So this is a challenge of monumental proportions: how to summarize the many pleasures of a state with eight national parks, three compelling cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego – and also two fascinating but different cultures represented in the northern and southern parts of an enormous state? The best we can do is to rely on some basic info you already have and to bring together a whole lot of shorthand. Let's start with Los Angeles.


A Fascinating City

Visual Storytelling by Lucas Compan, edited by Ben Harris

Los Angeles – or just L.A. to most – is an ethnically diverse hodgepodge of neighborhoods, more than 80 of them. Here are a few highlights: Hollywood, the center of the country's motion picture industry. Consider a trip to nearby Universal City for the tours at the Universal Studios.

To your tour at Universal Studios, include heart-stopping special-effects rides – gaze at the 50-foot-high (15.25-meter-high) Hollywood sign, wander by Grauman's Chinese Theater, and take a tour at the array of hand indentations in the nearby sidewalk Walk of Fame.

World famous Hollywood sign –

The Hollywood Sign (formerly the Hollywoodland Sign) is a landmark and American cultural icon located in Los Angeles, California. It is situated onMount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains. The sign overlooks Hollywood, Los Angeles.

HOLLYWOOD is spelled out in 45-foot-tall (14 m) white capital letters and is 350 feet (110 m) long. It was originally created in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development, but it garnered increasing recognition after the sign was left up. The sign was a frequent target of pranks and vandalism, but it has since undergone restoration, including the installation of a security system to deter vandalism. The sign is protected and promoted by The Trust For Public Land, a nonprofit organization, while its site and the surrounding land are part of Griffith Park.

From the ground, the contours of the hills give the sign a "wavy" appearance, as reflected in the Hollywood Video logo, for example. When observed at a comparable altitude, the letters appear nearly level.

The sign makes frequent appearances in popular culture, particularly in establishing shots for films and television programs set in or around Hollywood. Signs of similar style, but spelling different words, are frequently seen as parodies. The sign inspired Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha who rendered it in different media.


WATCH THIS AWESOME AERIAL TOUR OF LOS ANGELES


Grauman's Chinese Theater

TCL Chinese Theatre is a cinema palace on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States. Originally known (and still commonly referred to) as Grauman's Chinese Theatre, it was renamed Mann's Chinese Theatre in 1973; the name lasted until 2001, after which it reverted to its original name.

Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame comprises more than 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks ofHollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California. 

There is also the Los Angeles Museum of Art and the enormous Getty Center, just two of the 841 museums and art galleries in L.A. county.

Los Angeles Museum of Art. Click here to learn more.

Aerial view of The Getty Center Museum. Click here for further info.

J. Paul Getty Center, inside

You find the ultimate in upscale shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

In a new "Main Streets Across the World" report by global real estate authority Cushman & Wakefield, it has been revealed that renting a space on the famed Rodeo Drive corridor costs a whopping $800 per square foot, which is insane. What's even more insane is the rent of New York's Upper Fifth Avenue—$3,500 per square foot—making it the retail street to beat.

It is such a diversity of attractions, indeed. For instance, take a spin out to Malibu with gorgeous, elegant homes on the Pacific coast. Also, a swim on one of the lovely beaches in Santa MonicaWest Hollywood, with its iconic Sunset Strip, fabulous entertainment venues such as House of Blues, the Comedy Store, and a vibrant gay community. The attractions are endless.

Malibu, California

Malibu is an affluent beach city in Los Angeles County, California, a 21-mile (34 km) strip of prime Pacific coastline. Nicknamed "the 'Bu" by surfers and locals, the community is famous for its warm, sandy beaches, and for being the home of many Hollywood movie stars and others associated with the entertainment industry. Signs around the city proclaim "27 miles of scenic beauty", referring to Malibu's original length of 27 miles (43 km) before the city was incorporated in 1991.

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica is a city west of downtown Los Angeles. Santa Monica Beach is fringed by Palisades Park, with views over the Pacific Ocean. The storied Santa Monica Pier is home to the Pacific Park amusement park, historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Next to the pier is Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym established in the 1930s. In the city center, Bergamot Station houses several art galleries.

West Hollywood

West Hollywood, colloquially referred to as WeHo, is a city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Incorporated in 1984, it is home to the Sunset Strip.

Rent a classic convertible and just drive around the city, along the coast, up in the hills. The climate is awesome, the sunshine is plentiful, the people are beautiful. You may find yourself taking on a little of Southern California's legendary laid-back attitude.

1968 convertible Ford Mustang, a classic

Street art in Los Angeles

Guggenheim Museum Los Angeles


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