Wednesday, 29 June 2011 12:00 AM
If you've always fancied a trip to Los Angeles, you'll find California's most populous city has much more to offer than the sun, sea, sand and celebrities it is so renowned for. The City of Angels is a bustling centre of commerce, entertainment, culture, fashion and media and you can be sure of plenty to see and do if you decide to pay a visit. Among its draws is the fantastic subtropical-Mediterranean climate you can enjoy as soon as you touch down at Los Angeles Airport so make sure you pack plenty of clothes suitable for warm weather. Of course it doesn't really matter if you forget some vital garments as the city is a haven for shopaholics. Depending on what sort of break you're hoping for, you might want to choose accommodation accordingly. If you like being in the heart of the action then the city centre is the place for you. However, if you're more of a beach bum, you might like to look for somewhere to stay close to one of the many beaches in the area. Choose between the bustling spot of Venice Beach or the scenic location of El Matador, among others. The sandy stretches may have been something you noticed during your Los Angeles cheap flights as you prepared to land, and they make for stunning viewing from the skies. The cityscape is equally breathtaking and is a definite must for visitors to LA. If you enjoy taking in awesome vistas, there are plenty of locations from which to do so in the city. One such place is Runyon Canyon – a 160-acre park situated on the eastern side of the Santa Monica Mountains. There may be much more to LA than Hollywood but if you'd like to see two totally contrasting sides to the city then a visit to the park is ideal, as you have to travel through Hollywood to reach it. Take in the sight of the Hollywood Hills as you make your way here and then stretch your legs along some of the walking and hiking trails that run through the park. As you trek, you'll find yourself climbing higher and higher as you scale the peaks to reach the highest in the park – Indian Rock – which stands 402 metres tall. From here you'll be in for a real treat as you look out over downtown LA and the surrounding greenery. The natural scenery is in stark contrast with the busy city centre and if you're lucky you might catch sight of deer, owls, hawks and coyotes. Another ideal spot for some picturesque views is Temescal Canyon, also in the Santa Monica Mountains. A popular hiking area, here there's a seasonal waterfall and plenty of greenery to take in as you climb around 1,000 feet. From this vantage point you'll be able to enjoy some wonderful views of the ocean below on clear days. Afterwards, head down deep into the canyon where you can cross a bridge by a waterfall. If you're looking for yet further excellent lookout spots, you can't go wrong with a trip to the Griffith Observatory. The facility can be found in Griffith Park commanding views over the Los Angeles Basin. If you pay a visit you can take in these amazing vistas as well as the educational exhibits on display here. Discover more about space and science as you wander through the Hall of the Sky and the Hall of the Eye or take in a show at the planetarium before heading outdoors to see the exterior exhibits. If you visit at night you'll not only be able to see LA lit up against the night sky; you'll also be able to take a good look at the stars through the Zeiss Telescope. Around seven million people have put an eye to the lens over the years, why not join them and take a fascinating glimpse into space? To take in a little culture as you look for the best spots in LA for beautiful views, you might want to visit the Korean Bell of Friendship. This large bronze bell house is located in a stone pavillion in Angel's Gate Park, which is within the neighbourhood of San Pedro. The intricate creation was given to Los Angeles by Korea in 1976 and is well worth visiting as you enjoy a picnic in the park. From the bell house you'll be afforded some wonderful views of the Los Angeles Harbour and the Catalina Channel below. There are also numerous restaurants in the area where you can enjoy fabulous views along with culinary delights. Some eateries have rooftop terraces where you can take in the city's skyline, while others provide tranquil sea lookouts. With so much exploring to do, why not start planning your LA journey today?