Los Angeles, California - Overview

Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second largest city in
the United States of America. It is located on the southern coast of California
about 75 miles (120km) north of the Mexican border and 400 miles (600km) south
of San Francisco. The original name of the city was El Pueblo de Nuestra
Senora la Reina de los Angeles or The Village of Our Lady the Queen
of Angels, but the name was shortened for obvious reasons.

Los Angeles is spread across a coastal plain

Los Angeles is situated on an irregularly shaped coastal plain about 30 to
60 miles across. It is bounded on the west by nearly 60 miles of Pacific Coast
beaches and ocean cliffs. The San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains form a
2500-meter high wall to the east. The Santa Monica Mountains define its
northern limit and the Santa Anna Mountains define the southern.

Los Angeles natives inhabit the entire plain, from the local hills to
connecting valleys to the slopes of the mountain ranges. The city now covers
over 1000 square-miles composed of dozens of interconnected communities.
High-rise buildings only exist in a few isolated clusters. From nearly every
vantage point, you can gaze across miles of low rooftops with palm trees
towering above.

Los Angeles is composed of many interconnected communities

In order to commute between these widely dispersed neighborhoods, Los
Angeles has constructed a remarkably efficient road system of broad streets,
avenues and 10-14 lane wide freeways. These roadways enable people to quickly
navigate across the vast metropolitan complex at most times; however, avoiding
the freeways between 7 to 9 AM and 4 to 6 PM, when millions of cars clog the
roads during the rush hour commute, is recommended. Air pollution caused by all
of these cars on the roadways combines with the moist air from the Pacific
Ocean to form a dirty gray haze known as Los Angeles Smog.

Unlike most cities, Los Angeles does not have a distinct urban center. It is
a collection of individual communities tied together by a complex network of
roads and freeways. Each community offers a uniquely different character.
Together, they make up this huge metropolitan complex called Los Angeles.

Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the Beaches

Along the Pacific shore, Malibu, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey and Palos
Verde are high-class residential beach communities. Venice Beach, on the other
hand, is known for bikini clad
roller bladers, muscle-bound weight lifters and an odd assortment of slightly
off-beat characters. Long Beach is a thriving seaport with a vibrant commercial
district and oil wells. Laguna Beach houses a large artist's community.

Hollywood is the historic home of the old movie studios, and Beverly Hills
is still the home of the movie stars. Here you can drive along the western
terminus of historic Route 66 on Santa Monica Boulevard. You can stroll along
famous Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip. In nearby Burbank, you can
visit many modern movie and television studios. In Anaheim, you can see the
original Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm.

Downtown Los Angeles
is certainly a commercial district, but it is no more the urban center of the
city than many other neighborhoods. Near the downtown
area are ethnic neighborhoods with large Asian populations called, Korea Town,
China Town and Japan Town. Nearby are several predominately Afro-American
neighborhoods and many predominately Hispanic-American neighborhoods.

Los Angeles is served by four major airports

Los Angeles has four major airports: Los Angeles International Airport
(LAX), Burbank-Glendale Airport, John Wayne Airport and Ontario International
Airport. In addition, the Orange County Airport is less than one hour from the
city and San Diego International Airport is within a two-hour drive.