Los Angeles
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

California, United States
As seen on TV, Los Angeles is all Hollywood stars and their Rodeo Drive celebrity stylists—but in between close-ups, LA acts out at legendary Sunset Boulevard music venues and Culver City art galleries, redefines glamor at West Hollywood gay clubs and Venice Beach tattoo shops, gets culture at Downtown's symphony and Mid-Wilshire museums, and chows down on America's best street eats at food trucks and Santa Monica farmers market.
Getting Around Los Angeles
The best way to get around Los Angeles is by car. There is an excellent public transportation system available as an alternative, but generally L.A. is best covered by car. No one walks in L.A., except on the beach.
Nearby Airports
  • Los Angeles International Airport-LAX
  • Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR) LA/Ontario International Airport-ONT
  • John Wayne Airport-SNA
Airport Taxis
  • $60 LAX to Downtown
Things to Do and See in Los Angeles
Culver CityPacific PalisadesHollywood HillsMid WilshireWestwoodVeniceHollywoodMalibuBeverly HillsEast HollywoodCentury CityMarina Del ReyNew DowntownTopangaStudio CityBel AirBurbankDowntownLos FelizBrentwoodSanta MonicaWest Hollywood
Culver City has undergone gentrification over the past decade, emerging as a vibrant, artistically inclined community with Sony Pictures at its center. The downtown area offers plenty of dining choices, a fun sidewalk fountain for kids, and the historic Culver Hotel where the Munchkins stayed while filming The Wizard of Oz. But Culver City has kept its signature quirks, as you'll see in the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Star Eco Station, a wildlife refuge center. The Actor's Gang is one of California's most respected theater companies, and stages its shows in Culver City's historic Ivy Substation.
In the early 1900s, Pacific Palisades was home to a film studio named Inceville, where Thomas Ince filmed Westerns. About a decade later, the town was founded as a Methodist commune. Located between Santa Monica and Topanga Canyon, the landscape is dramatic and mountainous, overlooking the Pacific. This is one of the most privileged positions of Los Angeles, featuring multi-million dollar homes. In a small village off the Pacific Coast Highway, a few quaint restaurants are tucked away between the sea and the hills. There are trailheads off of Temescal Canyon Road that lead to challenging hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Just the thought of Hollywood Hills conjures images of 1920s starlets lounging on patios overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. Though that vision has changed over the years, many actors, writers, directors, and producers still reside in these areas towering over Hollywood. There are two parts to the Hills, which are divided by Highway 101. On the east side, Griffith Park dominates the area, and the neighborhoods exude an Old Hollywood feel. The Hollywood Sign is also on the east side of the hills, in an area known as Beachwood Canyon. The west side of the hills embodies the Hollywood lifestyle, defined by such landmarks as the Chateau Marmont and Mulholland Drive. Catch a star-sighting tour while working your glutes at Runyon Canyon, one of the most popular hiking spots in the city.
The most central location in Los Angeles, Mid-Wilshire includes Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the heart of the Miracle Mile, Koreatown, Hancock Park, and what some locals call "Beverly Hills Adjacent." Throughout these neighborhoods, magnificent art deco apartment buildings and homes can be found. Oddly, the area has an abundance of tar bubbling from the ground, most famously at the La Brea Tar Pits. Fossils are excavated here daily, making it a must-see attraction for kids. A few blocks away is The Grove, a large outdoor mall with an adjacent farmers market that is a historical site and a must for foodies.
You may not think of Los Angeles as a college town, but UCLA dominates the neighborhood of Westwood. Tall buildings and constant traffic characterize Westwood Village, packed with such collegiate staples as coffee shops, bargain ethnic food, vegetarian restaurants, and watering holes. Two theaters here regularly hold red carpet premieres, and UCLA's Hammer Museum hosts topnotch exhibits and often stages festivals in its plaza. When traveling down Santa Monica Boulevard through Westwood, you can't miss the large and lavish Mormon temple, which has a visitor center and Family History Center open to the public.
In the late 1800s, a developer named Abbot Kinney set out to turn the Del Rey peninsula into a bustling resort area in likeness of Venice, Italy. By the early 1900s, this fantasyland featured such attractions as a miniature railroad and manmade canals with gondolas. Since then Venice has continued to serve as a place of amusement, although the '60s changed the tone a bit. The Venice boardwalk is now lined with outrageous street performers, funky clothing shops blaring trance music, and a gigantic mural of Jim Morrison. Venice's Muscle Beach and seaside skateboard park are now urban legendary. The Abbot Kinney area of Venice is more subdued and upscale, with galleries, gastropubs and boutique shopping. The remaining canals and bridges are some of LA's most picturesque hidden gems.
Just the thought of Hollywood Hills conjures images of 1920s starlets lounging on patios overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. Though that vision has changed over the years, many actors, writers, directors, and producers still reside in these areas towering over Hollywood. There are two parts to the Hills, which are divided by Highway 101. On the east side, Griffith Park dominates the area, and the neighborhoods exude an Old Hollywood feel. The Hollywood Sign is also on the east side of the hills, in an area known as Beachwood Canyon. The west side of the hills embodies the Hollywood lifestyle, defined by such landmarks as the Chateau Marmont and Mulholland Drive. Catch a star-sighting tour while working your glutes at Runyon Canyon, one of the most popular hiking spots in the city.
