11 good reasons to go back to Los Angeles this year (preferably flying BA!)

During the first two weeks of February, British Airways is running a special ‘Visit California’ offer to promote three key routes to the area – Los Angeles, San Francisco and – launching on 4th May – San Jose.

Rather than buy some advertising space on Head for Points, British Airways wanted us to work with them on three sponsored articles to highlight some of the new attractions the area has to offer.

Today we are looking at Los Angeles.  Looking at the BA Low Fare Finder tool, you can reach with British Airways for as little as £436 return in World Traveller and £910 in World Traveller Plus.

For Club World, as the BA sale has just finished, I recommend flying out of Dublin where you can get a BA Club World return for around £1,400 (€1,850) in August.  This compares to the lowest fare out of London of £3,300 at present which is unlikely to be attractive to the leisure market!

If you are using Avios, don’t forget that Aer Lingus (see here) and airberlin (see here) offer redemption options to the region which require minimal taxes and charges.

Los Angeles is a city in constant flux.  Whilst many Head for Points readers will have visited in the past, if you haven’t been for a few years there are a lot of new things to see.  This is especially true of Downtown which has been hugely transformed, taking it from a business only area to a place of leisure and culture.

Today I (‘I’ being Anika, and not Rob) have picked out some of the most interesting new sightseeing opportunities in Los Angeles – as well as some lesser known existing options – which I think would be of interest to HFP readers:

The Broad Museum

In 2015 LA’s new contemporary art museum the Broad opened its doors, to hold the vast personal collection of entrepreneur Eli Broad. The $140 million two storey building, designed by Zaha Hadid, holds nearly 2000 pieces of post war and contemporary art with a ‘veil-and-vault’ concept. The vault is holding the art archive, hovering in the heart of the building, the veil is covering the building, lifted at two corners where escalators take visitors to the gallery. Twisting stairs take the visitors back downstairs whilst getting a glance at the art archive inside the vault. General admission is free but online advance reservation is encouraged.

the broad museum facade

Grand Park

Just a short walk from the Broad you can find Grand Park. It only opened a few years ago giving Downtown LA a much appreciated green oasis. During lunchtime there are yoga classes, food trucks and sometimes lunch concerts. Dates and information can be found on their website.

Grand Park Los Angeles

Disney Concert Hall

In the evening the Disney Concert Hall invites with a wide range of entertainment. Theatre goers can enjoy contemporary plays at the REDCAT or watch the next generation of stage artists at quarterly new-work and work-in-progress showcases. If you are more of a music person the LA Phil which is in the same building offers abroad programme of classical, jazz and world music.

disney concert hall

Open Air Cinema @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Famous dead people have turned quite a few cemeteries all over the world into pilgrimages. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery however has got a second reason why to visit it: outdoor cinema! If you fancy a good film surrounded by gravestones (and who doesn’t …..) this is the place to be. Find out more about screening times and how to get tickets on their website.

Hollywood forever cemetery Cinespia

California ScienCenter

The newest attraction at the California ScienCenter is the space shuttle Endeavour. After its last space trip back in 2011, Endeavour now resides in California. Getting the spaceship to the museum has been a mission itself and the images and videos of the road trip from LAX are also part of the new exhibition in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. Once the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is completed (2017), Endeavour needs to go on one last short trip to reach its final destination. Admission to the museum is free but if you want to make sure to see Endeavour it is advised to book tickets($0) online.


The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The name gives away what the Huntington is about. Founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1912, he used his passion for education, research and beauty to create a place where people can find just that. The library is one of the best research libraries in the world, the art collection includes some of the most important paintings of 18th- and 19th-century British and French art and the botanical garden is not only a beautiful oasis but also an education centre for children of all ages.

chinese garden the huntington

The Watts Towers Arts Center

The fact that an Italian immigrant built the 17 interconnected Watts Towers with the tallest one being 99 feet is pretty impressive. The fact that he built them over a period of 33 years only using hand tools is simply mind blowing. When Sabato Rodia was asked why he made the towers, he answered “I wanted to do something big and I did it.” Now that’s inspiration. Admission is $7 and includes a 30 minute tour.

watts towers

Annenberg Community Beach House

This public pool is more than just a pool. Built in the 1920s for Hollywood star Marion Davis, the beach front estate has opened in 2009 as a community destination after a $27.5 million transformation. Unlike other similar places there is no membership fee and everyone is invited to come along. Besides the pool there are tennis courts, a football pitch and a cafe. Throughout the year the venue hosts different art exhibitions and various events. The website keeps you up to date with what’s happening.

