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Insider Guide to Los Angeles: Flight Centre’s Lydia Tsang on all the neighbourhood must-dos

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Flight Centre Hong Kong’s resident LA expert Lydia Tsang gives us the inside scoop on all the neighbourhood must-dos.

Nowhere does glitz and glamour quite like Los Angeles – and with the likes of Hollywood, Disneyland and Santa Monica Pier on your doorstep, this vibrant city packs in more than its fair share of iconic sights.

From where to eat, what to see, where to shop and just about everything else in-between, this is your crib sheet to getting the best out of the City of Angels.

First piece of advice? Rent a car. LA is a sprawling destination, with many districts a few hours’ drive from each another; public transport is underdeveloped, has a bit of a sketchy reputation, and will result in too much time wasted hanging around when you could be having much more fun exploring. Pick a base from one of the destinations below, then plot out some road trips to wherever else is on your hit list.

• It’s touristy but has to be done – grab some photos at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Sunset Boulevard.
• Explore the mysteries of the cosmos at Griffith Observatory, then lace up your walking shoes to tackle a hiking trail or two at Griffith Park and enjoy prime views of the classic Hollywood sign.
• Head to The Grove, a great outdoor mall and farmer’s market for fresh, local produce, that has the added bonus of some serious celebrity-spotting opportunities.
• Feast on a delicious pastrami sandwich at Canter’s Deli, then knock back some strong drinks at the best kind of dive bar, The Dime.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

• Drive along Mulholland Drive in Beverly Hills to see where the rich and famous have their homes, while also nabbing great views of the city below.
• Head to Universal Studios for the day – must-dos are the Studio Tour and Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Buy a Universal Express Pass so you can skip the queues for rides.
• Make your way to NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theatre – not film – is the real star. You’ll find more than 20 professional theatres putting on memorable performances in LA’s very own version of ‘off-Broadway,’ with original works the norm.
• Sip on Zombie and Mai Tai cocktails at LA’s oldest tiki bar, Tonga Hut – and save a few quarters for its excellent, eclectic jukebox.

• Indulge your carnivorous side at Lala’s Grill – the Argentinian steaks are out-of-this-world.

Orpheum Theatre

• Wander around the charming historic buildings at Olvera Street, a colourful Mexican marketplace known as the ‘birthplace of Los Angeles.’
• Get a feel for old LA in the Historic Core neighbourhood, home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Bradbury Building, Grand Central Market, Orpheum Theatre, Eastern Columbia Building and Los Angeles Theatre.
• Get your cultural fix at the Museum of Contemporary Art, then catch a Los Angeles Lakers or LA Clippers basketball game at Staples Center.
• Go to Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery and ask the guy at the counter,
“Do you sell birthday candles?” You’ll be whisked to the back of the shop where there’s a secret little speakeasy; night owls will be pleased to hear it stays open until 3am.

• Stroll along the iconic Santa Monica Pier and take a ride on the solar-powered Ferris wheel which by night is lit up by 160,000 dazzling LED lights.
• Drive to Topanga State Park for some fantastic hiking. The trail up to Eagle Rock is amazing – quiet with beautiful scenery.
• People-watch at Venice Beach, then take a road trip to the more serene Huntington Beach, stopping by delicious seafood joints on the Pacific Coast Highway along the way.

• Shop ‘til you drop on Third Street Promenade, then fuel up on fajitas at Barney’s Beanery.

• Silver Lake is hipster central, so drink your fill at all the great coffee shops.
• Go jogging around the tranquil green space between Ivanhoe
Reservoir and Silver Lake, or spend a relaxing day paddle- boating round Echo Park Lake.

• Quirky independent boutiques rule the roost here, so take a leisurely browse around Sunset Junction and explore the likes of Dream Collective, Mohawk General Store and The Odells.
• See how many meals you can fit in – try everyone’s favourite neighbourhood Italian, Alimento; funky Northern Thai joint Night + Market Song; casual Taiwanese eatery Pine & Crane; Sqirl for the best brunch in town; and chilled- out mainstay L&E Oyster Bar.

• Admire the vintage electric signs at the unique Museum of Neon Art, then sign up for the Neon Cruise – an open-top bus tour around the area’s most famous neon signs.

  • Go roller-skating at the retro Moonlight Rollerway (as seen in 2015 bio-pic Straight Outta Compton).
  • Shop The Americana at Brand outdoor mall, and enjoy the dancing fountain, light shows and complimentary San Francisco-style trolley rides.

• Disneyland, obviously! Working out an action plan for this theme park practically requires a guide of its own. Stay a maximum of two days to avoid total overload.
• Check out Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park for more thrilling rides and much shorter lines.

• Watch a baseball game at Angel Stadium – and remember, half the fun is eating everything in sight, and sinking a few craft beers while you’re at it.

• Live life like you’re in a rap video at Long Beach, then hit up Cheesecake Factory for massive portions and people-watching opportunities galore.

Flight Centre Hong Kong specialises in tailor-made travel experiences; the widest choice of airfares, accommodation and tours, plus 24-hour emergency assistance. To book your getaway, call 2830 2776 or visit www.flightcentre.com.hk. For a local consultation, contact DB-based Flight Centre representative Jennifer Durbridge on [email protected]


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