LAX: Wikis


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Los Angeles International Airport
LAX LA.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Los Angeles
Operator Los Angeles World Airports
Serves Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area
Location Los Angeles, California, United States
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 126 ft / 38 m
Coordinates 33°56′33″N 118°24′29″W / 33.9425°N 118.40806°W / 33.9425; -118.40806
Direction Length Surface
ft m
6L/24R 8,925 2,720 Concrete
6R/24L 10,285 3,135 Concrete
7L/25R 12,091 3,685 Concrete
7R/25L 11,096 3,382 Concrete
Number Length Surface
ft m
H3 63 19 Concrete
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]
Runway layout at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAXICAO: KLAXFAA LID: LAX) is the primary airport serving Los Angeles, California, the second-most populated metropolitan area of the United States. It is often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters usually pronounced individually (IPA: /ɛl.eɪ.ɛks/). LAX is located in southwestern Los Angeles in the neighborhood of Westchester, 16 mi (26 km) from the downtown core.

With 59,542,151 passengers[2] in 2009, LAX is the seventh busiest airport in the world and is served by direct flights to North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. The airport is a major hub for both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines and a focus city for American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Allegiant Air, Air New Zealand and Virgin America. It also serves as an international gateway for Delta Air Lines.

The airport also functions as joint civil-military facility, providing a base for the United States Coast Guard and its Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles facility, operating 4 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

LAX is the busiest airport in California in terms of flight operations, passenger traffic and air cargo activity, followed by San Francisco International Airport (SFO). LAX is also the only U.S. airport to serve 3 or more international destinations with ridership of 1 million passengers or more per year (Tokyo-Narita, London-Heathrow, Taipei).

Although LAX is the busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the region relies on a multiple airport system because of its vast size. Many of the area's most well-known attractions are closer to alternative airports than to LAX; for example, Hollywood and Griffith Park are closer to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, while Disneyland, the Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and other Orange County attractions are closer to John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Long Beach Airport is closer to some of the coastal attractions known to Southern California like Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach, and LA/Ontario International Airport is closer to the major cities of the Inland Empire, Riverside and San Bernardino.

The airport occupies some 3,500 acres (5 sq mi; 14 km2)[1] of the city on the Pacific coast, about 15 mi (24 km) southwest of downtown Los Angeles. LAX is one of the most famous locations for commercial aircraft spotting, most notably at the so called "Imperial Hill" area (also known as Clutter's Park) in El Segundo from which nearly the entire South Complex of the airport can be viewed. Another famous spotting location sits right under the final approach for runways 24 L&R on a small grass lawn next to the Westchester In-N-Out Burger restaurant, and is noted as one of the few remaining locations in Southern California from which spotters may watch such a wide variety of low-flying commercial airliners from directly underneath a flightpath.[3] The airport's coastal location renders it liable to low lying cloud or fog conditions requiring flights to be occasionally diverted to LA/Ontario International Airport, 47 mi (76 km) to the east.



Los Angeles Municipal Airport on Army Day, circa 1931.
Los Angeles International Airport with Marina Del Rey in the foreground and Palos Verdes Peninsula in the background.

In 1928, the Los Angeles City Council selected 640 acres (1.00 sq mi; 2.6 km2) in the southern part of Westchester as the site of a new airport for the city. The fields of wheat, barley and lima beans were converted into dirt landing strips without any terminal buildings. It was named Mines Field for William W. Mines, the real estate agent who arranged the deal.[4] The first structure, Hangar No. 1, was erected in 1929 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mines Field was dedicated and opened as the official airport of Los Angeles in 1930, and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name was officially changed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941, and to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1949.[5] Prior to that time, the main airport for Los Angeles was the Grand Central Airport in Glendale.

Until this time, the entire airport was located east of Sepulveda Boulevard. As the airport expanded westward to meet the Pacific Ocean, a tunnel was completed in 1953 so that Sepulveda Boulevard would pass underneath the airport's runways. It was the first tunnel of its kind.[5]

In 1958 the architecture firm Pereira & Luckman was contracted to design a master plan for the complete re-design of the airport in anticipation of the "jet age". The plan, developed along with architects Welton Becket and Paul Williams, called for a massive series of terminals and parking structures to be built in the central portion of the property, with these buildings connected at the center by a huge steel-and-glass dome. The plan was never fully realized, and shortly thereafter the Theme Building was constructed on the site originally intended for the dome.

The distinctive white "Theme Building", designed by Pereira & Luckman architect Paul Williams and constructed in 1961, resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. A restaurant that provides a sweeping view of the airport is suspended beneath two intersecting arches that form the legs. The Los Angeles City Council designated the building a cultural and historical monument in 1992. A $4 million renovation, with retro-futuristic interior and electric lighting designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, was completed before the "Encounter Restaurant" opened there in 1997.[6] At one time, tourists and passengers were able to take the elevator up to the roof of the "Theme Building", but after the September 11 attacks, the rooftop was closed off to everyone for security reasons.

The first jet service appeared at LAX in 1959, transporting passengers between LAX and New York. The first wide-bodied jets appeared in 1970 when TWA flew Boeing 747s between LAX and New York.[5]

In 1981, the airport began a substantial $700 million expansion in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics. To streamline traffic flow and ease congestion, the U-shaped roadway leading to the terminal entrances was given a second level, with the lower level dedicated to picking up arriving passengers and the upper level dedicated to dropping off departing passengers. Two new terminals (Terminal 1 and the International Terminal) were constructed and Terminal 2, then two decades old, was rebuilt. Multi-story parking structures were also built in the center of the airport.[5]

On July 8, 1982, groundbreaking for the two new terminals were conducted by Mayor Tom Bradley and World War II aviator General James Doolittle. The $123 million, 963,000-square-foot (89,500 m2) International Terminal was opened on June 11, 1984 and named in Bradley's honor.[5]

In 1996, a new 277 foot (84 m) tall air traffic control tower, with overhanging awnings that shade the windows and make the building vaguely resemble a palm tree, was constructed near the Theme Building at a cost of $29 million.[5]

The Theme Building decorated with light displays for the holidays

In 2000, prior to Los Angeles hosting the Democratic National Convention, fourteen acrylic glass cylinders, each up to ten stories high, were placed in a circle around the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Century Boulevard, with additional cylinders of decreasing height following Century Boulevard eastward. The cylinders, lit from inside, slowly cycle through a rainbow of colors, and provide an additional landmark for visitors arriving by air at night. This was part of an overall facelift that included new signage and various other cosmetic enhancements. LAX pylons underwent improvements in 2006, as stage lighting inside the cylinders was replaced with LED lights to conserve energy, make maintenance easier and to enable on demand cycling through various color effects.[7]

At various points in its history, LAX has been a hub for TWA, Air California, Continental, Delta, PSA, USAir, Western Airlines, and the Flying Tiger Line.

Starting in the mid-1990s under Los Angeles Mayors Richard Riordan and James Hahn modernization and expansion plans for LAX were prepared only to be stymied by a coalition spearheaded by residents who live near the airport angry at noise, pollution and traffic impacts of the existing facility. In late 2005 newly elected L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was able to reach a compromise allowing some modernization to go forward while efforts are made to encourage future growth be spread among other facilities in the region.

It is illegal to limit the number of passengers that can use an airport; however, in December 2005 the city agreed to limit their construction of passengers gates to 163. Once passengers usage hits 75 million, a maximum of 2 gates a year for up to five years will be closed, which theoretically will limit maximum growth to 79 million passengers a year. In exchange civil lawsuits were abandoned to allow the city to complete badly needed improvements to the airport.[8]

On July 29, 2006, Runway 7R/25L was closed for reconstruction until March 25, 2007. The reconstruction was to move the runway 55 feet (17 m) south to prevent runway incursions and prepare the runway for the next generation of Airbus A380. The newly moved runway also has storm drains, and enhanced runway lighting, something that the other 3 runways do not have. The reconstruction of runway 25L made way for a central taxiway in between runways 25L and 25R. The central taxiway between runways 25L and 25R was completed in 2008.

On September 18, 2006, Los Angeles World Airports started a $503 million facelift of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Improvements include installing new paging, air conditioning and electrical systems, along with new elevators, escalators, baggage carousels and a digital sign that will automatically update flight information. Also a large explosives-detection machine will be incorporated into the terminal's underground baggage system, in which the federal government will fund part of the system.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in February 2007, many airlines flying outside of the United States have reduced flights to LAX and moved to other airports, such as San Francisco International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada due to outdated terminals. Airlines flying out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal have reduced flights because the International Terminal is 22 years old and has not been upgraded.[9]

In response to the report, the $500 million Tom Bradley International Terminal project began immediately.[citation needed]

On March 19, 2007, the Airbus A380 made its debut at LAX, landing on runway 24L. LA city officials fought for the super-jumbo jet to land at LAX, in addition to making its US debut in New York's JFK airport.[10]

On August 15, 2007, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $1.2 billion project to construct a new 10 gate terminal to handle international flights using the A380.[11] Adding the first new gates built since the early 1980s, the new structure is to be built directly west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal on a site that is occupied mostly by aircraft hangars with passengers ferried to the building by an underground people mover extending from the terminal.[11] It is expected to be completed in 2012.

On March 31, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that international airlines were once again flocking to LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal and have added or are announcing several flights to a variety of existing and new destinations. The weak dollar has caused a surge in demand for US travel, and among the new airlines at LAX are V Australia and Emirates Airlines. In addition, Korean Air, Qantas, Air China, and Air France are all adding new routes, and Brazilian carriers TAM Airlines and OceanAir are planning to begin service, as is a new British airline that will be offering all-business-class round trip flights on the busy Los Angeles-London route. Most of the new flights will start in mid to late 2008 and will raise the number of travelers to the airport to pre-9/11 levels. The influx of new flights comes amidst the renovation of the airport and underscores LAX's status as the international gateway of the US West Coast.[12]

Qantas launched service with the Airbus A380 on October 20, 2008, using the west side remote gates. The select day service goes to/from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles.

