Destination: Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES

Home to Hollywood movie stars, a sprawling urban landscape, a diverse set of cultures and residents, Los Angeles is anything but ordinary. In one corner of this massive metropolitan terrain is the lovely beach of Malibu along the Pacific Ocean coastline, another corner is home to downtown LA with its skyscrapers and interesting architecture. The Hollywood sign perched above the city in the Hollywood Hills watches over the bustling city below. Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Pasadena-–all are unique in their own ways and are connected by dozens of other neighborhoods that make up the pieces of this puzzle known as Los Angeles.

LA, as the city is most commonly known as, is the most populous city in all of California and only ranks behind New York City as the most populous city in the nation. Home to millions of people from a vast variety of countries and cultures from around the world, it’s hard to pinpoint just one way to describe this often mythical locale. The city is also often referred to as the Entertainment Capital of the World for its legendary history with movies, television and music. Although Las Vegas also shares that nickname, the distinction being Las Vegas is where you go to be entertained and Los Angeles is the center of the entertainment industry. Would-be actors and aspiring musicians flock to this city by the sea to fight for a chance to catch a moment in the spotlight and any chance at fame.

To have an understanding of LA as a whole, it’s best to have a grasp on the different districts and cities that make up the Greater Los Angeles area. While Downtown is not necessarily in the center of the city on the map, it is where you’ll find the towering skyscrapers, businesses and some great restaurants and bars. The glitz and glam are definitely found in the world-famous Beverly Hills. This is where the wealthiest live in some of the most acclaimed estates in the world and go shopping on the posh Rodeo Drive. Heading west is Santa Monica perched above a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean; this seaside town is bustling with nightlife and has some great shopping and strolling avenues during the day. North of Santa Monica, the Pacific Coast Highway wiggles its way up the coastline through Malibu, which offers the area’s best beaches and stunning views. South of Santa Monica you’ll find LA’s other beach and bay cities including charming Manhattan Beach and trendy Venice Beach. Other notable further afield areas of the greater LA region include Pasadena to the east, Long Beach to the south and ever further south the suburban and beach communities of Orange County.

Los Angeles is a city for any kind of traveler. The city is inviting for all types including those looking to enjoy the amusement parks of Disneyland in Orange County and Universal Studios in Hollywood, surfers looking to soak up the sun and visit beaches all along the long coastline, those looking to shop in the most trendy and upscale boutiques, those hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity, or even foodies wanting to try out some of the country’s most acclaimed eateries from taco trucks to white linen fare. Cultural landmarks are not to be missed. One of the best is the Getty Center, perched high in the hilltops with its marvelous architecture. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California Science Center and the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance are all standout centers of culture, science and history. Beyond the booming entertainment industry that this city is known for, those looking to be entertained will not fall short for options. Movie screenings, comedy shows, and live music concerts all abound on a nightly basis in the performance-crazed city. Sports fans have plenty of LA teams to cheer on including the LA Lakers, Clippers, Sparks, the Dodgers and the Kings. A place for everyone with a bit of everything, LA has it all. Where will you begin?

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