9:00 Welcome to LA, where there’s as much sun as there are stars – of the Hollywood kind. It’s going to be a long, hot day, so fuel up at the long-established Farmers’ Market (farmersmarketla.com) at the corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue. It’s a collection of stalls and cafés offering everything from tacos to pizza, sushi and tapas.
11:00 Home to Hollywood, the Oscars, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach, California’s vibrant metropolis is probably the most glamorous city on the planet. Take a walk west and begin your sightseeing on Broadway. Representing the largest concentration of pre-World War II movie palaces in America, it is itself a monument to the 1930s. The Bradbury Building here was commissioned in 1893 by entrepreneur Louis Bradbury as a vision of the year 2000. It has a wrought- iron elevator, glass ceiling and dashes of Belgian marble, and has been used in many films, including Blade Runner.
12:30 Head into the heart of Downtown, via Grand Avenue. The Central Library and Biltmore Hotel stand out as reminders of a glamorous age. For stylish new structures, check out the KPMG building, which appears to have no sides.
13:00 Venture north into the fashion district for a retail fix. Don’t miss Santee Alley, the main strip, which has clusters of shops and outdoor stalls, and a vibrant energy. Otherwise, another popular shopping destination is outdoor mall, The Grove (theGroveLA.com). It’s got all the familiar American brands, such as Banana Republic and Apple. The stars go to Rodeo Drive.
14:30 With all that shopping, you must have worked up an appetite. Lunch at the frenzied and sawdust-sprinkled Grand Central Market is highly recommended. It was built as a department store in the 1890s, and later turned into a market for the Europeans who settled in Los Angeles. When you get here, go to Philippe’s (philippes.com) for the original French dip sandwich. If that doesn’t appeal, there’s also loads of seafood, or Chinese, on offer.
15:30 Only a short walk away is Hollywood, and no trip here would be complete without visiting the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, on Hollywood Boulevard. There are more than 2400 sidewalk stars that salute the celebrities who have made Hollywood great, from the silent film stars of yesteryear to the action-heroes of today’s blockbusters.
16:30 Since you’re fizzing from being on the stomping ground of celebs, get in the mood for the Oscars by visiting the Kodak Theatre (kodaktheatre.com), now the permanent home of the Academy Awards ceremony. Here, you can do a tour, which offers an insight into the movie world’s glitziest night. No limo? The nearest metro is Hollywood-Highland, on the red line.
18:30 Take a bus towards the coast for the Getty Centre (getty.edu), from where you get breathtaking views of LA.
20:30 Have dinner at Luna Park (lunaparkla.com). Its flea- market chic ambience is a fun setting to try a creative menu. Go for the Icebreaker cocktail of vodka and frozen grapes.
22:00 Round off the night at the rooftop bar at the Standard Hotel (standardhotels.com) downtown. It encompasses a heated swimming pool, red AstroTurf deck, dancefloor, outdoor fireplace, vibrating waterbed pods and a grassy knoll. You’ll go home with stories, guaranteed.
01:00 Rest your head at USA Hostels Hollywood (usahostels.com), right by the Walk Of Fame. Rooms start as cheap as £25/night.
10:00 Start your day with all-you-can-make pancakes and oatmeal at the hostel, then head to Griffith Park for an early morning breath of fresh air. It’s the largest city park in the US and has hiking trails, picnic areas, a golf course, a zoo, and the open-air Greek Theatre.
14:00 Now it’s time to check out LA’s coastline. It stretches 81 miles, from Malibu to Long Beach, including Santa Monica, which is a good place for an American lunch. Pinks (pinkshollywood.com) and the Apple Pan (applepan.com) offer the kind of calorific, but irresistible, grub you came to the United States of America for.
15:00 Super touristy, with shops galore and a pier with overpriced everything, Venice Beach is exciting. Soak it up by taking a stroll along the boardwalk.
17:30 As the day starts to fade, head east and kick off your evening with a pub crawl along Main Street. Also pop into Gotham Hall (gothamhall.com) on Third Street. It’s always pumping.
23:00 Wrap up your evening with a late-night New York-deli snack at Izzy’s Deli (izzysdeli.com). Munch away on anything from pizza to marinated herring and piled-high baked potatoes.