30 distinct neighborhoods make Southern California city hot spot for exploring

Visitors ride “Flight of the Hippogriff” roller coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood. -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Each year 47-million people visit Los Angeles because “it’s a dynamic, progressive city where diversity thrives and everyone is welcome,” based on press materials provided by the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

“L.A. is best discovered by exploring its more than 30 distinct neighborhoods, each one offering its own unique vibe,” continues a press release. “It’s home to near-perfect weather, 75 miles of jaw-dropping shoreline, more museums than any other American city, and it has an award-winning culinary scene.”

San Fernando Valley

In the San Fernando Valley, Universal Studios Hollywood is the entertainment capital of L.A. and includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and studio tour. Recent additions are “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” with a bustling Hogsmeade village and such critically-acclaimed rides as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.”

Or delve into “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,” “Super Silly Fun Land,” “Springfield” next to and compatible with “The Simpsons Ride” and the “The Walking Dead” daytime attraction. 

The Garland retro-cool lodging is nearby. -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

The world-renowned Studio Tour is Universal’s signature attraction in which you visit behind the scenes. Adjacent, Universal CityWalk shopping, entertainment and dining mall showcases the multi-million dollar, redesigned Universal CityWalk Cinema.

Where to stay? The Garland is just a few minutes away and it offers complimentary regular trolley rides to and from the Universal Studios parking lot. The Garland is a one-of-a-kind urban retreat just 10 minutes from the Burbank Bob Hope Airport and also close to the No-Ho Arts District located in North Hollywood.

With authentic Hollywood roots, The Garland derives its name from the late Beverly Garland, a critically acclaimed American film and television actress who starred in “My Three Sons” as the wife of Fred MacMurray.

In 2015, The Garland completed an extensive $20 million renovation and is now a sophisticated and “retro-cool” California lodge boasting old pictures from rock stars to movie celebrities.

Gene Autry used to train his horses on the property and you can feel the Hollywood magic. In fact, Warner Bros. is close by in Burbank and convenient if you are looking for more fun Hollywood tours.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art is worth viewing. -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood gets you closer to the entertainment you love. As a recipient of Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards and recognized as one of the Top 25 Attractions in the United States, the Studio Tour gives guests a revealing look behind the camera at how Hollywood magic is made.

Hermosa Beach

Have a laugh at the Comedy and Magic Club on Hermosa Ave. Jay Leno performs most Sunday evenings.

Rent a stand-up paddle board from Tarzan SUP, and get closer to whales, dolphins and sea lions that live in the offshore waters.

Walk to the end of Hermosa Beach Pier for a spectacular sunset view of the Pacific Ocean, or bicycle the fabulous Strand 26-mile-long sidewalk with two lanes that run next to the beach action.

Sunset at Hermosa Pier -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Learn about the Masters of Surf by visiting the Surfer’s Walk of Fame.

Before you head to dinner, taste some wine at Uncorked. Hit happy hours at the Pier and Hermosa Avenue restaurants such as Mediterraneo with pitchers of Sangria and savory arancini. If you’re in the mood for live music, the Lighthouse Cafe is where to be.

Where to stay? In downtown Hermosa, the Beach House Hotel boasts private balconies that look onto the expansive sandy beach. Bikers, skaters, surfers, volleyball players and sun worshipers are ever present on the The Strand and it’s right in the thick of things a block away from Pier Avenue shops and restaurants.

The “ocean-suite” boutique hotel offers separate bedroom and living spaces, fireplaces, wet bars, sinks, microwaves, refrigerators, Frette linens and two flat screen televisions. Breakfasts are complimentary on the ground level.

Century City

Warner Bros.’ water tower -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Century City originated as the back lot of 20th Century Fox. Now it’s a commercial and residential city-within-a-city, designed with pedestrian bridges and wide boulevards to ease crowding and it boasts many gems.

The Annenberg Space for Photography is a wonderful 10,000-square-foot museum located on the Avenue of the Stars. Many of the works are on the human condition and unseen elsewhere.

Built in 1987, the 35-story Fox Plaza is perhaps best known to action-movie fans as the fictional Nakatomi Plaza in the 1988 Bruce Willis movie, “Die Hard.”

But since Fox Studios is the namesake of the neighborhood, it should come as no surprise that the building is the studio’s official headquarters. After the White House, Ronald Reagan occupied the penthouse for several years. In addition to “Die Hard,” it has also been featured in the “Fight Club,” “Speed,” “Lethal Weapon 2” and “Airheads.”

The renowned InterContinental Los Angeles Century City is steps away from world-class shopping, major entertainment studios and the sun-soaked beaches of Southern California. The landmark hotel, conveniently located on the Avenue of the Stars, features 363 spacious and stylish guest rooms, including 178 suites, all of which offer panoramic views of the Holly-wood Hills, Downtown Los Angeles and the vast Pacific Ocean coastline.

The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City offers dining options such as Mari. -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Complimentary town car service is available to all guests within 1.5 miles of the hotel in an electric Tesla Model S.

Mid-city L.A.

Since its inception in 1965, Los Angeles County Museum of Art has collected works of art that span both history and geography, and it’s represented L.A.’ s diverse population. It is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes more than 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and most of the entire history of art. LACMA is set in Mid City on 30 acres at the center of L.A., near the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and the forthcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures halfway between the ocean and downtown.

Now on exhibit is Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage, full of set designs and costumes that the famous artist created for performances.

Where to eat? Ray’s & Stark Bar is a casual dining house on the museum grounds situated near fabulous sculptures and Urban Lights. Founded by Chef Joachim Splichal of the Patina group, Ray’s & Stark Bar serves seasonal fare for lunch, dinner and happy hour. The silverware is hidden in modernist drawers at each of the tables.

Need to post a letter through the “snail mail?” Another top attraction in mid-city is the Ray Charles Station post office as the superstar used to perform in the ‘hood. Other landmarks and attractions are the Del Mar Theater, the Comedy Union, The Mint music club and also Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.

Chic Hinoki & The Bird with its famous Okomiyaki burger is a short walk away. -- Photo courtesy Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board