LA at night from the Griffith Observatory photo by Stig Nygaard via the Creative Commons License
City Break Travel Ideas USA

USA: A Los Angeles City Guide

The City of Angels is the undisputed entertainment capital of the world with a multitude of attractions so how do you make the most of your city break? Read my Los Angeles city guide to find out!

That’s entertainment

You’ve seen it all in the movies. LA is a riotous mixture of the rich and famous, the poor and wannabes, as well as the surfers, skaters, designers and artists.

Explore Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Downtown LA, Little Ethiopia, Museum Row, Beverly Hills and the Walk of Fame.

Visit the Getty Centre (including the fabulous J. Paul Getty Art Museum), Mann’s Chinese Theatre, the Walt Disney Orchestra Hall (and the Red Cat underneath) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

Take a tour of celebrity homes, the Hollywood sign and Mulholland Drive.  Or just go to Venice Beach, watch the aging body builders do their thing and buy a hat from the Titanic shop, which boasts the largest hat collection in the world and counts stars and regular Joes alike as customers.

The Last Book Store LA photo by Casey and Sonja via the Creative Commons License
The Last Book Store LA photo by Casey and Sonja via the Creative Commons License

Shop ’til you drop

There’s nothing many people like to do better than go shopping in the United States and visitors will love the discount prices in downtown LA’s Garment District.

Bustling Chinatown is filled with restaurants and shops, as are Little Tokyo and the Japan Village Plaza.

Don’t miss Olvera Street – Los Angeles’ first city street, now lined with shops and stalls offering Mexican handicrafts and foods.

Eat and drink

Party at LA mega-club Playhouse on Hollywood Boulevard and start or end the night at the in–house diner Sweet Love Hangover.

The best taverns in Hollywood include the Bowery, Mission Cantina, Delancy and the new Mercantile on Sunset Boulevard.

There are two popular outposts of Umami Burger, or if you’re more of an oysters, Japanese beer and Champagne kind of person try Salary Man (formerly Sgt. Recruiter).

Day tripping from Los Angeles

Go hiking in Topanga State Park or take a cruise to unspoilt Catalina Island for bicycling and more hiking.

Catch a water taxi to Long Beach and visit the fabulous Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, and enjoy shopping and dining at Shoreline Village.

Drive north to Valencia and Magic Mountain, a 260-acre, state-of-the-art amusement park that offers some of the most thrilling rides in the world.

Off-the-beaten-path Los Angeles

For some great ideas for Los Angeles attractions that leave the well-trodden tourist trail behind see this post.

The Mosaic Tile House Venice Beach LA photo by vikramjam via the Creative Commons License
The Mosaic Tile House Venice Beach LA photo by vikramjam via the Creative Commons License

Travel details for Los Angeles

Fly direct from the UK to Los Angeles LAX airport on the southern coast of California, just 15 miles from the city.

There are convenient transport links by road and rail from the airport. Shuttle services, hotel courtesy vans and taxis can be found from the designated areas on the lower/arrival level in front of each terminal. It is recommended you use airport authorised taxis and buy a ticket stating the typical fare to major destinations.

A free shuttle service to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Metro Green Line Light Rail’s Aviation station also leaves from the lower level under the LAX Shuttle sign. Or take the C shuttle to parking lot C to connect with public buses into LA.

Currency: US dollar

Language: English

For more information about public transport in Los Angeles see the Metronet website.

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