Hostelworld Guide for Los Angeles
Loved and loathed in equal measures, Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis and one of the most diverse cities in the world. Over a few days one can experience the tackiness of Hollywood, meet the eclectic characters of Venice Beach and marvel at the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Life in this West Coast city is slightly more relaxed than that on the East, and the neighbourhoods are the attractions. Theme parks abound and the LA nightlife is legendary. So whether you end up loving it or loathing it after your visit, you certainly won't be forgetting it in a hurry.
Getting There By plane: Los Angeles has 3 airports which serve the city, although the vast majority of flights land at Los Angeles International (LAX). It is connected to the city centre via metro, while private shuttle companies can drop you directly to the door of your accommodation. By train: If you travel to LA by train you will arrive in Union Station, LA's main train station at 800 North Alameda Street in Downtown Los Angeles.
In this Guide... Useful Information After Dark Places to Eat Top Attractions Budget Tips Where to Shop
By bus: Los Angeles' Greyhound (America's main bus company) Station is at 1716 East Seventh Street which is also downtown.
Getting Around On foot: Since LA is the second biggest city in the USA, you will have to use public transport during your visit. Some areas such as Downtown LA however, are easily traversable on foot. By metro: The city's metro system, run by MTA has seven lines. Convenient connections include Hollywood to both Downtown and Universal Studios. A line also runs from the airport. By bus: MTA also runs the bus network. There are over 200 routes in operation and they are the only way to get to places such as Beverly Hills and Venice Beach.
Los Angeles facts
Climate Los Angeles is blessed with a Mediterranean climate and boasts hot (and sometimes humid) summers when temperatures regularly reach 30째C or higher. The best time to visit is September or October, as both enjoy clear days and pleasant temperatures. During the winter months rain can occur, and February is the wettest month.
Good to know... Language: English, Spanish Currency: US Dollar Electricity: 110/120 volts AC/50Hz. 2-pin plug Area Code: +1 (USA), various area codes Emergency Codes: Ambulance / Fire / Police 911 Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time (GMT -8 hours) Central Post Office: 760 North Main Street, Downtown Los Angeles Main Tourist Office: 685 S. Figueroa Street, Downtown Los Angeles
Consulates UK: +1 310 481 0031 Canada: +1 213 346 2700 Australia: +1 310 229 4800 South Africa: +1 323 651 0902 Ireland: +1 714 658 9832 Germany: +1 323 930 2703 Spain: +1 323 938 0158 Italy: +1 310 820 0622 New Zealand: +1 310 566 6555 France: +1 310 235 3200
Name: Los Angeles means 'the angels' in Spanish so it's no surprise that LA is also known as the 'City of Angels'. Location: LA is located on the West Coast of the United States in the sunny state of California. Population: Approximately 4 million people call this city home. Area: This city, which is the second largest in the US, covers an area in excess of 1,200 square kilometres. Founded: LA was first settled back in the 1780s and was first incorporated in 1850. Hostelworld Guide for Los Angeles
Cheap Eats Gonpachi, 134 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills This is the LA branch of a pretty successful chain of restaurants from Japan. Here you'll be able to enjoy a wide variety of sushi, noodle dishes and more. To finish off your meal why not try some of the restaurant's delicious Japanese sake. Open Sun-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thurs-Sat 5pm-midnight.
The Jody Maroni Story Jody Maroni's, 2011 Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach Specialising in gourmet sausages since 1979, Jody Maroni's has become something of an institution on Venice Beach's promenade. Along with traditional pork sausages, 'chicken apple' and 'hot Italian' varieties are also available. They also serve charbroiled burgers and kick-ass sandwiches. Open daily from 10am-sunset. Famer's Market, crnr of Fairfax and 3rd Street, Fairfax As much a tourist attraction as a place to eat, Farmer's Market has been trading since 1904. Here you will find Mexican, Thai, Greek, Southern, Italian and other types of food to feast on. It's also a dream come true for those with a sweet tooth. Open Mon-Sat from 9am-9pm, Sun 10am-7pm. Big Dean's Café, 1615 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica Big Dean's offers an affordable lunch option with a priceless view. Pick anything from Buffalo wings and cheeseburgers to soup and sandwiches to munch on as you watch Santa Monica life go by. Open daily from 11am-close. Palms Thai, 5900 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood If you're looking for good Thai food, try Palms Thai as you'll also be treated to a performance by a Thai Elvis. So, if you're looking for a singing Thai Elvis, try this place as you'll also be treated to good Thai food. It's a win-win situation. Open daily from 11am-2am.
