- Los Angeles is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
- This article is about the city of Los Angeles. For the Los Angeles Metropolitan area see Los Angeles County
The city of Los Angeles  — also known as the "City of Angels" or simply L.A. — is the largest city in California. Located on a broad basin in Southern California, it's surrounded by vast mountain ranges, deep valleys, forests, desert and miles of coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
The metropolitan area is the second largest in the United States in terms of population, containing over 17 million people who hail from all parts of the globe and speak over a hundred different languages. The metropolitan area is centered in Los Angeles County, but stretches into Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County.
Los Angeles is an important center of culture, business, media, and international trade, but is most famous for being the center of the world's entertainment industry, which forms the base of its global status.
These districts are a part of the city of Los Angeles. See also Los Angeles County for destinations in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
- Downtown — Once the center of LA, it fell into disrepair over the last few decades and was primarily a business center and home to the homeless. However, in recent years, the area has seen a booming revival, with trendy hotels, bars, shops and restaurants opening to make it a place to be again.
- Eastside — A funkier area north of downtown and east of Hollywood that's rapidly gentrifying.
- Harbor Area — Home of the largest sea port in the States, and the launching point for trips to Catalina Island.
- Hollywood — The place where dreams are made. It has received quite a makeover in recent years, sparked by the construction of Hollywood & Highland and the return of the Academy Awards.
- South Central — It's long had a reputation for gang violence and is famed for the Rodney King riots, but while it remains off most peoples radar, there's a handful of things to see and it's working slowly to repair its bruised image.
- Westside — Generally more affluent area of town near the ocean
- Greater Wilshire — Wilshire Blvd didn't invent the car, but it certainly put it on the map - the first gas station in the country was at Wilshire & La Brea.
Even before O.J. drove the Bronco or "The Terminator" became governor, Frank Lloyd Wright said, "Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles."
The Los Angeles metro area has been a "boomtown" since the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1876, first attracting "the folks" from the Midwest with a blessedly warm and dry climate- and becoming a gateway to a remarkable diversity of immigration from throughout the Pacific Rim and Latin America.
L.A. is a sprawling megalopolis; one could start in one end of L.A. and drive for more than two hours without leaving the county's influence. The metro area includes smaller cities, such as Santa Monica, Burbank, Pasadena and Long Beach, which were founded around the end of the nineteenth century and retain distinct identities. Geographically, there is no clear method as to what is part of the city of L.A. For example, Hollywood is not a separate city (it's part of the City of LA) but adjacent West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are independent cities. Nonetheless, they are all within Los Angeles County and culturally are very much a part of the city itself.
The city's primary newspapers are the Los Angeles Times  and the Los Angeles Daily News . The free LA Weekly  comes out on Thursdays and is a good source for concerts, movies and other local information. Local areas may have their own free neighborhood papers as well. LosAngelesNomad.com  is a good resource for travelers trying to find hidden gems.
Los Angeles is a very diverse city with nearly half of its population being born outside the United States. It has the third largest Mexican population in the world behind Mexico City and Guadalajara, and is home to many other large immigrant populations such as Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Iranians, Armenians, Thais, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Indians, Koreans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Israelis, and Samoans. Spread throughout the city are many ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown, Filipinotown, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Little Persia, and Little India. For the most part it's also a fairly gay-friendly city, especially the West side, Hollywood, and West Hollywood where even the police cars bear rainbows.
English is the dominant language in Los Angeles. However, like much of California with a large Latino population and a history under Spanish and Mexican rule, Spanish is very widely spoken in Los Angeles. The city's name is even a Spanish phrase, meaning "The Angels". In fact, Los Angeles has one of the largest Spanish speaking populations in the world, with street and store signs in certain parts of the city printed in both English and Spanish. According to the U.S. Census, roughly 70% of Los Angeles' population speaks English either as their first or second language, while roughly 44% of Los Angeles speaks Spanish as a first or second language. With Los Angeles' large immigrant population, many other languages such as Tagalog, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Korean, Hindi, and Vietnamese are also widely spoken. Street signs in ethnic enclaves will often be printed in one of these languages. For example, street signs in Chinatown will be printed in English and Chinese.
Before heading out, get the Go Los Angeles Card , which gives you free admission and express entry to over 40 attractions in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties. The Southern California CityPass  gives a 3-day ticket to Disneyland, and 1 day each at Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego, and the San Diego Zoo.
The Los Angeles area is served by six major commercial airports and more than a dozen private airports.
Los Angeles International  (IATA: LAX) is the major gateway. The airport is huge, with nine terminals, and the only way to get from terminal to terminal (other than walking) is to use the free "A" shuttle buses that run in a loop between the terminals.
There are also two executive terminals for commercial, private and corporate aircraft, Mercury  and Landmark . Both are served by air taxi and air charter firms such as Great Circle Aviation  to LAX and going to other destinations such as San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Air charter firms have much shorter check-in times (closer to 10 minutes) with the departure time customized for each flight and set by the passengers for that trip, and no long security lines, but they often charge a premium for the time savings.
In L.A., an automobile is nearly essential, and connections to and from the airport are poor. There is no direct train service, although there are free shuttle buses to Aviation Station on the Metro Green Line, and half-hourly LAX FlyAway  shuttles to Union Station ($6 one way). Taxis to downtown L.A. cost $45 and take 30 minutes in good traffic, but can be far slower in rush hour. On your return to the airport, be sure to arrive two hours before your flight as queues for security are often notoriously long and time-consuming.
