Los Angeles: A Guide to the Neighbourhoods
Featured destinations: Los Angeles
Published 14 July 2017
One of the most famous and visited cities in the United States, Los Angeles is in many a traveler's mind. Visions of sun kissed beaches, diverse restaurants and star-studded neighbourhoods are enough to make you want to visit. Add to that world-class attractions including museums and some of the planet’s most popular amusement parks, and Los Angeles will surely make it into your travel bucket list.
With so many neighbourhoods so different from one another, it's hard to choose where to stay when visiting LA. You will likely visit many of these during your stay; however, traveller Claus Gurumeta gives us a run down of his favourite things to do in each area of Los Angeles, to make your decision a little easier.
Downtown LA seen from Griffith Observatory image: Claus Gurumeta
A stark contrast to the rest of the sprawling city, downtown Los Angeles, with its tall high-rises, is quite a sight, and can be seen from many points around the city. While the downtown is primarily a business district, the last decade has started to attract a number of residents, making its streets lively and safe beyond the 9-5 regular work days and opening up a range of cool venues, especially in the eastern downtown's Arts District. Although a little seedy at first sight, the streets in the Arts District are decorated with piece upon piece of impressive street art murals and are inundated with trendy cafes, boutique shops, galleries, and funky bars. Visit Wurstküche for a large menu of Belgian beers and German-style wieners, and stop by the Arts District Brewing Co to try some local craft beers in a busy setting.
Hollywood's Walk of Fame image: Claus Gurumeta
A visit to the iconic Walk of Fame is a must during your visit to Los Angeles; however, you may want to think twice before settling for a hotel in this district. The tourist trap that is Hollywood offers a variety of restaurants, nightlife venues and attractions, but the constant clutter of tourists crowding the sidewalks day and night, pushy street vendors and superhero-clad street performers can be overwhelming. My advice: check out the Walk of Fame for an hour or two to find the stars of your favourite artists, and then get out!
Pride flags flying in West Hollywood
The total opposite to its eastern counterpart, West Hollywood is one of the city’s best places to stay, a ‘real,’ living neighbourhood where you will encounter some of Los Angeles' most diverse citizens. WeHo, which is LA’s main hub for gay and lesbian venues, is hailed as the city’s most ‘walkable neighbourhood,’ with a variety of restaurants, bars, cafés, all within walking distance – something rarely associated with LA. Start your morning right with a coffee at Alfred Coffee on Melrose Place, or have brunch at the super trendy Norah restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard. For a nice dinner out, visit Eveleigh and enjoy outstanding farm-to-table shared plates, or the award-winning Night + Market for yummy Thai food.
Beverly Hills image: Claus Gurumeta
One of Los Angeles' most upscale neighbourhoods, Beverly Hills is home to many of Hollywood's most prominent stars, and is bursting with glamour. With famous streets like Rodeo Drive and more luxury and boutique stores than you'll get through in a day, Beverly Hills appeals to those travellers who like window shopping or spending their hard-earned money on shiny things and thousand-dollar scarves. The upscale hotels in the area might be out of reach for most of us, but one thing is for sure: Beverly Hills is beautiful and definitely well worth checking out during your visit.
Santa Monica pier image: Claus Gurumeta
The beach districts of Los Angeles offer a completely different side to the city. Here, you can spend lazy days walking along lively boardwalks, sun tanning or playing volleyball in the golden sands, or taking a dip in the cool Pacific waters. Santa Monica is the most sought-after beach neighbourhood in the city and offers everything from high-end shopping and fine dining to sports clothing shops and pubs. Likewise, accommodation options exist for all budgets, so don’t be shy to look around. Whether you stay in Santa Monica or visit for a day at the beach, a stroll down the iconic pier is a must!Venice Beach image: Claus Gurumeta
At the southern end of Santa Monica you’ll come across the popular Venice Beach, a funkier beach district known for its colourful skate park and the muscle-laden Muscle Beach outdoor gym. In recent years, Venice Beach has developed a great dining scene with a number of fashionable establishments to check out. Start your day with a plate of burrata cheese served with mashed peas at the brunch haven Gjelina, and stop by the super cool Jeni's Splendind Ice Creams for a mid-afternoon refreshment after a long walk on the seemingly endless beach.
Anaheim image: Claus Gurumeta
If your visit to Los Angeles has anything to do with a visit to Disneyland, make sure you stay on-site in the southern city of Anaheim, located over 35 miles southeast from LAX airport. With two amusement parks – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure – and the lively Downtown Disney shopping and dining complex, the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ is sure to be a highlight of your visit to California. Ride the rollercoasters, meet your favourite childhood characters in person, and spend ridiculous amounts of money of Mickey Mouse ears hats, cotton candy and roaster turkey legs. If you visit Disneyland during a special Holiday, look out for the after-hours parties which are sure to make your visit unforgettable!
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