Basic Information about Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.

With its world-famous sights, attractions and spectacular scenery, it is no wonder why more than 50 million people visit every year.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach getaway, a shopping spree or a chance to explore the sights and culture of Los Angeles, you are sure to find it here.

History 

Los Angeles is a vibrant city with a rich and diverse history.

The area initially inhabited by the Tongva people more than 8,000 years ago, is one of the oldest continually inhabited places in the United States.

The city was officially founded on September 4th, 1781 and quickly became an important trading and shipping port.

The town was incorporated in 1850 and was given the name Los Angeles. 

It quickly grew into a central hub for the agricultural and oil industries. 

Los Angeles has played an essential role in the history of the United States. 

The city was home to the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984 and hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1960. 

It was also the site of the Watts Rebellion in 1965, one of the largest civil unrests in the nation’s history. 

Today, Los Angeles is a major world city, with a population of more than 4 million. 

The city is a major center for the entertainment industry, a center of culture, world-renowned museums, concert halls and other attractions.

Culture

Los Angeles is a diverse city with a vast and vibrant culture. 

From the entertainment industry to the thriving art scene, Los Angeles offers something for everyone. 

The city is home to many music, art and film festivals, as well as numerous museums, galleries and theaters.

Los Angeles also boasts a diverse array of restaurants and food, with cuisine from all over the world.

The city is also known for its shopping, from the high-end boutiques of Rodeo Drive to the eclectic street vendors of Melrose Avenue. 

Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures, with many people from different backgrounds and traditions living in the city. 

The city’s culture is constantly evolving, with new trends and ideas emerging every day. 

Los Angeles is a great place to explore and experience various cultures, from its fashion to its food.

Geography

Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city with a diverse geography. 

It lies on a broad coastal plain in the Los Angeles basin, surrounded by mountains, valleys, forests, islands, lakes and rivers. 

Los Angeles is situated in the center of a coastal plain, bordered by 

  • The Santa Monica Mountains to the west, 
  • The San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest to the northeast, 
  • The San Fernando Valley to the east 
  • The Pacific Ocean to the south.

The city’s climate is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters.

The city has over 80 districts with many distinct neighborhoods and suburbs, each with its own personality and culture. 

Some of the most famous districts include Hollywood, Brentwood, Downtown LA, Beverly Hills and Venice. 

Time Zone

Los Angeles lies in the Pacific Time Zone, 8 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). 

This time zone is also referred to as Pacific Standard Time (PST). 

During Daylight Saving Time, the time zone changes to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). 

This means that the time shifts to 7 hours behind UTC. 

This is observed during the summer months, starting on the second Sunday of March and ending on the first Sunday of November.

Currency 

The US dollar is the official currency in Los Angeles and it comes in the denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

Some of the best locations for currency exchange in Los Angeles are:

  • Foreign currency express
  • Currency exchange Hollywood- LaCurrency
  • La Currency downtown
  • Currency exchange international

Language

It is estimated that over 100 languages are spoken in Los Angeles, with English being the most prominent. 

However, due to the city’s past under Spanish and Mexican rule, Spanish is also widely spoken in LA. 

The U.S. Census states that 70% of the Los Angeles population speaks English as a first or second language and 44% speak Spanish as a first or second language. 

Additionally, other languages such as Japanese, Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian and Persian are also widely spoken in the area.

What to see & do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a great destination for tourists with plenty of things to do and see. 

Some of the most popular attractions include 

Other activities in the city include 

  • Hiking through Griffith Park
  • Visiting the famous Venice Beach
  • Exploring the vibrant downtown area
  • Shopping in the iconic Beverly Hills and 
  • Taking a tour of the movie studios

There is also an abundance of fine dining, nightlife and entertainment to be found.

Tips for Saving Money in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a renowned Hollywood glitz, with stunning beaches and a year-round destination for tourists. 

However, it can be pricey to enjoy all the city offers. 

Here are some tips to make your trip to L.A. more budget-friendly.