The others are Long Beach Airport  (IATA: LGB), Bob Hope (Burbank) Airport  (IATA: BUR), Orange County/John Wayne Airport  (IATA: SNA) and far flung LA/Ontario Airport (IATA: ONT) east of L.A and LA/Palmdale Airport (IATA: PMD) to the north. Even though LAX is often cheapest, avoiding LAX will save a lot of hassle because the other airports are small and not as busy (especially Long Beach), but you will typically be further away from your destination which will entail a lot of driving. However, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is much closer to the destinations in Los Angeles and if you're able to get a flight to Burbank, take it!
Then again, going anywhere in L.A. is going to require a lot of driving. If you're going to Disneyland or any of the Orange County beaches (Laguna, Huntington, Newport), consider the Orange County/John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA). For any of the airports, it is probably best to use the numerous buses and shuttles to get to and from the airport, if you are staying in the area. Locals do so to avoid dealing with the hassles and cost of parking.
Private pilots will prefer smaller general aviation airports such as Santa Monica (ICAO: KSMO), Van Nuys (ICAO: KVNY), Hawthorne or one of the dozens of other small airports in the area. LAX does not cater to small general aviation; Burbank (ICAO: KBUR) does but is high traffic; Long Beach (ICAO: KLGB) does but has a very complicated runway system and high traffic. Much of Los Angeles is Class Bravo or other controlled airspace, but due to the number of airports and the generally good weather Los Angeles makes a fantastic flying destination. Private pilots should also be prepared for flight delays when flying to LAX (including IFR ground holds} or delays in arrival or departure sequencing with busy jet traffic, and should consider alternatives such as Hawthorne (10 mi from LAX) as an option to leave an airplane and catch an airline flight.
The main Amtrak  station is at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St. next to the Hollywood (US-101) freeway in downtown Los Angeles. The train station also has a Metro Red Line subway station (platforms in station's basement) and Metro Gold Line light rail station (on platforms 1 and 2, parallel to the Amtrak and Metrolink trains), while local city buses stop at various locations around the terminal, including some in the MTA (Patsaouras) bus plaza at the east portal of the station. The train station is patrolled by private security staff and people lingering too long in the seats may be asked to show a ticket. Taxis are available at the west exit and the station is within short walking distance to the Civic Center and Olvera Street. Chinatown and Little Tokyo are also nearby. Be warned that it can get quite uncomfortable in the station especially when it is hot and/or there are a lot of people. Great for business travel but perhaps not the best for families or any large group of people.
Amtrak routes serving Los Angeles are:
- The Coast Starlight  runs daily between Los Angeles and Seattle via Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area, with one other LA County stop northwest of Downtown in the San Fernando Valley (Van Nuys).
- The Pacific Surfliner  runs several trains daily between San Diego and Los Angeles, with some trains traveling north to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. There are many local stops northwest of Downtown in the San Fernando Valley (it shares a route with the Coast Starlight but stops at more stations) and southeast to Orange County.
- The Southwest Chief  runs daily to Chicago via Albuquerque and Kansas City. Local stops south of Downtown and east into the Inland Empire (Fullerton, Riverside, and San Bernardino).
- The Sunset Limited  runs three times a week out to New Orleans via Tucson and San Antonio. Additionally, Amtrak's Texas Eagle  service between San Antonio and Chicago incorporates the Sunset Limited to provide a direct connection to Los Angeles. Local stops east of Downtown into the Inland Empire (Pomona and Ontario).
Union Station is spectacular (opened in 1939 and with the era's associated grand architecture), but there are several stops within the County that may be better located to your destination. L.A. is big--make sure you get the right stop. Unfortunately, while Union Station has the best bus, subway, light rail and commuter rail connections (and a Hertz and Budget car rental desk), it may be far from other landmarks. If you're arriving in LA by train but planning to travel around the area, here are some alternate connection options:
- The Burbank Amtrak station is next to the Burbank Bob Hope airport, where connections include Metrolink, bus and the usual rental cars at the airport's terminal. Book Amtrak through to Burbank (BUR), although doing so means you'll probably make a connection to a Pacific Surfliner at Union Station (since no long distance train serves Burbank). If that's the case, Pacific Surfliner tickets are not tied to a specific train and can be used on any Pacific Surfliner train as well as any Metrolink trains serving the same route. So when your long distance train arrives at Union Station, you can simply take the first available train heading to Burbank. (Note that Metrolink calls the same station Burbank-Bob Hope Airport, as Metrolink also serves an additional Downtown Burbank station not served by Amtrak.)
- Los Angeles World Airports operates a cheap motorcoach service between Union Station and LAX, where every major rental car company has countless thousands of cars available (weekend prices can be real bargains). Called the Union Station FlyAway, it serves the MTA (Patsouras) bus plaza adjacent to the station.
Several Metrolink lines overlap Amtrak's routes or serve the same cities via a slightly different routing. Metrolink trains can be significantly less expensive than Amtrak; for example, LA to Oceanside is $12.50 on Metrolink but $19 on Amtrak. Train frequencies vary between Amtrak and Metrolink for given station pairs (some are more frequent via Amtrak and some are more frequent via Metrolink, since some Metrolink runs terminate before the end of the line). Metrolink schedules are available at the Metrolink Web site .
The Greyhound  terminal is at 1716 East 7th Street, near I-10 along South Alameda Avenue, in the heart of the city's vast, notorious skid-row district. This is a very dangerous part of the city, filled with drug addicts and other mentally unstable people; one should use the greatest caution here even within the bus station. From the Greyhound station, take a taxi or Metro Bus #60 to get downtown.
