Your Most Pressing Questions About Los Angeles Answered

By Jaime Jacques

Making the Most out of the City of Angels

Your Most Pressing Questions About Los Angeles Answered

Los Angeles could certainly be considered the entertainment capital of the U.S., boasting world-class art galleries, cutting-edge fashion and unbeatable nightlife. Between celebrity spotting, shopping and bar hopping, it's hard to know where to start. Here are some of your most pressing questions about Los Angeles answered.

Q: Is Hollywood in Los Angeles?

A: Yes, the famed Hollywood is in Los Angeles, and it is actually a neighborhood in the central region of the city. The area has become the universal reference point for the U.S. film industry and all of the beautiful people involved in it. This diverse, densely populated neighborhood includes several historic studios, high end shopping and five-star dining.

Q: Is Los Angeles a big city?

A: Yes, but it is important to note that the city of Los Angeles is within the larger county of Los Angeles. Generally speaking, however, it’s considered the same place. For example, places like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills are different cities, but they are really considered more like boroughs. So, while New York gets all the hype for its size, Los Angeles County easily swallows the five boroughs. Los Angeles is also becoming increasingly dense, although NYC still wins out in density, by far: the Big Apple has more than double the population with two thirds of the space. However, Los Angeles is bigger than San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, while Chicago is about half its size.

Q: What is the tallest building in Los Angeles?

A: The tallest building in Los Angeles is the Wilshire Grand Centre. The towering 1,100-foot (335.3 m) skyscraper is in the financial district of downtown Los Angeles. This behemoth is also the tallest building west of the Mississippi River and the 9th tallest building in the United States.

Q: Why is Los Angeles called The City of Angels?

A: Like most of the American southwest, the surrounding areas of what is now Los Angeles once belonged to Spain. When it was settled in 1781, the original name of current day Los Angeles was El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, or "The Town of the Queen of Angels" in Spanish. The pueblo eventually became a city, which made Los Angeles the City of Angels.

Q: How far is Disneyland from Los Angeles?

A: Disneyland is about 30 miles from Los Angeles, and getting there by car is easy. If there is no traffic, the drive should take about 40 minutes – but seeing as there is always at least some traffic, allow for at least an hour on the road. Take the I-5 south and then the Disneyland Drive Exit. Turn left and cross Ball Road and take any of the three lanes on the left to enter the parking lot.

Q: What is there to do in Los Angeles for free?

A: For all of its glitz and glamour, you would be surprised at how many free things there are to do in Los Angeles. In this highly creative city, art museums abound, and two of the very best are free. The Getty Center is deservedly one of the most popular museums in Los Angeles and is the perfect place to while away a few hours (or an entire day) enjoying the art collection, architecture and sweeping views of greater Los Angeles. Contemporary art museum The Broad offers an active program of rotating temporary exhibitions and is home to 2,000 works of art. For outdoor activities, check out Runyon Canyon, the popular Hollywood hiking spot. Free yoga classes are offered daily at the east end of the park (Monday-Friday at 8:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.) in the grassy area by the Fuller Avenue entrance. For something a little less strenuous, stroll through the Venice Canals where you can marvel at arching pedestrian bridges and quaint beach houses.

Q: How much is bus fare in Los Angeles?

A: Metro’s base fare in Los Angeles is $1.75. Day passes cost $7, a weekly pass $25, and the cost of a 30-day pass is $100. For people aged 62 and older and those with disabilities, the fare is 75 cents during peak hours and 35 cents for off-peak fare. For K-12 students, the single fare is $1 and a 30-day pass is $24. College students pay $1.75 for a one-way trip and $43 for a 30-day pass.

Q: What is there to do in Los Angeles for a day?

A: Only have one day? Consider renting a bicycle in Santa Monica and riding down the boardwalk to Venice Beach. It’s a great way to see the action along the beach, which is lined with street performers, artists, restaurants, and shops. Head to the Sunset Strip for lunch to try one of L.A.’s hottest restaurants. Consider the Mexican Tintorera or Cosa Buona for Italian in nearby Echo Park. Window-shop and people-watch on Rodeo Drive, or check out the vintage gems on Melrose. For the full L.A. experience, head to Hollywood and stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. If your feet tire of wandering, head into the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre to relax for a while and watch a film. The perfect way to end the day is to visit the Getty Center Museum, where, after you check out the art collection, go up to the rooftop for an unrivaled view of the city to enjoy the sunset. For a more organized adventure, let Bikes and Hikes L.A. take care of the logistics. Its L.A. in a Day tour takes participants on a popular six-hour bicycle and walking trek through the city.

Q: Where is there to stay in Los Angeles without a car?

A: Choosing the right neighborhood to stay in will help you immensely if you plan to navigate Los Angeles’s urban sprawl by foot or with public transport. Hollywood is your best bet to have the real L,A, experience without a car. It’s easy to reach by metro and full of top-notch shopping, restaurants, cafes and hotels. Alternatively, on the western edge of Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach also has an array of beachside hotels, restaurants and cafes. An added bonus here is that to the east is Bergamot Station, a collection of art galleries and excellent restaurants.

Q: Where is there to shop in Los Angeles?

A: A shopping trip in L.A. is incomplete without a visit to Rodeo Drive, the famed high-end shopping strip teeming with designer shops, gleaming luxury cars and beautiful people. Most people cannot afford to actually shop here, but for browsing and people watching, it’s a must. For a more practical outing, head to the diverse and colorful Melrose Avenue where you will find a long street full of shops ranging from affordable vintage and street style to sophisticated, luxury wear. Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is known for its indie retailers nestled between restaurants, bars and food trucks, earning its title as the coolest block in the United States.