Greater Los Angeles is made up of many different cities, giving this sprawling metropolis a diverse charm that can’t be found anywhere else in the United States. From Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to the art galleries of Santa Monica, visitors to the Los Angeles area would need months to experience all there is to see and do in this Southern Californian region. Pasadena is a well-liked destination, offering a comfortable blend of history and culture that both informs and intrigues. For a livelier, resort-style atmosphere, Long Beach offers shopping, nightlife, and activities for all ages and interests. Some of the other local cities include Torrance, Glendale and Redondo Beach, to name but a few. The area’s aquariums, museums, theaters, and beaches all play a part in affirming Los Angeles’ status as one of the most celebrated California destinations.
Beverly Hills is known around the world as a hotbed of opulence and luxury. Much of Beverly Hills may look familiar to visitors used to seeing the city in countless movies and television shows. Boasting such department stores as Neiman-Marcus and Sak’s Fifth Avenue, the area surrounding Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard is a veritable playground of the rich and famous. Shopping aside, Beverly Hills is also known for its vibrant and eclectic art scene, which is evidenced by the galleries and the public art that has been placed throughout the city. The Beverly Hills Civic Center is another point of prominence in Beverly Hills, boasting a public area adorned with Spanish Renaissance architecture and space for concerts and other functions. In all, the city of Beverly Hills holds universal appeal with travelers looking to soak up the sun and bask in the glow of the city’s movie stars.
Glendale, one of the 88 cities that make up the Los Angeles area, sits at the foot of the Verdugo Mountains. A large ethnic diversity here results in a wealth of exciting and unique attractions, activities and restaurants. As with much of southern California, the film industry is prominent in Glendale, with the DreamWorks SKG main studio located here. Glendale was also the starting point for two fast-food chains, in Bob’s Big Boy and Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors. For shopping, the Glendale Galleria is home to a large assortment of shops and services, including a children’s play area and an arcade. Recreation is abundant in Glendale as well, with a large number of parks that offer everything from baseball diamonds to skateboard ramps, as well as mountain hikes and nature trails that offer a scenic view of the Greater Los Angeles area.
Long Beach, California’s fifth-largest city, is part of Greater Los Angeles. Situated along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Long Beach is one of the busiest seaports in the world, as well as a world-class seaside resort destination, with numerous shopping districts and attractions. The Queen’s Market Place, situated close to pier J, is an open mall designed to look like an English Village. One of downtown’s liveliest areas is Pine Avenue, where Long Beach’s nightlife lives. The Aquarium of the Pacific is a world-renowned research facility and tourist destination, with over 10,000 animals. In mid-April racing vehicles and fans invade the city for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Perhaps the most popular attraction, the R.M.S. Queen Mary, is a former ocean liner that has been transformed into a grand hotel.
One of the most prominent cities in the United States, Los Angeles (L.A.) is a hub of virtually every conceivable activity and lifestyle. The large size of the city guarantees that every taste can be satisfied, and the large number of varied attractions in L.A. make it one of the most popular travel destinations not only in California but the United States as a whole. The Angels Walk in the downtown core takes visitors on a comprehensive tour of many of the city’s attractions, including markets, restaurants and a host of other activities and services. Among the many cultural attractions in Los Angeles is the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown L.A., which features distinctive architecture with pyramidal skylights and a curved parapet that was built to emulate the curves of Marilyn Monroe. For sports enthusiasts, Los Angeles offers professional basketball, baseball, hockey, and football, allowing fans to cheer in a variety of venues.
Although Pasadena is familiar to many for the annual Tournament of Roses Family Festival and American college football’s Rose Bowl, the city also provides a lively cultural scene for all to enjoy. Part of the local culture includes the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the area’s Japanese heritage with live entertainment, martial arts demonstrations, and a parade. Pasadena is also known for its historical buildings, such as the elaborate City Hall and the Gamble House, which was originally built for David and Mary Gamble of the Proctor and Gamble Company. Tours of many of the area’s historic sites are available, providing a glimpse into the Pasadena of yesteryear. While historical attractions play a prominent part in the city’s popularity as a travel destination, Pasadena is also home to the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, blending the past and future in Pasadena and offering an exciting destination for travelers to this part of California.