Fortunately, other terminals are in far safer areas and have better access to public transportation. From the north, the North Hollywood station is located at 11239 Magnolia Boulevard, one-quarter mile south of the Metro Red Line North Hollywood station. The Hollywood station, at 1715 North Cahuenga Boulevard, is one-quarter mile west of the Metro Red Line Hollywood/Vine station.
Of note for passengers coming from the east is the El Monte station, at 3501 North Santa Anita Avenue. The station also houses an M.T.A. and Foothill Transit bus station, and frequent express bus service to Downtown Los Angeles is available upstairs. The El Monte station also houses a substation of the local county sheriff. Also, from the east, the Pasadena Greyhound station, located one-quarter mile west of the Lake Avenue Metro Gold Line station, is an option.
From the south, Greyhound passengers should use the East Los Angeles station, located at 1241 South Soto Street, or the Compton Station, located at 305 North Tamarind Avenue. The East Los Angeles station has multiple lines operating to downtown nearby, while the Compton station is across the street from a Metro Blue Line station.
GotoBus  sells tickets to and from Los Angeles for a variety of bus companies.
LuxBus  offers four daily trips to and from Anaheim, San Diego, and Las Vegas.
Xe Do Hoang  offers service between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Los Angeles' massive sprawl and dysfunctional public transportation makes getting around rather painful, especially during weekends when service can be more erratic. The only rational way of getting around is to rent a car, in which case you'll get a crash course in the complex freeway system and, if you're "lucky," a taste of the notorious traffic jams.
The L.A. bus system  is extensive but takes a little bit to learn. The website www.mta.net or 1-800-COMMUTE are the best way to plan trips in advance. Once you have the hang of it - you can get anywhere during the day. If you have a bike - you can get anywhere within an hour and without the headache and stress. Many Angelenos rely on the bus as their primary mode of transportation. Within the central area (from Downtown to the coast, below Sunset Blvd and above Interstate 10) the buses are frequent and ubiquitous enough to get around without a schedule. If possible the best busses to take are the Rapids. They have fewer stops and cut through the traffic well. The best routes for getting across town (east-west) are the #2 Local or #302 Limited on Sunset Blvd, the #4 Local, #304 Limited, or #704 Rapid on Santa Monica Boulevard, the #20 Local, #720 Rapid, or #920 Rapid Express on Wilshire Boulevard, and the #33 Local or #333 Limited on Venice Boulevard. Some travelers recommend checking night schedules; bus service (but not rail service) runs 24 hours but many routes change and have extremely reduced frequency in the late hours. However, schedules have little resemblance to the actual frequency or times when the buses run. Fares are currently $1.25 per boarding (no transfers) or $5 for a day pass (also good on Metro Rail); you can buy both from any Metro Rail station or Metro bus driver. Bring a street map in case an MTA bus changes its route to make up for lost time (an unfortunately frequent and unpredictable occurrence).
Parts of Los Angeles are better served by the bus systems of neighboring cities. Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus system operates a number of lines that link not only places within Santa Monica, but also Los Angeles districts like Brentwood, Westwood, and Venice Beach. The Culver CityBus operates buses in and around Culver City. Both bus systems connect with the main airport at LAX, although, as with the L.A. bus, an additional shuttle is necessary to get to the terminals.
The Metro Rail  subway and light rail system has grown considerably over the past 15 years and is increasingly useful in getting around. A single trip fare good for one direction on one line costs $1.25 and can be purchased from the vending machines at the stations. Alternatively, you can avail of a $5/day pass (good until 3AM the next day), a $17/week pass or $62/month pass which allows unlimited access. The day pass can be purchased through the vending machines or the buses, while passes for longer durations can be obtained from Metro Customer Centers scattered around the city or on the MTA website. Be aware that the Metro Rail system stops at 1AM and starts again at 4AM.
Rail lines were designed with ward-level politics in mind, rather than transportation needs, and the route structure is rather bizarre. Many popular tourist destinations require multiple transfers, and often involving buses. For example, a twenty-five mile trip from Pasadena to LAX airport involves travel on four lines and a shuttle bus and takes well over two hours. A pending U-shaped extension to the Gold Line will make it possible to make a six-mile trip from Sierra Madre to East LA in 75 minutes, about the same as it would take to walk.
For other routes, subway and light rail can be a good option with travel from North Hollywood to Long Beach possible in about 45 minutes. Additionally, despite its shortfalls, public transportation is often preferable to the gridlock that occurs on LA-area streets and highways. Several of the lines ( particularly sections of the Blue Line) are mechanically unreliable and bus service is often used to cover parts of the route when the trains are not working. Locals recommend that you verify that the trains are running *before* buying for your ticket.
The rail is operated by the same agency as the bus system, so their maps  include the rail lines. The fare structure is also the same as for the bus system. The Metro works on a 'trust' system: you buy your tickets from machines, then get on and ride... no turnstiles, no barriers. However, do not even think about entering the system without a valid ticket or pass; Metro police are part of the L.A. Sheriff's Department who randomly check for valid tickets on the trains or platforms, and the penalty for not being able to show a valid ticket is $250 and up to 48 hours of community service. If you ride several times chances are you will be asked to show your ticket at least once. Be careful - if your trip involves more than one line, you have to either buy separate tickets for each line or use the Day Pass.
