Los Angeles (Listeni/lɒs ˈændʒələs/ loss-an-jə-ləs; Spanish: [los ˈaŋxeles], English: "The Angels"), with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City, on a land area of 468.67 square miles (1,213.8 km2), and is located in the southern region of the state. It is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area, which contains nearly 17.8 million people and which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world and the second largest in the United States. Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most multicultural counties in the United States, while the entire Los Angeles area itself is recognized and regarded as the most diverse metropolitan area in the United States. The city’s inhabitants are referred to as "Angelenos" /ændʒɨˈliːnoʊz/.
Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles wasincorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.
Often known by its initials, LA, and nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a world center of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. Los Angeles has been ranked the third richest city and fifth most powerful and influential city in the world, behind only New York City in the United States. The Los Angelescombined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third largest economic center in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Areaand the New York metropolitan area. As the home base of Hollywood, it is known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World", leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production, video games, and recorded music. The importance of the entertainment business to the city has led many celebrities to call Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics as well as multiple games of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, including the final. Los Angeles is also home to renowned universities such as the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Los Angeles enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with an average of 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.
The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes thousands of years ago. The first Europeans arrived in 1542 in an expedition organized by the viceroy of New Spain and commanded by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer who claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire. However, he continued with his voyage up the coast and did not establish a settlement. The next contact would not come until 227 years later, when Gaspar de Portolà, along with Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. Crespí noted that the site had the potential to be developed into a large settlement.
In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra built the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel near the Whittier Narrows, in what is now called San Gabriel Valley. In 1777, the new governor of California, Felipe de Neve, recommended to Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, viceroy of New Spain, that the site noted by Juan Crespí be developed into a pueblo. The town was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores". Tradition has it that on this day they were escorted by four Spanish colonial soldiers, two priests from the Mission and Governor de Neve. The town was named El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angelsof the Porciúncula River). These pueblo settlers came from the common Hispanic culture that had emerged in northern Mexico among a racially mixed society. Two-thirds of the settlers were mestizo or mulatto, and therefore, had African, Amerindian, and European ancestry. More importantly, they were intermarrying. The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820 the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.
New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico, made Los Angeles Alta California’s regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of theTreaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.
Railroads arrived with the completion of the Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country’s largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world’s petroleum output.
By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000 people, putting pressure on the city’s water supply. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city.
In the 1920s, the movie and aviation industries flocked to Los Angeles, with continuing growth ensuring that the city suffered less during the Great Depression. In 1932, with population surpassing one million, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.
The post-war years saw an even greater boom, as urban sprawl expanded the city into the San Fernando Valley. In 1960, non-Hispanic whites made up 82% of the population of Los Angeles County. In 1969, Los Angeles became one of the birthplaces of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to SRI in Menlo Park.
In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became the most financially successful in history, and only the second Olympics to turn a profit – the other being the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles.
During the remaining decades of the 20th century, the city was plagued by increasing gang warfare, drug activity, and police corruption; the century ended with the Rampart scandal, one of the most widespread documented cases of police misconduct in American history. Racial tensions erupted again in 1992 with the Rodney King controversy and the large-scale riots that followed the acquittal of his police attackers. In 1994, the 6.7 Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.
Voters defeated efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city in 2002.
Gentrification and urban redevelopment have occurred in many parts of the city, most notably Hollywood, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown.
The city is divided into over 80 districts and neighborhoods, many of which were incorporated places or communities that were annexed by the city. There are also several independent cities around Los Angeles, but they are popularly grouped with the city of Los Angeles, either due to being completely engulfed as enclaves by Los Angeles, or lying within its immediate vicinity. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, The Eastside and Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles (still often colloquially referred to as South Central by locals), the Harbor Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside and the San Fernando and Crescenta Valleys.
Some well-known communities within Los Angeles include West Adams, Watts, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice, the Downtown Financial District, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Hollywood,Koreatown, Westwood and the more affluent areas of Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Century City, and Brentwood.
Important landmarks in Los Angeles include Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Getty Villa, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Capitol Records Tower, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Theme Building, Watts Towers, Randy’s Donuts, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, and La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street. Downtown Los Angeles is quickly becoming a landmark of itself, with development of billion dollar projects such asWilshire Grand Tower I, rivaling the prominence of places such as Times Square.
Los Angeles is irregularly shaped and, according to the United States Census Bureau, covers a total area of 502.7 square miles (1,302 km2), comprising 468.7 square miles (1,214 km2) of land and 34.0 square miles (88 km2) of water. The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) longitudinally and for 29 miles (47 km) latitudinally. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km). It is the only major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range.
Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The highest point in the city is 5,074 ft (1,547 m) Mount Lukens, located at the northeastern end of the San Fernando Valley. The hilly parts of Los Angeles include the entire Santa Monica Mountains which stretch from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean, the Mt. Washington area north of Downtown, eastern parts such as Boyle Heights, the Crenshaw district around the Baldwin Hills, and the San Pedro district.
The Los Angeles River, a major river which is largely seasonal, is the primary drainage channel. It was straightened and lined in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers for almost its entire length to act as a flood control channel. The river begins in the Canoga Park district of the city and flows east from the San Fernando Valley along the north edge of the Santa Monica Mountains as they diminish, then south through the city center, then through nearby Vernon on its way to its mouth in the Port of Long Beach at the Pacific Ocean.
Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability has produced numerous faults, which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually. One of the major faults is the San Andreas Fault. Located at the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, it is predicted to be the source of Southern California’s next big earthquake. Major earthquakes to have hit the Los Angeles area include the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, the 1971 San Fernando earthquake near Sylmar, and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Nevertheless, all but a few quakes are of low intensity and are not felt. The most recent earthquake felt was the 4.4 2010 Pico Rivera earthquake on March 16, 2010. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to Pacific Ocean tsunamis; harbor areas were damaged by waves from the Valdivia earthquake in 1960. The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes.
The Los Angeles area is rich in native plant species due in part to a diversity in habitats, including beaches, wetlands, and mountains. The most prevalent botanical environment is coastal sage scrub, which covers the hillsides in combustible chaparral. Native plants include: California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, Coast Live Oak, and Giant Wildrye. Many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower, have become so rare as to be considered endangered. Though it is not native to the area, the official tree of Los Angeles is the Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra) and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae). Mexican Fan Palms, California Fan Palms, and Canary Island Palms can be seen throughout the Los Angeles area, despite the latter being non-indigenous to Southern California.
Echo Park as seen with palm trees
Los Angeles has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid Köppen’s BSh (semi-arid climate) classification. Los Angeles enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.
The average annual temperature in downtown is 66 °F (19 °C): 75 °F (24 °C) during the day and 57 °F (14 °C) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature typically ranges from 59 to 73 °F (15 to 23 °C) during the day and 45 to 55 °F (7 to 13 °C) at night. In the warmest month – August – the temperature typically ranges from 79 to 90 °F (26 to 32 °C) during the day and around64 °F (18 °C) at night. Temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on a dozen or so days in the year, from one day a month in April, May, June and November to three days a month in July, August, October and to five days in September. Temperatures are subject to substantial daily swings; in inland areas the difference between the average daily low and the average daily high is over 30 °F (17 °C). Average annual temperature of sea is 63 °F (17 °C), from 58 °F (14 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in August. Sunshine hours is above 3,000 per year, from average 7 hours of sunshine / day in December to average 12 hours of sunshine / day in July.
The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 36 °F (20 °C) between inland areas and the coast. California also has a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes gives overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.
Downtown Los Angeles averages 15.14 inches (384.6 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally moderate rain showers, but usually as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms during Winter storms. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the mountains get slightly more. However the San Fernando Valley Region of Los Angeles can get between 16 and 20 inches (410 and 510 mm) of rain per year. Years of average rainfall are rare; the usual pattern is bimodal, with a short string of dry years (perhaps 7–8 inches/180–200 millimetres) followed by one or two wet years that make up the average. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 cm) in 1932. The highest recorded temperature in downtown Los Angeles is 113 °F (45 °C) on September 27, 2010 and the lowest recorded temperature is 24 °F (−4 °C) on December 22, 1944.
The name given by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans for the area now known as Los Angeles translates to "the valley of smoke" because of the smog from native campfires. Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources. The smog season lasts from May to October. Unlike other large cities that rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog is expected to continue to drop in the coming years due to aggressive steps to reduce it, electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other pollution reducing measures.
The number of Stage 1 smog alerts in Los Angeles has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel. With pollution still a significant problem, the city continues to take aggressive steps to improve air and water conditions. The city met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city’s power from renewable sources in 2010.
The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing center in the western United States. The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the fifth-busiest port in the world and the most significant port in the Western Hemisphere and is vital to trade within the Pacific Rim. Other significant industries include media production, finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third largest economic center in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport CSA. If counted as a country, the surrounding CSA has the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP. Los Angeles has been classified an "Alpha(-) world city" according to a 2008 study by a research group at Loughborough University in England.