annenberg beach house

Hiking Tour

You might have heard of Runyon Canyon before. It is one of the most popular relaxation spots with local celebrities, but even if celebrities are not of too much interest, it’s worth a visit. You can choose from three hiking routes that last between 45 minutes and 2 hours which reward you with great views of the city whilst being surrounded by nature. Just don’t forget to bring some water!  Another canyon worth hiking is the Escondido Canyon with its impressive waterfall at the end of the trail.

runyon canyon

The District

Hannah An left the family restaurant dynasty House of An to open her first own restaurant in 2015. Inspired by her Vietnamese heritage and her home county California, according to all reports she has interpreted traditional Vietnamese dishes in her own way.  The focus is on spices rather than MSG and caters for everyone from meat lover, fish eater to vegetarian or vegan.

the disrict

The Bicycle Casino Hotel

You’ll need somewhere to stay on your trip.  The Bicycle Casino opened in 1984 and has had some controversial things happening in its rooms over the years, leading to it being run by the US government during the 1990s. Nevertheless, the Casino has become one of the main destinations for poker players and in 2015 opened a 99-room hotel including 29 luxury suites, the Bike Brewery restaurant, a pool deck, spa and 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

You can’t redeem any loyalty points to stay here but it is worth a look nonetheless.  The casino loyalty scheme is a different kind to the ones you are used to, giving you for example a free meal once you’ve played for three hours. If you love the odd game of poker, this is the hotel to stay at.

bycicle casino hotel

In a few days we will taking a look at new and niche attractions in San Francisco.

This article was supported by British Airways.  British Airways flights to Los Angeles currently start from £436 in World Traveller.  Full details of their California offers can be found here.

British Airways launches new 'Visit California' campaign in run up to San Jose launch
An avios.com and Tesco competition - but no sign of a BA or Virgin bonus
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  1. I’m going there tomorrow…some places I hadn’t heard of I’m going to look up! Thanks

  2. This type of travel advice as paid articles are still great to read. I am going to Los Angeles and San Francisco this summer and any hints are always welcome.

    If Raffles can get more revenue from running the blog he can get more time/money to spend for exciting travels, and that is why the blog exists, great work!

  3. I think I’d rather go to Tehran.

  4. Wonder why the ‘Visit California’ promotion only mentions three routes instead of four, no mention of San Diego? It’s a nice place to visit.

    • Edit….in this article anyway. San Diego is mentioned on the BA article on their own website.

      • We started off with San Diego and then BA decided to focus on just three cities. No idea why!

        • I’d rather fly to San Diego and take the train up to LA and back for a few days. It’s a lovely journey and San Diego is a beautiful place – with enough old warships for me to visit :-)

          For me, the only reasons to visit LA are my friends. But as Chicago Fire doesn’t film in LA, I’d have to time my trip for when my buddy does her semi-annual writers’ trip to the set and go with her!

  5. Oh! Matron! says:

    Please, please, please….. If you visit LA, please god visit the La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum. It’s a fantastic place, and amazing to see tar just oozing out of the ground, Sabre Tooth CATS, Dire Wolves and mammoths, etc. Well worth an afternoon

    As for the article…. I don’t mind this at all. You’re not a charity, so ignore the doubting Thomas’s who don’t seem to understand how the internet works.

  6. Interesting – I try to avoid the US as I can’t stand going through their border control and I didn’t find LA very interesting when I visited a few years ago… Looks like I missed a few good places though!

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I went through JFK earlier this year and was very surprised by how quick and pleasant it was.

      • Took me 45 minutes exactly to get through in December at JFK – from joining queue. Miami the year before that was about a week.

        • I’ve spent over an hour getting through JFK, but the worst by far was Houston. Just getting through customs, after waiting at immigration then picking up bags, took nearly an hour.

      • JFK was about 20 minutes for me on Friday night. Also the most polite TSA agent I’ve ever had. Thought I’d flown to Canada by mistake!

  7. Frankie McPolin says:

    Great article Anika. Really information and I fully support such sponsored articles and whatever needs to be done to keep this site going and developing. Those who moan have no doubt benefited a great deal from this site, probably both financially and aviosily. Unfortunately some people just have a ‘me me me, take take take’ attitude.

  8. I am sure someone will beat this but honestly I was 6 mins 15 seconds from leaving the plane (BA First) and going through Immigration at JFK. in April 2015.