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The city of Los Angeles (also known simply as L.A., and nicknamed the "City of Angels") is the most populous city in California. Located on a broad basin in Southern California, the city is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, valleys, forests, beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean, and nearby desert.
The metropolitan area is the second-most populous in the United States and home to over 17 million people who hail from all parts of the globe. The metropolitan area is spread across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and parts of San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Ventura County.
Los Angeles is an important center of culture, medicine, agriculture, business, finance, energy, aerospace, science, food processing, media, international trade, and tourism. International tourists regard Los Angeles as most famous for "Hollywood," but a long-running trend in favor of outsourcing of film and television production has critically undermined the sector to the point where entertainment and media employ only about 120,000 people in the entire metro area (and most of them work in Burbank or Culver City, not Hollywood). Many major motion picture deals and premieres still occur in Los Angeles, but the vast majority of those films are actually shot elsewhere. However, some post-production, editing, promotion, distribution, and archiving work still occurs in Los Angeles. In addition, L.A. remains a major center for production of television shows and television commercials, as well as music recordings.
Nowadays, the economy of Southern California is primarily driven by its other sectors: its huge oil refineries, its thousands of rather mundane factories and food processing facilities, and its busy seaports and airports, with the result that the U.S. Customs district covering the region is the busiest in the United States. Regardless, Los Angeles continues to attract millions of tourists each year drawn to its history as the place where motion pictures traditionally came from (and where the management of the six major film studios are still largely based, even though they don't make most films there any more).
Furthermore, at least in the English-speaking world, it is still obligatory for most celebrities-to-be to live for several years in L.A. until they make it big in Hollywood. Most of them ultimately flee elsewhere after they get sick and tired of being chased by crazed fans, tourists, and paparazzi, and only after they've hooked up with the top talent agents in Hollywood (meaning that now the best scripts and songs come to them, rather than the other way around). Thus, L.A. is notorious for its celebrity-oriented culture, as exemplified by the "star maps" sold at tourist traps which feature known locations of celebrities' homes.
These districts are a part of the city of Los Angeles. See also Los Angeles County for destinations in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The central business district and home to the Grand Avenue cultural corridor. The advent of the automobile and freeways led to the neighborhood's slow decline, but it has seen a booming revival in recent years, led by new residential buildings, with trendy hotels, bars, shops and restaurants.
A funkier area north of downtown and east of Hollywood that is rapidly gentrifying.
Home of the largest sea port in the US and the launching point for trips to Catalina Island.
The place where movies are made (or to be accurate, were made). It has received quite a makeover in recent years, sparked by the construction of Hollywood & Highland and the return of the Academy Awards.
San Fernando Valley
The northern suburban portion of Los Angeles, lying in a valley northwest of downtown, containing various districts.
It's long had a reputation for gang violence and it is famed for the Rodney King riots. But while it remains off most people's radar, there are things to see, such as the museums of Exposition Park, as the area slowly attempts to repair its bruised image.
Generally more affluent corridor within the city limits that lies between downtown Los Angeles and the ocean.
Home of the historic architecture of the Miracle Mile District, the Farmer's Market and The Grove shopping areas, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Koreatown, CBS Television City, and the famous La Brea Tar Pits.
More Understand of this city
Even before the rolling blackouts, or O.J.'s ride in the infamously-slow Bronco chase, or Arnold "the Terminator" Schwarzenegger became governator of the state, Frank Lloyd Wright said, "Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles."
The Los Angeles metro area has been a "boomtown" since the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1876, first attracting some "folks" from the Midwest and East Coast with warm winters, becoming a gateway to a remarkable diversity of immigration from throughout the Pacific Rim and Latin America.
The city of Los Angeles is huge. From the Sylmar district in the north to the Port of Los Angeles in the south, the drive can be close to an hour and a half long; possibly longer once traffic is factored in. The L.A. metropolitan area includes smaller cities, such as Santa Monica, Burbank, Pasadena, Long Beach, Anaheim, and Riverside some of which were founded around the end of the nineteenth century and retain distinct identities. Geographically, some district names in the city of Los Angeles are so common, that they are believed by some to be separate cities when in fact, they are actually neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Hollywood, Van Nuys, Encino, and Bel-Air are just some well-known examples of neighborhoods that are actually within Los Angeles and not separate entities, while West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills, for instance, are actually independent cities.
The climate of Los Angeles is classified as subtropical-Mediterranean, a rare and often desirable weather classification. The city is mostly sunny year-round, receiving an average of 14.93 inches of precipitation and 35.7 rainy days each year. Precipitation measurements, however, are rarely consistent between years, as the region is bimodal, meaning it often alternates between long dry spells and unusually rainy months. The weather is mild to warm year-round, only occasionally exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the lengthy summers and rarely dropping below 45 degrees in the the winter months.
Seasons in Los Angeles are often negligible, and can generally be divided into summer and winter/spring. Summers start early in May and run long, with some of the year's hottest temperatures occurring in September and sometimes October. Daytime highs in summer are about 81F, and humidity is generally mild. Although not frequent, a heat-wave could occur on occasion. Nighttime lows during summer are about 63F. The autumn and early winter months often see Santa Ana winds, hot strong winds that originate inland near the Santa Ana mountains and blow towards the coast. The strong winds are perhaps the most miserable part of the Southern California weather cycle and often spark wildfires in dry years. The hot, sunny summers are sometimes interrupted by "June gloom," a weather phenomenon wherein fog settles around the city overnight, but generally disperses by the early afternoon. Weather begins to cool down into winter beginning in November and lasting until April. This is when the city receives the most rainfall, though sunny warm days are still the norm. Daytime highs in winter are about 67F, nighttime winter lows are about 49F. Climate varies depending on how far inland you are located. Winter temperatures can vary wildly throughout a single day. Often even the chilliest mornings lead straight into warm or even hot days.
