The bright, buzzing metropolis of Los Angeles, California, will always mean something different to everyone. For some, it’s the land of opportunity. For others, it’s the city of broken dreams. The paradoxical element of the city lies hidden somewhere in between the zen-filled yoga studios and the panicked hustle of a movie studio. There are a lot of preconceived notions about L.A., but its mass appeal to over 25 million annual visitors is undeniable. The sprawling City of Angels oozes with endless pursuits of leisure and exhilarating opportunities, making sure your trip to the city is nothing short of entertaining.
For first timers, there are quintessential must-sees. Grauman’s Chinese Theater (Mann’s) on Hollywood Boulevard is an iconic theater where you can literally walk in the cement footsteps of your silver screen heroes. Carved into a hillside overlooking the city, the J. Paul Getty Museum boasts world-famous artwork by such luminaries as Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne. The Venice Beach Boardwalk, which is its own microcosm of the outrageous, is a wonderful mix of L.A. characters, beachside restaurants, boutiques, street performers and psychics. The Griffith Observatory in the Los Feliz section is a city landmark with its planetarium, space exhibits and giant telescope.
When finding a restaurant in Los Angeles, diners have their choice of a smorgasbord of international and fusion options. Whether rubbing elbows with celebs at Mr. Chow, or opting for cheap, classic L.A. food with a hot dog at Pink’s, visitors of the city will be hard-pressed to find a bad meal. For a fantastic three-course Italian meal under $30, head to Ca Del Sole just north of Universal Studios in the San Fernando Valley. Some of the best sushi in the city can be found in Westwood Village at Tengu. Try the seared tuna and pineapple sake.
The Los Angeles area is served by six commercial and several dozen smaller private airports. With nine terminals and a constant flow of domestic and international flights, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the largest and most widely used. Though LAX offers the most flight selection, using one of the smaller ones like Long Beach Airport (LGB), Bob Hope Airport (BUR) or Orange County Airport (SNA) may save travelers time and some grief. The public transportation system, consisting of the Metro Rail and the L.A. bus lines (both $1.25 each way or $17 a week) are useful and inexpensive ways to get around. Both systems can be fairly complicated without maps and schedules, so the ideal way to get around the city is by car.
With a semi-arid climate, Los Angeles averages 329 days of sunshine per year. Most of the city’s precipitation comes during the winter months from late-November through January. Summers can get quite hot and fog can linger in many areas of the Los Angeles basin. Autumn is an ideal time of the year to visit, with comfortable temperatures and clear skies.