"City of Angeles"
3 899 000
13 200 000
Population Density (km2):
Population Density (mi2):
Largest City in California
2nd Largest City in the United States
Avg. Summertime High:
Avg. Summertime Low:
Avg. Wintertime High:
Avg. Wintertime Low:
In Los Angeles, you'll find Hollywood - the center of the world's entertainment industry. You'll also find beaches in abundance, several of whom you've probably already seen in movies and tv-series such as Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Long Beach, or Huntington Beach. Since Los Angeles is such a vast city, spanning over 100 km from north to south, it can take hours to get across town. Expect to spend a lot of time in the car, which you undoubtedly need to rent, during your visit here!
United States of America
9 525 067 km2
Ranked 4 out of 195
331 500 000
Ranked 3 out of 235
Ranked 36 out of 194
Population: 6 385 000
New York City
Population: 21 140 000
New York City
Economy & Development:
Human Development Index:
Ranked 17 out of 189
Ranked 28 out of 189
GDP (PPP) Per Capita:
Ranked 15 out of 225
Democracy & Freedom:
Ranked 25 out of 167
83 points out of 100 possible
Ranked 42 out of 180
Ranked 5 out of 162
4th of July
What Is Celebrated On The National Day:
The signing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July 1776 where it was declared that the Thirteen Colonies were no longer a subject under the Monarch of Britain (United Kingdom).
Facts & Codes:
Country Calling Code:
Western United States
423 970 km2
Ranked 3 out of 51
39 538 000
Ranked 1 out of 51
Of National Population
Population: 2 397 000
Population: 13 200 000
GDP Per Capita::
Higher than national average
Dry Summer Temperate Climate (Cs)
UTC -8 (PST)
US State Information:
"The Golden State"
Meaning of the Name:
Los Angeles, which is a short form of the original much longer name, is of Spanish origin and means "The Angels". Hence the common nickname "City of Angels".
The city was founded as "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula, which is Spanish for "Town of our lady the Queen of Angels of the River Porciúncula".
Santa Monica Pier
Walk of Fame
Los Angeles International Airport
30 km / 18 mi (SW)
The third busiest airport in the world, and the second busiest in the United States (after Atlanta). While the airport officially is 30 km (18 mi) from Downtown Los Angeles it's important to know that the city is more or less in the middle of the city. You're almost within walking distance from major areas of the city such as Venice Beach or the South Bay. The city starts right up at the runways. LAX is surrounded by normal city streets in almost every direction.
Rent a car! It's as simple as that. There are no valid public transportation options to the airport. If you won't get a rental car you should take a cab or Uber. There is however an ongoing project to build a metro connection to Downtown. It won't be operational until 2024 though.
Tram / Light Rail
Elevated Rapid Transit
Los Angeles actually does have a metro system. It consists of one underground line and four lines above ground. More are currently under construction. However, these are quite worthless for a tourist as they won't take you anywhere useful for a sightseeing trip. You can tour Hollywood and Downtown on the metro system but as soon as you want to go somewhere close to the beach you will need a car.
Terrible. Pretty much nonexistent. One of the least walkable major cities in the world. Downtown might be considered fairly walkable, but you don't have that many places to walk to. Everything worth seeing in Los Angeles is spread out over a large distance that can only be covered by a car.
Cash Or Credit:
Cash is still common in the US, but in recent years cards have become the dominant form of payment and, nowadays, you can survive a trip to the US with only a minor amount of cash in smaller denominations for tips. In 2022 was the first time I was able to go an entire trip to the US without spending a single paper bill.
Good To Know:
Everyone is expecting tips for everything in the United States. It can be a good idea to have some one-dollar bills available, but nowadays it's often possible to give tips on card transactions as well. Only a few years ago that was not the case and even if you paid by card you had to give tip, which was expected, in cash.
What About English?
Other Common Languages:
Spanish is widely spoken in Los Angeles and you would in most situations be able to get by with no English as long as you speak Spanish. In certain areas, you would be able to handle most situations in other languages, such as Vietnamese in Westminster.
US Highway 1
Along The Coast
A huge city like Los Angeles won't just have one main street, and that's especially true for a sprawling city like this which also doesn't have just one core. Los Angeles has several cores, many of which aren't officially in the City of Los Angeles. But if there's one street to keep an eye on and which you can find in many of the tourist areas it is US Highway 1, also known as Pacific Coast Highway, or US Route 1. This street actually starts in Northern California and ends in San Diego. Through Los Angeles, it follows the coast, or near the coast, where it often is the main thoroughfare in those areas. This is not a shopping street and it's not pedestrianized. In some places, you cannot even walk on sidewalks. It is however a very scenic road with beautiful views of the coastal areas of Los Angeles. The illustration is from Laguna Beach in southern Los Angeles. It's one of the few areas where the street actually is somewhat pedestrian-friendly.
There's no central in Los Angeles. It's a very decentralized city. Generally, I'd say that for accommodation you should stay near the coast as a tourist. Avoid Downtown (unless you have business there or are in town for an event at LA Live). I would also avoid Hollywood. It's a must-see attraction on a sightseeing tour, but it's not a great place to stay. I personally have spent the most time in Huntington Beach. Anywhere along Beach Blvd (State Route 39) between the beach/US Route 1 and Garden Grove are a good place to look for hotels or motels. Venice Beach and Santa Monica are also good areas to look at, but it's in general much more expensive. No matter where you decide to stay you will need a car for transportation and you will spend a lot of time in that car.
