Sun Country Airlines | Los Angeles
While mentioning “LA” may bring to mind the iconic Hollywood sign and the star-studded sidewalk by Grauman’s Theatre, Los Angeles offers far more beyond the spotlight. The warm climate begs for visits to Manhattan Beach or Disneyland, and foodie tours through Koreatown or the Farmer’s Market are musts. Rivaling NYC in influence and power, the City of Angels woos corporate heads, artistic trend-setters and travelers seeking to experience worldwide cultures without a passport.
Facts & FundamentalsLos Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish Gov. Felipe de Neve but did not become part of the United States until the 1848 Treaty of Hidalgo. By the mid-1920s, Los Angeles boasted having the most drive-through, drive-up and drive-in businesses in the world. “Celebrities” pay $15,000 to have their names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is why you might not recognize some of them, though the great ones are still there. Los Angeles has been ranked the third-wealthiest city and fifth most powerful and influential city in the world, behind only New York City in the United States. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics, both of which were financially successful. Los Angeles takes community names very seriously: the city comprises more than 80 districts, neighborhoods and incorporated places. Los Angeles is home to several funiculars, or inclined railways. Angels Flight at Third and Hill streets is one of the world’s shortest railways. Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate and an average of 35 days annually with measurable precipitation. Los Angeles is often billed as the "Creative Capital of the World" because one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry. The Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale contains one of the world’s largest oil paintings, William Bouguereau’s “Song of the Angels,” and a moai statue from the famed Easter Island.
Tourism in LA peaks in the summer, but it’s not the perfect time to visit if you want the best possible weather. Although LA is high desert and summer temperatures inland can soar, the area’s low humidity offsets the heat.
Outside of summer, LA’s skies are less foggy, and the weather is most comfortable during winter. The region’s annual average temperature is 63 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average January minimum of 48 degrees and an average July maximum of 75 degrees.
LA only has measurable precipitation about 35 days of the year and almost always from February to April. Be aware of “June Gloom,” a fog that makes beach cities overcast until early afternoon, and the hot Santa Anas winds in autumn that improve surfing conditions.
You don’t have to be a hip starlet or business magnate to find your place in LA, a city constantly reinventing itself and leaving visitors seeing stars, as well as fashionistas, international politicos, Trojans (USC) and Dodgers. Los Angeles has long been a booming city that embraces the new and welcomes change. And with temperate weather year-round, expansive beaches, world-class shopping and industry-leading entertainment, it’s no wonder this cultural hub is a top destination for millions each year.
Founded by the Spanish in 1781, there wasn’t much to note in LA until 1911, when the first film studio opened. The population soared, along with box-office hits, in the 1920s and 1930s as people from all walks came to seek their fortunes. And with each release from Hollywood, the glamour of LA drew eyes across the world to this trend-setting metro and leader of entertainment, fashion and arts culture.
Today, the “City of Angels” is the second-largest city in the United States and a center for pop culture, as well as science, technology and education. Its high-brow offerings include world-class museums and art venues, such as the Getty Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Huntington Art Gallery and the Virginia Steel Scott Galleries. And the city’s focus on international trade bolsters both its thriving economy and its desire to taste and embrace fashion, arts and cuisines across the globe.
Disneyland and Hollywood, which made LA the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” remain major draws. Neighboring the Pacific Ocean, LA offers Manhattan Beach, which has a paved walking path; Zuma Beach, one of the best for surfing; and quirky Venice Beach, place custom-made for people-watching. Also, don’t forget the 22-mile bicycle trail stretching from Malibu’s Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance County Beach in Redondo Beach.
To see musicians, actors and athletes in action, head downtown to the Disney Concert Hall, Staples Center and the Orpheum Theatre in the Broadway District, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of historic cinemas. The 27-acre LA Live complex, a destination all its own, features Club Nokia, the Nokia Theatre, the Grammy Museum, movie theaters, bars and restaurants, ESPN’s West Coast Studios and a 54-story hotel. And if you don’t cross paths with your favorite celeb, then at least stand heel-to-heel (or gun print, leg print or horseshoe!) with the nearly 200 Hollywood greats memorialized in the concrete before Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Downtown revitalization might offer a focal point for LA, where suburban sprawl has been well-entrenched since World War II, when munitions factories, shipyards and aerospace giants Lockheed, Rockwell, General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas opened in Southern California and began attracting workers. But it’s important to remember that the greater LA metro area spans more than 4,000 square miles and has a population of 9.8 million. LA residents love their cars, have a history of resisting public transportation and stand-still traffic is common. So planning the perfect visit means picking the location with access to desired activities without too much long-distance ground travel.
