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Los Angeles, California

Los-Angeles

Great Destination:

3.5

Value for Money:

2.5

Total Stars:

6.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

At one time had stronger ratings among more Venturesome types. Now better liked by Authentic personality types

Did you know….?

  • With its population of 10.1 million, Los Angeles County would rank as the eighth-largest U.S. state.
  • Jerry Seinfeld’s New York apartment is in Los Angeles.
  • There are 5.2 million cars registered in Los Angeles County; only seven states have more.
  • One hundred fifty productions are filmed daily on Los Angeles streets.
  • More than 224 languages or dialects are spoken in the city.

A car town

Los Angeles is often described by outsiders as a bunch of suburbs in search of a city. There are so many communities that seem disconnected from each other, but each area offers something different. In one day visitors can surf in the ocean, ski or snowboard (nearby mountains get winter snow) and trek across the desert.

For shopping, the Grove in the Fairfax district is the most popular, but for real glitz and glamour, there is Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

The city has countless cultural attractions. The Frank O. Gehry-designed Disney Concert Hall in downtown gets rave reviews for its shiny molded steel design and acoustics. It has no bad seats and the Los Angeles Philharmonic is a world class orchestra. The Getty Center (art museum) in Bel Air has what most consider a good but not outstanding art collection, but its setting and buildings are spectacular.

The circular Capitol Records building on Vine Street in Hollywood was designed to look like a stack of 45 speed records.  The Griffith Observatory has been featured in many films and is best remembered as a backdrop for scenes in “Rebel Without a Cause.” Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood has unique architecture and contains the collection of handprints of famous celebrities.

Featured in countless TV series and movies, Malibu Beach is a place that has to be seen in the flesh. It also has the Getty Villa, an art museum that’s a faithful reconstruction of a Roman patrician country home. Venice Beach offers a different perspective — a fascinating place of tattooed skateboarders and muscle men, street artists and fortune-tellers.

Driving is part of the experience, too. Pick up Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and follow its winding path past magnificent homes in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Brentwood — all the way to the ocean. Mulholland Drive winds around the rim of the Santa Monica Mountains and gives vista views of the west side of town and the San Fernando Valley.

Although Los Angeles has the nation’s second-largest public transportation system, it’s still a car town and visitors need one to get around.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Try surfboarding or wakeboarding at Malibu or Santa Monica. Rental boards and instruction are available.  Or, for a quite different experience, bring your skis in winter and try nearby Big Bear Lake (Snow Summit) or Wrightwood (Mountain High).
  • Go sportfishing from a number of beach communities, but be prepared to do something with a big catch if you get lucky.
  • Attend the California Sushi Academy for beginners’ classes in making sushi. Combine that with a sake tasting session.
  • If you want to snorkel or do some spearfishing, take a boat to Catalina Island.  It offers clear water, a chance to view some amazing colored fish and even to try Abalone diving. Catalina’s mountains also have buffalo herds left over from a Disney movie.
  • Searching for something unique in art or furniture?  The Beverly/Robertson area serves interior decorators but most stores also accept walk-ins. Its high-end galleries feature contemporary art.
  • Hit the trail either on foot or on horseback. Los Angeles County has 344 miles of hiking and horse trails.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Drive along the coast, from Santa Monica to Malibu and beyond.  Or make that drive in reverse so you can enjoy a great dinner in Santa Monica at one of its fine restaurants.
  • See the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar; it is a hidden jewel with 60,000 square feet that accommodate more than 200 cars dating from 1898 to 1982, all fully restored and taken for regular drives. It also has a large collection of music boxes, jukeboxes, cuckoo clocks, watches and more.  Also, see the Petersen Automotive Museum at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax; it encloses 150 rare cars in 300,000 square feet with an organized display of the evolution of the automobile.
  • Take the behind-the-scenes tour at NBC, the only Los Angeles television studio with such a tour.
  • Smell the flowers. Descanso Gardens, sandwiched between La Canada and Pasadena, has an extensive display of azaleas, camellias, lilacs and other seasonal plants, beautiful and fascinating even for nongardeners.
  • Take in a musical or a play at any of the more than 130 theaters around town.  It may not be Broadway, but the quality and variety are high because Los Angeles is still the entertainment capital.
  • Tour the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where you can visit the site’s space flight operations facility and spacecraft assembly facility. Advance reservations are required.  Add a visit to the Griffith Observatory for its astronomy museum, telescopes and planetarium theater.

Things to do for Authentics

  • You won’t be able to see the inside of a motion picture studio unless you have connections, but you can join the live audience of quite a number of television game and quiz shows, reality shows and other formats. Contact the networks in advance of your trip. Also, keep your eyes open. You never know when you’ll bump into a star shopping or eating at one of the area’s restaurants.
  • Tours to see the homes of Hollywood stars and other sights can be booked in advance.  A Google search will quickly give you multiple choices of tour operator sites that describe tours offered, the kinds of buses and vans used and prices.
  • The Museum of the American West at the edge of Griffith Park (the largest city park in the nation) holds art, artifacts and memorabilia relating to movie and TV Westerns, especially Gene Autry who started the museum with a gift.
  • Visit the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley (rated the safest city in the U.S.). An extensive Reagan collection and interesting rotating special exhibits help to ensure a memorable experience.
  • Work on your swing. Los Angeles County has 19 golf courses.
  • While you’re in town, dip your toe in the water even if you don’t want to swim. There are many beaches including Hermosa Beach, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Will Rogers State Beach and more.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board at www.discoverlosangeles.com