Los Angeles

For other places with the same name, see Los Angeles (disambiguation).
For other places with the same name, see LA (disambiguation).

Frank Lloyd Wright is said to have quipped, "Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles," a quote that has since been repeated both by those who love and hate L.A. The "City of Angels" is home to people who hail from all parts of the globe and an important center of culture, business, media, and international trade. However, it's most famous for being a major center of the world's television, motion picture, and music industry, which forms the base of the city's status and lures visitors for its show business history and celebrity culture. Visitors are also drawn to Los Angeles for its Mediterranean climate and numerous beaches, which gave birth to California's famed surf culture.

California's most populous city and the second most populous city in the United States (after New York City), Los Angeles is spread across a broad basin in Southern California surrounded by vast forested mountain ranges, valleys, the Pacific Ocean, and nearby desert. Los Angeles sits at the heart of a metropolitan area of over 18 million people that spreads across Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, and the Inland Empire region of San Bernardino County and Riverside County.



For travel purposes, this article covers the entirety of Los Angeles County, a region of nearly 5,000 square miles in Southern California (roughly the same size as Rhode Island). There are 88 cities (municipalities) in the county; the largest, the city of Los Angeles, spreads throughout the county from the Port of Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley.

Central Los Angeles

Central Los Angeles districts
  Downtown L.A.
The central business district and historic center of Los Angeles, which has seen a revival with new museums, performing arts venues, trendy hotels, bars, shops, and restaurants.
In the hills east of the downtown area is the Hispanic center of Los Angeles. This area is mostly residential in character, with a few scattered attractions.
The historic and spiritual heart of the entertainment industry, with many tourist attractions paying tribute to the film and television stars of the past and where many movies still have their public premieres.
  Northwest L.A.
A funkier area in the heights north of Downtown and east of Hollywood that includes some rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and the expansive Griffith Park, with its zoo, museums, and famous observatory.
  South Central L.A.
Though it has long had a reputation for gang violence and is the infamous site of the Rodney King riots, this area has mellowed significantly in the years since. While it remains off most people's radar, there are some highlights including the Watts Towers and the science museums of Exposition Park.
Home to the Miracle Mile District of Wilshire Boulevard, with its historic architecture and museums near the La Brea Tar Pits. Nearby are the studios, shops, and entertainment of the Fairfax District.

Los Angeles County regions

The regions of Los Angeles County
  Antelope Valley
The arid northern region of the county beyond the San Gabriel Mountains; high desert and more rural in feel, but with a growing population amidst the rugged terrain.
  Gateway Cities
The mostly suburban and industrial southern region of the county, bordering Orange County. The largest city here is the harbor city of Long Beach, where you will find some highlights like the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary.
  San Fernando Valley
"The Valley" is a sprawling suburban section of Los Angeles on the backside of the Hollywood Hills, home to a lot of the major motion picture studios and the popular Universal Studios theme park in the Studio City-Burbank-Glendale corridor.
  San Gabriel Valley
Encompassing the suburban valley communities east of Downtown Los Angeles, as well as the forested San Gabriel Mountains to the north of the valley. Sitting at the foot of the mountains is Pasadena, site of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Sampling the wide variety of Sichuan, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Burmese, and other Asian restaurants, most staffed by immigrants, is one of Los Angeles' main cultural attractions.
  Santa Clarita Valley
Far to the north of Los Angeles proper, this valley holds rugged canyon scenery, many ranches in the hills above the valley, and the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park.
  South Bay
The beachfront and harbor communities of the county south of LAX, with popular surfing beaches, the picturesque coastline of Palos Verdes, and the launching point for ferries to Catalina Island.
The affluent area of Los Angeles made famous by television and movies, where the elite of the entertainment industry reside. Home to the upscale communities of Bel-Air, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, West Hollywood, the high-end shopping of Beverly Hills, the classic film studios of Culver City, the popular seaside towns of Santa Monica and Venice Beach and the main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Westwood.





The city of Los Angeles is huge, stretching from the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley in the north to the Port of Los Angeles in the south, a distance of almost 50 mi (80 km). And that's just the primary city; the sprawling L.A. metropolitan area spreads across portions of five counties and includes numerous smaller cities, some of which are regional centers of their own, like Burbank, Pasadena, Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Riverside and San Bernardino. Some of these cities were founded around the end of the nineteenth century and grew alongside Los Angeles, and even today retain distinct identities.

Such is the nature of Los Angeles: because it is so spread out and its individual cities and neighborhoods are so distinct, the city is often thought of less as a cohesive whole than as a collection of disparate communities. Even some of the neighborhoods officially within the city of Los Angeles are so well-known that they are often thought to be distinct from the city, such as Hollywood, Van Nuys, Bel-Air, and Venice Beach, which sit astride officially independent municipalities such as West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills.

Most of the city sits in a broad basin that stretches from Santa Monica along the shoreline across the southern portion of the county and into Orange County. The basin is the most intensely developed part of the region, with a strong grid pattern of streets and freeways that's evident from the air. This basin is framed on the north by the Santa Monica Mountains, which gradually soften into a series of hills as they run east past Hollywood and Downtown L.A. and through East L.A. On the other side of these hills are two heavily developed valleys, the San Fernando Valley to the northwest of Central L.A. and the San Gabriel to the east, which today are filled with suburban neighborhoods. North of the valleys are the steep San Gabriel Mountains, which reach a high enough elevation that their peaks are sometimes coated with snow in the winter. Beyond this lies the Mojave Desert.



Prior to European contact, the Los Angeles basin was occupied by the native Tongva people, a set of hunter-gatherer tribes that were spread across much of Southern California. Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo was the first European to visit the region, sailing along the coast in 1542 and claiming the land for the Spanish Empire, but it took over two hundred years for the first Spanish settlement to be established, with the construction of the Mission San Gabriel by Franciscan missionaries in 1771. Ten years later, a group of Spanish settlers known as "Los Pobladores" ("the townspeople") founded a small village, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, at the site of the present-day El Pueblo district near Downtown.

Los Angeles remained a small ranch town for several decades, passing to Mexican and then to American rule in 1847 in the wake of the Mexican–American War. Los Angeles was immediately turned into a boomtown with the completion of railroads to the region, first the Southern Pacific Railroad from the north in 1876 and then the Santa Fe Railroad from the east in 1885, establishing the city as a railroad hub of the west. At the same time, city boosters sought to establish port and industrial facilities to challenge San Francisco's dominance on the west coast. Intense real estate speculation and low railroad fares attracted many "folks" from the Midwest and East Coast with warm winters and good job prospects. The discovery of oil in the basin and the completion of an aqueduct to provide a steady supply of water only accelerated the city's growth.

Filmmakers began arriving in the 1900s, lured by the area's climate and varied scenery, but also to flee Thomas Edison's litigious motion picture company, whose patents weren't enforced in the west. D.W. Griffith was the first to film a motion picture in the city, heralding the arrival of Hollywood. Soon, the vast majority of the world's film industry was concentrated in Los Angeles, making the city known throughout the world. Los Angeles continued to grow, drawing waves of job seekers during the Great Depression, and by the 1940s had the largest streetcar network in the world. World War II turned the city into a major center of wartime manufacturing, with Los Angeles briefly serving as the aviation center of the nation.

After World War II, Los Angeles sprawled out even further with the rise in popularity of the automobile and the concurrent expansion of the freeway system. This hastened the decline of the expansive streetcar network; in fact many of the city’s major arterials follow previous streetcar lines such as Wilshire Boulevard, San Vincente Boulevard, and the Glendale freeway. This turned Los Angeles into the car-centric city it is today, with its infamous traffic jams and sprawling medium-to-low density population. Inequitable urban planning policies contributed to white flight and created racially segregated neighborhoods in much of the central, south central, gateway, and north east regions of the city. The 1960s saw racial tensions erupt with the Watts Riots, and again in 1992 with the Rodney King riots. Nevertheless, the population of the city continued to grow, drawing a remarkable diversity of immigrants from throughout the Pacific Rim and Latin America.

Since the early 1990s, the city has seen a decrease in crime and renewed investment in urban development and revitalization. Much of the manufacturing industry has moved elsewhere, but the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are now the largest harbor complex in the nation, handling much of the United States' imported goods. After decades of underinvestment, the city's public transit system has seen massive expansion and improvement bolstered by popular support for several countywide ballot measures to fund new construction. America's entertainment industry remains largely headquartered in Los Angeles, and between the warm weather and attractions both new and old, the city continues to draw people from around the world. In 1994, the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths. In 2002, Mayor James Hahn led the campaign against secession, resulting in voters defeating efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city. In 2022, voters elected Karen Bass as the city's first female mayor, making Los Angeles the largest US city to have ever elected a woman as mayor. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, making Los Angeles the third city to host the Olympics three times.



Los Angeles is a very diverse city with much of its population being born outside the United States. The city has the third largest Mexican population in the world, behind the Mexican cities of Mexico City and Guadalajara, the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, and is home to about a dozen other large immigrant populations, many with their own little enclaves of restaurants, shops, and places of worship; some prominent examples include Chinatown and Little Tokyo in the Downtown area, Koreatown, the Little Armenia district of East Hollywood, and Iranian, Indian, Pakistani, and Japanese enclaves in West L.A. On the south side of the county, Long Beach has a very diverse population while Carson is noted for its large Samoan population.

The Latino population is spread throughout the city, but is still most heavily concentrated in East L.A. South Central L.A. remains the African-American center of the city, even while experiencing an increase in the Hispanic population. Prominent gay communities can be found in West Hollywood, as well as the Silver Lake neighborhood and the broader Westside area.


Los Angeles (Canoga Park)
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches
Metric conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm

The city enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate most of the year. However, the climate of Southern California is somewhat complex and temperatures can fluctuate wildly depending where you are in the city, since the varied terrain results in a series of microclimates. On the same day, daytime highs can vary by as much as twenty degrees Fahrenheit between coastal locations and cities in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. The coast tends to stay a bit cooler, which helps with the summer heat, but as such is also chillier at night. Bring a sweater and pants if you stay for dinner near the coast, even in the summer.

Summers are warm, occasionally hot, and bring the infamous dirty smog, though the air quality has significantly improved over the years. In August and September, the hottest months, average daytime highs in Downtown Los Angeles are 83°F (28°C) and nighttime lows average 63°F (17°C). Winters are mild and bring much of the annual rainfall; between December and March average daytime highs are 68°F (20°C) and nighttime lows are 49°F (9°C). Spring is a mix of gloomy rainy days and warm sunny days; like the rest of Southern California, L.A. experiences the "May Gray" and "June Gloom" marine effect, which results in frequent fog and overcast skies along the coast, so don't expect sunny beach weather if you visit during these months. Fall is typically warm and dry, with frequent wildfires. Ocean temperatures along the L.A. coast vary from an average of 58°F (14°C) in January to 68°F (20°C) in August.

Santa Ana winds can occur at any time of the year, although they most commonly occur in the fall and winter. These winds are a reversal of the usual climate conditions, when hot, dry air blows from the desert to the coast. Milder Santa Ana winds can result in excellent dry air conditions, but powerful ones can last days on end, significantly raising temperatures, creating tremendous fire danger, and in general making life miserable.