Use public transportation

Los Angeles has plenty of public transportation options that are cheaper than taxis or rental cars. 

Choose affordable accommodations

There are plenty of budget-friendly hotels and hostels in Los Angeles. 

Pack your own meals

Eating out can be expensive, so bring snacks and small meals with you to save money. 

Skip the tourist attractions

Popular tourist attractions can be expensive, so visit free attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the Griffith Observatory instead. 

Look for discounts

Check online for discount coupons and deals for attractions, restaurants and activities in Los Angeles. 

Buy souvenirs in bulk

Souvenirs are often cheaper when bought in bulk, so consider buying multiple items from the same store.

Buy the City Pass

If you are looking to explore the major attraction of the city, buy the Los Angeles All Inclusive Pass or Los Angeles Explorer Pass to save upto 50% on tickets and tour prices. 

Best time to visit Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a great destination year-round, but the best time to visit depends on a few factors. 

From the weather to festivals and events, the perfect time to visit LA will depend on what type of vacation you’re looking for.  

Spring (March-May) is one of the most popular times to visit Los Angeles. 

The weather is mild and it’s the perfect time to explore the city’s many attractions and activities. 

Summer (June-August) is typically the busiest time of year for tourists visiting Los Angeles. 

The days are long and the weather is hot, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy the city’s beaches and outdoor activities. 

The Fall (September-November) weather denotes the start of various festivals and events throughout the city. 

If you are looking for some vibrant celebrations, this is the perfect time to visit Los Angeles. 

Winter (December-February) is the least popular time to visit Los Angeles, but it can still be a great time to visit. 

The days are shorter and the weather is cooler, so it’s a great time to explore indoor attractions such as museums and galleries.

Navigating through Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for its busy highways and roads, with an estimated population of around 10 million. 

It is the second-largest city in the United States, with a population density of 8,284 people per square mile. 

As such, Los Angeles has an extensive public transportation system to accommodate its large population.  

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) operates various public transportation services, including buses, light rail, subways and a commuter rail system. 

Metro buses 

These are widely used and affordable for visitors to explore the city. 

They run throughout the city and there are many express and night buses to reach popular destinations.   

Metro Rail 

It comprises five light rail lines and two subway lines. 

The light rail lines cover much of the city and are ideal for traveling between neighborhoods. 

The Red and Purple Lines subway lines provide direct access to downtown and other popular areas. 

The Metro also operates a commuter rail system, the Metrolink, which serves the suburban areas of Los Angeles County.  

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) 

It operates a fleet of buses, an affordable way to get around the city. 

They run throughout the day and night and many routes cover popular tourist attractions. 

LADOT also operates the Dash, a network of smaller buses that run downtown and in other areas.  

Alternative ways of Navigation

In addition to public transportation, Los Angeles also has a robust ride-sharing and taxi services network. 

Uber and Lyft are widely used by both locals and tourists and taxis are available at most hotels.   

Los Angeles also has various other transportation options, including car rental, bike rental and scooter rental. 

There are also several bike-sharing and scooter-sharing companies operating in the city.

Staying Safe in Los Angeles

Quick tips to stay safe throughout your journey 

  • Avoid walking alone at night and keep valuables such as passports, wallets and phones in a secure pocket or bag. 
  • Stay in well-lit, populated areas and avoid dimly lit alleys and streets. 
  • Do not accept rides from strangers.
  • Avoid confronting locals, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area. 
  • Use licensed taxis or ride-sharing services to get around. 
  • Be alert to your surroundings and watch out for pickpockets.
  • Avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry.

Helpful numbers

Prior to traveling to a foreign country, it is a good idea to have the contact information of important helplines in case of an emergency. 

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch number (323) 890-5500 
  • Los Angeles Fire Department’s emergency number (213) 485-6121
  • California Highway Patrol’s emergency number (800) 835-5247
  • Los Angeles City Hall’s non-emergency number (213) 978-4600
  • American Automobile Association’s emergency number (800) 222-4357 
  • Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board’s visitor information line (800) 228-2452 

Featured Image: NYmag.com