Until the mid-1990s, Los Angeles was home to many major financial institutions in the western United States. Mergers meant reporting to headquarters in other cities. For instance, First Interstate Bancorp merged with Wells Fargo in 1996, Great Western Bank merged with Washington Mutual in 1998, andSecurity Pacific Bank merged with Bank of America in 1992. Los Angeles was also home to the Pacific Exchange, until it closed in 2001.
The city is home to seven Fortune 500 companies. They are aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, energy company Occidental Petroleum, healthcare provider Health Net, metals distributor Reliance Steel & Aluminum, engineering firm AECOM, real estate group CB Richard Ellis and builder Tutor Perini.
Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles include California Pizza Kitchen, Capital Group, Capstone Turbine, Cathay Bank, City National Bank, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, DeviantArt, Far East National Bank, Farmers Insurance Group, Fox Entertainment Group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Guess?, Hanmi Bank, Herbalife, J2 Global Communications, The Jim Henson Company, KB Home, Korn/Ferry, Latham & Watkins, Mercury Insurance Group, Oaktree Capital Management, O’Melveny & Myers; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Premier America, Premiere Radio Networks, Rentech, Roll International, Sunkist, The TCW Group, Tokyopop, Triton Media Group, United Online, and VCA Antech.
The metropolitan area contains the headquarters of companies who moved outside of the city to escape its taxes but keep the benefits of proximity. For example, Los Angeles charges a gross receipts tax based on a percentage of business revenue, while many neighboring cities charge only small flat fees.
The University of Southern California (USC) is the city’s largest private sector employer and contributes $4 billion annually to the local economy.
The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Los Angeles, the main one of which is located at 7001 South Central Avenue.
According to the city’s 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top ten employers in the city are the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, University of Southern California,Kaiser Permanente, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Farmers Insurance Group, TeamOne, Fox Entertainment Group, and American International Group.
Los Angeles is often billed as the "Creative Capital of the World", due to the fact that one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, "there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any time in the history of civilization."
Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, globally recognized as the epicenter of the motion picture industry. A testament to its preeminence in film, the city plays host to the annual Academy Awards, the oldest and one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world. Furthermore, there are 54 film festivals every year, which translates into more than one every week. Finally, Los Angeles is home to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the oldest and largest school of its kind in the United States.
The performing arts play a major role in Los Angeles’ cultural identity. There are over 1,000 musical, theater, dance, and performing groups. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, "there are more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week." The Los Angeles Music Center is one of the three largest performing arts complexes in the nation. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the centerpiece of the Music Center, is home to the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Notable organizations such as Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Master Chorale along with the risingLos Angeles Opera are also resident companies of the Music Center. Talent is locally cultivated at premier institutions such as the Colburn School and the USC Thornton School of Music.
There are 841 museums and art galleries in Los Angeles County; Los Angeles has more museums per capita than any other city in the world. The most notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago), the Getty Center (part of the larger J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest art institution), and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A significant amount of art galleries are concentrated on Gallery Row and thousands are in attendance of the monthly Downtown Art Walk that takes place there.
The major daily newspaper in the area is the Los Angeles Times; La Opinión is the city’s major Spanish-language paper. Investor’s Business Daily is distributed from its L.A. corporate offices, which are headquartered in Playa Del Rey. There are also a number of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines, including the Daily News (which focuses coverage on the San Fernando Valley), LA Weekly, Los Angeles CityBeat, L.A. Record (which focuses coverage on the music scene in the Greater Los Angeles Area), Los Angeles magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal (legal industry paper), The Hollywood Reporter and Variety (entertainment industry papers), and Los Angeles Downtown News. In addition to the English- and Spanish-language papers, numerous local periodicals serve immigrant communities in their native languages, including Armenian, Korean, Persian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Many cities adjacent to Los Angeles also have their own daily newspapers whose coverage and availability overlaps into certain Los Angeles neighborhoods. Examples include The Daily Breeze (serving theSouth Bay), and The Long Beach Press-Telegram.
Los Angeles and New York City are the only two media markets to have all seven VHF allocations possible assigned to them.
The city has major broadcast channels as well as three PBS stations. World TV operates on two channels and the area has several Spanish-language television networks. KTBN 40 is the flagship station of the religious Trinity Broadcasting Network, based out of Santa Ana. A variety of independent television stations also operate in the area.
Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, an NBA Development team owned by the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Los Angeles is also home to the USC Trojans and theUCLA Bruins in the NCAA, both of which are Division I teams in the Pacific-12 Conference. The Los Angeles Galaxy and Club Deportivo Chivas USA ofMajor League Soccer are based in Carson. The city is the largest in the U.S. without an NFL team.
There was a time when Los Angeles boasted two NFL teams, the Rams and the Raiders. Both left the city in 1995, with the Rams moving to St. Louis and the Raiders heading back to their original home of Oakland. Los Angeles is the second-largest city and television market in the United States, but has no NFL team (see List of television stations in North America by media market). Prior to 1995, the Rams called Memorial Coliseum (1946–1979) and the Raiders played their home games at Memorial Coliseum from 1982 to 1994.
Los Angeles has twice played host to the Summer Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 1984. When the tenth Olympic Games were hosted in 1932, the former 10th Street was renamed Olympic Blvd. Super Bowls I and VII were also held in the city as well as multiple FIFA World Cup games in 1994 including the final. Los Angeles will host the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2015.
Los Angeles also boasts a number of sports venues, including Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Coliseum, The Forum, Staples Center, a sports and entertainment complex that also hosts concerts and awards shows such as the Grammys. Staples Center also serves as the home arena for the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, and the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. It was also home to the Los Angeles Avengers of the original AFL, a team that did not participate in that league’s ongoing revival.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Major League Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League are in the Los Angeles media market and are based in Anaheim in Orange County. The Angels began as an expansion franchise team in Los Angeles in 1961 and played at Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field and then Dodger Stadium before moving to Anaheim in 1966. The Ducks, who have played in Anaheim since their inception as an expansion team in 1993, were originally owned by Disney and known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, after the popular Disney film. The team adopted its current name in 2006, a year after Disney sold the franchise.
The Los Angeles California Temple, the second largest temple operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is on Santa Monica Boulevard in the Westwood district of Los Angeles. Dedicated in 1956, it was the first Mormon temple built in California and it was the largest in the world when completed. The grounds includes a visitors’ center open to the public, the Los AngelesFamily History Library, also open to the public, and the headquarters for the Los Angeles mission.
With 621,000 Jews in the metropolitan area (490,000 in city proper), the region has the second largest population of Jews in the United States. Many synagogues of the Reform, Conservative,Orthodox, and Reconstructionist movements can be found throughout the city. Most are located in the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles. The area in West Los Angeles around Fairfax and Pico Boulevards contains a large number of Orthodox Jews. The Breed Street Shul in East Los Angeles, built in 1923, was the largest synagogue west of Chicago in its early decades. (It is no longer a sacred space and is being converted to a museum and community center.) The Kabbalah Centre, devoted to one line of Jewish mysticism, is also in the city.
The Hollywood region of Los Angeles also has several significant headquarters, churches, and the Celebrity Center of Scientology.
Because of Los Angeles’ large multi-ethnic population, a wide variety of faiths are practiced, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Bahá’í, various Eastern Orthodox Churches, Sufism and others. Immigrants from Asia for example, have formed a number of significant Buddhist congregations making the city home to the greatest variety of Buddhists in the world.
Colleges and universities
The community college system consists of nine campuses governed by the trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District: East Los Angeles College (ELAC), Los Angeles City College (LACC), Los Angeles Harbor College, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and West Los Angeles College.There are three public universities located within the city limits: California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Private colleges in the city include the American Film Institute Conservatory, Alliant International University, Syracuse University (Los Angeles Campus), American InterContinental University, American Jewish University, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy – Los Angeles campus, Antioch University’s Los Angeles campus, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s Los Angeles campus (FIDM), Los Angeles Film School, Loyola Marymount University (LMU is also the parent university of Loyola Law Schoollocated in Los Angeles), Marymount College, Mount St. Mary’s College, National University of California, Occidental College ("Oxy"), Otis College of Art and Design (Otis), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Southwestern Law School, and University of Southern California (USC).
Schools and libraries
Los Angeles Unified School District serves almost all of the city of Los Angeles, as well as several surrounding communities, with a student population over 800,000.After Proposition 13 was approved in 1978, urban school districts had considerable trouble with funding. LAUSD has become known for its underfunded, overcrowded and poorly maintained campuses, although its 162 Magnet schools help compete with local private schools. Several small sections of Los Angeles are in the Las Virgenes Unified School District. Los Angeles County Office of Education operates the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. The Los Angeles Public Library system operates 72 public libraries in the city. Enclaves of unincorporated areas are served by theCounty of Los Angeles Public Library, many are within walking distance to City of Los Angeles residents.
