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Los Angeles

Los Angeles may be famed for its celebrity culture, Hollywood glitz and A-list postcodes – but this is only the beginning. LA is home to eclectic neighbourhoods and some of the best beaches in the world. Love it or hate it, you’ll find a side of the city’s personality that captivates you.

From iconic neighbourhoods like Beverly Hills, which was immortalised by Julia Roberts' shopping spree in Pretty Woman, to the illuminated Ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier and the celebrated Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles has it all. Simply a walk along the familiar streets of LA can feel like you’re starring in your favourite movie or TV show. For a true LA experience, hang out with the locals at a buzzing gastro pub in Downtown LA, see the iconic Hollywood sign from the Griffith Park Observatory or cycle along the bustling Venice Beach promenade. Sit courtside at an LA Lakers game or spend an adventurous weekend at Joshua Tree National Park.

Los Angeles

Find out what's on in Los Angeles in July

Kick off July in Los Angeles with unforgettable Independence Day fireworks and festivities. Celebrate local talent, embrace other cultures and immerse yourself in unique entertainment. Find your kind of festival – be it partying at Summerfest, sipping wine in Santa Barbara or embracing the arts scene at Laguna Beach.

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1-6 July.

1-6 July

Being in Los Angeles over Independence Day is a real treat. You’ll be spoilt for choice with spectacular firework displays across the city. Disneyland has to be one of our favourites, along with celebrating with Steve Martin at Hollywood Bowl on 2, 3 and 4 July.

Or head to Huntington Beach Pier for a weekend of fun at the annual 4th July celebration. Enjoy a Lake Park breakfast, watch the Surf City 5K run and soak up this three-day festival, watching an unforgettable parade and seeing fireworks launch over the ocean.

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7-13 July.

7-13 July

There’s no need to hold back at the Grease sing-a-long Hollywood Bowl on 13 July. These unique movie screenings provide a great opportunity for the whole family to experience this iconic LA venue.

From 11 July, Cinema on the Street: Movies at the Third Street Promenade returns to downtown Santa Monica for a six week period. A fantastic free event - enjoy classic movies, under the stars in a unique outdoor setting. Just bring beach chairs and a picnic to the nightly screenings of family-friendly films that include Back to the Future, Despicable Me and Three Amigos.

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14-20 July.

14-20 July

Winner of 8 Tony Awards, ONCE will be showing at Hollywood Pantages Theatre from 15 July. It tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician, who's about to give up on his dream, when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his lingering love songs.

Celebrate French independence on 14 July whilst in Los Angeles at Bastille Day Festival in Elysian Park. Or enjoy fine wines, gourmet food and lively music at the Califronia Wine Festival in Santa Barbara, which is on 17, 18, 19 July.

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21-27 July.

21-27 July

26-27 July brings the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival to town. Watch one of the largest dragon boat competitions in California and embrace Chinese culture with traditional art, acrobatics, dance and performances.

Head to Venice Beach’s Ocean Walk Front for Summerfest, a two-day party held on 26 and 27 July which features more than 60 bands and performers playing all day, exhibitors and more. Or see the works of LA’s freshest talent at the Hammer Museum’s Made in LA 2014 - which debuts painting, installation, video, sculpture and photography of 30 to 40 emerging artists.

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28-31 July.

28-31 July

Country: Portraits of an American Sound is a free exhibition that presents images of the pioneers, poets and icons of country music, which runs until 28 September at Annenberg Space for Photography. In addition to over 110 prints, you can see a 30-minute documentary, album and film posters and memorabilia.

Catch a glimpse of the ‘living pictures’ which are created for the Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach Festival of Arts most famous attraction.

Find out what's on in Los Angeles this August

Discover what’s hot this August, as the summer sun sizzles in Los Angeles. Listen to the energetic sounds of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture against a backdrop of spectacular fireworks, dine on gourmet cuisine from LA’s famous food trucks or soak up the sunshine as you embrace the LA festival scene.

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Public Star Party.

1-7 August

LA welcomes four huge names to the Rose Bowl Stadium at the beginning of August – grab tickets to the Jay Z & Beyonce: On The Run tour on 2 and 3 August or Eminem X Rihanna The Monster Tour on 7 and 8 August.

