20 Places to Stay Away From in Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles in Southern California is the ultimate concrete jungle. With a population of some 4 million people who flock to L.A. for the weather, work, and entertainment, L.A. is an incredible American city. That said, as with every major cosmopolitan place, it is important to know where to go and where not to go. Evading neighborhoods that you should not be in, or areas to beware of, is one part of traveling safely.

Additionally, keeping out of soulless tourist destinations that are overpriced and under inspiring, is another element to be mindful of. Whether you’re concerned about safety, or simply want to avoid tourist traps, this list of places to stay away from in Los Angeles will help you navigate the many aspects of this major megalopolis. Read on to increase your knowledge of the nuances of L.A.’s social topography, with these places to stay away from in Los Angeles.

Places to Stay Away From in Los Angeles, California

See Also: Best things to do in Los Angeles

 

Dangerous Areas to Avoid

 

1) Fashion District

A hub for all-things textiles, the Fashion District is 90 blocks of shopping. However, it is easy to see why this is also a prime place for crime; where people have expendable incomes to spend on clothing, they also probably have money. If you’re a person who needs a little retail therapy to feel satiated on vacation, try an alternative shopping area such as The Grove, a beautiful outdoor shopping space with high-end fashion retailers.

Phone: +1 213.488.1153
Address: 818 S. Broadway St. #801 Los Angeles, CA 90014
Website: www.fashiondistrict.org

 

2) Skid Row/Wholesale District

Skid row is a place that probably isn’t on most tourist’s list of must-sees. This area is known for wholesale fishmongers and other produce-sellers. However, it is also a very dangerous area of Los Angeles with a high homeless population that is attracted to the area due to many shelters. Though in recent years many hipsters have flocked to the Skid Row/Wholesale District, it is still not advisable to head to Skid Row unless you have a local who is street-savvy and is aware of the nuances of the area.

Phone: N/A
Address: 3rd to 7th streets, and Los Angeles to Alameda streets — eastward to Los Angeles Street
Website:www.dornsife.usc.edu

 

3) Watts

Watts should be avoided solely for the reason that this is gang territory. A long rival between Crips and Bloods makes this a precarious area. Gunshots, due to this gang activity, are not unheard of. Surely, most crime in the Watts area is between gang members, however, why take the risk? A former hot-bed for the Black Panther Movement, it is a historic neighborhood in L.A. However, it is advised to stay out of Watts if you have no business in Watts, which is the case for most L.A. tourists.

Phone: +1 323.564.0260
Address: 1703 Santa Ana Blvd North Los Angeles, CA 90002
Website: www.wattsnc.org

 

4) Downtown

Downtown may be less dangerous than the aforementioned areas, however, because it is a high-drug area, it is advised to avoid Downtown L.A. or at least be alert when traveling through this area. A visit during the day is drastically different than being Downtown at the nighttime hours. And with good safety precautions, such as checking your surroundings, and being careful when getting in and out of your car, you should be okay.

Phone:+1 213.624.2146
Address: 600 Wilshire Blvd., STE 870, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Website: www.downtownla.com

 

5) Boyle Heights

The chances of being a victim of crime while in Boyle Heights are 12% above the national average, or 1 out of 35 chances. So, it certainly is a neighborhood to be careful if traveling to. A majority of the crimes are auto theft, which is only somewhat comforting as these heists frequently entail holding up a victim at gunpoint. Though this area is historically a melting pot of Mexican, Russians, and Japanese, and Armenians, the charming backstory may not be enough to lure you to the risky Boyle Heights.

Phone: N/A
Address: It is located east of Downtown LA
Website: www.discoverlosangeles.com

 

6) South Park

Neighboring the Financial and Fashion District, South Park consistently comes in as one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in L.A. This area is slowly being gentrified, which is bad for residents of South Park who will get outpriced, yet good for crime reduction. However, like many of these other neighborhoods listed, it may not be a top choice for visiting while in L.A. anyway. Storefronts are often barred on the windows and an industrial feeling overarches the ambiance of South Park.