Freeways and highways
The city and the rest of the Los Angeles metropolitan area is served by an extensive network of freeways and highways. The Texas Transportation Institute, which publishes an annual Urban Mobility Report, ranked Los Angeles road traffic as the most congested in the United States in 2005 as measured by annual delay per traveler. The average traveler in Los Angeles experienced 72 hours of traffic delay per year according to the study. Los Angeles was followed by San Francisco/Oakland, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, (each with 60 hours of delay). Despite the congestion in the city, the mean travel time for commuters in Los Angeles is shorter than other major cities, including New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Los Angeles’ mean travel time for work commutes in 2006 was 29.2 minutes, similar to those of San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Among the major highways that connect LA to the rest of the nation include Interstate 5, which runs south through San Diego to Tijuana in Mexico and then north to the Canadian border through Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle; Interstate 10, the southernmost east–west, coast-to-coast Interstate Highway in the United States, going to Jacksonville, Florida; and U.S. Route 101, which heads to the California Central Coast, San Francisco, the Redwood Empire, and the Oregonand Washington coasts.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other agencies operate an extensive system of bus lines, as well as subway and light rail lines across Los Angeles County, with a combined daily ridership of 1.7 million. The majority of this (1.4 million) is taken up by the city’s bus system, the second busiest in the country. The subway and light rail combined average the remaining roughly 319,000 boardings per weekday. In 2005, 10.2% of Los Angeles commuters rode some form of public transportation.
The city’s subway system is the ninth busiest in the United States and its light rail system is the country’s third busiest. The rail system includes the Red and Purple subway lines, as well as theGold, Blue, and Green light rail lines. The first phase of the Expo Line is scheduled to open in November 2011. The Metro Orange Line is a bus rapid transit line with stops and frequency similar to those of a light rail. The city is also central to the commuter rail system Metrolink, which links Los Angeles to all neighboring counties as well as many suburbs.
Besides the rail service provided by Metrolink and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles is served by inter-city passenger trains from Amtrak. The main rail station in the city is Union Station just north of Downtown.
The main Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX). The sixth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States, LAX handled over 61 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo in 2006. The Theme Building is pictured here. LAX is a hub for United Airlines
Other major nearby commercial airports include:
* (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT) LA/Ontario International Airport, owned by the city of Los Angeles; serves the Inland Empire.
* (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR) Bob Hope Airport, formerly known as Burbank Airport; serves the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys
* (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB) Long Beach Airport, serves the Long Beach/Harbor area
* (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) John Wayne Airport of Orange County.
* (IATA: PMD, ICAO: KPMD) LA/Palmdale Regional Airport is owned by the city of Los Angeles and serves the northern outlying communities of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.
The world’s third busiest general-aviation airport is also located in Los Angeles, Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY).
The Port of Los Angeles is located in San Pedro Bay in the San Pedro neighborhood, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Downtown. Also called Los Angeles Harbor and WORLDPORT LA, the port complex occupies 7,500 acres (30 km2) of land and water along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront. It adjoins the separate Port of Long Beach.
The sea ports of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach together make up the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor. Both ports is the 5th busiest container port in the World, with a trade volume of over 14.2 million TEU’s in 2008. Singly, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the United States and the largest cruise ship center on the West Coast of the United States – Port’s World Cruise Center serves about 800,000 passengers in 2009.
There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along LA’s coastline. Safety is provided at the only beach controlled by Los Angeles City by the highly trained Los Angeles City Lifeguards.
The port includes four bridges: the Vincent Thomas Bridge, Henry Ford Bridge, Gerald Desmond Bridge, and Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge.
Passenger ferry service from San Pedro to the city of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island is provided by Catalina Express.
Year Pop. %±
1850 1,610 —
1860 4,385 172.4%
1870 5,728 30.6%
1880 11,183 95.2%
1890 50,395 350.6%
1900 102,479 103.4%
1910 319,198 211.5%
1920 576,673 80.7%
1930 1,238,048 114.7%
1940 1,504,277 21.5%
1950 1,970,358 31.0%
1960 2,479,015 25.8%
1970 2,816,061 13.6%
1980 2,966,850 5.4%
1990 3,485,398 17.5%
2000 3,694,820 6.0%
2010 3,792,621 2.6%
The 2010 United States Census reported that Los Angeles had a population of 3,792,621. The population density was 7,544.6 people per square mile (2,913.0/km²). The racial makeup of Los Angeles was 1,888,158 (49.8%) White, 365,118 (9.6%) African American, 28,215 (0.7%) Native American, 426,959 (11.3%) Asian (3.2% Filipino, 2.9% Korean, 1.8% Chinese, 0.9% Indian, 0.9%Japanese, 0.5% Vietnamese, 0.3% Thai, 0.1% Cambodian), 5,577 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 902,959 (23.8%) from other races, and 175,635 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1,838,822 persons (48.5%). Among the Hispanic population, 31.9% are Mexican, 6.0% Salvadoran, 3.6% Guatemalan, 0.6% Honduran, 0.4% Nicaraguan, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.4% Peruvian, 0.4% Cuban, 0.3% Colombian, 0.2% Argentinean, and 0.2% Ecuadorian.
The Census reported that 3,708,020 people (97.8% of the population) lived in households, 58,186 (1.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 26,415 (0.7%) were institutionalized.
There were 1,318,168 households, out of which 446,995 (33.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 522,345 (39.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 196,922 (14.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 88,059 (6.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 90,139 (6.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 15,492 (1.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 373,529 households (28.3%) were made up of individuals and 102,330 (7.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81. There were 807,326 families (61.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.53.
The age distribution was 874,525 people (23.1%) under 18, 434,478 people (11.5%) from 18 to 24, 1,209,367 people (31.9%) from 25 to 44, 877,555 people (23.1%) from 45 to 64, and 396,696 people (10.5%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 34.1 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.
There were 1,413,995 housing units at an average density of 2,812.8 per square mile (1,086.0/km²), of which 503,863 (38.2%) were owner-occupied, and 814,305 (61.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.1%. 1,535,444 people (40.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,172,576 people (57.3%) lived in rental housing units.
prior to 2010
According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the top ten European ancestries were the following:
* German: 4.5% (170,483)
* Irish: 3.9% (146,658)
* English: 3.5% (129,684)
* Italian: 2.8% (100,145)
* Russian: 2.6% (98,737)
* Polish: 1.6% (59,774)
* French: 1.2% (45,127)
* Scottish: 0.8% (28,931)
* Swedish: 0.6% (23,227)
* Scotch-Irish: 0.6% (22,651)
Current estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau put the city’s population at 3,833,995. The California Department of Finance estimates the population at 4,094,764 as of January 1, 2009. The 2000 census recorded 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,719 families residing in the city, with a population density of 7,876.8 people per square mile (3,041.3/km2). There were 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 2,851.8 per square mile (1,101.1/km2). Los Angeles has become a multiethnic and multicultural city, with major new groups of Latino and Asian immigrants in recent decades. From a metropolitan area that in 1960 was over 80% non-Hispanic white, Los Angeles has been transformed into a city that now has a "majority-minority" population. As of the 2000 US Census, the racial distribution in Los Angeles was 46.9% White, 11.2% African American, 10.5% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 25.7% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. 46.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
The census indicated that 42.2% spoke English, 41.7% Spanish, 2.4% Korean, 2.3% Tagalog, 1.7% Armenian, 1.5% Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) and 1.3% Persian as their first language.
According to the census, 33.5% of households had children under 18, 41.9% were married couples, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 28.5% of households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size 3.56.
The age distribution was: 26.6% under 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.
The median income for a household was $36,687, and for a family was $39,942. Males had a median income of $31,880, females $30,197. The per capita income was $20,671. 22.1% of the population and 18.3% of families were below thepoverty line. 30.3% of those under the age of 18 and 12.6% of those aged 65 or older were below the poverty line. Los Angeles has had a high degree of income disparity as compared to the rest of the country. Recently, however, income disparity has declined. The median household income of the wealthiest neighborhood was $207,938, while in the poorest it was $15,003.
Los Angeles is home to people from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages. Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo, and Thai Town provide examples of the polyglot character of Los Angeles.
The city is governed by a mayor-council system. The current mayor is Antonio Villaraigosa. There are 15 city council districts. Other elected city officials include the City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and the City Controller Wendy Greuel. The city attorney prosecutes misdemeanors within the city limits. The district attorney, elected by county voters, prosecutes misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the 88 cities in the county, as well as felonies throughout the county.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles, but the city also maintains four specialized police agencies; The Office of Public Safety, within the General Services Department (which is responsible for security and law enforcement services at city facilities, including City Hall, city parks and libraries, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Convention Center), the Port Police, within the Harbor Department (which is responsible for land, air and sea law enforcement services at the Port of Los Angeles), the Los Angeles City Schools Police department which handles law enforcement for all city schools, and the Airport Police, within the Los Angeles World Airports Department (which is responsible for law enforcement services at all four city-owned airports, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), LA/Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD), and Van Nuys Airport (VNY).
