City Highlight: Los Angeles

Published on: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
City Highlight: Los Angeles - California, Downtown Los Angeles

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Year-round sunshine, world-famous beaches, renowned museums, and ample opportunities for celebrity-spotting make Los Angeles an ideal holiday destination

There’s more to Los Angeles than meets the eye. Apart from containing the world’s most famous zip code – and people – the city is a cultural melting pot that boasts some of the best food, music, and art in the USA. Whether you want to recharge your batteries by soaking up the sun in Malibu, browse the glitzy shops on Rodeo Drive, or explore the historical sites in Hollywood, California’s largest city definitely has something for everyone.

When to go:

Spring (March to May) is sunny and warm, with temperatures ranging from 16C (61F) to 20C (68F). The end of spring brings some cool and overcast mornings. Usually, though, the clouds part by the afternoon.

Summer (June to August) sees sunny, hot, and dry weather, with temperatures often reaching a high of 30C (86F).

Autumn (September to November) is similar to spring, with sunny days and warm temperatures hovering between 17C (63F) and 23C (73F).

Winter (December to February) is mild, with average temperatures of 15C (59F). There tends to be occasional rainfall during this time of year, although for the most part, days remain sunny. December is often the coolest month, although the temperature rarely creeps below 13C (55F).

Getting around

LA is a large and spread out city; in order to see it all, your best bet is to travel by car. Avoid driving during rush-hour though—traffic here is the worst in North America.

All major car hire companies have offices in the LA area. Keep in mind that many require drivers to be at least 25 years old before they can hire a car.

You can also use public transportation, such as the Metro Rail or bus, to get around. To take in the views of the sparkling Pacific, you can easily rent a bicycle and follow the beachfront cycle lanes.

For more information on the best ways to see the city, check out our Getting around LA guide.

Must-see attractions

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Located on legendary Hollywood Boulevard, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has housed many of the world’s most exciting movie premieres and awards ceremonies. Built by showman Sid Grauman in 1927, the movie palace’s concrete forecourt contains nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs. In front of the theatre, follow the trail of bronze stars that make up the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Santa Monica
If you’re seeking refuge from the bustling streets of Hollywood, look no further than Santa Monica. Famous for its pier and 5.5km stretch of sandy beach, the coastal city offers seafront shopping, a quaint amusement park, and weekly outdoor farmers markets.

Disneyland
Walt Disney’s long-running theme park is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. Offering a variety of themed “lands” and thrilling rides, the amusement park also hosts daily parades, fireworks, and laser shows. Get there early or purchase a “fast pass” to avoid waiting in long lines.

Getty Villa
Perched atop a cliff in Malibu sits the Getty Villa, a magnificent educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Originally built to house oil tycoon J. Paul Getty’s personal art collection, the villa contains 44,000 antiquities dating from 6,500 BCE to 400 CE. Besides an impressive collection of art, the villa also boasts beautiful gardens.

For more ideas of where to visit, check out our Things to see in LA guide.

Quirky & Offbeat

Los Angeles Stairs
Before LA became one of the world’s most car-oriented cities, city planners developed a network of stairs to help pedestrians navigate the steep hillsides. Today, there are still a number of hidden staircases nestled in the city. Embark on a tour to check out the secret spots.

Wine tasting in Orange County
Just over an hour drive from LA is Orange County, home to small, independent vineyards who offer excellent tasting events.

For more unusual ideas, see our Things to do in LA guide.

Travel tips

  • Must-try specialties
    Animal style fries — it’s one of the most popular orders at LA’s famous burger chain In-N-Out, yet you won’t find the fan-favourite advertised inside. Part of the eatery’s less-than-well-kept “secret” menu, French fries (chips) are served under a heap of melted cheese, grilled onions, and Thousand Island dressing.
  • Sushi — Los Angeles is known for its plethora of delicious sushi options. Choose from an abundance of possibilities in the Little Tokyo district, head to Nobu for dinner and a celebrity sighting, or try the much-loved local chain Sugarfish.
  • Green juice/smoothies — there’s certainly no shortage of healthy eats in LA. The city is filled with juice bars that offer locally-produced and organic fruit and vegetable-filled smoothies, juices, and refreshing acai bowls.
  • Chili cheese dog — hot dogs are a North American food staple, and there’s perhaps no better place to try the classic chili cheese dog than at Pink’s Hot Dogs. The historic roadside spot serves up its famous frankfurter piled high with melted cheese, beef chili and onions.

Tipping: In the U.S. servers work largely on commission and it’s standard practise to leave a 20% tip. If you’re dining with a large group, the tip is often included in the bill, so make sure to check.

For more dining recommendations, see our LA Food & Drink guide.

Hotels in Los Angeles

There are many hotels to choose from in LA, although those seeking something wallet-friendly will have a hard time finding anything that isn’t part of a motel chain or hostel. For the best prices, look to visit outside of the summer months as this is the city’s peak season.

For a stay at one of the city’s most iconic luxury hotels, reserve a room at the Beverly Wilshire. Popularised by its appearance in the much-loved film Pretty Woman, this Four Seasons hotel has accommodated household names like Elvis Presley and John Lennon, and includes a Michelin-starred restaurant and world-class spa. For a more affordable yet trendy spot popular with young professionals, book a stay at The Standard. The boutique hotel offers live DJs, a poolside café and 24-hour restaurant. For more accommodation recommendations, see our LA Hotels guide.

Nightlife in Los Angeles

LA is the entertainment capital of the world, so it’s impossible to be bored come nightfall. Enjoy live music with a beer in hand on the outdoor patio at La Cuevita, a laid-back Mexican cocktail den that’s often packed with locals. To see some of the world’s most renowned DJs and hip-hop stars, head to Avalon – one of LA’s largest multi-story clubs. Visit the impressive Staples Center to catch some of the world’s biggest names in music or to see the LA Lakers basketball team in action. For more recommendations, check out our Los Angeles Nightlife guide.

Visa requirements to Los Angeles, USA

A visa is not required by Canadian, British, Australian, or EU nationals for stays in the United States of up to 90 days. To enter the country, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by all aforementioned nationals. All travellers entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Programs require an e-Passport with an embedded electronic chip. For more information on the documents you need before you travel to Los Angeles, see our United States of America Visa and Passport Requirements page.

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