‘Los Angeles (where I grew up) is really a fascinating city’

By Siti Zulaikha Shawaludin

In Los Angeles, there are so many places Instagram worthy, blog worthy and beautiful places that are actually worth checking out. You should be able to roam the city like a local. I will tell you about whereabouts in the city of L.A or So-Cal like some call it. Writing from my own experiences living in the city, I feel like I should share to those who are interested.

Los Angeles is known worldwide as the home of the United States’ Entertainment industry. You can certainly see the L.A. glamorised in Hollywood movies and the classy neighbourhoods of Beverly Hills and Malibu. However, don’t ignore the rest of the land. You’ll encounter different atmospheres and a range of people in the other areas of the city.

The quirky characters in Venice Beach hang ten with the surfers and skim boarders of Santa Monica, while the business savvy showcase their smarts in downtown L.A. And the health conscious shop at the Farmers Market.

Even though L.A is a complex mix of cultures and lifestyles, many of which do not necessarily have anything to do with the movies. But, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid Hollywood culture, altogether. No matter where you are in Los Angeles, there is probably a movie, TV show or commercial filming right around the corner. Which can be exciting, that is why there are a lot of paparazzi.

If you’re exploring in L.A without a car, it will not be challenging. Because of its block design of the city, you should have no reason to be panic if you ever get lost. The convenience of having the public transport, i.e. the Metro Bus is like another impossibility for you to get lost around the city as well. As the city actually have approximately around 1 – 2 miles’ bus stop nearby. It is much more convenient for you to fetch the bus rather than the taxi because you can hardly see the taxi anywhere in the city unless you charter them which will cost you some money. They also have the Android/iPhone app for the Metro bus and train schedules for you to look up for nearest station, find out what amenities it has and plan your trip around the city.

L.A land is filled with the glamour of chic Hollywood name brands and movie set backdrops, yet it’s also home to renowned art galleries and architectural masterpieces. If you are a fan of spectacular building of structural and artistic design, you can visit these few places which nestled between the city’s skyscrapers.

1. Eastern Columbia Department Store – in downtown L.A built in 1930, is one of the finest surviving examples of Art Deco architecture in the city.

2. Union Station – This is a train station built in 1939 that is often featured in Hollywood movies.

3. Griffith Park Observatory – The three-domed structure has the panoramic view across the sprawling city which was built in 1935 serves as both cultural landmark and a scientific resource. It is one of the most popular routes in Mount Hollywood.

4. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – One of the most visited tourist attractions in the world located in Hollywood, it was opened in 1927. The interior features, artworks and sculptures was imported from China. Aside from that, the front part of the theater is the famous “Walk of Fame” where the hand and footprints of Hollywood’s biggest names being printed on a path walk.

5. Walt Disney Concert Hall – Suited in the middle of downtown LA is famous for its curved walls and gleaming metallic stainless steel curves exterior which mark as a signature of the modern metropolis. The hall is being used to host variety of musical performance.

6. Los Angeles County Museum of Art – The focal point of this place is the Grand Entrance which includes the stunning installation of pretty cast-iron antique street lamps. This place might ring your bell in the movie scene of “No Strings Attached”. It is one of the famous spot where people take photos because of the dazzling lights.

7. Angels Knoll/Bunker Hill, 365 South Olive Street – You have to take the stairs around 100+ steps to get the view like the one in one of the scene in “500 days of Summer “where Tom’s bench look-out spot of a great view of the city. Oh not to forget! They have an amazing small Mexican food shop selling the best shrimp tacos nearby.

8. Rodeo Drive – This is where all the exclusives, rich and famous and high branded iconic boutiques are located. Dominated by the names of Gucci, Chanel, Christian Dior, Rodeo.

Drive is a shoppers’ paradise as they call it. Or you can just take a cruise by the Sunset Boulevard.

9. Venice Beach – This is famous for its bohemian lifestyle and where usually the skateboarders skate at the park. This beach is also full of all kinds of people like the magicians, fortune-tellers, weight lifters, artists selling paintings, cheap bazaar along the way. You can also rent a bike and enjoy the sights and the sunset. It is a very chill sight seeing place.

10. Santa Monica Pier – You should spend your late afternoon beside the Pacific Ocean riding the Ferris wheel and play games with your family at this pier to experience the beautiful purple and orange sunsets of LA.

11. Farmers Market – Everyone comes here to eat, drink and relax on Sunday morning in an open air bazaar. It gets lively with the Sunday morning markets by the beach where they sell variety kinds of food, organic fruits and vegies, accompanied by chill music and performances with families.

12. Little Tokyo – Just like the name suggests, it’s a small version of Tokyo in the city. I love going here to get some good sushi place and to have moshi, a Japanese dessert. The place is very cute and quite. Not many people come here except for the Asians.

13. Staples Center – This is the famous multi-purpose sports where it’s the home for L.A Lakers and LA Clippers; National Basketball Association play and it is where they usually organised concerts and big events. It is a huge stadium suited in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles.

14. Echo Park Lake – You can take a stroll here with the view of downtown skyscrapers. This place is also being film in the Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” lyric music video.

15. Celebrity Cemetery – Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Tinsel town’s most famous film legends. During the summer, you can watch outdoor movie screenings on the grass and picnic under the stars.

The list can go on and on really as there are literally a lot of interesting places to visit.

I love the city so much and I still call this place as my home because this is where my heart is. The place where I grew up and learned how to be independent. This city changes me, the people I met I still treasure them dearly, the places that I’ve been have certainly widened my perspectives in life. Nonetheless, all the memories that I have in LA are all being painted beautifully despite all.

But, Malaysia will always be my number one home.***

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