Voters created Neighborhood Councils in the Charter Reform of 1999. First proposed by City Council member Joel Wachs in 1996, they were designed to promote public participation in government and make it more responsive to local needs.
The councils cover districts that are not necessarily identical to the traditional neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
Almost ninety neighborhood councils (NCs) are certified and all "stakeholders"—meaning anyone who lives, works or owns property in a neighborhood—may vote for members of the councils’ governing bodies. Some council bylaws allow other people with a stake in the community to cast ballots as well.
The councils are official government bodies and so their governing bodies and committees must abide by California’s Brown Act, which governs the meetings of deliberative assemblies.
The first notable concern of the neighborhood councils collectively was the opposition by some of them in March 2004 to an 18% increase in water rates by the city’s Department of Water and Power. This led the City Council to approve only a limited increase pending independent review. More recently, some of the councils petitioned the City Council in summer 2006 to allow them to introduce ideas for legislative action, but the City Council put off a decision.
The neighborhood councils have been allocated $45,000 each per year for administration, outreach and approved neighborhood projects.
Crime and safety
Los Angeles has been experiencing significant decline in crime since the mid-1990s, and reached a 50-year low in 2009 with 314 homicides. Antonio Villaraigosa is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.
In 2009, Los Angeles reported 314 homicides, which corresponds to a rate of 7.85 (per 100,000 population)—a major decrease from 1993, when the all time homicide rate of over 21.1 (per 100,000 population) was reported for the year. This included 15 officer-involved shootings. One shooting led to the death of a SWAT team member, Randal Simmons, the first in LAPD’s history.
The Los Angeles crime family dominated organized crime in the city during the Prohibition era and reached its peak during the 1940s and 1950s as part of the American Mafia but has gradually declined since then with the rise of various black and Hispanic gangs.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the city is home to 26,000 gang members, organized into 250 gangs. Among them are the Crips, Bloods, Sureños, Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street. This has led to the city being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America".
- Eilat, Israel (1959)
- Nagoya, Japan (1959)
- Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (1962)
- Bordeaux, France (1964)
- Berlin, Germany (1967)
- Lusaka, Zambia (1968)
- Mexico City, Mexico (1969)
- Auckland City, New Zealand (1971)
- Busan, South Korea (1971)
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (1972)
- Tehran, Iran (1972)
- Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China (1979)
- Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China (1981)
- Athens, Greece (1984)
- Saint Petersburg, Russia (1984)
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (1986)
- Giza, Egypt (1989)
- Jakarta, Indonesia (1990)
- Kaunas, Lithuania (1991)
- Makati, Philippines (1992)
- Split, Croatia (1993)
- San Salvador, El Salvador (2005)
- Beirut, Lebanon (2006)
- Ischia, Campania, Italy (2006)
- Yerevan, Armenia (2007)
- Los Angeles also has an exchange partnership with Tel Aviv, Israel.
In addition, Los Angeles has the following "friendship cities".
Historic Hotels In Los Angeles
Yes, budget hotels in Los Angeles do exist. And with today’s economy, a cheap hotel in LA is a good hotel. These top picks offer some aspect of value, whether it’s a hidden find or a surprising number of amenities. Hotel rates range from a mere $40 to a moderate $170 — but whatever the price, they’re all bargain hotels. Start here on your search for the perfect Los Angeles budget hotel and save some money on your next trip to the city.
636 South Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Best For: Young travelers on a budget but don’t want to skimp
Avg. Price: $60
Part boutique hotel and part hostel, STAY offers hip lodgings at even hipper prices. The key here is variety: depending on budget and lifestyle, a stint at STAY can range from shared rooms to a kitschy and cute private room with plenty of design elements to enjoy. Critics have touted the hybrid hotel/hostel as the next generation of budget accommodations, and guests have widely praised its amenities (flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, DVD players on request). An edgy feel, online and personal interactivity and a spectrum of available room types all make the Stay experience unique to the individual traveler.
640 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Best For: Experienced travelers who like a bit of city adventure
Avg. Price: $60
Built in 1927, the Cecil is one of the most historic hotels in Los Angeles, and after a recent multi-million dollar renovation, “budget” isn’t exactly what comes to mind, especially when you walk into the European-style lobby, which boasts marble floors and stained glass skylights. Modeled after affordable European hotels, the Cecil’s rooms offer simple and comfortable furnishings while hints of elegance appear throughout the hotel. Located in Downtown Los Angeles near theLA Fashion District, the Cecil has become a top pick for savvy international visitors who know a good deal when they see one.
657 W. 23rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90007
Best For: Honeymooners and romantics
Avg. Price: $130
You might think all of LA’s hotels are by nature all looks and no character, butThe Inn at 657 — a verifiable bed-and-breakfast in Los Angeles — offers a quaint atmosphere for those seeking a respite from the city. Most reviews of the inn call it a hidden gem, incredible considering it’s only a mile from the Los Angeles Convention Center. The remarkably reasonable prices include a generous breakfast, parking and access to their lush gardens.
1436 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Best For: Student travelers and young singles
Avg. Price: $40
It’s a dream for most travelers: waking up to the sound of the ocean, sun shining and just steps from the sand. Better yet, there are new people to meet and plenty to do. Hostelling International Santa Monica, which recently underwent a $2 million renovation, offers some of the best dormitory amenities around, including a café for breakfast, Internet access, luggage storage, TV and movie rooms and much more. The hostel often hosts performances such as yoga workshops and poetry readings, as well as live music. With Santa Monica at your fingertips, it’s a hard deal to pass up.
1305 Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach, CA 90291
Best For: Families who like excitement…and a little weirdness.
Avg. Price: $170
Situated right on the Venice Oceanfront Walk, this iconic hotel has long been part of the action. Step outside and you’ll find yourself watching jugglers, tattoo artists, musicians, preachers and more of the Venice crowd. Beyond that: the sand and ocean. Venice Beach Suites has only 28 rooms, so reserve well in advance. If you’re lucky enough to snag a reservation, you’ll have a chance to experience Venice at its best. Be sure to rent a bicycle, have lunch at the nearby café and enjoy the hotel’s vintage atmosphere.
215 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731
Best For: Travelers who want to see the sights before their cruises
Avg. Price: $80
Many of the Vagabond’s guests stop in before leaving on cruises from the nearby Port of Los Angeles. With cruise ship luxury waiting for them, it’s hardly a problem staying in the hotel’s uncomplicated lodgings, which provide clean rooms and a location central to the area’s attractions — Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Ports o’ Call Village, the Korean Bell of Friendship and more.
777 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA, US, 90038
Best For: Tourists on a mission to hit all the sights
Avg. Price: $90
It’s Hollywood, and for visitors who want to cram it all in, there’s not much room for hotel lounging. That’s where Econolodge of Hollywood comes in with its straightforward service and surprisingly spacious rooms. By the time you’re ready to crash from a full day of attractions, you’ll be grateful not to have to deal with the frills of the über-chic hotels in the area.
141 N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Best For: Family vacationers and business travelers alike
Avg. Price: $60
Situated in the heart of Downtown, the Hollywood Inn Express South is a convenient place to stay for business or leisure. This motel is walking distance to the Los Angeles Convention Center, STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE.
10330 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
Best For: Leisure Couples, Corporate Travelers, Studio Execs, Families on Vacation
Avg. Price: $174-189
Rated “4 Stars” on TripAdvisor. Holiday Inn Express® Century City Hotel in is where budget meets boutique. Enjoy surprisingly affordable comfort in the heart of West LA, just minutes from Beverly Hills, Westwood, UCLA and the biggest attractions in Los Angeles. Business travelers and Hollywood Execs appreciate our proximity to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the studios, as well as companies such as and the Pollack PR Marketing Group. We’re also located in walking distance to several restaurants. Stay smart and discover the difference of a “boutique” Holiday Inn Express® hotel in West LA: free Express Start breakfast bar, free passes to Meridian Sports Club, free Wi-Fi access, fully-equipped business center and free local calls. Valuable Los Angeles hotel deals available. Begin planning your next trip to West LA and Century City today.
Beach Front Hotels
There’s nothing quite like having a hotel on the beach. Los Angeles beachfront hotels give visitors the quintessential LA experiences: sunbathing on pristine sand, people-watching from a private patio, cycling along The Strand. Beach hotels in Los Angeles turn vacations and business trips into something magical (like waking up to the smell of the ocean). So where do you start? These eight LA beach hotels are just a stone’s throw away from LA’s most popular beach spots.
Atmosphere: LA’s own Riviera
What to Do: Play a few rounds on the oceanfront golf course.
Details: Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the 582-room resort is where old-world charm meets fine luxury. From spectacular views of the California coastline to scenic hiking trails, the Terranea offers a true getaway from it all.
Atmosphere: SoCal casual
What to Do: Ask the hotel to arrange a yoga session on the beach.
