This page provides general travel information for visitors to Los Angeles which includes Hollywood. Starting with important regulations on entry to the United States we then guide you through Driving in LA, useful hints & tips for the first time visitor and a "Did you Know" section for the more inquisitive.
Listed below you will find some important information for travelers to Los Angeles. Whilst the regulations for entry into the United States must be followed I have also included information which will be useful to first time visitors to LA.
Duty Free Allowances into the U.S. are:-
Please note that NO fresh fruit or food may be brought into the U.S. - it will be confiscated.
Travel insurance is not compulsory on entering the U.S. but is highly recommended as medical attention is very expensive.
Shops :- Monday to Saturday 9am - 5 or 6pm. Department stores, shopping malls and shops in tourist areas stay open much later and also open on Sundays.
Banks :- Monday to Friday 9am to 3 or 3.30pm. Some banks open later one day a week and some on a Saturday morning.
Los Angeles Airport (LAX) lies 17 miles southwest of downtown LA. Car rental
companies provide free shuttle buses to their parking lots from where you'll
pick up your hire car. On clearing Customs & U.S. immigration proceed
to the front of the arrivals building where you'll see a central reservation
isle containing a number of bus stops. Wait at the one that contains your car
hire company name, buses arrive every few minutes so you will not have to wait
long before being taken to your car.
Taxi ranks and normal bus services are also situated outside the arrivals building.
"Hints & Tips"
Here you will find a few Hints & Tips, Do's & Don'ts and Facts that have been learnt from my many trips to LA which will prove useful to you during your stay in LA.
Los Angeles is on Pacific Coast Time (US West Coast), 3hrs. behind Eastern Standard Time (US East Coast), 8hrs. behind the U.K. and 9hrs. behind Western Europe.
LA's dress code is casual. Men are rarely expected to don a jacket & tie to dine in all but the most exclusive restaurants.
Tipping is voluntary but 15% is normal if you feel you have had good service.
Electricity is 110 volts, 60 cycles, AC current.
LA appliances use a flat 2 prong plug, European appliances will require a travel adaptor.
Emergency Telephone number in LA. is 911 fire, police or ambulance.
Mobile phones will not work in LA unless they are Tri-band.
Local calls cost 20c, insert coin before dialing.
Many businesses and attractions have free phone numbers prefixed 800, callers must first dial 1 (ie.1-800).
Charges for sending a postcard or airmail letter (up to 1 ounce) are currently 50c & $1.
Stamps are available from post offices Monday to Friday :- 7am to 5pm. Saturdays 7am to 1pm.
LA's only English language newspaper is the "LA Times".
The free "LA Weekly" distributed to all hotels is a good source of information, containing many money off vouchers.
Do not make phone calls from hotel rooms, they will be very expensive.
Do not sunbathe topless on the beaches - its illegal.
Do not drink alcohol on the beaches - its illegal.
Always use a pedestrian crossing or you will get a ticket for Jay walking.
When visiting theme parks remember your car park space - there could be another 10000 cars in the park when you return.
Hotel foyers are a good source of information, there you will find a stand full of leaflets on attractions throughout LA. Before visiting any attraction browse through these leaflets, as many contain money off entry prices and special offers.
Apart from the parking rules driving in LA is just common sense and much like driving at home. Almost all the main roads are multi lane and whilst the traffic is busy it always seems to be moving apart from peak times. Try to avoid the weekday peak times between 8am - 10am and 4pm - 7pm. You'll find it much more relaxing to make these times your eating times or at least be where you want to be at these times. Just remember to drive on the right at all times - remember when driving the driver should never be nearest the kerb.
Right Turn at Traffic Lights.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference you'll find in your driving.
LA driving allows you to turn right at a RED light provided the road is clear and there is no overhead sign forbidding this. You must come to a stop before proceeding, otherwise it is quite legal to turn on a RED light in LA. Do not enter the right lane at traffic lights if you are not turning right, or you will be beeped constantly.
Left Turn at Junctions.
Never make a Left turn at a junction without first giving way to all oncoming traffic. Some junctions have a green arrow signal, only a green arrow signal gives you right of way - a green light does not.
A flashing amber light at road junctions mean proceed with caution.
Traffic lights are suspended on cables, above road junctions, in the air throughout LA. Also up there are the road signs which would include "No right turn on Red light" should it be banned at any particular junction. Just remember traffic lights are in the air (they can be seen from quite a distance) and obey all lights & signs contained there
Street Name Signs.