The "X" in LAX

Before the 1930s, existing airports used a two-letter abbreviation based on the weather station at the airports. So, at that time, LA served as the designation for Los Angeles International Airport. But, with the rapid growth in the aviation industry, the designations expanded to three letters, and LA became LAX. The letter X does not otherwise have any specific meaning in this identifier.[13] Portland International Airport in Oregon also uses a similar code, PDX. "LAX" is also used for the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro and by Amtrak for Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.


LAX handled 28,861,477 enplanements, the number of passengers boarding an aircraft without connecting, in 2008. This makes LAX the third busiest airport in the U.S. in terms of enplanements.[14] It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic[15] and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic,[16] serving over 60 million passengers and more than two million tons of freight in 2006. It is the busiest airport in the state of California, and the third-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the United States based on final 2006 statistics.[17] In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second-busiest in the U.S. (behind only JFK International Airport in New York City),[18] and 26th worldwide.[citation needed]

LAX connects 87 domestic and 69 international destinations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. Its most prominent airlines are United Airlines (18.24% of passenger traffic, combined with United Express traffic), American Airlines (14.73%) and Southwest Airlines (12.62%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Delta Air Lines (11.12%), Alaska Airlines (4.74%), and Continental Airlines (3.76%).[19] Mexicana operates the most flights of any non-American airline.[citation needed]

The LAX control tower and Theme Building as seen from Terminal 4

LAX has nine passenger terminals arranged in a "U", also called a "horseshoe." The terminals are served by a shuttle bus.

United Airlines/United Express operates the most departures from the airport per day (210), followed by American Airlines/ American Eagle (126), and Southwest Airlines (123).[19]

United Airlines operates to the most destinations (61), followed by American Airlines (34), and then Alaska Airlines/Horizon (29). Qantas operates the most international trans-Pacific destinations (4), with direct services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Lufthansa serves two destinations in Europe for the most there, and Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines have the most destinations in Latin America (11).[19]

In addition to these terminals, there are 2 million square feet (186,000 m²) of cargo facilities at LAX, and a heliport operated by Bravo Aviation. Continental Airlines[citation needed] and Qantas[20] each have maintenance facilities at LAX although neither carrier operates a hub there.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 has 15 gates: 1-3, 4A-4B, 5-14. Terminal 1 was built in 1984 and was occupied by Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA). It is the largest of all the terminals in terms of number of gates.

Terminal 2

Note: Some TACA/LACSA arrivals are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Terminal 2 has 11 gates: 21-21B, 22-22B, 23, 24-24B, 25-28. Terminal 2 was built in 1962 and was the original international terminal, it was completely torn down and rebuilt in 1984. Terminal 2 has CBP (Customs and Border Protection) facilities to process arriving international passengers. For many years, it housed Northwest Airlines, until service moved to Terminal 5 in 2009 after merging with Delta Air Lines, since then, the terminal has primarily served international flights.

Terminal 3

Note: V Australia's and Alaska Airlines' international arrivals from airports without United States border preclearance are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Terminal 3 has 12 gates: 30, 31A, 31B, 32, 33A, 33B, 34-36, 37A, 37B, 38, [gate 39 was removed to make room for V Australia 777 operations at gate 38]. Terminal 3 opened in 1961 and was Trans World Airlines' terminal. It formerly housed some American Airlines flights after acquiring Reno Air and TWA in 1999 and 2001, respectively, then moved all American flights to Terminal 4. As of late-2009, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are the primary tenants of Terminal 3.

Terminal 4

Interior view of Terminal 4

Note: American Eagle flights operate from a remote terminal just east of Terminal 8. Gate 44 serves as the shuttle bus stop at Terminal 4. Gate 44 is also connected by shuttle buses to Terminals 2 (Gate 22A), 3 (Gate 35), and 5, because of Eagle's codesharing with Hawaiian, Alaska, and Delta respectively.

Terminal 4 has 14 gates: 40, 41, 42A, 42B, 43, 44 (bus to American Eagle satellite terminal), 45, 46A, 46B, 47A, 47B, 48A, 48B, 49B. Terminal 4 was built in 1961 and in 2001 was renovated at a cost of $400 million in order to improve the appearance and functionality of the terminal. It is home to the focus city for American Airlines which is the only tenant at T4 other than occasional Qantas departures. An international arrivals facility was also added in the renovation serving American Airlines flights.

Terminal 5

Delta Boeing 757-232 at LAX in August 2003.

Terminal 5 has 14 gates: 50B, 51A-51B, 52A-52B, 53A-53B, 54A-54B, 55A, 56, 57, 58A, 59. Western Airlines had occupied this terminal since its opening in 1962, and then Western was merged with Delta Air Lines on April 1, 1987. Terminal 5 was re-designed, expanded to include a connector building between the original satellite and the ticketing facilities, and remodeled from 1986 through early 1988. It was unofficially named 'Delta's Oasis at LAX' with the slogan 'Take Five at LAX' when construction was completed in the summer of 1988. Northwest Airlines moved all operations to Terminal 5 and Terminal 6 alongside Delta Air Lines June 30, 2009 as part of their merger with the airline.

Terminal 6

A Virgin America Airbus A319 at Terminal 6. In December 2008, Virgin America moved to Terminal 3.

Terminal 6 has 14 gates: 60, 61, 62-62A, 63-66, 67A-67B, 68A-68B, 69A-69B. This terminal has changed little from its opening in 1961; in 1979, new gates were expanded from the main building, as is obvious from the rotunda at the end. Four of these gates have two jetways, which can accommodate large aircraft.

Terminal 6 hosts airline tenants with a variety of relationships with the Airport. Continental built and owns the Connector Building (which links the Ticketing and Satellite buildings), and leases much of the space in the Ticketing Building. Continental in turn leases some of its Connector gates to Delta, supplementing its base at Terminal 5. United leases space from the Airport in Terminal 6, in addition to its base at Terminal 7. Most of the Satellite gates can feed arriving passengers into a sterile corridor that shunts them to Terminal 7's customs and immigration facility. Other airlines, such as AirTran, Frontier, and Spirit, lease space and operate at Terminal 6 under a monthly tariff agreement. Also, one foreign-flag airline, Copa, departs from Terminal 6.

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 has 11 gates: 70A-70B, 71A-71B, 72-74, 75A-75B, 76, 77. This terminal opened in 1962. Five of these gates have two jetways, which accommodate large aircraft. Terminal 7 is the home to United Airlines, which operates a major hub at the airport. The terminal has been renovated and has the United Red Carpet Club and International First Class Lounge.

Terminal 8

Terminal 8 has 9 gates: 80-88. This terminal was added for smaller jets and turboprops in 1988 and formerly served Shuttle by United flights. In 2002, United moved all non-Express flights to Terminals 6 and 7. However, Terminal 8 is used on occasion if the need arises. United Express is the regional division of United Airlines operating flights generally under 3 hours long.

Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)

Tom Bradley International Terminal in the early morning
Check-in counters in the Tom Bradley International Terminal

The Tom Bradley International Terminal has 12 gates, including six on the north concourse and six on the south concourse. In addition, there are nine satellite gates for international flights located on the west side of LAX. Passengers are ferried to the west side gates by bus.

This terminal opened for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and is named in honor of Tom Bradley, the first African-American and longest serving (20 years) mayor of Los Angeles, and champion of LAX. The terminal is located at the west end of the passenger terminal area between Terminals 3 and 4. There are 34 airlines that serve the Tom Bradley International Terminal and the terminal handles 10 million passengers per year.

The terminal is currently undergoing major renovations to facelift and modernize the entire facility and add more building space for baggage screening equipment. The renovations include refreshed check in space with inline baggage screening, three large alliance aligned lounges plus one unaligned lounge (to replace the multiple airline specific lounges) and fully facelifted departures and arrivals areas. These renovations are expected to be completed by 2010. The current renovations do not add any new gates.

On November 17, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled vision design concepts for LAX's Bradley West and Midfield Concourse projects. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), along with city officials, selected Fentress Architects in association with HNTB to develop a design concept for the modernization of LAX. The emphasis of the modernization is to improve the passenger experience.

On February 22, 2010, construction began on the $1.5 billion Bradley West program, designed by Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, RIBA of Fentress Architects. The project will add over 1.25 million square feet of shops, restaurants, and passenger lounges, as well as new security screening, customs and immigration, and baggage claim facilities. The terminal's existing two concourses will be demolished and replaced with a larger pair with 16 gates, nine of which will be able to accommodate super jumbo aircraft. The timeline for the project includes phased openings beginning in early 2012, with the full Bradley West program concluding in early 2014.

Airlines and destinations

LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world.[21] It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic[15] and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic,[16] serving over 60 million passengers and more than two million tons of freight in 2006. It is the busiest airport in the state of California, and the third-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the United States based on final 2006 statistics.[17] In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second-busiest in the U.S. (behind only New York–JFK),[18] and 26th worldwide.[citation needed]

LAX connects 87 domestic and 69 international destinations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. Its most prominent airlines are United Airlines (18.24% of passenger traffic, combined with United Express traffic), American Airlines (14.73%) and Southwest Airlines (12.62%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Delta Air Lines (7.33%), Alaska Airlines (4.74%), Northwest Airlines (3.79%), and Continental Airlines (3.76%).[19] Mexicana operates the most flights of any non-American airline.[citation needed]

United Airlines/United Express operates the most departures from the airport per day (210), followed by American Airlines/American Eagle (126), and Southwest Airlines (123).[19]

United Airlines operates to the most destinations (58), followed by American Airlines (33), and then Alaska Airlines/Horizon (29). Qantas operates the most international trans-Pacific destinations (4), with direct services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Lufthansa serves two destinations in Europe for the most there, and Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines have the most destinations in Latin America (11).[19]

