Los Angeles Flights and Travel Guide

Los Angeles

General Information

Los Angeles

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34.05223420

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Los Angeles - introduction

Los Angeles, also known as the ‘City of Angels’ or L.A., is California’s largest city.

Geographically it is positioned in the southeast coast of California, in a broad basin, surrounded by mountain ranges, forests and deserts. The city is famous for its pleasantly warm and dry climate almost all year long.

It is known world-wide as the home of Hollywood, the center of the American entertainment industry, but L.A. is also a center of culture, business, media, and international trade.

It is one of America’s leading economic hubs, not the least in the production of popular entertainment, such as movies, television, video games and the recording industry.

The city population comes from all corners of the world. It is said that over 100 languages are spoken by the residents of this diverse city.

America’s icons are clustered here as movies have made them world famous: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the beach communities of Malibu, Venice Beach and Santa Monica, as well as the famous sports teams the Lakers and the Dodgers.

Next: Los Angeles Climate »

Los Angeles - Climate

L.A. enjoys sunny pleasant weather all year round. There are no extremes in temperatures or humidity, and the weather is mostly influenced by the Pacific.

Summers are dry and sunny. Locations near the beach are cooled off by the sea breezes, while inland areas get hot, with temperatures reaching up to 32˚C in the canyons and valleys. The winters are wet and cooler.
The city is also in the path of the hot and dusty Santa Ana winds that blow in late in the year from the surrounding mountains and the deserts beyond them.

The phenomenon called ‘June Gloom’ or ‘May Gray’ refers to the smog that is characteristic in low-lying areas during late spring and early summers, resulting in overcast or foggy morning skies in the coastal and valley regions. The weather usually clears by noon.

January average temperature 13 deg Celsius 69 mm rainfall
February average temperature 14 deg Celsius, 79 mm rainfall
March average temperature 15 deg Celsius, 56 mm rainfall
April average temperature 16 deg Celsius, 33 mm rainfall
May average temperature 17 deg Celsius, 8 mm rainfall
June average temperature 19 deg Celsius, 3 mm rainfall
July average temperature 22 deg Celsius, 0 mm rainfall
August average temperature 22 deg Celsius, 0 mm rainfall
September average temperature 22 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall
October average temperature 19 deg Celsius, 10 mm rainfall
November average temperature 17 deg Celsius, 28 mm rainfall
December average temperature 15 deg Celsius, 63 mm rainfall

Next: Los Angeles Getting There »

Los Angeles - Getting There

PLANE

The city’s major gateway is Los Angeles International (LAX), a huge international airport with 9 terminals. It is located approximately 24km from L.A.’s city center.

Transfer

Shuttle bus: Free services are available from each terminal to the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station. Another shuttle connects to the Bus center.
Taxis: taxis can be found outside the lower level of the airport. A ride to the city center costs around US$30.
Car rental: There are many car rental companies at this airport. A free shuttle pick-up to reach the rental car sites is available.
Other: Some hotels offer free transport.

 

Getting Around

CAR

The city stretches out far and wide and therefore a car is the best and most popular way to see the city. The city has a complex network of highways which can be daunting, but a good map should help a lot. L.A. was designed for cars, so the streets are wide and parking places plenty. Local freeways are often jam packed during rush hours. Traffic is heaviest from 7 to 10 in the morning and 3 – 7 in the afternoon. Note that on a day that leads into a public holiday, the rush hour will virtually be all day.

METRO RAIL

L.A. metro network has grown in the past decade but it has only 3 lines. Its services are efficient and frequent although limited.

TAXI

Taxis are available but it is very expensive getting around in a cab due to the large distances in the city and, unlike elsewhere in the world, taxis are not always at liberty to be hailed from the street. They must either usually be called, or found at a designated taxi rank.

BUS

The L.A. bus system is slow and somewhat impractical due to large distances in the city and not recommended for late night travel.

Next: Los Angeles Activities »

Los Angeles - Activities

BASKETBALL: L.A. LAKERS

The Los Angeles Lakers are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team and beloved by the city. They play their home games at the Staples Center.

Staples Center

Address: 1111 S. Figueroa Street, Downtown L.A.
Web:
http://www.nba.com/lakers/

 

BASEBALL: L.A. DODGERS

The Los Angeles Dodgers are Major league basketball team and members of the National League, West division.

Dodger Stadium

Address: 1000 Elysian Park Avenue, Dodgertown
Web:
http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=la

 

CONCERTS

L.A. has a plethora of music venues, covering all imaginable music styles.
You can catch rock shows in various venues on Sunset Blvd; Hollywood has numerous jazz clubs; The Hollywood Bowl and Pasadena’s Rose Bowl are large concert venues; and in Downtown there resides the wildly imaginatively designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

 

SHOPPING

Los Angeles offers a diverse shopping experience.
There are innumerable shopping malls in all parts of the city, including notably The Hollywood & Highland Mall, the Grove, and the Beverly Center; the latter possessing a splendid view of the city from its food court.