Phone: +1 213.663.1111
Address: 1150-B S Hope St Los Angeles, CA 90015
Website: www.southpark.la

 

7)  Hyde Park

Hyde Park is in the southern part of L.A. and was once a city of its own before consolidating into the mega-city L.A. now is in 1923. With an overall crime rate being 75% higher in Hyde Park than other areas of the United States, it’s an easy choice to stay out of Hyde Park while in L.A. Though the neighborhood is easy to access LAX (L.A.’s international airport) from, the risk might outweigh the convenience in this case.

Phone: N/A
Address: The city of Hyde Park was bordered by 60th Street on the north, Van Ness (now 8th Avenue) on the east, Florence Avenue on the south, and West Boulevard on the west.
Website: www.urbanize.la

 

8) Chinatown

Chinatown takes the cake when it comes to astounding statistics. A whopping overall crime rate of 131% above the national average, Chinatown is off the charts. For every 100,000 people, 16.3 crimes occur daily; no small feat. That said, Chinatown offers many reasons to visit, such as restaurants, interesting stores, and an iconic Bruce Lee statue to check out. So, although the crime rates are quite impressive, if you do choose to Chinatown for the previous reasons, be alert and go in the day.

Phone: N/A
Address: Los Angeles Chinatown – Central Plaza 943-951 N. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012
Website: www.chinatownla.com

 

9) Exposition Park 

You very well may have good reason to head to Exposition Park, as it is home to L.A.’s museum campus and is an incredible expanse of 160 acres of urban green space. Truth be told, you should continue with your plans to Exposition Park, being mindful of the park’s periphery, where more crime occurs. Travel by day, with friends or others, to navigate this potentially-risky part of L.A.

Phone: +1 213.744.2294
Address: 700 Exposition Park Drive  Los Angeles, CA 90037
Website: www.expositionpark.ca.gov

 

10) Crenshaw

Crenshaw has an interesting demographic history of being home to many Japanese Americans after WWII, then seeing an influx of blacks in the 1960s which is the predominant demographic today. Perhaps Crenshaw gets some of its reputation from the 1991 film, Boyz n the Hood, depicting a tough South Los Angeles neighborhood. Though some of this portrayal rings true, Crenshaw has seen an uptick in property value and a moderate crime rate for the city’s standards. This equates to being alert and smart when traveling to this neighborhood.

Phone: +1 323.290.6636
Address: 3650 WEST MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BLVD, LOS ANGELES, CA 90008
Website:www.baldwinhillscrenshawplaza.com

 

Tourist Traps to Avoid

 

1) Cinerama Dome

Great for a selfie, but little more, the Cinerama Dome is L.A.’s iconic movie theater. Built as a prototype in the 1960s to be a model of the Cinerama process, it is an important piece of L.A. history. Perhaps it’s not that you shouldn’t travel to Cinerama Dome, just keep your expectations at getting a good picture, then check it off your list. It’s difficult to see an actual movie at Cinerama Dome as only one out of three theaters are operating.

Phone: +1 323.615.2550
Address: 6360 Sunset Boulevard  Hollywood, California 90028
Website: www.arclightcinemas.com

 

2) Dolby Theater

Dolby Theater, which is known for annually hosting the Academy Awards, maybe best left in one’s imagination. Though the theater itself is pretty much as advertised, the surrounding area has a strip-mall vibe that may sour your impression of this otherwise glamorous location. It’s up to you if you’re willing to sacrifice that vision, to be grounded by scenes of every-day American consumerism.

Phone: +1 323.308.6300
Address: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
Website: www.dolbytheatre.com

 

3) Hollywood Walk of Fame

Certainly, there will be some who simply cannot pass up the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Known for the inlaid squares whose names contain famous actors, it is just plain tourist-central. 15 blocks of walking boast more than 2,500 stars; a hefty walk if you have to see all your dream celeb’s names. Maybe this isn’t enough to dissuade you from going, and by all means, then be it.

