36 Hours in Los Angeles

No city in the country is more exciting than Los Angeles right now. Despite pop culture portrayals of Los Angeles as either comically superficial or darkly dystopian, the nation’s second largest metropolis is a vivid, soulful, eclectic city. It’s home to year-round blooms and captivating street murals, musical innovation and outsider art, deeply rooted communities and world-class food cooked by chefs from around the globe. The greatest challenge for visitors is not what to do, but which version of this vast city to embrace. For the first time in a long time, it is possible to travel directly between downtown and the beach by light rail with the long-awaited expansion of the Expo Line. By hewing closely to a couple of Metrorail lines and supplementing with the city’s first bikeshare program, which is to begin July 7, visitors will, inevitably, miss a great deal. But as any Angeleno will tell you, Los Angeles is not a city you can see or do or taste in a weekend. By making hard choices, you willspend more time experiencing a handful of exciting neighborhoods— from Highland Park and Boyle Heights on the East Side to the eccentric coastal enclave of Venice — and less of it sitting in traffic, which is a glorious thing. Because Los Angeles is a magical place.

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