Glitzy, shiny, sunny Los Angeles is a city of preconceptions, but forget what you think you know; there is literally something for everyone in this city of juxtapositions. Los Angeles is a mash-up of cultural and physical diversity with an eclectic history, corporate skyscrapers, artsy villages, and stunning beaches. Wander down Rodeo Drive for big-name designers or spot celebrities while dining at Chateau Marmont. Los Angeles is as unique as the people who arrive here.
Tinseltown, Hollywood, call it what you will. This is the centre of the movie industry, where ideas are formed and stars are made. While Hollywood doesn't have the glitz and glamour of places like Beverly Hills, the area is filled with interesting restaurants, clubs, and shops. It's also home to famous landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Walk of Fame. In West Hollywood, the world-famous Sunset Strip is the place to be seen at a sleek nightclub, eat at a fancy restaurant, or sip champagne at the latest gallery opening.
Made famous in movies and TV shows like Pretty Woman and 90210, Beverly Hills, shows the cinematic scale of wealth and success in Los Angeles. The palm-fringed walkways are lined with designer names, expensive boutiques, luxury spas, and famous restaurants.
The historic centre of Los Angeles is Olvera Street, a quaint area packed with Mexican culture. The street forms part of the El Pueblo Historical Monument, which marks the old pueblo settlement that became Los Angeles. Stop at stalls selling Mexican crafts, eat at mouth-watering Mexican restaurants, or buy a caramel-filled churro. Venture out from El Pueblo de Los Angeles to wander the ethnic enclaves of Chinatown and Little Tokyo. Downtown is also home to the Nokia Theater, the Staples Center, the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Los Angeles' beaches are celebrities themselves, having starred in Baywatch, The OC, and Jerry Maguire just for starters. Each stretch of sand has its own unique identity, from uber-rich to more laid-back. Head to Venice Beach for the art galleries and boardwalk, check out the beautiful people (and rolling film cameras) at Manhattan Beach, surf the waves in upscale Malibu, or ride the Ferris wheel on the pier at Santa Monica Beach.
Made famous by the movie of the same name, this road is worth a drive just for the views. You will pass the walled and gated mansions of numerous celebrities as you head up into the hills. From the ridgeline you can see down into the valley where Los Angeles and the coast spread below you.
Los Angeles has enough theme parks to keep every thrill-seeker happy. At the world-famous Universal Studios Hollywood® you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the movies, as well as enjoy all the rides, tours, attractions, and restaurants you can handle. Disneyland is located in nearby Anaheim, with rides, themed worlds, a parade and fireworks. If you like roller coasters, head to Magic Mountain for some extreme thrills, or to Knott's Berry Farm for a mix of scary and slower rides with animated characters.