Join the Public Star Party at the Griffith Observatory and admire the constellations up close. These monthly gatherings take place on the expansive lawns, where a variety of telescopes are set up awaiting eager amateur astronomers – if you don’t have a great knowledge of astronomy, LA’s city lights also make a spectacular sight.

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China Town.

8-14 August

Catch pop superstar Justin Timberlake, who will be at the Staples Centre on 12 August with his 20/20 Experience tour - the fifth concert tour by the American singer-songwriter. Effortlessly cool, you’ll be hypnotised as he performs his 30 song repertoire of past and present hits.

Part food event, part summer party. Discover the excitement of LA’s Chinatown on 9 August, as Chinatown Summer Nights brings music and dancing, LA’s gourmet food trucks, family friendly Chinese cultural workshops and more to the Central Plaza and West Plaza between 5pm and midnight.

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Marvin Gaye.

15-21 August

15 and 16 August brings the Tchaikovsky Fireworks Spectacular to the Hollywood Bowl. Embrace this spectacular summer tradition as fireworks blast off for Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

Enjoy Smooth Summer Jazz on 17 August - this annual festival presents some of today’s hottest contemporary jazz artists. Or join nine-time Grammy®-winning John Legend and the Los Angeles Philharmonic as they pay tribute to the works of Marvin Gaye at Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On with John Legend on 20 August.

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Beatles.

16-22 August

Calling all professional wrestling fans, make your way to the Staples Centre for WWE SummerSlam on 17 August for an exhilarating night of live entertainment. See superstars like John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan as they battle each other for a shot at the WWE Championship belt.

To celebrate 50 years since they played their first show at the Hollywood Bowl, reawaken Beatle-mania at The Beatles 50th at the bowl on 22, 23, 24 August.

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FYF Fest.

23-28 August

Kick back to the sounds of Jack Johnson at his From Here To Now To You tour at the Greek Theatre on 27 and 28 August.

Head out to Santa Monica Pier on 28 August and take part in one of LA's favourite summer traditions. The fantastic 30th annual Twilight Concerts at the Pier is a free weekly event on Thursday nights between 7 and 10pm. Or join the music-loving Angelenos at FYF Fest for two days of live entertainment, combining emerging artists, stand-up comedy and well-known names with a hip indie vibe.

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Made in America.

29-31 August

On 30 August grab your picnic blanket and pre-order your snacks for a fun night watching Grease at the Electric Drive-In. Combine a funky venue in the heart of downtown, with one of the most iconic musicals to hit the big screen and create an unforgettable night out.

For an epic outdoor party with live music and tasty street food, look no further than Street Food Cinema at Exposition Park. On 30 August you can catch all time classic movie Casablanca, listen to the sounds of Sara Dee and feast on tasty treats from Cousins Maine Lobster, The Pudding Truck and more. Or bag yourself tickets to the larger-than-life Budweiser Presents: Made In America Festival at LA Grand Park.

Find out what's on in Los Angeles this September

The excitement of Labor Day feeds the fuel for music throughout this month. Los Angeles’ pulse is beating at festivals like Fiesta Hermosa or the Los Angeles County Fair. And racing on the club scene in preparation for The Sunset Strip Music Festival.

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1-7 September

What cooler way to spend Labor Day, on 1 September, than lounging around at W Los Angeles. From 11am to 6pm the Westwood summer pool party, also known as WET Sundays, takes over. Order craft cocktails from a vintage 1963 Airstream Bambi trailer, listen to live beats from local DJs and hang out poolside.

For live music flock to Fiesta Hermosa over Labor Day weekend, from 10 to 6pm. If rock music is your thing listen to the finest tribute bands performing classics from Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, Fleetwood Mac and more at the Pier. Or for Rock n’ roll, country western, and rhythm and blues hang out in the Charity Beer & Wine Garden.

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8-14 September

For your chance to see up-and-coming bands head to The Getty Center. The Los Angeles-based group, Kan Wakan, play Saturdays Off the 405 on 13 September. From 6 to 9 pm chamber pop and cinematic sounds resemble collaborations only Portishead and Nina Simone could create.

Eat, See, Hear Outdoor Movies presents The Goonies at Centennial Square at Pasadena City Hall on 13 September. Enjoy the last show in this Summer-Long Celebration of Outdoor Movies, Food and Music that has made its way round Los Angeles.

