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  • Attractions

    West LA

    West LA is famous for its trend-setting style; the place where the 'stars' live, shop and go out on the town. The area includes some of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Los Angeles, particularly Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Home of the rich and famous, and one of the world's most expensive residential areas, Beverly Hills flaunts its wealth with luxurious manors, tree-lined streets, grand estates and security gates concealing landscaped grounds that are home to the likes of Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford. Scheduled tours are available or Star Home Maps can be picked up at any street corner vendor for the latest on who lives where. The neighbourhood is also home to the famous shopping district centred on Rodeo Drive with expensive shops oozing designer labels such as Gucci, Armani and Louis Vuitton. West Hollywood, between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, is the centre of LA's gay community and boasts the area's best restaurants, trendiest shops, eccentric boutiques and modern galleries along Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Sunset Strip, a section of Sunset Boulevard, is famed for its nightlife with rock clubs, bars and posh hotels attracting a huge variety of characters, and many places have a history of big names. In the 1930s Errol Flynn and Rita Hayworth went dancing at nightclubs like Trocadero, by the 1970s it had become the focus of rock and roll with stage performances by the Doors and Elton John at Whisky-a-Go-Go club.

    Beach Communities

    The miles of sandy beaches along the Pacific Ocean are a celebration of the Californian lifestyle with distinct neighbourhoods and oceanfront walks linking the communities. Malibu is popular with the privacy-seeking rich and famous and their mansions line strips of privately-owned shoreline; the wide sandy beaches, rocky outcrops and green open-spaces make Malibu the most scenic neighbourhood in LA. It presents the classic Californian beach babe image immortalised by The Beach Boys and Baywatch. LA's premiere beach community, Santa Monica, is known for its alternative beachfront atmosphere, as well as its famous hideaway Hollywood residents. The palm-lined cliffs, once the location of the homes of Clark Gable, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo, are today home to celebrities like Meryl Streep, Rod Stewart and Michelle Pfeiffer. The neighbourhood's famous landmark is the Santa Monica Pier, boasting old-world carnival attractions, including a wooden 1920s carousel with painted horses, and plenty of seafood restaurants. Third Street Promenade is a lively pedestrian mall bustling with buskers, street vendors, evangelists and original shops, and is the heart of Santa Monica's cafes, restaurants and bars. Venice is best known for its Ocean Front Walk that is a non-stop parade of jugglers, artists, vendors, musicians and joggers. Venice Beach provides a classic Los Angeles lifestyle experience where beautiful sun-bronzed bodies on bicycles and rollerblades cruise along the walkway to Muscle Beach, where the outdoor gym is packed with weightlifters flexing for the onlookers. The area is full of laid back cafes and restaurants, health food shops, bike and blade rentals, and second hand record stores.

    Disneyland Resort

    Claiming to be 'The Happiest Place on Earth', Disneyland is an integral part of an American childhood and was the world's first mega theme park designed for the family by Walt Disney in 1955. It is one of America's most famous attractions and despite competition from other similar parks in Florida, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai nothing can compare to the original. It is an enchanted kingdom of fantasy and imagination filled with magical entertainment and attractions. The park is divided into eight 'lands' and each one features different rides, dining experiences and entertainment as well as daily live-action shows and parades. Adventureland, Fantasyland, Critter Country, Frontierland, Mickey's Toontown, Tomorrowland, New Orleans Square and Main Street USA offer such attractions as a boat trip through the underground caverns of Pirates of the Caribbean, an experience of the Wild West on the Thunder Mountain Railroad, a visit to Sleeping Beauty's Castle and flying with Dumbo the elephant, a giddy journey with Indiana Jones, a spooky tour of the Haunted Mansion, or the experience of a pitch-black rollercoaster ride inside Space Mountain, and a wet ride on Splash Mountain. There is also a shopping, dining and entertainment district called Downtown Disney. Adjacent to Disneyland is California Adventure Park, a separate park minus the cartoon characters that offers further rides and rollercoasters, but an additional ticket is required. The parks are busiest during summer from mid-June to mid-September and during school holidays and there are usually long queues at the popular rides. The Fastpass system allows visitors to reserve a place in line at the park's busiest attractions. No day at Disneyland is complete without watching the nightly fireworks show with an appearance by Tinkerbell.
    Opening Time: Both parks are open daily, but opening hours vary according to days and seasons; check the official website for up to date information.
    Admission : One-day passes start at $97 for adults, or $93 for children under 10.
    Address : 1313 Harbour Boulevard, Anaheim
    Telephone : (714) 781 4636
    Website : www.disneyland.com

