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Spotlight: Los Angeles

Shine with the stars or go off the beaten path in eclectic LA

Home to film stars, fashion icons and sports titans, Los Angeles is a patchwork of communities that oozes with cinema history, high and low culture and diverse recreation. Mix it up on a trip to the City of Angels with visits to hidden treasures alongside the more famous landmarks.

Hurray for Hollywood

If movies move you, the Hollywood Museum is four stories of history in stunning exhibits like Marilyn Monroe’s dress, Rocky’s boxing gloves and more. The museum, located in the Max Factor building, preserves 10,000 pieces of movie-making history. Jazz lovers have a home in Hollywood, at Loews Hollywood during their Sunday brunch, or at the Catalina Jazz Club.

While in the neighborhood, find out who’s playing in the Hollywood Bowl. This 18,000-seat outdoor amphitheater has hosted acts ranging from the Beatles to Barbara Streisand. Nestled in a canyon, the venue’s distinctive band shell and fine acoustics draw music lovers from across the world.

Nearby, CBS Studio Center anchors Studio City, once known as Laurelwood. Actors, musicians and writers flock to this creative destination, where El Paradiso is among the landmarks. The prefabricated aluminum home was built in 1964 and considered futuristic at the time.

To the southwest, Century City is the birthplace of the movie business, beginning as the backlot of 20th Century Fox studios. Now the area is a city within a city, the site of commerce and enterprise. But it’s also home to the Annenberg Space for Photography, home to images reflecting the human condition. The museum’s philanthropy is the basis for themes in many of the collections.

Visit California/Robert Holmes

Visit California/Robert Holmes

Beverly—Hills, That Is

Revisit Hollywood’s Golden Age on a tour of Beverly Hills, home to some of the most famous stars of the silver screen. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is here, and visitors can peruse galleries in the lobby and on the building’s fourth floor. The Saban Theatre is an art deco treasure that hosts live productions with an emphasis on Judaism and the arts.

Tired of all the tinsel? Sip a spot of tea at the American Tea Room in Beverly Hills. Once just a tea retailer, the business opened its full-service tearoom for guests who also enjoy accompanying sweet treats including traditional petits fours. Afterward, wander through the Rose Garden at Beverly Gardens Park, where several varieties of the fragrant blooms are grown and displayed.

A hidden retreat in Beverly Hills supplies guests with a taste of the good life at Virginia Robinson Gardens. This six-acre estate is on the National Register of Historic Places. Make an appointment to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the regal surroundings there.

Cruise Culver City

One of LA’s rising jewels, Culver City boasts even more movie history as the home of Metro Goldwyn Mayer/Sony Pictures and the site of films such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind.” Aviation pioneer Howard Hughes opened his aircraft plant here in the 1940s as well.

Retreat to a less urban setting at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, a 511-foot peak that’s accessed by concrete stairs or hiking trails. The visitor center features exhibits on the site’s history. See up-and-coming actors in a performance at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, housed in a movie palace built in 1947 with a well-preserved exterior.

See how the magic is made on a Sony Pictures Studio Tour on a weekday. Each tour is unique, but chances are you’ll find yourself on a game-show stage, the site where Dorothy followed the yellow brick road to see the wizard, and more.

Peek behind the Iron Curtain at the Wende Musuem and Archive of the Cold War. The influence and eventual collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union is captured in more than 75,000 artifacts from East Germany and former Eastern Bloc countries.

Los Angeles Tourism

Los Angeles Tourism

Outdoors, LA Style

Spend a lovely California day outside on a stroll down the North Valleyheart Riverwalk. This 1.9-mile stretch along the Los Angeles River leads visitors past Great Toad Gate, Rattlesnake Wall and Butterfly Garden. More shade grows over the Rainforest Trail in Fryman Canyon Park in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains. The short (one-mile) trail ends at a gully covered by foliage, and it connects with the Dearing Mountain Trail; the latter leads to an outlook point on Mulholland Drive.

Stroll the beach in Santa Monica, located where State Route 1 turns into Interstate 10 and heads east. The iconic Santa Monica Pier offers rides, games and stunning views of the Los Angeles coast. The recreational opportunities are here for one and all. Surf, swim, paddleboard or just spend an afternoon sightseeing.

Outdoor enthusiasts are bound to venture out to Echo Park, not far from Dodge Stadium. They’ll also enjoy a day paddleboating on Echo Park Lake, or gearing up for a hearty hike up the Baxter Street Stairs. The 231-step climb shows off great views of LA, including the Hollywood sign.

Don’t miss Griffith Park, a vast, mountainous civic jewel that’s larger than New York’s Central Park and boasts several hiking trails along with stunning views of the sprawling Los Angeles basin. The centerpiece is the Griffith Observatory, which tells the story of our universe with compelling interactive displays.

For More Information

Los Angeles Tourism
California Travel and Tourism Commission