Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fifteen top L.A. landmarks to see - Part three...

Los Angeles is not a typical city as it's so sprawling and unlike a conventional metropolis like New York or London, so it's good to be prepared and plan what you'd like to see to make the most of your visit.

You'll definitely need a car to get around as there are hardly any taxis here (you certainly can't rely on hailing a cab in the street) and no real public transport system to speak of.

In this the third installment, here are my final five local landmarks to visit in L.A. and make sure you check out parts one and two for more places to see around Los Angeles.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier at dusk
The Santa Monica Pier will celebrate it's 100th Anniversary this year on the 9th September 2009, as it has been a local landmark since 1909.
Santa Monica Pier
Admission to the Pier is free all year around and you'll find lots to do there, including restaurants, shops and rides at the Pacific Park fun-fair. Plus there's a Carousel from 1922 to enjoy and an interactive aquarium.
Santa Monica Pacific Park fun fair
Dogs are allowed on leash on the Pier, though not in the businesses or fairground, and also on the surrounding boardwalks (although not on the beach). You can also fish from the Pier without requiring a licence, or just watch the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.
End of Santa Monica Pier

Walt Disney Concert HallSituated in Downtown L.A. the Walt Disney Concert Hall is an amazing structure to behold.
Walt Disney Concert Hall Downtown LA
The futuristic looking building holds 2,665 people and as well as looking pretty spectacular outside, it has state-of-the-art acoustics inside. 
Walt Disney Concert Hall's amazing design
The stainless steel curved Concert Hall was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, who is also responsible for the equally impressive Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Walt Disney Concert Hall Downtown Los Angeles

Hollywood Walk of Fame
Walk of Fame Hollywood Boulevard
The Walk of Fame was created in 1958 and you'll find it running along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood. Along the star adorned sidewalk you'll find other highlights like Mann's Chinese Theatre and the Capitol Records Building
Vincent Price Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Along with checking out more than 2,000 stars showcasing celebrities and Hollywood icons from stage and screen, the movies, TV and music, that run along the Walk of Fame you'll also be entertained by hordes of street performers - musicians to listen to and costumed characters to be photographed beside.
Matt Damon Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Classical music concert at the Hollywood Bowl
This popular venue is one of the cultural highlights of L.A. and well worth an evening out. Seating an audience of around 18,000 in the outdoor amphitheater, the Hollywood Bowl season of concerts typically runs from June until the beginning of October.
Singalong Sound of Music at Hollywood Bowl
One of the great things about the Bowl is that it offers a wide variety of entertainment to suit most tastes, from classical music to pop concerts, musical theatre to singalong movies, plus firework displays to end a perfect evening of music.
Les Miserables Concert at Hollywood Bowl
You are even allowed to take your own food and drink into the Hollywood Bowl, but why not make a day of it and pack a picnic and enjoy it in the nearby parks beforehand.

Homes along the sand at Venice Beach
In addition to being a lovely stretch of sandy beach, this Southern California tourist haven is home to the infamous Muscle Beach and the bustling Promenade Boardwalk where you'll find street entertainers, fortune tellers and people selling their various wares. 
Bustling Venice Beach Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is also a popular place to walk, skate or cycle along the palm tree lined Ocean Front Walk with it's distinctive beach facing houses. There's also a pier to fish from and to get a better view of the Venice Beach shoreline and see up the coast to the Santa Monica Pier and beyond.
Venice beach Pacific Ocean and coastline
And there you have my top fifteen recommendations for what to see whilst you're in L.A. It's not an exhaustive list, it's simply the tip of the iceberg and there are many more things to do and see in the City of Angels. 

Before I go I want to leave you with one more sight that you must see in L.A., or should I say of L.A.  Call it a bonus or a sneaky sixteenth landmark, but it's the view of Downtown Los Angeles skyline which really stands out against the typically low level landscape of L.A.

Downtown Los Angeles skyline
Downtown LA skyline
Being so flat, it's quite hard to get a clear perspective on L.A. at times, but you can get a good view of the Downtown city skyline from up in the Hollywood Hills, from the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park or from our favourite dog walking trail at Runyon Canyon.
Los Angeles Downtown view
The tallest building at the centre of the collection of skyscrapers is the U.S. Bank Tower (also known as the Library Tower), which is the seventh tallest building in the Unites States. It was built in 1989 and stands 310m (1,108ft) tall.
View of Downtown LA from Hollywood HIlls
From a distance it really does give sprawling L.A. a distinctive skyline, and looks impressive by day and by night, that is, if you can see it through the marine layer or smog.

So what are you waiting for, get out there and explore L.A...

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