    Hollywood

    Los Angeles is the film and entertainment capital of the world and the name 'Hollywood' is the embodiment of glamour, success and money; the place where films are made, television shows are recorded and stars take up residence. The famous Hollywood sign on the hills above the city has become the enduring symbol of the movie industry and of Los Angeles itself - the 50-foot-high (15m) white letters can be seen from miles away. The historic heart of the movie industry is centred on Hollywood Boulevard where millions of visitors flock to see landmark attractions and museums. The impressive Mann's (Grauman's) Chinese Theatre is famous for its courtyard where over 200 stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Frank Sinatra have set their signatures and imprints of their hands or feet in cement. For many years the theatre has been the spot for movie premieres and is modelled on a Chinese temple with columns, dragons and an ornate interior. Passing in front of the theatre is the mile-long Walk of Fame, the world-famous sidewalk embedded with the names of legendary television, film, radio, theatre and recording greats engraved within pink granite stars. More than 2,500 celebrities are honoured here, including Elvis Presley, Charlie Chapman, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson. The cylindrical Capitol Records Tower is one of the most recognisable buildings in the city and is supposed to resemble a 12-storey stack of records with a needle on top that blinks out 'h-o-l-l-y-w-o-o-d' in Morse code. Other attractions include the Kodak Theatre (designed to host the Academy Awards) and the Hollywood Guinness World Records Museum, as well as the Hollywood Wax Museum and the Ripley's 'Believe It or Not!' Museum.
    Website : www.hollywoodchamber.net

    Warner Bros Studios

    The tour at Warner Bros offers a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at an authentic working studio and provides more of a technical slant than the Universal Studios tour, focussing on the authentic filmmaking procedure. Explore the sets used in productions like Gilmore Girls, The Big Bang Theory and Friends. The informative two-hour tour takes visitors to view the sets, prop construction, wardrobe and sound department, as well as visiting active film and television sets where it is sometimes possible to watch actors in the midst of filming. There is also an introductory film and museum depicting the studio's film history.
    Opening Time: Tours depart continuously everyday 8:30am-3:30pm. Hours are extended during the summer. Reservations are required.
    Admission : Studio tours are $65, Deluxe tours are $295.
    Address : 3400 W. Riverside Drive Burbank, CA 91505
    Telephone : (818) 977 8687
    Email : studio.tour@warnerbros.com
    Website : vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com

    Universal Studios Hollywood

    One of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles is Universal Studios Hollywood, reputedly the world's biggest film studio and theme park. The main attraction is the Studio Tour, a tram ride narrated by Jimmy Fallon that traverses the huge complex, passing stars' dressing rooms and famous back-lot sets, including an Old West town, the original house and motel from Hitchcock's Psycho, and the plane wreckage from Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. Along the way visitors will experience several realistic staged-disasters such as an earthquake, an avalanche, an attack by 'Jaws' and a meeting with an enormous version of 'King Kong'. Besides the tours there is a theme park that provides a thrilling introduction to the principles of special effects with several attractions and movie-related rides. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a undoubtedly a firm favourite, featuring a recreation of the village of Hogsmead complete with shops and attractions, the state-of-the-art Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, and the rustic Three Broomsticks tavern offering up hearty meals and butterbeer. Other attractions include the spectacular 'Waterworld' live action stunt performance, the Transformers 3D ride, the incredible immersive Walking Dead experience, The Simpsons ride. For younger visitors the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride is both heart-warming and utterly exciting.
    Opening Time: Opening times vary according to season and visitors are advised to check beforehand. Generally open daily in summer 8am-10pm (June to September), and in winter 10am-6pm (September to June).
    Admission : Between $95 and $129 (Ages 10+), between $87 and $123 (Children 3-9) depending on date of visit. Combination tickets are available. Universal CityWalk has free admission.
    Address : 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City
    Telephone : (800) 864 8377
    Website : www.universalstudioshollywood.com

