Introduction to Los Angeles

If the East Coast has New York, then the West Coast has Los Angeles - a city that has inspired musicians from Joni Mitchell to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to pen lyrics about the so-called 'City of Angels', and lured many a wannabe moviestar with the promise of fame as epitomised in its iconic Hollywood sign. While the golden age of Hollywood may have faded when the black and white movies did, LA remains a city of glamour, sheen and kitsch. The red carpet is still wheeled out on the regular, cameras flash in hot pursuit of celebs and shiny smartphones buzz at all hours of the day and night.

But it's not all flashing lights and bleached smiles. Sure, Los Angeles has its fair share of fake (and there's no better people-watching opportunities!) but LA is also blessed with many natural assets; palm tree-lined beaches, romantic mountain ranges and dusty deserts. You can find another side of La La Land on the menus of hip and trendy organic/raw/sugar-free/vegan restaurants and at sunrise when yoga classes litter the beach with sun salutations.

Lest you think LA is consumed with a wholefoods than thou demeanour, Tupac had it right when he rapped that "California knows how to party". The after-hours scene in Los Angeles is one of the best Stateside with everything from live music venues to glitzy clubs with valet service. Chateau Marmont, anyone? And Los Angeles is so much more than just Hollywood and Rodeo Drive. There's pockets of awesomeness all over from Downtown LA shopping districts to hip neighbourhoods like Los Feliz and kitschy cool Santa Monica.

From mountain hikes to beach walks, shopping, swimming and partying, this Californian city is the place to throw caution to the wind, indulge a little, then detox the next day.

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