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Los Angeles (LA) is one of those cities that have personalities so big that it can be quite hard to encapsulate it in a few words. Known by a multitude of names – City of Angels, La La Land, City of Flowers and Sunshine – it demands to be reckoned with when it comes to commerce, entertainment, and tourism. Home to Hollywood, LA does glitz and glamour like no other. But let that not steal the spotlight away from the incredible art and architectural masterpieces of the city, such as The Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Just when you thought there’s no more to this sprawling metropolis, LA beckons you to surf or swim in its gorgeous waves at Santa Monica or hike up Angeles National Forest to get a panoramic view of the city at Griffith Park. It’s a land of contradictions, beauty, and endless intrigue. Book your car rental in advance with Enjoy Travel for a seamless trip to La La Land.
Guide to Los Angeles
Situated in southern California, Los Angeles is the second-most populated urban area in the United States after New York. It’s a metropolis that sprawls across the broad coastal plain between several mountain ranges – like the Cleveland National Forest range, San Bernardino National Forest range, Los Angeles National Forest range, and the Los Padres National Forest range – and the Pacific Ocean. Los Angeles also has over 75 miles (120 kilometers) of seacoast.
The megalopolis itself encompasses several smaller cities, including Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Irvine, and Long Beach.
Los Angeles is known for its forever-sunny weather that just makes you want to spend as much time as possible in its glorious outdoors. Summers are warm but not very humid. In general, the Valley is usually a few degrees warmer than the coastal areas, the latter of which enjoys more sea breeze from the Pacific Ocean. During the summer, you’ll see tens of thousands of tourists and locals flocking to the several miles of beaches with their sunscreens and shades. The wettest months are from December to March, but the rains usually never exceed 20 inches annually. This period is also, technically, the coldest months of the year in Los Angeles but you can still head out in a pair of shorts and a windbreaker.
Culture in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is incredibly diverse and multicultural. The city is home to people from more than 140 countries, speaking over 224 different identified languages. The region also has its roots in indigenous and Latino culture. In fact, Los Angeles is a Spanish term meaning ‘The Angels’, which is why it’s known as ‘The City of Angels’.
The presence of one of the world’s largest film industries – Hollywood – also shapes the culture milieu of contemporary Los Angeles. Nicknamed the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, the constantly changing trends on the silver screen also influence the fashionable crowds in the city – and the rest of the world – to keep up with the latest style.
Things to do in Los Angeles
Get a bird’s eye view of the city
Griffith Observatory is an iconic landmark in Los Angeles and a popular pit-stop for those looking to get close to the famous Hollywood Sign as well as enjoy panoramic views over the Los Angeles basin. Once you’ve taken as many photos as your heart desires, head into the observatory and explore their interesting exhibitions or maybe even sit in on an incredible planetarium show if possible.
Admire an architectural marvel
Los Angeles has no dearth of talented architects and their world-renowned creations. The Getty Center is one of the most incredible buildings in the country. Designed by a maestro of his craft, Richard Meier, this architectural masterpiece is home to valuable creations of art from all over the world. You’re likely to find everything from Baroque sculptures to Renaissance paintings to ancient manuscripts. Take a guided tour of this elegant building and surrounding gardens for a complete experience.
Relax in one of the most legendary beaches in the country
Santa Monica is, arguably, one of the most famous beaches in the world. Its silky sands, consistently sunny weather, and the plethora of attractions make it a must on every visitor’s itinerary. It’s probably best recognized world over for being the backdrop of the popular TV series ‘Baywatch’. Make the most of the 3 miles of golden sands by spreading out a beach towel, slapping on some sunscreen, and soaking up the sun. Afterward, you can walk or bike along Third Street Promenade to Venice Beach, another must-see LA location.
Go stargazing – but not the kind you think!
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is quite possibly one of the most iconic attractions in the city and a magnet for millions of star-struck fans from all over the world. Take photos with the 2500+ terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks bearing the names of famous actors, musicians, directors, and other celebrities. If you’re lucky, you might even run into some famous people. While you’re there, make sure to pop into the TCL Chinese Theatre.
Stroll down Sunset Boulevard
If you’ve ever imagined yourself living in a glamorous, old Hollywood movie, you’d probably find the perfect backdrop for your dreams at Sunset Boulevard. Home to well-heeled and moneyed crowds, this palm-lined street boasts top-tier shopping options, trendy musical venues, and unbeatable nightlife. Start out at Beverly Hills and take Sunset Boulevard to Hollywood Hills. True to its name, the sunsets here can be epic so pack a Polaroid.
Admire world-class art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is considered the mother of all museums in the Los Angeles area. It houses thousands of impressive and extremely valuable pieces, displayed over 20 acres of land. Whether you’re a dedicated art history scholar or a curious passerby, LACMA is sure to make a profound impression on you. From Islamic art to contemporary American prodigies, this museum is irreplaceable in the intangible value it adds to the art world and the Los Angeles cultural landscape.
Eating out in Los Angeles
Lauded as one of the best restaurants in the city, République serves contemporary French cuisine in an elegant space. Make sure to ask for one of their delectable Éclairs, made by their in-house pâtissiere. Rossoblu is another world-class restaurant in LA and they are renowned for their incredible handmade pasta and Italian wines straight from the Bologna area of Italy. For a rustic yet posh farm-to-table experience curated by renowned chef, Tom Colicchio, head to Craft Los Angeles for an inspired New American fare.
California has its own distinct take on American cuisine and you can taste this at Off Vine, a cozy eatery with a fireplace and garden patio, housed in a converted Craftsman cottage. If you’re looking to try the “best bone marrow in the world,” we’d first be slightly concerned and then direct you to Majordomo, where chef David Chang creatively serves meat and fish in unusual combinations with noodles in an industrial-chic space. Wind up your evening with a handcrafted cocktail at Perch, a glamorous rooftop bar on Hill Street.
Los Angeles Transport
Los Angeles and its surrounding areas are served by Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Los Angeles public transportation includes metros, light-rails, buses, and shuttles serving almost all parts of the city. Los Angeles is known for its intensely car-friendly culture. There are multi-lane freeways connecting it with the rest of the nations and it’s almost an American tradition to take a road trip to and from the sunny Californian coast. If you don’t have your own vehicle, consider renting a car from established rental car agencies like Hertz, Avis, or Enterprise.