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo TBIT
Aeroméxico Guadalajara, Mexico City 2
Aeroméxico Connect Aguascalientes, Hermosillo 2
Air Berlin Düsseldorf [seasonal] TBIT
Air Canada Calgary, Edmonton [seasonal], Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver 2
Air China Beijing-Capital 2
Air France Papeete, Paris-Charles de Gaulle 2
Air New Zealand Apia, Auckland, London-Heathrow, Nuku'alofa (Tonga), Rarotonga 2
Air Pacific Nadi TBIT
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete, Paris-Charles de Gaulle TBIT
AirTran Airways Atlanta, Baltimore, Indianapolis [resumes May 27], Milwaukee 6
Alaska Airlines Anchorage [seasonal], Cancún [ends June 6], Guadalajara, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Loreto [seasonal], Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Mexico City, Portland (OR), Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Seattle/Tacoma, Vancouver, Washington-Reagan 3
Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino [resumes June 5] TBIT
Allegiant Air Bellingham, Billings, Des Moines, Fargo, Fayetteville (AR), Grand Junction, Medford, Missoula, Sioux Falls, Springfield (MO), Wichita 6
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Narita TBIT
American Airlines Austin, Boston, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Eagle/Vail [seasonal], Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, London-Heathrow, Miami, Nashville, New York–JFK, Newark, Orlando, St. Louis, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, San Juan, San Salvador, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Washington-Dulles 4
American Eagle Denver [begins June 10], Fresno, Monterey, Reno/Tahoe [begins June 10], Roswell, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Santa Barbara, Santa Fe 4
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon TBIT
Avianca Bogotá 2
British Airways London-Heathrow TBIT
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong TBIT
China Airlines Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan TBIT
China Eastern Airlines Shanghai-Pudong TBIT
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou TBIT
Continental Airlines Cleveland, Havana [charter], Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Kahului, Newark 6
Copa Airlines Panama City 6
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Cancún, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Columbus (OH) [begins June 10], Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Guadalajara [seasonal], Guatemala City, Hartford/Springfield [begins June 10], Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kahului, Kona, Las Vegas [ends April 5], Lihue, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Orlando, Puerto Vallarta [seasonal], Raleigh-Durham [begins June 10], Salt Lake City, San Francisco [begins June 10], Sāo Paulo-Guarulhos [seasonal; resumes May 3], Sydney, Tampa, Tokyo-Narita 5,6
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines Las Vegas [resumes April 6], Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco [begins June 10] 5
Frontier Airlines Denver, Milwaukee 6
El Al Tel Aviv TBIT
Emirates Dubai TBIT
EVA Air Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan TBIT
TACA Guatemala City, San Salvador 2
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu 2
Horizon Air Boise, Eugene, Eureka/Arcata, Flagstaff, La Paz, Loreto, Mammoth Lakes, Medford, Portland (OR), Prescott, Redding, Redmond/Bend, Reno/Tahoe, Santa Rosa, Seattle/Tacoma, Sun Valley [seasonal] 3
Japan Airlines Tokyo-Narita TBIT
JetBlue Airways Boston, New York–JFK 6
KLM Amsterdam 2
Korean Air São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
LAN Airlines Lima, Santiago de Chile TBIT
LAN Perú Lima TBIT
LACSA Guatemala City, San José de Costa Rica 2
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich TBIT
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur, Taipei-Taiwan Taoyuan TBIT
Mexicana Cancún, Guadalajara, León/Bajio, Mexico City, Morelia, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo, Zacatecas TBIT
Midwest Airlines operated by Republic Airlines Kansas City 6
Philippine Airlines Manila TBIT
Qantas Auckland, Brisbane 4
QantasA Melbourne, Sydney TBIT
Singapore Airlines Singapore, Tokyo-Narita TBIT
Southwest Airlines Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore [resumes May 9], Chicago-Midway, Denver, El Paso, Houston-Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, St. Louis [begins May 9], Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Tucson 1
Spirit Airlines Detroit [seasonal], Fort Lauderdale 6
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul [seasonal] 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich TBIT
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi TBIT
United Airlines Baltimore, Boston, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Honolulu, Jackson Hole [seasonal], Kahului, Kona, Las Vegas, Lihue, London-Heathrow, Melbourne, Mexico City, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, San José del Cabo, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Washington-Dulles 6,7,8
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Albuquerque, Aspen [seasonal], Bakersfield, Boise, Bozeman [seasonal; begins June 9], Carlsbad, Colorado Springs, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Fresno, Imperial, Inyokern, Jackson Hole [seasonal; begins June 9], Monterey, Montrose [seasonal], Oklahoma City, Oxnard, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Reno/Tahoe, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose (CA), San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Seattle/Tacoma, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Yuma 8
US Airways Charlotte, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix 1
US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines Las Vegas 1
V Australia Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney 3
Virgin America Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York-JFK, Orlando [begins August 19][22], San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Washington-Dulles 3
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Heathrow 2
Volaris Guadalajara, Morelia, Toluca, Zacatecas 2
WestJet Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver 2

:A:^ Qantas flights to/from New York–JFK are only for non-domestic, connecting traffic.

Terminal Connections

Most inter-terminal connections require passengers to exit security, then walk or use a shuttle bus to get to the other terminal, then re-clear security. Such connections can be time consuming and do normally require set minimum connections times to be considered a legal connection.

A few LAX terminals provide airside connections, which allow connecting passengers to access other terminals without having to re-clear through security. The following airside connections are possible:

  • Terminals 5, 6, 7 and 8 are all connected airside via walking corridors allowing connecting passengers a seamless connection. The only exception applies to international-arriving passengers in Terminals 6/7 who are making connections. International arrivals still need to exit through customs, then re-clear through security to have access to the departures area (even though it's the same terminal).
  • Terminals 4 and 5 were previously connected via an underground walkway located in the center of the concourses. This walkway is currently closed.

Airport lounges

  • Terminal 1 (US Airways Club)
  • Terminal 2 (Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Air New Zealand Koru Club, Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club, Air France Club)
  • Terminal 3 (Alaska Airlines Board Room)
  • Terminal 4 (American Airlines Admiral's Club, American Airlines Flagship Lounge, Qantas Club)
  • Terminal 5 (Delta Air Lines Sky Club)
  • Terminal 6 (Continental Airlines Presidents Club)
  • Terminal 7 (United Airlines International First Class Lounge, United Airlines Red Carpet Club)
  • TBIT (Star Alliance Lounge, SkyTeam Alliance Lounge, Oneworld Alliance Lounge, ElAl King David Lounge, reLAX Lounge)

Ground transportation

One of the large LAX signs that greet visitors to Los Angeles International Airport. This sign is at the Century Boulevard entrance to the airport.


LAX can be reached using the Century Boulevard exit (and several more northern exits) on Interstate 405, or the Sepulveda Boulevard exit on Interstate 105.


Out of a number of bus systems, many routes (local, rapid and express) of the LACMTA, Line 8 of Torrance Transit, Line 109 of Beach Cities Transit, and the regular as well as the rapid buses of both the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus system's Line 3 and the Culver CityBus's Line 6 all make stops at the LAX City Bus Center in Parking Lot C. on 96th St., where shuttle bus "C" offers free connections to and from every LAX terminal, and at the Green Line Station, where shuttle bus "G" connects to and from the terminals.

FlyAway Bus
Flyaway bus in service.

The FlyAway Bus is a shuttle service run by the LAWA, which travels between one of four off-airport locations: Van Nuys, Union Station, Westwood and the Irvine Transportation Center in Orange County. The shuttle service stops at every LAX terminal. The service hours vary based on the line. All lines use the regional system of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to expedite their trips.


Shuttle bus "G" offers a free connection to the Aviation/LAX station on the Metro Green Line. The line was originally intended to connect directly to the airport, but budgetary restraints and opposition from local long-term parking lot owners impeded its progress. A Metro Rail extension to LAX is a part of both LAX and Metro's master plans.

Taxis and private shuttles

Taxicab services are operated by nine city-authorized taxi companies and regulated by Authorized Taxicab Supervision Inc. (ATS). ATS maintains a taxicab holding lot under the 96th Street Bridge where, at peak periods, hundreds of cabs queue up to wait their turn to pull into the central terminal area to pick up riders. A number of private shuttle companies also offer limousine and bus services to LAX airport.

Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles

The United States Coast Guard operates an air station at LAX, covering Coast Guard operations in various Southern California locations, including Catalina Island, which are part of the Coast Guard's Eleventh District. Missions include search and rescue (SAR), Law enforcement, aids to navigation support (such as operating lighthouses) and various military operations. In addition, Coast Guard helicopters assigned to the air station deploy to Coast Guard cutters. The air station currently maintains and operates 3 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

Flight Path Learning Center

The light towers, first installed in preparation for the Democratic National Convention in 2000, change colors throughout the night.

The Flight Path Learning Center is a museum located at 6661 Imperial Highway and was formerly known as the "West Imperial Terminal." This building used to house some charter flights (Condor Airlines) and regular scheduled flights by MGM Grand Air. It sat empty for 10 years until it was re-opened as a learning center for LAX.

The center contains information on the history of aviation, several pictures of the airport, as well as aircraft scale models, flight attendant uniforms, and general airline memorabilia such as playing cards, china, magazines, signs, even a TWA gate information sign.

The museum claims to be "the only aviation museum and research center situated at a major airport and the only facility with a primary emphasis on contributions of civil aviation to the history and development of Southern California".[23] However, there are other museums at major airports including the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum adjacent to Washington Dulles Airport, the Royal Thai Air Force Museum at Don Muang Airport, the Suomen ilmailumuseo (Finnish Aviation Museum) at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the Frontier of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field, and others.

Incidents involving LAX

During its history there have been numerous incidents, but only the most notable are summarized below:[24]



  • On January 13, 1969, a Scandinavian Airlines System Douglas DC-8-62 crashed into Santa Monica Bay, approximately 6 nautical miles (11 km) west of LAX at 7:21 pm, local time. The aircraft was operating as flight SK-933, nearing the completion of a flight from Seattle. Of nine crewmembers, three lost their lives to drowning, while 12 of the 36 passengers also drowned.
  • On January 18, 1969, United Airlines Flight 266 a Boeing 727-22C bearing the registration number N7434U, crashed into Santa Monica Bay approximately 11.3 miles (18.2 km) west of LAX at 6:21 p.m. local time. The aircraft was destroyed, resulting in the loss of all 32 passengers and six crewmembers aboard.