The Metro Rail system is composed of 2 subway lines and 3 light rail lines:
- Red Line, a subway that runs from Downtown (Union Station) to the Hollywood area, then on into the San Fernando Valley. From there (North Hollywood Station) you can take the Orange Line (Busway system) to the west end of the valley. This route shares track with the Purple Line for about half of its length--when boarding a subway train, check its signs to make sure it is going to your destination.
- Purple Line, a subway that runs from Downtown (Union Station) to the Mid-Wilshire area, also known as Koreatown This route shares track with the Red Line for most of its length--when boarding a subway train, check its signs to make sure it is going to your destination.
- Blue Line, a light rail line that runs from a subway connection with the Red and Purple Lines Downtown at 7th and Figueroa Streets at street level or higher (with some interesting views) through South Central, southward to Long Beach.
- Gold Line, a light rail line that runs from a subway connection with the Red and Purple Lines at Downtown's Union Station northeast to Pasadena.
- Green Line, a light rail line that runs from the South Bay (near LAX) east to the city of Norwalk along Interstate 105, connecting with the Blue Line at Rosa Parks Station in Watts.
Also often included in the Metro Rail system:
- Orange Line, a busway across the San Fernando Valley, using special sleek articulated "bus-trains" on rubber tires.
Attractions that are easily reached via the rail system include: Universal Studios and Universal CityWalk, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Mann's Chinese Theater and Hollywood&Highland Center, Thai Town, Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory (via a brief bus transfer on Vermont/Sunset; weekends only), Koreatown, the Wiltern Theater, Westlake/MacArthur Park, Downtown (including the Financial District, Disney Hall, City Hall, Broadway, Union Station, Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, the Convention Center, LA LIVE/Nokia Plaza, and the Staples Center), Old Town Pasadena, the Watts Towers, LAX (via a free shuttle bus at Aviation Station), downtown Long Beach, and, via a frequent shuttle bus from downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Distinct from the Metro is the Metrolink  commuter railroad system, whose city terminus is Union Station. This commuter rail system reaches as far as Ventura, Lancaster, San Bernardino, and Oceanside (northern San Diego County), but has several severe limitations for the visitor — notably, most lines are shut down on weekends, and stops service to the suburbs very early in the evenings during the week, although very limited Amtrak services run on the Orange County and Ventura County lines even when regular Metrolink trains don't. Last but not least, your Metro Day Pass isn't valid on Metrolink, so you'll need to buy separate tickets, which aren't cheap: a one-way from Union Station to Anaheim will set you back $6.75, although return and weekend discounts are available. Like the Metro Rail, the Metrolink uses the honor system where no barriers are required to enter the system, and random inspections to ensure that every passenger is in possession of a valid ticket are conducted often. You can use cash or credit card to purchase tickets.
In order to fully experience LA, you need to bring or rent a private car. Few attractions are easily served by rail or bus. Traffic is one of the worst by US standards, but visitors used to driving in most of the world will not find it especially bad, and if you want to experience L.A., you need to get a car. Many of the major car rental companies are located at LAX and some smaller companies serve the airport as well (Ace Rent A Car, E-Z Rent-A-Car , Fox Rent A Car). Some of the most interesting parts of town are nearly impossible to reach via public transportation. For example, if you want to visit Malibu, any beach cities other than Santa Monica and Venice, the Korean Friendship Bell (with views of the port), the Chinese communities in the San Gabriel Valley, or any part of Orange County, you are strongly advised to travel by car. There are also many spectacular natural areas surrounding the L.A. metropolitan area that you can only reach by car. See the article about Driving in Los Angeles County for more information. If you are mostly going to be between the ocean and downtown, drive on arterial streets such as Wilshire Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. to get around instead of the freeways. This not a way of avoiding traffic but a way to see more of the city's sights and lessen the chance of getting lost by taking the wrong exits on the freeway.
If you are going to be driving around, make sure you have access to extensive street and freeway maps, a Thomas Bros Guide  (a large spiral-bound street atlas), AAA  offers good free maps to members from any state, or a car with an onboard navigation system. (One map in particular from AAA that even locals find useful is a pocket guide to the area's extensive freeway system.)
The freeways in L.A. can be confusing and overwhelming, and typically the speed of the freeway during the non-rush hours is much higher (75 to 85mph) than the speed limit (65mph). Los Angelinos and southern Californians in general are used to cruising at speeds of 80mph or more if no police officer is in obvious sight. L.A. in particular, being plagued by traffic jams, follows a general rule of "floor it to capacity" which means, one must drive as fast as allowed by current traffic conditions. (Of course, this is an ideology, not a suggestion.) For this, freeways will usually be packed and yet cars will be moving at high speeds virtually inches away from other. This behavior, of course, can lead to multiple-vehicle chain reaction car crashes when a driver leading the race finds himself braking abruptly.
If you have two or more people in your vehicle, regardless of your purpose, you may use the "Carpool Only" lanes (some require 3 people, but these will be clearly marked). There's also lots of construction work going around since the beginning of 2004 (especially late at night), so watch out for that too. Listening to a radio station is helpful for any long trip through L.A. since most stations regularly disseminate traffic information during the daylight hours. KNX 1070 AM and KFWB 980 AM are the most frequent and cover the metropolitan area, including Orange and Ventura counties and the Inland Empire. Note that freeways are sometimes broadcast by the segment name (i.e. Santa Monica Freeway) in addition to their route number (I-10). Proper freeway names can also change depending on these segments (I-10, for example, contains both the Santa Monica and San Bernardino Freeways.) Be wary of certain interchanges, especially the East L.A. Interchange and the loops in Downtown L.A. Although these are well signed, they can still be confusing. When receiving directions or traffic reports, keep in mind that both locals and traffic reports will refer to highway numbers with the definitive article (e.g. "the 10" instead of "I-10").