After Dark Grauman's Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood When in Tinseltown, one simply must go to the movies. And Grauman's Chinese Theatre is arguably the world's most famous cinema. After the movie, check out the handprints in the cement of the forecourt before getting snapped with those on the brink of stardom who dress up as famous movie characters before making it big. Check local listings for cinema times. Boardners, 1652 North Cherokee Ave, Hollywood You know, Hollywood isn't all about looking beautiful. Here and there are bars without the velvet rope and cardboard doormen. Boardners is one of those bars. Refreshingly unpretentious, here you can down a beer in peace, and its cozy booths are perfect for catching up with others you meet on your travels. Open daily from 4pm-2am.
Gay / Lesbian Los Angeles The gay scene in Los Angeles is very open and has been for years. Most of the nightlife is around Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. Fubar (7994 Santa Monica Blvd) is strictly for the guys and one of the campest spots in town. The Palms (8572 Santa Monica Blvd) however, is one of LA's most popular lesbian bars. Clubbers should check out Club 7969 (7969 Santa Monica Blvd). Sunset Trocadero, 8280 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood Small but lively, there's a good atmosphere in this Sunset Strip bar. Drinks flow easily as does the conversation thanks to a relaxed atmosphere. There are no live bands, no thumping music, just good drinks being drunk and good times being had by all. Open daily from 6pm-2am. Geisha House, 6633 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood Want to know where all the cool kids hang out? Look no further than the über trendy Geisha House, a bar/restaurant that found itself in the spotlight after featuring in the movie 'Knocked Up'. Owned by Ashton Kutcher, you need to look the part, but only a bit as bouncers aren't half as choosy as you'd expect. Open daily from 4pm-2am. The Viper Room, 8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood Johnny Depp's club may been known for other things in the past, but today it is regarded as the best place for live music on the strip. Most of the bands playing are from LA's underground scene, but Prince, Tom Petty and Pearl Jam have all jammed here in the past. Open daily from 8pm-2am; admission varies.
Hostelworld Guide for Los Angeles
Don't Miss Universal Studios, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City This TV/movie studio-come-theme park is packed with roller coasters and thrill rides for those looking to get their adrenalin pumping. It also has studio tours for the less daring, while a variety of shows are staged throughout the day. Most visits end with eating, drinking or dancing along 'City Walk'. Opening hours and admission prices vary. Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Hollywood Covering a total of 4,107 acres, this is the largest municipal park in the United States. It is home to a number of attractions, namely Griffith Observatory which boasts 360° views and hosts the city's planetarium. Open Tues-Fri noon-10pm, Sat & Sun 10am-10pm; admission free. Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 South Grand Ave, Downtown Los Angeles Widely known as MOCA, this art museum houses some of USA's bes t moder n ar t . T h e b u i l d i n g , d e s i g n e d b y Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, is an attraction in itself thanks to its cube and pyramid ridden façade. Open Fri-Mon 11am-5pm & to 8pm Thurs, admission $10.
One day... Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood Located between Vine and Brea Aves, the Walk of Fame plays homage to the stars of the silver screen. You may not recognise some of the names, but you still can't miss a stroll down this celebrated strip. Watch out for Marilyn Monroe on the southern corner of Hollywood and Highland and countless names at the northern corner of Hollywood and La Brea. Disneyland, 1313 Harbor Blvd, Anaheim As artificial as it is, Disneyland is still one of LA's top attractions. Much of it is aimed at the younger generation, but rides such as 'Space Mountain' and 'Matterhorn Bobsleds' will keep older folk happy. Opening times and admission prices vary.