  • On the evening of June 6, 1971, Hughes Airwest Flight 706, a Douglas DC-9 jetliner which had departed LAX on a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, was struck nine minutes after takeoff by a U.S. Marine Corps McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter jet over the San Gabriel Mountains. The midair collision killed all 44 passengers and five crew members aboard the DC-9 airliner and one of two crewmen aboard the military jet.
  • On August 6, 1974, a bomb exploded near the Pan Am ticketing area at Terminal 2; three people were killed and 35 were injured.[25]
  • On March 1, 1978, two tires burst in succession on a Continental Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 during its takeoff roll at LAX and the plane, bound for Honolulu, veered off the runway. A third tire burst and the DC-10's left landing gear collapsed, causing a fuel tank to rupture. Following the aborted takeoff, spilled fuel ignited and enveloped the center portion of the aircraft in flames. During the ensuing emergency evacuation, a husband and wife died when they exited the passenger cabin onto the wing and dropped down directly into the flames. Two additional passengers died of their injuries approximately three months after the accident; 74 others aboard the plane were injured, as were 11 firemen battling the fire.
  • On the morning of September 25, 1978, Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182, which was on a Sacramento-Los Angeles International Airport-Lindbergh Field, San Diego route, collided in midair with a Cessna 172 while descending for a landing at Lindbergh Field; both planes crashed in San Diego's North Park district, killing all 135 on board the PSA jetliner, both occupants of the Cessna aircraft, and seven people on the ground.
  • On the evening of March 10, 1979, Swift Aire Flight 235, a twin-engine Aerospatiale Nord 262A-33 turboprop enroute to Santa Maria, was forced to ditch in Santa Monica Bay after experiencing engine problems upon takeoff from LAX. The pilot, co-pilot and a female passenger drowned when they were unable to exit the aircraft after the ditching. The female flight attendant and the three remaining passengers—two men and a pregnant woman—survived and were rescued by several pleasure boats and other watercraft in the vicinity.
  • On May 25, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 crashed upon takeoff from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago to Los Angeles, killing all 271 people on board and two people on the ground. The crash remains the deadliest single-aircraft crash in United States history, and the worst aviation disaster in the nation before 9/11.[26]


  • On August 31, 1986, Aeroméxico Flight 498, a DC-9 en route from Mexico City, Mexico to Los Angeles, began its descent into LAX when a Piper Cherokee collided with the DC-9's left horizontal stabilizer over Cerritos, California, causing the DC-9 to crash into a residential neighborhood. All 64 passengers and crew aboard the Aeroméxico flight were killed, in addition to 15 on the ground. 5 homes were destroyed and an additional 7 were damaged by the crash and resulting fire. The three occupants of the Piper were killed immediately when the two planes collided; their aircraft went down in a nearby schoolyard and caused no further injuries on the ground. As a result of this incident, FAA required all commercial aircraft to be equipped with Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).
  • On December 7, 1987, Pacific Southwest Airlines PSA Flight 1771, bound from LAX to San Francisco International Airport, was cruising above the central California coast when a USAir employee aboard the plane shot his ex-supervisor, both pilots and then himself, causing the airplane to crash near the town of Cayucos. All 43 aboard perished. Following this event, airline staff and crew were no longer allowed to bypass security checks at U.S. airports.


  • On February 1, 1991, USAir Flight 1493, a Boeing 737, landing on Runway 24L at LAX, collided on touchdown with a SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metroliner, Flight 5569 departing to Palmdale, that had been holding in position on the same runway. The collision killed all 12 occupants of the SkyWest plane and 22 people aboard the USAir 737.
  • On February 20, 1992, Aerolíneas Argentinas Flight 386, cholera-tainted shrimp was distributed on the Buenos Aires-Lima-Los Angeles flight. One elderly passenger died from food poisoning.
  • On April 6, 1993: China Eastern Airlines Flight 583 went into severe oscillations during flight. The aircraft made an emergency landing in Alaska. Two of the passengers ultimately died.[27]


In popular culture

"L.A. International Airport", a song written by Leanne Scott and first recorded by David Frizzell in 1970, was covered in 1971 by Susan Raye and this version reached #9 on the Billboard Country Singles chart (and #54 on the Hot 100 singles chart). The song was re-recorded with updated lyrics in 2003 by Shirley Myers for the 75th anniversary of LAX. Susan Raye, who has been retired from the music industry since 1986, made a rare public appearance to sing her classic hit at a concert at the celebration and to be on hand when a proclamation was issued to make the song the official song of LAX. Rapper The Game had a 2008 album titled LAX. LAX is referred to at the beginning of "Party in the U.S.A." (2009) by Miley Cyrus. In the final season premiere of Lost, notably titled LA X, the alternate timeline sequences are mostly set in LAX, which was the intended destination of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815.

See also


  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for LAX (A&fn=LAX Form 5010 PDF), retrieved March 15, 2007
  2. ^ World's busiest airports by passenger traffic
  3. ^ "Los Angeles International". Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  4. ^ "Early History". Los Angeles World Airports. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Search history". Los Angeles World Airports. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  6. ^ Eddie Sotto. Interview with Marc Borrelli. Encounter at the Theme Building. 2001-08-06. Retrieved on 2008-02-25.
  7. ^ "Story About the Kinetic Light Installation at the Los Angeles International Airport". 2007-10-20. 
  8. ^ "Deal Cut to Halt Los Angeles Airport Lawsuits". 
  9. ^ Oldham, Jennifer (2007-02-23). "LAX watches world go by; Cramped facilities push Pacific Rim carriers to newer airports". Los Angeles Times: p. A1. 
  10. ^ World's Largest Airliner Lands at LAX 3/19/07
  11. ^ a b Steve Hymon, Council OKs 10 new gates at LAX, Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2007
  12. ^ Pae, Peter (March 31, 2008). "Foreign airlines flock to LAX". Los Angeles Times.,1,2392548.story. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  13. ^ "LAX Frequently Asked Questions". Los Angeles World Airports. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  14. ^ ,, retrieved 2010-02-28 
  15. ^ a b "Passenger Traffic 2006 FINAL". Airports Council International. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  16. ^ a b "Cargo Traffic 2006 FINAL". Airports Council International. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  17. ^ a b Passenger Traffic 2006 FINAL from Airports Council International
  18. ^ a b "U.S. International Travel and Transportation Trends, September 2006" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f
  20. ^ "Mayor Villaraigosa Announces New Qantas Maintenance Facility at LAX". Business Wire. 2006-02-01.;...-a0141547227. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  21. ^ Fine, Howard (2001-11-26), "LAX emerges as worst U.S.: Airport design Ill-suited for new security screenings - Los Angeles International Airport", Los Angeles Business Journal,, retrieved 2008-04-22  What's more, LAX has become the world's busiest airport in numbers of arriving and departing passengers. "Other airports may have more passengers going through, but we have more arrivals and departures' said Nancy Castles, spokeswoman for Los Angeles World Airports, the L.A. city agency that operates LAX. "That means more passengers to screen than any other airport."
  22. ^ Mutzabaugh, Ben (2010-03-18). "Virgin America announces big expansion that includes Orlando, Toronto". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  23. ^ "Flight Path Learning Center (official site)". Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  24. ^ All incidents listed here are in the Aviation Safety Network LAX database, unless otherwise noted.
  25. ^ Jonathan B. Tucker (2000). Toxic Terror: Assessing Terrorist Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons. MIT Press. pp. 77. ISBN 9780262700719. 
  26. ^ ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N110AA Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD)
  27. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-11 B-2171 Shemya, AK." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on June 15, 2009.
  28. ^ U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (February 2, 2010). "U.S. v. Ressam". Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Complaint; U.S. v. Ressam". NEFA Foundation. December 1999. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Ressam Testimony in Mokhtar Haouari Trial". Southern District of New York. July 2001. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Ahmed Ressam's Millenium Plot". Frontline (PBS). Retrieved 28 February 2010. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-83 N963AS Anacapa Island, California". Aviation Safety Network. 2004-07-26. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  34. ^ Feldman, Charles (2008-09-05). "Federal investigators: L.A. airport shooting a terrorist act". Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  35. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A320-232 N536JB Los Angeles International Airport, California". Aviation Safety Network. 2005-10-07. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  36. ^ Stuart, Pfeifer; Garvey, Megan; Morin, Monte (2005-09-22). "Disabled Airliner Creates a 3-Hour Drama in Skies". Los Angeles Times: p. A1. 
  37. ^ "Third Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners: Michael Darling". NATCA. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  38. ^ "NTSB incident report. NTSB identification OPS07IA009A". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  39. ^ Staff (September 2007). "Outgoing FAA Administrator Marion Blakey: LAX Must Address Runway Safety". Metro Investment Report. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Los Angeles article)

From Wikitravel

Los Angeles is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
The sprawl of Los Angeles by night
The sprawl of Los Angeles by night
This article is about the city of Los Angeles. For the Los Angeles metropolitan area see Los Angeles County

The city of Los Angeles [1] — also known as the "City of Angels" or simply L.A. — is the largest city in California. Located on a broad basin in Southern California, it is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, deep valleys, forests, desert, and the Pacific Ocean.

The metropolitan area is the second largest in the United States in terms of population, home to nearly 18 million people who hail from all parts of the globe and speak over a hundred different languages. The metropolitan area is centered in Los Angeles County, but stretches into Orange County, Ventura County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County.

Los Angeles is an important center of culture, business, media, and international trade, but is most famous for being the center of the world's entertainment industry, which forms the base of its global status.


These districts are a part of the city of Los Angeles. See also Los Angeles County for destinations in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

  • Downtown — The central business district of the city of Los Angeles, Downtown is also home to the city's Grand Avenue cultural corridor. Like many city centers, the advent of the automobile and freeways led to the neighborhood's slow decline. However, in recent years, the area has seen a booming revival led by new residential buildings, with trendy hotels, bars, shops and restaurants.
  • Eastside — A funkier area north of downtown and east of Hollywood that's rapidly gentrifying.
  • Hollywood — The place where dreams are made. It has received quite a makeover in recent years, sparked by the construction of Hollywood & Highland and the return of the Academy Awards.
  • San Fernando Valley — The northern portion of Los Angeles, lying in a valley northwest of downtown, containing various districts.
  • South Central — It's long had a reputation for gang violence and is famed for the Rodney King riots, but while it remains off most peoples radar, there's a handful of things to see and it's slowly working to repair its bruised image.
  • Westside — Generally more affluent area of town near the ocean
  • Greater Wilshire — Wilshire Blvd didn't invent the car, but it certainly put it on the map - the first gas station in the country was at Wilshire & La Brea.