Details: The 96 loft-style suites with personal fireplaces, goose down comforters and romantic views of the Pacific Ocean at the Beach House give guests the laid-back warmth that Hermosa Beach is known for. Think amazing sunsets and beach-town atmosphere during the day. By night, hop into the many nightlife venues within easy walking distance of the hotel.
Atmosphere: Old school luxurious
What to Do: Watch the sun go down on King Harbor and keep an eye out for dolphins and sea lions.
Details: After an $11 million renovation,this nautically themed hotel boasts richly appointed rooms and an awe-inspiring lobby. Floor-to-ceiling windows take advantage of the views, while activities on the beach keep you blissfully occupied during the day.
Atmosphere: Stylishly quirky
What to Do: Rent rollerblades or people watch on Venice’s famous boardwalk.
Details: This historic hotel sits right in the middle of Venice’s bustling array of street performers, artists, vendors and restaurants. The rooms here have turn-of-the-century style, featuring hardwood floors and vintage brick walls. With so many things to do and see, Venice Beach is one of the best places for a family vacation — and Venice Beach Suites fits right into the fun.
What to Do: Grab a pole from the front desk and head to the beach for a day of fishing.
Details: This hotel’s light, soothing decor and optimal location overlooking the Cabrillo Marina make it the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. Just steps away from beach activities such as diving, windsurfing and sailing, the Doubletree Hotel San Pedro is also ideally situated near the Port of Los Angeles, where dozens of the world’s finest cruise lines depart from the World Cruise Center.
Atmosphere: Romantic getaway
What to Do: Take a stroll and enjoy the exclusivity of Carbon Beach in Malibu.
Details: With only 47 rooms, guests choose Malibu Beach Inn for the seclusion and serene luxury it offers. Located in an enclave surrounded by multimillion dollar homes, the hotel provides an oasis for a romantic visit.
LA’s Friendly Hostels
Often flying under the radar of traditional hotels and resorts, LA’s hostels are friendly and surprisingly well-located. Even Paris Hilton couldn’t resist the youthful exuberance of the visitors who stay at LA hostels. According to media accounts, Paris met Alex Vaggo, a 22-year-old Swedish model, in Hollywood near the USA Hostel where he was staying. The hostel is located within walking distance of Hollywood & Highland Center and beds start from $30. The pair met in September, but by October the female socialite had moved on.
Other LA hostels include the HI-Santa Monica, the Venice Beach Cotel and HI-Los Angeles, South Bay. HI-Santa Monica is located just two blocks from the beach, surrounded by some of the beach community’s trendiest cafés, restaurants, shops and pubs. Daily excursions to many LA attractions, including Universal Studios Hollywood, can be purchased and beds start at $26.
The Venice Beach Cotel is located on the beach next to the colorful Ocean Front Walk and within walking distance of world-renowned Muscle Beach. It has ocean view rooms from $22.
HI-Los Angeles, South Bay is located next to the landmark Korean Bell of Friendship in scenic Angel’s Gate Park in San Pedro. The hostel treats guests to sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and beds start at $25.
Pet Friendly Hotels
If you fell for Fido’s puppy eyes again, don’t worry. In Los Angeles, pet-friendly hotels make the city a destination for pets, too. In fact, with numerous pet-specific amenities such as pet treats, doggy beds and pet-sitting services, these Los Angeles hotels are as pet-friendly as they get.
The following Los Angeles hotels welcome dogs, cats and other pets with much fanfare. Just call ahead for details and restrictions because pet policies at LA hotels can change at any time. Ask if fees are per night or per stay, whether they allow both cats and dogs, and whether your pet can be left unattended in the room. Once you’re booked, you and your four-legged friends can experience Los Angeles together, and that’s something to bark about.
- Omni Los Angeles Hotel: $50 per stay, must be less than 25 lbs.
- Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel: $35 per stay, must be less than 80 lbs.
- The Standard Downtown LA: $100 per stay.
- Vagabond Inn Figueroa: $10 per night.
- The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites: free, must be less than 40 lbs.
- Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel: $25 per night, maximum of two pets, must be between 5-10 lbs.
- W Hollywood: $100 per stay, plus $25 per night, must be less than 45 lbs.; pet bed, food and water bowls, floor mat, pet turndown, gift box at check-in.
- Avalon Hotel: $50 per stay, must be less than 40 lbs., pet must not be left unattended.
- Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows: $200 per stay, must be less than 35 lbs.
- Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel: free, must be less than 15 lbs., must not be left unattended.
- Chamberlain West Hollywood: $100 per stay.
- Four Points by Sheraton, Culver City: $25 per night.
- Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills: free, must be less than 15 lbs., must not be left unattended.
- Grafton on Sunset: $100 per stay.
- Hotel Bel-Air: $500 per stay, must be less than 20 lbs.
- Hotel Palomar: free.
- Hyatt Regency Century Plaza: $30 per night, must be less than 50 lbs.
- Mosaic Hotel Beverly Hills: free.
- The Orlando: $50 per night, must be less than 50 lbs.
- Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside: $100 deposit, $50 of which is non-refundable.
- Residence Inn by Marriott, Beverly Hills: $100 per stay, plus $10 per night.
- Sunset Tower Hotel: $100 per stay; mini-beds, bowls, treats, adjacent park.
- Sofitel Los Angeles: free.
- W Los Angeles – Westwood: $100 per stay, plus $25 per night, must be less than 45 lbs.
- Embassy Suites Hotel Los Angeles International Airport – South: $25 per night, must be less than 15 lbs.
- The Fairmont Miramar Hotel Santa Monica: free.
- The Georgian Hotel: $100 per week, $150 per week if pet is more than 50 lbs.
- Hilton Los Angeles Airport: $25 per night.
- Le Merigot A JW Marriott Beach Hotel and Spa: $150 deposit, $100 of which is non-refundable.
- Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel: $25 per stay.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey: $125 per stay, must be less than 30 lbs.
- Sheraton Delfina Hotel: $75 per pet per stay, must be less than 50 lbs.
- Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport Hotel: $50 per stay, must be less than 40 lbs.
- Viceroy Santa Monica: $100 per stay, must be less than 100 lbs.
- The Westin Los Angeles Airport: free, must be less than 30 lbs.
San Fernando Valley
- Sheraton Universal: free, must submit vaccines, must not be left unattended; pet amenities include Sweet SleeperSM Beds, in-room water and food dish, complimentary dog walking maps and pet sitters and pet walkers.
- Warner Center Marriott Hotel: $75 per stay.
- Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City: $50 per stay, must be less than 75 lbs.
San Gabriel Valley
- Doubletree Hotel Monrovia: $50 per stay, must be less than 30 lbs.
- Hilton Pasadena: $75 per stay, must be less than 50 lbs.
- Pacific Palms Resort: $25 per night.
- Sheraton Pasadena Hotel: free, must be less than 60 lbs.
Eats In LA
Eats With Healing Powers
In winter, a flu shot is always an option for warding off illness, but it’s more fun and flavorful, and significantly less painful, to stick with edible cures. Los Angeles restaurants are drawing on Eastern traditions, science and ingenuity to produce food and drinks that have healing powers.
It’s serenity now at Hyun Sook Kim’s branch of a popular Korean chain thanks to its high-backed blue chairs, spa-appropriate music and soothing bowls of porridge. Bonjuk’s 17 varieties include Octopus with Kimchi, which "helps digestion and is good for recovery from weariness and illness." The generous helpings of risotto-like rice grains are interspersed with chewy tentacles and draw fire-red color and acidity from kimchi. If octopus isn’t your thing, consider Shrimp Porridge that touts “rich protein and taurine helps children’s growth and keep beauty for women," and deluxe Abalone Porridge Special, a "traditional dish for Royal households which helps to build up the liver function.” The porridges are topped with dried seaweed and crushed sesame seeds and appear with cool dishes of crunchy kimchi, soy-soaked short rib and a chile-stained dish minced garlic condiment, and a dish of cool, bracing radish soup.
- 3551 Wilshire Boulevard, Koreatown, 213.380.2248
Catherine Fang previously owned Lu Din Gee in nearby San Gabriel, and across the valley, now continues to offer deluxe specialties like Peking duck and Buddha Jumped Over A Wall, a Taiwan style shark’s fin soup that costs over $200 and requires a day’s notice. The six healthiest dishes all feature konnyaku, a fibrous plant that is high in fiber, carries no calories or fat and reduces cholesterol. They’ve got Parsley Lover with stir-fried jellyfish strips, shredded pork, konnyaku and parsley; and cold spicy konnyaku salad with konnyaku “noodles,” carrots, spinach and sesame sauce, but we prefer spicy konnyaku, fish and tofu stew. Firm flounder fillets, absorbent tofu sheets and spongy strips of konnyaku are all treated with a supercharged broth that includes garlic, chilies, red and green pepper strips and black beans.
