Celebrities. Beaches. Sunny weather all year round. What city embodies these traits? None other than Los Angeles. Los Angeles is one of the most visited cities in the world and it is easy to see why. What makes Los Angeles different from the other metropolitan cities is how spread out everything is, hence the laid-back attitude. Each area is distinct with its own food, people, shopping, and experience. Using this map from LAmag, I provide a general breakdown of the districts and what makes them unique.
Northeast LA Area
This is where the hipsters roam, especially Silver Lake. Coffee shops, cafés, boutiques. All the hipster stuff you associate with, it is all here. Hipster aside though, the area is great to walk around and just explore. Several celebrities like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Chris Pine all live in the area. There is always a lot of new and upcoming things are taking place here so your options will not run out.
East LA/San Gabriel Valley Area
Further from the main attractions of Los Angeles, the suburbs are an escape from the Los Angeles rush. The renowned Huntington Library is a must visit when in this area with its numerous lush gardens. Locals call this area the 626 after the area code and throughout Los Angeles, it is known as an Asian cultural hub with cities like Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Arcadia, and Temple City. This is the place to come if you want to visit Los Angeles’s Chinatown (There is one in Downtown, but majority of the Chinese population have moved out to this area and east between the 1980s-2000s.
This the Chinatown away from Chinatown.) and taste authentic Chinese food.
Whenever the skyline of Los Angeles is used, it is the buildings of Downtown. It is where all the big corporate offices are located so if you do plan on visiting, time the visit to avoid the morning and afternoon rush hour. The Art District and Little Tokyo has become local favorite spots over the years by appealing to the younger crowd with things like breweries.
Late last year, the highly anticipated Broad Museum finally opened with a bang and shortly established itself as one of the museums to go to in Los Angeles. Tickets are free, but you need to reserve them in advance OR wait in line for standby. Across the street is the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where it is home to the world-renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic. Visit the gift shop (opened during day time) and the rooftop Blue Ribbon Garden that is tucked away on the side of the concert hall.
Similar to Northeast Los Angeles, this is another hipster area. The Grove, an outdoor mall, is worth a visit not just for the shops, but for how beautiful it looks, especially at night when the lights are all lit up. It is also a celebrity hotspot so be on the lookout because you never know. Koreatown, or Ktown, is quickly rising to become another LA hotspot, with its Karaoke bars, late night all you can eat Korean BBQ, and Korean spas.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA, hosts the exhibitions happening in Los Angeles. The current rave is the Rain Room. When visiting LACMA, one of the must have photos is with the famed Urban Light installment.
This place has a little for everyone. Shops, restaurants, and of course, the famed SoCal beaches. Venice is a good spot to hit up if you want to have a SoCal only experience. With its skateboard parks, surfboards, and artistic graffiti everywhere, Venice is not your typical beach town. If you are looking for beaches, go to Malibu or South Bay section.
A popular place for tourist and locals is Santa Monica. One of Los Angeles’s most Instagrammable places is located at the Santa Monica Pier so get those cameras ready. Third Street Promenade is a great place to complete your shopping therapy and enjoy the nice weather and ocean breeze.
West Central LA Area
This area is a sister of the Downtown area in the sense that a lot of offices are located in Century City. Culver City houses major movie studios like Paramount and Sony. Then there is the iconic Beverly Hills. The glitz and glam reputation the city has still exists today. Drive down Rodeo Drive and you are bound to see at least one supercar revving its engine, knowing all eyes are on them.
Malibu/West Valley Area
On the more laid-back side, this area embodies the California lifestyle. Malibu has some of the best beaches in Southern California if you are looking for more private and secluded beaches like El Matador. Take a drive down Pacific Coast Highway 1, admire the beach, the houses, and the beauty of the coast. Two activities worth mentioning are visiting the Getty Villa and taking a hike in the Malibu Mountains.
San Fernando Valley East
Even though this area is considered more on the suburban side, all the big movie companies like Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, and Disney are located here. Universal Studios has their famous park with its Studio Tour ride, but what a lot of people do not know is that Warner Brothers also has their own tour too. Both tours are worth a visit because they each offer a different experience. The Universal Studio Tour is an experience you share with many people, but the Warner Brothers Tour is more intimate since tickets are limited. Starting this month, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has finally opened at Universal so Potter fans rejoice!
South Bay/Long Beach Area
If you are looking for a beach with that beach town feeling, this is the area for you. Palos Verdes, Playa del Rey, and Manhattan Beach are local favorites. The miles of soft sand and crashing waves are perfect for a day at the beach whether with your family or friends. Compared to the other beaches in the area, Manhattan Beach has a nightlife with its bars, restaurants, and shops catered to beachgoers.
West Hollywood/Hollywood (East Hollywood)
One of the few epitome of Los Angeles is the Sunset Strip and Melrose Avenue. Melrose houses the many designer stores that rival Rodeo Drive, like Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, and Paul Smith. The drive down Sunset is worth doing both daytime and nighttime because both times will give you a different vibe.
WeHo. Now this is the place to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. This is the playground for the young hip crowd. One of the most popular clubs among gays and lesbians is The Abbey, but even if you are straight, this place is great for people watching and sipping on those delicious cocktails.
If you have any favorite places in Los Angeles, please feel free to comment down below!
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