For upscale shopping in Beverly Hills there are no places better or more extravagant than Rodeo Drive and Larchmont Blvd. catering to the wealthy elite with many unique boutiques.

 

CALIFORNIA BEACH CULTURE

The Californian lifestyle is lived large at the numerous L.A.’s sandy beaches along the Pacific Ocean. Malibu is the most prestigious and most scenic beach community and a favored neighborhood of the rich and famous. Santa Monica is loved by tourists for its pier. Venice Beach, the quintessential L.A. beach, is known for its lively Ocean Front Walk, a pedestrian promenade featuring performers, fortune-tellers, artists, vendors, and joggers. The outdoor gym there gives Venice its nickname of Muscle Beach.

 

WHALE WATCHING

Many whale-watching excursions are available from L.A. harbors during the annual migration of the Californian Gray Whale from Alaska to Mexico. These intriguing creatures can be seen passing along the California Coast.

 

Next: Los Angeles Attractions »

Los Angeles - Attractions

Hollywood

Hollywood is has become a trademark of the American film industry and the embodiment of its glamour. Its enduring symbol is the Hollywood sign spelled in 15-meter letters on the hill above the city. The center of film industry is clustered around Hollywood Boulevard, featuring many landmarks and attractions.

The courtyard of the Mann's (Grauman's) Chinese Theatre features over 200 celebrity signatures, hand and feet hand imprints. Right in front of the theater is the Walk of Fame that has over 2,500 brass stars embedded in the sidewalk.

Capitol Records Tower is an iconic L.A. building, resembling a stack of records.
The 13 storey building is home to many renowned recording studios and echo chambers of Capitol Studios. Designed by Welton Becket, the building is on the List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles.
Other notable Hollywood attractions are The Kodak Theatre (home of the annual Academy Awards Ceremonies (The Oscars), the Hollywood Guinness World Records Museum, as well as the Hollywood Wax Museum.

 

Beverly Hills

The glamorous enclave city in L.A. County, Beverly Hills is home of the rich and famous. Its palm-lined streets hold fancy boutiques, posh restaurants and magnificent, palace-like homes.
Rodeo Drive and the nearby Two Rodeo is the area’s famous shopping area where the rich and famous browse the (extremely expensive) designer stores.

 

The Griffith Park & Observatory

Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles
Web:
http://www.griffithobs.org
Open: Park open daily 24hrs; observatory open Wed - Sun
Admission: Park (free) / other attractions: fees apply

The Observatory sits atop Mount Hollywood. It features an extensive array of space- and science-related displays and is a prominent site for the study of astronomy. The Observatory is also a popular filming location. It is situated in the midst of Griffith Park, a well-kept public park covering an area of 17 km². This is L.A.’s green lung, and a recreational area available to all.

 

Malibu

Malibu is L.A.’s most scenic neighborhood, also known as “Shangri-La on the Pacific”. It is known for its legendary surf beaches, the spectacular beauty of its rugged shoreline and the celebrities that call it home. The best way to enjoy Malibu is to head to its beaches and the best are Point Dume and Zuma.
You can take a walk along the vintage Malibu Pier, a Southern California icon and historic landmark.
Right next to the pier is the Surfrider Beach, one of the world’s most famous surf spots, known for its three-point break that offers rides of 300 meters or more.

 

Getty Center Museum

Address: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles
Web:
http://www.getty.edu/
Admission to the site and to all exhibitions is FREE

The Getty Center showcases a collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present day.
John Paul Getty, who founded the Getty Oil Company, was one of America’s richest industrialists and an avid art collector. The latter formed the basis for the museum today. The collection includes European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, as well as works by European and American photographers.
The building itself is notable for its dramatic modern architecture and is surrounded by tranquil gardens and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

 

Santa Monica Beach and Pier

Web: http://www.santamonica.com/visitors/what-to-do/beach/
Web: http://www.santamonicapier.org/

Santa Monica’s 5.6 km of well-maintained beach locations represents Los Angeles’ prime coastline. It enjoys approximately 340 days of sunshine per year and is also blessed by constant gentle ocean breezes, making it one of the best California beach experiences.
The beach offers surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, cycling and fishing, apart from the most popular activity: people-watching.

The Santa Monica Pier offers a variety of entertainment, shopping and dining. It is known for its 1920s carousel and numerous seafood restaurants. The pier is also a great place to watch the beautiful California sunset.

 

Universal Studios

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, University City
Web:
http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com

Universal Studios is one of the world’s largest film studios and theme park, and is a popular tourist landmark.
Visitors can take the narrated tram tour that takes in the vast studio complex, including various movie sets and celebrity dressing rooms, and maybe see some stars in person, as well learn interesting facts about how Hollywood blockbusters are made.

