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Los Angeles is the most populous city in California, and the second most populous city in the United States after New York City. Located on a broad basin in Southern California, the city is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, valleys, forests, the Pacific Ocean, and nearby desert. The metropolitan area is the second-most populous in the United States and home to over 17 million people who hail from all parts of the globe. The metropolitan area is spread across Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, and parts of San Bernardino County and Riverside County. Los Angeles is an important center of culture, business, media, and international trade, but it is most famous for being a major center of the world's television, motion picture, and recording industry, which forms the base of its status. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Los Angeles
Showbusiness is what has earned L.A. its fame, so it's no surprise that many come for the sights of Hollywood, where you will find such landmarks to film as the world's most famous theater in the world, Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or gaze up at the Hollywood Sign overlooking the area. However, while the entertainment industry is still headquartered here, most of the major studios have moved elsewhere; Universal City is home to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, while nearby Burbank is home to the Warner Brothers Studios and NBC Studios, among others. On the Westside, you will find the historic Culver Studios, home of Sony Pictures, in Culver City, CBS Television City in Fairfax, and the headquarters of 20th Century Fox in Century City.
Of course, many also come in the hopes of seeing celebrities. While your chances of running into one in Hollywood are rather low, you may get lucky in the glamorous neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Malibu, which are home to many celebrity mansions and whose fancy restaurants are sometimes frequented by movie stars.
Olvera Street in Downtown is the historic center of LA; the site of the original pueblo (village) the city derived its name from (Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles - Our Lady the Queen of the Angels). The oldest building in the city is located here and is open to visitors, as are a number of Mexican restaurants and shops. Across the street is another historic site: Union Station, the main railway hub for the city.
Of Los Angeles' museums, the Getty Center (aka the J. Paul Getty Museum) in West LA is perhaps the most renowned, regularly hailed as one of the finest art museums in the country. Located at the top of the Santa Monica mountains, it has a spectacular view of the L.A. basin and the Pacific Ocean, with an extensive arts collection inside. The old museum, the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, is also worth a visit. Another splendid institution is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), which has two branches in Downtown. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Wilshire features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a new contemporary museum on its campus.
Exposition Park holds two of LA's best science museums, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Science Center, both of which has an extensive range of exhibits. The Science Center is reputed for its aircraft collection, which includes the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Another excellent museum is the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Wilshire, which preserves the famous tar pits and showcases numerous fossils that have been excavated from the tar.
There are also a number of excellent historical and cultural museums. The Autry Museum in Griffith Park has numerous exhibits on the history of the west. Exposition Park is home to the California African-American Museum while Little Tokyo holds the Japanese American National Museum. In West LA you'll find the Museum of Tolerance, which has a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust.
Griffith Park in Northwest LA is the second largest city park in the whole country and is a great place for hikes or picnics, with great views of the city. Within the park you will also find the L.A. Zoo, the Autry Museum, the Griffith Observatory, and plenty of recreational activities. Also in Northwest LA are Echo Park and MacArthur Park, both of which are popular neighborhood parks with excellent views of downtown. Above nearby Hollywood is Mulholland Drive, a famous road that is the setting for endless movies and first kisses, and provides great views over the city.
Exposition Park in South Central LA is a lovely retreat, with beautiful gardens and a number of cultural institutions including the Natural History Museum, the California Science Center, and the L.A. Coliseum. Pan Pacific Park in Wilshire is another popular neighborhood park.