Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is renowned particularly for Hollywood and it's notorious for its celebrity-oriented culture. But it's a great holiday center and is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, valleys, forests, beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean, and nearby desert.
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Visiting Los Angeles...

Los Angeles, also known as LA, is a large city on the west coast of the United States. It's the largest city in California and the second largest in USA (only New York is bigger). The city has approximately 4 million inhabitants. Los Angeles is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most ethnically diverse county in California, with 44% Hispanic or Latino residents, mainly from Cuba and Mexico. 25% are white, mostly retired people from the northern states of America. 15% are from Asia, mainly from Korea, which in turn has led to 'Koreatown'. Also China, Vietnam, Laos and Japan are well represented. 11% are African American.

Originally part of Mexico, after the Mexican-American War it became American. Los Angeles was incorporated as a city on April 4, 1850, five months before California was admitted as a state to the Union. With the advent of intercontinental railways and the discovery of oil, the city grew rapidly.

Today, Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan city with a large harbor and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the 5th largest in the world. Los Angeles, especially Hollywood, is the center of American Western film and television industry. At Hollywood Boulevard you'll find the famous "walk of fame," with celebrity names engraved in the form of stars in the sidewalk.

Hollywood Sign
Beverly Hills (known for its many famous residents and the famous "Hollywood Sign") is an independent city, although it is actually surrounded by Los Angeles. The real media industry is spread over four districts adjacent to Los Angeles: Burbank (NBC, Warner Bros., Disney), Century City (20th Century Fox, MGM), Universal City (Universal Studios, NBC Universal) and Culver City ( Sony Pictures Entertainment). Furthermore, Los Angeles has a number of good universities. The best known is UCLA, the campus of the University of California. And Los Angeles is an important manufacturing center, including aviation technology.

LA is vast and huge. The center has many skyscrapers, whilst Los Angeles is still predominantly a low-rise city. The Los Angeles region has one of the largest systems of motorways (freeways) in the world. There are twenty-seven tangled freeways in the region that are used by millions of motorists for commuting, where they together log an approximately 160 million kilometers each year. Los Angeles is the metropolis with the highest car density in the world, with 1.8 vehicles for every citizen with a driving license. Because there is little public transport and motorists often have to travel long distances to get to their destination, there will be many traffic jams. Nevertheless, for your own pleasure, do rent a car! This is not New York where you encounter a taxi on every street corner. Without a car, you are nothing here, it is a vast city, and if you don't have your own transportation or don't want it, download the UBER app, then just order an Uber if you want to go somewhere by taxi - it's much cheaper than a regular taxi, and within five minutes your Uber stands in front of you: really great.

Rotterdam map
To reach LA by public transport, there are important inter-fast connections, the Interstate 5 (north to Sacramento and south to San Diego), Interstate 15 (North to Las Vegas and south to San Diego), US Route 101 (north to Santa Barbara) and Interstate 10 (east to Phoenix).

Don't be afraid that Los Angeles is unsafe. Many foreigners often think this because of all the crime shows on TV. Of course there are areas where you'd better not go, for example Compton and Inglewood and every district in the southeast of the city, but all other areas are safe. People often leave their front door open or leave their phone in an open car. The Downtown district might be a bit rough, especially in the evening, but if you use common sense there is nothing to fear.

The climate in Los Angeles is soft with year round sun and therefore it's become a very popular holiday destination. Rainfall varies by season. The months of May, June, July and August are generally dry with plenty of sunshine and nice weather. In the summer months of August and September Los Angeles can be very hot. The average temperature may rise during these months to over 32°C. As a result of this, there is a risk of smog.

North of downtown Los Angeles you'll find the Griffith Park. Here, among others, is the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, a museum about life in the western United States. It is a combination of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of the American West and the Women of the West Museum. A fantastic view of Hollywood can be seen from the balcony of Griffith Observatory.

Griffith Observatory

The original Disneyland is in Anaheim, south of Los Angeles...

Disneyland

LA is not New York or San Francisco, where you just walk into the center and encounter everything. Los Angeles consists of a bunch of sub-cores, each with their own character, which makes the city so interesting. Also very unique for such a big city like LA, is the combination with nature. Besides the beaches, the Venice Beach is a long promenade with lots of nice shops and many sorts of people to watch, the beach is beautiful, wide and palm trees along the boulevard, and of course, there is the Santa Monica and Malibu beach. Los Angeles provides you with a lot of greenery in the form of large city parks and nearby canyons where you can walk and cycle.

Santa Monica

Nice neighborhoods to stay are Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Hollywood, Venice Beach, North Hollywood/Burbank (north of the 101/134 freeway), and Mid-City (north of the 10/Santa Monica freeway). Other accommodations in Los Angeles you may find interesting are in Manhattan, Redondo Beach, Malibu, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, San Bernardino, Orange, Newport Beach and San Pedro.

The Getty is a museum which is a must to see. This vast complex is situated on a hill where you have a beautiful view over the city. Even if you're not a huge art lover it is nice to visit this place. You can also just walk into one of the pavilions, and then stroll through the botanical garden and enjoy the view. In the various pavilions you can see different exhibitions.

Getty Museum

Downtown LA has a rich history with many sites that show the Spanish influence of yesteryears, such as the Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles Union Station (historical train station) and the modern Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Also, a Japantown is here with Budhist temples, museums and shops. As in many big cities there are more and more restored old buildings that will be inhabited by young people. Of course this is a step by step evolution and there are still junkies and bums on the street, who won't harm you at all but it's advisable to visit downtown LA preferably during the day.

If you're in Venice, you should definitely see the Abbot Kinney Boulevard. A nice street with many quirky shops (clothing, gadgets, all of the kind of not mainstream design) and some really nice restaurants and lunchrooms. And if you want to visit a neighborhood where you'll see very few tourists, go to Los Feliz / Silver Lake, east of Hollywood. It has a more a Spanish feel than Hollywood and you can find lots of nice little shops (interior, business, fashion) around Sunset Junction.

Or if you like modern art, visit the Washington Boulevard / La Cienega Boulevard in Culver City. In this street for several years now, the art galleries erupted one after the other. This part of the neighborhood has a bit of an industrial character and you will also find small organic lunchrooms.

Universal Studios is really a highlight visit! You can do a studio tour, which is quite spectacular, but there are also many attractions in the theme of a famous movie like Jurassic Park or the Mummy. There are many shows that are included, and various parts of the park are decorated to a major city such as London and Paris. Everything is very well arranged, no long lines to wait for an attraction, and you can see it all in one day.

Universal Studios

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