LA, Tinseltown or the City of Angels: whatever name Los Angeles goes by, it can never be mistaken for anything other than one the world’s most powerful and influential cities.
As California’s biggest city, it contains Hollywood, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Sunset Boulevard and much more besides within its vast urban sprawl of 503 square miles. Situated on the West Coast of the US, LA is best known for being home to America’s entertainment industry. Giants of the film industry such as Paramount, Universal and Fox are all based here, with Warner, Sony and Walt Disney Studios just outside the city proper.
As the name suggests, Los Angeles has a strong Mexican heritage and the city has a large Hispanic population that manifests itself throughout its food, culture and media. Many other ethnic groups have a strong presence in this global city too, including Chinese, Thai, Filipinos and Koreans.
The city grew rapidly in the early half of the 20th century, coinciding with the golden age of American cinema. As such, the very fabric of the city includes fantastic pieces of Art Deco architecture, glamorous period mansions and beach houses.
In the North East you will find instantly recognisable, affluent areas such as Beverly Hills and Malibu. All along the city’s Pacific Ocean coast are miles of beaches which served as the nursery for the mid-20th century global explosion of surf culture. One in six people in LA work in the creative industries, which, along with the glamour of the large show business sector, makes the city a cultured, exciting and vibrant place to live and visit.
Visitors to LA delight in the culture of stardom and celebrity, whether that’s tracing the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, drinking on the Sunset Strip, or staying the same hotels as the immortal stars of the silver screen.
The city’s beaches are also a must-see. Like most coastal cities, here different beaches cater to different people. Whether you want to see people juggle chainsaws on Venice Beach’s Ocean Front Walk, take your Chihuahua out for a walk on Manhattan Beach, or catch some waves at Malibu, LA has got it all.
Los Angeles is well known for its Mediterranean climate. The weather is warm all year round, with average highs of 22 degrees Celsius in July, the hottest month. Even the depths of an LA winter are distinctly clement, with an average temperature of 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) in January.
Almost incredibly, you have to go back to 1979 for the thermometers to hit freezing point.
English is the most common language, but Spanish is also widely spoken in Los Angeles, where you may also hear strains of Filipino, Korean, Chinese and Persian.
Visitors entering the country under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) must have a machine-readable passport (MRP) that includes their biometrics. They also need to register online three days before travel.
All visitors to the USA will have a photograph and two fingerprints taken by an inkless scanner on arrival.
Please check the rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
LA has a problem with drug- and gang- related crime. You are best advised to stick to the renowned tourist areas, and to remain vigilant at all times.
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