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Los Angeles Travel Guide

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Los Angeles, USA

Introduction

Los Angeles (meaning "The Angels" in Spanish and known as the "City of Angels" or simply LA) is the largest city in California and is the western gateway to the United States of America. The metropolitan area is centered in Los Angeles County, but stretches into Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County. The population of the wider metropolitan area is over 17 million people. LA is a multicultural city whose residents derive from all parts of the world and speak many languages including one of the largest Mexican population outside of Mexico.

Los Angeles is home to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the center of the world's entertainment industry and the "happiest place on earth", Disneyland.

Los Angeles is a fun, exciting and diverse place to visit.

Los Angeles Travel

Travel to Los Angeles

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a major gateway to the USA. 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 shuttle buses that run in a loop between the terminals.

Metro Train has no direct train service to LAX, however there are free shuttle buses to Aviation Station on the Metro Green Line. The Metro travels north to Hollywood and south to Anaheim and Long Beach.

SuperShuttle door-to-door mini-van service is available at the Airport. Shuttles operate on a shared ride on-demand basis. The SuperShuttle ticket counters are located in the Terminal or there will be a company representative standing outside selling tickets and organizing vans. No reservations are needed for outbound service from the Airport. Tell the shuttle bus employee your destination and the name of your hotel. The shuttle buses drive around the airport loop until they have enough passengers to depart for their destination. A seat on a shuttle bus to your hotel costs about $20 to Anaheim, $10 for Downtown & Hollywood hotels. To travel to the airport book a SuperShuttle to pick you up at your hotel (book at least 3-4 hours ahead).



Alternate Airports are:

Long Beach Airport (LGB)

Bob Hope (Burbank) Airport (BUR)

Orange County/John Wayne Airport (SNA)



Coaches to/from Los Angeles

LuxBus America operates daily trips between LA, Las Vegas and San Diego.

GotoBus operates coach services from all around the USA to LA..

Greyhound operates coach services from all around the USA to LA.

Starline Tours offers transportation and tours from Anaheim and Hollywood, California to Las Vegas.

Los Angeles Transport

Car rental is popular and reasonably priced in Los Angeles. To fully experience LA, visitors need a car. Few attractions are easily served by rail or bus and some of the most interesting parts of town are difficult to reach using public transportation. There are also many spectacular natural areas surrounding the L.A. metropolitan area that you can only reach by car. Traffic can be congested especially at peak times, but visitors used to driving in other parts of the world will not find it too bad. Most of the car hire companies are located at the airports or book a car from your hotel. Parking is usually not a problem. USA drives on the right side of the road.

Los Angeles Attractions

Disneyland Los Angeles Disneyland is located at Anahiem 20 miles (30km) south of Los Angeles and is renown as the happiest place on earth. Disneyland is the world famous 85 acre fun park which will fill your mind with make-believe and transport you back to your childhood memories. Disneys characters come to life in this magical kingdom where you will be taken from classic storybook worlds to Indiana Jones Adventures, the futuristic Tomorrowland and the wonders of Fantasyland.

Disneys California Adventure Park, directly across from Disneyland, is a 55 acre park where visitors can experience walking under the Golden Gate Bridge, soaring over California, exploring a Hollywood backlot or thrilling rollercoaster rides.

Universal Studios Hollywood LA Universal Studios offers thrilling park rides, amazing shows, a real working movie studio and LA's best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk, Universal Studios Hollywood. Experience the thrill of rides like the Revenge of the Mummy thrill coaster and the Jurassic Park 80-foot raft plunge. Be amazed with shows like Terminator 2, Waterworld, House of Horrors, Simpsons, Shrek and more. Take the Studio Tour to get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at how your favorite movies and TV shows are made. View sets from The War of the Worlds, ABC's hit series 'Desperate Housewives' and other award winning TV shows. To get there from Hollywood, take the 101 Hollywood Freeway North to Universal Studios Blvd, turn right onto Universal Studios Blvd and follow the signs to Universal Studios. Or take the Metro train (red line) to Universal City station. Across the street from the subway station and the bus stop is a free Universal Studios shuttle bus. This free shuttle will conveniently take you to the main entrances of Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk Hollywood. This shuttle service runs 7 days a week, with pick-ups approximately every 10-15 minutes. Universal Studios Hollywood also offers shuttle service from our two hotels, The Sheraton and The Hilton in Holloywood. [Open 9am 9pm in summer, Adult $67, child $57]

Queen Mary long beach queen mary is the famous old ocean liner permanently berthed at Long Beach, California and is a tourist attraction and hotel. Visitors are free to explore the Queen Mary at their own pace. Take the Behind the Scenes Guided Tour of the historic ocean liner and World War II troopship, and see restored areas that have been under wraps since the final voyage in 1967, including the Isolation Wards and the aft Machine Rooms. Journey through the first-class swimming pool, a popular spot for ghost sightings and is part of the Ghosts & Legends show, a daily, special effects, walk-through show created aboard the ship that dramatizes actual paranormal and historic events that have been reported over the years.

