A Look into the Neighborhoods of Los Angeles

Learn more about Los Angeles and its friendly neighborhood

Los Angeles is famous for its sprawl. In fact, LA is credited with inventing urban sprawl. It spreads out, seemingly endlessly, in every direction. But it is equally true that Los Angeles is simply a large conglomeration of cities, towns and neighborhoods. Angelenos do not live in a sprawl, they live in a neighborhood. And if they're lucky, the neighborhood they work in isn't too far from home! Here are just a few of the well known neighborhoods that you can explore freely in a Los Angeles hire car.

Downtown does not function the same way in Los Angeles as “downtown” does in most other American cities. This is especially true for tourists, who may find very little reason at all to visit downtown LA, except perhaps to visit Disney Concert Hall and the Music Center. But if you have the time, and are a little bit adventurous, the Downtown area is vibrant and has experienced a bit of a renaissance in recent years. It is also the home of the new LA Live! entertainment complex, adjacent to Staples Center and including the Nokia Theatre. The area is pulsating with bars, restaurants and shops and pulsating with new media. Downtown also offers the traditional cluster of skyscrapers, including Library Tower (US Bank Tower), the tallest building on the West Coast. Downtown also offers a core full of Beaux Arts and Art Deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s, which gives it a very different feeling from almost anywhere else in Southern California.

Hollywood, located north of downtown, is part of Los Angeles and not its own city. But it does have its own personality. With old landmarks such as Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Capitol Records Building and the Hollywood Walk of Fame (stars in the sidewalk) along Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street... and some new landmarks including the Kodak Theatre (home of the Oscars) in the Hollywood & Highland retail/entertainment complex, and a new hotel/residential district growing up around the new W Hotel on Vine. The Red Line of the Los Angeles Metro (subway) can take you between Hollywood and Downtown. Hop on, as it's about the only two places you can get to at this point on the subway.

When people think of Southern California, they think of one thing: the beach. And when Los Angeles thinks of the beach, it goes to Santa Monica. Most of the major east-west boulevards that run out of downtown through Los Angeles end in Santa Monica: Wilshire, Olympic, Pico, and Interstate 10. Santa Monica and Sunset Blvds also wind their way through the LA basin to the beach. Santa Monica lies with LA County, but is its own municipality. In addition to the beach, you'll find the landmark Santa Monica Pier which juts out into the Pacific Ocean and includes a small amusement park, complete with roller coaster and giant ferris wheel. the 3rd Street Promenade offers a pedestrian zone with every sort of retail shop, cafes, restaurants, bookstores and theatres, and leads to the brand new Santa Monica Place shopping mall.