- 501 S. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, 626.284.3227
The latest venture in the nearly 400-year Tsunoda family hospitality odyssey sprouted out of their Chaya chain and is headed by executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe, who practices “macrobiotics” at M Cafés on Melrose and in Beverly Hills. He “stresses the importance of whole, natural foods eaten in season, and as minimally processed as possible,” building on the principles of Japan’s macro-zen master Michio Kushi. M specializes in salads and sandwiches, including the grilled teriyaki-glazed tuna burger, and packs their display case with a variety of sushi, baked goods and mix-and-match sides. Scarlet quinoa salad also involves beets, strands of orange zest and tangy ume vinegar. Kale complements spicy peanut dressing and crushed peanuts, showcasing a green that’s high in calcium and iron that’s supposed to strengthen the liver and gall bladder. Kale even appears in lemonade at M Café, along with the Green Machine, a bright green blend of cilantro, spinach, kale, ginger, lemon, cucumber and celery. Cilantro naturally encourages "heavy metal detox," and spinach and kale also detoxify.
- 7119 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, 323.525.0588, www.mcafedechaya.com
This classic deli dates to 1945, when Al Mendelson and Nate Reimer set up shop in central Beverly Hills. The Mendelson family continues to run Nate ‘n Al, which is very, very brown, complete with rows of booths and a jam-packed deli case. Chicken Noodle, Rice and/or Kasha Soup is available by the cup or bowl and served with complimentary rye bread. Kasha is a nutty grain similar to unhardened Grape Nuts. The soup’s chicken-free—just chicken broth—but feel free to ask for chicken meat, since it’s already in the pot. No matter how you order, colds beware.
- 414 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.274.0101, www.natenal.com
For more than 14 years, this brightly lit Hong Kong-style café has produced a number of dishes that are hard to find in the San Gabriel Valley, most notably, the Black Chicken Soup with Four Mixed Herbs. A bitter, murky broth is loaded with chunks of chicken sporting black-grey skin, thin-shaved sheets of what may or may not be mushroom, strips of spongy black herb and fibrous slices of a root known called ginseng, which is supposed to reduce stress and stimulate sexual performance in men. Slurp the brew under a 3D mural of cranes by the riverbank.
- 312 W. Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel, 626.570.8333
Local farmers markets served as an incubator for Rey Koo and Robby Whitelaw’s Hollywood sugar cane juice bar, which features locally grown stalks that come packed with minerals, alkalines, chlorophyll and antioxidants. Order the fresh-pressed, Diabetic-friendly liquid straight-up or opt for Fortify Detox Elixir if you “love your liver.” The spicy juice also packs chunks of ginger, cayenne powder and lime juice and promises a detoxifying effect. They also have smoothies and an Alkalizer Tonic to “clean your blood,” combining cane, lemon, lime and alfalfa chlorophyll.
- 5301 W. Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, 323.537.6611, www.sugarcanejuice.org
Mixologist Justin Pike draws on pre-Prohibition traditions to produce medicinal cocktails at the chic Abbot Kinney restaurant. He named the Federal Reserve for some regulars who liked to discuss politics and finance. The aromatic, stirred drink involves Sazerac 6-year rye, Carpano antica sweet vermouth, Cynar artichoke liqueur and an allspice dram, which adds “wintry notes.” Pike considers his 57 Chevy “smooth, an easy ride.” The frothy cocktail combines dry Bombay Sapphire gin, Noilly Pratt dry vermouth, pineapple and lemon lemon juices, a reputedly aphrodisiacal Mexican herb called damiana and elecampane tonic, which Pike swears is "good for the bloodstream." He recently started barrel-aging cocktails, including a Manhattan with rye, Punt e Mes sweet vermouth and mamajuana, which Dominicans are convinced has healing powers. Mamajuana involves rum, honey and a blend of Dominican barks. Technically, you’re supposed to use Dominican rum like Brugal, but Pike likes Smith & Cross. He said, "They say a shot a day makes you live longer. It also gives you sexual power."
- 1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, 310.392.6644,www.thetastingkitchen.com
Helene An and daughter Catherine took the family behind Crustacean in a more casual direction last year, opening up a Vietnamese café in Santa Monica’s MTV building. An herb garden frames the brick-lined patio, including the café’s eponymous herb, which packs vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and immune boosting properties. The purple and green leaf is also “considered to be the most flavorful of the perilla (mint) family.” An uses tiato to garnish Tiato Eggplant Tofu and Villager’s Favorite. The latter involves cubes of simmered pork tenderloin, lettuce strips, pickled jalapeños, crunchy carrots and cucumbers, minced pork and shrimp sauce. The dish comes with brown or white rice and a cup of warming chicken broth. For dessert, they even have a tiato macaron, with violet and green almond paste cookies befitting the herb and a tiato cream filling.
For Pizza Lover’s
Any way you slice it—thin crust, deep dish, Sicilian, vegan, gluten-free or even more avant-garde interpretations of traditional pies—LA delivers on the dough.
Los Angeles may not be thought of as a “pizza town” in the way that Chicago and New York have deep-rooted histories making them synonymous with signature styles (though good versions of both can certainly be found here). California pizza tends to be less traditional and more innovative—thanks in large part to Wolfgang Puck and crew, who helped usher in an era of experimental pizza back in the ‘80s
Los Angeles may not be thought of as a “pizza town” in the way that Chicago and New York have deep-rooted histories making them synonymous with signature styles (though good versions of both can certainly be found here). California pizza tends to be less traditional and more innovative—thanks in large part to Wolfgang Puck and crew, who helped usher in an era of experimental pizza back in the ‘80s.
One night back at the original Spago (176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310.385.0880), Puck ran out of brioche for his house-smoked salmon plate, substituting a light pizza crust—and accidentally making culinary history. The recipe came to include dill cream, red onions and either salmon roe or caviar. Suddenly everyone wanted one. As he tells the story, “Joan Collins thought it was her pizza; Robin Leach called it ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous pizza.” It remains a beloved menu staple—whether it’s actually printed or not.
Caioti Pizza Café (4346 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818.761.3588) is the brainchild of the late Ed LaDou, who combined his experience as the gourmet “pizzaola” at the original Spago with his subsequent role as a consultant for the more casual, family-friendly CPK chain. His signature barbecue chicken pizza remains a copyrighted menu staple at his Studio City eatery.
With the hot-ticket opening of Pizzeria Mozza (641 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, 323.297.0101) in 2006, a new wave was born. Here, pastry whiz Nancy Silverton—a Spago alum herself—proffers her own signature style with almost naan-like crust; the one with house-made fennel sausage, red onions, scallions and panna (cooking cream) is perennially popular.
From waitlist-reservation restaurant all the way to the sleepy suburbs of Arcadia, Zelo (328 E. Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, 626.358.8298) is nothing short of amazing. To call its specialty pie simply “corn pizza” does it a disservice. A more appropriate moniker might be “double corn, double cheese”—after the duos of cornmeal crust topped with fresh corn kernels and both regular and smoked mozzarella, plus balsamic-marinated roasted red onions and chives.
Gjelina (1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.450.1429) has become both a Venice neighborhood favorite and destination eatery. The pizzas are among the most sought after offerings, and one of the most interesting highlights stinging nettles, Fresno chili and mint, along with Parmesan and ricotta cheese.
The white pie at Charlie’s (22821 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, 310.456.3132) in Malibu is a local favorite, and local’s also know to order it as the “white salad pizza,” so instead of just a mouthwatering blend of four cheeses (ricotta, feta, mozzarella and parmesan) and white truffle oil, it’s topped with a refreshing blend of baby arugula, romaine, hearts of palm with a zesty lemon dressing and red wine vinaigrette
Speaking of veggies and white pizza, Vito’s (846 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310.652.6859) white pesto with big heaping piles of ricotta is tasty, but the fresh Mediterranean veggie pie incorporates a beautifully California-fresh spin on what many New Yorkers consider a close approximation of Big Apple thin crusts. It comes with marinated spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic and herbs.
J Restaurant & Lounge (1119 S. Olive St., Downtown, 213.746.7746) downtown makes the unlikeliest of pizza toppings work—tuna and onions. The sweetness of the onions, which are cooked in raspberry wine vinegar, marries beautifully with seared ahi.
At Breadbar (10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City, 310.277.3770), the pizza comes from a signature “secret recipe” of consulting chef Noriyuki Sugie. The Italian pizza dough utilizes Antico Molino “00” flour, and is made in-house daily. Among its less-traditional seasonal toppings are the provocative combination of emmenthal cheese and bacon, plus parsley, oregano and red onion
Barbarella (2609 N. Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, 323.644.8000) features a homemade chicken sausage that nicely balances mild flavor—even more so when paired with the malty Unibroue Trois Pistoles on tap.
Abbot’s Pizza Company (1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310.396.7334) is the self-proclaimed “home of the bagel-crust pizza.” Indeed, the thick dough is deeply satisfying. Recommended is the five-onion option with leeks, shallots and red, green and yellow onions.
