Whenever anyone thinks of Los Angeles, California, the first thing that comes to mind is Hollywood, “the movie capital of the world.” Los Angeles got its name from Felipe de Neve in 1781. California was first a Mexican state but became a part of the United States per the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican-American War. The technological sector is a thriving industry here and the Internet was born in Los Angeles in 1969. The climate is almost perfect, except for the smog. Los Angeles is the second most expensive place to live within the United States. Since the city also has the second highest Metropolitan population, it is not a wonder that things are so much more expensive. Everyone wants to get famous in Los Angeles, and this includes the numerous chefs around. The foods available are very eclectic and range from highly expensive fare all the way to cheap but quality eats. One of the most famous is the Opaque restaurant. The theme for this restaurant is dining in the dark, and the restaurant was also featured in a CSI episode. Museum goers and thrill-seekers will find Los Angeles, California to be a premier spot for fun. Of course, a trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete if SeaWorld San Diego and Disney Land were not on the list of to-dos.
Los Angeles, which is Spanish for The Angels, is the 2nd most populous city in the U.S. and it has the 14th largest urban area in the world. As of 2010, there is an estimated 3.83 million people living inside of the Administration District and an estimated 14.8 million that reside beyond the Administration limits within the City of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles was founded in 1781 when a Felipe de Neve, named the city “The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola.” It was such a long name that the city became known as Los Angeles. Mexico won its independence from Spain in early 1821 and California became a part of Mexico in that same year. California became highly populated beginning in 1848 when gold was found in Coloma, California. In 1848, after the Mexican-American War, as per the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, California was purchased by the US. Los Angeles then became a municipality in April of 1850, and later that year California became a State. Railroads arrived in Los Angeles with the South Pacific Rail in 1876. In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, incurred over 3,000 deaths.
In the 1920’s, the motion picture and aviation industries flocked to Los Angeles. In 1923, the famous Hollywood sign was erected. Initially it read HOLLYWOODLAND but in 1949, the Chamber of Commerce began restoring the sign and decided to tear down the last four letters. In 1932 and in 1984, the City of Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics. In 1969, Los Angeles became the birthplace of the Internet. Then, in 1994, one of the top 15 most powerful earthquakes in California history, magnitude 6.7, rocked Northridge causing $12.5 billion damage and 72 deaths.
If you like warm and sunny weather that is not too hot and doesn’t get too cold in the winter, Los Angeles is a good place to live. The only problem is that you have to have major amounts of money or a plethora of room-mates to live there comfortably. There is plenty to do, though, but, according to a lot of people, the major downsides are the pollution, traffic and the high cost of living. The average house starts at $600K and they are rather small at that price. Apartment living is your best bet but, don’t let the following sticker prices fool you.
Apartments range from about $550 per month for a studio apartment in MidWilshire (not the greatest area) all the way up to $3,640 per month for a 2 bedroom apartment at the Jefferson in Hollywood. Of course, if you factor in the gas prices of $3.16 per gallon as of August 2010, in contrast to the National average of $2.75 per gallon, the outrageous food prices, utility costs through the roof and State Taxes that are not really bad but they will take a chunk out of your pay, Los Angeles is a very high-priced place to live.
The State of California lost a half-million jobs in 2009 alone, making it the 3rd highest in unemployment. In 2010, the unemployment rate in the State of California hovers at about 12.2% and Los Angeles has the exact same rate of unemployment. There are jobs though. You just have to find one that has not been taken over by an illegal immigrant, working for pennies on the dollar, and you have to be willing to do just about any kind of work. The job market, though, is extremely extensive and diverse. An employment agency is probably the first place to go if you are having problems finding employment. There are many out there and a lot of them do not just place secretaries and warehouse workers.
Jobs currently available include the computer software industry, food service, government/military and the various attractions that are hiring staff. There are some higher paying jobs available if you have a degree predominately in the computer industry. Educators are always in demand; you just have to know where to go. You also have to be willing to move wherever the jobs are in California. In 2010, the average annual salary for Los Angeles County is $46,200, which makes it #8 on the list of counties within California. Santa Clara County is ranked #1 with an average annual salary of $71,774.
Besides all of the national fast-food chains, there are numerous restaurants that feature some of the world’s most esteemed chef’s that are trying to make their mark within the industry in Los Angeles. “Fusion Cuisine” is LA’s newest culinary fad where you can find a Cajun-style burrito or a New England clam chowder that has the spices of the Orient mixed in. One of the most different restaurants is the Opaque. It is a unique restaurant where the theme is dining in the dark. It is pitch-black in the dining area and all of the wait staff is visually impaired. This type of dining experience was seen in a CSI episode.
Another culinary treat is Circa 55, located in the Beverly Hills Hilton, which is a top-end steakhouse that combines local produce with steaks and seafood for an artful culinary experience. Usually, the cost is about $30 to $50 a plate. On a more eccentric side of the restaurant business is the Geisha House which is a traditional Japanese restaurant that combines Japanese sake bars with traditional Geisha entertainment. The prices on the menu look small but, if you add all of the separate foods up, you can easily spend $100 per meal.
