An introduction to Los Angeles
The City of Angels has never been shy of stepping into the limelight and with so much to offer it’s no wonder why. Blessed with an enviable amount of sunshine and stardom, Los Angeles is the proud home to the bright lights of Hollywood’s Tinsel town and consistently proves to be a firm favourite for everyone from celebrity-spotters and family holiday-makers, to adrenaline-seeking surfers and aspiring artists.
The sprawling Fashion District in downtown LA is a retail junkie’s ultimate paradise. Spanning 100 blocks, it’s the go-to destination for everything from shoes and jewellery to flowers, cosmetics and craft supplies. Big shopping centres such as The Grove (189 The Grove Drive), Beverley Center (8500 Beverley Boulevard) and Santa Monica Place (395 Santa Monica Place) stock an array of international brands, while the streets around Rodeo Drive and Robertson Boulevard are home to the city’s greatest concentration of luxury designer boutiques. Shopping on a budget? The outlets in the Citadel (100 Citadel Drive), Ontario Mills (1 Mills Circle) and Desert Hills (48400 Seminole Drive) are packed with cut-price branded gear.
Food & Drink
With an array of international restaurants, some truly outstanding fine dining establishments and one of the glitziest bar scenes in the USA, Los Angeles has plenty for gourmets to get excited about. The city’s foodie scene has recently been blessed with some glittering new additions – including Rao’s (1006 Seward Street), a spin-off of the iconic New York Italian; stylish Chinese import Hakkasan (233 North Beverly Drive); and lavish, Moroccan-inspired restaurant-cum-cocktail lounge Acabar (1510 North Stanley Avenue). If it’s atmosphere you’re after, beachside bistro One Pico (1 Pico Boulevard) has to be one of the most romantic places to eat in the city, while Spago Beverly Hills (176 North Canon Drive) is a temple to haute cuisine and a celebrity favourite.
Tournament of Roses Parade
Beginning in Pasadena at Orange Grove Boulevard and progressing east towards Villa Street, this world-famous parade is an LA institution. The display of musical performances, floral floats and costumed marchers is followed by the Rose Bowl football game.
Held at the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, this is the most anticipated event of the year in LA. The Oscar ceremony always takes place on a Sunday, and you’ll need to queue for days to have a chance of bagging a place in the stands overlooking the red carpet.
Brush off your running trainers and join the 23,000 competitors who take to the streets of LA for this 42km slog. Fringe events include cheerleading performances, live music, dancing and displays by street artists.
The fireworks display held at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate Independence Day is one of the biggest of its kind in the USA. Other events include a parade at Huntington Beach, a party at Venice Beach and an array of family-friendly events at Disneyland.
Hollywood Christmas Parade
First held in 1928, this glitzy post-Thanksgiving parade inspired Gene Autry’s Christmas hit Here Comes Santa Claus. It draws over a million fans with equestrian shows, marching bands and even a troupe of exotic camels.
From penthouse party pads with all-night bars to beachside family resorts, Los Angeles has a hotel to suit everyone. If you’re keen to rub shoulders with celebs then Mondrian (8440 Sunset Boulevard), with its famous poolside Skybar, is where the beautiful people go when they need a little time out. Huntley Santa Monica Beach (1111 Second Street, Santa Monica) has incredible panoramic views of LA and its surrounding suburbs, as well as a top-notch restaurant and funky bar. The business-centric Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites (404 South Figueroa Street) leads the mid-range market, while the Samesun Venice Beach Hostel (25 Windward Avenue, Venice Beach) offers a sociable vibe and a great location for pocket-friendly prices.