AOC Wine Bar
8022 W. 3rd St., West
West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Featuring Mediterranean cuisine, this restaurant and wine bar pioneered the small-plate format, and has a tapas-like menu and extensive wine list. The restaurant’s name stands for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, the regulatory system for quality control of local wines and cheeses in France, so you expect AOC’s menu to exceed the greatest standards.
235 N. Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA 90210
This elegant French bistro’s fine details and extensive list of California wines set it apart. Its friendly atmosphere draws celebrities and locals alike for exquisite selections that include onion soup, salmon rillettes, roasted chicken, steamed Maine mussels and a delicious grilled croque madame, not to mention the French pastries.
1104 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
High-end French decor sets the mood for enjoyment at Melisse, where the menu changes frequently to use the freshest, seasonal produce, and the wine list is exceptional. Entrées may include roasted squab with seared foie gras and citrus jus or dry-aged cote de boeuf roti with potato-leek torte. Conclude with the chocolate soufflé.
641 N. Highland Ave.
Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Part of the Batali-Silverton partnership, this pizza establishment features Mediterranean items like white anchovies, lardo and Gorgonzola. Mozza's thin-crust pizza is unique in California and includes only market-fresh ingredients. The antipasto selection is complete, the wine selections are quite affordable and daily specials offer inspiring options.
Saddle Park Lodge
419 Cold Canyon Rd
Calabasas, CA 91302
This award-winning favorite offers something different: a rustic, hunting atmosphere, with interior décor that includes exposed logs, animal trophies and fishing gear. The menu appropriately focuses on fish and game but also includes steak, and the Sunday brunch is particularly notable. Request patio seating for spectacular views to rival your meal.
Ethnic food has long been the mainstay of the LA dining scene, and these days, there’s an emphasis on sustainable, locally grown produce, too. From the well-known restaurants with high-profile chefs to the smaller eateries, the Farmer’s Market movement is well-entrenched.
Restaurants with celebrity chefs abound. Try Street, in Hollywood, or Border Grill, in Santa Monica and downtown, to taste the creations of Chef Susan Feniger; Pizzeria Mozza in Hollywood to see Chef Mario Batali; or experience French dining at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills, owned by Chef Thomas Keller. The Providence in Hollywood serves up amazing seafood under the supervision of Chef-Owner Michael Cimarusti.
LA’s selection of Latin food so extensive, it can be difficult to choose between Mexican, Guatemalan and Peruvian restaurants. El Tepeyac’s burritos are a good place to start, though. For authentic Chinese food, head to San Gabriel Valley, while the best sushi can be found in West LA. Koreatown is also not to be missed, with eateries like The Prince serving scallion pancakes, live octopus and soju cocktails.
The theme of diversity continues as you savor fine French dining at Melisse in Santa Monica or visit West Hollywood for AOC Wine Bar’s Mediterranean cuisine and Angelina Osteria’s Italian, where the menu includes grandma-inspired lasagna. Of course, you could keep your taste buds closer to home with New American cuisine at Spago Beverly Hills, the flagship restaurant of Wolfgang Puck.
But following the famous, reading reviews and booking reservations stops short of a complete taste of LA. The adventure is almost invalid without eating at the Farmers Market, a community gathering place at 3rd and Fairfax that features more than 80 shops and restaurants. Coming here to eat, drink and meet is an Angeleno tradition.
Dining on the go in Los Angeles means more than just stopping in for fast food. When you plan a scenic drive along the California stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, lunch from a seafood shack is a must. Exploring the beautiful country along Highway 1 is not complete without fish and chips from Malibu Seafoods or an Ahi tuna sandwich from Reel Inn.
The taco trucks throughout LA are another option when you’re in search of a quick bite. These taco stands on wheels operate on set street corners, and insider input is key. Virtually all Angelenos have a favorite truck, so ask around with the confidence that you’re about to experience some of the best tasting (and priced) tacos in town.
That said, there is one chain that shouldn’t be missed: In-N-Out Burger. Founded in Baldwin Park, Los Angeles, this revered burger chain is a favorite of great chefs, from Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali to Julia Child. You can drive up and order a classic hamburger, cheeseburger or Double-Double, French fries, and a soda or milkshake. Or if you have some time so spare, check out the “secret menu” online and then dine at one of the more unique locations, such as the largest In-N-Out Burger in Westwood.