Malibu's most distinguishing feature is its 26 miles of coastal landscape, ranging from wide sandy beaches to dramatic cliffs. Surfers flock to Malibu year-round, but the water is only warm enough for swimming in late summer. Sunsets are stunning here, and locals often jaunt to Zuma beach to watch the ocean swallow the sun. From December through April, Point Dume is a popular whale-watching spot. Visit Geoffrey's for candlelit dinners in a dreamy seaside setting, or Paradise Cove, which offers more casual dining with its own private beach. There are plenty of hiking trails in the canyon, particularly in Malibu Creek State Park, where the TV show M*A*S*H was filmed.
Development of Beverly Hills began in the early 1900s, and the famous Beverly Hills Hotel was built in 1912. When celebrities such as Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford began buying in Beverly Hills, the area became fashionable and exclusive. The most extravagant area is Rodeo Drive, where you will find upscale shopping, dining, and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Near the Beverly Center mall and Cedars-Sinai Hospital, businesses are slightly more moderately priced, although still stylish. But the most ageless star in Beverly Hills is the graceful City Hall, just off Santa Monica Boulevard.
Though not as scenic as neighboring Los Feliz or Silverlake, East Hollywood claims two ethnic areas, Thai Town and Little Armenia. You won't go hungry here, with some of the best Thai food and Armenian pastries to be found in Los Angeles. Palm's Thai is a local favorite where authentic Thai is paired with a live Elvis impersonator (yes, he's Thai). Barnsdall Art Park sits atop a hill off of Hollywood Boulevard and features a Frank Lloyd Wright home, an art gallery, and a manicured lawn great for picnicking.
This sleek patch of high-rises on the west side once functioned as the backlot of 20th Century Fox studios. By 1960, the studio needed money, so it sold off the property to become a mixed commercial and residential development. Today, many Hollywood transactions are still made along the Avenue of the Stars in Century City. Foodies will find some great dining in the area, such as Tom Colicchio's Craft, located in the heart of Century City. The outdoor Century City Mall attracts locals and the occasional celebrity, pretending to ignore paparazzi while shopping the strip.
White sails and blue waters gleam on sunny days in Marina del Rey. Sailing trips leave from the Marina almost constantly, offering sparkling views of L.A.'s landscape as well as an experience of the choppy Pacific. If you prefer the view from solid ground, Marina del Rey has several restaurants overlooking the docks. Water taxis will take you around the marina for a small fee. Between the marina and the Pacific, the Ballona Creek stretches from the marina to the Venice Canals and is a prime spot for viewing birds.
Just a few years ago, locals rarely ventured downtown for leisure, except for the occasional Lakers game or concert. But the area has experienced a renaissance, and now urban professionals, artists, and young families enjoy downtown loft living and entertainment options. Top attractions include the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Concert Hall, MOCA, the Geffen Contemporary, and Little Tokyo. On the second Thursday of every month, downtown's Art Walk attracts a huge crowd to its vibrant gallery scene. Make sure to visit the Angel Flight, L.A.'s historic funicular dating back to the early 1900s. LA Live is one of the newest attractions, complete with shops and restaurants adjacent to Staples Center. Top-notch downtown restaurants offer rooftop dining to make the most of city lights and sublime weather. Take the Metro Downtown, since most attractions are within walking distance or a short taxi ride from one another.
Topanga is a canyon area located between the Pacific Palisades and Malibu. In the early 1900s, Hollywood stars came to Topanga Canyon to get away from the hustle of Tinseltown. Today, locals love to escape to Topanga for day hikes or to simply admire the picturesque landscape and rustic homes. Residents tend to embrace artistic, bohemian lifestyles, as reflected in the area's eclectic boutiques and organic cafes. Topanga is home to the enchanting Inn of the Seventh Ray, a farm-to-table fine dining spot. Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum stages outdoor performances in its Topanga amphitheater.
North Hollywood is home to many aspiring entertainers and filmmakers. Recent gentrification has cleared the area of crime-ridden trouble spots, and now small theaters, acting schools, and other arts-based businesses thrive. The NoHo arts district is concentrated at the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard, anchored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Nearby Universal Studios is a major attraction that features a studio lot, theme park, and an outdoor mall called Citywalk. Adjacent Studio City consists of charming neighborhoods, quaint cafes, and stores along Ventura Boulevard. Laurel Canyon Boulevard crosses Ventura Boulevard, traveling through the Laurel Canyon neighborhood all the way into Hollywood.
One of the most coveted addresses in the United States, Bel Air is situated between Beverly Hills and Brentwood in the hills north of Sunset Boulevard. Winding roads lead into the canyon, where many multi-million dollar homes are enclosed by tall gates or thick vegetation. Most of Bel Air is exclusive and private, like the Bel Air Country Club, which has a golf course designed by George C. Thomas that opened in 1925. Restaurants in the area include Vibrato Grill jazz club and the newly renovated Hotel Bel-Air, which features a Wolfgang Puck restaurant and a glamorous lounge. UCLA's Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is also located in Bel Air.