See also: Fiction tourism#Films

Los Angeles is intimately tied to the history of the movies, given its place as the de facto headquarters of the film industry for almost a century now. As such, L.A. has served as a prominent backdrop in virtually every genre of film, from gritty noir and psychological thrillers to light-hearted romantic comedies and action-packed blockbusters. Whittling down the countless number of movies set in L.A. to a manageable list of the very best is a difficult task, and one rife with debate, but there are a few that consistently stand out for their place in L.A. mythos or for capturing some essential essence of the city that lies beyond the studio gates.

  • Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003). If you want to understand this city's relationship with the film industry and Hollywood's outlook on its adopted city, this documentary is a good place to start. Andersen's withering commentary underlines the tension that exists between locals and their city's most famous industry, set to a visual smorgasbord of clips from other movies that illustrate what Hollywood captures—and more importantly, what it fails to capture.
  • Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950). Perhaps the definitive Hollywood movie about Hollywood, Billy Wilder's iconic classic follows a down-on-his-luck screenwriter who gets sucked into the delusions of a silent film star long past her prime.
  • Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955). A noir classic, this grim tale involves a thuggish private eye who takes a twisting journey through L.A. after his fateful decision to pick up a hitchhiker. Marvelous cinematography of the city abounds, from nightclubs and dark winding roads to the soon-to-be-demolished tenements of Bunker Hill.
  • Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955). In James Dean's most celebrated performance, an angst-ridden teenager passes from one now-iconic Los Angeles set-piece to the next, including a tragic game of chicken at a Palos Verdes cliff and a wild climax outside the Griffith Observatory.
  • Far from the glamour of Hollywood, there's a set of fairly obscure but beloved neo-realist films noted for capturing a side of L.A. rarely seen, offering an intimate portrayal of life in the city's margins and a glimpse into the city's past. The Exiles (Kent MacKenzie, 1961) follows a group of young Native Americans living and partying in Downtown, with gorgeous cinematography of many places now lost to time. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978) is a wandering yet strikingly warm and tender view of the African American communities of 1970s Watts, while Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry, 1984) is a poignant yet bleak look at a Watts working class family struggling to make ends meet.
  • Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974). This neo-noir flick has probably done more to shape Los Angeles' image of its past than the actual history its loosely based on. A seemingly routine case of proving adultery draws a rakish private detective into a vast conspiracy over stolen water, shady land deals, and lives ruined to cover up the sins of city leaders.
  • Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982). While Ridley Scott's dystopian Los Angeles bears little resemblance to the real thing, no discussion of L.A.'s depiction in film is complete without mentioning it. Critical opinion of this sci-fi noir is decidedly mixed, but many local landmarks make appearances as striking ruins, from Union Station to Los Feliz's Ennis House to Downtown's Bradbury Building.
  • Boyz n the Hood (John Singleton, 1991). Released just one year prior to the Rodney King riots, this somber coming-of-age film is emblematic of the hood genre, depicting teenage life in South Central and the desperate struggle to escape the ghetto.
  • The Player (Robert Altman, 1992). Robert Altman's comeback film is a loving and humorous—if slightly dark—satire of Hollywood, rife with inane studio executives, obsessive screenwriters, and too many celebrity cameos to count.
  • Falling Down (Joel Schumacher, 1993). D-Fens (played by Michael Douglas) leaves his car in a traffic jam, walks across the city to reach his ex-wife's house to celebrate his daughter's birthday, and stops at nothing.
  • Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994). Many of the biggest action blockbusters of the time are set in L.A. (Die Hard, Terminator, Lethal Weapon, etc.), but few so lovingly show off Los Angeles as this goofy, relentless, and fun action flick about a bus that will explode if it drives too slow.
  • L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997). An acclaimed neo-noir flick set in the 1950s, this cynical film juxtaposes Hollywood's glamorous image with its sordid underworld of corrupt cops, organized crime, prostitution, and media scandals, with certain real-world figures and events cropping up in the film's margins.
  • Quentin Tarantino's highly influential first three films, Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Jackie Brown (1997), are all set in L.A. and make fantastic use of the decidedly non-glamorous side of the city, from its hole-in-the-wall diners and run-down apartments to its sun-baked streets and seedy pawn shops. Tarantino's film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), is a fictionalized version of the L.A. of 1969.
  • The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998). A cult favorite, the Coen Brothers' madcap adventure bounces between the weird and wacky characters that make up L.A.'s fringe culture: slackers, nihilists, fascist cops, radical artists, porn kings, and the worlds that they inhabit. Fans of the Coen Brothers should also check out their 1991 flick Barton Fink, a surreal period piece about a New York playwright who moves to Hollywood.

Visitor information


Get in


By plane

See also: Air travel in the United States

The Los Angeles metro area is served by five major commercial airports and more than a dozen private airports. Three of the major airports are in L.A. County proper while the other two are nearby.

The iconic Theme Building at LAX
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA), 1 World Way, +1-310-646-5252. LAX is one of the major ports of entry for international flights to the United States as well as a major destination for domestic flights so it can be quite busy, especially around holidays. Nearly all major airlines as well as some smaller regional airlines fly into LAX. All of the major rental car agencies have a location near the airport with hundreds of cars available for rent. Many connecting bus routes have service to destinations all over Southern California.
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR IATA), 2627 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, +1-818-840-8840. Has a range of flight options, mainly to Western U.S. destinations and some east coast cities. Located in the San Fernando Valley, northeast of Downtown L.A, it's closer to Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles than LAX is. To reach Hollywood, take a free shuttle to the North Hollywood Red Line subway station and ride 2 stops south. To get to Downtown LA, take Metrolink/Amtrak train or the Red Line.
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB IATA), 4100 Donald Douglas Dr., Long Beach, +1 562 570-2600. Delta, Hawaiian, and Southwest fly into this airport located in southern Los Angeles County.
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT IATA), 1940 East Moore Way, Ontario in adjacent San Bernardino County, Inland Empire, +1 909 937-2700. Alaska, American, Avianca El Salvador, China Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Southwest, United and Volaris serve this airport located 37 mi (59 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles, about a 40-minute drive without traffic. Omnitrans #61 bus runs to the Pomona Transit Center, with a connection to the Silver Streak to Downtown LA or the ONTConnect bus (Omnitrans #380) to the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink Station.
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA IATA), 18601 Airport Way, Santa Ana in adjacent Orange County, +1 949 252-5200. Alaska, Allegiant, American, Breeze Airways, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, United, and WestJet serve this airport located 40 mi (64 km) southeast of Downtown Los Angeles, about a 45-minute drive without traffic. Closest airport for Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

LAX has historically been the main airport for the city, with frequent service and low fares, but the other regional airports are seeing increasing service. Check as one of them may be better, depending on your circumstance. These airports can save a lot of hassle because they are less busy than LAX. Also, the L.A. area is so wildly spread out and populated that going anywhere will generally require a lot of travel, as well as possibly enduring traffic jams. So using the nearest airport will only be of convenience to you.

All five airports lack direct train services; only the Bob Hope Airport is somewhat proximate to a Metrolink commuter rail station (not to be confused with the Metro Rail service). LAX has a comfortable, fast, and relatively frequent express bus service, the LAX FlyAway, to Union Station (in Downtown) and Van Nuys. LAX does not cater to small general aviation; Burbank (ICAO: KBUR) does, but is considered high-traffic for this type of flight; Long Beach (ICAO: KLGB) does, but has a very complicated runway system and, again, is considered high traffic. General aviation will fare much better at L.A. area airports that do not handle commercial flights at all. Much of Los Angeles is Class Bravo or other controlled airspace, but due to the number of airports and the generally good weather, Los Angeles makes a fantastic flying destination.

Private pilots will prefer smaller general aviation airports such as Van Nuys (ICAO: KVNY), one of the world's busiest private jet airports, as well as Hawthorne, or any of the other small airports in the area that do not handle commercial flights; Santa Monica (ICAO: KSMO) reduced their runway length to restrict aircraft size to smaller planes. Air taxi and air charter companies including Los Angeles Private Jets can access private aircraft at any of L.A.'s private aviation airports, as well as planes in your area for flights to Los Angeles.

By car


Several major freeways enter the Los Angeles region. Interstate 5 is the primary north/south freeway through Central L.A., heading south to the Mexican border through Orange County and San Diego, and heading north through the San Joaquin Valley to Sacramento, continuing on through the Pacific Northwest before eventually reaching Canada. From the south, Interstate 405 splits off from I-5 in Orange County and is a more direct route to Long Beach, the South Bay, and the Westside, so long as you don't travel during rush hour. From the north, I-5 is the most direct option from the San Francisco Bay Area (linked to I-5 by I-580), while U.S. Highway 101 is the most direct option from California's Central Coast.

From the east, Interstate 10 is the primary road into the region, heading east from L.A. through the Inland Empire and the California desert (via Palm Springs) before crossing through into Arizona and continuing across Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle to Jacksonville, FL.

And while they don't directly connect to Los Angeles proper, Interstates 15 and 40 are important links from the north and east. I-15 runs north/south through the Inland Empire (where you can connect to several freeways to L.A. proper), continuing north through Nevada and Utah (via Las Vegas and Salt Lake City) and heading on through the Rocky Mountains (Idaho and Montana) to the Canadian border. I-40 is one of the nation's primary east-west road links, cutting a long route across the middle of the country. In California, I-40 terminates at I-15 in the town of Barstow; from there, follow I-15 south into the Inland Empire and connect from there to Los Angeles.

If driving into or through the L.A. area, be sure to make note of when you'll be arriving so as to try to avoid one of the area's notorious traffic jams. See the Get around section below for more detailed info on getting around L.A. by car.

By train

See also: Rail travel in the United States
Union Station

1 Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St (next to the Hollywood Freeway (US-101) in downtown Los Angeles). Los Angeles Union Station (Q198019) on Wikidata Union Station (Los Angeles) on Wikipedia The station is a spectacular example of Mission Revival architecture, with a spacious waiting room and courtyards with outdoor seating, as well as some eating and shopping establishments on-site. It's also well connected to L.A.'s public transit system, with a Metro Red/Purple Line subway station (in the basement), a Metro Gold Line light rail station (on platforms 1 and 2, parallel to the Amtrak and Metrolink trains), and the adjacent Patsaouras Bus Plaza (at the east portal of the station) which serves many local buses and LAX Flyaway shuttles to Los Angeles International Airport. A Budget and Hertz rental car desk is also located in the station; more rental car options are available at LAX.

Union Station is patrolled by private security staff and people lingering too long in the seats may be asked to show a ticket. Taxis are available at the main entrance off Alameda Street and the station is within short walking distance to the Civic Center and Olvera Street. Chinatown and Little Tokyo are also nearby. Be warned that it can get uncomfortable in the station especially when it is hot and/or there are a lot of people. Free guided tours of Union Station are available on the 2nd Sunday of each month. No reservations are required; tours begin at 10:30AM at the information booth inside the Alameda Street entrance.

Union Station is the region's primary train station and has the best public transit connections, but there are several other Amtrak stops within the region that may be better located to your destination, namely in the Inland Empire, Orange County, and the San Fernando Valley. L.A. is massive, so make sure you get the right stop.

