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Los Angeles, often simply shortened to “LA”, is a complex city. Los Angeles is known for its golden beaches, excellent surfing conditions and the numerous movie stars that you can spot. Some of Los Angeles's well-known neighborhoods include Hollywood, with many movie-related tourist attractions, and LA's beach district, with Malibu Beach as the main draw. Take a walk along the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive, the Walk of Fame, drive past the huge mansions in Beverly Hills or explore the cultural opportunities of Los Angeles. You will soon realize why Los Angeles, also called the “City of Angels”, has become one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.
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Los Angeles is located on the Pacific Ocean in the state of California. It is an access port to the Pacific. San Pedro Bay is the main port area. Two mountain ranges, the Santa Monica and the Verdugo, run through the city center. The geographic coordinates of the city are 118.15° west longitude and 34.04° north latitude.
The climate in Los Angeles is Mediterranean with mild weather and sunshine all year round. Los Angeles has become a popular holiday destination because of this. Precipitation varies by season. The months of May, June, July and August are generally dry with a lot of sun and good weather. In the summer months of August and September it is very hot in Los Angeles. The average temperature in Los Angeles during these months can rise to above 32°C. This creates the risk of smog problems.
The Los Angeles area was first visited by Europeans in 1769. Gaspar de Portola and a group of missionaries camped by the Los Angeles River. Franciscan monks built the San Gabriel Mission in 1771 about 9 miles north of present-day Los Angeles. American ships arrived around 1800 despite an embargo imposed by the Spanish government on trade with foreign ships. The first English-speaking resident settled in the area in 1818. It was a carpenter named Joseph Chapman. He helped build the church across from the central town square. After Mexico, which included California, gained its independence from Spain in 1821, trade with the United States grew. In the 1840s, Los Angeles was the largest city in southern California.Photo:Public Domain
During the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846, Los Angeles was occupied by an American garrison. With the Treaty of Cahuenga, signed in 1847, the war in California ended. Los Angeles and the rest of California became American territory. The 1848 Goldrush in the mountains north of Los Angeles turned the city into a market town and many prospectors settled in the area after the gold rush. The Southern Pacific Railroad reached Los Angeles in 1876, followed by the Santa Fe Railroad nine years later. The two rival companies sparked a price war with the result that the price of a ticket to the eastern United States was only five dollars.
Oil was discovered around 1890 and soon caused a new revival. By the end of the century, nearly 1,500 oil wells were in use in Los Angeles. In the early 20th century, agriculture became important to the economy and a huge aqueduct was built. The growth of the city added the San Fernando Valley and the Port of San Pedro to Los Angeles territory. Los Angeles gained a position in the international trade market.
The film industry flourished after the first decade of the twentieth century. The need for housing created large suburban neighborhoods and the start of the city's massive infrastructure with the highway system. The Depression and drought of the Midwest's 1930s brought thousands of people to California, all looking for work. To meet this demand, the city started a number of large projects, including the construction of the Hoover Dam. The excellent weather conditions made Los Angeles an ideal location for aircraft building and testing. The Second World War saw the emergence of new industries that stimulated the local economy. In the 1950s Los Angeles grew into a sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles was considered the epitome of all that was new and modern in American culture, a combination of superhighways, affordable housing, and opportunity for all.
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The Los Angeles dream began to fade in the 1960s. Traffic jams became a major problem, industry and car emissions led to smog and pollution. Frustration with living conditions sparked riots in the African American ghetto of Watts, and problems arose with the Spanish communities of eastern Los Angeles. In response to these new problems, Los Angeles was given strict guidelines to combat air pollution and took steps to interest minorities in the political process. In 1973, Los Angeles elected Mayor Tom Bradley, the first African American mayor. In the following two decades, public transport was improved and a metro system was established. The center became a thriving district with impressive glass skyscrapers.
