For a nice drive that offers views of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Fernando Valley, downtown LA and Hollywood, follow these directions. It will take at least 2 or 3 hours to complete this entire route. This is a complete loop, so you can start anywhere along the route.
1. At I-10 and I-405 - go west on I-10 to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)
2. Continue west on PCH (up the coast) several miles to Kanan Dume Road. Enjoy views of beaches and the ocean.
The Malibu Pier on the ocean side of PCH between Las Flores Cyn Rd and Malibu Cyn Rd. Watch the waves, sea gulls and surfers.
The Adamson House is on the ocean side of PCH about 1/4 mile north of the pier. There are tours of the historical site Wednesday through Saturday 11AM to 3PM.
Another quarter mile north at PCH and Cross Creek Road, on the inland side, you will find some restaurants and shops.
3. Take Kanan Dume north (inland - there's only one way to go)
Immediately after the second tunnel, there is a parking lot on the left with restrooms and hiking trails. There is a self-pay fee station.
4. Proceed inland to Mulholland Highway, then make a right turn (east) at the stop light at Mulholland.
5. Follow Mulholland to Topanga Cyn Blvd - this is where a Thomas Guide map would be handy.
At Cornell Road you could detour to Paramount Ranch, if you have extra time. It's not very interesting, but it won't take very long.
7. Turn left (north) on Topanga Cyn Blvd (not "Old Topanga")
8. Go to Ventura Blvd. then turn right (east) - you are now cruising down Ventura Blvd in "The Valley"
9. Follow Ventura Blvd east - just past Balboa Blvd, look for Havenhurst (there is a Gelson's market there)
10. Turn right on Havenhurst (south), and go back up into the mountains, past a lot of nice houses.
11. After several stop signs, you must turn right or left - turn right onto Havenhurst Avenue
12. Take Havenhurst Avenue up to the next right/left decision. Left is the shorter path, but both directions lead to the same place.
13. When you get to the top of Havenhurst Avenue, you will be on Mulholland Drive. Go left (east) to see spectacular views of LA and the Valley for several miles. Go past the 405 and Beverly Glen. Be watchful in the area of Coldwater Cyn Rd, where you will need to get in a left turn lane to stay on Mulholland. For details, see the directions for Mulholland Drive Scenic Route
14. At Laurel Cyn Road, turn right. Take it to the bottom. Near the bottom, turn left to get onto Hollywood Blvd.
15. Take Hollywood Blvd east through all the tourist areas. Keep going east, until you get to the 101 freeway.
You could stop awhile near Hollywood & Highland, and wander around in the tourist area of Hollywood. The Chinese Theater with the footprints in the cement is just west of Hollywood and Highland.
16. Take the 101 freeway south to the 110 south (it says it goes to San Pedro)
17. Follow the 110 south past all the big buildings in downtown LA, to the I-10 westbound
If you want to explore downtown LA, get off the 110 on a numbered street (like 3rd Street) and go east (toward the buildings). The big buildings are just east of the freeway. Staples Center is on Figueroa near 11th Street. The Music Center is on Grand near 1st street (both side of first street). The flavor of old Downtown LA can be found along Broadway between 1st Street and 9th Street.
18. Take I-10 west to the 405 and you have made a full loop to the beginning of these directions.