Los Angeles or the "City of Angels" is known the world over for being the hub of the film industry, and it has plenty more to offer besides.
A trip to Los Angeles isn't going to be complete for most people without a visit to Hollywood and Mann's Chinese Theatre (the street with the stars in the pavement) for a bit of a look at the film culture of LA. Beyond that, Disneyland (the original version) and Universal Studios are also a must, whilst the La Brea Tar Pits showcase what the city was like way before human settlement. To fit in with the locals you can findcheap car hire in Los Angeles so you can cruise around the city. Film premieres, the Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, and New Year's Eve are all big events in Los Angeles so book your 2016 or 2017 trip to coincide with one for an extra special holiday.
Flights to Los Angeles take at least 12 hours from the UK. Direct Los Angeles flights operate from London while indirect flights operate from regional airports such as Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast. The vast majority of cheap flights to Los Angeles are scheduled services from airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and United. Low cost providers are also offering services to LAX airport. Look out for cheap flight tickets from Norwegian (deaprting from Gatwick), Thomas Cook Airlines (departing from Manchester) and WOW Air (flying via Iceland). You can also try to book a package holiday in Los Angeles instead to save money.
There are plenty of UK airports offering flights to Los Angeles, meaning that a wide variety of carriers are also available. In general, flights from the larger UK airports tend to be cheaper than regional airports so it's best to check around. The vast majority of flights to Los Angeles from the UK land at Los Angeles International Airport, often known as LAX, with the vast majority stopping along the way. Prices for direct and indirect routes are broadly similar, although you can only get a direct flight from London. There are six airports in Los Angeles though. Flights to another airport may leave you a little further from your destination but they're all considerably quieter than LAX.
The best way to get around from all the LA Airports is to hire a car, especially if you're after seeing quite a bit of the area, although traffic can get quite bad at peak times. LAX offers a couple of public transport alternatives with a shuttle bus that connects to the metro system as well as several other buses that serve a few locations across the city, plus links into the bus network. Taxis are also ubiquitous but can be very costly, particularly in rush hour when traffic slows.
The vast majority of visitors to Los Angeles prefer to rent a car for their holidays, although there are a few alternatives if you'd prefer not to. The metro system bypasses all the traffic and serves a large section of the city, offering cheap and quick travel to plenty of areas. The bus network is run by the same company as the metro, and is very extensive, if a little confusing to the beginner. But with perseverance you can get practically anywhere in the city.
An internal flight from any of the Los Angeles airports is the fastest way to explore a different destination in the US, and using a rental car is probably easiest for shorter distances, but there are public transport options too. The regional train network offers the chance to explore some of the smaller places in the area that are often lost in the shadows of the bright lights of LA. Cross-country coach travel is also possible with a wide variety of destinations near and far on offer, although it's best to avoid the terminal at 1716 East 7th Street, which is considered unsafe by many, and alight a little later in the journey.
Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate, with long, hot summers and short, wetter winters. Daytime temperatures range from around 15°C in January to around 30°C at the height of the summer in August and September. Temperatures can vary quite a lot throughout the city though, depending on elevation and proximity to the coast, so be prepared with a light jumper. Rainfall is heaviest in winter and lighter in spring, although it's generally low all year round. Smog can affect the city, particularly in June.
Tourists flock to Los Angeles during the summer months, making hotel rooms and restaurant bookings hard to come by and filling up attractions. The winter is a great time to visit, with temperatures still excellent and the chance of rain not too high, although we would recommend packing an umbrella - just in case. The attractions are less busy throughout winter and spring, and the prices for accommodation cheaper too.
$ US dollars. Despite being a large metropolis, it's fairly difficult to exchange money in Los Angeles city, so it's preferable to change at least some before you travel. ATMs are the easiest way to get cash once you arrive, although be aware of and charges your bank might impose. Cards are taken practically everywhere but here too bank charges can add up.
American English is spoken throughout so there are generally no communication problems. Los Angeles is known for its cultural diversity though so you may hear languages from around the world from Gujarati to Polish and Vietnamese!
+1 for USA followed by 213 and 310 for Los Angeles centre, 562 for Los Angeles metro area, and 626 for the suburban area. Further out dial 818 for the Pasadena area and 714 for Orange County.
Los Angeles has a bad reputation for being quite dangerous, but if you stick to the tourist areas there is very little chance of anything remotely bad happening.
Visitors from the UK may stay up to 90 days without a visa but must apply to the ESTA program to authorise travel at least 72 hours before travel. Click here to apply for an ESTA online.
It's not all about Santa Monica beach - get away from the crowds at Alito Park and Bluffs, Laguna Beach
Los Angeles has a diverse population so prepare to enjoy lots of different cuisines
There is plenty of avant-garde architecture, like this concert hall
The view of the Los Angeles skyline from the Getty Museum
The Watts Towers have featured in TV, films and video games!
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