Phone:  N/A
Address: Lanewood Ave &, N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Website: www.walkoffame.com

 

4) L.A. Live

L.A. Live is an entertainment complex that frequently hosts major headliners for concerts, as well as having the Grammy Museum. Adjacent to the Staples Center and Los Angeles Convention Center, this area certainly gets a fair share of visitors. However, the area can be quite chaotic after a show and has expensive parking. Unless you’ve got your heart set on seeing your favorite musician, or need to check out the Grammy Museum, it’s okay to skip L.A. Live.

Phone: +1 213.763.LIVE (5483)
Address: 800 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90015
Website: www.lalive.com

 

5) Disneyland

Yes, yes, every child in us wants to go to Disneyland. However, have you seen how long those lines are? Or have you heard how expensive the tickets are, let alone anything else you want to buy while in a bubble of so-called magic? If you’re going to go, Google “ways to avoid lines in Disneyland” beforehand. The solution generally equates to paying more money.

Phone: +1 714.520.6222
Address: Disneyland Resort, 1313 Anaheim, California
Website: www.disneyland.disney.go.com

 

6) Pinks Hot Dogs

The hot dogs at Pinks have become famous for their insane toppings, and yes, long waits. Though some people adore these dogs enough to be in line for a half-hour, there are other places to get hot dogs in L.A. Try The Stand, who has multiple locations in the L.A. area and fuses fresh ingredients with their classic dogs.

Phone: +1 323.931.4223
Address: 709 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Website: www.pinkshollywood.com

 

7) Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive does have luxury shopping if that’s your thing. However, the shopping isn’t that comprehensive; it covers a mere three-blocks. And most celebs, unlike the tabloids tell us, aren’t flitting around here. Though it’d be great to bump elbows with George Clooney while getting a latte, he’s most likely at his home in Lake Como, and I don’t blame him.

Phone: N/A
Address: 295 Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Website: www.rodeodrive-bh.com

 

8) Hollywood Sign Hike

The Hollywood Sign hike is either 6.4 miles, 3.5 miles, or 3 miles. That’s all well and good if you love to hike, but if you love to hike you probably would enjoy the plethora of alternative hiking L.A. has at its fingertips even more. Try an in-city hike such as The Charlie Turner Trail to Mount Hollywood just behind the Hollywood Sign hikes. Bask in a 360-degree view of L.A. to get some perspective.

Phone:+1 323.379.2110
Address: Hollywood Sign Trust P.O. Box 48361 Los Angeles, CA 90048-9998
Website: www.hollywoodsign.org

 

9) The Hollywood Wax Museum

Wax museums are strange to me all around, but some people love them. The problem is, they exist at every major city: from Paris to L.A. So, you can bet that they define what it means to be a tourist trap: pricey, meant for the pics alone, and overall an experience that could be had at any tourist city.

Phone: +1 323.462.5991
Address: 6767 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
Website: www.hollywoodwaxentertainment.com

 

10) Venice Beach

Venice Beach is kitschy and somewhat predictable. It has all the street performers and small shops you’d expect, as well as being on the beach. However, Venice Beach can be somewhat unsafe at night, as well as being a sub-par beach. If you’re looking for an alternative, try El Matador State Beach or Santa Monica State Beach.

Phone: N/A
Address: Los Ángeles, CA 90291
Website: www.venicebeach.com

 

Conclusion

Los Angeles is a vibrant city that bubbles over with creative energy. Beautiful weather, the beach, and American cinema all make L.A. unique. However, being safe and smart are important when traveling to L.A. There is no place that you can’t go when in L.A., but crafting an inspiring, non-risky itinerary is probably the wisest when visiting The City of Angels.

