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Los Angeles city guide

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By on Thursday 18th Aug, 2011 at 10:54

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities to visit; whether you’re glamming it up in Hollywood or playing Volleyball at Hermosa Beach, there is plenty to see and do.


You can’t visit LA without visiting Hollywood; from the amazing mansions of Beverly Hills to the designer shopping on Rodeo Drive and the golden stars on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood is really the place to feel like a star.

In terms of things to see and do; you can get on a tour of Beverly Hills from about 25 different points in the city, but it is really expensive for what you get and it can take a while. If you’ve hired a car you can pick up a map for around two dollars with all of the celebrity homes labelled on it with big gold stars – so you could essentially do a tour of your own!

One of the other must sees here is the Hollywood sign; you can go on a mountain range walk to get right close to the sign and get the essential cheesy photo with you posing in front of it; it is best to do this walk in full daylight as some of the hills attract snakes and other creatures you won’t want to come across when it’s dark.

If you want to catch a movie while you’re there then forget about the I-Max and visit the El Capitan instead. Until you see the El Capitan you won’t quite understand it’s attraction but this place is huge, and has some traditional cinema magic to keep you entertained. The seats are nearly big enough for two people and before the movie starts there’s a traditional organ player on the stage and waitresses bringing round drinks and snacks. Think gold and gaudy decorations – this is the El Capitan.

Hollywood itself can feel a bit intimidating and unfriendly at times; especially at night, you’ll see a pretty obvious divide between those who have too much money and those who have none, so keep your wits about you and don’t go out on your own.

Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach is about a 40 minute taxi ride from LAX airport and well worth a visit if you have the time; it is a typical surf strip with an abundance of luxurious homes spread across the seafront and some of the most fun bars you’ll ever get to experience.

Whatever preconceived perceptions you have of LA, be prepared to get rid of them when you visit Hermosa Beach; the people are some of the most friendly you’ll meet, there’s beach Volleyball going on all day, every day and cute independent boutiques where you can find some really original stuff.

It’s recommended to stay pretty near to the main strip as this has everything you’ll need; including a very plush early-morning Starbucks for that essential caffeine fix. After you’ve eaten breakfast from the deck of one of the seafront cafes why not hire a bike for the morning and travel along to Santa Monica which is a few miles to the west but a lovely ride as you get to go straight along the seafront. At Santa Monica you’ll find another glorious beach and plenty of things to see and do.

In terms of nightlife; don’t worry about breaking out the five inch heels – you’ll have one of the best parties of your life – in your flip-flops. Start the night at Sharkies which is a very popular sports and cocktail bar, it’s not particularly cheap but it’s always busy so you’ll get to meet loads of people.

If you’re after some typical British drinks during your stay in LA then pop along to the Underground Bar & Grill; this is directly opposite the main strip, about a five minute walk up the main road and is owned and run by a British couple. Walk inside and you’ll see everything London; from phone boxes to train station signs this place is a hit with visitors and locals alike. You can get British beer and typical British food as well, and they have all of the important English sports on from around 10am local time.

Recommended LA Restaurants and Bars

• Sharkies
• Underground Bar & Grill
• Hooters
• Cat ‘N Fiddle Pub & Restaurant
• Barnacles