The “City of Angels” is a city of sharp contrasts, home to people who hail from all parts of the globe. California‘s most populous city and the second most populous city in the United States (after New York City).
However, it’s most famous for being a major center of the world’s television, motion picture, and music industry, which forms the base of the city’s status and lures visitors for its show business history and celebrity culture.
Los Angeles is often billed as the “Creative Capital of the World” because one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry and there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any other time in history.
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The city of Los Angeles is huge, stretching from the suburbs of the *San Fernando Valley in the north to the Port of Los Angeles in the south, a distance of almost 50 miles. And that’s just the primary city; the sprawling L.A. metropolitan area spreads across portions of five counties and includes numerous smaller cities, some of which are regional centers of their own, like Burbank (map), Pasadena (map), Long Beach (map), Anaheim, Santa Ana, *Riverside and *San Bernardino.
*Downtown L.A. (map) – The central business district and historic center of Los Angeles. Some highlights for the visitor in Downtown include Grand Central Market (map), Museum of Contemporary Art / MOCA (map), the Walt Disney Concert Hall (map), Olvera Street (map), Chinatown (map), Little Tokyo (map).
Hollywood (map) – The historic and spiritual heart of the entertainment industry, with many tourist attractions paying tribute to the film and television stars of the past and where many movies still have their public premieres. The core of Hollywood for a tourist is its three fascinating boulevards: Sunset Boulevard (map) for its clubs and nightlife, Hollywood Boulevard (map) is known for its entertainment history, and Melrose Avenue (map) for its shopping, nightlife, and eclecticism, all of which are worth seeing.
If coastal scenery is what you seek, Malibu (map) is a must-see for its fantastic ocean views and mansions perched atop the ocean cliffs, hugging the coastline beneath the Santa Monica Mountains, which itself makes for a pleasant retreat from the city with its miles of scenic roadways and hiking trails.
Los Angeles (City and County) is considered to be the gang capital of America. Gangs generally confine themselves to certain areas and should be of little concern to the typical traveler, who is unlikely to venture into such areas. Remain on high-visibility roads or freeways, avoid confrontations with groups of young men, and should a confrontation arise flee immediately.