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Los Angeles skyline

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Los Angeles travel guide

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A beguiling blend of rugged mountains, urban sprawl and beautiful Pacific beaches, there’s nowhere quite like Los Angeles.

Tinsel Town, as it’s colloquially known, has no shortage of glamour either, thanks to the film stars who inhabit Beverley Hills, the picturesque suburb of Los Feliz and the annual circus that is the Oscars. As a result, most of the upmarket clubs and restaurants are surrounded by clusters of paparazzi come nightfall, while eager star spotters brandishing iPhones are a common sight on the city’s boulevards.

However, there’s more to LA than famous names, with suburbs such as Malibu and Venice Beach boasting cultural gems as well as quirky shops and interesting boutiques. The former is also home to the picturesque Malibu Pier, which has a gorgeous organic restaurant at the end, and the magnificent Getty Villa, crammed with Grecian gems.

The centre of town, in as much as LA has one, is a string of wildly disparate neighbourhoods that range from the tourist traps of Hollywood (with the Walk of Fame and Paramount Studios) to the hidden gem of Koreatown. Once down-at-heel, it is now home to vibrant bars, excellent restaurants and a motley collection of architecture that swings from classic Americana to Oriental kitsch.

Just as interesting is Little Tokyo, with its endless Hello Kitty posters and fascinating pharmacies, many pushing the bizarre beauty cures beloved of Japan’s fashionistas.

A few blocks away from the urban sprawl of Downtown LA is gay-friendly West Hollywood, which sits right next door to ritzy Beverly Hills with its sprawling mansions and the seriously high-end shopping spots along Rodeo Drive.

Burbank is home to Universal Studios with its colourful theme park and Warner Brothers, a working studio with tours where you may spot a star or two. To the north east, the small, historic and cultured city of Pasadena is a pleasant contrast to the brashness of Hollywood.

Exciting times lie ahead of the city: the Olympic Games will come to Los Angeles in 2028.

So, keep an open mind and embrace all Los Angeles has to offer and you won’t leave disappointed.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.