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Burbank

Media and the mountains

Northwest of downtown LA, Burbank is one of the city’s media hubs. Universal Studios,and backstage tours at NBC and Warner Bros are key attractions, as is Griffith Park with its hiking routes, Los Angeles Zoo and botanical gardens and horse riding trails. Overlooking the lot are Mount Hollywood and the San Gabriel Mountains, just to put all that glitz into perspective.

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Hollywood Hills

Star studded hills above the Sunset Strip

To truly soak in the mass sprawl of LA, you need a good vantage point and Hollywood Hills has just that. As part of the Santa Monica Mountains and directly north of central LA, this hilly mass of trees, gorgeous views, luxury mansions and infinity pools is where many celebs call home. Don your sneakers and go for a hike in Runyon Canyon Park, view the Hollywood sign from Griffith Observatory or by horseback at Sunset Ranch and pass by the homes of movie stars above the Sunset Strip.

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Los Feliz

1950s diners and vintage boutiques

Los Feliz is an upmarket hillside enclave near the Hollywood Hills in north-central LA. With wide boulevards, architect-designed buildings and affluent residents, it's a desirable place to be. The main drag isn't all about money though: expect to find vintage shops, 1950s boutiques and retro-styled diners made for slurping a $5 shake.

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Mar Vista

Close to the beach

Sandwiched between Culver City and Venice Beach, this family-friendly neighborhood has palm tree-lined boulevards and friendly neighbors and is a great spot for a family break near the sea. Grab some bikes and strike out - it’s around 10-15 minutes to the beach - or spend time playing at the Mar Vista Recreation Area.

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Playa del Rey

Sunshine, sand dunes and cycling

This beachside town to the west of LA, just down the coast from Venice, is both well placed for visiting the city and a harmonious place to base yourself as a family. Sunbathe on wide stretches of beach, explore the sand dunes and the lagoon, or get active by hiking, playing tennis, kayaking or cycling along the 30-mile-long beach path.

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Santa Monica

Sun, Fun and Fried Dough

With three and a half miles of beach, Santa Monica is full of classic California scenery. Bite into fried dough, crash bumper cars, and take a ride on the 9-story Ferris Wheel on Santa Monica pier, a kid’s dream destination. Or rent a rod and cast a line at the end of the pier with the locals. Afterward, test your strength on the climbing ropes and rings on the adjacent beach. Then cool off inside because kids under 12 get in free at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Whatever kind of fun in the sun you seek, it’s here in Santa Monica.

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Venice

Canals and Beaches

Soak up the sights and sounds on foot or by bike at Venice’s Ocean Front Walk - a 2.5 mile impromptu stage full of colorful artists and characters. If you’re feeling brave, Venice beach is a great spot for beginner surfers, otherwise relax in the sand. When you’re done in the sun, explore the manmade canals modeled after its namesake in Italy. Watch for ducks as they dart through the many arched bridges over the canals.

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Westchester

Boats, planes and beaches

On the westside of LA, this district stretches to the ocean and includes LAX airport, Marina del Rey and beaches along the coast up to Venice. There’s easy access to central LA and the ocean and the area includes one of the city’s best playgrounds, Glen Alla Park at Marina del Rey, all themed around boats, of course.

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