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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Los Angeles

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Los Angeles each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

Each New Year's Day, the attentions of many throughout the United States are focused on Pasadena, California, a suburb of Los Angeles that is home to the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game, a post-season American college football game. The Rose Parade is a festival of flowers, its majestic floats covered in roses, joined by marching bands, dancers and equestrian units and viewed by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route. It is also televised live across the country.

Third Monday in January : Martin Luther King Day (national holiday)

A federal holiday in the United States, celebrating the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. In recent years, it has increasingly been seen as a day of service, when Americans are encouraged to volunteer to help others less fortunate than themselves. In Los Angeles, it is also celebrated with a colourful parade, the largest on this day in the country, through the city's southern districts, with floats, marching bands, drill teams, dance groups and equestrian units, followed by a festival with music, dancing, food and performances.

January/February : Chinese New Year (celebrated nationwide in major cities)

In Los Angeles, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with the Golden Dragon Parade, a huge and colourful spectacle along North Broadway in Chinatown. In addition to the giant dragon that gives the parade its name, there are numerous floats, marching bands, martial arts demonstrations, dragon and lion dancers, etc.

July 4 : Independence Day (national holiday)

A federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by which the 13 American colonies officially severed their political ties with Great Britain. Under the sunny skies in Los Angeles, celebrations include parades, barbecues and picnics. At nightfall, there are fireworks displays all over the Los Angeles region, from the Long Beach waterfront to high above Hollywood.

First Monday in September : Labour Day (national holiday)

Second Monday in October : Columbus Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World (October 12, 1492). Celebrated each year with a parade through the streets of Los Angeles.

October 31 : Halloween (celebrated nationwide)

Halloween is celebrated each year by Americans of all ages. In the late afternoon and early evening hours, children don costumes and go door-to-door in their neighbourhoods to ask for treats, typically candy. Adults often attend costume parties in the evening. Throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area, many residents really get into the spirit, transforming their homes with over-the-top special effects and decorations.

Fourth Thursday in November : Thanksgiving (national holiday)

Originally a Christian religious observance, for many years Thanksgiving has been a secular holiday in the United States, celebrated by Americans of all faiths. Families come together to prepare and enjoy a large feast at home. The meal typically includes roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce as well as various side dishes and ends with an assortment of pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple).

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Los Angeles

Los Angeles is noted for enjoying moderate-to-warm weather year-round. Summers are warm and very dry (virtually no rain at all), while winters are mild and damp. Los Angeles is located in the Sun Belt stretching along the southern United States from the west to the east, and the city averages over 320 days of sunshine per year! In September, temperatures are sometimes excessively high, due to the extremely dry Santa Ana winds originating inland and affecting all of coastal Southern California.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 10/50 20/68 79/3.1 Not the best period to go
February 11/52 21/70 96/3.8 Not the best period to go
March 12/54 22/72 62/2.4 Not the best period to go
April 13/55 23/73 23/0.9 Good period to go Good period to go
May 15/59 24/75 7/0.3 Good period to go Good period to go
June 17/63 26/77 2/0.1 Good period to go Good period to go
July 18/64 29/84 1/0.0 Good period to go Good period to go
August 19/66 29/84 1/0.0 Good period to go Good period to go
September 18/64 29/84 6/0.2 Good period to go Good period to go
October 16/61 26/79 17/0.7 Good period to go Good period to go
November 12/54 23/73 26/1.0 Not the best period to go
December 10/50 20/68 60/2.4 Not the best period to go
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Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport is located about 25 kilometres (16 miles) south-west of the city centre.

