The Shape of Los Angeles
The city of Los Angeles sits in a broad, flat basin, facing the Pacific Ocean and enclosed by mountains.
The San Gabriel Mountains and the Traverse Range come from the north, meeting the Santa Ana Mountains east of the city. The Santa Monica Mountains and the Hollywood Hills in the northwest split the basin, dividing the city center from the San Fernando Valley in the north. The shoreline varies from the rocky cliffs of Palos Verdes to the sands of Santa Monica Bay. Downtown, with the impressive skyscrapers of the Business District, sits in the center of the basin. Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica lie to the west.
The San Fernando Valley, the city’s great suburban sprawl, is home to the Mission San Fernando Rey de España.
Hollywood is the birthplace of the modern film industry. Its famous sign stands out like a beacon above Tinseltown.
Malibu is an area of fine surfing beaches, wildlife havens, and private beach colonies nestled below rugged mountains.
Santa Monica, perched on palm-lined bluffs overlooking beautiful beaches, boasts stunning views. It is LA’s oldest, largest beach resort, with all the traditional seaside attractions, such as a pier and amusement park. Santa Monica is also known for its excellent restaurants, boutiques, exciting nightlife, and vibrant arts scene.
Beverly Hills is home to the rich and famous of Los Angeles. Their lifestyle is epitomized by the exclusive shops that line Rodeo Drive.
Pasadena is an affluent community, with an ornate city hall. It grew up as a winter retreat for wealthy Easterners in the 19th century.
Site of the Rose Bowl stadium, it has fine museums as well as excellent shopping and dining.
Downtown Los Angeles is a diverse area. Attractions range from the skyscrapers of the Business District to the ethnic delights of Little Tokyo and Chinatown.
The City of Long Beach has a strong nautical tradition.
Los Angeles International Airport, known simply as LAX, lies along the coast. It is well placed for easy access to most areas of the city and near major freeways leading out of town.
Point Fermin lighthouse is a Victorian landmark among the rocky cliffs of Palos Verdes.