Ten places to visit in Los Angeles
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 February 2014
A new terminal at LAX welcomes visitors to the star-spangled streets of LA.
From downtown to the suburbs and along the coast, you’ll find beaches, Botox, glitz and homeless - art, yoga and plenty of Bentley convertibles. The City of Angels is a city of contrasts with plenty to entertain a visitor.
THE GETTY CENTRE
Oil investor J Paul Getty’s vast collection stretches from Van Gogh to Vanguard. The spectacular contemporary complex sits on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains - providing plenty of open spaces and fabulous views. If time is tight, sign up for a one hour Highlights Tour, but leave a while to wander around quirky clipped hedges and outdoor sculptures installed throughout the gardens. Enjoy lunch al fresco while spotting natures own art... fossils in the travertine walls.
Daily talks help visitors focus on their interests, from art to architecture. Admission free, parking $15.
MANNS CHINESE THEATRE
Follow footprints, handprints, impressions of guns, hooves, magic wands and cuban cigars - along with autographs of nearly 200 iconic movie stars - set into the concrete forecourt of the world famous theatre. Originally Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, now known as TCL Chinese Theater - buy your movie ticket and wander into a venue that’s hosted movie premiers and Academy Award Ceremonies. Today’s silver screen is curved for IMAX, but pass through the detailed entrance doors and into a setting that evokes the golden age of hollywood.
Take the Hollywood Walk of Fame along the star-studded sidewalk to spot the name of your favorite immortalized in stone - it’s a classic must do for many first time visitors to LA. A busy area, with coach loads of tourists looking down in search of that special someone, and with more than 2,500 markers to scan, bumping into a street artist covered head to toe in silver paint, dressed as Micky Mouse or Captain Jack Sparrow, or a character dressed just as themselves - colliding with a star is highly likely.
The 45ft letters originally advertised a new housing development Hoolywoodland - the iconic sign celebrated it’s 90th birthday in 2013. Hot spots for hot shots include: from the Hollywood & Highland shopping center or high up
on Mulholland Drive. Like any A list star in this city the sign is surrounded with beefy security measures, but you can walk along the Hollyridge trail to get a closer look at the back of the sign. And it’s always camera ready when busses touring the ‘stars
homes’ make a quick stop.
LETS DO LUNCH
There’s no shortage of places to eat in L.A. Tuck into grub from one of the many food trucks, get in-line for a hot dog at Pinks, head over to the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE - the setting for Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen - or along Sunset Boulevard and take a seat in the Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel - known locally as the Pink Palace - where candy stripe awnings and palm fringed gardens evoke a feeling of old Hollywood Glamor; today the incrowd consists of Botox beauties and Hollywood movers and shakers.
The famous 1920’s amphitheater set in the hollywood hills attracts big name performers, from the LA Philharmonic to Lady Gaga. It’s a regular stop on several of the City Tour busses, or you can stop on your own tour by taking Mulholland Drive to the Hollywood Bowl Overlook, (with a tiny car park) from where a short walk rewards you with a distant view of downtown LA, a glimpse of the Hollywood sign and, of course, the outdoor music venue itself.
90210 zip code is almost as famous as the designer labels along Rodeo Drive, where you are almost guaranteed to see a supercar or two, and maybe even a recognizable celeb. Celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary in 2014 - the City of Beverly Hills plans to hold a series of one off events, from art installations and concerts, to promo’s on hotels, restaurants, and yes, even shopping... although must-have brands from the well-healed shopping mecca are unlikely to involve the word discount, offer, promo or anything similar.
High street shopping in the sunshine, along with pavement cafes and a well-liked farmers market. The Grove is also a popular location for filming - so if you’re intent on spotting a celeb - this is a good spot to hang out.
Bohemian chic and coffee shops. From off-beat boutiques to vintage clothing, designer furniture, tattoo parlors and street art - including Banksy. While it’s not as quirky as it once was, it’s still worth a visit if you find yourself in West Hollywood.
Santa Monica: The 100 year old pier offers rides, a ferris wheel and early morning yoga classes - with a lively shopping area nearby at 3rd Street Promenade.
Venice Beach: Known for it’s tolerant relaxed vibe, with body builders from Muscle Beach, ‘doctors’ in green uniforms, vagrants and tacky tee shirt shops, it’s an area on many visitors list. Wander along the Boardwalk or hire a bike to explore further.
Although the area has been smarted up (a bit), some may prefer daylight to take in this different side of the city
THE GETTY VILLA
A must see for lovers of the ancient world. Housed in the recreation of an ancient Roman Villa found on the slopes of Vesuvius - destroyed in the volcanic eruption of 79AD. A walk through the 1970’s villa takes you
past a collection from the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire, with many treasures from Greece. The Italianesque garden feels like a little slice of Italy nestled in Pacific Palisades - on the outskirts of Malibu.
Timed tickets are limited, book your free admission in advance or ask the concierge at your hotel. Parking $15.
MARINA del RAY
Sitting on the west side of town between Venice Beach and Playa del Ray, the district bills itself as a seaside community.
Arrange a whale watching trip, or keep your feet on terra firma with a harbor view from The Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Enjoy the water from a comfortable chair or a waterside table on a terrace at the back of the hotel.
The Jer-ne restaurant, overlooking the marina, has a great cocktail bar and a wide selection of champagne - perfect when you want to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of LA.
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