Home of Disneyland and movie stars, Beverly Hills and Hollywood, Los Angeles has long lured people into its glittering fantasy world. With endless sunshine, palm trees, shopping malls and beautiful people, this city is like no place you've ever been before, and yet is strangely familiar. Los Angeles is a wonderful, vibrant, exhilarating multi-cultural hub with a plethora of things to do and see.
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Street performers, tattoo artists, novelty vendors, Gen-X nomads, hippies, people-watchers and freaks of all kinds come together to create this unique bazaar you have to explore at least once.
Address: Venice Beach, Los Angele
Being the first theme park in the world, Disneyland materializes every sugary, colourful fantasy there is. Welcome to the happiest place on earth – homage to imagination.
Address: 1313 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim
Spread over 4,000 acres, Griffith Park is the largest urban park in the United States and has been used as the backdrop for several movies, including "Batman" and "Jurassic Park." It houses the Griffith Park Observatory, and the Los Angeles Zoo. Also within the park are the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and the Travel Town Transportation Museum. Fifty-three miles of picturesque hiking trails as well as swimming, biking and horseback riding ensure something for everyone. Griffith Park is also home to the Hollywood sign, which stands on Mt. Lee.
Address: Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles
The Universal Studios Theme Park is one of L.A.’s top tourist destinations, thanks to its Hollywood themed attractions. Even the locals come to check out new movie-themed rides. Check out one of the many stage shows or take a "behind the scenes" tour of the world famous studio. The evening can be spent visiting shops and restaurants under the neon lights of the Universal City Walk promenade.
Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Los Angeles
Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has one of the finest permanent collections of contemporary art, as well as rotating exhibitions.
Address: 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
With its huge multi-ethnic community, Los Angeles is a veritable melting pot of culinary culture. Whatever food from whatever part of the world you are in the mood for, this town has it. Although the well-known restaurants tend to attract all the attention, it is worth exploring the small neighborhood eateries which sometimes provide the most rewarding dining experiences. The list below names a few restaurants that are popular, interesting and thrive on good reputation.
Booking is necessary for popular restaurants, especially on the weekend. Most kitchens close around 10 pm, apart from a few, so get out there early and get munching!
The Little Door is difficult to find, and it's even more difficult to get a table here. This gorgeously romantic hideaway serves delicate dishes to classy clientele. Reservations are definitely recommended.
Address: 8164 W.Third Street, Los Angeles
The Electric Lotus serves authentic North Indian dishes in atmospheric saffron-coloured surroundings to trendy Los Feliz folk. What gives this spot its edge are the weekend DJs playing Indian-inspired ambient sounds and the relatively late hours.
Address: 4656 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles
This swanky hotel diner serves modern American fare to beautiful people, Hollywood-style. Open 24-hours, it is a good spot for some pre-dancing fuel or post-clubbing refreshment.
Address: 8300 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
Chinois is a Los Angeles classic and one of the famous chef Wolfgang Puck’s first restaurants, serving a fusion of French and Chinese food. In a colorful and exotic interior, you can taste Asian dishes served with California’s fresh products combined with French culinary skills.
Address: 2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
This famous restaurant and bar was founded in early 1972, and is located on the Sunset Strip. Here they offer you a broad menu where you can choose from pizza, chicken, fresh fish, vegetarian delights and meat. On the walls you can see pictures of celebrities and rock stars throughout the restaurant.
Address: 9015 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
Los Angeles has a diverse array of shopping areas. Whether you are looking for haute couture, trendy or vintage, ethnic, chic or designer, this city has you covered. Each area is distinct in its vibe, clientele and wares. The following gives an idea of what to expect in some of the main shopping areas. Tax is generally not included in the marked price, so be prepared to add 8 percent.
For something different, check out the world-famous Rose Bowl Flea Market. Anything and everything can be found here.
Address: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena
American Rag has grown from a small, vintage clothing store to a huge, trendy fashion outlet with its own label. New and vintage clothes, kids stuff, home wares and a café can be found in this branch.
Address: 150 La Brea, Los Angeles
Neiman Marcus is a swanky New York style department store with a glamorous bar on the fourth floor. Be prepared to spend hours here.
Address: 9700 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
This bookstore is worth the visit even just to look. The dramatic interior is a fit home for these gorgeous and mostly affordable arty books.
Address: 354 North Beverly Drive, Los Angeles
Located east of Hollywood and populated with artists and musicians, Silver Lake and Los Feliz have become centers for the "bohemian chic." This is a great area to explore for its excellent music shops, vintage clothes and furniture among other offerings. Several designers have set up shop here too, with small individual boutiques.
Address: Los Feliz, Los Angeles
When choosing a hotel in Los Angeles, location is perhaps the most important consideration. Staying in the area you wish to spend most time in saves a lot of commuting time and makes for a more relaxing visit. Hotel taxes, generally not included in the price, can be from 12 percent to 17 percent. Most hotels in the city charge for parking.
Locally known as the "Pink Palace," the Beverly Hills Hotel has long been, and still is, a playground for Hollywood legends and cavorting millionaires. History lurks in every corner of the elegant rooms and impeccable grounds. Luxurious bungalows open onto the gardens, and many rooms have their own patio and hot tub. Guests can take advantage of the Olympic-sized swimming pool and Wimbledon champion tennis coach, as well as the complimentary limo rides to Beverly Hills restaurants.
Address: 9641 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
This hip boutique hotel is located in the heart of Beverly Hills. Bright modern architecture is combined with stylish retro design. Rooms look onto a sunny courtyard and kidney-shaped pool, and are equipped with every possible comfort and luxury. This fashionable hub also houses a high quality restaurant and chic hotel bar (with great martinis).
Address: 9400 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles
Quirky, exotic and very popular, the Figueroa is more like being in Morocco than L.A. This very well-priced and conveniently located Downtown hotel is sensual pleasure. Lose yourself in rooms with wrought iron beds and Mediterranean tones, a pool and hot tub surrounded by tropical plants, and a mellow veranda bar.
Address: 939 Figueroa Street, Los Angeles
Located just steps away from Hollywood Boulevard’s attractions, Magic Castle Hotel is inexpensive and comfortable and great for families or long-term stays. Once an apartment building, the large, modern and well-equipped guest rooms are centered around a courtyard pool. Staff is friendly, parking is cheap, and you can walk up the road to the legendary Magic Castle Illusionist Club for dinner.
Address: 7025 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles
Just minutes away from Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Westwood, and set in a wooded canyon amongst lush gardens, Hotel Bel Air is possibly one of the most luxurious hideaways in the world. Its elegance and privacy have made it the home away from home of stars and royalty since it opened in 1946. Individually decorated rooms open out onto the gardens or courtyards. Some rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and private hot tubs. All five-star amenities are at your beck and call.
Address: 701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles
Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, as it is locally known, is the third busiest airport in the world. It is located about 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Downtown L.A. Public transport from LAX is slow, but cheap. The “C” shuttle leaves from the LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections sign on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal and brings passengers to the Metro Bus Center, where they can catch city buses serving the Los Angeles area.
Los Angeles is a city designed for cars. Getting around without one is generally slow and complicated. Most visitors rent a car for their stay, but if you decide not to, there are options. Buses, trains and trams are run by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority.
The Metro, which runs both over and underground, is sometimes handy for getting from Downtown outwards. The Transit Authority’s website is easily navigable and provides all necessary information on routes, timetables and fares.