Los Angeles

Los Angeles, in the US state of California, is one of the most exciting cities on the American West Coast. This is due to Hollywood and its stars and starlets and L.A.'s pioneering role in arts, fashion, and technology.

Los Angeles facts

State: California
County: Los Angeles County
Area: 1,290.6 km²
Population: About 4 million
Nickname: City of Angels, L.A.
Time zone: Pacific (UTC−8/−7)

Los Angeles: location & population

The US city of Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County in Southern California in the West of the USA. The coastal metropolis located between San Francisco and San Diego is the second-largest city in the United States.

Typical of the West Coast, Los Angeles is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the nation. People from over 140 countries make up L.A.'s unique cultural mix.

The diversity is also reflected in ethnic communities that have even formed their own neighborhoods, such as Koreatown, Chinatown, Thai Town, Little Ethiopia, and Little Tokyo. However, the largest immigrant groups in L.A. are primarily Mexicans and Filipinos.

More than 220 languages are spoken in Los Angeles. But thanks to the large Hispanic communities spread throughout L.A., you'll hear only Spanish in many places.

Los Angeles districts & neighborhoods

If you want to get from one part of Los Angeles to the other, you will often use the network of busy highways that connect the places. L.A. is made up of a total of 15 neighborhoods, which can be clustered into higher-level districts. These include:

Hollywood

Hollywood, at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, is the birthplace of the American film and entertainment industry. Under the famous HOLLYWOOD letters in the peaks of the Hollywood Hills, the world's most spectacular film studios, great cinemas and theaters, the Walk of Fame, the Universal Studios, and the sensational Hollywood Museum await you. Tip: Book a sightseeing tour by bus. There are also studio tours and trips to the mansions of Hollywood's biggest stars.

West Hollywood

The party district of West Hollywood is also called "WeHo." If you've had no luck with celebrity spotting in Hollywood during the day, you're likely to meet your favorite stars here - at dawn, drunk, at a bar. During the day, art and fashion rule the district. Be sure to visit the Sunset Strip, Melrose Avenue, and a few of the myriad galleries in this vibrant design district.

Venice

Venice is best known for the gorgeous Venice Beach with its exciting shopping and street art promenade. Relax in one of the beach bars and watch the colorful hustle and bustle of skaters, runners, souvenir sellers, and beach beauties. Tip: Visit Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzenegger lifted his first weights in the 1970s

Downtown L.A.

Downtown Los Angeles or "DTLA" is the most diverse of all L.A. districts and is made up of many neighborhoods. These include Bunker Hill with its skyscrapers, the well-heeled Financial District, the Jewelry District, the Historic City Core, the crazy Arts District, and the Asian-influenced neighborhoods of Little Tokyo and Chinatown. You can spend a complete Los Angeles vacation with great dining, theater, museum visits, luxury shopping, dream hotels, and architectural sightseeing without ever leaving Downtown.

San Fernando Valley

The Valley in northern Los Angeles is not only a popular and affordable place to live but also a green and quiet district in an otherwise wild and noisy city. In addition to a cozy Midwest flair, many film studios can be found here, making commute times for employees with accommodations in the Valley pleasantly short. The Valley is especially exciting around holidays like Halloween and Christmas, as decorations and communal celebrations just can't be beaten in the San Fernando Valley.

Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Pasadena

There is a widespread assumption that famous Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Pasadena are part of the city of Los Angeles, but this is not correct. They are all independent cities and towns that belong to Los Angeles County but are not within the city limits. Nevertheless, they are places not to be missed on your L.A. trip!

Los Angeles climate

Following the song title "It never rains in Southern California," it doesn't rain in Los Angeles; it pours! However, this happens rarely - and when it does, it's usually between November and March. So you will experience a lot of sun and warm temperatures during your L.A. vacation.

Due to its location in the subtropical climate zone, the temperature in Los Angeles averages 18 °C throughout the year. Summers can reach temperatures of 40°C during a heatwave but are usually closer to 30°C maximum. With prolonged drought and wind, major forest fires can be expected during heat waves.

