With Hong Kong Airlines launching direct flights to Los Angeles from December, we’ve compiled a brief guide for those keen to visit America’s second-biggest city.
Exploring Los Angeles
The City of Angels, La La Land, Tinseltown or simply “LA”; whatever name you give it, Los Angeles is a city of bright lights, big dreams and modern American culture, and home to around four million people. It’s also the gateway to California and the west coast, which means plenty of opportunities for adventure.
LA’s most famous neighbourhoods are Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and if it’s the glitz and glamour of the former you’re looking for, be sure to check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame; afterwards, watch a movie on one the biggest IMAX screens in the country at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. You can then swing past the iconic Hollywood sign sitting atop Mount Lee as you cruise towards Beverly Hills and Sunset Strip. Or take a Universal Studios tour and keep an eye out for the stars.
For star-spotting of a different kind, a visit to the Griffith Observatory is a must, and, if it’s culture you’re after, LA has museums aplenty; from the Grammy Museum to the Getty, there’s something for everyone. The Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall are worth checking out just for their iconic architecture, but music lovers will especially relish the chance to see a concert at either of these venues.
LA is also famous for its shopping. Cruise down Rodeo Drive (preferably in a Maserati) and indulge in designer labels, if you dare. Budget a little lower? Stick with The Grove for chain stores, and Melrose Avenue for something unique.
California is known for its long stretches of beach, and, whatever the season, Santa Monica Pier is a lot of fun. Venice Beach is the spot to go for watching muscle men at work; next, tour the canals, modelled on the Italian city of the same name, for an interesting part of the city’s history. Further south, Manhattan Beach is a little quieter but just as lovely.
Beyond Los Angeles
Orange County is just south of Los Angeles and in this part of the world, it seems, everyone wants to be famous. Check out the charming Hotel Laguna, built in 1928 on the site of the original hotel dating back to the 1890s. The picturesque mid-1930s lifeguard tower on Main Beach was originally a gas station, and brick-paved Peppertree Lane is home to chichi little shops such as La Rue du Chocolat, and dates from the same period. Bounded by Los Angeles county to the northwest and the Pacific Ocean to the west, “The OC” is spectacularly pretty in parts and a top tourist destination: fans of theme parks can visit Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. A great way to spend a day is to rent an electric boat, loaded up with drinks and snacks, and sail through Newport harbour – described as one of the world’s largest and most beautiful small-boat harbours – passing palatial villas and picturesque Balboa Island’s bay-side cottages.
Hong Kong Airlines will fly direct from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, on the new Airbus A350, four times a week from 18 December, and a daily service will commence on 16 January 2017. With a flight time of around 13 hours, you can be strolling down Sunset Boulevard or sipping sundowners overlooking the beach in no time!
This article first appeared in the Oct/Nov edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.
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