The sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles is spread across four thousand square miles of desert between the mountains and the ocean. It consists of several mini-cities bound by a network of freeways. LA is divided into five main districts: Downtown, Hollywood, The Valley, Westside, and the Beaches - each a world in themselves.
The size of the place may be a source of confusion to a first-time visitor, but don’t give up! It all soon falls into place. Tourists tend to concentrate in the western part of the city, where beach hotels and attractions are located. However, it is worth venturing Downtown for a bit more grit and less glitz, as well as for some great eating and drinking, Downtown is home to the magnificent Walt Disney Concert Hall, an experience in itself.
Los Angeles will always be associated with movies and movie stars. The huge Hollywood sign on the hill to Universal Studios, the glamour of Beverly Hills and the unavoidable celebrity spotting in bars and restaurants... You cannot help but be lured into this surreal and magical world. However, if you fail to look beyond this celluloid culture, you will be missing some of the most fabulous art collections and galleries in the world. The Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Norton Simon Museum all house spectacular permanent collections.
With most days of the year being sunny and warm, outdoor life is a large part of the Los Angeles lifestyle. Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu beaches offer some great urban beach culture with roller skating on the promenades and shopping on the boulevards. Griffith Park is one of the largest city parks in the country and offers all manner of outdoor pursuits (including the LA Zoo).
With a population as diverse as its geography, Los Angeles has become a multicultural hub, which is reflected in the food, art, and streets themselves. Both Chinatown and Koreatown offer some great food, interesting shopping, and, when it comes to the latter, some top karaoke!
With its huge multi-ethnic community, Los Angeles is a veritable melting pot of culinary culture. Whatever food you are in the mood for, this town has it. Although the well-known restaurants tend to attract most attention, it is worth exploring the small neighborhood eateries which sometimes provide the most rewarding dining experiences. The list below names a few restaurants that are popular, interesting and reputable.
Reservations are necessary for popular restaurants, especially at the weekend. Most kitchens close around 10pm, so go out early and enjoy your meal!
Los Angeles has a diverse array of shopping areas. Whether you are looking for haute couture, trendy or vintage, ethnic, chic or designer, this city has you covered. Each area is distinct in its vibe, clientele and wares. The following list gives an idea of what to expect in some of the main shopping areas. Tax is generally not included in the marked price, so be prepared to add 8 percent.
Passport / Visa
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
Best Time To Visit
The warm and sunny weather in Southern California makes Los Angeles an enjoyable city practically all year round, but in general, the best time to visit L.A. would be from March to May, when there are fewer tourists and the temperatures are more pleasant.
Summer can be unbearably hot. It also brings more tourists and that's when the smog levels and room rates peak. However, during this period, L.A. is booming with music festivals, free summer concerts, and outdoor movie screenings.
The rain falls mostly during the winter. In January, Pasadena’s historic Rose Parade takes place and most awards shows such as the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the Grammys.
Address: Los Angeles
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, as it is locally known, is the third busiest airport in the world. It is located about 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Downtown L.A. Public transport from LAX is slow, but cheap. The “C” shuttle leaves from the LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections sign on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal and brings passengers to the Metro Bus Center, where they can catch city buses serving the Los Angeles area.
Information on city bus services is available by telephone on the Information Display Board in the baggage claim area in each terminal. In addition, passengers can obtain local transit information by calling +1 800 266 6883. L.A. city’s easily navigable website also gives routes and timetables for public transport to and from the city.
Private shuttle buses do hotel drop-offs right to the door, cheaper than a taxi and quicker than the public bus. These can be found on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal under the red sign Hotel & Parking Lot Shuttles.
Taxis are readily available but expensive (they add a service charge from the airport). They can be found on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal. Passengers are given a ticket stating typical fares to major destinations.
There are also plenty of car rental agencies at the airport with competitive prices.
Address: Los Angeles International Airport
Phone: +1 855 463 5252
Smaller airports in the Los Angeles area avoid the LAX gridlock and provide connections to almost anywhere within the US. Check the individual websites for details on flights and ground transport. Also check www.mta.net for public transport routes and timetables.
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport is located 25km (15 miles) northwest of Downtown.
Address: Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport
Phone: +1 818 840 8830
Long Beach Airport
Long Beach Airport is located 40 km (25 miles) south of Downtown.
Transportation network companies such as Lyft, Opoli, See Jane Go and
Uber are available on the outer curb in front of the terminal.
The bus service is run by Long Beach Transit and they have four routs that are connected to the airport.
Taxis are offered at the Taxi stand outside the terminal.
You will find the car rental offices in the Airport Ground Transportation Center.
Address: Long Beach Airport
Phone: +1 562 570 2600
Los Angeles is in the Pacific time zone, and all times are reflected in Pacific time.
Los Angeles is a city designed for cars. Getting around without one is generally slow and complicated. Most visitors rent a car for their stay, but if you decide not to, there are options. Buses, trains and trams are run by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority.
The Metro, which runs both over and under ground, is sometimes handy for getting from Downtown outwards. The Transit Authority’s website is easily navigable and provides all necessary information on routes, timetables and fares (www.mta.net).
The Downtown Area Short Hop (DASH) shuttle system operates buses throughout Downtown, Hollywood and the west side of L.A. Service runs roughly every 5 to 20 minutes. Contact the Department of Transportation for routes and timetables.
Address: Los Angeles
More Information: www.mta.net
Cabs do not usually stop when hailed down. There are cab stands at all major hotels and stations. Check that your cab has the official City of Los Angeles Taxicab Seal, which ensures that it is insured, inspected and driven by a trained driver. If not, it is illegal. The website below provides all the necessary information, with company listings, phone numbers and service areas.
To order a cab in advance:
Taxi Yellow Cab LA County
+1 323 792 9494
+1 800 822 8294
Other options for lower fares are the rideshare companies Uber, Lyft, and Curb. For airport services: Jayride and Wingz.
Post offices are located throughout the city. Call to find the post office closest to you, or simply drop your mail in one of the multiple bright-yellow post boxes scattered around town.
Phone: +1 800 275 8777
The most common chain pharmacies in LA are Walgreens, Rite Aid and Horton and Converse. Some pharmacies operate 24/7, so make sure to locate one in your neighborhood. Stand-alone pharmacies are common, but some can be found inside larger department stores.
The centrally-located (and world-famous) Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has a 24-hour emergency room.
Address: 460 South Broadway - Los Angeles, CA
Phone: +1 213 572 0127
110v / 60HzHz. Plug details: American style plug with two perpendicular flat blades.
Country code: +1
Area code: L.A. now has Seven Area Codes. Downtown uses the original 213. The rest of the city is divided into 310 (West of La Cienega Boulevard), 818 (San Fernando Valley), 626 (East), 562 (some areas in the South and East) and 323.
For directory inquiries call 411.