Los Angeles Pride Festival
647 N San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
[June] Celebrating the role of gay men and women in LA, this event underscores giving a voice to all and strives to represent the diversity of the gay community. Enjoy the huge parade, live shows and music, including R& B, Latin and country. Special areas are designated for children.
Los Angeles Film Festival
LA Live 800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
[June] Hosted by the LA Times, this festival features feature-length film screenings as well as short films seeking to quality for the Academy Awards. In addition to parties and awards, the festival features live music on the festival promenade, and a number of conversation times with directors, actors and industry professionals.
Festival of Arts & Pageant of the Masters
650 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
[August] Held for more than 60 years at Laguna Beach, this festival is home to the world-famous Pageant of the Masters, where actors recreate famous paintings. Art demonstrations and live performances showcase local talents, and visitors can take part in crafts sales and workshops. The Sawdust Festival runs concurrently across the street.
Long Beach Jazz Festival
Rainbow Lagoon Park 403 Shoreline Village Dr
Long Beach, CA 90802
[August] For jazz enthusiasts, this is the event of the summer. Legendary acts such as The Whispers and greats like Ron Ayers and Michael Franks always have the crowd grooving and wanting more. In addition to the finest musicians, art exhibits and delicious food are abundant.
Los Angeles County Fair
Pomona Fairplex 1101 W McKinley Ave
Pamona, CA 91768
[September-October] Begun in 1922, this month-long event now attracts more than one million visitors each year. Contests, carnival rides, agricultural displays, livestock exhibitions and horse racing are key attractions, while music lovers enjoy the live concerts by musical greats such as Willie Nelson, Hall & Oates and the Doobie Brothers.
Los Angeles receives most of its visitors in the summer. Accordingly, the schedule of festivals and events is extensive from June through December. And it offers something for everyone – from those seeking something edgy to those looking for more classic or cultural experiences.
The Los Angeles Pride Festival kicks off the summer in June, with a series of events celebrating the diversity of the gay community. The festival attracts more than 100,000 people each year and features one of the city’s largest parades, live music, a run/walk event and more.
Next, independent filmmakers from across the United States gather in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival, ready to show their feature films, documentaries and music videos. Beyond the screenings and awards, there are parties and live music on the festival promenade. Jazz lovers take note: The Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl is held in June, and the Long Beach Jazz Festival, held in August, is the event of the summer, offering jazz’s best musicians, art and plenty of food.
In July, the Huntington Beach Festival offers two weeks of fun with the U.S. Open of Surfing and the Pro of Surfing competitions. This event also features extreme sports, including skateboarding and BMX biking, entertainment, food and product booths. For those who lean more to the arts, head to Laguna Beach for the Festival of Arts, an annual event showcasing local artists and musicians culminating in the world-renowned Pageant of Masters event, an art performance where actors recreate historic works.
Come August, cultural experiences abound. The Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Little Tokyo highlights Southern California’s Japanese-American culture with parades, music, a car show, a gyoza-eating contest and sumo demonstrations. For those feeling more Latino, Fiesta La Ballona in Veteran’s Park offers a chance to pay tribute to California’s early settlers with live music, carnival rides, food, a petting zoo and more. And the Sunset Junction Street Fair, at Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd., offers another diverse twist. Here kids can go on rides while more than 200 vendors display their wares in an event aimed at living “in harmony with our neighbors.”
Labor Day kicks off the month-long Los Angeles County Fair at Pomona Fairplex. An LA mainstay since 1922, this is among the nation’s largest county fairs and draws more than a million visitors annually. It features livestock exhibitions, carnival rides, contests, horse racing and live concerts by musicians like Rick Springfield, Willie Nelson and Hall & Oates.
More celebrity-focused events begin in mid-October with the Hollywood Film Festival, when films from the United States and abroad are screened. And one of the world’s largest Halloween parties – the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, which often features drag couture – closes the month.
The Christmas season kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with the Hollywood Christmas Parade through the heart of Hollywood. And those who visit in December will want to be sure to see the harbors near LA light up in the Christmas Boat Parade of Lights.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Los Angeles, CA
1 World Way
Los Angeles, CA 90045 USA
Ticket Counter Location
Terminal 2, Sun Country Ticket Counter / Ticket counter closes 45 minutes prior to flight departure.
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