Welcome to the bright lights and the big city allure of Los Angeles, the 2nd largest city in the US and California’s largest metropolis. This is where you really see celebrities navigating the sidewalks with macchiato and cell phones in hand, sometimes with a burly man or two one step behind.
At any time in history, this is the city where there are more artists and writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers, musicians, and other artistic denizens, currently working or not, in the big entertainment factory than in any other place in the world.
As it is, the visitor is lured first into tinsel town glamor – movie studio tours, or putting your hands into some dead legend’s handprints at the Chinese Theater. Sometimes, you are told to lurk near the city hot spots to get a glimpse of your favorite stars.
Los Angeles is not all about Hollywood and the movie stars, of course. They’re just gravy to the real spirit of the town that’s a perennial rival to good old New York. Sometimes, what it has are better than that of the Big Apple.
The city has, as of last count, at least 841 museums and art galleries spread out in Los Angeles County. In fact, it has more museums per capita than any other city in the planet. Some of the most famous (and the largest) are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Center, a part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest art institutions.
There is also the Battleship Iowa and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Gallery Row hosts more of the significant art galleries in the city. This is where tens of thousands of patrons and admirers attend the monthly Downtown Art Walk.
The entertainment museums include the Staples Center and the LA Live where music artifacts (Elvis’s music sheets, Michael Jackson’s gloves, among others) are on display at the Grammy Museum.
For other tourists, it shall be a sacrilege missing out visits to Universal Studios, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Griffin Park and Laboratory.
Like any other tourist, dining places ranks high in rating cities, and Los Angeles is up there with the best of them. As a matter of fact, world-famous celebrity chefs make the other attractions to the city, led by Wolfgang Puck and his legendary Spago in Beverly Hills.
Other hip places include Ford’s Filling Station of Ben Ford, the ultra fancy Patina, the star restaurant at Walt Disney Concert Hall where Chef Joachim Splichal always surprises with his gastronomic showstoppers, and the chic Herringbone of chef Ben Malarkey among the special ones.
Of course, you should never leave out Kang Hodong Baekjong in Koreatown, or the perfect ramen at Tsujita in Little Tokyo and the corn tamales at El Cholo, a perennial LA favorite since 1923.
Glitz and glamor
Los Angeles had always been synonymous with trendy places, celebrities, and adventure. Celebrity spotting goes with shopping at Beverly and Canon Drives. Or, it could be riding elevators at Mondrian Hotel, relaxing with a drink at The Roof at Hotel Wilshire while watching the skyline lights up and the stars to come out.
At LA, it’s “choose your wild and enjoy the ride”.