Los Angeles or LA, is charmingly called the City of Angels. Its been popularized by Hollywood films thus earning other nicknames like La-La Land or Tinseltown. When you think of LA, you see long highways with the Pacific Ocean rolling to one side and mountains in the other. The prominent Hollywood sign is displayed way up in a mountain background. You can also picture sunny weather, palm trees, relaxed surfers and generally laidback vibes.
In Los Angeles, everyone wants to have a picture taken near the Hollywood sign. Originally, the sign read as ‘Hollywoodland’ but the “land” was eventually taken away. This was made to commemorate the golden age of cinema. Another attraction you will want to experience is strolling through the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The walk is around 2.1 kilometres and can be found in Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. It’s fun to check out and locate your favourite artists and movie stars.
LA’s weather is mild and temperate, often sunny except when the “June Gloom” arrives. This is a phenomenon where the grey clouds and fog hangover in the mornings but are replaced by blue skies in the afternoons. So it’s always a perfect time to visit this city without being stressed about cancelling your plans. Being near to the Pacific Ring of Fire makes LA prone to earthquakes however, most are undetected and can hardly be felt.
So what makes Los Angeles an exciting destination? One, it has the largest number of museums in the world. For art lovers out there, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is one of the top things to see as well as the Getty Museum which offers some of the best views over LA.
For architecture and music devotees, Walt Disney’s Concert Hall shouldn’t be bypassed. This Frank Gehry-designed building is made up of a stainless steel exterior with a fascinating undulating curves design. This captivating architectural landmark encourages you to explore its numerous stairways and walkways.
A must for nature enthusiasts would be Griffith Park. It is one of the largest sprawling green spaces right in the heart of LA. If you love the outdoors, you can spend your time camping, biking and hiking. There are also special gardens and bird sanctuaries you can explore to your heart’s content. For hikers, there are endless trail options like the Berlin Forest and the Bronson Caves. Some may also choose to hike the Santa Monica Mountains. You can traverse the Sandstone Peak, see the Escondido Falls or follow the Runyon Canyon trail. The latter is one of the most popular trails because you can see the Hollywood sign and you might spot your favourite celebrity hiking the same trail as you.
If you are fond of amusement rides, there is Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland but for a nostalgic feel, Santa Monica Pier is the absolute venue to spend your day. You are free to wander around the pier, check out the beach and the Pacific Amusement Park. What better way to spend a chill day at little cost? Vintage carousels, carnival games, arcades and the like are available for the little kid in you. And when you want to rest a bit, you can always gaze at the blue-green sea. It’s also common to stumble in on a lot of free concerts often held in this century-old attraction.
Another famous beachfront boardwalk is Venice Beach. Shopping, dining and entertainment run plentiful here as performance artists, fortunetellers and other eclectic characters roam the boardwalk. You can also steal to the Venice canals located not too far from the boardwalk. It will reset your mood and you can stroll leisurely appreciating its soothing tranquillity.
For gastronomes, you will not be disappointed with the food scene in LA. The sheer volume of selections comes from the diverse ethnic groups residing in this city. If you fancy eating Korean food then head over to the Korea Town neighbourhood. Also, a Chinatown and Little Tokyo can be found in downtown LA. There are also several Mexican food trucks around LA. If you want to taste a bit of everything, Grand Central Market is the place. There’s falafel, tacos, buko pie, sticky rice, pastrami and deli sandwiches. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find it here.
Los Angeles has a thriving cultural and recreational space for those who are fond of art, history, architecture and film. It also has something for those who fancy the mountains, the ocean and theme parks. LA might be labelled as an expensive city but if you carefully plan your itinerary, you are certain to find places well within your budget.
People & Culture
Historically, Los Angeles used to belong to Spain in 1542 and became part of Mexico in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. By 1848, Los Angeles and the rest of California became part of the United States when the war between Mexico and America ended. This is how the melting pot of culture in Los Angeles came to be.
Los Angeles is the second most populated city next to New York. It has a multiracial makeup heavily composed of Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. The largest ethnic group of Hispanics consists of the Mexicans while Filipinos and Koreans represent the Asian segment thus leading to a Filipino Town and a Korea Town in the city.
LA is also known for its creative culture since a lot of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and actors live here. You might be surprised while you’re sipping coffee in a café that you’re seated next to one. Even if LA is known as a laidback city and most Angelenos (as locals are called) dressed casually, LA is famous as a fashion capital. You can shop at posh luxury fashion districts such as Rodeo Drive, Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard. You can splurge at these trendy and vogue places and who knows, you might even bump into your favourite celebrity while out shopping or dining in the nearby swanky restaurants. Although luxury shopping is big in LA, Angelenos still go to the Melrose Trading Post or the Fairfax Flea Market every Sunday. There are around 200 stalls and you are certain to find plenty of vintage items and handcrafted products sold by artisans. It’s a great place for treasure hunting.
One of the chief woes in LA is driving and Angelenos frequently complain about the traffic situation and the time delays involved driving downtown or even to the nearest shop. LA’s major streets might be extremely long like Sepulveda and Foothill Boulevard but despite this, LA drivers still suffer from one of the worst rush hour periods in the world. As a tourist, taking the Uber or Lyft would be more comfortable. Another thing people usually don’t like in LA is the smog present in the air however, over the years, the air quality had gotten better.
Angelenos take pride in being health-conscious. There are a lot of vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free practitioners as there is no shortage of organic produce in the city. They value fitness, practised a lot of yoga and meditation and are also reputed to be obsessed with the latest diet and wellness fads.
If you want to meet a variety of dynamic people converging in a huge sprawling city and to explore the variety of cuisines this multiracial city offers then you are sure to have a grand time in Los Angeles. Plus touring its fabulous landmarks and splendid attractions might also lead you to some serendipitous celebrity sightings.
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