Check the weather forecast for Los Angeles from NOAA.

Even before O.J. drove the Bronco or "The Terminator" became governor, Frank Lloyd Wright said, "Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles."

The Los Angeles metro area has been a "boomtown" since the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1876, first attracting "the folks" from the Midwest with a blessedly warm and dry climate- and becoming a gateway to a remarkable diversity of immigration from throughout the Pacific Rim and Latin America.

L.A. is a sprawling megalopolis; one could start in one end of L.A. and drive for more than two hours without leaving the county's influence. The metro area includes smaller cities, such as Santa Monica, Burbank, Pasadena and Long Beach, which were founded around the end of the nineteenth century and retain distinct identities. Geographically, there is no clear method as to what is part of the city of L.A. For example, Hollywood is not a separate city (it's part of the City of LA) but adjacent West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are independent cities. Nonetheless, they are all within Los Angeles County and culturally are very much a part of the city itself.

The city's primary newspapers are the Los Angeles Times [2] and the Los Angeles Daily News [3]. The free LA Weekly [4] comes out on Thursdays and is a good source for concerts, movies and other local information. Local areas may have their own free neighborhood papers as well.


Los Angeles is a very diverse city with nearly half of its population being born outside the United States. It has the third largest Mexican population in the world behind Mexico City and Guadalajara, and is home to many other large immigrant populations such as Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Iranians, Armenians, Thais, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Pakistanis, Indians, Koreans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Israelis, and Samoans. Spread throughout the city are many ethnic enclaves such as Koreatown, Chinatown, Filipinotown, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Little Persia, and Little India. For the most part it's also a fairly gay-friendly city, especially the Westside, Hollywood, and West Hollywood where even the police cars bear rainbows. Los Angeles also has religious diversity with places to worship for all major religions.


The city enjoys a temperate climate for most of the year. Summers are warm and occasionally hot, and bring the famously dirty air (though the smog has reduced in recent years, and much of what you hear about was overhyped to begin with). Fall and Winter bring some of the clearest weather and often some of the most beautiful days of the year... it's not uncommon to spend the day at the beach mid-January and wind up with a healthy tan. Spring brings a mix of sunny warm days and gloomy rain.

Temperatures can also fluctuate wildy depending where you are in the city — it's entirely possible for it to be 80 degrees in Santa Monica and 105 degrees in Burbank on the same day in mid-July. The coast tends to stay a bit cooler, and gets quite chilly at night even in the summer, don't forget a sweater and pants if you're staying for dinner.


English is the dominant language in Los Angeles. However, like much of California with a large Latino population and a history under Spanish and Mexican rule, Spanish is very widely spoken in Los Angeles. The city's name is even a Spanish phrase, meaning "The Angels". In fact, Los Angeles has one of the largest Spanish speaking populations in the world, with street and store signs in certain parts of the city printed in both English and Spanish. According to the U.S. Census, roughly 70% of Los Angeles' population speaks English either as their first or second language, while roughly 44% of Los Angeles speaks Spanish as a first or second language. With Los Angeles' large immigrant population, many other languages such as Tagalog, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Korean, Hindi, and Vietnamese are also widely spoken. Street signs in ethnic enclaves will often be printed in one of these languages. For example, street signs in Chinatown will be printed in English and Chinese.

Get in

By plane

The Los Angeles area is served by six major commercial airports and more than a dozen private airports.

Los Angeles International [5] (IATA: LAX) is the major gateway. The airport is huge, with nine terminals. A free "A" shuttle bus loops around all the terminals, and departs from the kerbside on the lower level. If you don't mind walking, it is no more than 10 minutes walk between any of the terminals, and if you are transferring between adjacent terminals walking will be quicker than the shuttle; a streetside sidewalk connects all the terminals.

LAX Terminals
Terminal Airlines
1 Southwest, US Airways, US Airways Express
2 Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air Mobility Command, Air New Zealand, Aviacsa, Avianca, Frontier (International arrivals), Hawaiian, KLM, Lasca, Northwest, TACA, Virgin Atlantic, WestJet
3 Alaska, Horizon, Virgin America, V Australia
4 American, Cathay Pacific (arrivals for flights CX882/884 only), Qantas (Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne)
5 Aeroméxico, Air Jamaica, Delta
6 Aeroméxico, Continental, Copa Airlines, Frontier, Delta, United (some international arrivals), Spirit Airlines
7 United
8 United Express
Tom Bradley Serves some flights by some international carriers.

Don't assume that all international flights leave from the international terminal. Many don't, and some carriers even operate some of their international flights from there and some from other terminals. Its is always important to carefully check the terminal for international flights.

There are also two executive terminals for charter aircraft if time means money.

In L.A., an automobile is nearly essential, and connections to and from the airport are poor. There is no direct train service, although there are free shuttle buses to Aviation Station on the Metro Green Line, and half-hourly LAX FlyAway [6] shuttles to Union Station ($6 one way). Taxis to downtown L.A. cost $45 and take 30 minutes in good traffic, but can be far slower in rush hour. On your return to the airport, be sure to arrive two hours before your flight as queues for security are notoriously long and often time-consuming.

If you want to rent a car, there are around 10 different companies with very frequent shuttle buses picking up on the lower level around all terminals and going to large off-site lots. If you want to compare prices you will need to do so using the telephones in the arrivals area, or in advance of arriving. Don't expect any details from the shuttle drivers, or negotiable prices once you arrive at their lot. Signing up to one the car rental club schemes can get the shuttle bus to drop you at your car, saving substantial time.

The others are Long Beach Airport [7] (IATA: LGB), Bob Hope (Burbank) Airport [8] (IATA: BUR), Orange County/John Wayne Airport [9] (IATA: SNA) and far flung LA/Ontario Airport (IATA: ONT) east of L.A and LA/Palmdale Airport (IATA: PMD) to the north. Even though LAX is often cheapest, avoiding LAX will save a lot of hassle because the other airports are small and not as busy (especially Long Beach), but you will typically be further away from your destination which will entail a lot of driving. However, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is much closer to the destinations in Los Angeles and if you're able to get a flight to Burbank, take it!

Then again, going anywhere in L.A. is going to require a lot of driving. If you're going to Disneyland or any of the Orange County beaches (Laguna, Huntington, Newport), consider the Orange County/John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA). For any of the airports, it is probably best to use the numerous buses and shuttles to get to and from the airport, if you are staying in the area. Locals do so to avoid dealing with the hassles and cost of parking.

Private pilots will prefer smaller general aviation airports such as Santa Monica (ICAO: KSMO), Van Nuys (ICAO: KVNY), Hawthorne or one of the dozens of other small airports in the area. LAX does not cater to small general aviation; Burbank (ICAO: KBUR) does but is high traffic; Long Beach (ICAO: KLGB) does but has a very complicated runway system and high traffic. Much of Los Angeles is Class Bravo or other controlled airspace, but due to the number of airports and the generally good weather Los Angeles makes a fantastic flying destination. Private pilots should also be prepared for flight delays when flying to LAX (including IFR ground holds} or delays in arrival or departure sequencing with busy jet traffic, and should consider alternatives such as Hawthorne (10 mi from LAX) as an option to leave an airplane and catch an airline flight.

Union Station
Union Station

The main Amtrak [10] station is at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St. next to the Hollywood (US-101) freeway in downtown Los Angeles. The train station also has a Metro Red Line subway station (platforms in station's basement) and Metro Gold Line light rail station (on platforms 1 and 2, parallel to the Amtrak and Metrolink trains), while local city buses stop at various locations around the terminal, including some in the MTA (Patsaouras) bus plaza at the east portal of the station. The train station is patrolled by private security staff and people lingering too long in the seats may be asked to show a ticket. Taxis are available at the west exit and the station is within short walking distance to the Civic Center and Olvera Street. Chinatown and Little Tokyo are also nearby. Be warned that it can get quite uncomfortable in the station especially when it is hot and/or there are a lot of people. Great for business travel but perhaps not the best for families or any large group of people.

Amtrak routes serving Los Angeles are the following:

  • The Coast Starlight [11] runs daily between Los Angeles and Seattle via Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area, with one other LA County stop northwest of Downtown in the San Fernando Valley (Van Nuys).
  • The Pacific Surfliner [12] runs several trains daily between San Diego and Los Angeles, with some trains traveling north to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. There are many local stops northwest of Downtown in the San Fernando Valley (it shares a route with the Coast Starlight but stops at more stations) and southeast to Orange County.
  • The Southwest Chief [13] runs daily to Chicago via Albuquerque and Kansas City. Local stops south of Downtown and east into the Inland Empire (Fullerton, Riverside, and San Bernardino).
  • The Sunset Limited [14] runs three times a week out to New Orleans via Tucson and San Antonio. Additionally, Amtrak's Texas Eagle [15] service between San Antonio and Chicago incorporates the Sunset Limited to provide a direct connection to Los Angeles. Local stops east of Downtown into the Inland Empire (Pomona and Ontario).