Of course, since the major motion picture industry of Hollywood is in Los Angeles, there are actors and actresses trying to make it to the big screen. They hope to be discovered any way they can. Because of this, there are a multitude of theaters and venues that have sprung up that offers everything from plays by small time players up to outside theaters that offer established singers and musicians.
The Greek Theater on Vermont Avenue is a premiere outdoor theater in Griffith Park. It is the most historic entertainment venues and has played host to some of the biggest names in entertainment from classic to rock to reggae to pop performances by The Who, Alicia Keys, Pearl Jam, Tina Turner and many other big names. The Acme Comedy Tour, on North La Brea Avenue, is a premier improvisation comedy theater that utilizes a mixture of props, audience participation and nightly hilarity to bombard the senses and leaves a person smiling all the way home. Another great place to visit is the Museum of Neon Art which offers a journey like no other involving the art and history of neon. For more information visit: www.neonmona.org.
There is always something to do or to see in Los Angeles. For those that crave museums and culture, it’s all available in LA. For those that crave thrills and chills, it’s in LA as well. And for those that enjoy tours, you won’t find a better place to take one.
A very popular tour is the Hollywood Movie Star Experience. It is a 6 hour trip that entails touring around to see movie star’s homes, taking a tour around Sony Pictures Studio and then seeing the sites inside the “Heart of Hollywood.” This experience gives you the best chance of seeing a movie star. The cost for this begins at around $98 per person. For those thrills and chills, visit one of the many theme parks around. There is Disney Land, of course, that offers tickets for $59 dollars per person or you can have a tour guide with you for about $120 per person. A very must-do attraction is visiting SeaWorld of San Diego. You will visit polar bears, penguins, manatees, California sea lions and, of course, Shamu and Baby Shamu. It has 200 acres of world class shows, thrilling rides and unforgettable animal encounters. SeaWorld San Diego boasts about 80 million visitors annually. Tickets are usually $59 per person and a bus tour is about $120 per person.
There is a very diverse array of bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles and the surrounding urban areas. There are dive bars, Tiki bars, Breweries, Beach bars, Blues clubs, Comedy clubs, Lounges, Strip clubs and many, many more. One of the most famous is the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. It has a huge dance floor/mosh pit and attracts performers that range from blues to rock to punk and soul music. The House of Blues serves up bar grub in quasi-southern tradition and has a world-famous gospel brunch on Sundays that includes a choir.
Another popular club is the Viper Room. It is located on Sunset Boulevard and was the brainchild of Johnny Depp. It features 2 floors that allow plenty of space for nightlife enthusiasts. Some of the greatest names of rock have played there. They include Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen. The vibe is generally casual within the club and the staff is friendly and numerous. You will not have to wait long on a drink at the Viper Room. If you desire a break from an immense dance floor and constant techno beats, The Seven Grand, on West 7th Street is for you. It has a hunting lodge meets speakeasy vibe that is one of the best Los Angeles whiskey bars in town.
Los Angeles has a shopping experience for everyone. The styles include chic and down to earth. Fashion is Los Angeles’ key to its diversity. If you want glitz and glamour, the number one, quintessential place to shop, or even be a tourist at, is Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It is a world-famous 3 block long stretch of Los Angeles’ best and most expensive shops and boutiques. One example is Bijan at 420 Rodeo Drive. It is the most expensive boutique in Los Angeles that features $50 socks and $50,000 suits.
If you’re looking for something very different, that only Los Angeles can have and pull off, visit Chinatown which is located to the south of Dodger Stadium right across the 110 Harbor Freeway. There are numerous shops and restaurants from the modern American to the old historic Chinese fare. Every turn shows a different side of Chinatown. The area of Chinatown, this includes the old Chinatown and the new Chinatown Mall, has been inhabited by the Chinese-Americans since about 1870. On just this side of strange, Wacko, a shop located on Hollywood Blvd., has an eclectic array of everything anyone would need that’s strange and arty including Dirty Girl Bubble Bath, just to name one.
Spas are definitely the “in” thing in Los Angeles. Stars and regular people can take advantage of the varied spas that are available. Aqua Star Spas in the Beverly Hilton Hotel is one of the most expensive. It has a full complement of amenities and it has world-class treatments. It features health and well-being treatments using essential oils and botanical ingredients. La Petite Retreat and Spa is a French-Asian island retreat for the ultimate pampering experience. It has an outdoor garden Cabana for an indulgent couple’s Zen Stone Massage. La Petite Retreat and Spa is one of the Top 10 Luxury Spas in the City of Los Angeles. You can’t mention the beautiful side of Los Angeles without mentioning that it is the Cosmetic Surgery capital of the United States. If you can tuck it, pluck it, or suck it, you can get it done, for a fee. Los Angeles is a place to play, an expensive place to live but it is always a blast to be there. If you just want to people watch or if you want to be a star, Los Angeles is the place to be.