Safety certainly is a concern in Los Angeles, and while you don't need to constantly look over your shoulder it's definitively something you need to be more aware of than in your average Western city. However, there's a huge difference between areas. Downtown is reasonably safe during the day, but most parts of it should be avoided after business hours. The area around LA Live is an exception and is safe as long as events are going on. Skid Row should be avoided both day and night. As a tourist, you won't spend much time Downtown anyways. I personally find Hollywood to be sketchy, and not a pretty part of the city. The coastal areas (Santa Monica, Venice Beach) is where you should spend most of your time and those areas are safe during the day. I would still take additional precautions while going out at night in those areas.
Los Angeles doesn't have that much street life. You take the car from A to B and rarely walk aimlessly up and down streets so in most cases you won't experience any situations that could become unsafe even though you're in dangerous areas. If you plan on visiting Los Angeles without a car you must be aware that you will likely find yourself in more unsafe situations than necessary. The car is God in Los Angeles! I would advise against visiting if you won't have the possibility to rent a car.
Note: My assumption is of the basis that you will always take normal precautions when you're out traveling, just as you would do at home. Even the safest cities have bad elements and no matter how safe you might feel you must always take basic precautions. I'm always aware of my surroundings when I walk around, both with and without the camera. I am however a very typical tourist and it shows so I am a person that will undoubtedly draw the attention of those who targets tourists. If you can you should of course always try to blend in as much as possible, but with my big camera around my neck, it's impossible. That's two things that are good to know when reading my assessment of how it felt from a safety point of view.
Los Angeles is the birthplace of fast food! It's where the car-driven fast food industry took form in the 1940s, and it is the place on earth where you have the widest availability of options. For a fast food lover, this is the destination that should be on top of your list.
Type of Food:
Did I Try:
5 / 5
In-N-Out is the most iconic of all chains from California! No trip to California is complete without a stop at one of their restaurants! The menu is short and simple (with a not-so-secret additional menu). The prices are lower than average and it's one of few chains where you can still eat a full meal for around $10. Despite that, they are still able to pay their workers decent salaries.
In-N-Out is the number one burger chain in Los Angeles. They are found everywhere and the queues are always long. It's often shorter queues inside the restaurant than in the drive-thru (which more often than not goes all the way around the restaurant and back out in the streets). If you leave Los Angeles without at least one visit to an In-N-Out you haven't truly been to Los Angeles!
Type of Food:
Did I Try:
4 / 5
Del Taco is similar to Taco Bell but found mostly throughout the Southwestern United States. Their menus are often served with fries, which is unusual in the United States but similar to how Taco Bell for example does it Internationally.
I like this chain. It's pretty much the same quality as Taco Bell and has a similar menu. Their sauces are hotter than the ones found in Taco Bell, which is a positive thing. They are found in all areas of the city, but restaurants can be far apart and far away.
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I didn't like Los Angeles the first two times I visited it. The third time I started to warm up, and for the fourth and fifth times, I loved the city! It does take some time to get to like Los Angeles. The traffic can be overwhelming, the extreme distances between everything, and all the time spent just driving on all types of roads. But after a while, you get used to it and start getting the California feeling.
Do I Recommend You To Visit?
Yes. But only if you have the possibility to rent a car. I wouldn't travel here without a car, even if they have a metro system.
Will I Come Back Again?
Yes, I've already been five times and can't wait to visit again!
Weather During My Stay:
"It never rains in Southern California". Even if the weather forecast says it will be cloudy you will probably see almost blue skies.
The general California feeling. The culture. It's the Entertainment Capital of the World and you will recognize so much from your favorite movies and series.
Not As Good:
It's a dirty city! An extremely dirty city! Don't come here and expect to see only glamour and riches.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood is one of the biggest sights in Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood area.
Apart from the Theatre and a short promenade on the Walk of Fame, there's not really much to do in Hollywood. It's a typical tourist trap and I don't recommend spending much time there. I've never spent more than an hour walking the streets of Hollywood.
A look at the mostly residential South Bay area from an alley on Artesia Blvd in (North) Redondo Beach.
The famous Santa Monica Pier.
... And the popular Santa Monica Beach, which is often featured in movies.
The Hollywood sign is not visible from most parts of the city so if you want to see it you should go to Griffith Observatory in the surrounding mountains. You can't legally get right up to the sign, but you can take a long hike to get closer than this if you really would want to. It's not worth the hassle.
The Skyline of Los Angeles in the morning after a rare rainfall.
A photo of the Downtown Skyline from N Broadway near Lincoln Heights.
Pershing Square is a major meeting point in Downtown Los Angeles.
A street scene on Olive St in Downtown. The tall, blue building in the background is the Wilshire Grand Center, the tallest building in the city, and West of Chicago.
U.S. Bank Tower (also known as Library Tower) was previously the tallest building in the city until the completion of Wilshire Grand Center in 2017.
LA Live is the new entertainment district of Los Angeles, situated in the Southern part of Downtown.
Eastern Columbia Building is one of the greatest examples of Art Deco architecture in Los Angeles and a major landmark of Downtown.
Downtown Los Angeles is actually quite dense. With recent construction and future development, it's possible that Los Angeles will in the future get a lively, interesting, and walkable Downtown similar to cities like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. Let's hope!
Hermosa Beach in South Bay.
Looking up towards Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles International Airport from Hermosa Beach. This is just a few kilometers/miles from the third largest airport in the world and yet it is super dense with leisure and residential units.
A beach promenade linking Hermosa Beach to Redondo Beach.
Redondo Beach Pier is larger than the usual piers in Los Angeles. It features several restaurants.
It was stormy weather when I visited Redondo Beach.
The famous Muscle Beach in Venice Beach.
Los Angeles International Airport.