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Los Angeles - City of Angels

Los Angeles, or more commonly known simply as LA, is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States with a population of 3.83 million.

The city was founded on September 4, 1781 by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States.

Home to Hollywood, the city is globally recognized as the epicenter of the motion picture industry and is host to the annual Academy Awards, the oldest and one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world.

Away from all the glitz and stars, LA has over 800 galleries and museums to it's name as well as a huge investment in the baseball, NFL and hockey industries.

www.lacity.org/

Top 5 things to do in Los Angeles

Hollywood and Highland (District)

Situated west-northwest of down-town Los Angeles, few haven't heard of Hollywood.

It's unmissable and blatant self-edifying 14m tall x 110m wide sign sitting atop the Hollywood Hills is a world-famous landmark.

The sign was created as an advertisement in 1923, but garnered increasing recognition after the sign was left up.

Hollywood can accredit it's fame to the American movie industry gaining nicknames such as StarStruck Town and Tinseltown. Today, much of the movie industry has dispersed into surrounding areas but a significant number of auxiliary industries such as editing and effects are still located in the area proper.

After many years of serious decline, when many Hollywood landmarks were threatened with demolition the area is now being regenerated

New developments are generally being centered around the Hollywood Boulevard with the Hollywood and Highland Center being one of the recent success stories.

www.abouthollywood.com/

Getty Center & Getty Villa

Opened in 1997 to the tune of a measly $1.3 billion (!) the campus is home to cultural institutions founded by oilman J. Paul Getty.

Sitting atop a hill overlooking Los Angeles this popular attraction is visited by 1.3 million tourists every year.

The center showcases art collections from the Middle Ages to the present, however, the buildings themselves could be classed as art in their own right. It also has outdoor sculptures displayed on terraces and in gardens which give a fantastic view over the city below.

Slightly further out on the Pacific Coast Highway is the Getty Villa - the second part of the Getty Center.

It is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria and combines an educational centre with museum with over 44,000 pieces in it's collections dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD.

The collections are housed within Roman-inspired architecture and surrounded by Roman-style gardens.

The Getty Center is open every day from 10am till 5.30pm (9.30pm on Saturday) but closed Mondays.

The Getty Villa is open every day 10am till 5pm but closed Tuesdays.

Admission to both the Getty Center and Getty Villa is free but timed tickets must be obtained in advance via phone or the museum's website. Parking charges apply.

www.getty.edu/visit/

Hollywood History Museum

Built in 1935 as the make-up studio for the stars, this museum's green granite and rose-colored marble exterior is as lovely as the exhibits inside

The museum boasts having the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the World.

Guests begin the tour on the third floor and eventually work down four floors to the basement. Exhibits are focused on Hollywood memorabilia, original costumes, Max Factor make-up rooms and movie sets.

Tickets can be bought on-line or at the venue.

www.thehollywoodmuseum.com/

Griffith Park

Griffith park encompasses 4,210 acres of land at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains in the Los Feliz neighborhood making it one of the largest urban parks in North America.

Visitors can attend concerts under the stars at the magnificent Greek Theatre, which was built to resemble a Greek amphitheater or study the stars at the newly renovated Griffith Observatory and planetarium.

Within the park you will also find Los Angeles Zoo, the Museum of the American West, two 18-hole golf courses, a baseball field, swimming pool and athletics field. It is a very big park!

Another seasonal attraction during late November through December is the annual holiday light festival display sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Spectators can walk or drive their vehicles through it.

www.laparks.org/dos/parks/griffithPK/index.htm

Universal Studios

If it's fun your after then what better place to go than Universal Studios Hollywood.

It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in use today.

From the beginning, Universal has offered tours of its studio. In the silent film days, Carl Laemmle's tour included a chance to buy fresh produce, since then-rural Universal City was still in part a working farm. This original tour was discontinued in the early 1930s due to the advent of sound films coming to Universal.

The studios area is split into two lots on different levels, connected by a series of escalators called the Starway. Each lot features a collection of rides, shows and attractions as well as food, beverage and merchandise shops.

Open daily from 10am till 5pm. Check on-line for best ticket prices.

www.universalstudioshollywood.com/

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