Sushi Bars You Must Visit
Most everybody knows Nobu and Nozawa. We’ve made it our mission to seek out lesser-known, underappreciated sushi bars, the kind of hidden gems that make you want to say, “I know a little place …”
But first, a quick word about etiquette. If you’re content with California rolls, ignore this entire paragraph. In a good sushi joint, your manners make all the difference. If you’ve ever left a legendary Japanese restaurant nursing your pocketbook and scratching your head, it could be because you committed any of the following faux pas: moving your serving tray, mixing wasabi or, God forbid, ginger, into your soy sauce, which, by the way, is not a sunken tub for sushi to leisurely bathe; a swift and gentle surface scratch in minimal sauce will suffice. Eat Nigiri fish-side down—fingers are fair game. Sit at the bar and buy your chef a beer. Trust him.
An homage to the handcrafted Japanese Kiriko glassware, Ken Namba applies the same artisan principles to his exquisite food, which runs the gamut from purist to populist. As Namba explains, “We carry some exotic fish that people have never seen before (like saberfish). Some are prepared in a way that’s been true for 50 to 100 years, some in a very modern way.” Salmon is house-smoked and wrapped around mango, then topped with American sturgeon caviar—a pescaterian play on prosciutto and melon. Scallops are served with Namba’s version of pesto, olive oil, shiso leaf and pine nuts. The show-stopping signature dish is an unbelievably rich seared toro with roasted jalapenos.
Artistry is also a focal point here, down to pressed-flower serving trays and gold flake accents in select dishes. Co-owner Pat Yoshida, a licensed floral arranger, believes that “anything made by hand, not just sushi—painting, jewelry—comes from the heart.” An arsenal of creative plates includes truffled, tempura-battered Kumamoto oysters; salmon belly topped with marinated ikura, and a golden eye snapper with seared skin and rice. The piece de resistance, though, will fascinate some and appall others, ultra-fresh live sweet shrimp plated with its own egg sack and the often still-moving head, which is later deep fried or served in miso soup.
A verdant setting this is not. Park refers to the owner/chef Peter’s surname, which is Korean, not Japanese. Though he didn’t grow up rooted in the culture, he embraced it. Think of him as a kinder, gentler Nozawa. The rules are strict (no California or spicy tuna rolls, salads, teriyaki or takeout). What he does serve is first-rate omakase, a skill he crafted in an apprenticeship at Yotsuya. Black snapper from Greece is skin-seared, toro textbook, king scallop in-shell, along with less familiar selections like jackfish and skipfish. Park says, “Portions are very important to me … the rice, wasabi and fish are supposed to combine together in one bite.”
Opened in 2008, Ikko is known for truly unusual fish completely unfamiliar to most Americans, even those who consider themselves serious sushi-philes. We’re talking chicken grant (a white fish) and golden thread (similar to snapper). A list of daily specials is almost as long as the regular menu. Like octopus? Would you prefer the skin or the tentacles? Both are available. Then there’s the out-of-this-world sautéed scallops with bright yellow pumpkin cream sauce and pink peppercorns, and a robust grilled foie gras with gravy-like Cabernet “saikyo” miso. Tempura is first rate; the abalone is recommended.
Known to regulars as simply Shoei’s, after chef/owner Shoei Urasaki, who paid his dues at Iroha, this little mom-and-pop operation somehow flies under the radar in one of the most heavily foot-trafficked areas of West Hollywood. The chef can be as traditional or experimental as customers wish—just know it’ll take a little time because he’s on his own back there. Halibut sashimi is topped with yuzu and served directly on a bed of ice; “biscotti,” basically his interpretation of spicy tuna on crunchy rice, is a signature; and regulars love various specialty rolls named after presidents.
Though this used to be another sushi place, it has more of the look and feel of an old diner. Katsuya this is not, but you’re not coming for the décor. And if your idea of sushi includes California rolls or anything at all cooked, you’re not coming here at all. The kitchen is completely ignored—even shrimp heads simply roly-poly their way into the garbage. Portions are small, but burst with flavor. High points include halibut, blue crab, and abalone, though the best effect might be the tongue-numbing sensation of sansho on sensational saltwater eel.
If you mosey up to Kazu’s bar, expect critique. He flat out admits, “Some customers, I have to teach them how to eat … [they] are desperately clumsy and messy. I almost have to close my eyes.” The upside for those who play by the rules is, one, respect, which translates into two, better food and service. The quality here is fiercely fresh. Yellowtail belly possess what Kazu-san likens to a “second skin” and Scottish salmon is topped with sweet kelp. A small bowl of monkfish liver (think Japanese foie gras) is pearly pink and accented by ponzu-like jelly and two types of tobiko.
Strip malls in general carry a certain stigma, but it’s an extra dubious distinction to be based in what Silver Lake locals refer to as “crackhead mini mall.” The old ‘book by its cover’ adage comes to mind with Saito, a fixture here since 1997. Gruff in general, Saito-san warms to repeat visitors, who appreciate his fixation on fresh fish. Spanish mackerel is a favorite, its telltale skin prompting jalapeno-salivation among regulars. Uni is perfectly clean, almost sweet. Halibut is treated with a pinch of red ground dried daikon.
Kimono-clad owner and former model Asako opened her “dream restaurant” on Beverly Hills’ storied Restaurant Row and recruited Kenny Yamada, most recently of Takami downtown, to head up the kitchen. A trained magician, his slight of hand skills are equally deft with fish. He likes his sauces and the way foods pair with them. Amberjack sashimi swims in peach ponzu and lemon juice. Rock shrimp tempura is encased in a ribbon-wrapped “purse,” which is paired with creamy curry. Seared tuna is flecked with garlic chips and spicy cream sauce—the heat nicely offset by seaweed. You think fried Twinkies were fun? Try sea urchin tempura!
Tucked away in the basement of the Biltmore Hotel, this little gem stocks sizable sushi bar offerings, as well as pan-Asian tapas. Salmon is a strong point, be it lemon-marinated or baked perfectly rich and topped with sesame seeds. The yellowtail was also particularly fresh, and a red dragon roll successfully married shrimp tempura, crab, avocado and its kick-started spicy tuna and tobiko topping. Non-sushi eaters will embrace the small plates concept, highlighted by a family recipe for a sweet honey- and soy-braised eggplant and the spicy Singaporean chili prawns.
Ajisai, 809 Palm Ave, West Hollywood, 310.652.7014
Hakobe, 14 N. La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, 310.652.0007
Ikko, 21008 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, 310.371.7197
Kazu, 11440 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, 818.763.4836
Kiriko, 11301 Olympic Blvd, Ste102, West L.A., 310.478.7769
Nishi-ya, 1712 Victory Blvd, Glendale, 818.244.2933
Sai Sai, 501 S Olive St, Downtown L.A., 213.624.1100
Saito, 4339 W. Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake, 323.663.8890
Sushi Dokoro Kirala, 9777 S. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, 310.275.9003
Sushi Park, 8539 W. Sunset Blvd, Ste 20, West Hollywood, 310.652.0523
Heros to Die For
The sandwich traces its eponymous roots back to an English Earl; as the legend goes, the was such a compulsive gambler that he refused to the leave the table to eat or even put down his cards—and didn’t want to soil them with messy food either.
Hence the concept was born; but the basic idea of edibles placed between bread is far from just Anglo; in fact, it’s culturally ubiquitous. From all-American grilled cheese sandwiches and Mexican tortas to Italian subs and Vietnamese banh mis, get the skinny on some of the top sandwiches in LA.
There’s probably no better place to start than what many consider the city’s signature sandwich—the one that was actually invented here more than 100 years ago: the French dip. To this day, no one can say with certainty whether Phillippe or Cole’s can truly take the credit. No matter, both are classics, and the standout at each is the gloriously gamey lamb.
Its served hand-cut and either single-or double-dipped at the former counter-service favorite; the latter has taken it more upscale in the speakeasy-style subterranean setting, where its presented with a side of au jus—and an optional “black Manhattan” cocktail pairing.
Throwing it’s newbie hat in the ring, the Oaks Gourmet Market, near Beachwood Canyon, is doing up an unusual but deeply complex pulled short rib French onion dip, with just the right amount of kick from a potent marriage of horseradish cream, truffled watercress and sherry au jus.
- Oaks Gourmet Market 1915 N. Bronson Ave, Hollywood, 323.871.8894,theoaksgourmet.com
At Joan’s on Third, their take on the slow-cooked short rib sandwich is served on savory country white bread smothered in butter to achieve crispy perfection, and with the gooeyness of the Monterey Jack, oozingly juicy meat, sweet red onions, and bite of arugula, there’s nary a need for spread.
