Hot, hip, sexy and sprawling, LA is a metropolis of its own making. The City of Angels occupies a prime slice of Californian coast and – nine decades after the Hollywood sign first appeared on the hills – still deals in dreams. For visitors on a city break to Los Angeles from Glasgow Airport, it’s a chance to step into a world of trends, celebrities and all manner of places to eat, drink, shop and party.
Only in LA
The city is full of little idiosyncrasies. Join the queues to sample the hot dog voted the best in the country at Pink’s (709 North La Brea Avenue), a traditional ‘Mom & Pop’ food stand; browse the racks at the world’s largest independent record store, Amoeba (6400 Sunset Boulevard); take the kids along to a puppet show at the 50-year-old Bob Baker Marionette Theater (1345 West 1st Street); or splash the cash on eclectic Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
For movie fans, tapping into the city’s peerless cinematic heritage isn’t difficult. On a Paramount Pictures Studio Tour (5555 Melrose Avenue), you’ll see Hollywood’s longest-operating major studio – it’s been responsible for everything from Saturday Night Fever and The Godfather to Braveheart and Titanic – while Universal Studios Hollywood (100 Universal City Plaza) gives the full theme park experience.
LA’s 115km of coastline stretch from Malibu in the north to San Pedro in the south, incorporating a broad range of surf spots, beach towns and visitor attractions. Malibu itself is an A-list-friendly community with great sands – as well as the free-to-visit Getty Villa (17985 Pacific Coast Highway) – while Santa Monica is home to the celebrated Santa Monica Pier. Best known of the lot, of course, is Venice Beach, where among other things you’ll find LA’s famous outdoor basketball courts.