20 BEST Things to do in Los Angeles [2022 UPDATED]

So, you are finally planning your vacation to Los Angeles, but the trouble is a quick search of the many things to do in Los Angeles shows you that there are too many things to do in your short visit. It’s not practical to move to Los Angeles to get the full local experience, but rest assured, this list of things to do in Los Angeles will show you all of the fantastic destinations that will make you feel like a local and leave you wanting to come back for more.

Regardless of your traveling preferences, this list will give you the best in sports, theatre, entertainment, natural history, and the arts. When you are taking a break to plan your next destination, this list will give you the best in traveler favorites and local secrets in fine dining including pit-style barbecue, authentic Mexican cuisines, and some of the best burgers in America, including the many vegan and vegetarian options to satisfy every appetite.

See Also:

 

1. The Getty Center

The Getty Center los angeles

At the Getty Center, you will find some of the most unique attractions on the list of things to do in Los Angeles. This location offers a glimpse at some of the most famous European paintings, portraits, and sculptures while also offering scenic views of intricately crafted topiaries. Wrap up the day at the gift shop where you will find one of a kind gifts and explore the many tastes of the in-house restaurant featuring locally sourced ingredients.

Phone: 310-440-7300
Address: 1200 Getty Center Dr, N Sepulveda Blvd & Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1657
Website: www.getty.com

 

2. Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame los angeles

Take a trip down celebrity lane as you explore some of the most influential celebrities who literally left their mark on this destination that attracts tourists from all over the globe. This walk of fame will show you some of the most beloved individuals in show business like Randy Newman, Weird Al Yankovic, Marlon Brando, Celine Dion, and Johnny Carson. 

Phone: 323-469-8311
Address: 6255 Sunset Blvd, Suite 150, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Website: www.walkoffame.com

 

3. Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood los angeles

This next destination on the list of things to do in Los Angeles offers thrills for the whole family. Explore one of the many themed adventure rides at this world-famous park. The whole family will be transported to their favorite worlds filled with their favorite characters. Check out some of the newest attractions like Make Your Way Through Hogsmeade, Transformers the Ride 3-D, and for a more exclusive, hands-on experience, upgrade to the VIP-Experience.

Phone: 800-864-8377
Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 91608-1002
Website: www.universalstudioshollywood.com

 

4. TCL Chinese Theatres

TCL Chinese Theatres los angeles

This famous, historic theatre has shown some of the greatest films of all-time, and now, you can have your own starlit experience as you tour this theatre like an A-lister. Explore the theatre inside and out while you hear some of the best stories and fun facts about the many Hollywood premieres and imprint ceremonies of recent history. When the tour ends, explore the many films this theatre shows daily, including your very own I-MAX event. 

Phone: 323-465-4847
Address: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028-6103
Website: www.tclchinesetheatres.com

 

5. La Brea Tar Pits & Museum

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum los angeles

When visiting a new city, it’s important to take in the local history, and the La Brea Tar Pits is a world-famous attraction that explores the ancient history of Los Angeles. Examine some of the most well-preserved mammal skeletons in the world while your family can watch as new skeletons are unearthed in dormant tar pits. This is one of the highest-ranked things to do in Los Angeles because of its fascinating glimpse at active tar pits featuring life-size mammoths and interactive exhibits. 

 Phone: 213-763-3499
Address:5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036-4539
Website: www.tarpits.com

 

6. In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger los angeles

Try one of the best, hand-pressed burgers in LA with hand-cut fries, and fresh milkshakes. A trip to California would not be complete without trying a double-double with animal fries. This classic burger joint is sure to satisfy every burger connoisseur, and for a real treat, try the Neapolitan milkshake featuring vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice-cream with hand-scooped ice cream.  

Phone: 800-786-1000
Address: 9149 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045-4803
Website: www.in-n-out.com

 

7. Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium los angeles

Get an up-close look at the National League’s Winningest team while exploring the long history of some of the best historical players in the league. This next location on the list of things to do in Los Angeles will provide your family with an interactive tour of the stadium as you enjoy America’s favorite pastime. Don’t forget to try the world-famous Dodger Dog in one of the most scenic baseball stadiums in the country.

