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The ultimate guide to Los Angeles

Adriana Setti

Apu Gomes; Art Gray; Andrea Alonso; Iwan Baan; Publicity; Shutterstock

Way beyond the palm trees and the Hollywood sign, this city in California has welcomed new cultural centers, 105 miles [170 km] of subway lines and transformed its financial district. Welcome to LA!

 

Understanding Los Angeles

When people talk about the region, they generally mean LA County: a territory that includes the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. As such, renting a car to experience it all is advisable. Check out how to take the perfect road trip on LA’s freeways, including classic stops and new arrivals.

 

Hollywood and surroundings

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While Wolverine has coffee with Marilyn Monroe, Spiderman observes the group singing over the star for David Bowie. And this is what life is like on the Walk of Fame, with its habitual lack of normalcy. More than just a place, Hollywood is a state of spirit. The autographs in front of the Chinese Theatre remind us that the movie industry was born there (even though the studios moved to Burbank a long time ago) and, to this day, the glamour can be seen there on red carpet nights (the Oscars are held inside the Dolby Theatre). 

 

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Southwest of Hollywood, the Fairfax District is home to the art center LACMA (5905 Wilshire Blvd) and the Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Blvd), whose building was recently converted into one of the most modern and extravagant in town. Another great activity is to visit the Melrose Trading Post (8391 Beverly Blvd #256), which attracts a small multitude every Sunday to browse for creative clothes and vintage products. Adding to the attractions on the outskirts of Hollywood, in April 2016, Universal Studios (100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City) opened an entire wing dedicated to Harry Potter.

 

Downtown Los Angeles

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The museum The Broad, just like its neighbor, the Walt Disney Concert Hall (home to the LA Philharmonic), is installed in a building that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie. Under a ceiling that looks like a honeycomb is the personal collection of some 2,000 pieces owned by couple Eli and Edythe Broad, including works by Barbara Kruger and Jeff Koons. The neighboring MOCA also features important 20th- and 21st-century artists, including paintings by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.  

221, 220 and 250 S. Grand Ave

 

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Before or after, the best spot to grab a bite is the recently renovated Grand Central Market. It is “the” place to have lunch in Downtown LA, especially at the vegan eatery Ramen Hood and at Madcapra, which specializes in falafel. The market also has options for sushi, craft beer, oysters and burgers. After, head to the G&B for coffee, which offers beans from a different part of the world each day.  

317 S. Broadway

 

Beverly Hills and surroundings

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From jewelry stores to Rolls-Royces, everything has an extra layer of shine on Rodeo Drive, the most extravagant shopping street in Beverly Hills. The city is home to the rich and famous, whose mansions are distributed in streets lined with palm trees. A good tip is to visit the Getty Center in the nearby neighborhood of Brentwood. Installed in a complex of five pavilions, the place welcomes temporary exhibitions and is home to one of the most beautiful gardens in Los Angeles.

N. Sepulveda Blvd and Getty Center Drive

 

Santa Monica and Venice Beach

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These two neighboring cities are the best display windows of the cool California lifestyle. The last stop on the famous Route 66, Santa Monica Pier is home to a cute old-fashioned amusement park. Meanwhile, at Venice Beach, the icon is the boardwalk where the rule is “the more eccentric the better.” The best way to explore the region is by renting a bicycle and pedaling on the bike lane that runs along the beach. 

 

Silver Lake

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Next to the lake of the same name, north of Downtown, the region reveals a more alternative side to Los Angeles. In recent years, Silver Lake has been invaded by interesting coffee shops, including the award-winning LAMill (1636 Silver Lake Blvd). The neighboring Echo Park has a more rock'n'roll feel – literally. The Rolling Stones played a secret show at the Echoplex (1822 Sunset Blvd) in 2013. You can also find rare music memorabilia there at Rockaway Records (2395 Glendale Blvd).

 

LATAM has direct flights to Los Angeles departing from Lima and Santiago.