Amtrak, +1 215-856-7924, toll-free: +1-800-872-7245. Operates train service around the United States of America. Amtrak (Q23239) on Wikidata Amtrak on Wikipedia Routes stopping at Union station:

Metrolink system map

Metrolink is an extensive regional train network with rail lines radiating out from Union Station to surrounding suburbs and counties, stretching as far as Perris, Lancaster, Oceanside, San Bernardino, and Oxnard.

Several Metrolink lines overlap Amtrak's routes or serve the same cities via a slightly different routing, and Metrolink tickets tend to cost significantly less than Amtrak tickets. Metrolink frequency varies between lines, with service dropping considerably during the weekend; Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner runs far more frequently on the weekends and always runs later in the day than overlapping Metrolink trains.

Fares are based on how far you travel, falling in the range of $5-$15 for one-way fares. Tickets must be bought from vending machines on the platform, and are checked by fare inspectors on board. Metrolink tickets also cover free travel on many connecting local transit systems, including L.A. Metro, where a Metrolink ticket effectively works as a day pass for the date stamped on your ticket. If you're thinking of using Metrolink to day trip on the weekend, you'll want to get the $10 weekend day pass, which is good for unlimited travel on Metrolink (and connecting transit) on either Saturday or Sunday.

By bus

See also: Long-distance bus travel in the United States

Most of the buses are routed to Los Angeles from San Francisco Bay Area (via Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and/or Oxnard); Sacramento (via Modesto, Stockton, Merced and/or Bakersfield); Las Vegas (via Barstow, San Bernardino); Phoenix; and Tijuana (via San Ysidro, San Diego, and/or Santa Ana) with multiple companies.

The majority of the intercity bus stations and stops for the greater Los Angeles area are located in "Skid Row" east of downtown Los Angeles, Union Station, El Monte, Huntington Beach, east L.A. (along Olympic Blvd) and/or Hollywood. Some of the same companies also have additional stops or depots in other areas throughout Greater Los Angeles, so check the company's website to see if there is a stop closer to your destination. When traveling to/from the bus station in the infamous "skid-row" it's recommended to use taxi or rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc) as the surrounding area has become even less safe:

  • Autobus Coordinados de Nayrit (ACN), US Eagle Travel Agency at 4425 E Olympic Blvd (E Olympic Blvd & S Marianna), +52 664 229-0487, toll-free: 01800 026-73-73. Connects from their own bus station in Tijuana & from the Tijuana airport to Sacramento through San Ysidro, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Lodi, Goshen, Stockton. They also have another location at Estrella Travel on 2474 Florence Ave in Huntington Park. Passengers transfer in Tijuana to continue south into Mexico.
  • "Cabin" (formerly Sleep Bus), (Bus stop) Ocean & Arizona Ave in Palisades Park, Santa Monica. Overnight service to the Los Angeles area (Ocean & Arizona Ave in Palisades Park in Santa Monica) from San Francisco (Bayside Lot @ 1 Bryant St). This is an actual sleeper bus featuring twin size bunk beds with privacy curtains, power outlets, and free wifi.
  • El Paso Los Angeles Limousine Express, depot at 260 E 6th St (SW corner of E 6th St & Wall St, east of Downtown in Skid Row), +1-213-623-2323, +1-323-265-3232, toll-free: +1-866 691-9732. Travels along I-10 between Los Angeles, Indio, Phoenix, Las Cruces and El Paso on one route and on I-15 to Las Vegas and North Las Vegas on another route. They have additional depots at 11825 Valley Blvd in El Monte; and 620 W Mill St in San Bernardino. They also go down towards the Tijuana Airport (CBX) in Otay Mesa from downtown Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, and El Monte.
  • Flixbus, (depot) Vignes Lot 501-503 E Cesar Ave (parking lot at E Cesar E Chavez & Vignes north of downtown), +1 855 626-8585. Connects Los Angeles to Las Vegas (via Ontario, Victorville, Barstow); to Tucson (via Ontario, Palm Springs, Blythe, Phoenix, Mesa), to Sacramento (via Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield), to San Francisco (via Oakland, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara) and to San Diego (via Anaheim). They also have additional stops at USC (W Jefferson & Flower St); West L.A./Santa Monica at 10021 National Blvd; and UCLA at 592 Gayley Ave (at Gayley & Strathmore).
  • Fronteras del Norte, 2521 E Florence Ave Suite K9, +1 323 587-5233. Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. They also have another bus station in 15105 S Atlantic Ave, Compton Ca which may closer to where you are staying at. Limited/no stops between Los Angeles and Portland.
  • Greyhound & Curceros-USA, (bus station) Union Station @ 801 N Vignes St (departures leave from the Patsaouras Transit Plaza off of N. Vignes St. and Ramirez St.), +1-213-629-8401, toll-free: +1-800-231-2222. Connects Los Angeles to Long Beach, Las Vegas (via San Bernardino, Barstow); San Diego/San Ysidro (via Santa Ana, Oceanside or direct); Sacramento (Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Stockton, Lodi); San Jose (Oxnard, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Sta Maria, etc); San Francisco (via Caolinga Jct, San Jose, Hayward, Oakland); El Paso (San Bernardino, Blythe, Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson, Lordsburg NM); Vancouver BC (Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, etc); etc. Passengers transfer in Sacramento, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Tijuana, El Paso or in an intermediary stop on the longer routes to reach additional cities. They have additional local stops and depots at the nearby Flixbus lot (501-503 E Cesar Ave); North Hollywood (11239 Magnolia Blvd); El Monte (3501 Santa Anita), Long Beach (1498 Long Beach Blvd), Sylmar/San Fernando, Claremont, UCLA, and Glendale. The bus station on E 7th St is closed.
  • Hoang Express, bus stop at Metro Gold Line Chinatown Station, 1231 N Spring St (NW corner of Spring and College), +1-714-839-3500, toll-free: +1-888-834-9336. Travels between SoCal (San Diego, El Monte, Los Angeles, Westminster); northern California (San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento) and Arizona (Phoenix, Chandler and Tempe). They also have additional stops at the ABC Supermarket at 8970 Bolsa Ave in Westminster and at Thuan Phat Supermarket at 2650 N Rosemead Blvd in El Monte. $60-65 to Bay Area; $80 to Sacramento.
  • International Bus Lines (formerly Intercalifornias), (bus station) 816 S Main St, +1 213 629-4885, toll-free: +1-888-834-9336. Buses connect Los Angeles to Tijuana (via San Ysidro); San Jose, Stockton, and Mexicali on multiple routes. They also have an East LA station at 1325 S Atlantic Blvd, Tel (323) 629-4960.
  • LAX Flyaway, (Union Station bus stop) Patsaouras Transit Plaza (the Patsaouras Transit Plaza can be accessed by a pedestrian tunnel, under the tracks, from Union Station; stop/ticket desk is in the south end of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza station between bus bays 1 & 9). Direct bus to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from Union Station and Van Nuys on separate routes.
  • Las Vegas Shuttle, (L.A. office) 115 E 7th St, +1 213 623-9800. Connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles on one route and to San Ysidro & Tijuana on another. Nearest stop for their shuttles running between Las Vegas and San Diego/Tijuana are in Hesperia and San Bernardino. They also have another stop/station in Huntington Beach at 2484 E Florence Ave
  • National Charter Bus Los Angeles, (office) 926 S San Pedro St, Unit 2634, +1 323-201-2618, . 24/7. Los Angeles charter bus provider facilitating travel to Los Angeles from San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, and Phoenix.
  • LuxBus, on request for hotel pick up/drop off, toll-free: +1-877-610-7870. Operates to/from Las Vegas, Anaheim, and San Diego.
  • Los Paisanos, depot at 612 Wall St (E 6th St & Wall St, east of Downtown in Skid Row), +1-213-228-9988, +1 626 444-5300, toll-free: +1-866-771-7575. Travels along I-10 between Los Angeles and El Paso via El Monte.
  • Omnibus Express, (Bus depot) 2474 E Florence Ave, Huntington Park, +1-213-533-8700. They offer bus service between Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson and Nogales in U.S. and from Nogales to Guadalajara, along Fed Hwy 15 through multiple cities in Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco in Mexico.
  • Santa Barbara Airbus, +1 805 964-7759, toll-free: +1-800-423-1618. Eight trips a day from LAX to Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta.
  • Tres Estrellas de Oro (TEO), depot at 2414 E Florence Ave, Huntington (SE corner of Florence & Santa Fe Ave), +1-323-588-9188. Connects Los Angeles to Sacramento, El Paso and Tijuana (via San Ysidro) on multiple routes.
  • Tufesa, 611 Maple Ave (along Maple Ave between 6th & 7th St), +1 213 489-8079. Connects Los Angeles to Sacramento (via multiple cities in San Joaquin Valley), Oakland, Salt Lake City (via Ontario, Fontana, Las Vegas, St George); Hermosillo (via Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales) and Tijuana (via Anaheim, San Ysidro) on multiple routes. They also have an additional station at 5201 E Olympic Blvd in E L.A. and a stop in a parking lot at E 3rd St & E Ford Blvd.

By boat


Get around


By public transit


By rail

Metro Rail and Busway map

The Los Angeles area's Metro Rail subway/light rail system opened its first line in the 1990s and has been expanding since. Most prominent neighborhoods and sightseeing destinations can be reached using Metro Rail, including Downtown L.A., Koreatown, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Chinatown, Pasadena, Exposition Park, Wilshire, Culver City, Santa Monica, and Long Beach. For these areas, public transportation can be preferable to the gridlock that often occurs on freeways and streets.

The Metro Rail system consists of two subway lines, four light rail lines, and two bus rapid transit lines, with operating hours and frequencies varying from one line to another. Note that in 2022 lines were given letters instead of names, but the names are still in colloquial use.

  • Subway service is provided by the  B  and  D  Lines, with the  B  running from Downtown to Hollywood, then to Universal City and North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley, while the  D  connects Downtown to Koreatown. In Downtown, these lines overlap with a terminus at Union Station; check the train's destination signs to make sure you are on the right train.  D  Line trains outside of rush hour are only two cars in length and will not fill the length of the station; signs on the platform will help guide you to where the train will stop. Due to the traffic along the 101 freeway, it's usually faster to take the  B  Line between Hollywood and Downtown than to drive.
  • The  A  Line light rail service runs between Azusa and Long Beach through South Central Los Angeles, with a stop convenient to the Watts Towers. The  E  Line light rail service runs from East Los Angeles through Downtown Los Angeles to the University of Southern California and the museums of Exposition Park before turning west to Culver City and Santa Monica. In Downtown, these two lines overlap for a segment that includes the 7th St/Metro Center Station, where you can transfer to the  B  and  D  Lines; check the train's destination signs to make sure you are on the right train. Note that only the  A  Line serves Union Station.
  • The  C  Line is the only light rail line that doesn't serve Downtown, running east-west along Interstate 105 on the southern side of L.A. between El Segundo and Norwalk, with a transfer point to the  A  Line at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station in South Central L.A.
  • The  K  Line runs from the  E  Line at Crenshaw to Inglewood.
  • There are also two bus rapid transit (BRT) lines which use bus-only roadways. The  G  Line runs across the San Fernando Valley between Chatsworth (with a connection to Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner) and the terminus of the Red Line in North Hollywood. The  J  Line runs between El Monte (in the San Gabriel Valley) and San Pedro through Downtown, and requires an extra surcharge in addition to the standard Metro fare.