Phone: 310-224-1507
Address: 1000 Elysian Park Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Website: www.mlb.com

 

8. Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre los angeles

For authentic Mexican cuisine and a great atmosphere, this next entry on the list of things to do in Los Angeles will thrill your taste buds as you try classic dishes like fresh, steamed Tamales, Young Coconut Ceviche, Street Corn, Tacos Al Pastor, Chimichanga, and Enchiladas Verde. This location boasts freshly made ingredients, hand-crafted entrees, and made to order specialties for the traditional Mexican cuisine enthusiast and the adventurous flavor connoisseur.

Phone: 323-978-2170
Address: 5905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069-5605
Website: www.graciasmadre.com

 

9. Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall los angeles

If your family is looking for the best in art and culture, look no further than this next thing to do in Los Angeles. This concert hall features some of the best musicians in Los Angeles as your family experiences classical compositions. Some of the latest themes include Beethoven’s “Eroica,” A Tribute to Oliver Knussen, and Tchiavosky & Copland with MTT. Get your tickets soon because these concerts provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for your family to feel like their favorite composers are on center stage. 

Phone: 310-850-2000
Address: 111 S Grand Ave, Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA 90012-3034
Website: www.laphil.com

 

10. Apple Pan

Apple Pan los angeles

Rated one of the best burgers in America and featured on the Travel Channel, this next entry on the list of things to do in Los Angeles will have you coming back for more. With every menu item featured on the must-try list, no one on your reservation list will go hungry.  Explore the many selections of Steak Burgers and sandwiches including the Hickory Burger, Southern Baked Ham, and Swiss Cheese. Save room for dessert because you do not want to miss some of these famous pies like French Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, or order a Whole Pie to-go. 

Phone: 310-475-3585
Address: 10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064-2105
Website: Facebook Page

 

11. Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park los angeles

For this next entry on the list of things to do in Los Angeles, put on your hiking boots and get off the hot pavement as you explore some of Los Angeles’s best natural attractions and scenic views. Explore the many hiking trails that wind through the canyon as you ascend to the highest peak and reach one of the best vistas overlooking Los Angeles. 

Phone: 818-243-1145
Address: 2000 N Fuller Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90046-2308
Website: www.laparks.com

 

12. Fatburger

Fatburger los angeles

This next location is sure to intrigue the most voracious of diners as ou order your own classic Fatburger to suit your appetite. Try the Original Fatburger featuring melted cheese, lettuce, and tomato, or build your own King, Double-King, or Triple-King Burger, add bacon, onion rings, chili, or an egg. For the vegan and vegetarian traveler, try the new, made to order Impossible Burger. 

Phone: 818-769-8725
Address: 10600 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91604
Website: www.locations.fatburger.com

 

13. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art los angeles

Open daily until 7 pm, this attraction features some of the most intricately crafted exhibits, each with their own unique theme, look, and mood. Enjoy exhibits like Betye Saar: Call and Response, Thomas Joshua Cooper: The World’s Edge, featuring death-defying images, and Every Living Thing.  This is yet another engaging and educational location on the list of things to do in Los Angeles sure to create lasting memories. 

Phone: 323-857-6000
Address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036-4597
Website: www.lacma.com

 

14. Gus’s Barbecue

Gus's Barbecue los angeles

Open late night daily, this classic American Barbecue restaurant treats its diners to favorite barbecue staples like Cast Iron Cornbread, Spicy Smothered Hot Wings, Shredded Onion Strings, and Deviled Eggs, paired with favorites like Pulled Pork Tostada, Gus’s Famous Burger, Brisket Burnt End Burger, and even, The Vegetarian. With so many choices, the classic pit-style barbecue is a must-visit addition to the list of things to do in Las Angeles.

