Introduction to Los Angeles

If the East Coast has New York then the West Coast has Los Angeles. A city that has inspired musicians from Joni Mitchell to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to pen lyrics about the so called City of Angels, and lured many a wannabe movie star with the promise of fame as epitomised in its iconic Hollywood sign.

While the golden age of Hollywood may have faded when the black and white movies did, LA remains a city of glamour, sheen and kitsch. The red carpet is still wheeled out on the regular, cameras flash on hot pursuit and shiny blackberries buzz at all hours of the day and night.

But it's not all flashing lights and bleached smiles. Sure it has its fair share of fake (and its fascinating to watch) but LA is also blessed with many natural assets; palm tree lined beaches, romantic mountain ranges and dusty deserts. You can find it on the menus of hip and trendy organic/raw/sugar-free/vegan restaurants and at sunrise when yoga classes litter the beach with sun salutations.

Must Do

As its nickname tinsel town suggests, most must-dos in Los Angeles surround the city's famed movie industry. At the top of the list is of course snapping a shot of the Hollywood sign - from faraway of course (the sign is fenced and patrolled regularly). Universal Studios is another equally iconic Los Angeles attraction. Since its humble beginnings as a movie studio in 1915, Universal Studios Hollywood has developed into a fully-fledged theme park with Woody Woodpecker laughing it up as its mascot. For a taste of movie magic, thrill rides and behind-the-scenes action, the theme park and its iconic studio tour is not to be missed.

Also in keeping with iconic movie fun, Los Angeles is home to the original Disneyland. A theme park that needs no introduction, Disneyland was commissioned by Walt Disney himself in 1955 and has since grown to become one of the world's most popular theme parks. While there, don't miss the parades down Main Street, USA and snapping a shot of the famous Sleeping Beauty castle.

If movie-star spotting is on your agenda, avoid scoping out Hollywood homes (you'll be left sadly squinting to see the roof of the house that's next to Tom Cruises') and opt to scope out the trendiest hangouts. With a shopping splurge on Rodeo Drive, swim at Malibu Beach, dinner on North La Cienega Boulevard or a quiet drink at the Chateau Marmont, you never know what A-lister you may run into.

For more must-dos in Los Angeles, check out our things to do page and start planning your Los Angeles holiday.

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