Movie stars, surfers, Beverly Hills. You’ll want to see them, of course, but there’s more to Los Angeles than sunbaked clichés. It’s a huge city and truly multicultural – Latinos are the majority, but more than 200 additional languages are spoken in enclaves like Little Tokyo, Tehrangeles, Little Ethiopia and Koreatown.
Creatives flock here too – aspiring actors, screenwriters, musicians and increasingly, visual artists; LA’s contemporary art scene is among the world’s best. Check out cutting-edge galleries during the monthly Downtown Art Walk, or visit top-notch museums like the LACMA and the Getty. Then there’s the food. Modernist restaurants favored by A-listers, teensy taco stands with lines down the block, real-deal ethnic eateries, comfort classics like Philippe’s the Original – it’s a wonder Angelenos stay so thin.
Spend sunny days lazing on Santa Monica beach, searching for stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or browsing vintage boutiques on Melrose Avenue. At night, take in the view from the Griffith Observatory, cruise Mulholland Drive or see an indie band at The Satellite.
On the big screen
Film buffs will appreciate a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the magic of the silver screen at Universal Studios Hollywood, and music fans should make a stop at Capitol Records' circular tower on Vine Street. The label's studios are renowned for their unique acoustic properties, and are the home of big-name artists such as the Beastie Boys, Frank Sinatra, and Lily Allen.
If the hype and glamour of Tinseltown gets to be a bit too much, take a break at one of Los Angeles' famous white sandy beaches. Stretching over 72 miles, there's something to suit every taste, from colorful Venice Beach to Malibu's epic surfing beaches. Or you could hire an open-top car and take the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica past LA's multi-million-dollar beachside mansions. This state highway offers one of America's best scenic drives, from wild coastal scrub to expansive beach views. And with a mild year-round Mediterranean climate, you'll find it easy to while away a lazy afternoon in the sun.
As the second-largest city in the United States, and with more than 220 different languages spoken by its residents, Los Angeles has a truly diverse identity. Used as a backdrop to films including 'Rush Hour' and 'Lethal Weapon 4', Chinatown is the perfect place to catch an independent art exhibition or sit down to a Peking Duck.
Step back in time along Olvera Street, regarded as the birthplace of Los Angeles, where Mexican and Latino culture is kept alive with traditional market stalls and restaurants. Or check out the many clubs and karaoke bars (noraebangs) in Koreatown, well-known for its thriving nightlife.
Rodeo Drive, baby
Of course, Los Angeles is all about retail therapy, and where better to indulge than in one of the city's legendary shopping enclaves. See and be seen along trendy Melrose Avenue, where big international designers vie for attention, or dig out some rare vintage finds on La Brea Avenue. For the ultimate in LA style, have your own 'Pretty Woman' moment on Rodeo Drive, where the rich and famous top up their Chanel, Gucci, and Cartier collections.
A city of style and opportunities, it's no wonder Los Angeles has long been a magnet for travellers and young hopefuls alike. With its mix of fame, glamour, and natural beauty, there's no doubt the magic of the City of Angels lives on. Hide