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Los Angeles - United States
As the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles is overflowing with theater, art, dance, film and television. The city has a variety of options for every entertainment taste.
The creative activity in the theaters of Los Angeles proves the naysayers wrong: just because the city's more frivolous side is the most publicized, Los Angeles does indeed have a rich history of culture and soul. The Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County complex in downtown Los Angeles houses many of the city's major illustrious theater venues, including the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum, Pantages Theatre, and the Ahmanson Theatre.
Los Angeles is indeed multi-faceted: with beautiful beaches on one end, trendy clubs on another, and amazing museums spread throughout, it is no wonder people flock here to get a taste of everything it has to offer. The Getty Villa is a breathtaking architectural work before you even see the collections inside. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has impressive permanent collections as well as top-billed shows. If contemporary art is more your cup of tea, then pay a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) which has featured extremely innovative art exhibitions. L.A. is also home to many smaller, private galleries, concentrated especially in Venice and the Melrose area of Hollywood. If nature and science excite you more than a rare Van Gogh, the California Science Center is a hands-on educational facility that takes science to the extreme while the Natural History Museum has 35 galleries of environmental science displays to explore. For a more serious-minded museum visit, the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance is a stop for the humanitarian tourist. The museum offers classes in racial diversity and acceptance as well as tours for school children and interested adults. It is a powerful, moving and informative institution.
Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard stands out as one of the most famous cinema houses ever built. Crowds descend upon the faux-Asian theater every day to measure the famous feet and hands imprinted on the sidewalk outside. Across the street from Grauman's Chinese, the Egyptian Theater stands in its Vegas-style glory.
With countless small theaters and clubs in Los Angeles, open-mic nights for struggling comedians are everywhere. For a more polished performance, check out the famous Groundlings. This well-known "training camp" for television shows like Saturday Night Live has an ever-changing lineup of up-and-comers with an occasional star headliner. The Improv and the Comedy Store consistently feature well-known, professional headliners as well as budding new talent.
When they are not out partying on the Sunset Strip, rock-and-roll musicians can be found performing at several Los Angeles venues. The El Rey Theatre and the Palladium are great for watching shows while in the city. The Forum and the Staples Center are the locations of choice for larger rock shows. Classical and jazz concerts are usually found at the Hollywood Bowl and The Greek Theatre.
L.A. sports fans have plenty to keep them busy with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers, the WNBA's Sparks, the Dodgers and the Kings. If those sports aren't your bag, check out the Hollywood Park Racetrack for some fast-paced betting fun.
Amusement & Theme Parks
Los Angeles and its surrounding areas are home to many world-famous and exciting amusement parks. The most well-known the world over is Disneyland—America's Magic Kingdom—along with Disney's California Adventure. Experience the magic of movie-making at Universal Studios and check out the good-time rides and attractions of Knott's Berry Farm. For roller-coaster thrills, go to Six Flags Magic Mountain, and for watersliding chills, don't miss Raging Waters.
What's hot in this city changes almost overnight, and word of mouth is everything. However, for a good sampling of what L.A. has to offer, be sure to check out Area.
Shopping & Hanging Out
People-watching in Los Angeles can definitely be considered a spectator sport. Although it bears no resemblance to the former hit television show, Melrose is the best sidewalk spectacle. Crammed full of sidewalk cafés, bars, coffeehouses and boutiques, the street is always full of activity and unusual characters.
If true Hollywood stars and über-glam shopping are what you are looking for, Rodeo Drive is the ultimate destination. The world-renowned street is always bustling with film stars in baseball caps trying to blend in and Hollywood wives in diamonds trying to stand out. Gucci, Prada and Tiffany & Co. are all represented here—so if you have buying in mind, be sure to bring all of your credit cards.
If the ultra-chic shops and thousand-dollar price tags aren't exactly what you seek, Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade offers shoppers a wide variety of upscale boutiques and well-known chains, all under the shining sun of this beach town. Universal City Walk is the Valley's answer to both quirky and great shopping and entertainment along a stretch of pedestrian walkways. And if you're looking for something downright bizarre or unique, don't leave town without checking out Necromance for all of your Gothic bone jewelry and dead animal specimen needs, or the Wound & Wound Toy Company specializing in amazing wind-up toys from past and present.