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City Guide to Los Angeles: Much More Than Hollywood

Los Angeles, USA
LA is a big size and one easily overlooks the many neighborhoods that stand in the shadow of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Here is therefore a city guide to experience both the known and the forgotten districts.
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Af Christian Brauner

Los Angeles is often referred to as LA - or Lalaland, because dear child has many names. The city can be a big mouthful for many tourists who therefore only see very little of the city, especially first-time visitors.

But it's a shame, because the city is the second largest city in the United States only surpassed by New York, and therefore contains lots of experiences.

The big city on the west coast

Los Angeles, California

The vast majority visit LA to see the famous places like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Pier - but LA is much more than the places you know from movies and TV. The Los Angeles Metro area is a huge area and it can take more than an hour and a half to reach from one end of the city to the other - by car!

I have visited the big city on it US West Coast several times, and I have clearly noticed that there are overlooked places in the city that are at least as interesting as the tourist-packed areas.

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Hollywood, California, Angeles

Hollywood: LA as we all know it

Let’s start with a place we all know: Hollywood.

You come driving down Sunset Boulevard with palm trees on each side. Suddenly you see a larger crowd of people walking back and forth while taking pictures of the sidewalk. You're on now Walk of Fame.

There are glowing advertisements, souvenir shops, street vendors and mascots from famous Disney movies to the right and left. You drive past the mall Hollywood & Highland and can spot the famous Hollywood-signed between the mountains behind. See, that's Hollywood.

Most people traveling to LA also want a trip to Beverly Hills. In the district, which became known from the TV series of the same name, live many famous and wealthy people. There is not much to do in Beverly Hills, but on a drive around the area, you can get a glimpse of the many beautiful houses.

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Venice Beach, USA

The famous coastal towns

Along the coast you will find Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Two coastal towns in line with each other, which many tourists visit. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is popular and often filled with skaters, jokers as well as tourists and locals who come to relax on the beach.

You can take a bike ride along the coast to Santa Monica - it is a really beautiful route. The bike path ends north at Pacific Park, the famous mini-amusement park located on Santa Monica Pier.

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Los Angeles, USA

Fairfax District

South of Hollywood is the Fairfax neighborhood. There is plenty to see and experience here, and you cheat yourself by not passing by. Most famous is The Original Farmers Market which is a large food market reminiscent of what we know as street food in Denmark. While at home it is a relatively new concept, Farmers Market opened in LA in 1934. A paradise for food lovers and especially for those who love Latin American and Asian food.

In extension of the Farmers Market is located The grove - a large outdoor shopping mall. The Grove, which has its own mini-train running around the streets, has its charm especially at holidays like Halloween and Christmas. This is because you do not go down on the decoration.

A few streets further south are located LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In LA, a museum is dedicated to pretty much all kinds of art, but LACMA is the most visited.

West Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA

West Hollywood

Midway between Beverly Hills and Hollywood lies the most colorful borough of West Hollywood. WeHo, as the district is often called, is known as LA's LGBT city. And the rainbow flag is not to be overlooked as you drive through the city. Although LA is generally a multicultural city with a wide variety of different types of people, WeHo is something special.

During the day there is a nice relaxed atmosphere, where the many delicious restaurants attract people hungry for lunch. But as soon as darkness falls, the main street, Santa Monica Boulevard, is transformed into a party street.

I WeHo there are a large number of bars and nightclubs - and whether you are for the bigger nightclubs or for smaller bars with delicious cocktails, then West Hollywood is ideal to visit.

Find more cool places in the US here

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Griffith Park, USA

Griffith park

Just outside the city's glamorous streets, there are a number of beautiful natural ways. One of them is Griffith Park. Many locals visit the park to get the daily exercise, and to get a respite from the busy city.

Griffith Park is a perfect place for hiking and running as the park is a part of Santa Monica Mountains and therefore many have both flat and steep routes. At the top of Mount Hollywood are found Griffith Observatory, where you can get the perfect view of the whole city.

In Griffith Park, it is also possible to get really close to one of the biggest sights in the form of the Hollywood sign.

Venice Canals, Los Angeles

Venice Canals

The Venice district is best known for Venice Beach and the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Here tourists make a pilgrimage to every single day. But the most cozy area in the district, we find before we reach all the way to the beach.

Venice Canals is a very local and relaxed area. It is most reminiscent of a smaller southern European port city. Along the canals there are many small allotment garden-like houses, which are very reminiscent of those we have in Denmark, but the palm trees to the right and left make the atmosphere more exotic.

A walk around the canals on the small paths and over the small bridges, is a great way to experience a very local part of life in LA

Malibu, beach, USA

Malibu Beach

One cannot go to LA without visiting the Pacific Coast. But while the vast majority of tourists go to Santa Monica and Venice Beach, Malibu Beach, in the Malibu district, is ideal for those who want a beautiful beach, without being in a tourist mecca.

Malibu Beach is approx. 45 kilometers west of the LA coastline out to Stillehavet is 34 kilometers long and along the coast many celebrities and other wealthy people live.

The beach town is ideal for surfing, and many surfers take the trip from LA to Malibu Beach, to catch the good waves. The area also stands out from the other coastal areas by being surrounded by beautiful nature in the form of mountain scenery.

Read about surfing in neighboring Mexico here

Los Angeles, USA

5 tips for the trip to LA

  • Rent a car at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), because LA is huge and public transportation can be cumbersome to use.
  • Download Lift or Uber to your smartphone for transport if you do not have a car available
  • LA is generally a safe destination, but certain areas of East Hollywood and Downtown LA should be avoided
  • Always have some cash on you, because not all places accept cards for small purchases under $ 5
  • It is normal to tip at restaurants in the US, between 15-20%

Enjoy your trip to Los Angeles!

Did you know: Here's an expert from USA Rejser Nicolai Bach Hjorth's top 7 overlooked destinations in the USA

7: Apostle Island, unique islands off Wisconsin
6: Finger Lakes, scenic lakes in New York
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About the author

Christian Brauner

I love to travel and I travel as often as the opportunity presents itself. I got my passion for travel already as a child, where my parents took my sister and I out into the big world.

My travel experience ranges from the classic city breaks in Europe, over road trips in the US, to backpacking in Asia and Australia.

Experiencing new cultures, unique nature and different societies, where people live very differently from life in Denmark, is what drives my desire to travel.

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