There is no direct rail connection between Downtown Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), but a free shuttle to the airport terminals is available from the Aviation/LAX Station on the  C  Line. However, a much more convenient option is the direct LAX FlyAway shuttle service; see the LAX page for details.

Distinct from Metro is the Metrolink regional rail system, which radiates out from Downtown's Union Station to many surrounding suburbs and counties. Metrolink does not accept Metro passes, but Metrolink tickets are honored as a day pass on Metro Rail and buses for the date stamped on the ticket, and are compatible with the TAP system. More detailed info on Metrolink can be found in the By train section above.

By bus


The main bus system in Los Angeles is operated by Metro (+1-800-COMMUTE, or +1-800-266-6883). Many Angelenos without a car use the bus as their primary mode of transportation. There is a preponderance of frequent bus service along major north-south and east-west corridors radiating to the south and west from Downtown Los Angeles.

Service frequencies are fairly high along major streets in the L.A. basin; in general you won't wait more than 15-20 minutes for a bus. "Rapid" buses run more frequently than local ones and should be used when possible, given that L.A. is so huge that you'll much prefer riding buses which only stop at major intersections to ones that stop nearly every block. Check the schedules in advance as many routes change and have reduced frequency in the late hours.

An oddity of L.A. public transit is that there are numerous bus transit agencies, which almost always require paying an additional fare if you transfer between agencies. LADOT's DASH shuttles circulate around Downtown L.A., Hollywood and various Los Angeles neighborhoods. Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus system provides service in that city as well as linking Santa Monica with Westside L.A. districts (such as Brentwood, Westwood, and Venice Beach), Downtown L.A., and LAX. The Culver CityBus[dead link] operates buses in and around Culver City and UCLA. Areas of the San Gabriel Valley east of El Monte are served by Foothill Transit. Montebello Bus Lines[dead link] operates service in Montebello, Pico Rivera, Whittier, East LA, and surrounding communities. Long Beach Transit provides service in and around Long Beach while the city of Torrance have their own set of buses with Torrance Transit.

For service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the LAX FlyAway bus is the most convenient bus service to Downtown L.A. and Van Nuys; see the LAX page for details.

Public transit payment

The four ways to TAP

Anyone looking to use public transit in L.A. would benefit from getting a TAP card, an electronic reusable fare card which can be loaded with transit passes or cash value. A TAP card is required for entry into the Metro Rail system. TAP cards can be purchased from vending machines in Metro Rail stations, certain vendors, online from the TAP website, or at Metro Customer Centers (the main one being at Union Station). TAP cards can also be purchased from a Metro bus driver (exact change required), but only with a day pass loaded on the card. New TAP cards incur an extra fee of $1 if bought from a vending machine or a Metro bus driver, and $2 from any other source. If you have an iPhone, a digital TAP card can be loaded onto your phone's wallet for no extra charge.

Metro fare payment works on a proof-of-payment system. When entering a bus, tap your card on the blue TAP sensor at the front door. At Metro Rail stations, there will be card sensors as you approach the platform. If transferring to another Metro Rail train, you will also have to tap at the station where you change trains, at the sensors marked "Must Tap to Transfer." Remember to tap once for every vehicle you enter, as Metro police randomly check cards for valid fare on vehicles or station platforms, and they are noted for being rather aggressive in their fare enforcement; the penalty for not being able to show valid fare is $250 and up to 48 hours of community service.

A single-trip fare on Metro costs $1.75 and includes a two-hour transfer to other Metro rail and bus lines. On Metro buses, you can also pay with cash (exact change only), but you won't get the two-hour transfer that you would using a TAP card. Alternatively, TAP cards can be loaded with a day pass (valid until 3AM the next day) for $7, a 7-day pass for $25, or a 30-day pass for $100. Passes allow unlimited access on Metro bus and rail lines, with the exception of a few express bus routes.

TAP cards are also good on all of the other bus transit agencies in the county; stored cash value on your card is good for fares on any participating agency. If transferring from Metro to another bus agency, be sure to get a "Metro-to-Muni transfer" which costs an extra $0.50, lasts for two hours, and is good on many non-Metro bus systems. These transfers can be bought at TAP vending machines or with exact change from a bus driver.

By car

A five-level interchange in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is notorious for its traffic conditions, and its freeway system can get extremely clogged at any time. Still, automobile travel is an easy way to see many parts of the region, and the only way to reach many of the natural areas surrounding the metropolitan area.


If you are going to drive, make sure you have access to a smartphone. Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps track traffic for the area and work to reroute you from traffic and provide an accurate ETA that includes traffic delays. You can plan your route in advance, schedule your departure to get an accurate ETA, and access transit information with these apps and a cellular data connection.

Each freeway is identified by a number, and usually one or two names. When giving directions, most locals refer to a freeway by its number and the definite article, e.g. "the 405 freeway" or just "the 405." It's recommended that you familiarize yourself with your chosen route before setting out on your trip and pay close attention to traffic and road signs. One particularly annoying aspect of L.A. freeways is finding an onramp; onramps are marked with small green signs marked "Freeway Entrance" but these can be frustratingly difficult to find.

Although L.A.'s traffic jams are legendary, the freeway grid provides for an effective movement of traffic and a variety of alternatives. Be sure to have an alternative route planned out in advance; many freeways run parallel to one another and serve as viable alternatives, especially in long-distance trips. You can check sites like Go511 orSigAlert for current traffic information before your trip.

Dealing with traffic


On average, residents of Los Angeles County spend an estimated four days a year stuck in traffic. Despite the impressive gains of Metro, dealing with traffic is an inescapable part of many Angelinos lives, especially in suburban areas, and something many visitors may not be able to avoid.

Listening to a radio station is helpful for any long trip through L.A. since most stations regularly disseminate traffic information during the daylight hours. KNX 1070 AM and 97.1 FM, Los Angeles' 24-hour news station, has traffic reports "on the fives" (:05, :15, :25, :35, :45, and :55 of each hour) when they aren't running the simulcast of 60 Minutes (7PM on Sunday) or "Weekly Roundup". KFI 640 AM and KABC 790 AM run traffic reports four times an hour, usually during commercial breaks of their talk shows. The radio station web sites often have links to graphics showing traffic speeds and the accident logs of the highway patrol. Traffic reports will often use the verbal name for a freeway (e.g., "westbound Santa Monica Freeway") instead of the number of the freeway.

Despite the infamy of Los Angeles' traffic, the only real issues are the sheer length of the rush hour and the volume of traffic. The assertions of driving difficulty and danger will most likely seem unfounded to residents of other large cities, especially comparatively frantic East Coast cities, who often see Los Angeles traffic as relatively easy-going. When traveling on a Los Angeles freeway, remember that slower traffic keeps to the right. Many Angelenos do well over 20 mph of the posted speed limit and cutting them off or remaining in the fast lane at a slow pace will frustrate native drivers.

It's actually very easy to drive around Los Angeles in the late night/early morning hours (from around 11PM to 5AM), when driving times can easily be less than a third of what they are during peak hours. However, late hours are when partiers are most likely to be returning from clubs, so be vigilant for drunk drivers. In addition, a lot of construction is scheduled during these off-peak times, so be ready to plan alternative routes. Anyone planning on visiting by car may wish to seriously consider scheduling the trip so as to arrive or depart in the early morning, as this can prevent a great deal of frustration. This is also an excellent time of day to find your way around, memorize your routes, and explore.

Driving on surface streets


Most cities in Greater Los Angeles have well-maintained streets, but streets within the city of Los Angeles itself tend to have a lot of cracks and potholes. Wilshire Boulevard is particularly notorious for extremely bumpy conditions.

Unlike most other American cities, most major Los Angeles intersections do not have dedicated left-turn traffic lights, allowing for so-called "protected" left turns. Instead, they operate under the rule where you must yield to opposing traffic and turn only when it is safe to do so. But some Los Angeles streets are so congested that it is impossible to turn until the traffic light reaches the yellow (caution) phase. Therefore, it is customary in Los Angeles for as many as two or three vehicles to creep into the middle of such intersections in order to turn against opposing traffic on a yellow light. If you are a first-time visitor, you may find yourself being honked at by other drivers until you become accustomed to this.

Driving around Downtown L.A. can be frustrating. Even when few vehicles are present, drivers still tend to go slower in this area because of the numerous turns and exits. Additionally, parking in Downtown is very expensive. Many hotels in Downtown and other high-density areas (such as LAX, Hollywood, and Century City) have parking garages but will charge you exorbitant daily parking fees. Even worse, they may have only valet parking, meaning you will also be expected to tip the valet. If you plan to drive around Los Angeles, consider looking for hotels that have free parking or at least reasonable fees for self-parking garages. If you are heading to a high-density area for a short trip, you may want to park at a Metro station and ride the train the rest of the way.

Many Los Angeles intersections have red light enforcement cameras, linked to sensor loops which are energized about a third of a second after the traffic light turns red. You will know the camera activated when it flashes its strobe light at you to obtain a clear view of your face (which is required along with a picture of the license plate to issue a ticket under California law). These intersections are sometimes marked in advance by signs and should be approached carefully to avoid a fine.


The San Diego Freeway

In a general way, freeway names usually identify where the freeway goes from Central Los Angeles. This can be confusing to out-of-towners, as names may change when there is a better-known and closer target; for example, the portion of the 110 north of Downtown is the Pasadena Freeway, while the portion south of Downtown is the Harbor Freeway. Also a numbered freeway can change names; for example, the 101 jumps from the Hollywood Freeway to the Ventura Freeway as it passes through Studio City.

Many freeways have carpool lanes, which may be entered if you have two or more occupants in a vehicle, or if you're riding a motorcycle. Only enter carpool lanes at designated areas; don't cross double yellow lines into the carpool lane. Portions of the 10 and 110 freeways have toll lanes called Metro ExpressLanes which require a FastTrak transponder in your car to enter (motorcycles require these as well); see the website for details.