Los Angeles recovered from the recession of the mid-1990s but, like the rest of the country, took another blow after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In response to the subsequent economic downturn, the mayor created the Los Angeles Economic Impact Task Force, with the participation of business leaders from all over the city. The aim was to develop recommendations for strengthening the local economy. The result is an increase in tourism, retail and other ongoing signs of recovery.
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Because of Los Angeles vastness, many of Los Angeles top tourist attractions are located outside of downtown and Hollywood. While there is plenty to see and do in these central neighborhoods, it's important that tourists in Los Angeles don't limit themselves to these areas. Otherwise, they miss out on some of the main attractions and sights. With that in mind, downtown Los Angeles is the perfect starting point for a visit. You can find many of the tourist attractions here, such as the Paramount and CBS LA studios.
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Paramount Pictures is the oldest continuously operating movie studio in Hollywood and one of the few that hasn't moved. You can make walking tours around the beautiful studios and sets. Paramount had numerous big stars in Hollywood's Golden Age, such as Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby and Gloria Swanston. In more recent years, the studio has produced some of the most popular TV series such as Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, Cheers and Happy Days.
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The Watts Towers are a truly unique Los Angeles landmark. This characteristic structure originated in the brain of construction worker Simon Rodia, who built it over three decades from 1921 to 1954. The important building materials of the towers include shells, glass, scrap metal, pipes and slatted bases. Together they form a resourceful and creative work of art where the usual glitz and glamor of LA are absent.
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There are many museums in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Entertainment Museum is a museum of memorabilia and special exhibitions. You can visit the original sets from productions such as Star Trek and Cheers.
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A cultural attraction not to be missed is the Getty Museum. This museum is home to the collections of old masters, manuscripts and statues, as well as a selection of 20th-century photographs and a selection of Greek and Roman antiquities. This modern complex is worth a visit for its architecture alone. The surrounding gardens have a quiet simplicity, where you can unwind from the hectic city.
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One of the most renowned museums in the US is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Here you can see an extensive collection of art from all over the world. There is a section of Islamic art, Renaissance paintings, modern sculptures, and abstract photography, along with other media and genres. The museum regularly organizes temporary exhibitions as well as film screenings and concerts. The LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) stands next to Hancock Park and also acts as a cultural center for the city.
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The Armand Hammer museum is for fans of world famous painters. There are works by Monet, Cassatt, Van Gogh and Pissarro, as well as works by other Impressionists as well as more contemporary art. Outside is a beautiful sculpture garden. This museum also includes the Billy Wilder Theater and is close to the Geffen Playhouse, the University of California Los Angeles and the Westwood Memorial Park. The museum does not stop at the visual arts, it also regularly offers exhibitions on dance, music and poetry.
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The largest and most famous amusement park in the world, Disneyland, is located in Los Angeles. Disneyland is a must on your trip to Los Angeles. It is divided into eight countries, each with different attractions and sights. The Disneyland theme park is open all year round and offers endless fun, entertainment and much more.
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The world's largest movie studio and theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood, is also close to Los Angeles. It features movie studios, attractions, restaurants and much more. Watch the sets from some of your favorite movies, including Jaws and Back to the Future, and experience exciting special effects on a tour. There are also roller coasters here, including Jurassic Park, which takes you through a jungle where you will encounter numerous terrifying dinosaurs.
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A favorite outing of Hollywood residents and tourists is Santa Monica Beach. Here you will find a somewhat alternative crowd and it is within easy reach of downtown Los Angeles. It was once home to stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, including Greta Garbo and Clark Gable. Attractions at Santa Monica Beach include the popular pier, amusement rides, and acclaimed seafood restaurants. The Third Street Promenade is home to an abundance of boutiques, cafes and bars.
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Santee Alley is an open-air market in Los Angeles, where you can find all kinds of goods, ranging from casual to chic evening wear, jewelry, menswear, kidswear, toys and much more.
Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more informationLast updated February 2021
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