Do like the locals and stay out of the tourist traps! Captions are links.
One of the things I like to do when visiting is check out lots of old stuff- buildings, restaurants, neighborhoods. Most of the time I just drive around but since L.A. is so huge, you can check out some of the local historical societies for guidance. Then of course, you’ll want to eat and drink, so I’ve included some ideas on where to do that.
Go visit the upscale shopping center Americana At Brand, where there’s a new Nordstrom and a new Bloomingdales next door at the Galleria. See a movie, check out the Mac store, or just have a coffee and walk around. I don’t usually approve of the destruction of all the old buildings they did to put this thing up, but downtown Glendale was pretty far gone and this is a big improvement.
Then you can go to Pasadena for more shopping, visit the Norton Simon Museum, which is small enough to explore in a couple hours but holds a ton of great art.
Do some shopping in OId Town. Old Town is a great example of restoring and reusing the old buildings instead of just tearing them down and putting in a mall.
I’m sure you all know some cool out of the way spots in the L.A. area, so be sure to let me know about them in the comments!