Union Station is spectacular (opened in 1939 and with the era's associated grand architecture), but there are several stops within the County that may be better located to your destination. L.A. is big--make sure you get the right stop. Unfortunately, while Union Station has the best bus, subway, light rail, and commuter rail connections (and a Hertz and Budget car rental desk), it may be far from other landmarks. If you are arriving in LA by train but planning to travel around the area, here are some alternate connection options:

  • The Burbank Amtrak station is next to the Burbank Bob Hope airport, where connections include Metrolink, bus and the usual rental cars at the airport's terminal. Book Amtrak through to Burbank (BUR), although doing so means you'll probably make a connection to a Pacific Surfliner at Union Station (since no long distance train serves Burbank). If that is the case, Pacific Surfliner tickets are not tied to a specific train and can be used on any Pacific Surfliner train as well as any Metrolink trains serving the same route. So when your long distance train arrives at Union Station, you can simply take the first available train heading to Burbank. (Note that Metrolink calls the same station Burbank-Bob Hope Airport, as Metrolink also serves an additional Downtown Burbank station not served by Amtrak.)
  • Los Angeles World Airports operates a cheap motorcoach service between Union Station and LAX, where every major rental car company has countless thousands of cars available (weekend prices can be real bargains). Called the Union Station FlyAway, it serves the MTA (Patsouras) bus plaza adjacent to the station.
  • You can also take bus 42 or the L.A Subway to LAX (Purple, Blue and Green in order) to LAX where you can rent cars. If you are a tourist, you can plan visiting all the tourist places that are on the Metro Subway lines on one or two days and rent the car only for the rest of the trip (to go to Disneyland, Malibu or Santa Monica).

Several Metrolink lines overlap Amtrak's routes or serve the same cities via a slightly different routing. Metrolink tickets can cost significantly less than Amtrak tickets; for example, LA to Oceanside is $12.50 on Metrolink but $19 on Amtrak. Train frequencies vary between Amtrak and Metrolink for given station pairs (some are more frequent via Amtrak and some are more frequent via Metrolink, since some Metrolink runs terminate before the end of the line). Metrolink schedules are available at the Metrolink Web site [16].

By bus

The Greyhound [17] terminal is at 1716 East 7th Street, near I-10 along South Alameda Street, south of the city's Downtown Arts District and east of the vast, notorious Skid Row district. Though a growing residential population in the area has brought increased safety and services, this neighborhood remains largely underdeveloped.

Access to connecting transit services is limited. From the Greyhound station, take a taxi, Metro Rapid Bus #760 or Metro Local Bus #60 to connect to the Downtown center.

Fortunately, other terminals are in far safer areas and have better access to public transportation. From the north, the North Hollywood station is located at 11239 Magnolia Boulevard, one-quarter mile south of the Metro Red Line North Hollywood station. The Hollywood station, at 1715 North Cahuenga Boulevard, is one-quarter mile west of the Metro Red Line Hollywood/Vine station.

Of note for passengers coming from the east is the El Monte station, at 3501 North Santa Anita Avenue. The station also houses an M.T.A. and Foothill Transit bus station, and frequent express bus service to Downtown Los Angeles is available upstairs. The El Monte station also houses a substation of the local county sheriff. Also, from the east, the Pasadena Greyhound station, located one-quarter mile west of the Lake Avenue Metro Gold Line station, is an option.

From the south, Greyhound passengers should use the East Los Angeles station, located at 1241 South Soto Street, or the Compton Station, located at 305 North Tamarind Avenue. The East Los Angeles station has multiple lines operating to downtown nearby, while the Compton station is across the street from a Metro Blue Line station.

LuxBus [18] offers four daily trips to and from Anaheim, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Xe Do Hoang [19] offers service between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Get around

Los Angeles' massive sprawl and dysfunctional public transportation make getting around rather frustrating, especially during weekends when service can be more erratic. The only rational way of getting around much of the city is to rent a car, in which case you'll get a crash course in the complex freeway system and, if you're "lucky," a taste of the notorious traffic jams. The underdeveloped rail system will only get you so far (although it does, fortunately, provide service to most of the main tourist areas). On the other hand Los Angeles' bus system is enormous and you should be able get wherever you need to by bus, provided you aren't terribly pressed for time.

Los Angeles County Metro Rail Map
Los Angeles County Metro Rail Map

Los Angeles County's Metro Rail subway and light rail system has grown considerably over the past 20 years and is increasingly useful in getting around.

Many neighborhoods and sightseeing destinations can be reached using the Metro, including Downtown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Thai Town, Hollywood, Universal City, North Hollywood, Chinatown, Pasadena and Long Beach. Public transportation is preferable to the gridlock that often occurs on Los Angeles-area streets and highways.

A single-trip fare valid on one line in one direction costs $1.25 and can be purchased from ticket vending machines located in the stations. Alternatively, a day pass (good until 3AM the next day) costs $5; a weekly pass costs $17, and a monthly pass costs $62. Passes allow unlimited access on Metro bus and rail lines. Day passes can be purchased through ticket vending machines in stations (or on any Metro bus), while weekly and monthly passes can be obtained from Metro Customer Centers (main center at Union Station) or online. Because Metro Rail interfaces with Metro's bus network and passes are valid on either system, current route maps are available online and in stations.

Metro fare payment works on a 'trust' system: There are no turnstiles or barriers. However, tickets or passes must be purchased before entering boarding zones; Metro police randomly check for valid tickets on the trains or platforms. The penalty for not being able to show a valid ticket is $250 and up to 48 hours of community service.

Trips that involve multiple lines or transfers require separate tickets for each line or a valid day, weekly or monthly pass. Passes can be more cost effective than several single-ride tickets.

Metro Rail/Transitway Lines:

  • Red Line, a subway that runs from Downtown (Union Station) to the Hollywood area, then to North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley. This route shares track with the Purple Line for about half of its length; when boarding a subway train, check its destination signs to make sure you are on the right train.
  • Purple Line, a subway that runs from Downtown (Union Station) to Koreatown. This route shares track with the Red Line for most of its length; when boarding a subway train, check its destination signs to make sure you are on the right train.
  • Blue Line, a light rail line that runs from Downtown (7th St/Metro Center Station) through South Los Angeles to Long Beach.
  • Gold Line, a light rail line that runs from Downtown (Union Station) through Chinatown and Northeast Los Angeles to Pasadena.
  • Green Line, a light rail line that runs from the South Bay (near LAX) east to the city of Norwalk along Interstate 105.
  • Orange Line, a transitway across the San Fernando Valley from North Hollywood to Warner Center (Woodland Hills), using sleek articulated "bus-trains" on rubber tires.

Note Metro operating hours and timetables, which do vary between lines.

Distinct from Metro is the Metrolink commuter rail system, centered at Union Station. This commuter rail system reaches as far as Ventura, Lancaster, San Bernardino, and Oceanside (northern San Diego County), but runs limited night and weekend service. Metrolink does not accept Metro passes and requires the purchase of separate tickets. Like Metro, Metrolink uses the honor system where no barriers are required to enter the system, and random inspections to ensure that every passenger is in possession of a valid ticket are conducted often.

By bus

The Los Angeles bus system, operated by Metro, is extensive but takes a little bit to learn. The website or 1-800-COMMUTE are the best way to plan trips in advance. Once you have the hang of it, you can get anywhere during the day.

Many Angelenos rely on the bus as their primary mode of transportation. Within the central area (from Downtown to the coast, south of Sunset Boulevard and north of Interstate 10) the buses are frequent and ubiquitous enough to get around without a schedule (see Metro's '12-minute map').

Metro's Rapid buses have fewer stops than local service and cut through the traffic well. Some travelers recommend checking night schedules; bus service (but not rail service) runs 24 hours but many routes change and have reduced frequency in the late hours. Fares are currently $1.25 per boarding (no transfers), $5 for a day pass (also good on Metro Rail), and $17 for a weekly pass. Day passes can be purchased from any Metro Rail station or bus operator; weekly passes can be purchased online, in selected stores in the county, and at Metro Customer Centers.

Neighboring cities often operate their own bus systems. Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus system operates a number of lines that link not only places within Santa Monica, but also Westside Los Angeles districts like Brentwood, Westwood, and Venice Beach. The Culver CityBus operates buses in and around Culver City.

  • Though there is currently no direct rail connection between Downtown Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) operates the direct LAX FlyAway shuttle every 30 minutes between Union Station and airport terminals.
  • A free shuttle from the Metro Green Line Aviation/LAX Station to terminals is available.

By car

Los Angeles is notorious for problematic traffic conditions on local highways, but visitors used to driving in most of the world will not find it especially bad. Many major car rental companies are located at LAX.

Many spectacular natural areas surrounding the L.A. metropolitan area can only be reached by car. See the article about Driving in Los Angeles County for more information.

If you are going to be driving, make sure you have access to extensive street and freeway maps, a Thomas Bros. Guide or a car with an onboard navigation system. One map in particular that even locals find useful is a pocket guide to the area's extensive freeway system offered by the Automobile Club.

The freeways in L.A. can be confusing for visitors. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with your chosen route prior to setting out on your trip and pay attention to traffic and road signs. "Carpool Only" lanes may be entered with two or more occupants in a vehicle.

Listening to a radio station is helpful for any long trip through L.A. since most stations regularly disseminate traffic information during the daylight hours. KNX 1070 AM and KFWB 980 AM are the most frequent and cover the metropolitan area, including Orange and Ventura counties and the Inland Empire.

Although L.A.'s traffic jams are legendary, the freeway grid provides for an effective movement of traffic and a variety of alternatives. Be sure to have an alternative route planned out in advance; many freeways run parallel to each other and serve as viable alternatives, especially in long-distance trips. If possible, use a passenger as your navigator. You may also check SigAlert [20] or TrafficReport [21] for current traffic information before your trip.

As for driving on the street grid, most cities in the Southland have well-maintained streets, but streets within the city of Los Angeles tend to have a lot of cracks and potholes (the city government spends about half of its annual budget on law enforcement, which doesn't leave much for street maintenance). Wilshire Boulevard is particularly notorious for extremely bumpy conditions and requires extreme caution to avoid destroying the suspension of one's vehicle. However, over the years, the city government has installed sensor loops on most major streets and publishes real-time traffic speed maps online at the LADOT traffic information site.

Also, most California cities have dedicated left-turn traffic lights at major intersections, allowing for so-called "protected" left turns, but most Los Angeles intersections do not, meaning they operate under the rule where one must yield to opposing traffic and turn only when safe. Some Los Angeles streets are so congested that it is impossible to turn until the traffic light reaches the amber (caution) phase. Therefore, it is customary in Los Angeles for as many as two, three, or four vehicles to creep into the middle of such intersections in order to turn against opposing traffic on an amber light (rather than only one vehicle, as is traditional elsewhere in the rest of the state and most of the country). If you are a first-time visitor, you may find yourself being honked at by other drivers (or honking at other drivers) until you become accustomed to this.