  • Nine terminals:
    • Tom Bradley International Terminal (Air France)
    • Terminal 1
    • Terminal 2
    • Terminal 3
    • Terminal 4
    • Terminal 5
    • Terminal 6
    • Terminal 7
    • Terminal 8

Getting from the airport to Los Angeles and back :
  • By car
    • Accessible via I-405 and I-105, about 30 minutes to/from the city centre.
    • There are eight parking structures in the central terminal area (USD 3 for the first hour, USD 2 for each additional half hour, and USD 30 for 24 hours).
    • Approximately 40 car rental companies serve passengers, with rental sites located off the airport, some of which are permitted to pick up and drop off customers at the terminals using courtesy shuttles.
  • By bus
    • Operated by the airport, these buses offer convenient, regularly scheduled service 7 days a week to and from five destinations: Van Nuys (San Fernando Valley), Union Station (central Los Angeles), Westwood (West Los Angeles/UCLA), Santa Monica and Hollywood, with one-way fares ranging from USD 8 to USD 10.
    • A number of other companies operate buses providing service from the airport to various parts of Los Angeles and some surrounding regions. They all pick up passengers on the islands outside the arrivals level at each terminal..
  • By rail
    • The LAX Shuttle's G Route connects the airport to Aviation Station on the Los Angeles Metro's Green Line..
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside each terminal. Passengers are presented with a card stating typical fares to major destinations.
  • Services : shops, bars and restaurants, free Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone : : +1 310 646 5252
  • Website : http://www.lawa.org/welcomeLAX.aspx

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GETTING AROUND Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, like all US cities with huge metropolitan areas, the best way to get around is by car.

By car

Due to the city's size (1,300 square kilometres or 500 square miles), getting around by car is particularly recommended if you wish to explore the entire metropolitan area.

Be sure to take along a map (either a printed version or a mobile app with GPS) to help you get your bearings, because it is quite easy to lose your way in the labyrinth of highways and freeways connecting the communities making up Los Angeles. Parking spaces can be hard to find. Before you travel, if you are booking a hotel room, make sure that parking will be available on site.

The main highways and freeways include

  • The Pacific Coast Highway
  • I-5 (Golden State Freeway)
  • I-10 (Santa Monica Freeway)
  • I-405 (San Diego Freeway)

Streets you won't want to miss include:
  • Rodeo Drive
  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Melrose Avenue

By rail

The Metro Rail system consists of six lines, including two subway lines (the Red and Purple lines) and four light rail lines (the Blue, Green, Gold and Expo lines) serving 80 stations within the confines of Los Angeles County.

Fares :

  • USD 1.75 for a single ticket
  • USD 7.00 for the 1-Day Pass
  • USD 25.00 for the 7-Day Pass

By bus

Several bus companies and hundreds of bus lines serve Los Angeles. Drawbacks include the fact that the system is not very easy to use. In addition, buses are usually very slow. The fare for a single trip without transfers is USD 1.75.

By bicycle

Some areas of Los Angeles County (in particular Santa Monica and Venice Beach) offer excellent bike paths for the enjoyment of local and visiting cyclists year-round. Renting a bike will cost about USD 25 a day.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Los Angeles, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Los Angeles Visitor Information Centers

Offer sightseeing recommendations, tourist information and brochures.

Hollywood & Highland Center

Union Station

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT)

Offers sightseeing recommendations and tourist information about Santa Monica.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in the United States of America is the dollar ($).

EUR 1 = USD 1,18

USD 1 = EUR 0,85

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Excellent medical care is available in Los Angeles, but costs are high. As the United States has not entered into reciprocal health agreements with other countries, you should take out appropriate insurance before you leave home, covering both medical expenses and medical evacuation or repatriation.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food Safety

There are no specific food safety risks.

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Los Angeles.

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Administrative formalities

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens or nationals of the following countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, whether for tourism or business: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.

For further information, see the Visitor Visa page on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visitor.html

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Essential phrases

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Good to know

00 1
+ phone number (calls to Los Angeles)
-8 : 00
of time difference with
Dublin
Start of daylight saving time: second Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: first Sunday in November

Banks

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
110 V / 60 Hz

And what about tipping ?
In Los Angeles and throughout the United States, tipping is necessary because a service charge is usually not included in the bill. You should leave a tip of 15 to 20 percent in restaurants and bars, 15 percent for taxis, a few dollars for porters, gas station attendants, etc. Many service workers depend on this income to make ends meet, so it is considered quite rude not to leave any tip at all. However, be sure to check that the bill does not already include a service charge.