You will notice Street Names suspended once again on cables in the air, these names refer to the road that you are crossing and not the road you are on. Once again they can be seen from quite a distance, so if you turn into any of these roads make sure you are in the appropriate lane as you approach.
Overtaking is allowed in either lane on multi lane roads throughout LA. Make sure you check the lanes are clear before proceeding.
Vary throughout LA, signs can be found either overhead or on the lamp posts.
Obey all NO parking signs or your car will be towed away.
Car pool lanes found on most freeways in LA can only be used by cars with 2 or more people in them. These lanes are marked with the large words Car Pool Lane and are a way of avoiding traffic holdups but be warned do not use these lanes when driving alone or you face a large fine.
There are no fast or slow lanes and you can either overtake on the inside or outside so keep checking you mirrors.
Speed limit is 70 mph unless otherwise stated.
These are all self explanatory and will be very familiar to you as most contain self explanatory pictures.
As previously stated driving in LA is mostly common sense and not really all that different to what you have been used to. The few exceptions above will become second nature after a couple of days, just plan your route in advance and you'll soon feel comfortable driving throughout Los Angeles. Another tip make sure you know your car registration you'll be surprised how many other hire cars are the same make and color. There is nothing worse than returning to a car park containing 1000's of cars and 100's looking like your one.
"Did You Know"
Just a few trivial facts & figures on LA which I have come across and may be of interest to you.
Los Angeles County covers over 1000 sq. miles.
Los Angeles County has 88 incorporated cities.
Los Angeles County welcomes over 60 million visitors a year.
LA residents are known as "Angelenos".
LA enjoys year round sunshine.
The light on the top of the Capital building flashes out Hollywood in morse code.
The Hollywood sign originally spelt out Hollywoodland and was advertising for a real estate company.
The first full length movie "The Squaw Man" was filmed in LA in 1913.
Over one billion feet of film is shot annually in LA.
Santa Monica Pier was opened in 1909 and the famous pier carousel in 1922.
Beverly Hills declared its independence from LA in 1914.
The first footprints at Mann's Chinese Theater were made by accident by actress Norma Talmadge.
The first Star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" was that of actress Joanna Woodward.
Disneyland celebrated their 45th. anniversary in 2000.
Disneyland employs over 10000 people in the summer.
The worlds first indoor shopping mall was the "Crossroads of the World" situated on Sunset Boulevard.
There are more Film Stars & Celebrities buried in LA then any other city in the world.
The Ambassador Hotel introduced "Oscar" the film
industry's gold statuette to the world and it was also where
Robert Kennedy was assassinated.
Hollywood is a district in the central region of the City of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., situated northwest of Downtown. Due to its fame and identity as the historical center of movie studios and stars, the word "Hollywood" is often used as a metonym for the American film and television industry. Today much of the movie industry has dispersed into surrounding areas such as Burbank and the Westside, but significant ancillary industries (such as editing, effects, props, post-production, and lighting companies) remain in Hollywood.
Many historic Hollywood theaters are used as venues to premiere major theatrical releases, and host the Academy Awards. It is a popular destination for nightlife and tourism, and home to the
Walk of Fame.
There is currently no official boundary of Hollywood (Los Angeles does not have official districts), but the 2002 secession movement and the current Neighborhood Council boundaries can serve as guides. There is a sign at the northeast corner of Fairfax Avenue and Melrose Avenue indicating that one is entering Hollywood. Generally, Hollywood's southern border follows Melrose Avenue from Vermont Avenue west to Fairfax Avenue. From there, the boundary continues north on Fairfax, wrapping east around the separate City of West Hollywood along Willoughby Avenue then wrapping around on La Brea and heads west along Fountain Avenue before turning north again on Laurel Canyon Boulevard into the Hollywood Hills. The eastern boundary follows Vermont Avenue north from Melrose past Hollywood Boulevard to Franklin Avenue. From there, the border travels west along Franklin to Western Avenue, and then north on Western into Griffith Park. Most of the hills between Laurel Canyon and Griffith Park are part of Hollywood. The commercial, cultural, and transportation center of Hollywood is the area where La Brea Avenue, Highland Avenue, Cahuenga Boulevard, and Vine Street intersect Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. The population of the district is estimated to be about 300,000.
As a portion of the City of Los Angeles, Hollywood does not have its own municipal government, but does have an appointed official that serves as "honorary mayor" for ceremonial purposes only. Currently, the "mayor" is Johnny Grant.
Please e-mail me with any trivia you have that you think would benefit this section.