Los Angeles is one of the great cities of the world, a metropolis that buzzes with the excitement of Hollywood, celebrities and power. But there is much more to this city than Tinseltown. Greater LA is made up of five counties – Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura – and each offers something different. From desert landscapes to coastal towns, from mountain hideaways to the valleys, there is something for everyone.
Take the family to the 'Happiest Place on Earth' at Disneyland Anaheim. Or hit the sprawling outlet malls and find a high-end fashion bargain. Foodies will find their fix with everything from takeaway food trucks to five-star dining and the nightlife glitters with bars in every county.
- Country: USA
- Currency: US Dollar (USD)
- Official Language: English
- Visas: Australians need to apply for an Electronic System Travel Authorisation (ESTA) before departing Australia
- Tipping: Tips of between 15% and 20% are standard for all services
- Electricity: US outlets run on 120V and use Type B plugs
Temperature (max C)
J 14, F 14, M 16, A 16, M 16, J 17, J 19, A 20, S 19, O 19, N 18, D 16
Rainfall (max mm)
J 77, F 97, M 46, A 17, M 9, J 3, J 1, A 0, S 2, O 11, N 18, D 47
You probably already know all about Disneyland, but another of the big-ticket things to do in Los Angeles is Universal Studios. Mixing a movie theme park with behind-the-scenes studio tours, it's a winner for anyone wanting to feel like part of Tinseltown.
Sports fans will appreciate the chance to see the Lakers, Dodgers or Galaxy in action in their iconic stadia while, for a broader cultural experience, you won't want to miss The Getty Centre and the oh-so-classy Museum of Contemporary Art.
While a visit is incomplete without the obligatory tourist stops (we’re looking at you, Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive), consider venturing off the well-worn path to find your own gems. Cycle Manhattan Beach, hike Runyon Canyon, admire ‘The Valley’ from Mulholland Drive – the choices are endless.
Don’t leave LA without...
- Seeing a local sports game
- Visiting a theme park
- Walking along Venice Beach
Foodies, you’re going to get very spoilt in Los Angeles! Local eateries span Michelin-starred establishments to the far less formal but often just as tasty gourmet food trucks. Chef-prepped food tends to be flavoursome rather than fatty here, and neighbourhoods aren't just defined by their multicultural elements but their culinary contributions too.
Go to Glendale for delectable Middle Eastern food; Pico Boulevard has 'kosher restaurant row'; vegans are catered for across the city and in 'Little Osaka' in West LA. High end picks for flavour sensations and fine wine include Bastide (on Melrose Place, yes, it does exist) and Spago in Beverly Hills.
Dine alongside Hollywood stars at...
- Pizzeria Mozza, Hancock Park
- Fig & Olive, Melrose Place
- Madeo Restaurant, West Hollywood
Though Los Angles is a city that never sleeps, you’ll never have a problem finding somewhere to do so with options ranging from budget motels all the way through to luxury resorts frequented by the rich and famous. Los Angeles hotels with easy access to top attractions include the Hilton Los Angeles (Universal Studios), The Shore Hotel (Santa Monica Pier) and Hotel Amarano (LA Zoo). If staying near the airport (LAX) is a priority, then you can't go past the welcoming hospitality at the Inn at Playa del Rey.
Even if you don’t decide to sleep like a star, there are some Los Angles hotels you’ll at least want to visit. Millennium Biltmore has featured in many episodes of hit TV show Mad Men, while The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hollywood Roosevelt have been go-to destinations for Hollywood film shoots for decades.
Grab a drink at these hip hotel bars...
- Chateau Marmont
- The Standard Hollywood
- Ace Hotel Downtown LA
If you've got no concern about splashing your cash while shopping in Los Angeles, make a beeline for Rodeo Drive and Robertson Boulevard. In West Hollywood, The Grove is a premier mixed shopping/dining/entertainment area and is home to a range of top local and international brands. The Hollywood & Highland Centre sports a similar mix of shops and has the added advantage of being right next to the red carpets when films premiere.
If you're more of a bargain hunter, you'll be in good company closer to Anaheim where many of the city’s factory outlets are located. Serious fashionistas, make sure you check out Echo Park and Downtown LA, while record collectors can’t miss a visit to Amoeba Music – the world’s largest independent record store.
Shop iconic LA destinations...
- Sunset Strip boutiques
- Rose Bowl’s flea market
- Venice Beach surf stores
Los Angeles Like a Local
The 'City of Angels' may enjoy a Hollywood backdrop, but there’s more to Los Angeles than just a glitzy celebrity culture. 'Angelenos' know their city is huge – there are more than 80 districts – and become accustomed to driving everywhere to get anywhere.
It can take at least a couple of hours to get across the city if you're driving, so keep that in mind when planning an itinerary. If you're not up for the hire car option, you still have plenty of ways to get around on four wheels.
The local public transport system is affordable but slow, so a better idea is to pre-arrange a hotel transfer, take up an organised tour, hire a taxi or use the popular Uber App.
Go for a jog along...
- Runyon Canyon Park
- Californian Coastal Trail
- Santa Monica's Palisades Park
1. Jump the queue and have more fun: Plan ahead at Disneyland to cut ride wait times, sometimes 90minutes long. Ask if your hoteloffers the Magic Morning early pass so you can get in before the general public and go onthe most popular rides then. Or visit during off-peak times and go to the most popular rides during the parades and fireworks, times when crowdsare low.
2. Hipster Service: While LA can come across a little tacky here and there, this city doesn't skimp on good cafe haunts serving quality coffee. You just need to know where to find them. Get your single origin fix at intelligentsia coffee in Silver Lake, Venice and Pasadena. Handsome Coffee Roasters and Cafe Demitasse also guarantee a quality brew.
Did you know...? In August 1978, the Hollywood sign was demolished due to disrepair and for the first time in 50 years, LA was without its famous sign for three months while it was rebuilt.