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Los Angeles Spotlight

Palm trees, beaches, movie stars – nowhere is as glamorous as L.A.

By Darren Frei

June 22nd, 2005

Even if you have never ventured within Los Angeles' 467 square miles, the city's wildly diverse geography and architecture, shimmering from countless angles on television and film, are instantly recognizable. Whether it's the city lights from the fanfare of the 20th Century Fox logo, the Malibu mountains from the opening credits of M*A*S*H (no, that's not Korea), or the shores of Manhattan Beach where The OC is filmed (no, that's not even Orange County), L.A. is virtually overexposed. But whatever your televised impression may be, it's only after motoring amid the city's endless tangle of roadside attractions and interacting with its multicultural populace that it truly comes to life.

The sun-kissed climate that beckoned fledgling film producers in the early 20th century now draws over 20 million tourists annually. And beyond the allure of Hollywood, the nation's second largest city maintains its fame with a cool collection of sandy beaches, snowcapped mountains, inventive hotels, cutting-edge restaurants, thrilling theme parks, and glamorous nightclubs. From celebrity spotting at sidewalk cafes to window-shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, you'll quickly become part of the scene.

Because beauty is such a valuable asset in the city of dreams, Angelenos live to flaunt it, whether in the form of a stylish new 'do, a tight t-shirt, or a sexy set of wheels. The incomparable L.A. sun, which shines throughout most of the year, delivers just the right lighting for such narcissistic displays. So join in the fun! Take the top down, don your best pair of shades, and synchronize your radio to the swaying palms overhead.

In three days, you can soak up the faded glamour of Hollywood Boulevard, take a Universal Studios' backlot tour, sample downtown's ethnic neighborhoods and striking 21st-century architecture, and get some beach time in on Santa Monica and Venice beaches. If you're in town for five to seven days, you can add on several scenic drives along the Pacific coast and even an offshore island getaway.

Los Angeles is ready for its close up, and you're the co-star! Here's a sneak peek at what to expect.

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