Exploring Los Angeles
The global city of Los Angeles, known worldwide as LA or the City of Angels, is one of California’s must-see destinations, if only for a few days. Of its eight districts, Hollywood is the most celebrated, firstly for its fame as the heart of the movie industry and secondly, for its new makeover as home to several of the USA’s most popular theme parks. For a glimpse of historic LA, visitors can head for the heritage architecture of Wilshire, stopping off at the Grove district for shopping, the city’s Art Museum, and buzzing Koreatown on the way. The city is crammed with landmarks, from the iconic Hollywood sign through Hollywood Boulevard, the city’s magnificent cathedral, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and its Walk of Fame, and Sunset Boulevard, to its fabulous beaches, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and more. Foodies adore the city for its vast choice of cuisines, and people-watching and shopping are favourite occupations. Getting around is best done by car, bus, the newish metro system, or the elevated train, but road transportation is subject to horrendous delays during peak hours. Hotels here range from high-end to budget, with the Beverley Hills Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton at the top of the luxury tree.
Los Angeles does a great job of being all things to all people, with its amazing choice of cultural, entertainment, nightlife, gastronomic, beach life, and retail options. The city has more museums per capita than even New York and, for lighter moments and family excursions, its theme parks are as good as it gets.
- HollywoodStill the world’s entertainment capital, Hollywood, with its three famous boulevards, is LA’s must-see destination. Its three boulevards, Sunset with its amazing nightlife, Hollywood for the history of the industry, and Melrose Avenue for its exclusive shops, give the flavour of the district, and the Universal Studios tour is a chance to spot celebrities as well as to enjoy its world-class theme park.
- Beverly HillsThe homes of the stars and Rodeo Drive’s exquisite rows of famous-name, outrageously expensive boutiques give unbeatable real estate and fashion window-shopping opportunities. Guided tours point out who lives where in the exclusive enclaves, and lunch in one of the quarter’s Japanese restaurants is a gourmet experience.
- Santa MonicaIf beach life is a crucial part of your holiday plans, follow the locals to gorgeous Santa Monica Beach with its traditional pier, boardwalk, beachside restaurants, street entertainers, and summer events and activities. Shop in Montana Avenue’s quaint boutiques or learn the art of the flying trapeze just off the pier.You can find accomodation such as the Hotel Shangri La in this area.
Eating and drinking and shopping nearby
Everything from fast foods through international cuisine, typical American grills, and steakhouses, to the pinnacle of fine dining at swanky eateries is found here, giving LA its reputation as a top US city for foodies. Its variety of ethnicities has given rise to authentic, inexpensive diners offering traditional foods at great prices, and there’s no shortage of vegetarian, vegan, and New Age cuisine as well. The latest LA innovation is the gourmet food truck, now supporting everything from Asian and European cuisine, to traditional US diner-style feasts.
Arrivals in LA have a great choice of air, Greyhound bus, Amtrak train, and self drive but, once in the city, they’ll find that the public transport network can’t quite cope with demand, especially at peak times. LA’s freeway snarl-ups are legendary, and bus transportation off the main tourist trail can be sparse. The new metro is useful as it extends to suburban areas through major tourism hubs but for extensive travel, renting a car is your best bet.