Mark Your Calendar January - Rose Parade Each New Year's Day Pasadena hosts the Rose Parade, a celebration that's more than a century old. This festival of flowers, music and sports is one of LA's most celebrated. March - Irish Fair People from all over LA gather for the annual Irish Fair in Pomona. The event includes performances by local Irish dance groups, highland-style athletic games, food and lots of traditonal Irish music. April - Carnaval Primavera Attended by over 350,000 people, Carnaval Primavera is one of Southern California's largest Mardi Gras festivals. Held in Huntington Park over three days, there is live entertainment on two stages. May - Playboy Jazz Festival The Playboy Jazz Festival is the West Coast's premier jazz event. One month long, it culminates in one weekend in June at the Hollywood Bowl. June to December - Grand Performances Every year starting in June, California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles stages free concerts for six months of the year, entertaining thousands in the process. July - US Open of Surfing Staged at Huntington Beach, the US Open of Surfing is the largest lifestyle sports and music event in North America. Professional surfers, skateboarders and world class musicians pack the beach for a week of mayhem. August - Nisei Week Japanese Festival Originally founded to attract people to Little Tokyo, this annual 9-day festival celebrates everything Japanese and Japanese-American. Picture traditional dancing, parades, a street fair, cultural exhibits and much more. October - Dia de Los Muertos A very spiritual event, the "Dia de Los Muertos" (day of the dead) allows a pleasant day to be spent soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the costumes of the participants. November - Los Angeles International Tamale Festival This 3-day extravaganza has something for everyone, with a carnival atmosphere, celebrity appearances and tamales galore. December - Tournament of Lights The annual Tournament of Lights takes place in mid-December. During this event, the beautiful harbour at Marina del Rey hosts a boat parade and fireworks. www.hostelworld.com
Hollywood Everybody in the world and their mother who wants to be famous ends up in Hollywood, California at some stage during their life. Its showpiece is Hollywood Boulevard, a place where the weird meets the wonderful. In and around it are some cool bars, eclectic shops and even some places to relax. All that and, eh, lots and lots of Scientology churches.
Fashion District, Downtown Los Angeles Spanning 90 blocks, Downtown LA's Fashion District is comprised of fashion stores and warehouses teeming with designer clothes, shoes, accessories and more at shamefully low prices. In the middle of it all is Santee Alley between Maple and Santee Streets. This is where you will find not-so authentic goods at not-so high prices.
Beverly Hills It's hard to describe how far removed Beverly Hills is from the rest of Los Angeles. This part of town is all about money, glamour and power. It's no surprise that a fleet of the world's most famous faces live in the surrounding areas. Some of its landmarks include the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel, Rodeo Drive and the numerous Beverly Hills city limits signs.
Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach As the sun tends to shine quite a bit on the City of Angels, you will need to be equipped with shades, t-shirts and shorts when visiting. If you have come unprepared don't fret - Venice Beach's famed promenade is where to stock up. As there is so much competition between the different stores, prices are low, which is always a good thing.
Downtown Los Angeles You will find that many of those who come to Los Angeles don't venture to Downtown LA, the heart of this sprawling city. Granted, it isn't as bustling as other business districts in USA, but it is where you'll find some of the city's most innovative architecture, particularly with USA Bank Tower, the city's highest skyscraper, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Venetians in LA Venice Beach Just like Camden Town in London and Greenwich Village in New York, Venice Beach is totally unmissable. Here along Ocean Front Walk roller bladers, bodybuilders and basketball players mix in harmony with some of the most unique characters you will find in America. Miss it at your peril. Santa Monica The quieter cousin of Venice Beach, Santa Monica is only twenty minutes walk down the promenade. Its main attraction is its famed pier, home to countless amusements and the famous 1920s carousel, while three blocks inland you'll find Third Street Promenade, a major shopping strip.