Here are some of the more notable freeways in Los Angeles:

  • 1 - Pacific Coast Highway (or more commonly PCH): Not actually a freeway, but worth noting as it's convenient for the beach towns since it sticks close to the coast through the county and is a scenic way to tour the L.A. coastline. However, it's usually slower than the 405, as it is riddled with traffic signals. Begins in south Orange County, and runs near on along the beaches in Los Angeles County, and then passes through Malibu.
  • 2 - Glendale Freeway: Begins near Echo Park and Dodger Stadium (a few miles NW of downtown) via Glendale Blvd. and goes north to the City of Glendale before merging into the Foothill Freeway.
  • 5 - Golden State/Santa Ana Freeway: The main north/south freeway through central L.A., passing through Downtown L.A. and along the east end of the San Fernando Valley. Although this is one of the busiest and most direct freeways in the region, it is also one of the oldest, and is occasionally only three lanes in either direction, though it is being upgraded to four (watch for construction). Known as the Santa Ana Freeway south of downtown, and as the Golden State Freeway north of downtown, but the all the northbound signs read "I-5 North - Sacramento."
  • 10 - Santa Monica/San Bernadino Freeway: The main east/west freeway through central L.A., passing by Downtown L.A. This is the main route between central L.A. and Santa Monica, and is a primary route between central L.A. and the Inland Empire to the east.
  • 60 - Pomona/Moreno Valley Freeway: Runs east from Downtown L.A. a few miles south of I-10 to the Inland Empire and Moreno Valley. Merges with the I-10 in the mountains west of Palm Springs.
  • 91 - Gardena/Artesia/Riverside Freeway: Begins in south Los Angeles, and runs east to Riverside via Orange County. An oddity of this freeway is that it starts at exit #6, since the far western section to the Pacific Coast Highway was never built. However, Artesia Blvd. continues westbound to the PCH after the freeway ends. Known as the Gardena Freeway west of the I-710, as the Artesia Freeway between the I-710 to I-5, and as the Riverside Freeway east of I-5.
  • 101 - Hollywood/Ventura Freeway: Runs northwest from Downtown L.A. past Hollywood, and into the San Fernando Valley, where it turns abruptly west and becomes the Ventura Freeway, continuing to the Central Coast, so don't be confused by the fact that signs will indicate 101 North/South or 101 East/West depending on the stretch of freeway. The Hollywood Freeway continues for a few more miles north as State Route 170 before merging with I-5.
  • 105 - Century Freeway or Glenn Anderson Freeway: An east/west route that crosses across south L.A. and serves as a fairly direct link to the LAX airport, which sits at the western end of the 105. At its eastern end, you can only use the Studebaker Rd. entrance/exit if there are two or more people in your vehicle. Otherwise, use the Imperial Hwy or merge to/from the I-605 freeway. The 105 doesn't quite connect with the I-5 Santa Anna freeway. You have to go about a mile and a half (2.4 km) on the Imperial Hwy. Use exit #122 when transferring from the I-5 in either direction. Eastbound on the 105, you cannot easily access the Imperial Hwy (unless carpooling to Studebaker Rd.), but the 605 north connects with I-5 in both directions at exit #11 in a couple miles.
  • 134 - Ventura Freeway (eastern section) Connects the Foothill Freeway with the Hollywood/Ventura Freeway while running East/West through Pasadena, Glendale, and the San Fernando Valley. Continues into Ventura as the 101 (above), without having to exit.
  • 110 - Pasadena/Harbor Freeway: Runs between Pasadena (next to L.A.) in the north and the harbor area in the south, past Downtown L.A. The 110 is unusual in that the southern part of the 110 (the Harbor Freeway) is an interstate while the northern part (the Pasadena Freeway) is a state highway, given that the Pasadena Freeway is an older freeway that can't pass code as an interstate. This portion, also known as the "Arroyo Parkway," was designed in the 1930s and was one of the nation's first limited access roadways. However, it was also designed when it was assumed that cars would be travelling at 35 mph (60 km/h) at most, so the Pasadena Freeway is noted for its extremely short off-ramps, while its on-ramps give you just a few car lengths to accelerate from a complete stop before merging with oncoming traffic.
  • 210 - Foothill Freeway: In Pasadena, this freeway turns at a right angle and goes northwest into the San Fernando Valley, much of which is still part of the City of Los Angeles. In the other direction, the freeway goes east to San Bernardino, running parallel with the I-10, but a few miles north of it.
  • 405 - San Diego Freeway: The main north/south freeway through West L.A., passing close to LAX airport. North of West L.A., the 405 cuts through the Santa Monica Mountains into the San Fernando Valley. South of LAX, it turns east towards Long Beach and Orange County. The 405 is infamous for its congestion and should be avoided during rush hour. One of the few freeways that doesn't actually reach its namesake city; while Southbound on it you're generally headed toward San Diego, it merges back into I-5 many miles North of San Diego County.
  • 605 - San Gabriel Freeway: This north/south freeway doesn't actually enter the city itself, but runs along the eastern edge of Los Angeles County. May be useful when other north/south freeways are congested, or to avoid the busiest freeways when traveling from Disneyland to Magic Mountain, for example.
  • 710 - Long Beach Freeway: A north/south artery from East L.A. to Long Beach. This freeway is almost always full of trucks heading in and out of the harbor, so take care when driving near them. Going northbound, the freeway ends abruptly just beyond I-10 at the far eastern edge of the City of Los Angeles and south of Pasadena. The connection to the Pasadena and Foothill Freeways was never built.

By taxi


Taxis can be expensive. Save for a very small number of locations, you cannot flag one down on the street, but have to call one of the taxi companies to send a cab to pick you up. Depending on where you are, you may have to wait awhile for a taxi to get to you, given that this city experiences a lot of traffic and is very spread out. As such, cabs are expensive and the overwhelming majority of citizens rely on their own vehicles. Uber and Lyft operate throughout the city, including at LAX, and offer a cheaper alternative to a taxi. There are taxi stands at most major hotels, shopping centers and transit stations.

In the main tourist areas downtown, there are also human-powered bike taxis that convey one or two passengers. For those not too keen on walking this may be a convenient way of seeing the sights.

By motorcycle


An often overlooked alternative which deals well with Los Angeles' lackluster public transportation and frustrating traffic conditions is to travel by motorcycle. Rentals range from around $70 for a basic bike up to $300 a day for high-performance sport bikes, with plenty of range and options between. This option garners a higher per-day rental price than a car, with obviously diminished cargo space. However, a motorcycle's significant increase in fuel economy combined with the city's high gas prices, and ease of parking in a notoriously difficult-to-park-in city may be appealing to the adventurous rider. A quick web search will reveal numerous rental agencies. California riders must have a class M1 license. A DOT helmet is required in California.

Of course, riding a motorcycle should be done by those who are experienced as it is not for the faint of heart. But it may afford the rider a small advantage in terms of travel time. In most states in America, it is illegal to "split lanes" — riding between two adjacent lanes through slow or stopped traffic to get ahead of other vehicles — as a motorcycle rider is still required to follow all rules and guidelines as if it were a car. Although lane splitting is illegal in most states, it is allowed in California if done responsibly, only when traffic flow is below 30 mph (48 km/h) and your motorcycle is going less than 10 mph (16 km/h) faster than other traffic. Inexperienced riders and those new to California should not attempt to lane split. Mopeds, motor driven cycles (under 149 cc) and motorized bicycles are not allowed on freeways. Foreign travelers not familiar with the United States may notice motorcycles tend to be comparatively large, heavy, and fast and extreme caution should be exercised.

The canyon roads of Malibu, Topanga, and the San Gabriel mountains are frequented by motorsports enthusiasts year-round due to their extreme "twistiness" and contain celebrated hangouts such as Neptune's Net (on the Pacific Coast Highway), the Rock Store (on Mulholland in Malibu Canyon), and others. Bikers visiting on the weekend will find good company, cold beer, and excellent riding there.

By bike

Bird escooters, Grand Avenue, 2022

Metro introduced a bike share program in 2016. Thus far it only covers Downtown Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Koreatown, Culver City, North Hollywood, and San Pedro, but there are plans to expand into other communities in the near future. The map shows stations as well as the number of available bikes/free spaces to dock a bike in real time. There are daily ($5 for unlimited 30 minute rides), monthly ($17, free first half hour, $1.75 for every begone half hour after that) and yearly ($150 $1.75 per begone half hour) passes. Metro TAP cards can be registered with the system and used for payment. Separate bike share systems are also available in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Long Beach.

There are also several scooter sharing systems present, such as Bird, Lime, Jump and Lyft.


Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood
Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

Show business


Entertainment is what has earned L.A. its fame, so it's no surprise that many come for the sights of Hollywood, where you will find such landmarks to film as Grauman's Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame or gaze up at the Hollywood Sign perched on the hill.

However, while the entertainment industry is still headquartered in Hollywood, most of the major studios have moved elsewhere, particularly San Fernando Valley; Universal City is home to Universal Studios and its associated theme park, CBS has set up shop in Studio City, while nearby Burbank is home to the Warner Brothers Studios and the Walt Disney Studios, among others. On the Westside, Sony Pictures occupies the historic MGM Studios in Culver City, the headquarters of 20th Century Fox sit in Century City, and many television shows are still taped in CBS Television City in Fairfax. Paramount Pictures is the last movie studio left in Hollywood, with its famed double-arched gate facing Melrose Avenue. Many studios offer tours, and at some you might even be lucky enough to attend a television show taping; check the individual pages for details.

Besides the studios, there are many sights that attract movie buffs and are worth checking out for those interested in the history of film. Hollywood has plenty of museums and classic cinemas related to the Golden Age of Hollywood, while Hollywood, Downtown, Northwest L.A., Wilshire, and Beverly Hills are chock-full of iconic filming locations in a city that's full of them. There are also a few cemeteries noted for being the final resting places of many celebrities and influential writers and directors, particularly the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Westwood, and the massive Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, where you're guaranteed to run into the famous of yesteryear.

Of course, many also come in the hopes of seeing living celebrities. While your chances of running into one in Hollywood are rather low, you may get lucky in the glamorous neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Malibu, which are home to many celebrity mansions and whose fancy restaurants are sometimes frequented by movie stars. Awards season brings a lot of celebrity-spotting as well, with most of the famous awards shows hosted in Los Angeles: the Academy Awards take place in Hollywood, typically in late February; the Grammy Awards have settled into the Staples Center in Downtown each February; the Golden Globes take place in Beverly Hills each January; and the late summer Primetime Emmys have spent the last several years at the Microsoft Theater in Downtown.


Old Los Angeles Plaza, El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Los Angeles, as a general rule, hasn't been too careful about retaining its historical artifacts, and that's ignoring the fact that much of the city was only built in the last half-century or so. However, there are some historical attractions for those interested in learning about L.A.'s past:

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in Downtown is the site of the original Spanish settlement where Los Angeles was founded in the 1780s. Today it's preserved as a historic district with some of the city's oldest buildings as well as a number of Mexican restaurants and shops along touristy Olvera Street. Two other important sites from Los Angeles' Spanish era are located along the El Camino Real in Los Angeles County: the Mission San Gabriel, which predates the Pueblo de Los Angeles, and the Mission San Fernando in the northern portion of the San Fernando Valley.

Downtown's Historic Core still has many splendid examples of late 19th and early 20th century architecture, including many old movie palaces and the noteworthy Victorian-style Bradbury Building along Broadway. Just north of the Historic Core is the grand 1920s City Hall building, while just a little further on, across from the El Pueblo area, is the 1930s Mission Revival-style Union Station, the main railway hub for the city. East L.A. has the Heritage Square living history museum, showcasing life in L.A. around the turn of the 20th century.

Heading west from Downtown, the Miracle Mile district along Wilshire has a lot of mid-20th century commercial architecture, including some superb examples of Art Deco and Streamline architecture. Another great Art Deco structure is the Griffith Observatory atop Griffith Park, famed for its many appearances in film and its sweeping view of the city. And of course, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Culver City have numerous theaters, studios, and other examples of architecture dating from the Golden Age of Hollywood.


The Getty Center

Of Los Angeles' museums, the Getty Center in West L.A. is the most renowned, regularly hailed as one of the finest art museums in the country. Located above the city on the Santa Monica mountains, it has a spectacular view of the L.A. basin and the Pacific Ocean, with an extensive European art collection inside. The old museum, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, is also worth a visit for its collection of artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome. Admission to both is free (although the Villa requires tickets to be reserved in advance) and you can visit both in the same day (Wednesday through Sunday only) and pay the parking fee only once, but don't expect to have any time left over for other activities.