    Six Flags Magic Mountain

    Even with the stiff competition among Southern California theme parks, Six Flags Magic Mountain has a solid reputation for the biggest, most thrilling rides in the area. This world-class theme park was recently named Roller Coaster Capital of the World with 18 coasters, including Apocalypse, the Green Lantern, Batman, The Riddler's Revenge, and the Road Runner Express. The park offers many other rides for all ages, and kids will love meeting their favourite Looney Tunes characters and Justice League superheroes at the family shows. Magic Mountain is dotted with restaurants, snack stands, souvenir shops and other stores, and the park will even hold your parcels at the exit while you enjoy yourself. Attached to the park is Hurricane Harbor, a water park with more than a dozen rides ranging from the thrilling Black Snake Summit waterslides to the family-friendly Castaway Cove play area.
    Opening Time: Hours vary according to season. Check the website for specific dates.
    Admission : Magic Mountain: Adults $84.99; children under 48" $59.99. Hurricane Harbor: Adults $40.99, children under 48" $32.99. Discounted tickets are available from the website.
    Address : 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355
    Telephone : (661) 255 4100
    Website : www.sixflags.com/magicMountain

    Getty Villa

    Originally completed in 1974, then rebuilt in 1997, the Getty Villa is a faithful replica of a Roman villa that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79. Perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Villa was built to house the expanding art collection of oil tycoon J Paul Getty, and now has one of the world's finest displays of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts, comprising over 44,000 pieces. The best known item is Victorious Youth, one of the only surviving life-size Greek bronzes in existence. The Getty Villa also has over 20,000 books in its library, and collections of jewellery and coins. The free guided tours of both the exhibits and the gardens are highly recommended.
    Opening Time: Daily 10am-5pm, closed Tuesdays
    Admission : Free. An advance, timed ticket is required. Login to the website to book. Parking is $15 per car or motorcycle; $10 after 4pm.
    Address : 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California, one mile (1.6km) north of Sunset Boulevard and approximately 25 miles (37km) west of downtown LA.
    Telephone : (310) 440 7300
    Email : visitorservices@getty.edu
    Website : www.getty.edu/visit/villa/

    Getty Center

    It is said that the Getty Center in Brentwood, Los Angeles is less a museum with artworks inside, than an artwork with a museum inside. Certainly the building, designed by Richard Meier and costing $1.2 billion to build in 1997, is celebrated for its architecture and gardens, while the wonderful views over LA are breathtaking. With over 1.3 million visitors, the Getty Center is one of the most visited museums in the USA, and it is well worth allocating a day to explore. It houses a premier collection of pre-20th century European paintings and artworks, and a leading archive of photography from the 19th and 20th centuries. The most famous work on display is undoubtedly Irises by Vincent van Gogh, although there are hundreds of other notable works, including Paul Gauguin's Arii Matamoe.
    Opening Time: Tuesday to Friday 10am-5:30pm, Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 10am-5:30pm. Closed Mondays.
    Admission : Free; parking: $15 per car, $10 after 3pm
    Address : 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California 90049
    Telephone : (310) 440 7300
    Email : visitorservices@getty.edu
    Website : www.getty.edu

    Los Angeles Zoo

    Located within the Griffith Park area, the Los Angeles Zoo is a large facility boasting 1,100 animals from around the world. The Zoo is currently adding naturalistic habitats for the animals, making the facility more attractive to both visitors and occupants. It is also a botanical garden, holding 800 plant species. Apart from the myriad natural life to be seen, there are animal shows, workshops and a petting zoo in store for visitors.
    Opening Time: Open daily 10am-5pm. Closed December 25th.
    Admission : $21 (adults); $16 (children ages 2-12)
    Address : Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027
    Telephone : (323) 644-4200
    Website : www.lazoo.org

