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Los Angeles Travel Tips

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The City of Angels is heaven on earth for shoppers, celeb spotters, and big dreamers, so grab some shades and strut your stuff under the Californian sun. Whether you want to surf the crests of crashing waves, lie back on golden beaches, or splash the cash along the city’s glittering shopping streets, Los Angeles is a city that ceaselessly excites. And don’t be fooled by the reputation for superficiality - if you want to dig a little deeper, you’ll find a city that’s alive with culture and creativity.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

There’s a reason everyone here seems to be perfectly tanned - the weather stays beautiful practically all year round, so winter’s rain showers actually make for a refreshing change. Many people choose to avoid the height of summer so they can enjoy the city when it’s a little less crowded, and free from the smog that can descend on the stickiest of summer days. May's a great time to visit, as the weather starts to heats up and Latino rhythms echo along the streets, during the city’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Whack piñatas, and dance to sombreroed mariachi bands, as Los Angeles throws one of the world’s biggest fiestas.

 

Not to Miss

 

Step through the towering gates of Jurassic Park for a close brush with the dinosaur kingdom’s fearsome T rex, before walking the red carpet into the studios where some of the world’s biggest films were shot, at Universal Studios Hollywood. If the movie mecca of Hollywood becomes too much, then try Venice Beach, which is definitely a love it or loathe it kind of place. You’ll see roller blading guitarists, and paint covered artists, adding a splash of color to the area, as you walk the bohemian-flavored boardwalk. Manhattan Beach, meanwhile, is a calmer spot - perfect for lying back on the soft golden sand, or lazily returning a volleyball, as the sun beams down.

 

Getting around

 

The colossal LAX Airport is the main entry point to the city, and it’s easy to find flights to Los Angeles from across the US and beyond. Walkers are something of a rarity in this city, so treasure your TAP Card, which gives you easy access to the extensive metro and bus networks that will whip you across town. If you’re renting a car - which is tempting considering the sheer size of this urban ocean - you’ll be using LA’s famously hectic and slow-moving freeways. Amtrak’s trains call at Union Street Station, making it easy to reach San Fransisco and San Diego by rail.

 

Cuisine

 

Los Angeles has deep Latino roots, which means fiercely spicy South American food runs through the city’s veins. Get an authentic experience by grabbing freshly prepared beef tacos from spicy street stalls – this way you can enjoy the taste of fresh salsas, mixing with the meat's still sizzling spices. With the Pacific Ocean stretching alongside the city, there’s no shortage of seafood options, and the closer you get to the beaches, the more likely you are to find mouthwatering fish tortas, and delicious grilled catfish options on the menu. Angelenos also love their Chinese, Japanese and Korean foods, so it couldn’t be easier to take a tour of the globe’s culinary treats during your stay in this tasty city.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

As in most American cities, failing to tip is often considered offensive, as hospitality workers are generally paid very low wages. Adding 15-20% to a restaurant bill is considered a normal practice. In some more exclusive spots - or if you’ve received great service - you may want to tip a little more. As with any large city, certain neighborhoods should be avoided by visitors, but Los Angeles’s touristy areas are generally very safe. Driving in the city does have a reputation for being hectic, so be extra defensive when out on the roads.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 3.88 million

Spoken languages: English

Electrical: The USA runs on 120V, 60 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +1 213/313911