Another splendid institution is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), which has its main building on Grand Avenue in Downtown with branches in Little Tokyo and West Hollywood. Across the street from the MOCA is The Broad, a contemporary art museum housed in a striking building. The massive campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire features a particularly varied collection of works from around the world, with strong collections of Asian, Latin American, and American art, as well as a new contemporary art museum on its campus.

Exposition Park holds two of LA's best science museums, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Science Center, both of which have an extensive range of exhibits. The Natural History Museum is the largest of its kind on the West Coast, while the Science Center is reputed for its aircraft collection, which includes the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Another excellent museum is the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Wilshire, which preserves the famous tar pits and showcases numerous fossils that have been excavated from the tar. Long Beach has the spectacular Aquarium of the Pacific, one of the largest aquariums in the country, right across the harbor from the historic Queen Mary ocean liner. On the other side of the port from Long Beach is San Pedro, which holds several maritime museums.

Los Angeles also has many excellent historical and cultural museums. The Autry Museum in Griffith Park has numerous exhibits on the history of the American West, with plenty of cowboy artifacts and memorabilia from Hollywood westerns. Exposition Park is home to the California African-American Museum while Little Tokyo holds the Japanese American National Museum. In West L.A. you'll find the Museum of Tolerance, which has a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust, and the Skirball Cultural Center in the hills near the Getty Center, with exhibits devoted to Jewish history and culture. Culver City has the Wende Museum, with a collection of Cold War artifacts from Soviet-era Eastern Europe. Culver City is also home to the quirky Museum of Jurassic Technology, an artistic blending of fact and fiction that tends to defy proper explanation but still delights visitors.

Parks and scenery

Looking over the city from Griffith Park

Griffith Park in Northwest LA is an absolutely massive park (indeed, it is five times larger than New York's Central Park) that sprawls across the hills near the Hollywood Sign and is a great place for hikes or picnics, with excellent views of the city. Amidst the rugged terrain of the park are numerous hiking trails and tucked-away sights, as well as major draws like the Los Angeles Zoo, the Autry Museum of the American West, the iconic and historic Griffith Observatory, and plenty of recreational activities. Also in Northwest LA are Echo Park and MacArthur Park, both of which are popular neighborhood parks with picturesque lakes and excellent views of the downtown skyline, and Barnsdall Art Park, which sits atop a hill overlooking East Hollywood and holds a community art complex centered around a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. Exposition Park in South Central LA is a pleasant green space, with a beautiful rose garden and several cultural institutions including the Natural History Museum, the California Science Center, and several venues from the 1984 Olympics including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Pan Pacific Park in Wilshire is another popular neighborhood park.

Above Hollywood and West LA is winding Mulholland Drive, a famous road that hugs the ridgeline of the Hollywood Hills and has been the setting for countless movies and first kisses, with spectacular views over the city and the Hollywood Sign, not to mention all the celebrity mansions that line the road. Another excellent hilltop view can be found at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook above Culver City in the middle of the Westside, which offers marvelous views over the basin and the Pacific Ocean.

If coastal scenery is what you seek, Malibu is a must-see for its fantastic ocean views and mansions perched atop the ocean cliffs, hugging the coastline beneath the Santa Monica Mountains, which itself makes for a pleasant retreat from the city with its miles of scenic roadways and hiking trails. Further south, Palos Verdes is an oasis of ocean cliffs, Eucalyptus trees, and walking trails at the very southwestern corner of the basin, with a historic lighthouse with views of distant Santa Catalina Island, a popular destination for tourists and locals seeking to escape the city.

Further afield, the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys hold a few lovely botanical gardens open to visitors, most notably the large and extensive Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, the private Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, the Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, and the botanical gardens of the stately Huntington Library in San Marino. Above the valley, the Angeles National Forest covers the steep and rugged San Gabriel Mountains, with its many scenic roads and recreational opportunities.

The palm tree is the iconic and legendary symbol of Los Angeles. Many of its trees can be seen in many urban areas of the city, including Exposition Park, which includes L.A.'s oldest palm tree.


Santa Monica Beach

The Pacific Ocean! Visitors will have to charter a boat to see this most magnificent thing to see in Los Angeles. OnBoat charter boats in Los Angeles has numerous choices. See https://onboat.co/los-angeles-yacht-charter/

Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles



The Westside is home to the most famous beaches of LA: Venice Beach, with its colorful Boardwalk and Muscle Beach, and the adjacent town of Santa Monica, with its popular pier and amusement park. Both communities share an expansive stretch of sandy beach which gets very crowded in the summer and which have plenty of amusements and facilities available, as well as a very festive scene in Venice that's fantastic for people watching. Just south of Venice is the less-crowded Dockweiler State Beach in the aptly-named town of Playa del Rey (Spanish for beach of the king). Further north, where the coastline meets the Santa Monica Mountains, are scenic beaches in Pacific Palisades and Malibu; Pacific Palisades' Will Rogers State Beach is expansive and quite popular, while Malibu's narrower Surfrider Beach is famed for its surf breaks.

South Bay is home to a number of beaches that are also very popular, in particular the Beach Cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach, with piers and expansive stretches of sand lined with expensive houses. Hermosa is famed for its festive atmosphere, regularly holding volleyball tournaments and surfing competitions, and all three are popular with families and beach-goers. Also good but less crowded is Torrance Beach further south, which is noted for great surfing, and the very scenic stretch of coastline in Palos Verdes, which holds many rocky coves and tidepools that make for fun exploration.

Off the coast and enormously popular for people taking a day trip out of L.A. are the picturesque beaches of Catalina Island. Additionally, the Beach Cities of nearby Orange County are very popular with locals. For those who are more into boats than sand, Marina del Rey is located just south of Venice and is the world's largest man-made small-craft harbor, offering plenty of mooring as well as motorized and non-motorized rentals.


Crypto.com Arena, when it was known as Staples Center

Los Angeles has great opportunities for seeing live pro sports. The Major League Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most famous teams in baseball and a game at Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park, in the hills north of downtown, is an absolute treat for baseball fans. However, LA's most successful sports franchise has been and remains the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball teams in history. They play at Crypto.com Arena in Downtown along with the less-famous Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA, who have risen from perennial losers to a competitive force. After the 2023–24 season, the Clippers will leave the city of Los Angeles and move to the new Intuit Dome in Inglewood, not far from LAX. Also playing at Crypto.com Arena are the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. The city has two Major League Soccer teams—the LA Galaxy, which plays at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, and Los Angeles FC, which started play in 2018 at BMO Stadium in Exposition Park. Angel City FC started play in the National Women's Soccer League in 2022, playing in LAFC's stadium.

The National Football League now has two teams in the L.A. area, both having returned to the area after having spent decades elsewhere. The Los Angeles Rams, which called L.A. home from 1946 to 1994 before moving to St. Louis, returned to L.A. in 2016. The Los Angeles Chargers, which started their life in the old American Football League in 1960, moved to San Diego the next year and didn't return until 2017. Both teams share SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. For the second-largest city in the country, Los Angeles long showed an inexplicable inability to hold down a NFL franchise; during the Rams' stint in St. Louis, Los Angeles football fans made do with the local college teams: the USC Trojans football team plays in the Coliseum, while the UCLA Bruins play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which also hosts the annual famous college bowl game the stadium is named after.

In addition, Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels and the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks play in nearby Anaheim in Orange County.

Major college sports in L.A. aren't limited to USC and UCLA, although those schools have by far the highest profiles since they're the only two NCAA Division I schools in the area that play football. The immediate L.A. area boasts seven other Division I programs. The city of Los Angeles boasts the Cal State Northridge Matadors in the San Fernando Valley district of Northridge and the Loyola Marymount Lions in Westchester, while Los Angeles County also boasts the Pepperdine Waves just outside the Malibu city limits and the Long Beach State teams, known as The Beach. Orange County is home to the Cal State Fullerton Titans and UC Irvine Anteaters, while the Inland Empire city of Riverside is home to the UC Riverside Highlanders and the California Baptist Lancers.

The USA Sevens, the country's annual event in the SVNS, the current incarnation of World Rugby's series for men's and women's national teams in rugby sevens, is returning to Dignity Health Sports Park in the 2023–24 season. Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union played on a full-sized field, but with seven players per side instead of 15, and halves of 7 minutes instead of 40. The short duration of each game allows a complete tournament to be held over a single weekend. Both the men's and women's tournaments feature 12 teams, and the event strongly encourages a festival atmosphere.


Walt Disney Concert Hall

No matter what music you're into, Los Angeles will feature artists to your taste, be it rock venues on Sunset Blvd, jazz clubs in Hollywood, or classical music in Downtown, just to scratch the surface. From the ambiance of the famous Hollywood Bowl to the spectacle of seeing a concert with 90,000 of your closest friends in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, L.A. has many venues that are worth exploring.

Downtown Los Angeles holds several major entertainment venues. The 7,100-seat Microsoft Theater has become L.A.'s premiere venue for rock concerts and awards shows, while the nearby Staples Center, though primarily a sports venue, also hosts a large number of big-name concerts with its 19,000-seat capacity. Near the Civic Center, the Los Angeles Music Center consists of four music halls, most notably the Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, home to the Los Angeles Opera.

Griffith Park holds the Greek Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater modeled after a Greek temple that hosts many concerts. Nearby Hollywood has two major concert venues in the Hollywood Palladium and the Fonda Theatre, the latter of which is reputed for its indie band scene and both of which regularly host big-name acts. A little further south, Wilshire has a couple of classic rock concert venues at the El Rey Theatre and The Wiltern. West Hollywood is home to some legendary rock nightclubs along the Sunset Strip, like Troubadour, Whisky a Go Go, and The Viper Room. Next to the USC campus and near Exposition Park in South Central L.A. is the Shrine Auditorium, a large enclosed amphitheater that holds over 6,000 people and regularly hosts large concerts and stage shows. In Inglewood, The Forum regularly hosts concerts as well as the occasional sports event.

Los Angeles also has an abundance of records stores scattered around the city, and though vinyl has disappeared from the shelves of most regular record stores, there are still plenty of stores that sell new and used vinyl. Amoeba Music in Hollywood is without a doubt the best in the city. An exploration of underground music could begin at The Smell in Downtown or listen to KXLU 88.9 FM Monday-Friday for details on numerous shows.


Inside the Pantages Theatre

Los Angeles is a major center for stand-up and improvisational comedy, rivaling New York City given its proximity to the Hollywood industry and innovative scene; L.A. has become the undisputed center for comedy podcasts. There are many excellent comedy venues in town, but a few consistently rise to the top. The Comedy Store is a legendary venue in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip that gave rise to many of the biggest names in the 1970s and still hosts the occasional nationally recognized comic. Also on the Sunset Strip is the Laugh Factory, which consistently features plenty of big-name comics. Elsewhere in West Hollywood you'll find the Largo at the Coronet, a very popular venue that emphasizes the intersection between comedy and live music and regularly hosts podcast shows. Another renowned spot is the Upright Citizens Brigade in Hollywood, which has cultivated some of the best comics in the industry today and dominates L.A.'s improv and experimental comedy scene. Another pair of great improv venues are the Improv and The Groundlings, two popular clubs on Melrose Avenue in Fairfax.

