to farmer’s markets and all manner of malls found throughout the city.

a busy Hollywood boulevard at sunset

sunset view of Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood sign

Sample the SoCal Food Scene

Los Angeles’ exceptionally diverse population has resulted in a food scene that takes your taste buds around the world.┬áMexican food is naturally well-represented in every corner of the city, with streetside taco trucks and lesser-known regional specialties as mouthwatering as the menu of any fancy restaurant. Korean cuisine has also risen to the status of an LA icon, and you’ll find the best and most diverse options in Koreatown, located just west of Downtown LA. Other eateries with a prolific LA presence include Vietnamese pho spots, hidden strip mall sushi gems and nostalgic delis and diners, including the original home of the French dip sandwich.

street tacos in los angeles

Los Angeles Logistics

Los Angeles is in the Pacific Time Zone. Its climate is generally hot and dry, with average summer temperatures ranging from 66 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit and winter temperatures averaging 48 to 68 degrees. Expect occasional rain in winter, and almost certainly dry days in any other season. Along the coast, including in Long Beach, temperatures tend to be cooler than those inland, and mornings are often characterized by cloud cover. Know that the Southern California sun remains deceptively powerful behind the clouds, so sunscreen and a hat are almost always a must.

palm trees at santa monica beach

Getting around the wider Los Angeles region using public transportation (LA Metro bus and rail services, plus numerous local networks) is possible but quite time-consuming. Rideshare services are a convenient option for shorter journeys, but renting a car is the most convenient choice for most visitors. Prepare for slow-moving traffic at all times of the day throughout the region, but especially along major freeways during morning and afternoon rush hours.

When it comes to exploring Long Beach you have more options. With its waterfront neighborhoods and marinas, Long Beach has been voted one of the “Most Walkable Cities” in the United States. It also features a free downtown shuttle, and in summer you can catch one of two water taxis — the AquaBus and AquaLink.

So when you’re planning your cruise vacation from Los Angeles, be sure to take advantage of all the adventure around the city while you’re still in port. Speaking of taking advantage, in celebration of Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Panorama, sailing from Long Beach in December 2019, Carnival is having a CHOOSE FUN sweepstakes for a chance to win a cruise for 2 among other really fun prizes.

Don’t miss this opportunity because it won’t last long! Register today.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.