- If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney
Visit Los Angeles
From 1955 onwards, the landmarks of Disneyland – the Matterhorn, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and New Orleans Square – have been as familiar and as “real” as the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building. A second theme park, Disney’s California Adventure, has been added adjacent to the original. Downtown Disney, a further addition, is an outdoor entertainment, restaurant and retail district. Together with the two parks and three Disney hotels, Downtown Disney forms the enormous complex called Disneyland Resort.
This island may be only 22 miles across the sea, but it’s a world away from the urban velocity of L.A. Ferries dock in Mediterranean-flavoured Avalon, the island’s commercial hub. Most of the interior is protected nature preserve that may only be explored on foot or bicycle (permit required), or by taking an organized tour. These are excellent ways to learn about the island’s colourful history as a destination for sea otter poachers, smugglers, Union soldiers, mining speculators, and finally, tourists.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The largest encyclopedic art museum in the western US, LACMA was founded in 1910 and moved to its present Miracle Mile home in 1965. Its treasure trove includes paintings by Durer, Monet and Picasso; American and Latin American art; and works from the Middle East and Asia. A lively schedule of concerts, lectures and film screenings makes LACMA a community destination. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) opened in 2008; public spaces, gardens, and a building to house special exhibitions have subsequently been added.
Universal Studios Hollywood
The world’s largest movie and television studio sprang from the imagination of cinema pioneer Carl Laemmle. In 1915 he bought a former chicken ranch, brought in cameras, lights and actors and started making silent films. The theme park began taking shape in 1964. Today, Universal Studios Hollywood gets more visitors (about five million a year) than any other attraction in LA County. Among the studio’s greatest hits are Jaws (1975), Jurassic Park (1993) and Shrek (2001).
Historic Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard, home of the Walk of Fame, has always been synonymous with the glamour of moviemaking, especially during its heydays in the 1920s and 1930s. But like an aging diva, it eventually fell out of favour, teeming with runaways, drug addicts and prostitutes. Now the heart of Tinseltown is finally cleaning up its act – the old movie palaces have received facelifts, the mega-entertainment complex of Hollywood and Highland is a major draw, and even “Oscar” has found a permanent home here.