- Joan’s on Third, 8350 West 3rd St, Los Angeles, 323.655.2285, joansonthird.com
Famous Hot Dog Spots
They say there’s nothing more American than baseball and apple pie, but during the “dog days” of summer, nothing goes better with the former like a good, old-fashioned frank—especially a classic “Dodger Dog” at the ballpark. From these stadium staples and beyond, LA is a hot dog lover’s paradise—we’ve got iconic institutions and street-styles to regional imports and gourmet sausages.
LA’s worst kept secret, thanks to the telltale line that has lured everyone from Martha Stewart (who has a special dog named after her) to multi-generational Angeleno families, Pink’s has been a local institution since it started as a corner hot dog cart in 1939.
There are more than 21 varieties here, from an all-beef frank with jalapenos ground into the mix (formerly the “millennium dog,” now rechristened in honor of LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa) to the signature snappy chili original. Of their longevity, co-owner Gloria Pink says, “There aren’t many places that have been around for 70[-plus] years; we’re the ‘Hollywood hot dog,’ if you will.”
While Hollywood has Pink’s, the East LA community has been loyal to Chronis for almost as long. This simple but “famous” neighborhood stand is known for chili cheese dogs that snap, crackle and pop with flavor.
The 1940s, particularly the post-war era, jump-started several landmark eateries that have since become a way of life. In 1946, Cupid’s shot its arrow straight into the heart of the Valley and became a local mini-chain. Served fast-food-style, the thick but mild chili is slathered atop a specially made half-beef, half-pork frank.
It’s also the same year the original Tail O’ the Pup opened (in honor of another great Hollywood tradition, the wiener-shaped stand is on hiatus until a new home can be found for it).
Over in Santa Monica, another Class of ’46 grad, the original outpost of still stands, serving up corn dogs from girls and guys in corny costumes.
In the heart of Toluca Lake is a kitty corner of Americana, with state historical landmark Bob’s Big Boy on one side of the street and Papoo’s Hot Dog Showjust across it (both opened in ’49). Now serving Red Hot brand, “the Show” features grilled bacon, spinach, melted Swiss topped with golden fried onion rings.
Skinny, bun-bursting Dodger Dogs emerged from the post-Brooklyn era (and were taken over by in the ‘70s), but later expanded to meet the growing diversity of Angeleno appetites, including veggie versions, and Hebrew National’s Koshers.
Carney’s was born out of vintage railway cars and became the late-night stomping grounds of many musicians, fans and assorted other curios upon opening its first location on the Sunset Strip. All-beef chilidogs are also a signature here; for a real kick, request spicy mustard and use the signature secret recipe sauce—reportedly a blend of black pepper, toasted jalapeno peppers, garlic powder, seasoned salt and white vinegar.
Another colorful classic is Oki-Dog, legendary for its behemoth hot dog burritos, which became a cultural commodity during the punk rock era. Two sliced dogs are wrapped into a flour tortilla, along with chili and melted American cheese. Upgrades to grilled onions and yellow mustard are optional and free.
Al & Bea’s is known mostly for Mexican food, but also makes an East LA cult favorite known as the “four-finger” hot dog, which consists of two halved dogs inside a hamburger bun. A variation on this can also be found at Marty’s in , where it includes a hamburger patty and is sometimes called a “50/50.”
Born out of a small eatery in Reseda,Fab’s brings together hot dog styles from all over the world. Much has been made of its bacon-wrapped LA “street dog,” but denizens of Clifton, New Jersey clamor for the traditional mustard-relished “ripper” known as the “Bald Eagle.” Owner Joe Fabrocini sources his from an undisclosed East Coast purveyor, which is specially made for deep-frying. He warns that competing restaurant’s rippers might not be as authentic: “It’s flattering that other places are offering it now, but they are using regular hot dogs.”
Also in the Valley, the Infield carries a cross-section of continent-wide specialty dogs, but the bestseller is the West Virginian. Very similar to Carolina-style, it’s distinguished by tangy coleslaw, along with chili, yellow mustard and onions.
Taste Chicago manager Jo Williams explains, “there is only one Chicago dog, and it should always be a Vienna all-beef hot dog with mustard, onion, tomato, neon relish, sport peppers, pickle spear and celery salt.” At this Burbank eatery co-owned by Chicago-born actor , it’s steamed and served on a fresh poppy seed bun.
In Long Beach, Mustard’s is another Chi-Town ode, with a squishy-bun version of the namesake Windy City wiener served with any or all of “the works.” For only $.10 cents more, the charbroiled jumbo version is recommended over the steamed regular.
Weeneez owner Julie Rico says, “I come from Detroit, where there’s a (Michigan-speak for chili dogs) every mile.” Unlike those of her hometown, she wanted hers to be higher-end in quality, and takes particular pride in her meaty ground chuck and chuck roast chili blend, but also makes a mean street-style “Broadway dog,” with grilled onions, bell peppers, mustard, mayo and ketchup, minus the bacon.
At Café Surfas, seasonal designer dogs are created from Snake River’s Kobe-style beef. Executive Chef Brandi Quinn explains, “I wanted to create an old-fashioned hot dog, like you’d find on the street or at a country or state fair, but up the profile on it, so it’s made from Snake River Farms beef, homemade relish—[from our homemade pickles] and ketchup. Everything is a little more upscale and refined.” More like a sandwich, actually, the La Brea Bakery demi-baguette “bun” has a nice sourdough note and great crunch.
Also serving MVP beef, but inside corn dogs, are two less-than-likely suspects:8oz Burger Bar has a softly breaded mini version, which pairs nicely with both its “purple mustard” accompaniment—and a Bayhawk Chocolate Porter; Katanafeatures a tempura-battered take served exclusively on their summertime Red Sun BBQ menu (available Sundays through Labor Day Weekend).
Also, expanding into the hoity-toity hot dog genre, 25 Degrees, mostly known for haute hamburgers, has introduced the packed-full, spotlight-stealing Sonoran, and a more straightforward selection with relish, onion and sauerkraut that is satisfying in its simplicity.
Chef Ray Garcia’s FIG Restaurant, located at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, is showing off its summer spirit with a poolside cart on the weekends. A menu of eight dogs—along with endless a la carte options—includes the healthy but yummy LA Dog, a turkey wiener from a specialty Beverly Hills butcher, with Fuerte avocado, alfalfa sprouts and mango pico de gallo on a spelt bun.
Nearby, the Hotel Shangri-La is serving its own specialty poolside franks, highlighted by a relatively bikini-friendly, juicy all-beef option with chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro on Dolce Forno brioche.
The South Bay’s Bouzy gastropub, inspired by co-owner Michael Franks’ London roots also has some very modern dishes on the menu, including a “Kogi”-style, soft-textured Nathan’s hot dog with kimchi, Chinese mustard and Shishito peppers, a not-so-subtle ode to the famed Korean taco truck.
A perfect place for post-clubbing snacks in Hollywood, try Skooby’s signature dog, seven inches of snappy beef dressed with chili, aioli and onions—have them smear it up “garlic lover’s style” for extra punch.
Larry’s may be known for its namesake chili dog, but the not so peaceful sleeper hit here is the “, Hidden Dragon” special, which is made with a super spicy butterflied Louisiana hot link, then smothered in chili and cheese. It’s definitely knife-and-fork material, not to mention a water chaser!
Located in the NoHo Arts District, Viscous Dogs have put the kibosh on all other kielbasas. The sweet and spicy version, akin to something found in the old Polish neighborhoods of New York, is an intense mix of contrasting flavors, just sweet enough to relax the palate and just spicy enough to jumpstart it. Charred black in places and sectioned off for great effect, it’s a wow-factor dish.
Wurstkuche co-owner Joseph Pitruzzelli describes the philosophy behind his wildly successful Little Tokyo-adjacent mini beer hall: “Our intent was to take banal, everyday items that people have been eating for centuries and spice them up.” That he has. Though the menu includes more familiar foods as well, it has become known for the exotic, like the delightfully gamey, rich rabbit-and-rattlesnake sausage.
In what has become Pasadena’s Slaw Dogs signature sausage, the Thai Slaw Dog, owner Raymond Byrne was inspired by both the American South and his own Thai heritage, creating “a variation with the tang of the chili, and coolness of the slaw, and thin enough to fit in one bite.” Ingredients include chicken sausage, spicy peanut-coconut satay, cilantro-carrot slaw peanuts and Sriracha-style aioli.
Tony’s Darts Away, once a down and out dive, is now home to a variety of gourmet vegan and non-vegan sausages—quite a dramatic departure for the Burbank bar. A healthy appetite and a healthy imagination are essential for the mix-and-match menu, with concoctions ranging from natural pork Andouille with slow-griddled onions and peppers to a Full Sail Ale beer brat with vegan aioli. Yes, vegan aioli.
Bockwurst is a clean and simple sausage made with veal, pork, milk, eggs and onions. It’s a standout at the Dog House in Long Beach, along with the sweet-but-balanced honey apple. Weighing in at one-fifth of a pound, all selections are served naked and can be adorned with a veritable smorgasbord of toppings, sauces and condiments.