Although L.A.'s traffic jams are legendary, the freeway grid provides for an effective movement of traffic and a variety of alternatives. Be sure to have an alternative route planned out in advance; many freeways run parallel to each other and serve as viable alternatives, especially in long-distance trips! Traffic accident reports on the radio will give the name of the freeway interchange or cross-street. Traffic is often so far away that you won't be affected even on the same freeway and direction. If possible, use a passenger as your navigator. You may also check SigAlert  for current traffic information before your trip. Another online resource for a Los Angeles traffic report is also available for checking up on traffic conditions when traveling to your end destination. If you are traveling more than 10 or 15 miles on the freeway network, ask a local for the best route at that time of day.
- Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
- Hollywood Boulevard. Here you can find some of the biggest tourist attractions in the city - The Walk of Fame for its stars, Grauman's Chinese Theatre for its hand and foot prints, the Hollywood/Highland plaza for shopping and entertainment, The Wax Museum, and Ripley's Believe it or Not. All of these attractions are accessible from the Hollywood/Highland Metro Red Line station. More info in the Hollywood article.
- Mulholland Drive. This famous avenue is worth a drive if you have your own transport. It's the setting for endless movies and first kisses, and provides great views over the city. The easiest way to enter is to head north up Highland Ave into the Cahuenga Pass - you'll come to a turnoff to your left that is signed. Beware of speeding cars near this intersection.
- Street Rod Limos Take a tour in America's most famous Street Rod Limo see over 40 celebrity homes, Santa Monica Venice Beach and Marina del Rey. Daily departures from Rodeo Drive (Louis Vuitton) Tour reservations and information: 323-610-5034 Customize your private tour!!!
- El Pueblo. Also known as Olvera Street, this is the historic center of LA and the city derives its name from the mission established here (Misión de la Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles - the Mission of our Lady the Queen of the Angels). The oldest building in the city lies here and is open to visitors, as are a number of Mexican restaurants and shops; it is across the street from Union Station.
- Union Station, 800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90012. A historic downtown site and the main railway hub for the city.
- The Getty Center (aka J. Paul Getty Museum), 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90049, . Well worth a visit. Entrance is free though you will pay $8 for parking or is served by Metro Bus 761. Located at the top of the Santa Monica mountains, you have a spectacular view of both the L.A. basin, the Pacific Ocean, as well as the beautiful buildings and the rose gardens. They also have a very extensive arts collection, should that interest you. The old museum, J. Paul Getty Villa , in Pacific Palisades, is also worth a visit.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90012, . M/F: 11:00am-5:00pm, Th: 11:00am-8:00pm (5-8pm is free), Sat/Sun: 11:00am-6:00pm. There are two branches located downtown, but there is another at the Pacific Design Center on Melrose Avenue. They feature rotating exhibits.GA: $10, Students/Seniors: $5, Children under 12: FREE.
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
- Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
- California Afro-American Museum.
- Page Museum at La Brea Discoveries, 5801 Wilshire Boulevard. A fascinating site of palentological excavations. Saber-tooth cats, mastadons, giant sloth, bison, Dire wolves, the American lion (yes - there was one), camels, horses. An on-going work of digging the complete remains of tens of thousands of years old animals out of tar continues today and a massive collection of the bones inside. Well worth the visit away from the glitz of Hollywood and back in time when man was just appearing in the area. Rancho La Brea is one of the world’s most famous fossil localities, recognized for having the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. Visitors can learn about Los Angeles as it was between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago. Watch volunteers dig out bones every summer, watch your step as active tar seeps are all over the property, watch the methane bubbles boil up in the lake in front of the museum, hold your nose.
- The Museum of Tolerance, 9786 West Pico Blvd, ☎ 310-553-8403. Mon-Fri 10AM-5PM, SUN 11AM-5PM, Early close on Fri 10AM-3PM Nov-Mar. The Museum of Tolerance houses several exhibits focused on bringing light to the ways in which humans have been and can be more tolerant.Adults $13, Seniors (62+) $11, Student with I.D. and Youth 5-18 $10.
- Japanese American National Museum.
- Chinatown (also the East San Gabriel Valley)
- Little Tokyo
- Little Armenia
- Little Persia
- Little Gaza
- K-Town (Koreatown)
- Little Ethiopia
- Little India (Artesia)
- West Hollywood (Russian, and also gay)
- East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights (Mexican)
- Fairfax District (east-european Jewish)
- Griffith Park. This is the second largest park within a city in the whole country (and in LA, where you'd least expect it!), and is a great place for hikes, picnics or hanging around with friends. The hiking trails lead up to Mulholland Drive, and provide great views of the city. One of the main hiking trails is located on Bronson Ave. The street will end leading up to the trail. Griffith park has several options for kids, including the L.A. Zoo, "Travel Town" which is a free exhibition of old trains and model trains with trains rides for children ($3), the Autry western museum, pony rides, a golf course, driving range, horseback riding, a christmas light drive in December (expect traffic), and The (Space) Observatory.
