The largest city in California, and the second largest (after New York
) in the whole of the USA
. Famous mostly for being the centre of the mighty US entertainment industry, especially in Hollywood, and the many superstars residing in the city associated with this industry.
For the dark tourist, however, it is primarily a number of significant and/or unusual museums with grim themes that are of primary interest, namely the following institutions:
Unlike other big American cityscapes, Los Angeles, or more commonly “L.A.” for short, is not characterized by skyscrapers (except for a comparatively small cluster in the financial district downtown) but rather by a vast sprawl of low, often just single- or two-storey buildings.
The resulting huge city area is connected by a network of roads that add another typical characteristic to the city. It's a city of cars. And the resulting air pollution/smog is a major issue. The inner city highways can have multiple lanes, sometimes as many as a dozen in each direction. Yet traffic congestion is the norm rather than the exception.
When I travelled to L.A. in August 2015, I only had a day there and spent much of that time in the three museums listed above, but hardly got a more general impression other than of the roads (horrific to look at, but not actually that bad to drive) and the low, urban sprawl.
I stayed near Hollywood Boulevard, saw the famous Hollywood sign and walked a bit of the famous Walk of Fame where famous film and music stars famously get honoured by a red star set into the pavement to celebrate their fame. But that's basically all I got of L.A.'s famous fame. Otherwise it felt rather low-key. But given how little time I actually had there I'm obviously in no position to judge the qualities of this big city properly ...
Being the transport hub that it is, getting to L.A. is easy, especially by plane. Its international airport (LAX) is one of the busiest and largest in the world. Intercontinental connections are mostly trans-Pacific
, though there are also a few very long-distance flights in the other direction to Europe as well (e.g. London
, Frankfurt). More often though you'd need one of the many domestic connecting flights to an East Coast hub (or Chicago
). L.A. is also the main US airport for flights to/from Hawaii
Overland, transport is mainly by car, although the city itself also has a public transport system. Choices for food & drink as well as for accommodation are predictably extremely vast – planning early and shopping around pays off.
Location (Google maps locators):