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15-21 September

Now in its seventh year, The Sunset Strip Music Festival will run from the 20 to 21 September. Both established and rising artists will perform on outdoor stages, as well as at venues along the strip such as The Roxy Theatre, Viper Room, Whisky a Go Go and House of Blues Sunset Strip.

Dance music is going through its next cycle and this year it’s all over EDM – and Insomniac appears to invade the music scene more than any other promoter in LA. Awakening Fridays and Inception Saturdays at Exchange LA always pulls the crowd, but look out for the highly anticipated Nocturnal Wonderland, dates still TBA.

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22-30 September

For a great family day out Los Angeles County Fair runs all month, right up until 28 September. Whether you’re entertained by the critters at Wilderness Ridge, the dazzling display of colour put on by Luminasia or Dr. Bob’s handcrafted ice cream, LACF puts on a great show.

Take a trip to Venice, LA’s beachside neighbourhood, on the 28 September for the annual Abbott Kinney Festival. Visit the free bike valet stations at Venice Boulevard or Main Street and ride the coolest mile-long boulevard – lined with eclectic boutiques, artisan eateries and art galleries.

Los Angeles holidays we recommend

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Los Angeles neighbourhoods

Hollywood and West Hollywood

Hollywood and West Hollywood

Associated with movies, glitz and glamour, Hollywood and West Hollywood are a ‘must see’ for celebrity spotters and film fanatics. One of LA’s most popular neighbourhoods, this area is home to the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Immerse yourself in the world of movies and experience thrilling family attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mingle with LA’s elite at trendy nightclubs on the Sunset Strip or shop until you drop on upscale Melrose Avenue. This desirable area offers some of the city’s finest hotels and provides a more affordable alternative to those found in nearby Beverly Hills.

LA Beaches

LA Beaches

You’ll be spoilt for choice with the wide range of fantastic beaches that LA has to offer. Back in the heyday of Route 66, Santa Monica was the end of the line. Now it is better known for the bustling Santa Monica Pier, with its illuminated Ferris wheel. Just south of Santa Monica, you’ll find the eclectic Venice Beach. Stroll along the boardwalk or embrace the bohemian vibe in the cafes, bars and galleries. Admire the exclusive houses along Malibu Beach or grab your surfboard and take to the waves at Huntington Beach.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Home to the world-famous zip code that is synonymous with wealth, status and celebrity. These uber-chic, ultra-posh and overly pricey neighbourhoods are home to many famous faces, including Madonna and George Clooney. Head to Rodeo Drive for designer shopping and small private boutiques. This area is popular with wealthy shoppers, sunglass-wearing celebrities and tourists hoping to see their fashion icons. Don't forget to look at the road itself; you'll spot some impressive and high-priced vehicles parked up.

Anaheim

Anaheim

Orange County is the ideal family destination. It’s home to an array of world-class theme parks, which include Disneyland Resort, Knott’s Berry Farm and Legoland. Downtown Disney has something for everyone, from restaurants to bespoke shops and an AMC movie theatre. Create your own unique toy car at Ride Makers. Block at Orange and GardenWalk offer plenty of opportunity for retail therapy, with arcades and bowling to keep the kids happy.

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown LA is home to the city’s premier red carpet venue, LA Live. This thriving entertainment complex is a great place for seeing a movie or grabbing a bite to eat. While Watercourt at California Plaza is a whimsical urban park with fountains – a popular location for films or music videos. If you hang out long enough, you’ll probably see someone filming something. In this area renowned for its cultural diversity, admire the striking architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall or watch baseball with the locals at the nearby Dodgers Stadium.

When best to go?

Prepare for the weather before your Los Angeles holiday

Average seasonal temperatures°C/°F
  • 18°Jan
  • 19°Feb
  • 19°Mar
  • 21°Apr
  • 22°May
  • 24°Jun
  • 27°Jul
  • 28°Aug
  • 27°Sep
  • 24°Oct
  • 23°Nov
  • 19°Dec
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
  • 79
  • 76
  • 71
  • 25
  • 10
  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
  • 5
  • 15
  • 31
  • 66
Average daily sunshine (hours)
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 9
  • 9
  • 10
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8

Why I love LA

High Life Magazine

Hugh Laurie playing guitar.

Hugh Laurie shows us that this beautiful city offers much more than the brash Hollywood stereotype.

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