Taking a Trip to Los Angeles? Avoid These Four Tourist Traps

Los Angeles is a great city, but its sprawling geography and complete lack of a centralized city to congregate in makes it a pretty tough nut to crack for tourists who want to make the most of their time in Tinseltown. If youre going to spend the cash for a trip to LA, here are a few areas to avoid.

1. The Walk of Fame

This tourist hotspot has a certain cache, but anyone who lives in LA will tell you that the once-glamorous area the Walk of Fame sits in has become kind of dirty. Panhandlers everywhere, pushy hustlers trying to pawn off their mix-tapes, head cases in Spider-Man suits trying to get you to pay for a picture with them and the place is so crowded you can barely see the names on the sidewalk. The theater where the Oscars is held is inside a mall. There are several shopping and skeezy tattoo parlors though.

Try instead: Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. All the overpriced shopping and vagrants that Hollywood offers, with better weather and youre two blocks from the beach.

2. Beverly Hills shopping

Beverly Hills only exists to provide traffic congestion and depressing context for how little money youre making. If you like the idea of luxury and hate the idea of actually buying something, maybe it is for you after all.

Try instead: Melrose Ave in West Hollywood. Probably the best window-shopping in the city and the boutiques vary between luxe and affordable. They also have interesting designs and sometimes gawk-worthy clientele, a stark change from the Stepford Wives vibe over in Beverly Hills.

3. Citywalk at Universal Studios

Families who drop some coin on the rides at Universal Studios are usually tempted to swing by Citywalk, the adjacent outdoor mall in the hilariously named Universal City. Make no mistake from the branding though this is a big, garish mall with more late-90s neon accents than a kid at a warehouse rave. Superficiality is a way of life in LA, but this is just ridiculous.

Try instead: The Grove. Another large outdoor mall, but with nicer shops and an eye-pleasing design. Yeah, we spend a lot of time in malls in LA.

4. Pinks Hot Dogs on La Brea

LA is the street food capital of the world, and this revered hot dog stand would seem to be just the ticket. Except that youll wait in line for an hour, for a hot dog! And then eat it in a crowded plastic-and-concrete dining area out back. Its a really good hot dog, but it would take a pretty life-changing hot dog for this dining experience to measure up.

Follow Abiel Bruhn on Twitter @mr_flagio