Driving around downtown is especially frustrating to deal with. With the number of freeways meeting around the downtown area, it is important to be in the correct lane to get onto the correct freeway. Even without a large number of vehicles present, drivers will still tend to go slowly in this area because of the numerous turns and exits.

Many Los Angeles intersections have red light enforcement cameras, linked to sensor loops which are energized about a third of a second after the traffic light turns red. You will know the camera activated when it flashes its strobe light at you to obtain a clear view of your face (which is required along with a picture of the license plate to issue a ticket under California law). These intersections are marked in advance by signs and should be approached carefully.

Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles
  • Olvera Street. This is the historic center of LA and the city derives its name from the mission established here (Misión de la Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles - the Mission of our Lady the Queen of the Angels). The oldest building in the city lies here and is open to visitors, as are a number of Mexican restaurants and shops; it is across the street from Union Station.  edit
  • Union Station, 800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90012. A historic downtown site and the main railway hub for the city.  edit
The Getty Center as seen from the museum's central garden.
The Getty Center as seen from the museum's central garden.
The Japanese American National Museum opened in 1992 in Little Tokyo.
The Japanese American National Museum opened in 1992 in Little Tokyo.
  • The Getty Center (aka J. Paul Getty Museum), 1200 Getty Center Drive, [22]. Well worth a visit. Entrance is free though you will pay $15 for parking or is served by Metro Bus 761. Located at the top of the Santa Monica mountains, you have a spectacular view of both the L.A. basin, the Pacific Ocean, as well as the beautiful buildings and the rose gardens. They also have a very extensive arts collection, should that interest you. The old museum, J. Paul Getty Villa [23], in Pacific Palisades, is also worth a visit.  edit
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), 250 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90012, [24]. M/F: 11:00am-5:00pm, Th: 11:00am-8:00pm (5-8pm is free), Sat/Sun: 11:00am-6:00pm. There are two branches located downtown, but there is another at the Pacific Design Center on Melrose Avenue. They feature rotating exhibits. GA: $10, Students/Seniors: $5, Children under 12: FREE.  edit
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd., [25]. Mon, Tues and Thurs: 12-8 PM, Fri: 12-9 PM, Sat, Sun: 11 AM -8 PM,Wed: CLOSED. Since its inception in 1965, LACMA has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography—and represents Los Angeles’ uniquely diverse population. Today, the museum features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a new contemporary museum on its campus, BCAM. With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, and an ongoing transformation project, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection—more than 100,000 works strong. •General Admission- $12,Seniors & College Students- $8,Under 18- Free, After 5 PM- Pay what you wish, Second Tuesday of every month- FREE, Target Holiday Mondays- FREE.  edit
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.
  • California Afro-American Museum.
  • Page Museum at La Brea Discoveries, 5801 Wilshire Boulevard. A fascinating site of palentological excavations. Saber-tooth cats, mastadons, giant sloth, bison, Dire wolves, the American lion (yes - there was one), camels, horses. An on-going work of digging the complete remains of tens of thousands of years old animals out of tar continues today and a massive collection of the bones inside. Well worth the visit away from the glitz of Hollywood and back in time when man was just appearing in the area. Rancho La Brea is one of the world’s most famous fossil localities, recognized for having the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. Visitors can learn about Los Angeles as it was between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago. Watch volunteers dig out bones every summer, watch your step as active tar seeps are all over the property, watch the methane bubbles boil up in the lake in front of the museum, hold your nose.
  • The Museum of Tolerance, 9786 West Pico Blvd, 310-553-8403. Mon-Fri 10AM-5PM, SUN 11AM-5PM, Early close on Fri 10AM-3PM Nov-Mar. The Museum of Tolerance houses several exhibits focused on bringing light to the ways in which humans have been and can be more tolerant. Adults $13, Seniors (62+) $11, Student with I.D. and Youth 5-18 $10.
  • Japanese American National Museum.
  • Historic Filipinotown
  • Chinatown (also the East San Gabriel Valley)
  • Little Tokyo
  • Little Armenia
  • Little Persia
  • Little Gaza
  • Thaitown
  • K-Town (Koreatown)
  • Little Ethiopia
  • Little India (Artesia)
  • West Hollywood (Russian)
  • East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights (Mexican)
  • Fairfax District (east-european Jewish)
The Los Angeles basin, stretching from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean, viewed from Griffith Park.
The Los Angeles basin, stretching from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean, viewed from Griffith Park.
  • Griffith Park. This is the second largest park within a city in the whole country (and in LA, where you'd least expect it!), and is a great place for hikes, picnics or hanging around with friends. The hiking trails lead up to Mulholland Drive, and provide great views of the city. One of the main hiking trails is located on Bronson Ave. The street will end leading up to the trail. Griffith park has several options for kids, including the L.A. Zoo, "Travel Town" which is a free exhibition of old trains and model trains with trains rides for children ($3), the Autry western museum, pony rides, a golf course, driving range, horseback riding, a christmas light drive in December (expect traffic), and The (Space) Observatory.  edit
  • Exposition Park is surrounded by Figueroa Street to the east, King Boulevard to the south, Vermont Avenue to the west, and Exposition Boulevard to the north. In 1909, California's Sixth District Agricultural Association and the county and city of Los Angeles agreed to transform Agricultural Park (renamed Exposition Park in 1910) into an exposition building and armory. In return, the county would construct and operate a history and art museum and the city would maintain the grounds.
  • Mulholland Drive. This famous avenue is worth a drive if you have your own transport. It's the setting for endless movies and first kisses, and provides great views over the city. The easiest way to enter is to head north up Highland Ave into the Cahuenga Pass - you'll come to a turnoff to your left that is signed. Beware of speeding cars near this intersection.  edit
Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

Concerts and Conventions

While the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood has more ambience, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena offers a chance of seeing concerts with 90,000 of your closest friends, the city of LA has its own concert venues that are worth exploring.

  • Nokia Theatre at LA Live, [26]. Part of the $2.5 billion LA Live project, the Nokia Theatre is located near the Staples Center. The 7,100 seat venue hosts annual events such as the ESPY awards show and major-name concerts.  edit
  • Staples Center, [27]. While primarily a sports venue, Staples Center also hosts a large number of major-name concerts with its 19,000 seat capacity.  edit
  • LA Convention Center, [28]. Within walking distance of the Staples Center, the massive convention center hosts everything from the LA Auto show [29] to the adult film industry's Erotica LA [30] convention.  edit

Pro sports

LA has great opportunities for seeing live pro sports.

  • LA Dodgers, Dodger Stadium, [31]. Who wouldn't want to grab a Dodger Dog and get a nice sunburn watching a game of baseball? Don't forget to wait until the 2nd or 3rd inning to show up, as the locals do, and to get the genuine LA experience, leave in the 7th inning - traffic is atrocious getting out of the stadium, and most Dodger-stadium visitors will be gone before the 7th inning stretch. For $35 you can get all-you-can-eat hot dogs, sodas, and nachos at the Right Field Pavilion.  edit
  • LA Lakers, Staples Center, [32]. Do they need an introduction? They are the most popular basketball team in the city. Prices are very high (the most expensive ticket in the NBA) but you will rarely be disappointed with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the beautiful Staples Center.  edit
  • LA Clippers, Staples Center, [33]. The Los Angeles Clippers are a rising NBA team. Tickets are slightly cheaper than Laker tickets. The basketball season runs from late October to June.  edit
  • LA Kings, Staples Center, [34]. LA's hockey team - they need your support, hockey's not at the top of most people's list in California.  edit

In addition, baseball's LA Angels and hockey's Anaheim Ducks play in nearby Anaheim, and the city's three soccer teams—Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Sol of Women's Professional Soccer—play at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

  • Esotouric Bus Adventures, in transit throughout LA, [35]. most Saturday afternoons. Esotouric provides bus adventures into the secret heart of Los Angeles through provocative and complex tours mixing crime and social history, rock and roll and architecture, literature and film, fine art and urban studies into a simmering stew of original research and startling observations. Among the featured tours are The Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus, Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles, Pasadena Confidential Crime Bus, John Fante's Dreams of Bunker Hill and the Weird West Adams Crime Bus.The tours explore fascinating, neglected neighborhoods and are led by passionate, witty tour guides. $55/person including snacks.  edit
  • Los Angeles Helicopter Tours, [36]. Scenic helicopter rides over Los Angeles, including famous landmarks, coastline, and surrounding areas.  edit
Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles


Los Angeles has a well-known, diverse and unique shopping traditions and destinations. Shopping malls will dominate your shopping trip as they are nearly inescapable in many of your destinations. For example, the Hollywood & Highland mall is a popular meeting point for those gazing at the Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theater. Other malls you may bump into are the Grove (next to the Farmer's Market) and the Beverly Center, which is quite unlike other shopping malls as it is multilevel with a nice view of Los Angeles from its food court patio.

Lacking any significant public square, Los Angeles funnels its commercial life onto its streets. Among the most popular street is Larchmont Blvd. which caters to the wealthy elite of Hancock Park with one-of-a-kind boutiques. Melrose Avenue, especially in the West Hollywood portion, one-ups Larchmont Blvd. with celebrity presence.

Broadway in Downtown will take you out of the comforts of overly manicured shopping centers and drop you onto its chaos. With merchandise geared towards the city's millions of Latinos, twenty dollars would probably get you a new wardrobe. You will also find pirated DVD's and CD's. You can find a lot of brand name merchandise at discounted prices. Broadway once was the city's premier boulevard and looking up above the gritty flea markets and you would see the opulent theaters that defined luxury in early 20th-century Los Angeles.

For a similar experience in a less-polished but even livelier environment, try Alvarado Blvd around Wilshire & 6th in the Westlake District. This district, with a density that rivals Manhattan's, gives an insight to how most of working-class Los Angeles shops. Big deals can be found on a wide range of counterfeit goods, but don't stay too long after dark, when the neighborhood gets sketchy. Make sure to check out the art deco buildings that exist in between the makeshift warehouses (malls), as well as the Alvarado Terrace Park, surrounded by early century mansions.