    La Brea Tar Pits

    One of the world's most significant fossil sites, the tar pits in central Los Angeles have revealed fossils of plant and animal life preserved in the pits for tens of thousands of years. The fossils themselves are on display in the Page Museum on the site, while replicas of some of the animals, mammoths and sabre-toothed cats found there have been creatively re-placed in and around the pits. La Brea Tar Pits and museum also features interactive events, informative tours, exhibitions and 3D screenings.
    Opening Time: 9:30am-5pm every day, excluding certain holidays.
    Admission : $15 (adults), $7 children; concessions available.
    Address : 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
    Telephone : (213) 763 3499
    Email : info@tarpits.org
    Website : www.tarpits.org

    Griffith Park and Observatory

    The Griffith Park extends for 4,210 acres (17 km²) of well-kept public grounds and is often referred to as the 'Central Park' of Los Angeles. Rent a bicycle, take a hike or have a picnic under the iconic Hollywood sign. Within the park is the Griffith observatory, which apart from being a familiar filming location, is filled with attractions of its own and a significant site for the study of astronomy. The park has a gift shop and the 'Cafe at the End of the Universe'.
    Opening Time: Open Tuesday to Friday 12pm-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-10pm. Closed Monday.
    Admission : Free
    Address : 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027
    Telephone : (213) 473 0800
    Website : www.griffithobs.org

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    It's worth heading into downtown Los Angeles to see this strange Frank Gehry-designed concert hall. The silver-plated building can be described as art deco meets surrealism, and while it derives mixed admiration from visitors, its uniqueness is never argued. A walking tour with an explanation for the intricate design is on offer free of charge to anyone curious to know how the hall came about. There is also a restaurant in the building. Live performances change frequently. Check the website for a current list of what's on and for ticket prices.
    Address : 111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Telephone : (323) 850 2000
    Website : www.laphil.com/philpedia/about-walt-disney-concert-hall

    Magicopolis

    Fantasy and illusion come alive at Magicopolis, where magic, music and special effects inspire awe and wonder. The shows at Magicopolis run between 90 minutes and two hours and feature comedy, magic, music, illusions, special effects and audience participation. Magic trick kits can be purchased to take home, and there are treats and refreshments available from the theatre's café.
    Opening Time: Friday and Saturday evening shows at 8pm or Saturday and Sunday 2pm matinee shows.
    Admission : Friday and Saturday evening shows (8pm) $36; Saturday and Sunday matinees (2pm) $26.
    Address : 1418 Fourth Street, Santa Monica
    Telephone : (310) 451 2241
    Email : info@magicopolis.com
    Website : www.magicopolis.com

    Castle Park

    A great attraction for kids in Los Angeles, Castle Park has a number of enticing entertainment options to offer adventure-seeking children. The arcade boasts hundreds of games with fun prizes to be won and a snack bar. The park's roller-coasters, antique train tours and mini-golf are also exciting for kids. There are souvenir shops and family restaurants, as well as a weekly magic show.
    Opening Time: Monday to Thursday 1pm to 8pm, Fridays until 9pm. Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm. Buccaneer Cove closed over winter.
    Admission : A variety of passes are available, starting from $9.99.
    Address : 3500 Polk Street, Riverside
    Telephone : (951) 785 3000
    Website : www.castlepark.com

    Peach Tree Pottery

    For kids who really want to get their hands dirty, Peach Tree Pottery offers children's pottery lessons in a friendly, relaxed environment. Aside from learning to use a potter's wheel, children will also be shown how to make pinch pots, coil pots and tile trivets - a world of ceramic fun.
    Admission : $160
    Address : 3795 Boise Ave
    Telephone : (310) 567 2708
    Email : info@peachtreepottery.com
    Website : www.peachtreepottery.com