- Exposition Park is surrounded by Figueroa Street to the east, King Boulevard to the south, Vermont Avenue to the west, and Exposition Boulevard to the north. In 1909, California's Sixth District Agricultural Association and the county and city of Los Angeles agreed to transform Agricultural Park (renamed Exposition Park in 1910) into an exposition building and armory. In return, the county would construct and operate a history and art museum and the city would maintain the grounds.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, just north of LA – a large theme park focused on roller coasters. Hurricane Harbor is just next door, which focuses on water rides, and is open from mid-May through late September.
- Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
Want to stay in shape during your visit to LA? The city offers more options than perhaps anywhere in the world. Yoga? Yes. Pilates? Yes. Great gyms? Yes. Spinning? Yes. Tai Chi? Yes. If it exists as an exercise then yes. Most gyms offer more mainstream versions of some or all of the above - or most types of Yoga studios can easily be found.
- YogaWorks, various locations, . Has several locations around the LA area including Larchmont Blvd and 2 locations in Santa Monica.
- LA Fitness, various locations. Has multiple locations in the city with tons of facilities.
- Westside Velocity Sports Performance, 11845 W. Olympic Blvd Suite A, Los Angeles, CA 90064, ☎ (310)478-1233. Located in the middle of LA's Westside on Olympic Blvd, for the performance minded with the best in the business headed by John Park son of the legendary body builder Reg Park, and Chuck DeBus track coach to countless Olympic medalists.
LA has great opportunities for seeing live pro sports.
- LA Dodgers, Dodger Stadium, . The pride and joy of Los Angeles. Who wouldn't want to grab a Dodgers Dog and get a nice sunburn watching a game of baseball? Don't forget to wait until the 2nd or 3rd inning to show up, as the locals do, and to get the genuine LA experience, leave in the 7th inning - traffic is atrocious getting out of the stadium, and most Dodger-stadium visitors will be gone before the 7th inning stretch. For $35 you can get all-you-can-eat hot dogs, sodas, and nachos at the Right Field Pavilion.
- LA Lakers, Staples Center, . Do they need an introduction? They are the most popular basketball team in the city. Prices are very high (the most expensive ticket in the NBA) but you will rarely be disappointed with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the beautiful Staples Center.
- LA Clippers, Staples Center, . The Los Angeles Clippers are a rising NBA team. Tickets are slightly cheaper than Laker tickets. The basketball season runs from late October to June.
- LA Galaxy, Home Depot Center, . Los Angeles official soccer team, and the home of English soccer superstar David Beckham.
- Chivas USA, Home Depot Center, . Los Angeles other MLS team, while not as famous or well known as the Galaxy, recently they've had much more success. They're name comes from mexican club Chivas Guadalajara and the team has a strong Mexican fan base.
- LA Kings, Staples Center, . LA's hockey team - they need your support, hockey's not at the top of most people's list in California.
- Cemetery Screenings, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, CA, 90038, . Saturdays, 7pm, May-September. During the summer in Los Angeles, the Cinespia  film society holds movie showings once a week, on Saturdays, within the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The featured films are typically (but not always) older cult classics or horror films, such as The Shining, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and The Warriors. While there is no official admission fee, visitors are asked to make a $10 donation upon entrance. The showing is outdoors on one of the large lawns, as the film is projected onto a massive wall, and DJs spin music until it becomes dark enough to play the movie. Bring a lawn chair, a picnic basket, and a bottle of wine, if you so desire, and enjoy a one of a kind experience.$10 donation at the door.
- Esotouric Bus Adventures, in transit throughout LA, . most Saturday afternoons. Esotouric provides bus adventures into the secret heart of Los Angeles through provocative and complex tours mixing crime and social history, rock and roll and architecture, literature and film, fine art and urban studies into a simmering stew of original research and startling observations. Among the featured tours are The Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus, Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles, Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus, John Fante's Dreams of Bunker Hill and the Weird West Adams Crime Bus.The tours explore fascinating, neglected neighborhoods and are led by passionate, witty tour guides. $55/person including snacks.
- Los Angeles Helicopter Tours, . Scenic helicopter rides over Los Angeles, including famous landmarks, coastline, and surrounding areas.
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 
- California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) 
- California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) 
- California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) 
- California State University, Northridge (CSUN) 
- California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) 
- California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 
Private Universities and Colleges
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech) 
- University of Southern California (USC) 
- Loyola Marymount University (LMU) 
- Pepperdine University 
- Occidental College (Oxy) 
- Mount St. Mary's College 
- Biola University 
- Pitzer College 
- Claremont McKenna College 
- Santa Monica College (SMC) 
- Pierce College 
- Los Angeles City College (LACC) 
- Los Angeles Mission College 
- West Los Angeles College (WLAC) 
- Glendale College (GCC) 
- Pasadena City College (PCC) 
- Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
Los Angeles has a well-known, diverse and unique shopping traditions and destinations. Shopping malls will dominate your shopping trip as they are nearly inescapable in many of your destinations. For example, the Hollywood & Highland mall is a popular meeting point for those gazing at the Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theater. Other malls you may bump into are the Grove (next to the Farmer's Market) and the Beverly Center, which is quite unlike other shopping malls as it is multilevel with a nice view of Los Angeles from its food court patio.
Lacking any significant public square, Los Angeles funnels its commercial life onto its streets. Among the most popular street is Larchmont Blvd. which caters to the wealthy elite of Hancock Park with one-of-a-kind boutiques. Melrose Avenue, especially in the West Hollywood portion, one-ups Larchmont Blvd. with celebrity presence.
