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  • Last Updated: 10th May 2012

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Los Angeles - Sightseeing

Shopping

As you might expect for a city that has to cater for the sartorial demands of some of the world’s best known stars, Los Angeles has a vast offering of shops that come together to form the most impressive, eclectic wardrobe on the planet. Whether you’re looking for iconic designer names or unique boutique fashion, you’ll find the shops of Los Angeles are a treasure trove of high style and originality.

For big shops, famous brand names and an iconic shopping experience then saunter into the Golden Triangle. There you’ll find Rodeo Drive – site of the Pretty Woman shopping spree and home to such delights as Tiffany's and Gucci. Want to shop where the hipsters hang out? Then head for Melrose, running from Santa Monica Boulevard to Lucille Avenue. A popular new wave underground shopping district in the 1980s, Melrose Avenue still offers an edgy experience, with the flea markets and quirky outlets now joined by the high end stores. A popular spot with celebrities, this is also great place to browse and spot the stars.

For a Mecca of retail, visit the 128 acre South Coast Plaza, where you’ll find 280 boutiques to worship fashion in all its forms while at Hollywood & Highland and The Beverley Centre you’ll find greats like Hugo Boss and Dior as well a traditional US shopping experience in stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard provides a more underground experience. The street runs through Venice and features a smattering of home décor shops, handmade furniture stores, vintage clothing sellers, surf shops, perfume shops and bookstores. A great boho hangout with plenty of cafes and restaurants, well placed for a spot of people watching.

La Brea Avenue is the place to visit for unusual gifts, with boutiques of every variety, from vintage clothes to cool stationary. Root out some antiques on the relaxed Third Street, where you’ll find home accessories, unique gifts and a small but delightful Travel Bookstore. NoHo is the heart of the LA art district so look no further for paintings, ceramics, or just an inspiring browse around this vibrant artist’s community.

Principal Sights

With iconic landmarks everywhere you turn, sightseeing in LA is as easy as walking down the street. Here are just a few of LA’s must see attractions:

The renowned Venice Beach is a sandy three-mile hub of activity, with a variety of captivating street entertainment from singers to fortune tellers, tree-lined canals, and Abbot Kinney's hipster hangouts. For another spectacle, check out the infamous Muscle Beach and watch the bodybuilders show off their brawn. You can join in the activities on the basketball, handball, shuffleboard and paddle tennis courts, head to the funky shops or simply grab a coffee and watch the show at this paradise of over-the-top exhibitionism.

Universal Studios Hollywood combines a working movie studio with a theme park, and offers a one stop shop for fun packed entertainment, with theme park rides, shows, shops, restaurants and cinemas vying for your attention.

Up there with the world’s most famous streets, Sunset Boulevard runs from Downtown LA to the ocean, passing through the Sunset Strip. Get your camera at the ready for such well known sights as The Viper Room and Sunset Plaza or simply relax in the cool sidewalk cafes.

Hurray for Hollywood! No holiday to LA is complete until you’ve had a good gawk at that iconic sign. Located in North Hollywood, you can visit the Griffith Park Observatory where you’ll find a path that leads you on a long hike to the sign, though there is a fence twenty feet around to stop excited tourists scribbling ‘I Woz ‘Ere.’ For a less strenuous glimpse, drop into the shopping complex Hollywood & Highland where a viewing area gives a great view of those white block letters that have inspired so many dreams.

The Queen Mary is one of the largest ships afloat and sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. Now permanently docked in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is a museum ship and hotel, offering a trip into the past with her sumptuous Art Deco interior.

The Huntington Library in San Marino is an amazing gem to visit while in LA. As well as the stunning library featuring rare books and manuscripts and the Libraries distinguished art collection, Huntington boasts 120 acres and more than a dozen specialized gardens, a great place to relax and take a breath from the fast pace of LA life.