Venues for stage productions abound in L.A., with the largest concentration being in Downtown. Along Broadway within Downtown's Historic Core, the Theater District is full of old movie palaces that have been converted to performance spaces and concert halls. In Civic Center, the Ahmanson Theatre of the Los Angeles Music Center is the city's main venue for plays, while the Music Center's Mark Taper Forum is a prominent venue for experimental theater. The historic Pantages Theatre in Hollywood is the place to see Broadway musicals in town. Near the Hollywood Bowl is the Ford Theatre, a historic outdoor amphitheater that puts on community theater productions. Out in Westwood, the UCLA-affiliated Geffen Playhouse is noted for their original productions.


4th of July at the Hollywood Bowl

Befitting its size, Los Angeles plays host to many major events throughout the year, from large conventions and spectacular holiday celebrations to more low-key neighborhood festivals. Whenever you come, you can be assured that something will be happening. What follows is just a sampling of the biggest annual events that take place in L.A.

Every January 1st, the New Year is rung in with the Tournament of Roses Parade, a massively popular parade in Pasadena with dozens of marching bands and elaborate floats before the famed Rose Bowl football game. Chinese New Year celebrations are held throughout the city in early February, with the biggest taking place in Chinatown with a dragon parade, live music, food, and firecrackers. March brings the L.A. Marathon, a massive event in which thousands of runners make their way from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica. The popular Fiesta Broadway event takes place in Downtown on the last Sunday of April and is billed as the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world, with lots of Mexican food, music, and pinatas.

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer, and is marked by a tribute at the Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro. Summer brings many of the city's biggest cultural festivals, such as Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival in June, West Hollywood's massive celebration of LGBT culture during Pride Week, and Little Tokyo's Nisei Week Japanese Festival in mid-August. Summer also sees many major conventions and expositions, including the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June and Anime Expo in July, both of which are held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown. The Fourth of July is celebrated with lots of events across the city, most notably a spectacular fireworks show set to live music at the Hollywood Bowl.

In the fall, the Los Angeles County Fair takes place every September with concerts, carnival rides and agricultural exhibits in Pomona out in the San Gabriel Valley. Halloween brings lots of horror-themed events across the city, most notably the wildly popular West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval. After Thanksgiving, the holiday season kicks off with the Hollywood Christmas Parade, with plenty of elaborate floats, classic cars, and celebrity appearances. Other popular events during the holiday season include the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade and a popular Christmas Eve music show in Downtown at the L.A. County Holiday Celebration.



Los Angeles, like most major U.S. cities, has its fair share of colleges and universities. Of these, the largest are the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Southern California; California State University, Los Angeles; and California State University, Northridge. Within the wider L.A. region are some of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the U.S., including the Claremont Colleges — home to Pomona College, the premier liberal arts college on the West Coast, and several other highly selective schools — and the prestigious California Institute of Technology, the West Coast rival to MIT.


The shopping district of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

Los Angeles has a well-known diversity of unique shopping destinations. Shopping malls will dominate your shopping experience in L.A. and even non-shopping visitors are likely to encounter them; for example, the Hollywood and Highland mall is a popular meeting point in Hollywood for those gazing at the Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theater, The Grove is a major destination in Fairfax next to the historic Farmer's Market, and West Hollywood's Beverly Center is a massive eight-story shopping complex with a nice view of the city from its food court patio.

Lacking any significant public square, Los Angeles funnels its civic life onto its streets. Among the most popular shopping streets is Larchmont Blvd, which caters to the wealthy elite of Hancock Park with one-of-a-kind boutiques. Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood one-ups Larchmont Blvd with celebrity presence. And then there's the fabled Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills (uses the Spanish pronunciation: Roh-DAY-oh), famed for its high-end fashion stores.

In Downtown, the chaos of Broadway is a far cry from the comforts of manicured shopping centers, with merchandise geared towards the region's Latino population. Here, beneath the street's opulent early-20th century movie palaces, you can find a lot of brand name merchandise at discounted prices; forty dollars will probably get you a brand new wardrobe. Nearby is the gritty flea market of Santee Alley, chock full of knock-off designer labels and pirated DVD's and CD's. For a similar experience, try Alvarado Blvd between Wilshire and 6th in Westlake, where you can gain an insight into how most of working-class Los Angeles shops. Big deals can be found on a wide range of counterfeit goods, but don't stay too long after dark when the neighborhood gets sketchy. Make sure to check out the Art Deco buildings that exist in between the makeshift warehouses as well as the Alvarado Terrace Park, surrounded by early-20th century mansions.

Downtown is also a destination for some specialized retail destinations. Want flowers? Why there's a Flower District in Downtown! Jewelry? Fashion? Seafood? Toys? Yep, there are entire districts in Downtown dedicated to these particular products. You can buy art in Gallery Row up and down Main Street or see artists at work in the Arts District. All of these are located south and east of the towering Financial District, existing alongside the notorious Skid Row.

Groceries and other basics


7-Eleven convenience stores are found every few blocks and are always open 24-7, but have limited selection and high prices. The three major pharmacy chains in Los Angeles are Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid. They offer a wider selection of many items compared to convenience stores, but at the same high prices.

The major supermarket chains are Ralphs and Food4Less (owned by Kroger) and Pavilions and Vons (both owned by Albertsons). Ralphs and Vons both have a few stores open 24-7. They are useful for picking up supplies like drinks and snacks if your flight arrives late at night.

The largest big box retailer, Walmart, has no stores in or near the Los Angeles city limits south of the Santa Monica Mountains (though there are stores in other cities in southern Los Angeles County). Walmart Supercenters can be found in West Hills, Porter Ranch, Panorama City, and Burbank and generally close at 11 p.m.

Target, the second largest American big box retailer, has stores in Westwood, West Hollywood, Beverly Grove, Baldwin Hills and Downtown L.A. Some are open till midnight, others close at 11 p.m.

Whole Foods Market, a national upscale grocery store chain, has stores across Los Angeles. The two local upscale grocery store chains are Gelson's and Bristol Farms. All three chains tend to have higher prices than the large supermarket chains listed above.


The classic L.A. fast food: burgers and fries from In-N-Out
Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

The Los Angeles area is one of the best places in the country for food - you can find just about anything you can imagine somewhere within its loose borders. From traditional American diner culture (try Mel's Drive-In in West Hollywood) to the new wave of organic cafes, to inexpensive taco trucks, and swanky eateries with breath-taking food, there is no shortage of options.

Los Angeles abounds with inexpensive, authentic food that represents the culinary traditions of L.A.'s many immigrant communities. You have to be willing to do a little legwork, go to neighborhoods you might not otherwise go to and often deal with charmless fluorescent-lit storefronts in strip malls, but your reward is hype-free, authentic cuisine from around the world served up at bargain prices. The late and dearly missed food critic Jonathan Gold found and reviewed these gems starting in the 1980s, mostly for the free LA Weekly before he moved to the food section of the LA Times, and most of his reviews are still relevant today.

The newest arrival on the L.A. food scene is the gourmet food truck. These are not your average taco trucks and construction-site catering operations (although those exist too), but purveyors of creative and surprisingly high-quality food. Food trucks, particularly taco trucks, can be found in most parts of the city. A few noteworthy food trucks are "Grill Em All," run by 2 metalheads doing outstanding gourmet hamburgers, "Nom Nom," doing Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, "Kogi," doing Korean-inspired tacos and burritos, and "Manila Machine," doing Filipino food. Many trucks also have their own websites and post their daily schedules and locations on Twitter.

On the opposite spectrum from food trucks, those seeking high-end dining have some of the country's finest restaurants to choose from. While the Michelin guide stopped reviewing Los Angeles in 2010, Beverly Hills had several eateries that were rated by Michelin, including Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant, Spago. While there are numerous destinations for an upscale meal throughout the LA area, Santa Monica is notable as the only city besides Beverly Hills that can lay claim to multiple Michelin starred restaurants.

Coverage of regional food from other parts of the U.S. is spotty. Migration into the city has been disproportionately from Texas and Oklahoma, the South, Midwest and greater New York City and food representing these areas is easy enough to find. Food representing New England and other parts of the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Intermountain-Rocky Mountain regions can be elusive, along with many ethnic cuisines with central- and east-European origins. However L.A. is the birthplace of the drive-thru and numerous fast food chains clog the roadsides. The In-N-Out Burger chain is far above average for hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes. Another famous Los Angeles establishment is Original Tommy's, which specializes in chili burgers.

The cultural diversity of Los Angeles is an evident influence on the local vegetarian food restaurant industry. You can find strictly vegan and vegetarian dining, be it American, Mexican, Chinese, Ethiopian, and Thai among others. Other dietary restrictions are catered to as well. For example Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood serves Jewish Chinese food and kosher Mexican or Italian is not hard to find along predominantly Jewish parts of Pico Boulevard.

There are several different supermarket chains of varying quality. Trader Joe's, now a nationwide chain, started out in Pasadena. They normally give out great samples to the public and sell their acclaimed Charles Shaw wine, also known as "Two Buck Chuck." At the luxurious end, Erewhon is a local grocery chain that has become notorious even outside the area for its high prices.

LA visitors and locals alike have the opportunity to indulge in a selection of specially priced three-course menus from a wide variety of LA's best restaurants during dineLA Restaurant Week.


Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

Hotel bars are generally considered by Angelenos to be the nicest places to have drinks. Some of the more popular upscale ones include Chateau Marmont, Skybar at The Mondrian, and Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, and The Rooftop Bar at The Standard in Downtown LA. Hollywood and the Sunset Strip are generally considered the nightlife centers of LA, though neighborhoods such as Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park in Northwest LA are home to the dive bars and cafes favored by trendy hipsters. Downtown has recaptured some of its former glory with a selection of popular nightlife destinations such as The Golden Gopher, The Edison and the bars/clubs at LA Live. Hollywood's Cahuenga Corridor (Cahuenga between Selma and Hollywood Boulevard) boasts several popular bars in a row, making bar-hopping a possibility in a city where it's not the norm.

Bars close at 2AM with most last calls at 1:30 or 1:45AM. It is worth noting that some bars and almost all clubs charge cover and some may have VIP lists that are relatively easy to get on. Look up promoters and ask them to add you to their list. This is the easiest way to get into many of the popular Hollywood clubs.


Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

It's hard to summarize the plethora of hotel options in L.A. From some of the most opulent (and expensive) hotels in the world to budget hostels to apartment-hotel crash pads, there's something for everyone. Deciding where to stay will have a lot to do with what areas you plan on visiting, and how you're going to get there. As usual in Southern California, a car opens up a world of options, but be sure to check the parking arrangement at your accommodations before you arrive.

Hollywood and the Sunset Strip are probably the most popular options for those wanting to sight-see and chase their image of that world. Downtown has long been popular with the business crowd but is rapidly receiving a makeover with newer hotels drawing a hipper crowd. Beverly Hills has some of the nicest hotels in the city, and one should expect the prices to reflect its reputation. Sun and sand seekers can head to Santa Monica or Venice, while those just in town for a day or two might consider staying in one of the suburbs near LAX. To the northeast of Downtown L.A., Pasadena is a peaceful and leafy city and a good alternative that's still proximate to many major attractions, while Burbank has many places convenient to the Valley. Long Beach offers plenty of cheaper accommodations on the south side of the city.