Hostelworld Guide for Los Angeles
One can always dream... Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills Granted, if you're reading this you may not be in the position to waltz down Rodeo Drive with a platinum Visa card to inflict damage on, but one can always dream! This famous strip in Beverly Hills has branches of all the usual suspects - Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabana, Yves Sant Laurent, Prada and more can all be found here. Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Tourist kitsch such as 'I Love Hollywood' t-shirts and aprons with Robert De Niro sprawled across them is what you'll find here, along with an abundance of smoke shops and tattoo parlours if you're that way inclined. In the middle of the strip though is Hollywood and Highland, one of LA's coolest shopping malls. Melrose Avenue In the western part of this avenue, and in particular between La Brea Ave and Fairfax Ave, is a wave of alternative shops. These include self-explanatory 'The World of Vintage T-Shirts' at #7701 and 'Moonlight Graham', a store just a few doors up that also specialises in retro clothing.
Budget Tips Visit museums for free LA has a host of free museums and free museum days giving you something to do when the good times on the West Coast have soaked up most of your dollars. These include the Getty Museum and the Hollywood Bowl Museum (both always free), MOCA (free from 5pm-8pm on Thursdays) and the Long Beach Museum of Art (free every Friday).
A Day in Los Angeles... Begin your day in LA in Beverly Hills, one of the city's best-known districts. Stroll down Rodeo Drive and see how the other half live in the City of Angels. Next stop Hollywood! Stroll down the Walk of Fame, see the famous Chinese Theatre, and get a picture of the infamous 'Hollywood' sign. Grab lunch in 'Palms Thai', one of the better places to eat on Hollywood Blvd. While you sample their delicious Thai dishes you'll be head a singing Thai Elvis perform!
Be in a Hollywood movie Wouldn't it be cool to say you visited Hollywood and you were in a movie while you were there? And wouldn't it be cooler to say it didn't cost a dime to do so? Log on to www.beinamovie.com, sign up to their newsletter to find out if there's filming going on when you're in town and you might just get yourself on to the silver screen for nothing!
Take the bus to Venice Beach. Unfortunately the metro doesn't go there so sit tight on a bus for an hour or even 90 minutes!
Save money on public transport If you plan on using both the metro and the bus in the one day, don't waste money by buying single tickets for each journey. Instead buy the Metro Day Pass. It costs $5 and you'll get all of LA for just five bucks a day.
Walk down the promenade to Santa Monica, another of LA's famous beach suburbs. Dodge roller bladers and joggers before reaching Santa Monica pier (below).
Get the perfect shot of the Hollywood sign Similar to most celebrities in the City of Angels, getting close to the Hollywood sign is quite difficult. To do so you have to trespass on private property. There are still some good, legal places to get that elusive snap though. These include various parts of the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Mall, on Beachwood Canyon Drive at Glen Holly, Glen Oak and Cheremoya, and on Gower Blvd at Melrose Ave.
Head back to Hollywood for the evening. Here you'll find plenty of great restaurants and bars serving up a wide variety of delicious dishes.
Be in the Audience of a TV show You know all those American talk shows you know and love? Like Tonight with Jay Leno, the Dr Phil Show and more. Want to know how much the audience paid for their tickets? Not a cent! Audience tickets for most talk shows are given out completely free of charge. To get yourself on one simply visit www.tvtix.com.
Witness some of the USA's most unique characters on Ocean Front Walk. Check out the action on the basketball courts as well as the bodybuilders in 'Muscle Beach'.
Go for a beer (or even a cocktail) afterwards in Geisha House. It's one of the coolest bars on Hollywood Blvd. Boardners is also a cool spot to down a cold one. Finish the night off on LA's infamous Sunset Blvd. Also known as Sunset Strip, it offers countless bars and clubs to finish the day off partying away.