    Anaheim

    Located approximately 25 miles (40km) southeast of Los Angeles and founded in 1857 by grape farmers and wine makers, Anaheim (meaning 'home by the Santa Anna River' in German) is known as the home of California's Disneyland. This Orange Country town farms walnuts, lemons, and, of course, oranges and offers visitors a range of fun and exciting activities to enjoy. Take the kids to Disneyland to enjoy a magical world of fun and rides with all their favourite Disney characters; enjoy a day of thrill rides at America's first theme park, Knott's Berry Farm; go back to the Middle Ages at Medieval Times; take a tour of Universal Studios Hollywood; explore the fascinating marine life at the Aquarium of the Pacific; soak up the sun on Laguna or Newport Beach, or splash out in a day of shopping, dining and exploring the shops at Anaheim GardenWalk. Another fun day out is catching an Anaheim Angels baseball game at Angels Stadium.
    Telephone : (714) 765 4311
    Website : www.anaheim.net

    Knotts Berry Farm

    When Walter Knott began selling berries, berry plants and pies from a roadside stand beside State Route 39 in the 1920s he could never have known what his stand would eventually become. As the highway developed over time, so did his stand, becoming a roadside eatery with entertainment and eventually turning into America's first theme park, Knott's Berry Farm. The park features a multitude of fun for visitors of all ages and boasts nine world-class roller coasters, a plethora of thrill rides, family rides, children's rides, water rides, a Ghost Town, Fiesta Village (portraying Spanish California), Indian Trails, Wild Water Wilderness and the Sky Cabin Tower where fabulous views can be enjoyed by those brave enough to climb to the top. Each October the park transforms into a spooky Halloween-themed 'haunted theme park' called Knott's Scary Farm.
    Opening Time: Opening times vary according to season. Check the park's website for current information.
    Admission : Full day regular: $79; Full day Junior: $49 (age 3-11). Discounted tickets are available on the website.
    Address : 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA
    Telephone : (714) 220 5200
    Email : info@knotts.com
    Website : www.knotts.com

    Celebrity Gravesites

    Hollywood's celebrities are a major tourist attraction in Los Angeles long after they're dead. Several cemeteries in LA are known for their famous residents, and visitors flock to pay homage to their idols at their final resting places. One of the most famous cemeteries in Los Angeles is Westwood Village Memorial Park, home to the graves of Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Billy Wilder, Natalie Wood and Walter Matthau. Forest Lawn Glendale houses the graves of Walt Disney, Nat 'King' Cole, and Humphrey Bogart. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard are here as well in the Great Mausoleum, but it isn't open to the public. Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills has the graves of Lucille Ball, Liberace, Bette Davis and Buster Keaton; while Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City is home to celebrities like Bing Crosby, Bela Lugosi, John Candy, Rita Hayworth and Ray Bolger. Hillside Memorial Park in Baldwin Hills is the final resting place for Al Jolson, Jack Benny and Michael Landon. The most famous celebrity cemetery, however, is Hollywood Forever, located on Santa Monica Boulevard in a scenic location under the HOLLYWOOD sign. Celebrity gravesites in Hollywood Forever include Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B DeMille, Mel Blanc and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Tourists looking for celebrity graves should always be respectful of other cemetery visitors who may be grieving. To find out where a specific celebrity is buried, visit www.findagrave.com.

    Medieval Times

    A wildly popular family attraction in Los Angeles, Medieval Times is a dinner event that combines food and entertainment. Guests are treated to a four-course 11th-century feast while being entertained by six knights competing in the joust and other contests. The castle features a tower, courtyard, gift shop, torture museum, indoor stable, and a club with two bars and deejays.
    Opening Time: Show times vary depending on day of the week and time of the year. Check website for up-to-date information.
    Admission : $61.95 adults, $36.95 children under 12, includes dinner and show.
    Address : 7662 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, California 90620
    Telephone : (714) 523 1100
    Website : www.medievaltimes.com