The Los Angeles area is served by five major commercial airports and more than a dozen private airports. The five major airports are located in Los Angeles, Burbank, Santa Ana, Long Beach, and Ontario.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) (Los Angeles Airport) is the major international gateway to the Southland. LAX is gigantic, with nine terminals built in different eras in a variety of architectural styles, of which the common element is that they all seem rather cramped on the inside (that is, relative to the size and importance of the airport). Some terminals have been renovated recently and look relatively modern, while others are definitely showing their age. Most of the terminals were built before the Transportation Security Administration implemented modern security checkpoints, which means the checkpoints were shoehorned into the existing buildings with very awkward results.
Cycling in Los Angeles
Cycling conditions in the City of Los Angeles and surrounding cities are in a transitional state. While beach cities like Santa Monica and Hermosa Beach tend to have modern bike infrastructure due to a burgeoning number of cycling residents and tourists, all parts of the LA metro are subject to impatient and motivated vehicle traffic, in large quantity. Simply put, to stay safe you must be prepared to yield to an inattentive or impatient motorist at all times, wherever you are, no matter who has the right of way. Staying safe on a bike here means riding with respect to bad drivers. Lights and high visibility apparel are a must. For mountain bikers, LA remains a good destination and trails and safe roads are nearby.
There also is a possibility of doing guided bike tours in LA. There are various bike tour companies which can lead you through the city in a few hours. For example Baja Bikes, Hollywoodtourz or Bikes and Hikes LA are bike tour companies which offer guided bicycle tours. With a local guide, cycling is a fun and safe way of discovering the City of Angels. You can cycle around places like the Walk of Fame, homes of the big Hollywood stars and LA’s famous beaches (especially beautiful is the stretch between Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach).
Public transportation in L.A., as in most American cities, leaves something to be desired. Although the Los Angeles area has an extensive bus system and many transit agencies, and a fairly new subway and elevated network to boot, this is still not adequate considering the region's population and size. Although some bus routes have service every 10 to 15 minutes, many others (especially away from the main tourist areas) have service every 30 to 90 minutes. Also keep in mind there is not a bus line to reach every nook and cranny, and as such, it is not uncommon to find yourself walking up to a mile or so to your destination after you've gotten off the bus at the closest stop.
Many neighborhoods and sightseeing destinations can be reached using Metro Rail, including downtown, Koreatown, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Chinatown, Pasadena, and Long Beach. Public transportation is preferable, when possible, to the gridlock that often occurs on Los Angeles area freeways and streets.
Metro Rail/Transitway Lines:
Red Line, a subway that runs from Downtown (unnion Station) to the Hollywood area, then to North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley. This route shares track with the Purple Line for about half of its length; when boarding a subway train, check its destination signs to make sure you are on the right train. Station display signs should also provide information about the destination of the train you are boarding. Trains run on average every 12 minutes daytime, becoming less frequent in the evening.
Purple Line, a subway that runs from Downtown (unnion Station) to Koreatown. This route shares track with the Red Line for most of its length; when boarding a subway train, check its destination signs to make sure you are on the right train. Note that the Purple Line trains outside of rush hour are only two cars in length and will not fill the length of the station. There are tunnel signs to help guide you to where the train will stop.
Blue Line, a light rail line that runs from Downtown Los Angeles(7th Street/Metro Center Station) through South Los Angeles to Long Beach.
Expo Line, a light rail line that runs from Downtown Los Angeles (7th Street/Metro Center Station) and passes through the University of Southern California and Culver City en route to Downtown Santa Monica.
Gold Line, a light rail line that runs from East LA through Chinatown and Northeast Los Angeles to Pasadena and further to Azusa.
Green Line, a light rail line that runs from the South Bay (near LAX) east to the city of Norwalk along Interstate 105.
Orange Line, a transitway across the San Fernando Valley from North Hollywood to Warner Center (Woodland Hills), using sleek articulated "bus-trains" on rubber tires.
Silver Line, a transitway from El Monte to Artesia using "bus-trains" on rubber tires. A surchage is to be paid on this route. must be purchased for this route.
Highlights to see in Los Angeles
Nearly all L.A. first-time visitors will want to visit Hollywood, Universal City (specifically Universal Studios), and Venice Beach as their top priorities within the City of Los Angeles itself. Century City, Downtown Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, Griffith Park and the Los Angeles River bridges just east of downtown are all also worth a look. They have all been used for filming a huge number of famous movies, television shows, and television commercials, and will seem slightly familiar for that reason.
However, many other landmarks generally associated with L.A. are technically not located in the City of Los Angeles, but are in adjacent cities or unincorporated areas. For example, Rodeo Drive is found in Beverly Hills; the Santa Monica Pier, the Third Street Promenade, and Santa Monica Beach are in Santa Monica; studio facilities for NBC, Disney, and Warner Bros. are all found in Burbank; the Sony Pictures Entertainment studio is in Culver City; and Marina del Rey is an unincorporated area under county jurisdiction. Malibu is about half an hour's drive west of Santa Monica. Disneyland, Newport Beach, and South Coast Plaza are all located over an hour's drive to the southeast in Orange County.