Los Angeles Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- A car is essential Although L.A. has public transportation, you'll find that getting around this massive city is much easier with your own set of wheels.
- Planning is a must Because of its size, it's practically impossible to just wing your tour of L.A. Many of the top attractions are spread out, so it's best to schedule your time accordingly.
- Avoid L.A. in the summer Stifling smog and warm weather are trademarks of a Los Angeles summer. Beat the heat by visiting in the spring or fall.
Los Angeles both confirms and dismantles all of its stereotypes. Yes, it's a sprawling metropolis with eternally congested freeways. But it also contains some of the most ethnically diverse and unique neighborhoods in the United States. It might be filled to the brim with the glamour of chic Hollywood name brands, yet it's also home to renowned art galleries and architectural masterpieces. The world's visual entertainment empire, L.A. offers tourists behind-the-scenes looks into the world of filmmaking and television broadcasting. The City of Angels also features some of the country's most eclectic cuisine. Its renovated downtown is fast becoming a must-visit, and its beaches provide sun, sand and—especially in Venice Beach—close-ups of the city's most unique residents.
Los Angeles is expansive, and touring it can be exhausting. But that doesn't deter visitors. The area is one of the most visited in the country, especially between June and October. Travelers join residents on the jammed freeways, attempting to get to as many of the spread-out attractions in the time they've allotted. The key to a successful L.A. vacation is simple: Plan extensively before you leave. Pick an area or location that best suits your interests and needs. And then? Explore, explore, explore.
How To Save Money in Los Angeles
- Stay away from the beach At night, that is. Hotels overlooking the ocean charge a pretty penny for their views. Consider staying slightly farther inland, where prices are lower and beach access is just as convenient.
- Rodeo Drive is for browsing If you're looking to indulge in L.A.'s fabulous shopping scene, you'll find plenty of more affordable boutiques lining the streets of nearby West Hollywood.
- Don't pass on the freebies Some of Los Angeles' top attractions—Universal Studios Hollywood, for example—can put a major dent in your bank account. Instead, pay a visit to favorites like the Griffith Observatory, where price isn't a concern.
Los Angeles Culture & Customs
Los Angeles is known worldwide for being the home of the United States' television and film industry, and that definition of the city does tend to take the spotlight. But if you look beyond the Hollywood Sign and billboards, you will notice that not everyone in L.A. is a movie star, and the city has much more to offer. After staring at the stars on the ground at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, head to the Griffith Observatory to stare at the stars in the sky. Rub elbows with celebrities on Rodeo Drive or bump fists with surfers at Zuma Beach. Los Angeles is a complex mix of cultures and lifestyles, many of which do not necessarily have anything to do with the movies. But if your goal is to completely avoid Hollywood culture, you may be out of luck; no matter where you are in Los Angeles, there is probably a movie, TV show, or commercial filming right around the corner.
Los Angeles Dining
Diversity is the key to L.A.'s cuisine. It's also no surprise that L.A. is the birthplace of the celebrity chef phenomenon, with big names like Wolfgang Puck, Gino Angelini, and David Myers at the helms of the city's premier kitchens. Travelers especially enjoy the expensive but exquisite Italian options at Osteria Mozza in West Hollywood. Los Angeles has been a sushi town ever since the California roll hit L.A. restaurants in the 1960s. To satisfy a craving for raw fish and rice, many suggest Sushi Katsu-ya on Ventura Boulevard. But you can't say you've truly had the Los Angeles food experience until you've consumed your weight in Mexican fare. Try the Loteria Grill on Hollywood Boulevard for rich poblano mole. Or if you're feeling adventurous, order some tacos de lengua (beef tongue tacos) from a taco truck.
Travelers may also opt for certain restaurants based on who might be sitting at the next table. Those looking for a star-studded meal might try The Ivy in Beverly Hills or The Palm in West Hollywood.
Whatever eatery you choose, be sure to look for L.A. County's "A" restaurant grade for sanitation on the front door or windows.