The immense size of Los Angeles and diverse geographic and populous features lend it to be a place for anyone and everyone. Theoretically, in one day a visitor could lay out on the beach, check out some skyscrapers, buy a handbag on Rodeo Drive, visit historical Spanish architecture, see a movie where the Oscars are held, go hiking on the hillsides, watch a TV show live, buy a fortune cookie in Chinatown, and ride Splash mountain in Disneyland- that is if you ever got off the beach! Entertainment is what Los Angeles is best at, it is up to visitors to decide what side of LA they wish to explore today.
To make the most of your stay in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Explorer Pass combines entry into 8 venues in one small price. The pass offers entry into Red Line Tours "Hollywood Behind the Scenes", the double decker buses of Starline Tours, a guided tour of the Kodak Theatre, the Hollywood Museum, Guinness World Records Museum, the Egyptian Theatre, and the Hollywood Wax Museum. Pass prices are $89 for adults (13+) and $65 for children 3-12 plus shipping and handling. This saves $60 on going to the attractions individually and allows you to go to the front of the line. For full details and ordering take a look at the site www.explorerpass.com.
For special offers and coupons on dining, attractions, and shopping try www.greaterlosangeles.com
Some of the nation's most popular theme parks are located in the Los Angeles area. Six Flags Magic Mountain is filled with 260 acres of family rides and death defying roller coasters. Knotts Berry Farm offers rides, a Wild West ghost town, live entertainment, shops, and restaurants. Also not to be missed is Universal Studios which features guided tours through movie magic and terrifying rides like the Revenge of the Mummy. The king of all theme parks also resides here, the world-famous Disneyland! The theme park is made up of eight imaginary lands, each with distinctive rides and adventures, not to mention the famous Disney characters that roam the park and perform in shows. Disneyland's California Adventure is adjacent to the main park and has a separate entry fee.
To see stars that aren't cartoons, you can visit the nearby Beverly Hills, an independent community completely surrounded by the city. Many star tours take you through the neighborhood to catch a glimpse of the exquisite mansions or possibly even one of the stars. For an even more dependable chance at a celebrity sighting you can get tickets to live filming of TV shows! Many studios offer free tickets to their shows. The minimum age of 14 may be enforced. To get tickets contact:
6541 Hollywood Blvd.
Telephone: (213) 689-8822 or (818) 753-3470
To get a bit of nature inside the city, you can visit Griffith Park, the city's largest. Within the park is the Los Angeles Zoo, with more than 2,000 animals; the Griffith Observatory with two refracting telescopes; and the Greek Theater, a natural outdoor amphitheater.
Natural attractions abound in the land of sun and surf. The ocean is the backdrop to places like Venice Beach and Muscle Beach, home to the bodybuilders. Marina Del Ray, known as "LA's Riviera," displays some of the wealthy's fine yachts in the world's largest man-made marina. Catalina Island is just a short boat ride away and offers island tours and a grand casino.
Tours of the many attractions can be arranged through several companies. Guideline Tours, LA Tours, and even a tour by helicopter at Helinet Aviation Services. The most famous of the tour companies is Starline Tours which has been in LA since 1935 and offers a hop-on, hop-off double decker bus around the city and a tour dedicated to celebrity homes.
Though LA is known for its films, its vibrant theatre community should not be ignored. Among its most notable theatres are the Henry Fonda Theatre, the Ahmanson Theatre, and the Center Theatre Group. The industry is even benefited by its proximity to Hollywood in that film and television stars have been known to appear in local productions.
The internationally acclaimed Joffrey Ballet also performs Los Angeles.
Along with stargazing, Los Angeles offers a bit of culture with its many museums. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has exhibits of history, minerals, animal habitats, and pre-Columbian culture. If you haven't been lucky enough to see some celebrities on the street, you can visit the Hollywood Wax Museum and view one of the 350 wax "stars". The California Museum of Science and Industry is an impressive complex consisting of the Mitsubishi IMAX Theatre, the Gehry-designed Aerospace Hall, Technology Hall, the Kinsey Hall of Health, and the California Science Center. For the younger museum-goers there is the Los Angeles Children's Museum which offers hands-on exhibits.
If art is what you are after the Museum of Contemporary Art has 5,000 objects ranging from masterpieces of abstract expressionism and pop art to the latest artworks. The J. Paul Getty Museum offers more art from Europe and America. Other museums in the region include the California Afro-American Museum and the Armand Hammer Museum of Art at UCLA.
To find a plethora of museums on one street, visit Wilshire Blvd.'s "Museum Row on the Miracle Mile". The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has paintings and a lovely sculpture garden. The Petersen Automotive Museum, the Museum of Television and Radio, the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance and the Craft and Folk Art Museum are also located here. The most famous is the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries which showcases the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits with its collection of extinct Ice Age plants and animals.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic is a premiere orchestra that performs at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and gives summer concerts at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed amphitheater the Hollywood Bowl.
A myriad of events highlight Los Angeles' best features throughout the year. New Year's Day opens the year with the Tournament of Roses Parade marching through the streets of Pasadena with hand-decorated floral floats. With February comes the Chinese New Year's Golden Dragon Parade and many other celebrations in Los Angeles's vibrant Chinatown. The historic Olvera Street recognizes its hispanic heritage with the Blessing of the Animals festival on the Saturday before Easter. The spring also features Hollywood Bowl and the annual Academy Awards event sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
May is celebrated with Cinco de Mayo, a traditional Mexican festival. May also brings the Calico Spring Festival at Calico Ghost Town in Yermo and the pricey arts and crafts show, Elegant Affaire, in Beverly Hills. June celebrates the prized California wines at the Ojai Wine Festival in Ojai and offers the Playboy Jazz Festival where you can catch a glimpse of Hugh Hefner and the Bunnies. Later in July comes the International Surf Festival out on the South Bay. One of the oldest Japanese American festivals, the Nisei Week Japanese Festival, occurs each August in Little Tokyo.
The anniversary of Los Angeles's founding is celebrated in the downtown Plaza in September. Another of the oldest traditions take place this month with the Catalina Island's Annual Art Festival. September also brings the LA County Fair in Pomona, a two-week celebration of agriculture and livestock with classic horse racing and prize pies. In mid-September Los Angeles has Mexican Independence Day, a three day fiesta in El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park. November first's celebration, the Dia de Los Muertos or "Day of the Dead," recognizes Mexican tradition. Along with Christmas comes LA's Christmas Afloat Boat Parade across the waters and December's LA Art Fair which sells museum-quality artworks from around the world. Los Posadas is the last uniquely LA festival of the year, rooted in Mexican tradition once again, recreating the New Testament story of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and taking place each year during the week before Christmas.