Internet cafes are spread around town and most easily found in heavily touristed spots such as Hollywood Blvd and Melrose Ave. For most travelers, stopping by a local coffee shop such as Starbucks or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf should suffice. Most will either have free service for customers or require a nominal fee for usage. Many less expensive hotels and motels also offer complimentary internet access, often usable in the lobby before you check in.

There is also a growing trend for local fast food establishments and some restaurants to provide complimentary Wi-Fi.

By mail


The below are the main post offices that distribute mail to and receive mail from much of the greater Los Angeles area. There are numerous other (smaller) post office branches in different neighborhoods and at least one (or more) in each adjacent city/municipality serving specific zip code(s) which may be closer to where you are staying in and not listed in the below:

  • Los Angeles Post Office (US Postal Service), (main post office) 7101 S Central, +1 323 586-4415. (Retail Counter) M-F 9AM-6PM; Sa 10AM-3PM; (Passport Acceptance) M-F 11AM-5:30PM by appointment only. The main post office distributes mail to and receives from zip codes 900xx through 905xx; 907xx and 908xx.
  • City of Industry Post Office (US Postal Service), (main post office) 15421 E Gale Ave, City of Industry, +1 626 855-6440. (Retail Counter) M-F 8:30AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-5PM; (Passport Acceptance) M-F 10AM-3PM & Sa 9AM-3PM by appointment only. The main post office distributes mail to and receives from zip codes 906xx; 917xx to 918xx.
  • Santa Clarita Post Office (US Postal Service), (main post office) 28201 Franklin Pkwy, +1 661 775-7166. (Retail Counter) M-F 10AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-5PM; (Passport Acceptance) Tu-F 10AM-6PM & Sa 9AM-5PM. The main post office distributes mail to and receives from zip codes 910xx to 916xx.
  • LAX (Airport) Post Office, 9029 Airport Blvd (Airport Blvd & Westchester Pkwy), +1 310-649-7400. (Retail Counter) M-F 9AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-5PM; (Passport Acceptance) M-F 9AM-4PM & Sa 9AM-1PM by appointment only. Nearest post office to Los Angeles International Airport that serves zip codes 90009 and 90245. There are no post office branches or drop boxes in the airport terminals. Domestic and international mail going into and coming out of flights are handled in a separate facility next to the cargo terminals that is no open to the public.

Stay safe


For emergencies in Los Angeles County, dial 911 toll-free from any phone including payphones. Dialing 911 from a cellphone will place you in contact with the California Highway Patrol.

Most tourist destinations within the Los Angeles area tend to be fairly safe, including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Westwood, and West L.A. However, walking at night in some areas of the city (and some suburban cities as well) should be conducted with caution; and depending on the area, in groups. If traveling by car there is little threat of being harassed day or night, provided you avoid driving around neighborhoods with blatant signs of gang activity as mentioned below.

Certain areas in or near downtown, such as Skid Row (which is where the Greyhound station is located), Pico-Union, Westlake, Boyle Heights, South Central, Compton, Inglewood, Harbor Gateway, and Wilmington can be dangerous regardless of the time of day and should be avoided altogether when walking if possible. If traveling in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, the neighborhoods of Pacoima, Panorama City, Van Nuys, North Hills, and Canoga Park are also best avoided on foot.

Though cities such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Atlanta have higher reported crime rates per capita than Los Angeles, these numbers can be deceiving. L.A. statistics are skewed because safe neighborhoods such as Bel Air, Pacific Palisades and Westwood help balance the numbers from the very dangerous neighborhoods. If the South Central area of Los Angeles were counted as its own city, it would have the highest crime and murder rate of any city in America. Neighboring Compton, which is an independent city, ranks as the fourth most dangerous city in America. Luckily for Los Angeles, Compton's statistics are not counted as part of L.A.'s crime data, but the cities border each other. As a general rule, you should exercise great caution if walking in the area roughly bounded by Interstate 10 on the north, Interstate 710 on the east, Artesia Blvd/Highway 91 on the south, and La Cienega Boulevard on the west. East LA also has a higher crime rate than other areas and has gang problems as well.

Los Angeles (City and County) is considered to be the gang capital of America. Gangs generally confine themselves to certain areas and should be of little concern to the typical traveler, who is unlikely to venture into such areas. Gangs will usually identify their territory with graffiti markings. While most visitors to L.A. will not visit neighborhoods where gang violence is a concern, common-sense precautions apply should you become lost and end up in a bad neighborhood: remain on high-visibility roads or freeways, avoid confrontations with groups of young men, and should a confrontation arise flee immediately. If a person who appears to be a gang member asks you where you are from, prepare to flee or to defend yourself, as that is a common gang challenge. Use common sense on freeways to avoid incidents of road rage, which accounts for ten or so deaths per year.

Most homeless individuals are harmless; they will likely only ask you for money and if you refuse, will simply go on to the next person. They are most heavily concentrated in Hollywood, Skid Row, and Venice Beach. Avoid walking along Skid Row near Downtown at any time of day or night.

Since Covid, the perceived safety of the LA Metro has deteriorated sharply as it has become home to large numbers of homeless people, drug addicts and people with severe mental health issues who have been driven there from other public spaces in LA. This, in turn, has got it stuck in a vicious cycle where the perception of it being unsafe has further decreased ridership, which in turn makes the overall safety of the system even worse. While the vast majority of these people pose little danger to passengers, you are nonetheless very likely to see some extremely unsettling and unpredictable behaviour. Thus, in June 2024, a USC Dornsife survey found that 84% of Los Angeles residents believe the metro is unsafe. Avoid all travel on the metro in the late evening and stick to busy periods if possible.

Minor earthquakes happen occasionally but they're almost always harmless. In the unlikely event of a major earthquake: If you're outside, try to find an open space clear of anything that might fall on you, such as trees, power lines, street lights or buildings. If you're inside, try to shield yourself under a table or desk from falling debris; your biggest threat comes from breaking windows and falling objects such as ceiling tiles and bookshelves, so try to reduce your exposure to these threats. If you can't find a table or similar protection, at the very least cover your head and neck with your arms. You are more likely to be injured if you try to run or stand during a quake, so drop to your hands and knees and crawl if you need to move. If you're driving, stop your car and move out of traffic, and stay in your car in a place clear of trees, power lines, street lights, and over- or underpasses. Since the 1950s, buildings have become progressively stronger with stricter building code regulations and research, and most buildings built after 1978 are in no danger of collapsing in the unlikely event of a major earthquake during your visit.

Stay healthy


Los Angeles has a notorious reputation for air pollution problems. However, air quality in the city has improved dramatically, and Los Angeles has even fallen from its Number One position on lists of the worst air in the United States due to aggressive cleanup efforts on behalf of the state and regional air quality authorities. Generally, smog is worst during summer months and is worse further inland where it is away from the ocean breezes and gets trapped by the surrounding mountains. "Smog Alert" days are at an all-time low, but air pollution can still become a problem if a wildfire is burning in surrounding hills. For more information, visit the AQMD (Air Quality Management District) website for air quality information in the region.





Los Angeles' primary newspaper is the Los Angeles Times, and another daily newspaper is the Los Angeles Daily News. The free LA Weekly comes out on Thursdays and is a good source for concerts, movies, and other local information. A few local areas may have their own free neighborhood papers as well.


  • 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness/Esporta (which now includes Ballys) have many locations throughout the area and are big here. If you have a regular membership with either of them from back home your membership is good here. Some memberships are only good for one location and will cost extra to use a gym/club other than your home location. Ask before leaving home. Day passes range from $10-20. Bring a lock and towel.



Los Angeles is home to many people of different nationalities and language backgrounds. Therefore, many countries have established full service consulates (Consulates General) in Los Angeles to provide consular services for their nationals living in (southern) California and in the adjacent states in the southwestern part of the U.S. (or the entire west coast) as well as visa services for others seeking to visit their respective countries (if required). The Honorary Consulates are there for commercial and business purposes and offer limited or no consular services except in emergency situations. Most of the consulates are located along Wilshire Blvd in/around the Wilshire neighborhood and West Los Angeles, between downtown and Santa Monica. They can also be in other parts of town too:

  • VFS Global (TT Services), 8530 Wilshire Blvd, Suite #450, Beverly Hills 90211, toll-free: +1 888 296-4511. M-F 9AM-5PM. VFS Global (TT Services) handles visa applications, criminal inadmissabilities, and applications for residency permits. Passport applications and renewals are handled directly from Canada or the IRCC office (consulate) in Los Angeles and New York. Click here to learn more.

Some of the countries maintain a consulate in both San Francisco and Los Angeles while others have a consulate in one city or the other.

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  • Orange County — many upscale communities, some along the ocean, southeast of Los Angeles. Home to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm among other attractions. Accessible by Amtrak or Metrolink.
  • Palm Springs — Desert playground of the rich and famous. Accessible by Flixbus or Greyhound.
  • Joshua Tree National Park — Two different deserts meet in this park, which is filled with a vast array of rock formations and desert plant life, especially in the spring or after rainfall when the desert flowers are in bloom.
  • Santa Barbara — A quiet seaside resort town 95 miles north of Los Angeles. Drive, or take the Pacific Surfliner for ocean views without having to watch the road.
  • San Diego — A sunny oceanfront city with many attractions such as Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and the museums of Balboa Park, approximately 120 miles south of Los Angeles. Amtrak and Greyhound run hourly service to San Diego.
  • You can also drive further up the coast to Monterey, San Francisco, and ultimately up to Seattle and Vancouver on Highway 1 and Highway 101.
  • Lake Tahoe is home to world-class skiing, restaurants, casinos, and shopping. It is approximately a 7½-hour drive north on Interstate 5 and Interstate 80/US 50, or on US 395, and several flights a day connect them.
  • The National Parks of Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Sequoia are between a 2½-hour and 4-hour drive away north on Route 99.


  • Las Vegas — a major metropolitan area in the Mojave Desert, approximately a 4½-hour drive northeast of Los Angeles. It is known for its entertainment, casinos, shopping, and restaurants. The I-15 North freeway in adjoining Riverside and San Bernardino Counties goes directly to Vegas. Also accessible by hourly flights and buses.
  • Baja California — whether it's to experience the high energy of Tijuana, the beach town of Rosarito, or the fabulous local wine in the port city of Ensenada, the joys of Mexico are only a 2½-hour drive away. Other options include Amtrak, Greyhound and Tufesa.
  • Phoenix is home to MLB Spring Training, Camelback Mountain, nice hotels, and a booming metropolitan area. It is about a 6-hour drive on Interstate 10 east of Palm Springs. Flights and buses are also an option.
  • The rest of Arizona has a lot to offer, including the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
Routes through Los Angeles
Santa BarbaraGlendale  N  S  FullertonSan Diego
END  W  E  FullertonAlbuquerque
END  W  E  PomonaTucson
SacramentoThe Grapevine  N  S  Buena ParkSanta Ana
Ends at in Santa Monica  W  E  UplandSan Bernardino
Santa BarbaraAgoura Hills  N  S  END
END  W  E  ChinoRiverside

This city travel guide to Los Angeles is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.