Los Angeles is probably one of the most intimidating cities in the US. This sprawling, Californian city is full of cars, cultural institutions and celebs, but when it comes to having a fun trip to LA, most people don’t know where to start. Our suggestion? It all depends on what type of holiday you’re after. If it’s a scenic drive, a beach-side holiday or a Mickey Mouse-themed adventure, then you’re sorted. But sometimes you just want to get completely outside your comfort zone – and for those times, we have some fun suggestions.
5 unusual things to do in LA
If you’re seeking some spiritual grounding in the midst of this somewhat vapid playground, Loews Hollywood Hotel offers exclusive yoga classes on their rooftop helipad thanks to Ella Yoga. Taking place at both sunrise and sunset, this sun-drenched workout lets you flow beside LA’s epic skyline. If you can tear your eyes away from the panoramic view (the coolest of which is a direct shot towards the Hollywood sign), the relaxing vinyasa class is the perfect pick-me-up post-flight.
Sure it was in New York first, but Eataly officially touched town in Los Angeles in late 2017, and it’s never looked better. This three-storey eating hall is located in the Westfield Century City mall and boasts three restaurants, a seafood counter, a butchery, an Italian-goods grocery, a bread bakery, a cooking school and multiple food stalls – including a desserterie that does authentic tiramisu, Venchi chocolates and strong espressos.
One of the best things about this Hollywood Hills fixture is that very little has changed over the decades. The hotel still attracts its fair share of Hollywood celebrities, but it still promises all guests absolute discretion (read: no photos are allowed anywhere in the building). As the main draw for Joe Blow is the celeb spotting, do your best to play it cool. Act like you belong by ordering late-night drinks and a meal at the dimly lit restaurant, and do your best to hide your wandering eyes. Oh, and don’t be alarmed if you hear the sounds of partying not too far off. There’s a certain what-happens-in-the-Chateau-stays-in-the-Chateau ethos around here when it comes to celebrity parties. Man, if these walls could talk!
Accio feels! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the much-lauded theme park based on the boy wizard book and movie series, arrived at Universal Studios in 2016 and if you haven’t been yet, it's a must-do for Harry Potter fans. This landmark attraction offers enchantment for fans of all ages, with a mixture of shops and restaurants to explore (including Ollivander’s, Honeydukes and the Three Broomsticks) and two rides. The one to look out for is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts Castle. You can fly through the castle grounds – via a cleverly disguised robotic arm that whisks you through tangible scenes and projection domes – and encounter everything from a dragon to Dementors.
Located in a revitalised pocket just off Hollywood Boulevard, Dream Hollywood is as Hollywood as it gets. There’s an Insta-friendly mural by a local graffiti artist, a 24-hour Gunnar Peterson-designed fitness centre and an epic, 500-person capacity rooftop pool and lounge that not only boasts stellar views of the LA skyline, but the pool can also convert into a dance floor courtesy of a swift hydraulic lift. Rooms in this 10-storey tower feature swish amenities and a few free items in the minibar. But it’s all about the location: Dream sits amidst a host of hot restaurants, bars and boutiques, so it’s really the ultimate Hollywood venue for those striving to see and be seen.
How to get there
Fly the Qantas Dreamliner
Qantas’s new Dreamliner plane, which is capable of flying direct from Perth to London, will be covering the Melbourne-Los Angeles route as well. This plane was designed for long-haul flying, with the team at Qantas working alongside sleep specialists at the University of Sydney to see how adjustments to things like air quality, in-flight service and window shades could improve the wellbeing of flyers. And while you’ll still be tired after 14 hours in a carbon fibre box, the Dreamliner’s small adjustments might make you not feel like an old, soggy sandwich.
There’s fewer seats overall, so there's a little bit more room in economy (about 2.5cm more per seat, for instance). Boeing has installed ride-dampening technology, which makes turbulence feel less like being shaken and more like being rocked asleep, and the windows are 65 per cent larger and feature electronic dimming. It’s a nice touch.