"Getting at the Heart of L.A." Top 5 Page for this destination Los Angeles by marinarena

Los Angeles Travel Guide: 4,613 reviews and 9,564 photos


Hmmm... the City of Angels? OK, she is not so angelic but what's really in a name anyway?

OOH L.A.! She's cool, fake, stylized, vast and never boring for sure!

She's emerging especially in her DOWNTOWN region, which will be especially covered in these pages, but communities from all directions of the center will be well covered too.

Throughout my " Tales of a Twisted Angel", I will reiterate: It's hard to know where Los Angeles begins and ends! I'm still learning about this giant metropolis myself. With every trip, I am more puzzled but I'll try to bring new, fresh aspects of the fabulous metro area and greater L.A.

(The WEST L.A. page will focus on the popular Westwood area, the quiet and prominent Brentwood (including The Getty Center) and business mecca of Century City, as well as smaller portions of the city due west:
West Los Angeles)


Here, you will discover why I say on my homepage that L.A. is continually "pregnant" with communities inside of it. The following four communities are officially part of Los Angeles, though are such distinct communities that they have separate pages. Still, it is OK to call them L.A. since they lie within the city:

North Hollywood
San Pedro

Many cities of Los Angeles COUNTY, that are often considered as part of what is thought to be L.A. (but are NOT), are highlighted on other pages of mine. They include:

Santa Monica, Pasadena, Glendale, Long Beach, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills.

For info on the L.A. adjacent SOUTH BAY area, check out the Torrance page,
as well as Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.

Some cities that are mentioned on this group of Los Angeles subpages are smaller cities especially from the SAN GABRIEL VALLEY(SGV) region. Both L.A. and Pasadena pages highlight the SGV suburbs.


Check List of Fun/Interesting
Well-Known places :

Downtown LA and immediate surrounding areas

For cultural and history buffs, there is Olvera Street & Union Station in downtown or "Central City" (though no one really says the latter), Chinatown
(cheap shopping) and Little Tokyo (so clean, unspoiled, GOOD sushi!) .

For mingling, people-watching, or just "being seen", go to L.A. Live, 7th and Fig and Grand Park. Do entertainment hotspots like Orpheum Theater, Staples Center and Music Center.

For fine accommodation, try the historic Millenium Biltmore Hotel and Bonaventure Hotel.

Neighborhoods to explore that are close to downtown include Los Feliz ("hipster" heaven) & Silverlake (ditto), featured in off the beaten path tips of L.A.

Western enclaves of L.A.
Go to the Getty and LACMA museums, Farmer's Market/The Grove and the Westwood Village, and get to know the communities of West L.A., Miracle Mile/Park La Brea, Westwood, Brentwood and more.

(all featured on my West L.A. pages)


All right, to further add to the confusion that is L.A., I really would be remiss to not mention the official & unofficial northern parts of L.A. which together make up the so-ballyhooed "Valley"

Many outside of L.A. came to know a little something of "the Valley" in the 80s classic movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High" in which "valley girls" (and people in general) were touted.

To get the feel of the Hollywood industry outside of Hollywood, visit these official communities of L.A, where many of the industry and just the regular folk live and gather :

Read about Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino and Tarzana in off the beaten path for now. All deserve their own page really, like the L.A. community of Hollywood.


(Picture is taken off the Gold Line Metro rails, Union Station area)

You'll see many more tips especially dealing with downtown L.A. because it is really coming into its own and should gather much more attention!

On my L.A. tips:

--I will have a focus on seasonal events which I'll attend myself, as well as year-round activities in my" Things to dos".

--Tolerate the many pizza & Italian "Restaurant tips" as I am on the continuous search for the best pizza in southern California.

--There is much to do on an L.A. night of course. See more "Nightlife tips" L.A. county links above (Santa Monica, Hollywood, West Hollywood, etc)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:mostly great weather year-round, emerging arts & cultural center, fun nightlife, exciting area that NEVER bores, goregous hillside views throughout the area, a very laidback attitude & lifestyle, new excitement in downtown & downtown-adjacent area
  • Cons:too much car traffic & pollution; so widespread to appreciate in a short visit, depressing poor areas, increasingly high living costs in some areas, undeveloped & crime-filled parts like in most cities
  • In a nutshell:If you can't live it up in L.A, there really is something wrong with YOU :-)
  • Intro Updated Jul 6, 2015
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Reviews (224)

Comments (15)

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Sep 2, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Marie, I'll be back for the rest but reading your Restaurant reviews have made me really hungry! LOL! Great work, I really appreciate your style!

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Outstanding coverage of LA marie! I'm delighted that you've promoted public transit in the city that was least likely to be transit friendly until recently! Keep up the great detailed writing!

  • Nicckie's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Great pages! Happy travels :-)

  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2009 at 12:25 AM

    Thanks for your sharing a little of Los Angeles, had never thought of it as a "destination", just a place where Disneyland is...you have changed that for me and I will be back to discover more. Thanks. Martin

  • Feb 26, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    Great info Marie, you covered it all. I am a local Angelino too! Great coverage of out vast areas, Greg

  • joiwatani's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2008 at 9:23 PM

    Marie, you have a very detailed tips! I gave you high ratings for all your hardwork. Thanks for sharing us all the information!

  • Escadora7's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2006 at 4:53 PM

    Hi Marie - thanks for the tip on the art-ride on the metro - we need to try this. Nice LA pages! Best wishes, Ash & Eve

  • Oct 15, 2006 at 1:07 PM

    lovely page! Nikos

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2006 at 2:42 PM

    Excellent tips! Never knew I was a 213, but I do remember having that area code.....

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2006 at 1:52 PM

    Hi, Marie, very valuable tips, thanx!

marinarena Visits Here Frequently!


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