This city just has everything to offer! The beaches at Venice Beach and Santa Monica are the perfect place to go surfing and relax, while Hollywood is the only place to admire the stars (and the hopefuls of tomorrow), all of whom will just love it if you do. Downtown L.A. offers a more authentic life experience, and it’s the combination of all these different personalities that makes Los Angeles as great a place to visit as it is!
Even if it is a real tourist hotspot, the Hollywood Sign just has to be part of any visit to L.A.! Quite apart from anything else, it offers the best view out over the entire city you’ll find anywhere. Here’s a fun fact: did you know that the huge letters were completely dilapidated up there until the 1970s, when they were saved by Playboy-founder Hugh Hefner? Hef organised a donors’ gala at his Playboy Mansion to fund the repairs!
Sport’s something you’ll find going on everywhere you go in L.A., but I do have to emphasise the experience of getting to the Staples Center if you can. This is the home of both basketball franchises in Los Angeles, and is where I watched my very first NBA game. Both the Lakers and the Clippers play their home matches at the multifunctional arena, which holds 20,000 people. Just in case that wasn’t enough, pro ice hockey team the Los Angeles Kings also play their home games here. All I can say to anyone visiting the city is: try to get to a game, whether you’re a sports fan or not. Sporting events in the States are a seriously big deal, and you could even bump into a celeb or two in the crowd…
Be honest: which of us doesn’t dream of owning a Mustang? Hardly any other car is quite so associated with the American way of life as the high-octane Ford. For the rebellious youth of the 1960s, the Mustang was an expression of a new feeling about life. It was loud, fast and uncompromising. You see countless Mustangs in L.A. to this day, and even if you can’t really afford the expensive sports car, you might consider renting or borrowing one for a day in the City of Angels and making the Hollywood Hills feel like there’s a real earthquake coming!
If you visit L.A. but don’t take a look at Walt Disney Concert Hall, you’ve really missed a trick! The construction alone – wow! Star architect Frank O. Gehry has really let off steam with the concert hall, and has received mixed press for his interpretation of the building. And whether his deconstructivist style is your thing or not, the acoustics at the building really do have to be heard to be believed.
Some tourist attractions you’ve just got to visit. And one of these is always going to be the Walk of Fame on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard. Over 2,500 celebs have been honoured with a star here for their performances. Can you imagine their selection criteria? A star has to have been in show business for a minimum of five years, done charitable work, and achieved great things in his or her category.
The most famous Austrian in America is undoubtedly Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Styrian is a human symbol of the American Way of Life. He succeeded in rising up the ranks from bodybuilder, through to actor – and right up to Governor of California. Look for a few moments, though, and you’ll soon find other Austrians on the Walk of Fame. Oscar prize-winner Christoph Waltz, for instance, won his star in 2014. One forgotten star ‘Made in Austria’ is composer Max Steiner, also referred to as ‘the father of film music’! Steiner composed the scores to such classics as Casablanca, Gone with the Wind and King Kong.
And to finish, I’d like to show you my favourite picture of Los Angeles! I’ve not been able to get the view of Downtown L.A. out of my mind since I left Vienna for California. There’s something very special about the vibe in this city. The place is vast, loud, but charming at the same time and full of little surprises. I love it!
I can only recommend you get to know the City of Angels yourselves. This is one town guaranteed to cast a spell on its visitors!