Top 10 Ways to Explore LA

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We all know the Hollywood sign and Disneyland, but Los Angeles offers so much more than purely manufactured tourist experiences. Take the tip and see The City of Angels the right way courtesy of the Top 10 Ways to Explore Los Angeles.

1. The Hollywood Sign

See that beeline of tourists scrambling up the parched escarpment for a better view of the Hollywood sign? Don’t follow them. Instead, take a drive through the hills below the sign and stop at one of the several scenic points for a far superior view. The closer you get to the actual sign, the less you’ll see of it.

2. Manhattan Beach

If it’s a trip to the slightly sleazier side of the beach you’re after, then Venice Beach is just the ticket. If, however, a bunch of preening bodybuilders isn’t really your scene, then head further south to Manhattan Beach for a decidedly more welcoming vibe. This spacious, soft-sand beach is one of the best in the city and the suburb itself is full of trendy bars and restaurants.

3. Farmers Market »

Why drop thousands of dollars on Rodeo Drive? You can find something far more rewarding for a fraction of the cost at the city’s original, and wildly popular, Farmers Market. Its range of gourmet produce is legendary, and if you simply must come home with some brand-name souvenirs, it’s also located just a stone’s throw from equally popular shopping mall, The Grove.

4. Hollywood and Vine

Once the glittering, glamorous heart of the Hollywood movie industry, today the corner of Hollywood and Vine – like so many faded stars – is rather worse for wear. You won’t see any celebrities in this run-down part of town, so head to the taping of a TV talk show if you’re desperate to catch some celebrities in the flesh.

5. Disneyland »

It’s the happiest place on earth, right? Not when you’re standing in line for three hours. And while Disneyland is a dream come true for many, it can be a nightmare when the holiday crowds turn out en masse. Try and visit during the week in late Winter or early Spring, when queues are at their shortest and you’ll enjoy substantially more bang for your buck.

6. Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre

The majority of tourists head to Hollywood Boulevard to check out the TCL Chinese Theatre, and more specifically the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While it’s a popular tourist haunt, you won’t see any flicks inside the theatre that you can’t view anywhere else. For a more authentic movie experience, head to the fully refurbished Egyptian Theatre just a few blocks away for an opulent screening just as Sid Grauman envisioned it.

7. Four Seasons Hotel

You can forget about cruising the streets of Hollywood or Beverly Hills in a vain attempt to spot celebrities, because most of them moved out long ago. A desire for privacy aside, plenty of them still hang out by the pool at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Even if you don’t land a role in a Hollywood production after being spotted sipping martinis by the pool, at least you’ll still enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep!

8. Downtown

”I used to like this town,” quipped Philip Marlowe in The Little Sister, and no doubt the hard-boiled detective saw plenty of change on the mean streets of L.A. While the Downtown area is still bustling during work hours, it tends to quieten down once the offices close. That means that if you'd like to let your hair down after dark, you may be better off staying outside the city centre in a pleasant beachside suburb such as hip and happening Santa Monica.

9. Pink’s

Pink’s may be a landmark Hollywood restaurant, but it’s a bit of a let-down in the hot dog department. Perhaps it’s the fact that it seems to have been around forever, but there are countless better takeaway food options available – particularly if you follow the famous Los Angeles food truck scene on Twitter.

10. Sunset Boulevard

It may have garnered countless pop culture references, but there’s no longer much to see down the faded Sunset Boulevard. Instead, the equally famous Mulholland Drive offers a much more comprehensive view of the city, as it twists and turns in dramatic fashion along the outer edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, offering panoramic views over the Downtown area and beyond.