 

Disneyland Park

Address: 1313 South Harbor Blvd, Anaheim
Open: daily 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Web:
http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/

The Disneyland Park was designed and built under the supervision of Walt Disney himself. Since its opening in 1955, the park has undergone several renovations and expansions. It has eight sub-sections, the so-called 'lands', for example Adventureland and Tomorrowland, each with a unique theme-related rides and attractions. The park has seen more visitors than any other amusement park in the world. It is located in Anaheim, California.

 

Next: Los Angeles Events »

Los Angeles - Events

Academy Awards

Location: Kodak Theatre, Hollywood
Date: March
Web:
http://www.oscar.com

The awards ceremony is a popular and prominent event, broadcasted live in over 200 countries. It is the oldest such event and recognizes achievements of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers.
The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929. The Academy Award of Merit, popularly known as the Oscar, was sculpted by George Stanley. The gold-plated statuette is 34 cm tall.

 

Tournament of Roses

Date: 1 January (annually)
Time: Parade 8:00 am; Rose Bowl Game 2:00 pm
Web:
http://www.tournamentofroses.com
Location: Rose Parade: Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena / Rose Bowl Game: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena

The colorful festival is a century old tradition from Pasadena, featuring a massive parade including marching bands, floats and performing horses.
New Year’s Day is celebrated first with a colorful parade, where floats are adorned entirely in flowers and petals. The festivities continue with the Rose Bowl Game, which is the so-called ‘super bowl’ of college football.

 

Chinese New Year Festival

Venue: Chinatown
Date: February 2011 TBC
Time: Parade 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Web:
http://www.lagoldendragonparade.com

This is L.A. Chinatown’s biggest festival of the year. It involves a colorful parade of painted swinging dragons, called the Golden Dragon Parade.
The festivities also include food, stalls, and fireworks.

 

L.A. Marathon

Date: March 20
Time: 7:20 am
Location: start at Dodger Stadium
Web:
http://www.lamarathon.com

The L.A. Marathon has been held from 1986. Its current race starts at the Dodger Stadium, runs through Chinatown, Olvera Street, Little Tokyo, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. There are no qualifying standards.

 

Dana Point Festival of Whales

Date: March 3 - 13
Location: Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point, California

The migration season of the Gray Whale is from December to early April but in March every year Dana Point throws a Whale Festival: a fun-filled weekend street fair with food, entertainment, arts & craft show and over 100 vendors.

 

Next: Los Angeles Etiquette »

Los Angeles - Etiquette

Tipping is widely used and expected everywhere in the United States and is an important social convention in the USA.

An appropriate tip is between 15 & 20% for good service, more for exceptional service or less for poor service. Leaving no tip means that you found the service horrible.

As a general rule, tips are as follows:
Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
Food delivery: $2-5, 15-20% for larger orders
Taxis: a tip of 10-20% is expected in both yellow cabs and livery cabs
Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (some restaurants already include service charge, especially for larger groups, so check your bill)

Smoking in public places is highly restricted. It is banned in the indoor sections of restaurants and bars, as well as train and subway stations, outdoor stadiums, and many other places. The outside areas of sidewalk cafes and restaurants are usually exempt from this rule.

 

Next: Los Angeles Safety »

Los Angeles - Safety

Travel within the USA is generally safe but visitors are nevertheless advised to practice general precautions. Leave your valuables in a hotel safe. Keep expensive jewelry and watches out of sight. Avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers, thus women are advised to carry their purse across the shoulder, and men are advised to keep their wallets in front pockets.

Most of the tourist destinations of L.A. are generally safe, including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Downtown (during the day) and West L.A.
At night it is advisable to practice caution in certain parts. Some areas near Downtown, such as Skid Row (the site of the Greyhound station) and South Central are dangerous. Walking in these areas should be avoided, day and night.
In addition, the following San Fernando Valley regions of L.A. should also be avoided, especially while walking: Pacoima, Panorama City, Van Nuys, and North Hills.

L.A. is home to a number of gangs. They usually stay in their own patches and neighborhoods and are of no concern to the usual travelers, who are unlikely to venture into these areas. But if in any of these vicinities, remain on well-lit roads, avoid confrontation with groups and if any confrontations arise, leave the situation immediately.

Due to the threat of terrorism, security checks at airports have been greatly increased so allow enough time catch a flight or for connecting flights.

Medical facilities are excellent but very expensive. It is essential to secure good travel insurance before travel. Note that only emergencies are treated without prior payment. Treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds.


Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency: 911 (includes fire, acute medical emergencies, accidents, crime, violence, people in trouble, etc)

Non-emergency: 311 (reporting non-emergency crime, requests for city services)

Next: Los Angeles When To Go »

Los Angeles - When To Go

Spring and autumn are a good time to visit L.A. The weather is pleasant and the crowds are smaller than during the peak season, which runs during the hot and sunny summer months of July and August.

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