LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA AREA

A Sprawling Wonderland Of Diversity

Los Angeles has tons of diversity. Of course, there's ethnic and cultural diversity. There is also geographical diversity. Within a few square miles, you'll find beautiful sandy beaches, desert, mountains, freshwater lakes, cactus, palm trees and pine groves.

We spent four full days in the LA area... on July 4th weekend. Be assured... if you want to see as much of LA in the shortest possible time... then a tour company is the way to go. On our first full day, we took a bus tour with VIP Tours. The 7 hour tour included Hollywood, Sunset Blvd., downtown LA, downtown Beverly Hills, Venice, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Santa Monica Beach and Pier and the Farmers Market with 20-40 minutes at each stop.

Unquestionably, Hollywood is the world's motion picture capital. However, those who expect downtown Hollywood to be glitzy, glamorous and sanitized will be gravely disappointed.  Downtown Hollywood certainly has character and some interesting attractions, but it is generally kitschy, touristy, seedy and in places... mildly run down. Visitors will see lots of costumed characters (e.g. Homer Simpson, Batman, Spongebob) roaming around for tips in exchange for photo opportunities. Downtown Hollywood's places of interest include Grauman's Chinese Theater where you'll see the stars' footprints. There's  a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum at the corner of Hollywood and Highland... and of course, there's the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. where the sidewalk features stars honoring celebrities from movies, music and TV.

Driving in LA can be a challenge. I found the city streets to be no more difficult to negotiate than those in other American cities... but the highways are a nightmare and are worthy of their reputation. Stopped traffic is the norm during rush hour, and bottlenecks are common any time of day.

 

 
  LOS ANGELES AREA LINKS AND PHOTOS  
    BEST WESTERN HOLLYWOOD PLAZA - A conveniently located, affordable hotel for your LA visit.   VIP TOURS - Choose from several LA area tours... We took the "Grand Tour of LA".  
    DIRECTIONS FOR A CLOSE-UP VIEW OF THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN - It's a famous landmark, but it's barely visible from downtown Hollywood.   DODGER STADIUM - Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers  
    HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME   GRAUMAN'S CHINESE THEATER  
    RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OT NOT MUSEUM - HOLLYWOOD   CAPITOL RECORDS BUILDING  
    VENICE & VENICE BEACH   SANTA MONICA PIER  
    HOLLYWOOD BOWL - The venerable natural amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills.   KNOTT'S BERRY FARM - "America's First Theme Park"  
    SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN - Lots of coasters.   PAGE MUSEUM / LA BREA TAR PITS - See what happens when an unsuspecting wooly mammoth gets too close to a pool of sticky goo.  
                   
           
    LAX AIRPORT   BEVERLY HILLS   HOLLYWOOD LAKE   DOWNTOWN LA  
                   
           
    SANTA MONICA BEACH   BEVERLY HILLS   CAPITOL RECORDS - HOLLYWOOD   HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME  
                   
           
    HOLLYWOOD   LICKITY DOG AY LICKITY SPLIT - HOLLYWOOD   RIPLEYS BELIEVE IT OR NOT MUSEUM - HOLLYWOOD   BEST WESTERN - HOLLYWOOD PLAZA INN  
                   
           
    DODGERS STADIUM   DODGERS STADIUM   SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA   SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA  
                   
           
                   
                   
           
    VENICE BEACH   VENICE BEACH   VENICE BEACH   VENICE BEACH  
                   
           
    CAPITOL RECORDS BUILDING-HOLLYWOOD   BEVERLY HILLS   BEVERLY HILLS   HOLLYWOOD  
                   
           
    VIPER ROOM - SUNSET STRIP   HOUSE OF BLUES - SUNSET STRIP   HOLLYWOOD      
                   
           
    STAR TREK CAST SIGNATURES - GRAUMAN'S CHINESE THEATER - HOLLYWOOD   HOLLYWOOD   HOLLYWOOD   OFF-DUTY HOMER SIMPSON - HOLLYWOOD  
                   
           
    HOLLYWOOD   HOLLYWOOD   FARMER'S MARKET   FARMER'S MARKET  
                   
           
    SANTA MONICA BEACH   SANTA MONICA PIER   SANTA MONICA PIER   SANTA MONICA PIER  
                   
           
    "OLD" LOS ANGELES   V.I.P. TOUR BUS   DOWNTOWN L.A.   SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA  
                   
           
    SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA   SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA   SIX FLAGS CALIFORNIA   VENICE  
                   
           
    DODGERS STADIUM   DODGERS STADIUM   DODGERS STADIUM   VENICE BEACH  
                   
                 
    DODGERS STADIUM