Winters in Los Angeles are mild. It rarely gets colder than 15°C in L.A. Due to the mountains, the climate in the north is somewhat less temperate, and it can get a few degrees cooler in winter.

How to get to Los Angeles

If you are flying to Los Angeles from Europe, you will be traveling between 12 and 16 hours and will most likely land at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). There is also Hollywood Burbank Airport, but far fewer flights land there.

Price-wise, you'll have to expect to pay between €500 and €1,000, depending on your starting point. With enough advance notice and an overnight stopover, you can make real bargains: just over €400 for a flight to Los Angeles is really a good price!

Among the airlines that bring you to L.A. are KLM, Delta, Lufthansa, and United Airlines.

Don't forget
If you are not a US citizen or Green Card holder, you will need a US visa or ESTA to enter the USA.

Getting around Los Angeles

In the widely spaced Los Angeles, getting around without a car can be a real challenge because most of the routes are on the highway. Los Angeles is thus clearly a car city. For adventurous L.A. visitors, however, there are other options:

Public transportation

The six lines of the "Metro Lines" take you via some detours, e.g., from the airport to Santa Monica, Downtown L.A., or Hollywood. Within the different districts, you can also use public transportation networks such as the DASH Hollywood bus service and the LA Metro buses.

Taxicab

If you want to get around Los Angeles by cab, we recommend a generous cab budget and a lot of patience. The city is really gigantic! Also, in most districts, cabs cannot simply be hailed at the side of the road but must be reserved.

Rental car

The best way to get around Los Angeles is by rental car. Several car rental agencies are waiting at the airport for you to become a customer. Your airline may even offer a cheap "Fly & Ride" deal.

Safety Tip
Plan your trips in Los Angeles well in advance, so you don't get lost in the streets of unsafe neighborhoods. Google Maps provides you with a clever saving function for your route planning.

Bike

There are excellent bicycle routes in Los Angeles. However, we would not advise to rely solely on bicycles, as riding in heavy traffic is not without danger.

If you want to take a nice bike ride through Los Angeles, we recommend the beach districts and parks (e.g., Griffith Park). However, most of the nice routes are outside the city limits, e.g., in the communities of Santa Monica and Pasadena.

On foot

If you're walking in Los Angeles, you should always use a car or other mode of transportation as a base because the exciting places are surprisingly far apart here.

You'll find particularly nice walking routes around the Hollywood Bowl, Lake Hollywood, Echo Park Lake, and Venice Beach. Of course, most of the parks in Los Angeles are also great places to stretch your legs.

Los Angeles accommodations

For your Los Angeles vacation, you should not choose the best hotel but the best neighborhood. Otherwise, you may sleep comfortably, but you will spend a lot of time commuting for sightseeing. The best sights in Los Angeles and its neighborhoods are:

L.A. Attraction Neighborhood
Disneyland Park Anaheim (outside L.A.)
Griffith Observatory Hollywood
Hollywood Sign Hollywood
OUE SkySpace Financial District, Downtown
Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills (outside L.A.)
Santa Monica Pier & Beach Santa Monica (outside L.A.)
Universal Studios Hollywood
Venice Beach Venice
Walk of Fame Hollywood

Los Angeles hotels

The most famous Los Angeles hotels are mostly located in Downtown L.A., but you might also find yourself a fantastic hotel bargain in Hollywood or right by the airport. The most popular hotels in Los Angeles include:

Freehand Los Angeles

The 4-star Hotel Freehand is located on a lovely historic street in Downtown L.A. The roof terrace with breathtaking views and a swimming pool is an absolute highlight! From the comfort suite to multi-bed rooms, you have different accommodation options here.

  • District: Downtown Los Angeles
  • Address: 416 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, USA
  • Price category: $
  • Hotel details: Freehand Los Angeles

Millennium Biltmore Hotel

The magnificent Millennium Biltmore in Downtown used to host the Academy Awards and is still frequently used for film shoots. No wonder: the posh hotel from the 1920s with its luxurious pools and breathtaking architecture is a real eye-candy!

