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Sightseeing in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city spread over several distinct districts, each with its distinctive features and attractions.

Downtown Los Angeles is the heart of the city, offering plenty of places to visit. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a must-see, with its interesting collection of modern art. Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Olvera Street with its Mexican influence are illustrative of the city's tremendous ethnic diversity. You can spend hours checking out the shops and restaurants in these enclaves. Olvera Street is part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.

On Broadway, is the Grand Central market with fresh food produce and the Bradbury Building, a Victorian legacy. Just a few miles away, is the Exposition Park site of the Olympics in 1932 and 1984 and housing the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Visit Museum Mile along Wilshire Boulevard and check out the La Brea Tar Pits from where many fossils were recovered, the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Page Museum.

Beverly Hills is celebrity-spotting zone, especially the Rodeo Drive with its chic shops and boutiques. Be sure to stop off at the Museum of Television and Radio.

The must-see sights in Hollywood include the highly publicized Hollywood sign in the hills with each letter nearly 50 ft high, the Hollywood Walk of Fame with names of stars from the world of entertainment imprinted on the sidewalks, the Capitol Records Tower and the Hollywood Memorial Cemetry. Mann's Chinese Theater is an interesting place with hand and foot prints of over 160 movie stars in the concrete slabs of its courtyard. Take a walking tour of Paramount Pictures and spend an afternoon at the Hollywood Entertainment museum. If you have had enough of the world of showbiz, escape to Griffith Park, whose Observatory has been immortalized in many movies.

Hollywood boasts of some fine restaurants where the food is great and the atmosphere, even better. You can find celebrity restaurants here as well as restaurants in historic buildings. World cuisine is well represented -- you can choose between Italian, Chinese, French, amongst other. Also, Hollywood is home to several renowned chefs who are masters at fusion cuisine.

Close by are the exclusive Westside districts of Bel Air, Westwood and Brentwood. Visit the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in Westwood, which has some remarkable museums on campus and around -- the Fowler Museum of Cultural History and the Armand hammer Museum of Art, and Cultural Center. Two other places worth visiting in the area are the Museum of Tolerance and the Getty Center with its brilliant collection of art and artifacts.

Further on, Santa Monica is one of Los Angeles's oldest resort areas. The beachfront is a major attraction and houses the Santa Monica Pier with many rides, shops and cafes. Close to Santa Monica are the two exclusive communities of Malibu and Venice. Many stars have beachfront homes in Malibu, which has some great beaches such as Surfrider Beach and Topanga County Beach. Venice Beach is the major attraction in Venice as are the Boardwalk and Ocean Front Walk with their lively vendors, musicians and crowds.

Another area with interesting places to visit is the San Fernando Valley, home to major Hollywood studios such as Warner Brothers, NBC and Universal Studios, which offer tours of their facilities.

Pasadena, an old historic enclave has some quaint heritage buildings such as Gamble House and those in the Old Town Pasadena. Long Beach has two wonderful aquariums as well as the famous ocean liner Queen Mary, now a luxury hotel.

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