Los Angeles is considered to be one of the world’s major centers of business, culture, media and fashion. It is also considered to be the entertainment capital of the world, thanks to Hollywood being located within its borders, and spawning most of the world’s movies, television shows and musical recordings. As a result, Los Angeles has the highest concentration of celebrities and professional musicians of any city in the world. The city sits upon almost five hundred square miles and has a population of over four million people. Los Angeles is a city brimming with a vital nightlife and some of the best restaurants and hotels in the world.
The area around Los Angeles was first settled by the Gabrielenos and Chumash Native American tribes. It was until the mid sixteenth century that Europeans began to explore the area. The first expedition, to what is now the site of Los Angeles, was led by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who claimed the area in the name of Spain. However, he neglected to establish a permanent colony and instead opted to travel further down the coast. In fact, a permanent colony wouldn’t be established until 1781 when Spanish governor Felipe de Neve founded it with a rather long and elaborate name, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula. This name meant “The village of our lady, the queen of angels located on the river Porziuncola. In 1821, its control was reverted to Mexico following its independence from Spain. In 1848, control of Los Angeles was reverted to the United States, when it was purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In 1850 it was organized as a U.S city.
One of the most popular attraction for world wide travelers visiting Los Angeles is Hollywood. This is the entertainment and film industry of the world and can easily identified by the huge Hollywood sign that is situated on the hills overlooking the city. This sign is painted white and stands over fifty feet tall. This makes it one of the most easily recognizable landmark in the area, as it can be seen from many miles away. Also located in the area is the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The courtyard of this theater is where hundreds of celebrities have placed their signatures and handprints in the cement. Along the front of this theater is the mile long Walk Of Fame. Here stars are placed in the sidewalk, and features the names of thousands of celebrities. Other interesting landmarks include the Capital Records Tower, Hollywood Guinness World Records Museum, Hollywood Wax Museum and the Kodak Theater.
Another popular attraction in the city is Universal Studios. This is one of the world’s largest film studio and theme park. A favorite of visitors here is the studio tour. This is where visitors can ride a tram that allows them to see various areas of the park and the studio. Visitors can see famous back lots where movies such as “Curse of the Mummies Tomb”, “Back To The Future” and “Jurassic Park” were filmed. Visitors can also see a set designed as a town of the wild west. Other attractions include rides where visitors can experience the real thrill of Hollywood special effects. These include rides such as “Water World”, “Jurassic Park” and “Back Draft”. Other interesting features of Universal Studios include theme restaurants, nightclubs and several movie cineplex shows.
Warner Brother Studio is another location where tourist can get a close up view of the movie industry. While Universal Studio is more geared toward providing a theme park experience to visitors, Warner Brothers Studios is more interested in providing guest with a behind the scenes experience of how movies are made. It features a two hour tour where visitors are offered a unique look at how movie sets are constructed and sneak peeks at the wardrobe and sound engineering departments. On occasion, this studio also allows visitors to sit in on the filming of certain movies and television shows. Other features of Warner Brothers Studios include a museum and an educational film chronicling the history of the studio.
For those visitors who are interested in trendy restaurants and very exclusive shopping venues should check out the Western Los Angeles communities of Beverly Hills and Bel Air. The most expensive shopping district in the world, Rodeo Drive is located here. Other notable boulevards in West L.A. include Sunset Strip (which is part of Sunset Boulevard). This boulevard features exciting nightclubs and rock venues such as the Whisky-a-Go-Go. Visitors can also take tours of the stars homes or buy one of the many maps detailing where the stars live.
A must see location for any visitor to Los Angeles is the Los Angeles Zoo. This huge facility boast over eleven hundred animal from all around the globe. Also featured here is an extensive botanical garden that has over eight hundred plant species. Other features of this zoo include natural exhibits, restaurants, shopping venues and special film presentations of all aspects of zoology. There is also a petting zoo where children can get up and close to certain animals such as goats, lizards and llamas.
Located in the center of Los Angeles is one of the oldest fossil sites in the world, La Brea Tar Pits. In these pits thousands of animals died and were perfectly preserved by the tar. These fossils can be seen at the Page Museum, which is located on the site.
Combining many different aspects of surrealism and art deco styles is the silver Walt Disney Concert Hall. This is definitely a unique and unusual building to visit and tours are given on a regular basis. Also located on site is the concert hall’s restaurant.
Los Angeles is also a city that offers some of the most splendid beaches in the world. These include the beach neighborhoods of Santa Monica and Malibu, where visitors can stroll the beaches or take a dip in the ocean. These neighborhoods also offer street performers, many shops and beach side cafes.