You can find a variety of hotels inside metropolitan Los Angeles, like the eclectic Viceroy Hotel, The Roosevelt (where you can spot celebrities), and The Standard on Sunset Strip. Immigrants have shaped the culture known as Los Angeles. Little Armenia, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Byzantine Corner, Koreatown, Tehrangeles, and the historic Filipinotown are all places you can visit, or stay any of the hotels offered in each of these neighborhoods along with all the fine dining offered and shopping.
Los Angeles offers something for everyone’s interests and everyone’s budget. You can go pay homage to your favorite actors of past and present in Hollywood, matching your hand prints of the stars on the sidewalk outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, visit Disneyland or Universal Studios, or go shopping on Rodeo Drive. Dine at celebrity-centric restaurants like Spago, or indulge your adventurous palates at one of the numerous ethnic restaurants the city provides. You will be able to enjoy the many spots that dominate the nightlife and music scene. When vacationing in Los Angeles, you will find that there are many places that fit accommodation needs like luxury and budget. Whether it is a family holiday, romantic getaway, or a weekend away there are many hotels to choose from to fit your preference. You can stay in Downtown Los Angeles by Union Station, in Beverly Hills, in some of the beach cities like Marina Del Ray which is located closest to LAX, inside Disneyland, Hollywood by the sunset strip, or in Universal Studios.
Los Angeles is a hub like any other major city for a diverse group of people and gatherings. The education systems within Los Angeles are no different. For public schools of the K-12 variety, there is the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is one of the largest in the United States. It hosts over eight hundred thousand students and covers most of its district over a majority of Los Angeles, though some small sections may be run by other smaller school districts.
For higher education, there are the three public universities in the city: California State University Los Angeles, California State University Northridge, and University of California Los Angeles. Along with those are various specialty private schools for the Arts, Sciences and other specialties. Also included are some Law Schools within the mix as well.
Having over twenty-thousand students mostly from Los Angeles, and over two hundred thousand alumni, California State University offers many of its own majors. It has six colleges and fifty different academic departments within. Majors include business, criminal justice, nursing, engineering, science, arts and others.
Established in 1952, California State University of Northridge has about sixty-one fields for getting bachelor degrees, and for the master degrees it has forty-two fields. It is the third largest university in the school system, and the fourth in California overall. Included on campus are schools for Art, Media, Communications, Education, Business, Health & Human, Humanities, Mathematics, and others as well. Set as a public research school, University of California, Los Angeles, features over three hundred programs, and a student populace of over thirty-seven thousand students. It hosts a number of colleges of different studies, many of which have pushed on Alumni who are now members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Public transportation within Los Angeles is the largest mode of transportation within the city. People within Los Angeles rely on the bus systems, rail and subway system. It is the bus system that is most largely used by the inhabitants. It is the second busiest in the country, hosting nearly one and a half million daily riders on it. Its bus routes are no less extensive than those of other larger cities such as New York City, New York. The subway system is also not exactly lacking in participating commuters, being the ninth-busiest in the United States. Its rail system is currently the third-busiest. Los Angeles is center of the commuter rail system Metrolink, which is the connection between Los Angeles and some of the nearby suburbs and counties.
Los Angeles also boasts a large amount of roads and highways within it for those with private cars. However, for those who are just traveling in the area, it is probably advisable to avoid driving in Los Angeles, as it is considered one of the most congested cities. Take the subway or rail systems, or even the buses, as this can cause less stress for drivers in the area.
Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth-busiest in the country and the main hub for air transportation within the city. It hosts a number of commercial hubs as well, but serves as the main hub for United Airlines. It also boasts forty-three miles of ports in the San Pedro bay, placing itself as the fifth-busiest container port in the world, and the largest within the United States. For getting in and out of the city and driving over the water, there are over four different bridges in the area. Transportation is as busy and as varied as so many of the other larger cities within the United States. Los Angeles certainly makes its own mark on the country in that regard.
The local government infrastructure in Los Angeles has offices managing the spread of services that the city requires. The City Attorney´s Office, (http//:atty.lacity.org) as a legal entity, supports the crime protection infrastructure of the Police Department and its judicial system. Business relevant information can be obtained from the City Controller’s Office which provides details on company audits and reports, city budgets as well as information on employment opportunities. For further information or advice as an employee, the Employee Relations Board will provide advice, counsel and referrals if necessary.
Domestic matters are handled by various departments across the city, the Department of Aging and Fire & Police pensions Department look after the retired community with the Department on Disability providing information for disabled citizens or those who work and live with the disabled. The Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families offers support to the younger population of the city and the Cultural Affairs Department handles festivals, exhibitions, performances and considers and approves plans for restoring old buildings. This work is done in collaboration with the Building and Safety Department. The Harbor Department, Los Angeles Airport and the Transportation Department can be contacted for transport related queries; while the Environmental Affairs Department can be contacted for obtaining any information with regard to the environment. This department works in close cooperation with the Emergency Preparedness Board to ensure that the city is always well prepared for any kind of natural calamities.
Housing relevant issues are taken care of by the Housing Authority and Housing Department, both of which work with the Department of Water and Power for all energy supply matters. The Community Development Department and Planning Department keep the city growing with its needs and these are the ports of call for any issue relating to town planning or community growth.
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