Then board one of the Cold War's hottest weapons, a Russian submarine (code name: Scorpion) anchored next to the Queen Mary. This is a great opportunity to walk and climb through a real operational submarine. View the torpedo, engine and control rooms, and experience how the crew lived in this cramped and dangerous environment. [Open Daily 10:00 am-6:00 pm Adult $24.95, Child $12.95, Queen's Highway Long Beach Los Angeles, CA]

Knotts Berry Farm is America's first theme park with 160-acres of thrilling attractions, rides and shows. The heart and soul of Knott's, Ghost Town is an 1880's California Boom Town with cowboys, gunfights, stage-coaches, a steam train, the world's first log flume ride and panning for real gold. Knotts is located just 10 minutes from Disneyland Park and 30 minutes from both John Wayne/Orange County Airport and downtown Los Angeles. [Open 10am to 5pm, open to 10pm in summer, adult $52, 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park CA 90620]

Mulholland Drive Hollywood Travel is the road leading up into the Hollywood hills (and the famous Hollywood sign) and is famous for the setting of many movies and offers great views over the city. The easiest way to find Mulholland Drive is to head north up Highland Ave into the Cahuenga Pass and take the turnoff to your left into Mulholland Drive. You will need your own transport.

Malibu is the famous beach town that is home to many entertainment stars and offers visitors great beaches, surfing and restaurants. It is located a few miles to the northwest of Santa Monica and accessible via the Pacific Coast Highway. Something not to miss is the Malibu Film Festival, a great celebrity spring time event. Malibu is also known for its many surfing contests held throughout the year especially the regional classic point break surfing at the Malibu Lagoon. Famous Zuma or Westward Beach make for a great day at the beach and Highlands Park offers great coastal views.

Catalina Island is near the southern end of the Channel Islands, 22 miles off the coast of Southern California. It's a popular day trip and vacation destination for locals and tourists. Catalina is a haven for scuba divers and snorkellers. However, visitors can view the underwater life from the Yellow Semi-Submarine known as "The Nautilus" or a glass-bottom boat ride. There are many ferry services available from Marina del Rey, Long Beach or Newport Beach to Avalon and Two Harbors on Catalina.

San Diego Zoo is extremely popular with visitors and has the largest collection of exotic wild animals in the world.. Explore Tiger River, a tropical Asian rain forest, home of fascinating species like Sumatran Tigers, mysterious Malayan Tapirs, Chinese Water Dragons, and Web-footed Fishing Cats. The newest exhibit is the two and a half acre Gorilla Tropics - Out of Africa, filled with waterfalls, jewel-toned birds, and a troop of lowland African Gorillas. Don't forget the Children's Zoo where you can pet some of the most tame critters on earth.

Sea World in San Diego is one of the greatest ocean theme parks in the world. Get up close to Polar Bears, Beluga Whales and Walruses. Discover the gentleness of the Manatees, the playfulness of the Penguins and the antics of the Californian Sea Lions. Don't forget to see Shamu and baby Shamu - the Killer Whales. Touch and feed dolphins, count the teeth on a shark and come face-to-face with a polar bear. Brave the waves on Shipwreck Rapids. Venture into the tail-chasing, ruckus-raising world of your pet in Pets Rule! Sea World San Diego is one of the world's premier marine adventure parks with 200 acres of world-class shows, thrilling rides and unforgettable animal encounters. More than 80 million visitors have explored the mysteries of the sea here, with up-close animal interactions and exhilarating thrills.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, at the Getty Center, in Los Angeles, is one of the world's premier cultural destinations! The J. Paul Getty Museum houses European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The art at the Getty includes examples of pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs. A small selection of Greek and Roman antiquities can also be seen, as well as contemporary and modern sculpture located throughout the museum and grounds. Enjoy breathtaking views of the historic Sepulveda Pass and spectacular, tranquil gardens, magnificent architecture and a variety of places to dine.

Los Angeles Nightlife and Entertainment

Los Angeles Dinner Cruise is a night of exceptional food, brilliant views and music to romance the night away. The cruises leave from either Marina Del Rey or Newport Beach. As the sun goes down, enjoy picture-postcard views while indulging in delicious food freshly prepared by the onboard chefs. After dinner, dance to live music or simply take in the breathtaking views from the outdoor decks. The Los Angeles Dinner Dance Cruise offers the ultimate waterfront dining experience.

Los Angeles Dining

Los Angeles hosts many restaurants and cafes, from great value family restaurants to up-market romantic, fine dining establishments, offering cuisine from around the world with fresh seafood and contemporary International cuisine being LA's specialties.

Popular areas are Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, Wilshire Boulevard in Beverley Hills, Santa Monica Boulevard, Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place at Santa Monica.

Anaheim offers many restaurants and cafes near Disneyland especially along Katella Avenue.

Most hotels have restaurants and cafes providing buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at affordable prices. Most shopping centers have a food court offering value-for-money meals. Caf chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans are everywhere as are fast-food chains such as McDonalds and KFC.

