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The famed town of Beverly Hills is arguably synonymous with Los Angeles. From opulent mansions to the glamour associated with Hollywood, Beverly Hills embodies the essence of LA's fanciful lifestyle. There is a lot to enjoy here, enough to justify a day visit, if not more. You may start by exploring the heart of Beverly Hills; the fabulous Rodeo Drive and the adjacent streets, all lined with some of the best world-class boutiques from coast to coast. Visit a few art galleries, such as the Gagosian and William Karges, located in the same area. Grab a bite to eat at one of the more casual cafes and bakeries, or splurge at the legendary Spago. Dozens of top-notch spas are at your fingertips. A mid-afternoon stroll through the lush Beverly Hills Park provides a nice change of pace and a natural respite in between your urban explorations. West Melrose and Robertson shopping districts await insatiable shoppers looking to explore further.
Built-in Art Deco style, this observatory was built in the early 1930s and is a highlight among the landmarks in Southern California. See incredible light shows at the Oschin Planetarium, which puts to use the latest technology. Outside the observatory, you'll find sweeping views of the nearby area that are breathtaking during the day and at night as well. Exhibits and planetarium shows will fascinate visitors. Some visitors might recognize the observatory as the site where the climax of Rebel Without a Cause was filmed. On clear nights take advantage of the free public telescopes to see the stars up close.
J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center is a museum you can't miss while visiting the city. The center stores a varied art forms, sculptures, and photographs from Europe and America. You can also check out old manuscripts and decorative art here. Highlights consist of Italian manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits, among others. Set aside a day for this museum with it's Central Gardens and popular restaurant which are sure to leave you breathless with their beauty.
Spread across 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Peterson Automotive Museum is one of the world's largest automobile museums. From Porsche to Batman's Batmobile, the museum has it all for ardent car fans! It also hosts year-round special exhibitions. Of special interest to families is the Children's Discovery Center, which offers hands-on interactive exhibits.
This lavish pantheon of fame and glamor captured in wax is one of Hollywood’s crown jewels. Hailing from London, Madame Tussauds brings to Hollywood its world-class interactive viewing entertainment, great for all ages. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, just next to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the museum is hard to miss due to its prepossessing open-air facade with a few wax figures casually spilling out on the sidewalk. Come in and stroll the vast grounds populated with the rich and famous (as well as the infamous) and the beautiful and formidable. Photography and handling are a must. Whether it is shaking hands with President Obama or wrapping your arm around Mae West that is more your thing, you will be exhilarated by the lifelike, vivid portrayals and infinite photo ops.
An iconic attraction in Hollywood, Universal Studios is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys the thrill and excitement of a theme park. With a slate of ever-changing attractions, the park is a great outing for the whole family and can easily take up an entire day. After the guided tour, you can wander around the park, and get something to eat at one of the numerous restaurants and cafes scattered around its sprawl. Later, take in various shows like Waterworld or the Special Effects show. Some other park attractions that will definitely get your adrenaline pumping include the Revenge of the Mummy Ride, various rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the acclaimed King Kong 360-3D virtual ride.
Spread over 4,210 acres (1,704 hectares) of the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park is often referred to as "the Central Park of Los Angeles". The municipal park is one of North America's largest urban green spaces. There's ample opportunity for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding and tennis, alongside popular attractions like the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Greek Theater, and the iconic Hollywood Sign. At the confluence of landscaped greenery and rugged wilderness, Griffith Park is Los Angeles' most treasured recreational venue and scenic escape.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a star-studded attraction that immortalizes deserving performers of every stripe; a constellation of famous personalities laid-out along the sidewalk. The Walk of Fame is very much a tribute to Johnny Grant, the former mayor of Hollywood and a relentless promoter of Tinsel Town. Encompassing a stretch of the sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard, near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, more than 2600 brass-inlaid, terrazzo stars honour some of the most famous personalities of the entertainment industry, including movie stars, radio-show hosts, recording artists, film directors, TV personalities and stage actors. New stars are added frequently, an event that is accompanied with much pomp and show, creating an ever-evolving chronicle of Hollywood's vibrant legacy.
One of the most telling symbols of Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign is perched sky-high on Mount Lee. This popular piece of signage was originally set up in 1923 to serve as an advertising gimmick for real estate development, only to become as legendary as its abode in the years that followed the Golden Age of Hollywood. Overlooking the urbane sprawl of its namesake neighborhood, the sign glistens under the Californian sun, profoundly iconic in its stark white lettering that stands at a height of 44 feet (13.4 meters). Swathes of barricades and restricting gates prevent access to the sign, even as adventurous individuals attempt to trespass it. Part of an everlasting cultural fabric that blankets the city of Los Angeles and perhaps all of America, this historical sign has come to be one of the most tangible aspects of Hollywood's fantastical realm.
Perched over the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, "The Pier" feels more like a carnival than a place to shop. Cirque du Soleil pitches their tent on the beach here annually, and there are concerts and dances on the weekends in the summer. In addition to the many restaurants and souvenir stands, there is a full-service amusement park with a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, carousel and arcade. The pier's end provides one of the best sunset views in Los Angeles County.