Burbank has a small-town feel even though it's home to NBC, ABC, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, and other major studios. You can fly directly into the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, which is more convenient to parts of the San Fernando Valley than LAX. Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank is lined with vintage clothing and furniture stores, comic book, and record stores, as well as other mom-and-pop shops. The store It's A Wrap sells clothing used on movie and TV sets. Downtown Burbank is a bit more modern and is very family friendly. There is an equestrian area next to Griffith Park where homeowners keep horses on their properties.
A few years ago, most locals rarely ventured downtown for leisure outside of a Lakers game or a concert. But the area has experienced a renaissance, and now you find young professionals, artists, even some families enjoying modern loft living in the City of Angels. Some highlights: the Disney Concert Hall, MOCA, the Geffen Contemporary, Little Tokyo, and top-notch restaurants with rooftop dining for enjoying a sea of lights and sublime weather. LA Live is one of the newest attractions, complete with shops and restaurants adjacent to the Staples Center. It's advisable to take the Metro Downtown as most attractions are within walking distance or a short taxi ride from one another. Make sure to visit the Angel Flight, LA's historic funicular dating back to the early 1900s. On the second Thursday of every month, Downtown's Art Walk attracts a huge crowd to its gallery scene.
Los Feliz has become one of Los Angeles' most beloved neighborhoods and is a welcome deviation from the Sunset Strip nightlife. Located just east of Hollywood, this district has a down-to-earth, artsy vibe that appeals to writers and other creative types. Much of Griffith Park is located in Los Feliz, including the Observatory and the Greek Theater. Most of the action takes place on Vermont Boulevard. Stop at the Parisian-inspired Figaro Bistro before or after a hike for an espresso or a glass of wine.
Brentwood is a wealthy neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles. Located here is one of the city's most important attractions: the white, modern museum towering over the 405 freeway known as the Getty Center. Visiting the Getty Center is free, aside from a modest parking fee. Take the tram up the hill from the parking lot to the museum for panoramic views of the city. The Getty houses several themed galleries (don't miss the outstanding photography collection), a lush garden and sleek water structures. Also in Brentwood is the Skirball Cultural Center, a kid-friendly museum known for its Noah's Ark exhibit. Downtown Brentwood is a fine spot for L.A.'s favorite pastime: sipping iced coffee while people-watching.
The seaside city of Santa Monica has long been a refuge from reality, with beach goers enjoying the beautiful sand and waters. During the day, cyclists and rollerbladers travel The Strand, a paved beach path that stretches from Santa Monica to Playa del Rey. At night, the pier's amusement park is lit up, creating a romantic, nostalgic scene. The Third Street Promenade is Santa Monica's tourist area, consisting of several blocks of cafés, bars, shops and a famous farmer's market on Wednesdays where you might spot a celebrity chef.
Hollywood loves a comeback story. After Hollywood's 1920-60s Golden Age, the neighborhood declined and the streets became unsafe. But Hollywood has roared back to life with a recent revival, bringing businesses back and giving local landmarks a facelift. Tourists and locals flock to the streets day and night to hit some of L.A.'s best clubs, restaurants, and theaters. Highland Avenue is the main drag, leading to the Hollywood Bowl and the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held. No visit to Hollywood would be complete without a stroll on the Walk of Fame outside Mann's Chinese Theater, located on Hollywood Boulevard adjacent to the Kodak. To the east of Highland on Hollywood Boulevard stands the historic Pantages Theater. For a taste of Old Hollywood, try the century-old Musso and Frank Grill restaurant. To complete your star turn, pick up a fake Oscar statue at a local souvenir shop.
Our friends at Eater.com pick the city's best restaurants each quarter, and we trust their opinion. See full list »
Patina
The namesake eatery within Joachim Splichal's Patina Restaurant Group, come for meticulously prepared seasonal, modern French fine dining.
Bar Ama
Bar Ama is chef Josef Centeno's (Baco Mercat) answer to Tex-Mex cuisine. It's a hip Downtown number with an earthy yet industrial feel. Come by for puffy tacos and sizzling fajitas plus tequila drinks and Mexican beers.
Bäco Mercat
Former Lazy Ox Canteen chef Josef Centeno has earned a following for his hybrid sandwich/taco/pizza creation he calls the "bäco," also the name of his industrial/rustic new downtown lunch and dinner spot. In addition to the bäco expect a bevy of seasonally inspired plates, craft beer, boutique wine, modern cocktails, and house-made sodas.
Bäco Mercat
Chef Josef Centeno has earned a following for his hybrid sandwich/taco/pizza creation he calls the "bäco," also the name of his industrial/rustic downtown lunch and dinner spot. In addition to the bäco expect a bevy of seasonally inspired plates, craft beer, boutique wine, modern cocktails, and house-made sodas.
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