Dining in LA is as exciting and varied as the rest of the city's offerings. LA's restaurants cater to every cuisine and budget imaginable, from 12-course feasts with celebrities on the side, to delicious Mexican burritos from a sidewalk cafe. Apart from the wonderful variety of ethnic food, there is a strong emphasis on organic and health foods and many eateries now cater to this market. Another distinctive LA trend is eclectic and experimental food, making this city the proud progenitor of the Thai Chicken Pizza as well as its own distinctive style of fusion sushi.
Many top restaurants and their celebrity chefs are clustered on the Westside, while the vintage restaurants are located downtown and in Hollywood. With its year-round mild climate, outdoor dining is popular, helping to make power lunches the stuff of ritual among locals.
Tips of 15 to 20 percent are expected; smoking is banned in all restaurants and transgressors may be fined.
For sheer variety and scale, LA shopping is hard to beat. This is a fashion-conscious, trend-setting consumer paradise with the shopping options to match.
The best buys are fashion items, sporting goods and gear, locally produced wine from the Napa Valley, movie paraphernalia and collectables.
If travellers are looking for both designer wear and celebrity sightings, they should head for Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, where big name jewellery and haute couture stores are in abundance. For more unusual and eccentric items, they should try Venice Boardwalk or Melrose Avenue. Nearby Main Street is good for trendy but affordable attire, as well as antiques and collectables.
Certainly the best-value LA shopping can be found at the discount outlet complexes on the edge of town. Here visitors can find all the big name brands at substantial discounts (up to 70 percent off the list price). Travellers should check out Ontario Mills and Desert Hills Premium Outlets for some great bargains. The Grove is an attractive outdoor mall with a host of high-end and reasonably priced brands; its sister centre The Americana, situated in Glendale, is bigger and equally pleasant.
Of course LA, like every big American city, has its share of mega-malls. The best of these is the Beverly Center, with nine floors of stores and restaurants. Due in part to its almost year-round sunny weather, LA embraces markets as an integral part of the local shopping experience; weekend shoppers can take their pick from a range of eclectic flea markets, curated vintage pop-ups, farmers' markets, swap meets and markets specialising in delectable food and drink.
A Sales Tax of 9.5 percent is built into the purchase price. However, as such sales taxes are set at state level, there is no way to obtain a refund from the federal government for non-US visitors.
Home of all things cool and the birthplace of pop culture, the nightlife in Los Angeles is second to none with some of the edgiest bars and clubs in the world. Whether watching world-class shows, dining alongside some of Tinsel Town's hottest stars, or drinking at the hippest clubs in the world, a night out in LA is never dull.
On any given night there will be band performing somewhere, whether a local and upcoming band or the hottest international act, the choices are endless. The only problem is getting tickets, so it is wise to plan ahead if the plan is to catch a concert. The club scene is absolutely overflowing with variety and those looking for anything from a trendy night sipping on mojitos to dancing the night away will have no problem finding something to suit their tastes.
Los Angeles' chaotic layout means there is no central nightlife district. Instead, there is a variety of different options scattered around the city. The streets of Hollywood offer a dizzying choice of clubs and bars. Travellers can swing down to Westwood for cocktail and dive bars, or head to the Valley for rooftop lounges. Los Angeles' nightlife scene is always changing so travellers are always bound to find something new and hip.
Visitors can head down to Largo and catch one of America's hottest new acts performing. The world famous Orpheum Theatre hosts a multitude of theatrical productions, concerts and film festivals while, across town, the Geffen Playhouse is the place to see dramatic and comedic shows. The Dolby Theatre hosts not only the Academy Awards, but also big name headliners.