Reader Travel guide: L.A.

Bored? Head up to the City of Angels with our handy day-trip guide – we even mapped it all out for you.

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  1. Start by touring the rumored-to-be-haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach, about two gridlock-free hours north. Get breakfast or brunch on board, if you're there on a Sunday. 
  2. Twenty minutes up the road, stop for a look at Simon Rodio's masterpiece, the Watts Towers. (For more of LA's artistic heritage, the modernist landmark Eames House is just east of the Getty Villa – "G" on the map.)
  3. Lunchtime yet? Grab In-n-Out in El Segundo and watch 747s land feet away. 
  4. You might've seen the Getty Center before, but what about the Getty Villa? Overlooking the Pacific, it houses Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities in the only rebuilt ancient Roman villa in the world. (Just make sure to snag a parking pass: getty.edu/visit.)
  5. Decision time: head up to Topanga ("E") for laid-back hiking, shopping and dining options a short detour off Highway 1... or circle back to see the Eames House ("G") and Getty Center ("H"), 15 and 30 minutes east of the Getty Villa. 
  6. Also, a great stop for the kids, La Brea Tar pits ("I") are 30 (traffic-free) minutes away from the Getty Center, down 405 and east on 10.
  7. Or, for something different, check out Hollywood's Museum of Death ("J"). This one's not for the faint of heart. 
  8. The birthplace of Los Angeles, Olvera Street ("K") is worth a stop for history buffs – it pays homage to the city's Hispanic heritage and has an authentic Mexican marketplace. 
  9. You could spend a whole day exploring the sprawling Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens, and it's worth a stop on its own – but if you've got time, it's 20 min. northeast of Olvera Street. 
  10. Lastly, venture east to find the Chinese Buddhist Hsi Lai Temple ("M") in Hacienda Heights. They welcome visitors and are open til 5 p.m. daily. 
  11. Daylight hours are fading, so head back south down the 5, with one last stop at the San Clemente Pier at sunset. 
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