  • District: Downtown Los Angeles
  • Address: 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA
  • Price category: $$
  • Hotel details: Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Westin Bonaventure Hotel

As Los Angeles' largest hotel, the Westin Bonaventure is almost a city within a city. This popular overnight spot among L.A. visitors may have a sleek design, but the rooftop pool and fitness center can't be beaten!

  • District: Downtown Los Angeles
  • Address: 404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA
  • Price category: $$
  • Hotel details: Westin Bonaventure Hotel

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Close to Universal Studios Hollywood, the 24-story Hilton towers over the rooftops of Universal City in North Hollywood. Theaters and shows are also not far away. The great pool and the view of the Hollywood Hills compensate for the somewhat higher price, starting at €140 per room.

Los Angeles Airport Marriott

A large pool area, a modern fitness center, and nice spacious rooms with two beds each await you at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. The proximity to the airport is convenient for your arrival and departure and allows you quick access to Venice Beach and the beautiful natural beach Dockweiler Beach.

  • Disctrict: out of town at airport
  • Address: 5855 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA
  • Price category: $$
  • Hotel details: Los Angeles Airport Marriott

Apartments in Los Angeles

Long and short-term apartment rentals are common in Los Angeles, as tourists and entertainment industry workers often need to stay in the city for just a few days or weeks.

Top platforms for apartment rentals in Los Angeles include:

  • Westside Rentals
  • TheRentalGirl.com
  • Apartment List
  • Apartments.com
  • HotPads
  • Rent.com
  • Zumper
  • Craigslist
  • Trulia

Research your potential landlord and the area where the apartment of your dreams is located extensively before making any deposits or giving out your personal information. u Anzahlungen machst oder deine persönlichen Daten herausgibst.

Hostels in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is not exactly a budget-friendly city. Therefore, you might want to save at least on your accommodations to have more money left for your daily L.A. fun. That's at least somewhat possible, as hostel prices in L.A. start at around €60. You can find cheap accommodation communities in almost all districts.

Best sights in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is so packed with attractions that you can hardly see them all in just one vacation. That's why we've picked the five most popular visitor magnets in L.A. for you.

Hollywood Sign

The 14m tall Hollywood sign is the most famous landmark in Los Angeles. You have a gigantic view of the Hollywood sign, for example, from the hill of the Griffith Observatory. There are also many other places in the city where you can admire the white letters. But if you're thinking about visiting the artwork in person: no chance - the area is fenced off to prevent vandalism and accidents.

Walk of Fame

The famous Walk of Fame is a section of Hollywood Boulevard and bears the names of about 2,700 movie actors, musicians, and other world stars from the entertainment industry. Here, in addition to the pink stars in the ground, you will also find autographs and footprints of some celebrities. Is your favorite VIP among them?

Disneyland Park

Although Anaheim is not within the borders of the City of Los Angeles, Disneyland is associated with L.A. as a matter of course. Funny rides, live shows, and buildings that take you to another world await you at the massive theme park. The Disney experience is complete with sensational parades and walking acts!

Universal Studios Hollywood

This is your chance to go behind the scenes of your favorite movie! At Universal Studios Hollywood, you can take studio tours, walk through movie sets and see spectacular live shows! Rides and themed worlds (e.g., The Simpsons or Harry Potter) are also part of the program.

Santa Monica Pier & Beach

One of the most popular photo motifs of L.A. vacationers is the platform on the beach of Santa Monica. The spectacular Santa Monica Pier houses a complete carnival with a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and great fairground booths. The sight of the glowing "Pacific Wheel" is extra awesome after dark - not to mention the sunsets on the beach.

Want to learn more about Los Angeles attractions? Then take a look at our top sights in Los Angeles!

