Los Angeles Neighborhood Guide
Los Angeles is a huge city in itself, but what is considered the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, actually covers five counties (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County,Riverside County and Ventura County) spanning over 4,000 square miles. As a visitor to Los Angeles, you are most likely to visit one of these popular neighborhoods:
If you’re a first time visitor to L.A., and only have one day in the city, then head on over to the opulent and movie-like Beverly Hills to get a dose of the wealthy L.A. life. Designer retail outlets and celebrity mansions and residents line up the streets of this neighborhood.
Explore Rodeo Drive for some upscale shopping at luxury boutiques. Just a few minutes away from Beverly Hills, you will find Bel-Air, a high-end residential neighborhood that’s worth a visit (or a stay :)).
Beverly Hills is also close to West Hollywood - the hub for up and coming writers, actors and directors. West Hollywood is a place to experience Los Angeles in all its eclectic glory with a bunch of trendy restaurants that’s worth checking out, art galleries and nightclubs at the Sunset Strip. West Hollywood is also probably one of Southern California’s most progressive neighborhoods, and home to one of the nation’s largest Pride Parades drawing thousands of participants annually. Walk over to Wilshire Blvd and Miracle Miles nearby for a stretch of interesting museums and art galleries while you are in the area.
Well, this is what Los Angeles is most famous for the world over! Probably the first item off your checklist if you’re a first time visitor to L.A., the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre, Dolby theatre are all iconic parts of the neighborhood. But Hollywood really isn’t a concentrated region limited to Hollywood Boulevard. The only big studio that’s still left here is Paramount. You can also walk around the area to explore the place - around Capitol Records.
If you want to visit studios and take tours, you might want to drive up north to Universal City for Universal Studios or go to Burbank that’s further north to visit the Warner Brother Studios. Visit Hollywood Hills and Los Feliz that’s a short drive away to visit the impressive Griffith Observatory where you can also catch a good view of the Hollywood sign on a clear day.
Not a very popular tourist neighborhood until recently, Downtown Los Angeles has undergone a makeover for the good. Downtown L.A. is a complex network of gleaming skyscrapers, museums and galleries of art, architecture and history, and many restaurants that bring a mix of flavors from around the world. Major points of interest include the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Staples Center, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and Cathedral of Our Lady for the Angels.
Tinsel town and downtown apart, Los Angeles is blessed to have some of the best beaches in the nation. You can explore Santa Monica on foot or rent a bike but no matter what, be sure to be at the Pier for a while to catch a spectacular sunset. You will be awed by the unreal change of colors as blue, orange, yellow and pink splash across the sky right in front of your eyes.
The ultra rich beachside abode of many Hollywood celebrities is a real estate gold mine - and a visit here will show you why. We said beachside but that generalization might not be fair to Malibu. Malibu is very SoCal in its beachy landscapes that attracts surfers and beach volleyball enthusiasts. But in other places, Malibu is the perfect Pacific Coast Highway photo op neighborhood with gorgeous secluded bays underneath massive cliffs.
Venice is the hip, casual neighborhood with a thriving happy-bohemian feel that you’ve been looking for. Street artists, souvenir shops, farm-to-table cafes serving uniquely crafted dishes with fresh ingredients and beachy sands underneath a warm California sun - bring out your free-spirited, happiest smile for some fun and people-watching in Venice.
Most famous for its Rose Bowl Stadium, a United States National Historic Landmark, Pasadena is a day trip to escape the bustle of Los Angeles city. The Rose Bowl Stadium is home to the annual Rose Bowl game, the first postseason college football game of the year which is held after the annual Tournament of the Roses Parade, usually held on New Year’s day. Pasadena is also popular for its yearly Rose Bowl Flea Market, hosted at the Rose Bowl stadium on the second Sunday of every month. You can also visit the Botanical Gardens, Huntington Library and Arts Collection and take a stroll along the historic Old Town Pasadena while here.