Did you already apply for your ESTA? Then get ready for a wonderful holiday to America. Why not pay a visit to Los Angeles (Spanish for “The Angels”). Los Angeles is the centre of the film industry and the terminus of Highway Route 66. This grand city in California therefore sits near the top of many travellersʼ bucket lists.
LA has something for everyone: world-famous film studios, busy beaches, amusement parks, luxury shopping streets and countless museums. This article lists Los Angelesʼ most famous attractions and provides tips for planning a trip, such as applying for your ESTA.
Hollywood: the heart of the film industry
Los Angeles is the city where the most famous American film studios are located, such as Universal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. During a tour of these studios, you can learn more about the filming that took place there and see the world-famous film sets in real life. The origin of the American film industry lies in the famous Hollywood District, but most of the film studios have moved to other areas of Los Angeles.
Three major boulevards run through the district: Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood Boulevard is known for the Walk of Fame, one of the most visited locations in Los Angeles. On both sides of this street, and also on Vine Street, you can find more than 2,500 tiles with stars and the names of celebrities from the film, music, theatre and television world. The tiles are arranged alphabetically by surname, making it easy to find your idol.
North of the district - in the Hollywood Hills - are the iconic white Hollywood letters. You can hike up the Brush Canyon Trail to right behind the letters, but they are also easily visible from most parts of the city.
View of the iconic Hollywood letters
Beverly Hills: home of world stars
Although it is often thought that Beverly Hills is a district of Los Angeles, it is in fact a city in itself that is part of Los Angeles County. Beverly Hills is known for the many celebrities who live there - often in gigantic villas. In the biggest shopping street - Rodeo Drive - you can find chic shops of exclusive brands. This is the ideal location to bump into a celebrity with a bit of luck.
Another popular part of Los Angeles is Downtown LA. Here you will find the business centre of the city, where, among others, the head office of the Los Angeles Times newspaper is located. It is also home to Chinatown and Little Tokyo, which has the largest Japanese-American population in the United States.
Beaches and colourful districts
Los Angeles is also popular for its many beaches, including Venice Beach. The beach at Venice is one of the busiest in California. The district of Venice takes its name from the many canals and bridges, which are reminiscent of Venice. Venice forms a strong contrast to the wealth and abundance of Beverly Hills. The creative district is characterised by street artists and people playing sports outside.
Just a few kilometres from Venice Beach is Santa Monica Beach and the Santa Monica Pier, which has featured in countless films and series. Santa Monica is also the end of Highway Route 66, so many travellers end their road trip across America at this beach. Those who go on a long road trip and visit other cities or parts of the country besides Los Angeles can also use an ESTA, because with this travel authorisation you can stay in America for no less than 90 days.
Los Angeles also has much to offer art lovers. The Getty Center, located in the Brentwood District in the west of Los Angeles, exhibits the J. Paul Getty collection, among others. This includes sculptures, paintings and manuscripts from classical antiquity. The museum can be visited free of charge and from the hill on which it is built you have a beautiful view of the city.
Another famous museum in the city is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also known as LACMA. It is the largest museum in the western United States. In this museum, you can see works of art from classical antiquity as well as modern art.
Apply for a Visa or ESTA USA
To visit the famous film sets, Hollywood or the museums of Los Angeles you will need an ESTA or a visa. The ESTA can easily be applied for online, while to get a visa you have to make an appointment at the American embassy. British and Irish tourists generally meet the requirements for an ESTA and do not need a visa. One of these requirements is that you cannot stay longer than 90 consecutive days in the USA. A visit to Canada, Mexico or one of the Caribbean islands also counts towards the maximum duration of stay. In general, 90 days is more than sufficient to explore Los Angeles and possibly the rest of California.
Applying for an ESTA only takes a few minutes. After paying the fee for the ESTA, you will usually receive confirmation of your application within 3 days. You do not need to print this confirmation. Your airline and the American border control authorities will be able to check whether you have a valid ESTA by scanning your passport number.