|Gabe, a native of LA, describes its "nature side" in this post.|
The second reason for the complexity of Los Angeles is its geography. Its area is vast. The city itself is 503 square miles, and that doesn’t count the full-incorporated cities of Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Burbank, and the like. To drive from Santa Monica to Pasadena will take you anywhere from 40min to 1.5hrs to traverse the 25 miles of LA freeways. The key word here is drive; one of the hardest parts about being a visitor to Los Angeles is that to really experience its diversity, you have to have access to a car. There is a public transportation network. But it is very limited. My recommendation, then, is that if you want to get the most out of your LA trip, rent a car.
So, now you have your car (a convertible, if you want to be totally cliché). What should you do? Where should you go? What should you look at? What follows will be a few recommendations in each of the following categories: Nature things; Museum things; and LA Culture things. These are by no means the only things to do. Or even necessarily the best things. But they will give you a sense of Los Angeles that is more than Baywatch or any other tv show. And they should also be fun and interesting.
Nature Things – Oceans and Mountains
|Santa Monica Pier & Beach|
A Collegiate interlude
Though there are more, LA proper is home to two world class universities: The University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) and the University of Southern California (USC). Both campuses are lovely, have museums and guided tours, and are worth visiting. U.C.L.A., in particular, is quite beautiful. And it has a fabulous sculpture gardens that are worth a visit. There, you can interact with Rodin, Jean Arp, Clader, Matisee, Lipchitz, and more. USC is located in downtown Los Angeles, so you might double that up with your visit to downtown – you could also check out the Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry if you are in the downtown area. U.C.L.A. is in Westwood, in the heart of west LA, an easy stop if you are doing anything from the beaches to mid-Wilshire, or on your way from West LA to the Valley.
Next week’s post will cover LA’s “Museum and Culture” options. A city so vast, it can’t be confined to one post!