GTA 5 is so much more than an epic crime game. It's also a pretty awesome road trip quest. Next time you're driving down the Pacific Coast, hit up some of the real-life locations from Grand Theft Auto V's Los Santos. A word of caution: skip the hookers and don't plow through pedestrians.
There are several areas in Los Santos, the major ones are Blaine County, Downtown, Little Seoul, South Los Santos, Vespucci Beach and Rockford Hills. Practically all are based on real-life neighborhoods surrounding L.A. Such as Downtown Los Angeles, L.A.'s Koreatown, South Central, Venice Beach and Beverly Hills.
Big Creek Bridge (Real-Life: Bixby Bridge)
This is Big Creek Bridge, you can find it on the West Side of the game. In real-life it's the iconic Bixby Bridge.
Los Santos Observatory on Verdant Bluffs (Real-Life: Griffith Observatory)
The Los Santos Observatory is located on Verdant Bluffs. No major gang activity to speak of, and no safe houses. This place is super easy to visit in real-life as it's modeled after Griffith Observatory, a popular tourist attraction in L.A. with loads of spacey and sciencey stuffs.
Vinewood Sign (Real-Life: Hollywood Sign)
According to the GTA V Manual, the Vinewood sign is "a beacon of false hope for impressionable young hopefuls the world over, no visit to Los Santos is complete without a selfie at the Vinewood Sign." This is clearly an homage to the Hollywood sign (also a "beacon of false hope for impressionable young hopefuls the world over.")
Vinewood Bowl (Real-Life: Hollywood Bowl)
Vinewood Bowl is an entertainment venue, north of Vinewood. It's based on the real-life Hollywood Bowl in L.A.
The Oriental (Real-Life: Graumann's Chinese Theater)
The Oriental was modeled on Grauman's Chinese Theatre (now called TCL Chinese Theatre).
Von Crastenberg Hotel (Real-Life: Roosevelt Hotel)
This is the location for Franklin's hotel assassination mission. The reward is $7,000 and unlock a New Safe House. In real life, the Von Crastenburg is the Roosevelt Hotel.
Tequil La-La (Real-Life: Whisky a Go Go)
Tequi-la-la is a nightclub featured in the side mission, Vinewood Souveniers - Willy, in which Trevor has to get a gold tooth from Willy, the bassist for Love Fist. The club was modeled after Hollywood's Whisky a Go Go, a rock 'n roll nightclub.
Playboy Mansion (EASTER EGG)
The Playboy mansion Easter Egg is found in northwest Richmond. Visit it at night when it's covered in blue and pink neon lights.
Del Perro Pier (Real-Life: Santa Monica Pier)
Del Perro Pier is modeled after Santa Monica Pier.
Vespucci Beach (Real-Life: Venice Beach)
Vespucci Beach is a based on a combination of Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Los Santos Forum (Real-Life: L.A. Forum)
South of downtown Los Santos is the Los Santos Forum (AKA L.A. Forum) and (in GTA 5) it's the location of the 8-Track stadium race.
Jefferson Towers (Real-Life: Watts Towers)
The Jefferson Towers are located in East Los Santos. The real-life towers are actually the Watts Towers in Watts, L.A., they're a popular tourist attraction in South Central L.A.
Los Santos Storm Drain (Real-Life: L.A. River)
The Los Santos storm drain appears in three missions: The Jewel Store Job, Fame or Shame, and Hood Safari. In real-life, it's based on the L.A. River.
The Alamo Sea, AKA Sandy Shores (Real-Life: Salton Sea)
The Alamo Sea at the foot of Mount Chiliad in Blaine County is described as "a putrid, salt-rich lake." This is pretty accurate since it's based on the real-life Salton Sea, which is often described as pretty gross-smelling.
Hippie town in the desert (Real-Life: Salvation Mountain)
Salvation Mountain served as the inspiration for GTA 5's Hippie Town in the Desert. It's basically an art installation that serves as a "tribute to God and his gift to the world." Yeah, let's go with that.