Drop any pre-conceived ideas that you have about Los Angeles because you are sure to be surprised when you get there. It’s not all Hollywood movie stars and surfers, there is a lot more going on in this town than you will ever have dreamed of. Yes it has Hollywood, it’s not nicknamed Tinsel Town for no reason and yes there are amazing beaches and surfers galore but it’s not all as superficial and plastic as many people would have you believe, there is a side to LA that embraces everything and everyone, there is an eclectic feel to the place and a diverse history that gives LA a depth that many people overlook.
Los Angeles is more than just Hollywood and a land of dreams, long associated with the place to go to make it big in the movie industry, it’s also a large sprawling metropolis that is made up of many different areas each one with a different flavour and beat to it. Like San Francisco there are many different cultures and vibes to LA that make it a great place to go and visit and of course the weather is always good.
Los Angeles is the ideal place to go to if you are looking for a holiday that is going to offer you lots of different things to do. There are so many things to see and experiences to have that it is a good idea to narrow down your top picks just to make sure you get chance to fit everything in.
Los Angeles is America’s second largest city and is a sprawling urban space that sits in Southern California. With its amazing mediterranean climate, it is blessed with lots of hot sunny days and little rain fall. It lies within a large coastal basin and has mountains surrounding it on three sides. The city was originally founded in 1781 and became a part of Mexico in 1821 and finally was established into the USA in 1848. The Spanish influences are still strong in the city and downtown LA has a truly Mexican flavour and beat to it. It is made up of many different neighbourhoods and each one has a completely different vibe to it, from Venice Beach to Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive to the Hollywood Hills, LA is a diverse, vibrant exciting place that you will have a blast in.
There are certain things that you just have to do when you go to LA,take a trip to Grauman Manns Chinese Theatre to see the Hollywood walk of fame experience life on Sunset Boulevard and of course a trip to Venice Beach or Santa Monica are a must, so take some time out to plan your trip to LA to make sure you get the most out of this amazing city.
Top Picks of what to do in Los Angeles.
Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Take a trip down to Hollywood Boulevard to check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This world-famous landmark was established over 50 years ago as a way of recognising people in the film industry for their work both on-screen and behind the scenes. Made up of over 2’500 brass stars this walk way contains some of the most famous faces in the world. It stretches along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and is a top tourist attraction, with some 10 million people visiting annually.
The famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is also situated along Hollywood Boulevard, which is probably one of the most famous movie theatre’s in the world and well worth taking a trip to view, even just from the outside. The front of the theatre contains over 200 handprints, footprints and signature’s in the forecourt which commemorate some of the movie industries biggest stars.
Set in the central and western end of LA is Sunset Boulevard, which stretches 22 miles from downtown LA to Hollywood. This famous location links the two sides of LA, the gritty real streets of downtown Los Angeles and the green, abundant residential areas of Beverley Hills. A trip to Sunset Boulevard will show you all the sides of LA. It encompasses Beverley Hills, Bel Air, Los Feliz and Brentwood as well as many other well-known parts of LA.
One of the most famous parts of the Boulevard is Sunset Strip, which has been well established as a place to go out of a night since the 1950’s. The Boulevard is also famous for its association to the music industry, with the recording studio Sunset Sound Studios being located there. Sunset Boulevard has long since been portrayed in popular fiction, from films, music and books and for anybody interested in seeing famous areas used in the entertainment industry there are plenty of things to see along the way.
There are many TV studios to see which at one time had been movie studios, as well as the famous cemetery Hollywood Forever where the likes of Cecil B De Milne, Mickey Rooney and Rudolph Valentino are buried. The Hollywood Palladium is also one to look out for. This famous venue that opened in 1940 has been the place of many a star-studded evening. The Golden Globes and Emmy’s have been held there, as well as many rock concerts by bands such as The Rolling Stones and David Bowie.
You can check out were Charlie Chaplin made all of his movies in the Charlie Chaplin Studios and visit the Hollywood High School were the likes of Judy Garland studied.One of the world’s most famous hotel’s the Hotel Bel-Air is along the Boulevard as well as the place that has the ashes of Gandhi, Lake Shrine, a beautiful garden that is well worth taking some time out to go and see.
Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.
You can’t go to LA and not go to the beach and there are some great places to go but some of the most famous spots have to be Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Santa Monica which was opened in 1909 was originally intended to hide the giant sewage pipes that stretched out to sea. Fortunately the pipes where only used for a few years before the Pier was used as a major attraction area. The famous entrance to the Pier is a well-known landmark that has welcomed fun seekers for over 100 years.
The pier has many amusements to keep its visitors entertained, with a giant ferris wheel, amusement park and a carousel wheel that dates back to the 1920s. During the Summer you can also take in a movie and a concert that are all free to see. The Pier has been immortalised in many films and television series’ over the years and has also featured in many music videos.This is a great place to go for something to eat and there are many shops and different activities to keep you entertained for hours. The famed Highway 66 sign is also a great place to stop for a photo opportunity.
Venice Beach is located in Venice that is a residential and commercial area of LA. At one time it was an independent town but became part of LA in 1926. The main draw of Venice beach is the pedestrian only promenade were many performers and artists are located. It’s also here that you will find Muscle Beach were many people hang out to train as well as many basket ball courts were a lot of the Professionals first started out.
Venice has played a large part in the Culture of America and was seen as the center of the Beat Generation in the 1960s and a whole host of Artists and poets have come from the area. Legendary rock acts have also sprung from the area including The Doors and Jane’s Addiction.Venice beach is a great place to go and just hang out for a few hours. Go and sit in a cafe and watch the world go by, it has an edgier feel than Santa Monica and has a really unique flavour to it.
Probably one of America’s most recognised landmarks is the Hollywood sign and no trip to LA would be complete without going to see it. Situated high up in the Hollywood Hills in Mount Lea in the Santa Monica Mountains the sign can be seen for miles around.
This is often one of the camera shots to take whilst staying in LA, the iconic sign and the amazing views of LA that lie below. You can’t get right the way up to the sign as it is protected by security cameras and is set behind gates but you can do a 5 mile hike on the Brush canyon trail that will take you close enough to get a good shot.
If you don’t fancy the exercise then standing on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue will afford you a great vantage point. Although it is touristy and everyone does it, a trip to LA still isn’t the same if you don’t have your photo taken with the sign in shot.
Los Angeles – Final Thoughts.
Although in some ways a trip to Los Angeles is like visiting another world it is a place that will keep you highly entertained the whole time that you are there. A city were everybody drives, the sun always seems to shine and people come to have their dreams realised, LA is a city like no other.
The whole place seems like something from the movies, gangsters and Hollywood stars all living in the same city, places that you feel you know well because they are so familiar to you as you will have seen them so many times on television or in the movies. LA really is the City of Dreams and a holiday here could well become a dream for you too.