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Angels Flight in Film Noir

Angels Flight in Film Noir
Start your tour of L.A.’s “mean streets” at this surprising funicular

The narrow-gauge, funicular railway called Angels Flight was built on downtown’s Hill Street in 1901 to ferry well-to-do denizens up and down the steep incline of Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill. During the years of this area’s gradual decline—it was mostly demolished by 1966—the Bunker Hill neighbourhood perfectly resembled the “mean streets” described by noir author Raymond Chandler. As a result, Angels Flight became a familiar sight in classic noir films, like 1952’s The Turning Point, when William Holden and Alexis Smith rode the funicular to find a witness in a corruption investigation. Two 1950s noir films—Joseph Losey’s remake of M (1951) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955)—both feature Angels Flight and exteriors of Bunker Hill’s tenements.

Angels Flight has been in its present Hill Street location since 1996, and even though it’s currently non-operational, it provides a great start to a noir walking tour of downtown L.A. The Los Angeles Conservancy offers guided tours, but you can also just go it alone: Start with lunch at the food stands of Grand Central Market, then walk past the splendid wrought-iron atrium of the Bradbury Building on South Broadway (as seen in 1950’s D.O.A.), then walk to City Hall on Spring Street, which was pictured in 1945’s Joan Crawford-starrer Mildred Pierce and 1946’s The Blue Dahlia. For a nosh with noir flavour, order a slice of apple pie and black coffee at the 24-hour Original Pantry Café on Figueroa Street, which has been open since 1924.

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Ryan Killackey

Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  –comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

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Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

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All around L.A. County, shoppers can find today’s trends at amazing prices

Homegrown Los Angeles fashion runs the gamut from red-carpet-ready looks by Rodarte to slouchy, soft T-shirts by James Perse, which makes this county...

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La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Neil Kremer/ Flickr

Spotlight: Hollywood

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Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...

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Celebrity Spotting

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Where to see stars in Hollywood

Stargazing takes on a different meaning in Tinseltown. While there’s no guarantee you’ll spy a familiar face when you’re here, there are some...

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West Hollywood

A designer’s dream with shops, architecture, and style

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, “Weho” is where fashion and the...

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Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

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Famous for their giant sequoias, soaring mountains, deep canyons, and roaring rivers, this tandem set of parks have plenty to see, even though they are less well known than Yosemite, roughly 75 miles/120 kilometers north. Within the borders of Sequoia & Kings Canyon are Mount Whitney, the...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
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Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

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Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Joakim Lloyd Raboff

Spotlight: Santa Monica

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Visit the perfect sunny strip for sand, surf, and shopping

This oceanfront city, bounded by a 3½-mi/5½-km-long beach, feels like a weekend getaway spot even though it’s only 15 miles/24 kilometers west of...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini Ufos. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Laura Flippen
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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Jen Judge

Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

Venice is the ultimate L.A. neighborhood where the surf meets the human circus. Spend a day along Venice’s palm-lined, beachfront boardwalk and...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of California’s most appealing destinations. The Golden State’s beach towns stand out for...

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Lucas Himovitz
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Long Beach

Experience the many sides of a dynamic coastal city

With beaches and marinas along its waterfront and a busy dining and shopping scene on downtown’s Pine Avenue, Long Beach blends big city...

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Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles

L.A.'s Poshest Spas

Champagne tastes and caviar treatments

In Tinseltown, one would expect an abundance of extravagant spas, and the city does not disappoint. Treat yourself to an experience of ultimate...

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Jen Judge

L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in South, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all, ...

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Tai Power Seeff
February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons...

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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Lucas Himovitz
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Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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Courtesy of MasterChef Australia

Great L.A. Food Trucks

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Tacos, grilled cheese, and health food all live in harmony on the streets of Los Angeles

From gourmet chefs experimenting with tacos to funky ice cream sandwiches, you might be surprised what you can find on the streets of L.A. Food...

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Pasadena

Tour an Arts and Crafts masterpiece and more, in the home of the Rose Bowl

Set at the base of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is best known as the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the...

Watch celebrity chefs in action at this annual event in downtown Los Angeles

If you’re a foodie, your definition of “celebrity sighting” in Los Angeles has little to do with movie stars. Instead, this annual event at L.A. Live, located across from Staples Center, is like...

A delicious snack prepared at the All-Star Chef Classic in Los Angeles
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The genus of the state’s official flower, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is named in honor of Dr. J. F. von Eschscholtz, a surgeon and naturalist who explored the California coast with Russian expeditions from 1815 to 1818.