Don't let the classic TV show jingles fool you - there's more to Los Angeles than swimming pools and moviestars. This Californian city is diverse, sprawling and requires a driver's licence if you want to see most of it. For more basic information to help you get the most out of your LA holiday, read on.
Australian passport holders looking to holiday in the United States for less than 90 days must apply to ESTA to be eligible for the USA's Visa Waiver Program. A fee is also required to process your application. Eligibility does not guarantee entry into the USA but is decided based on various security and other requirements. For more information, contact your nearest United States Embassy.
The USA uses US Dollars as currency. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and US Dollar changes constantly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase cash when the rate is at its best. For safe spending, it is also recommended to bring a credit card or travel money card with you. When budgeting for your trip, keep in mind that tipping is common practice in the US and will require extra money where service workers are involved, such as in restaurants and hotels.
Food in Los Angeles is as diverse as the city. Whatever your budget or taste, you're bound to find the perfect meal. Naturally, with such a glitzy image, dining in Los Angeles can be an equally glitzy affair with some of the country's most expensive restaurants serving up 10-course meals among white tablecloth surroundings. But if you haven't got a Brad Pitt budget, don't despair. Cheap grub is readily available, from diners serving all-American burgers to trendy nooks selling Los Angeles' favourite international cuisine - sushi. Don't miss Mexican fare from food trucks, green smoothies at wholefoods cafes and old-fashioned ice-cream sodas on the boardwalk at Santa Monica Pier. A visit to In-N-Out Burger is another must - the California-based fast food company has been operating since 1948 and its hamburger is considered one of the best.
Clubbing in Los Angeles can be a little tricky since the city is so spread out. As a general rule, it's best to pick your party style and stick to it rather than try to cover too much ground in one night. For live music, Sunset Strip is the place to be with famous venues such as Roxy Theatre, Whisky a Go Go, House of Blues and the infamous Viper Room all located within walking distance of each other. Some of the city's best dance clubs can be found in the Downtown area and include California Club, the Edison and the Vault Night Club and Lounge, which plays hiphop music. If Latino is more your style, LA won't disappoint with its range of salsa clubs such as The Mayan located on Hill Street in South Park.