The City of Angels. What immediately comes to mind when you hear that four words? Four words or we can make it two even—Los Angeles. Two or say four words jam-packed with amazing culture, food, sights, entertainment, diversity of people, fashion and style, freedom. It seems that four words can’t quite capture a very amazing place but there you go! Los Angeles—a beautiful name for a beautiful city.
Los Angeles can be overwhelming especially for first-timers in the city. It has a lot to offer, a whole lot to know before you can say you’re a pro. It seems impossible to capture LA with just one article. This travel guide might not make you a pro but at the very least it will prepare you for what you’re about to see. This will be very brief and we will just cover the basics. We want you to discover LA on your own, see if it delivers what it promise or if it surpasses what you expect.
About Los Angeles
LA is one of the most populated cities in the US. In fact, it seconds the city of New York. Like New York City, it is also one of the most diverse cities in the world, which can be mainly because it has a big population in the first place. There are many transplants in LA, some looking for a better pasture, some wanting to escape the harsh winters, some to pursue their dream, and others simply because they fell in love with the city, but these are just few reasons why they chose to live in LA. Aside from the natives, Asians, Latinos and Blacks certainly have high percentages in the county. Some people say Angelinos, as what people living in LA are called, are not really the warm kind. Do they mean they are not friendly? I don’t know, I guess it depends on the experience of the person. But you’d certainly find lots of minority groups in LA, maybe you’ll bump into someone from your own country.
Misconceptions include LA being sunny all year round. However, as you must have realized, it is not. LA is just a lot warmer compared to any other cities in the US and it receives a lot more sun than the others. January through March is considered the wettest months while June through August is considered the driest months. During winter season, temperature can reach 60F while summers can hit 80F. There is also a problem with smog in LA especially on hot summer days. To sum it up, the weather in LA is not a big determiner of when you want to visit; you can explore it anytime you want.
Another misconception I’ve heard is LA all being luxurious. Yes it’s true, in some places. LA offers a range of hotel options for your convenience. There are family hotels and value hotels all around the city but since there is no real off-season in LA, discounts are difficult to come by. Also, especially in summers, you should book a month before your travel especially if you want to stay near the beach because it can be pretty jam-packed.
Many people who have been to LA complain about its lack of public transport. They also say it is difficult to get from one place to another if you do not own a car and if you do, heavy traffic will be your next problem. However, LA does provide a number of ways to explore the city. You can either travel by subways, light-rail, buses, and shuttles or even by bike. If you do not want to rent a car, just familiarize yourself with the public transportation routes beforehand, just enough to know how to get from where you are planning to stay to places you want to visit.
The city also offers a wide range of selection of food. Street foods are just numerous and you can also dine in five-star restaurants. Restaurants along the coast offer fantastic view and incredible food. The price of food in LA is the same all year round except during Restaurant Week, which basically means participating restaurants offering good food, sometimes with up to three-course meal, with a big discount. Remember though to reserve beforehand because it’s a pretty popular event.
There are plenty of things to do in LA: shopping in Rodeo Drive, going to the beach, checking out museums, amusement parks, partying the night away, but some of them are pricey. LA is an expensive place to visit but it offers free incredible tourist destinations for you to enjoy. Some you can enjoy for free!
The Getty Center & Getty Villa
This is one of the top attractions in LA and the good news is it’s free—if you don’t have a car because parking costs $15. The biggest and the most beautiful art collections can be found here. Aside from the beautiful art collections you’d also get to see the stunning architecture and the equally beautiful vista of LA.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Like the Getty Center, the boardwalk is also free but also like the Getty Center, parking can cost you up to $15. However if you want to see LA like in the television, you should visit the boardwalk. You’ll get to see street performers, street vendors, quaint shops, beach-goers with their tanned skin and toned bodies.
If you want to try Wild West Hollywood style, you can go to this movie set and entertain yourself by taking pictures or by practicing your acting skills. Ever since it was created in 1927, it has been used for filming by filmmakers especially when they want the Old West style.
Point Dume State Beach
If the noisy Venice Beach Boardwalk is not your type, you can check out Point Dume State Beach. This beach is also free and is the quietest in LA, I think.
Another free tourist destination in LA, Griffith Park has both man-made and natural sights to see. The most popular is the Griffith Observatory, home to one of the Zeiss telescope where you and your kids can stargaze. However, there is usually a long line of people because there are many who wants to take a peek of the stars.
Runyon Canyon Park
Most people go to Runyon Canyon because of the view but some also go because of its off-leash pet policy. You can go there and have a picnic, watch the beautiful sunset of the West Coast or see the amazing panorama of LA.
Other places that you can visit for free are the California Science Center, Page Museum & La Brea Tar Pits, the very famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and the equally famous Hollywood sign. However, it is not recommended to go up and close with the sign. Taking a picture with you in one of the unhindered view of the sign close to the city is enough.