Los Angeles Shopping

The Grove (next to the Farmer's Market) is your ultimate shopping & dining destination with boutiques, restaurants, choreographed fountains, free live concerts in The Park and the adjacent historic Farmers Market, you'll enjoy an experience like no other in Los Angeles. [Shopping hours 10am to 9pm, 11am to 8pm on Sunday]

Farmers Market started in 1934 when a dozen nearby farmers would park their trucks on a field to sell their fresh produce to local residents. Located at the corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue it is a historic Los Angeles landmark and tourist attraction featuring a variety of dining and shopping options. It is also adjacent to The Grove outdoor shopping mall.

The Beverly Center features 160 specialty boutiques and restaurants located at the edge of Beverly Hills and Hollywood between La Cienega and San Vicente Boulevards. Shops include Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Macy's Men's Store, a 13-screen movie theater and California's only Grand Lux Cafe. The rooftop food court patio showcases panoramic views stretching from downtown Los Angeles to the legendary Hollywood sign. [Shopping hours 10am to 9pm, 11am to 6pm on Sunday]

The Hollywood & Highland Center is located in the heart of historic Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard near the Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theater. There are many shops, restaurants, cafes and clubs. Kodak Theatre is the crown jewel of the Hollywood & Highland center. Since opening in November 2001, the theatre has hosted a range of prestigious artists and events including the Academy Awards. [Shopping hours 10am to 10pm, 11am to 7pm on Sunday]

Beverly Hills has the up-market and world-famous Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive.

West Hollywood has the chic-boutique strip of Melrose Ave between Crescent Heights & Robertson Ave. Robertson Boulevard runs through West Hollywood and is a trendy shopping district where celebrities are seen to shop. One of the most popular streets is Larchmont Blvd., catering to the wealthy of Hancock Park, with unique up-market boutiques.

Santa Monica is very cosmopolitan with three main shopping areas: Montana Avenue located between 7 and 17th streets is full of expensive local boutiques and cafes. The Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian mall that is the region's most popular shopping destination. Santa Monica Place is an indoor shopping mall at the south end of the Third Street Promenade and hosts many shops, boutiques and a food court. Main Street from Pico Blvd to Navy Street is similar to Montana Ave with many independent retailers. Main Street also has many excellent restaurants and bars. Heritage Square on Main Street is home to the widely popular, family-friendly Sunday Farmer's Market.

Broadway in Downtown is the destination for inexpensive merchandise. Popular shopping items include flowers, clothing, shoes, jewellery, brand name merchandise at discounted prices, counterfeit goods, pirated DVD's and CD's, antiques and toys.

Citadel Outlets is the place for big bargains on the best brands. Enjoy savings, discounts and special offers at a wide variety of shops. Discover savings of up to 70% at over 75 of the hottest designer outlets such as Anne Klein, Billabong Outlet, Calvin Klein, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Nautica, BCBG Max Azria, Nine West, Eddie Bauer and Ann Taylor. Located on Interstate 5, just minutes East of Downtown Los Angeles and just 20 minutes north of Anaheim, it's one of southern California's most accessible outlet shopping centers.

Los Angeles Hotels

To avoid excessive travel, when visiting Los Angeles it is advisable to stay in the Los Angeles / Hollywood area for viewing attractions such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Universal Studios. To view attractions in Anaheim (eg Disneyland) it is best to stay in Orange County / Anaheim.

Hollywood is the most popular area to stay for visitors to Los Angeles. Beverly Hills has some of the nicest hotels in the city but is very expensive. Tourists visiting the Los Angeles region will find Santa Monica one of the best situated locations. There are plenty of hotel, restaurant and entertainment options, as well as close accessibility to major sights like Venice Beach, Malibu and Hollywood.

The best value area to stay in is Anaheim in Orange County although the hotels close to Disneyland will be more expensive. Many Anaheim hotels operate free shuttle buses to Disneyland. Buena Park area is also good value.

Staying on the Westside near LAX airport is a value option with good accommodation and close to Hollywood and the beach areas of Venice and Santa Monica.

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Safety

Certain areas of Los Angeles should be avoided by visitors. Avoid walking along Skid Row in the Downtown area of Los Angeles where the Greyhound bus station is located. South Central has a very high crime rate and can be dangerous regardless of the time of day and should be avoided altogether when walking. The neighborhoods of Pacoima, Panorama City, and Canoga Park, in the San Fernando Valley region, should also be avoided when walking. East LA, such as Compton, can also be dangerous in certain areas.

Beyond Los Angeles

San Diego is 200km south of Los Angeles, very close to the Mexican border and boasts a strong Spanish influence that is reflected in its architecture, people and culture. A popular city with visitors, San Diego is home to SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and makes a good base for tourists wishing to travel into Mexico.

Las Vegas is 460km east of Los Angeles and has emerged as a complete holiday destination in its own right. The Entertainment Capital of the World with its amazing themed hotels and casinos also offers fantastic live stage shows and cabarets featuring internationally renowned artists. Las Vegas is the gateway to exploring the wonders of the Grand Canyon and other National Parks.