Phone: 626-799-3251
Address: 808 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030-2606
Website: www.gussbbq.com

 

15. Santa Monica Bay

Santa Monica Bay los angeles

Pack up your swimsuit and hit the beach as you enjoy one of the many beaches that Los Angeles has to offer. Ride a bike along the pier and explore the many attractions the boardwalk has to offer including shopping and unique dining experiences. For the best in swimming, surfing, and whale watching, this entry on the list of things to do in Los Angeles is another traveler favorite. 

Phone: 888-301-2527
Address: Los Angeles, CA 90013
Website: www.santamonicabay.com

 

16. Toast Bakery Cafe

Toast Bakery Cafe los angeles

For breakfast and brunch favorites all-day, this location has a classic cafe and bakery delights like Strawberry-Banana Belgian Waffles, Breakfast Potatoes and Apple Chicken Sausage, The Tofu, a scramble featuring fresh veggies, and Berry Wonderful Pancakes. Dine outside with your favorite four-legged companion and enjoy the many sights as you start your morning, or afternoon, off right with the most important meal of the day.

Phone: 323-655-5018
Address: 8221 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048-4302
Website: www.toastbakerycafe.com

 

17. Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign los angeles

When thinking about California, undoubtedly, the first thing that comes to mind is the iconic Hollywood sign, and of course, a trip to California would not be complete without an up-close glimpse of the landmark that inspires so many young entertainers seeking to leave their mark. Choose your favorite view of the sign from one of the many driving tours and walking trails that bring this massive sign into full focus as you explore another of the many things to do in Los Angeles. 

Phone: 213-473-0800
Address: Los Angeles, CA 90068
Website: www.visitcalifornia.com

 

18. Nickel Diner

Nickel Diner los angeles

A classic diner experience is getting harder and harder to find, but this important landmark is working in full-swing to bring you the best in diner cuisine. Try one of the many in-house made bakery delights like Homemade Donuts, including Red Velvet, Maple Glazed Bacon, and Strawberry Crumble, paired with a diner staple like Eggs Your Way, Egg McNickel, Sloppy Veggie Jo, or the Corn Beef Reuben. 

Phone: 213-623-8301
Address: 524 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013-1422
Website: ww.nickeldiner.com

 

19. Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Madame Tussauds Hollywood los angeles

Get ready for your close-up at this next entry on the list of things to do in Los Angeles. Now, you can meet your favorite celebrities in person, or at least in wax, as you experience the Hollywood installment of the infamous wax museum. This budget-friendly entry on the list will give you the ultimate experience where you can take home a wax hand, get a souvenir photo with your favorite icon, and gain access to The Marvel Superheroes 4-D Experience. 

Phone: 323-789-1670
Address: 6933 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028-6146
Website: www.madametussauds.com

 

20. The Front Yard

The Front Yard los angeles

Voted a favorite by local diners, this next location on the list of things to do in Los Angeles is a full sensory experience as you relax in a botanical garden while enjoying some of the many expertly crafted menu items like The Front Yard Buffet, TFY Eggs Benny, Nutella Stuffed French Toast, TFY Granola, or a Seasonal Fruit Bowl. With so many great breakfast options, this location will thrill all your senses as you prepare for your day exploring all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Phone: 818-255-7290
Address: 4222 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91602-3318
Website: www.thefrontyardla.com

 

Conclusion

With so many restaurants, attractions, and destinations, this list of things to do in Los Angeles can go on forever, but this top 20 list is sure to give you the best in local and traveler favorites. With its many iconic, historical, and scenic destinations, Los Angeles is a destination that continues to surprise and delight travelers all over the world. This list has explored the many options for your traveling itinerary regardless of your personal traveling preferences. Now that you know what Los Angeles has to offer, you can rest assured knowing that you will have the best vacation featuring the highlights of Los Angeles.

Read also: Best Restaurants in Hollywood, CA