Los Angeles cultural highlights

There are more than 100 museums and over 220 theaters in the greater Los Angeles area. Very many of these are located within the City of Los Angeles. Among the most important cultural highlights in L.A. are:

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Getty Center
  • The Broad
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • TCL Chinese Theatre
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art
  • Hollywood Bowl
  • National History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Getty Villa
  • Pantages Theatre

Best travel deals for Los Angeles

SPECIAL TRAVEL DEALS BY OUR PARTNER SECRET ESCAPES

  • Enchanted destinations and luxery hotels
  • Exclusive deals
  • Refundable bookings
  • Early bird discounts

Book your favorite destination in the USA

 

Los Angeles nature and parks

Amidst the honking and city smog, Los Angeles also hides a few real nature highlights. Here are the most beautiful places in L.A.:

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Wow, what a view! Hopefully, you have a head for heights because Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is steeply downhill in many places. Relax by the duck pond or the waterfalls at the end of the babbling brook. From the top of the hill, you'll have a great view of Downtown L.A.! It's a wonderful place for an outdoor day.

Runyon Canyon

On the hiking trails around Runyon Canyon, you might meet some Hollywood stars on their daily workout program. The hilly area above the rooftops of the celebrity residential areas is a perfect place for relaxation in the great outdoors. The park's highest point is Indian Rock, from which you have a sensational view of the city.

Griffith Park

Griffith Park is 42 square kilometers and packed with attractions and activities. Green-covered hiking trails with tropical plants and lots of wildlife also offer you an ideal retreat from the noisy city life. You can even visit the Bronson Caves here.

Venice Beach

The wide sandy Venice Beach invites you to take long walks along the water. Tourists, athletes, street vendors, and artists make a day here pretty exciting. Be sure to stay until sunset, because it's really worth it! Maybe you even dare to dive into the cold Pacific?

Shopping in Los Angeles

Got a little extra space in your suitcase? Then don't miss out on the following shopping highlights during your Los Angeles vacation:

  • The Grove - Luxury shopping center with idyllic scenery
  • Citadel Outlets - Name-brand fashion at great prices
  • Olvera Street - Charming shopping street in the old town with Mexican flair
  • Hollywood Farmers Market - Delicious fresh food at good prices
  • Beverly Center - Luxury shopping mall

The world-famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills at the gates of Los Angeles is also an absolute must-see for shopping fans, but it is insanely expensive.

Food and drinks in Los Angeles

If you like to try goodies from everywhere on your travels, then Los Angeles is the place for you! L.A. brings together the best chefs from around the world, and there's always brunch happening somewhere.

Try all the food trucks you come across because the unremarkable stalls often hide culinary highlights! Be sure to try the following snacks in Los Angeles:

  • French Dip Sandwich at Johnnie's Pastrami
  • Tacos at Taqueria Mazatlán
  • Bacon-wrapped hot dogs at Dirt Dog

Los Angeles nightlife

The enduring party spirit of Los Angeles' partying scene has also spawned a number of world-famous bars. Be sure to visit a tiki room, a speakeasy, or a classy rooftop bar above Hollywood. Among the iconic cocktails of Los Angeles are the Old Fashioned, the Tiki-Ti, and the Barbacoa.

Los Angeles sporting events

The City of Los Angeles and L.A. County are home to world-renowned professional sports teams. The major sports in Los Angeles are ice hockey, baseball, American football, and basketball.

If you are in Los Angeles during a big match, don't miss this spectacle! A visit to the major stadiums (e.g., Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, or Staples Center) alone is worth it!

Basketball

Los Angeles has two NBA basketball teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, who share the sensational Staples Center in Downtown L.A.

American Football

The Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams are two NFL football teams from the region around Los Angeles. However, both teams no longer play in stadiums within the city limits but at SoFi Stadium in neighboring Inglewood.

Ice Hockey

There are two NHL ice hockey teams in the Los Angeles area, namely the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. As the name of the Ducks implies, the Ducks play in a stadium in Anaheim. The Kings, however, just like the basketball teams, use the multi-functional Staples Center.

Baseball

With the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels, the metropolitan area around Los Angeles has two Major League baseball teams. Fittingly, the Angels play at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in the center of Los Angeles.

