First on the List:
If you need emergency assistance from public authorities, dial 911 from any phone.
Where To Go:
One of the most popular attractions is Universal Studios. It's only ten minutes from Hollywood Boulevard, another major attraction. If you have never visited Disneyland, that is a "must see." There are dozens, if not hundreds of other worthwhile attractions in LA. The website pages that are visited most often are listed on the Most Popular page. For instructions on how to get free publications mailed to you from various cities, visit the Free Publications page.
Where NOT To Go:
Generally there is no area that is so dangerous that it could be considered "off limits." Just use common sense. If an area looks rundown then there is a higher possibility of crime there. Like any large city, L.A. has its share of crime. But most likely, it will not involve you. If you rent a car, keep the doors locked at all times. Do NOT keep anything of value in your car, because vehicle crimes are common.
The LAPD does not deserve their bad reputation. As a tourist, you will not have any problems with police in Los Angeles. LAPD patrols most of the city streets except in outlying areas that are patrolled by the Sheriff's Department. There are several cities within Los Angeles, such as Beverly Hills, Culver City and Santa Monica. Each has it's own local police department, but they all follow pretty much the same standards as any good police department in the United States. California Highway Patrol monitors the freeways.
Where To Eat:
You do not need to plan this in advance. You'll find a wide variety of places to eat, within your price range. serving any of your dietary needs. Follow this list to find a list of LA Dining Guides. The best way to find restaurants and save money at the same time is to buy an Entertainment Book and visit some of the restaurants listed within. Then use the coupon for that restaurant to get a discount on your meal.
Don't Get Lost - Finding Your Way Around:
What is a "Block"?
A "block" is an estimation of distance. It refers to the distance from one street corner to the next. A very good definition of a block is as follows: "an informal unit of distance popular in the U.S. A block is the average distance between street intersections in the rectangular street grids common in most American cities. The length of a block varies from about 1/20 mile (80 meters) in New York to about 1/16 mile (100 meters) in many Midwestern cities to about 1/10 mile (160 meters) in cities of the South and West."
Our public transportation has improved quite a bit in Los Angeles during the past decade. Metro buses and trains are generally clean and offer good coverage of the city. For more options, see the LA Transportation Page)
Driving Around LA:
Los Angeles does a pretty good job of maintaining the roads. Obviously you'll find some roads, traffic signals or streetlights with a problem, but for the most part roads are in good repair, well lit at night, and you can see traffic signals from a long distance.
Car Pool Lane - These lanes are intended for vehicles with more than one occupant. Read the restrictions carefully before entering these lanes, which are designated with a white diamond on a black background.
Fast Lane - The inside lane, which is the lane furthest left, is sometimes referred to as the "fast lane." That's because typically the traffic moves fastest in that lane.
Number One Lane - Occasionally in traffic reports you will hear the "fast lane" referred to as the Number One lane. That's the official name for this lane. Number Two lane is the next one to the right, and so on, until you reach the outside lane, which is closest to the exits.
Traffic Signal Cameras - Our traffic signals are the usual red, yellow and green scheme. The difference is that many traffic signals are now equipped with cameras that will take a picture of you and your license plate if you run a red light, resulting in a substantial fine. Individual cities within L.A. county are more likely to have red light cameras. In particular, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are notorious for red light tickets. It's important to note that when making a right turn on a red light, you must first come to a full stop behind the limit line in order to avoid triggering the camera.
Traffic Jams - These are more likely to occur at certain times during the day. The worst is 7-10:00 AM and 4-7:00 PM on weekdays. If you are simply trying to get from point A to point B, you'll find that it's up to 2-3 times faster to go at night. There are several websites that display real-time traffic charts, such as Traffic.com
Drive Thru Fast Food - A vast majority of fast food restaurants in LA are "drive thru's". You already have a McDonald's where you live so why not try a local favorite, such as In-N-Out, El Pollo Loco or Tommy's?
Finding Your Way Around - See the tips above under "Don't Get Lost." They are especially relevant when you rent a car.
How To Avoid Crime While Driving
REMEMBER - If you need emergency assistance from public authorities, dial 911 from any phone.