The Ultimate West Side Los Angeles County Travel Guide: Things to see and do

white vehicle parked on road between trees
Photo by Vincent Gerbouin on

The West Side of Los Angeles County in Southern California comprises the neighborhoods of Los Angeles City and other cities (municipalities) running west of La Cienega Boulevard to the Pacific Ocean. To the east is Hollywood and Mid-Wilshire. The northern boundary is the Santa Monica Mountains. The southern boundary is less obvious – often LAX or the 105 freeway serve as a good marker, separating the Westside from the South Bay.

Among the core neighborhoods are Los Angeles/West (Westwood, Brentwood, West LA), Century City, Pacific Palisades, Palms, Rancho Park, and Mar Vista. Communities further from the core include Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Bel Air, Culver City, Venice, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Westchester and a sub-section of Westchester, Playa Vista.

How to reach LA County?

The closest airport to this area of Los Angeles is through. From here you can either catch a cab, shuttle or bus. The four main bus systems that stop at LAX are the MTA or the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus , Culver City Bus and the Torrance Transit . The cabs and shuttles can be accessed immediately outside of the arrival terminals and all of the bus systems can be accessed from the LAX Transit Center. The LAX Transit Center is located adjacent to Parking Lot ‘C’ and accessed by taking the ‘C’ Shuttle. Bus information is available in the baggage claim area of each terminal. It is not recommended or convenient to attempt to walk to most destinations as a general rule in Los Angeles.

Things to see at LA County (West Side)

  • Getty Museum Center and Villa: Each with their unusual architecture which houses an exceptional collection of art, sculptures, gardens and featuring innovative spaces that encourages interaction with some of the exhibits, the Center and the Villa are a “must sees” for your visit to the west side. The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Drive, off the 405 Freeway. Admission is always free. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10:00AM to 6:00PM, with later hours on Friday and Saturday (open until 9:00PM); parking on-site is $8 and is subject to availability. The Getty Villa, is in beautiful Malibu at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and admission is always free; advance, timed tickets are required for each individual and can be obtained online or by call 310/440-7300. On site parking is available for all ticket holder for $8. No walk-ins are permitted except by showing a bus receipt or transfer, along with a Villa ticket. Hours are Thursday through Monday 10:00AM to 5:00PM.
  • The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City has weird displays of fiction and fact.
  • The Piers of Santa Monica, end of Colorado Blvd. and Venice, end of Washington Blvd. Santa Monica Pier offers restaurants, the famous merry-go-round, and Pacific Park rides and amusements, an aquarium and exciting events. Open daily year-round. The Venice Pier offers fishing and of course, the famouse waterfront Boardwalk.
  • Westwood Village, an area southwest of UCLA (405 Freeway at Wilshire Blvd.) is known for its eclectic shopping, theater premiers and of course, the UCLA Bruins. The Los Angeles National Cemetery and Veterans Administration Center is also located in Westwood.
  • Rodeo Drive and Beverly Drive, famous streets in Beverly Hills, very pleasant to walk through

Things to do in LA County (West Side)

  • Escapedom — Escape your world and immerse yourself in a live escape room. Enter a room with 2-12 people and play all sorts of puzzles and solve mysteries to escape the rooms or diffuse a bomb! Fun for all ages! Not scary — very entertaining. One hour long escape game experience. Must book ahead! Located in Westwood blocks away from UCLA. 
  • The Strand. A bike and skate path on the beach stretches from upper Santa Monica in the north all the way to Redondo Beach in the South Bay and ends at Torrance Beach. It passes by many interesting places, such as the Marina del Rey waterfront area with it’s boats and numerous restaurants, the Venice Beach shops, and Santa Monica pier. 
  • Marina del Rey’s Fisherman’s Village. Take a trip to New England without ever leaving the Westside! This replica of a New England seaport and fishing town is the place to go to get out on the water. There are several companies to rent boats — both sail and motor, kayaks, wind-surfboards and more. Charter a harbor cruise or reserve your place on one of the public dinner cruises or Sunday Champagne Brunch cruises. Or join one of the exciting fishing adventures with Marina del Rey Sportfishing’s open party trips. Both 1/2 day and 3/4 day trips are available with rod rentals, tackle, bait and fishing licenses available. Enjoy waterfront dining, shop for souvenirs, or stroll along the cobblestone paths to enjoy views of the Marina. On the weekends (weather permitting) there are free outdoor concerts in the Lighthouse Plaza area. 
  • Go to the Beach, from Malibu north to Playa del Rey south, these are some of the most filmed beaches in the world.
  • Visit Muscle Beach and the Venice part of the boardwalk to see the most eclectic and culturally diverse part of the Westside beaches.
  • Walk the Venice Canals (park on Dell near Washington Blvd.) and see some of the most interesting architecture and local gardens that the Westside has to offer.
  • Get out on the water in Marina del Rey’s Fisherman’s Village. Rent a boat — sail or motor, kayak or wind surfboard. Join an open party sport fishing excursion for 1/2 or 3/4 day, with rod rentals, tackle, bait and fishing licenses available. Or book a weekend dinner cruise or Sunday Champagne Brunch cruise. Or charter your own adventure with one of the many private charter companies.
  • Bike the Los Angeles Beaches Bike Trail; over 22 miles of a paved bike path streching from Will Rogers State Beach north, to Torrance Beach south. With numerous outlets for renting bikes, rest stops and food concessions this gentle, fairly flat path is an easy ride for the entire family.
  • Bird watch at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh at Playa Vista. This 51-arce marsh system is at the base of the Westchester Bluffs, just south of Marina del Rey. Home to more than 73 native bird species it is an urban oasis for people and wildlife alike. There are trails bordering the marsh, with a profusion of native trees and shrubs where you can see mallard ducks, snowy egret and great blue herons. Located at the southwest corner of Lincoln and Jefferson Boulevards.

Now You Know

Was it worth reading? Let us know.