Instagram hotspots in Los Angeles

During your visit to Los Angeles, don't forget to bring your camera and get your Instagram account going here! The best Instagram hotspots in L.A. are:

  1. Melrose Avenue
  2. Griffith Observatory
  3. Hollywood Sign
  4. Skyspace Los Angeles
  5. Main Street, Disneyland

 

The history of Los Angeles

Although the first Europeans discovered the area of today's Los Angeles as early as 1542, it took until 1769 before the Spanish won this part of the country for themselves. In 1781, the town of Los Angeles was founded with an initial 44 settlers.

Today's L.A. was then called "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula" (In case your Spanish is still a little rusty: "The City of the Queen of Angels on the Porciuncula River").

After Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, Los Angeles became part of Mexico. Even then, the steadily growing community consisted of a mixed population: predominantly Mexican, American, European, and Chinese settlers took root here.

After the Mexican-American War, California was ceded to the United States in 1848, and Los Angeles officially became US territory two years later. In 1848, gold discoveries in California triggered the famous Gold Rush, bringing countless people from the Midwest to the region.

The mild climate, developing industry, oil discoveries, construction of the port as well as the railroad, and finally, the development of the film industry drove the growth of Los Angeles mightily until the end of the 19th century.

The Hollywood brand was established in the early 20th century when many film producers discovered the region. In 1932 and 1984, the city hosted the Olympic Games, and the Super Bowl has been held in L.A. a full seven times.

Los Angeles fun facts

You probably haven't heard these exciting facts about Los Angeles:

  • In 2006, a new tar pit was discovered in L.A. that contained the remains of saber-toothed tigers and a mammoth. The mammoth was named Zed.
  • It is illegal to lick a toad in the City of Angels.
  • There is a large oil field near the Dodger Stadium.
  • The Hollywood sign originally read "Hollywoodland."
  • The Getty Museum employs a few goats every spring to maintain the greenery.

Moving to Los Angeles

Are you as excited about Los Angeles as we are? Then it's only understandable that you would like to stay here right away. Our tips for living and working in Los Angeles might help you.

Working in Los Angeles

Almost everyone who moves to Los Angeles wants to realize their dreams here. This is one of the reasons why L.A. is home to the gigantic entertainment industry and over 200,000 startups. Constantly in demand here are software designers, electricians, sales and marketing personnel, and office administrators.

Some of the largest employers in and around Los Angeles include Walt Disney, CBRE Group, AECOM Technology, Molina Healthcare, Farmers Insurance Exchange, Edison International, and the events company Live Nation Entertainment.

In addition to entertainment, other major industries in Los Angeles include real estate, technology, construction, and healthcare. The most common occupations are managers, salespeople, and office and administrative jobs.

Compared to other cities in the USA, Los Angeles also has an unusually high number of people working as artists, designers, athletes, or media professionals. The highest-paid professions in L.A. are lawyers, architects, and engineers.

Living in Los Angeles

Suppose you're a newcomer to Los Angeles. In that case, you're probably initially attracted to the hustle and bustle of Downtown's slightly grungy city life because that's the true L.A. feeling for most newcomers.

Be prepared for high rents over $2,000 if you want to live in desirable neighborhoods like West Hollywood or Venice. Most people here have at least one roommate to share the rent with. Things get significantly cheaper in the San Fernando Valley.

Aside from the fact that you'll have to consider the high rents when negotiating your salary for a job in the USA, you should also pay special attention to commuting distances and the crime rate in your neighborhood when choosing where to live. And in case you don't know: you need a car in Los Angeles!

Coming to Los Angeles with a Green Card

With a Green Card, you can live and work in the USA without limits. The good news is that the US immigrant visa is pretty easy to get through the Green Card Lottery.

So be sure to enter the US government's annual lottery, even if you're trying to get your Green Card through a US employer at the same time.

Each year, 55,000 Green Cards are raffled off to US immigrants from around the world. Sign up now - it's just a few clicks!

Green Card CheckAre you eligible?