For more upscale purchasing head to Beverly Hills to the world-famous Rodeo Drive, or the ever-growing chic-boutique strip of Melrose Ave between Crescent Heights & Robertson Ave in West Hollywood.


Downtown is the destination for some focused retail therapy. Want flowers? Why there's a Flower District in Downtown! Jewelry? Fashion? Seafood? Toys? Yep, there are entire districts in Downtown dedicated to these particular products. You can buy art in Gallery Row up and down Main Street or see artists at work in the Artist District. They are located mostly just east of the towering Financial District. Beware though as they exist along with the notorious Skid Row.


No matter what music you're into, Los Angeles will feature artists to your taste. Visit the Rock Venues on Sunset Blvd. Jazz Clubs in Hollywood. The Disney Symphony Hall in Downtown. etc. As the second capital of hip-hop culture Los Angeles has hundreds of records stores scattered around the area. Also, though vinyl has disappeared from the shelfs of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl. Amoeba Music in Hollywood is without a doubt the best in the city.

Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

The Los Angeles area is one of the best places in the country for food - you can find just about anything you can imagine somewhere within its loose borders. From traditional American diner culture (try Mel's Drive-In in West Hollywood) to the new wave of organic cafes, to inexpensive taco trucks, and swanky eateries with breath-taking food, there are no shortage of options.

Los Angeles abounds with inexpensive, authentic food that represents the culinary traditions of L.A.'s many immigrant communities. You have to be willing to do a little legwork, go to neighborhoods you might not otherwise go to and often deal with charmless florescent-lit storefronts in strip malls, but your reward is hype-free, authentic cuisine from around the world served up at bargain prices. Food critic Jonathan Gold has been finding and reviewing these gems since the 1980s, mostly in the free paper LA Weekly [37].

Coverage of regional food from other parts of the U.S. is spotty. Migration into the city has been disproportionately from Texas and Oklahoma, the South, Midwest and greater New York City and food representing these areas is easy enough to find. Food representing New England and other parts of the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and the Intermountain-Rocky Mountain regions can be elusive, along with many ethnic cuisines with central- and east-european origins. However L.A. is birthplace of the drive-thru and numerous fast food chains clog the roadsides. The In 'n Out Burger chain is far above average for hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes.

The cultural diversity of Los Angeles is an evident influence on the local vegetarian food restaurant industry. Where else but L.A. can you find strictly vegan and vegetarian dining, be it Chinese, Ethiopian, Mexican, Thai, American, Indian, International Fusion, Vegan Macrobiotic, and Raw Gourmet restaurants among others. Other dietary restrictions are catered to as well. For example Genghis Cohen in West Hollywood serves kosher Chinese food and kosher Mexican or Italian is not hard to find along predominantly Jewish parts of Pico Boulevard. Tung Lai Shun in San Gabriel offers Halal (Islamic) Chinese, including the cuisine of China's muslim minorities as well as familiar favorites prepared according to Islamic law.

There are several different supermarket chains of varying quality - for something different (and cheap) try Trader Joe's, a reputable grocery store with multiple locations (the original is in Pasadena), selling many organic products with no preservatives. They normally give out great samples to the public and sell their acclaimed Charles Shaw wine, also known as "Two Buck Chuck." Whole Foods [38] is another market with multiple locations and a favorite among the health conscious -- but also a little pricey. Their salad bar is fully stocked, they have huge fresh burritos, sushi, hot dishes ready to go, and a comprehensive selections of pre-made, delicious salads. This is a great place to buy food for a picnic!

The nearby cities of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Santa Monica also offer numerous dining options.

LA visitors and locals alike have the opportunity to indulge in a selection of specially priced three-course menus from a wide variety of LA’s best restaurants during dineLA Restaurant Week [39]. It takes place over a two-week time period. Restaurant week for 2008 was January 27 to February 1, 2008 and February 3 to February 8, 2008. Dates are not yet set for 2009.

Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

The hotel bars are generally considered by Angelenos to be the best places to have drinks. Some of the more popular upscale ones include: Chateau Marmont (Sunset Strip), Skybar at The Mondrian (Sunset Strip), Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower (Sunset Strip), and The Rooftop Bar at The Standard (downtown). Hollywood and the Sunset Strip are generally considered the nightlife centers of LA, though neighborhoods such as Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park are home to the dive bars and cafes favored by trendy hipsters. Downtown has recently recaptured some of its former glory with a selection of popular nightlife destinations such as The Golden Gopher, The Edison and the bars/clubs at LA LIVE.

Individual listings can be found in Los Angeles's district articles

It's hard to summarize the plethora of hotel options in L.A. From some of the most opulent (and expensive) hotels in the world to budget hostels to apartment-hotel crash pads, there's something for everyone. Deciding where to stay will have a lot to do with what areas you plan on visiting, and how you're going to get there. As usual in Southern California, a car opens up a world of options, but be sure to check the parking arrangement at your accommodations before you arrive.

Hollywood is probably the most popular option for those wanting to sight-see and chase their image of that world. Downtown has long been popular with the business crowd but is rapidly receiving a makeover with hotels like The Standard [40] bringing a hipper crowd. Beverly Hills has some of the nicest hotels in the city, expect the prices to reflect its reputation. Sun and sand seekers can head to Santa Monica or Venice, while those just in town for a day or two might consider staying on the Westside near LAX airport. Pasadena to the northeast of LA is a peaceful and leafy city and a good alternative.



Internet cafes are spread around town and most easily found in heavily touristed spots such as Hollywood Blvd and Melrose Ave.

  • Cyber-Dog, 7801 Melrose Ave. $10 sign up for 4 hours
  • Zen Internet Cafe, 7264 Melrose Ave, (near Poinsettia Ave). $2/hour.
  • Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, 655 S Hope Street. Free Wi-Fi.

Stay safe

Most tourist destinations within Los Angeles tend to be pretty safe, including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Downtown (during the day), and West L.A. While the city is one of the safest big cities in the US, walking at night in certain parts should be conducted with caution and only in groups. However by car there is little threat of being harassed in Los Angeles day or night, provided you avoid driving around residential neighborhoods with signs of gang activity as mentioned below.

Certain areas in or near Downtown such as Skid Row (which is where the Greyhound station is located), East LA, and South Central can be dangerous regardless of the time of day and should be avoided altogether when walking if possible. If traveling in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, the neighborhoods of Pacoima, Panorama City, and Canoga Park are also best avoided on foot.

Though some cities, such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Atlanta have higher listed crime rates per-capita than Los Angeles, these numbers can be deceiving because the numbers in L.A. are often skewed because of nicer neighborhoods such as Bel Air, Pacific Palisades and Westwood that offset the numbers for the more dangerous neighborhoods. If South Central were counted as an independent city, it would have the highest crime and murder rate of any other city in America. Neighboring Compton, an independent city, currently ranks as the 4th most dangerous city in the United States. As a general rule, you should avoid walking at night in these areas, roughly bounded by Interstate 10 on the north, Interstate 405 on the west, Interstate 710 on the east, and State Highway 91 on the south.

Both the City of Los Angeles and the county of the same name are, unfortunately, the gang capital of America. Gangs generally confine themselves to certain areas and should be of little concern to the typical traveler, who is unlikely to venture into such areas. Gangs will usually identify their territory with graffiti markings. While most visitors to LA will not visit neighborhoods where gang violence is a concern, common-sense precautions apply should you become lost and end up in a bad neighborhood: remain on high-visibility roads or freeways, avoid confrontations with groups of young men, and should a confrontation arise flee immediately. Similarly, use common-sense on freeways to avoid incidences of road rage, which accounts for ten or so deaths per year.

Most homeless individuals are harmless; they will likely only ask you for money and if you refuse, will simply go on to the next person. They are most heavily concentrated in Hollywood and Skid Row. Avoid walking along Skid Row near Downtown at any time of day or night.

In the unlikely event of a major earthquake, duck and cover and stay where you are during the shaking, then go outside once the shaking stops. Buildings and other structures are unlikely to collapse. Your largest threats come from breaking windows and falling objects such as ceiling tiles and bookshelves. Try to get under a table, desk, or doorjam to reduce your exposure to these threats. You are more likely to be injured if you try to run during the shaking.

Stay healthy

Los Angeles is notorious for air pollution problems. However, air quality in the city has improved dramatically in recent decades, and Los Angeles has even fallen from its Number One position on lists of the worst air in the United States due to aggressive cleanup efforts on behalf of the state and regional air quality authorities. Generally, smog is worst during summer months and is worse further inland, away from the fresh ocean breezes.

Air pollution can become a problem if a wildfire is burning in surrounding hills, though that rarely has significant impacts.

  • Disneyland – an hour to the south of Hollywood.
  • San Fernando Valley — "The Valley" is the sprawling northern section of the city and home to Universal Studios, NBC Studios, CBS Studio Center, Walt Disney & Warner Brothers Studios and a few other attractions.
  • Marina del Rey – If you want to get out on the water, Marina del Rey offers the most options at affordable prices.
  • Venice – home to Venice Beach and host to some of the most colorful characters in LA. Make sure to check out Gold's Gym to see some heavy lifters, the basketball games for some great action, and the skaters.
  • Culver City former movie studio town with a gentrified, walkable downtown, restaurants, boutique-y shopping and theaters (movie and thespian).
  • Orange County – upscale beach communities south of Los Angeles
  • San Diego - a 3-hour drive south of Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas - an entertainment hub 4 hours east of Los Angeles
Routes through Los Angeles
SacramentoGlendale  N noframe S  CommerceSanta Ana
ENDSanta Monica  W noframe E  Monterey ParkSan Bernardino
San FernandoSherman Oaks  N noframe S  Culver CityLong Beach
Santa BarbaraHollywood  N noframe S  END
Santa MonicaBeverly Hills  W noframe E  PasadenaBarstow
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also lax




  1. IATA airport code for Los Angeles International Airport.

See also

  • KLAX (ICAO code for this airport)

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