Broadway in Downtown will take you out of the comforts of overly manicured shopping centers and drop you onto its chaos. With merchandise geared towards the city's millions of Latinos, twenty dollars would probably get you a new wardrobe. You will also find pirated DVD's and CD's. You can find a lot of brand name merchandise at discounted prices. Broadway once was the city's premier boulevard and looking up above the gritty flea markets and you would see the opulent theaters that defined luxury in early 20th-century Los Angeles.
For a similar experience in a less-polished but even livelier environment, try Alvarado Blvd around Wilshire & 6th in the Westlake District. This district, with a density that rivals Manhattan's, gives an insight to how most of working-class Los Angeles shops. Big deals can be found on a wide range of counterfeit goods, but don't stay too long after dark, when the neighborhood gets sketchy. Make sure to check out the art deco buildings that exist in between the makeshift warehouses (malls), as well as the Alvarado Terrace Park, surrounded by early century mansions.
Downtown is the destination for some focused retail therapy. Want flowers? Why there's a Flower District in Downtown! Jewelry? Fashion? Seafood? Toys? Yep, there are entire districts in Downtown dedicated to these particular products. You can buy art in Gallery Row up and down Main Street or see artists at work in the Artist District. They are located mostly just east of the towering Financial District. Beware though as they exist along with the notorious Skid Row.
No matter what music you're into, Los Angeles will feature artists to your taste. Visit the Rock Venues on Sunset Blvd. Jazz Clubs in Hollywood. The Disney Symphony Hall in Downtown. etc. As the second capital of hip-hop culture Los Angeles has hundreds of records stores scattered around the area. Also, though vinyl has disappeared from the shelfs of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl. Amoeba Music in Hollywood is without a doubt the best in the city.
- Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
The Los Angeles area is one of the best places in the country for food - you can find just about anything you can imagine somewhere within its loose borders. From traditional American diner culture (try Mel's Drive-In in West Hollywood) to the new wave of organic cafes, to inexpensive taco trucks, and swanky eateries with breath-taking food, there are no shortage of options.
Los Angeles abounds with inexpensive, authentic food that represents the culinary traditions of L.A.'s many immigrant communities. You have to be willing to do a little legwork, go to neighborhoods you might not otherwise go to and often deal with charmless florescent-lit storefronts in strip malls, but your reward is hype-free, authentic cuisine from around the world served up at bargain prices. Food critic Jonathan Gold has been finding and reviewing these gems since the 1980s, mostly in the free paper LA Weekly .
Coverage of regional food from other parts of the U.S. is spotty. Migration into the city has been disproportionately from Texas and Oklahoma, the South, Midwest and greater New York City and food representing these areas is easy enough to find. Food representing New England and other parts of the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Intermountain-Rocky Mountain regions can be elusive, along with many ethnic cuisines with central- and east-european origins. However L.A. is birthplace of the drive-thru and numerous fast food chains clog the roadsides. The In 'n Out Burger chain is far above average for hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes.
The cultural diversity of Los Angeles is an evident influence on the local vegetarian food restaurant industry. Where else but L.A. can you find strictly vegan and vegetarian dining, be it Chinese, Ethiopian, Mexican, Thai, American, Indian, International Fusion, Vegan Macrobiotic, and Raw Gourmet restaurants among others. Other dietary restrictions are catered to as well. For example Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood serves kosher Chinese food and kosher Mexican or Italian is not hard to find along prediminantly Jewish parts of Pico Boulevard. Tung Lai Shun in San Gabriel offers Halal (Islamic) Chinese, including the cuisine of China's muslim minorities as well as familiar favorites prepared according to Islamic law.
There are several different supermarket chains of varying quality - for something different (and cheap) try Trader Joe's, a reputable grocery store with multiple locations (the original is in Pasadena), selling many organic products with no preservatives. They normally give out great samples to the public and sell their acclaimed Charles Shaw wine, also known as "Two Buck Chuck." Whole Foods  is another market with multiple locations and a favorite among the health conscious -- but also a little pricey. Their salad bar is fully stocked, they have huge fresh burritos, sushi, hot dishes ready to go, and a comprehensive selections of pre-made, delicious salads. This is a great place to buy food for a picnic!
LA visitors and locals alike have the opportunity to indulge in a selection of specially priced three-course menus from a wide variety of LA’s best restaurants during dineLA Restaurant Week . It takes place over a two-week time period. Restaurant week for 2008 was January 27 to February 1, 2008 and February 3 to February 8, 2008. Dates are not yet set for 2009.
- Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
Coffee & Tea
- Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, multiple locations citywide, 213-689-8087, . Invented the Original Ice Blended coffee drinks that are now ubiquitous throughout the country.
- Urth Cafe, Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood, or Main St. in Santa Monica. Popular among the trendy health concious LA crowd. Good food, coffees and teas.
The hotel bars are generally considered by Angelenos to be the best places to have drinks. Some of the more popular ones include: Chateau Marmont (Sunset Strip), Skybar at The Mondrian (Sunset Strip), Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower (Sunset Strip), and The Rooftop Bar at The Standard (downtown). Hollywood and the Sunset Strip are generally considered the nightlife centers of LA, though neighborhoods such as Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park are home to the dive bars and cafes favored by trendy hipsters. Downtown has recently recaptured some of its former glory with a selection of popular nightlife destinations such as The Golden Gopher, The Edison and the bars/clubs at LA LIVE.
- Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
It's hard to summarize the plethora of hotel options in L.A. From some of the most opulent (and expensive) hotels in the world to budget hostels to apartment-hotel crash pads, there's something for everyone. Deciding where to stay will have a lot to do with what areas you plan on visiting, and how you're going to get there. As usual in Southern California, a car opens up a world of options, but be sure to check the parking arrangement at your accommodations before you arrive.
Hollywood is probably the most popular option for those wanting to sight-see and chase their image of that world. Downtown has long been popular with the business crowd but is rapidly receiving a makeover with hotels like The Standard  bringing a hipper crowd. Beverly Hills has some of the nicest hotels in the city, expect the prices to reflect its reputation. Sun and sand seekers can head to Santa Monica or Venice, while those just in town for a day or two might consider staying on the Westside near LAX airport. Pasadena to the northeast of LA is a peaceful and leafy city and a good alternative.
- Pay phones are still scattered around town but slowly being removed since mobile phones are quickly making them obsolete.
- Try your hotel or ask at the shop or restaurant you're in if you need to make a local call.
It is possible to get a prepaid sim-card account, but they aren't cheap. The main providers are:
- AT&T, . GSM 850/1900 MHz
- Sprint, . CDMA 1900 MHz
- T-mobile, . GSM 1900 MHz
- Verizon Wireless, . CDMA 850 MHz
Internet cafes are spread around town and most easily found in heavily touristed spots such as Hollywood Blvd and Melrose Ave.
- Cyber-Dog, 7801 Melrose Ave. $10 sign up for 4 hours
- Zen Internet Cafe, 7264 Melrose Ave, (near Poinsettia Ave). $2/hour.
- Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, 655 S Hope Street. Free Wi-Fi.
Most tourist destinations within Los Angeles tend to be pretty safe, including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Downtown (during the day), and West L.A. While the city is one of the safest big cities in the US, walking at night in certain parts should be conducted with caution and only in groups. However by car there is little threat of being harassed in Los Angeles day or night, provided you avoid driving around residential neighborhoods with signs of gang activity as mentioned below.
Certain areas in or near Downtown such as Skid Row (which is where the Greyhound station is located), East LA, and South Central can be dangerous regardless of the time of day and should be avoided altogether when walking. If traveling in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, the neighborhoods of Pacoima, Panorama City, and Canoga Park are also best avoided on foot.
Though some cities, such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Atlanta have higher listed crime rates per-capita than Los Angeles, these numbers can be deceiving because the numbers in L.A. are often skewed because of nicer neighborhoods such as Bel Air, Pacific Palisades and Westwood that offset the numbers for the more dangerous neighborhoods. If South Central was counted as an independent city, it would have the highest crime and murder rate of any city in America. Neighboring Compton, an independent city, currently ranks as the 4th most dangerous city in the United States. As a general rule, you should avoid walking at night in these areas, roughly bounded by Interstate 10 on the north, Interstate 405 on the west, Interstate 710 on the east, and State Highway 91 on the south.
Los Angeles county and city is, unfortunately, the gang capital of America. Gangs generally confine themselves to certain areas and should be of little concern to the typical traveler, who is unlikely to venture into the areas where the gangs are. Gangs will usually identify their territory with graffiti markings. It is best practice to remain in high visibility on major thoroughfares or freeways in areas where graffiti is everywhere. If you do happen to come across a gang it is wise not to stare at them as this could be taken as a personal threat.
Road rage accounts for ten or so deaths per year, a minor but heavily-publicized part of the annual toll. It is a good idea to plan out drives on unfamiliar routes so you can more easily keep up with the flow of traffic and avoid tailgating or cutting off other drivers.
Most homeless individuals are harmless; they will likely only ask you for money and if you refuse, will simply go on to the next person. However, avoid walking along Skid Row in Downtown regardless of day or night.
In the unlikely event of a major earthquake, duck and cover and stay where you are during the shaking, then go outside once the shaking stops. Buildings and other structures are unlikely to collapse. Your largest threats come from breaking windows and falling objects such as ceiling tiles and bookshelves. Try to get under a table, desk, or doorjam to reduce your exposure to these threats. You are more likely to be injured if you try to run during the shaking.
Los Angeles has often been derided as "Smog City USA" because of its notorious air pollution problems. Although the air quality in Los Angeles has improved in recent years, Los Angeles still consistantly ranks as the smoggiest city in the U.S. every year. Most people will not have any respiratory problems despite LA's poor air quality. However, if you do experience difficulty breathing, it is best to go indoors. If respiratory difficulty get really bad, it's best to call 911. The smog is worst in the summer and the further inland you go (such as in the San Fernando Valley and Inland Empire).
- Disneyland – an hour to the south of Hollywood.
- San Fernando Valley — "The Valley" is the sprawling northern section of the city and home to Universal Studios, NBC Studios, CBS Studio Center, Walt Disney & Warner Brothers Studios and a few other attractions.
- Marina del Rey – If you want to get out on the water, Marina del Rey offers the most options at affordable prices.
- Venice – home to Venice Beach and host to some of the most colorful characters in LA. Make sure to check out Gold's Gym to see some heavy lifters, the basketball games for some great action, and the skaters.
- Culver City former movie studio town with a gentrified, walkable downtown, restaurants, boutique-y shopping and theaters (movie and thespian).
- Orange County – upscale beach communities south of Los Angeles
This page was last edited at 00:04, on 29 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by San Francisco Girl, Ryan Holliday and Derek Hofmann, Wikitravel user(s) Smoking is cool, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.