The city of Redondo Beach makes great use of its waterfront location, offering some of the best surfing on the West Coast. This history is honored with the George Freeth Memorial, a statue of the man who popularized the sport of surfing in the United States. Water sports are well-liked in Redondo Beach, with activities such as sailing, swimming and relaxing on the beach filling many visitors’ itineraries. Arts and culture are also represented strongly in Redondo Beach at the Redondo Beach Pier, a local hotbed of activity and entertainment. One of the more popular events at the pier is the annual Redondo Beach Kite Festival, which provides kite flying fun and a variety of other outdoor entertainment geared for the whole family. Redondo Beach is truly a quintessential California travel destination.
Situated between Los Angeles and Long Beach, the city of Torrance is a major business center that serves the South Bay area. Residents here enjoy a warm climate that is ideal for making use of the many parks and beach facilities that can be found throughout the city. One of the more unique green spaces is the Madrona Marsh, a freshwater wetland that seeks to preserve waterfowl habitat in the area and foster a better understanding of the natural environment. In October, the annual Oktoberfest in Torrance’s Alpine Village is a well-attended annual event, bringing visitors from far and wide. Torrance’s close proximity to Los Angeles also puts visitors within reach of all the attractions that can be found in L.A., including sports events, dining, and shopping.
Sights & Attractions
George Freeth Memorial
George Freeth is credited with being the originator of surfing in Southern California, and with the creation of the eight-foot-long surfboard. The bronze sculpture of George is often decorated with leis placed there by surfers who have come to pay homage to this surfing legend. Address: Redondo Pier | Redondo Beach, CA
Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific
Open every day except Christmas from 9:00am – 6:00pm. Visit the Aquarium’s newest exhibit Jellies, Phantoms of the Deep, or visit the Soft Coral Lagoon Habitat and view colorful sea life.
Address: 100 Aquarium Way | Long Beach, CA. Telephone: 1 562 951-1695
Madrona Marsh Nature Center and Preserve
The Madrona Marsh is one of the last remaining vernal marshes in Southern California, and is open seven days a week from 10am-5pm. The nature center offers guests a glimpse into the natural world surrounding Torrance, CA. Address: 3031 Torrance Boulevard | Torrance, CA | 90503. Telephone: 1 310 618-2720
Museum of Latin American Art
The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach is dedicated to preserving Hispanic and Chicano culture through exhibits and artistic displays.
Redondo Beach Pier
One of the longest public piers in the United States, this pier dates back to 1914. In addition to being a popular fishing and lookout spot, dozens of restaurants, shops and services are located along it.
Address: 100 W. Torrance Blvd. | Redondo Beach, CA
Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center
The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center hosts a wide variety of shows and performances and features a museum-quality exhibit documenting the career of one of America’s most popular 70’s pop-duo. Address: 6200 Atherton Street | Long Beach, CA | 90815. Telephone: 1 562 985-7000
RMS Queen Mary
Visit this impressive vessel that played a major role in Trans Atlantic passage from the 1930s to 1960s. The Queen Mary is now a floating museum and a luxury hotel. Also featured on the boat are restaurants, a wedding chapel and 16 art deco reception salons. Many events take place throughout the year. Address: 1126 Queens Highway | Long Beach, CA | 90802. Telephone: 1 562 435-3511
The Scorpion, a decommissioned Soviet Submarine, offers a look at a striking piece of the Cold War. Impressively, aside from minor detour installments, the sub maintains its original form. This is a self-guided tour. Address: 1126 Queens Hwy | Long Beach, CA | 90802. Telephone: 1 562 432-3316
The Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach is a large saltwater lagoon for swimming and beach activities. Located on Portofino Way at Kings Harbor.
Address: 200 Portofino Way | Redondo Beach, CA | 90277. Telephone: 1 310 318-0681
Torrance Alpine Village
The Torrance Alpine Village creates a Bavarian atmosphere in the heart oif Torrance, CA. Bavarian-themed restaurants and shops are in abundance, and there is an Oktoberfest that has been held here for more than 30 years. Located on West Torrance Boulevard. Address: 833 Torrance Blvd | Torrance, CA | 90502. Telephone: 1 310 327-4384
Wilson Park in Torrance hosts the Farmers Market, train rides every Sunday, roller hockey and free Symphony concerts throughout the year. Located on Crenshaw Boulevard. Address: 2200 Crenshaw Boulevard | Torrance, CA