Los Angeles is known as a mecca for those who aspire to make it in Tinseltown. Wanna-be actors and actresses, script writers and directors flock here from all over the world for their chance at glory, led by the belief that they all have that certain something that others that will mark them out from the crowd.
Of course, not everyone who visits L.A. comes to the City of Angels with dreams of fame. It's a very popular tourist destination for many reasons, not least of which is the movie industry. Home to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Rodeo Drive... So many names we see and hear in the media on a daily basis, who wouldn't want to see these famous and legendary locales?
Even with all we see, hear and know about L.A., there's much more to this bustling city than meets the eye. It's not all simply glitz, glam and shameless self-promotion; there is much more culture and life than you might imagine. If you can't find something to shock or entertain in this city, you're not trying hard enough. With cultural districts like Olvera Street and Little Tokyo, there's always some new food to try. With landmarks like Griffith Park, The Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign, there are opportunities for memory-making photos at every turn.
But besides these obvious attractions, Los Angeles has even more to offer. The city has a rich, and oftentimes unique, history. Being that the city is home to more artistic types than any other city has ever had in the history of the world, well-- you might expect that things could be little more colorful and interesting. To say the least.
10 Nobody Knows The City's Real Name
When researching the history of Los Angeles, you will come across a variety of sources who claim they know the original Spanish name given to the city. However, this is a topic that's been debated at great length by historians. What is known is that the city was meant to be named after angels, but beyond that, historians have been arguing about the real name of the city for more than 75 years.
There are so many variations of the name being thrown around, it's easy to get confused. The name is listed differently in many different sources including history books, scholarly papers, encyclopedia entries and the plaques placed around Olvera Street.
9 Drive-In Movies... At A Cemetery
The Hollywood Forever cemetery's website lists is as a “Cemetery, Funeral Home, Library of Lives.” And it is unlike any cemetery that you've ever been to before. It claims to be one of the “world's most fascinating landmarks”, and that “it's the final resting place to more of Hollywood's founders and stars than anywhere else on earth.”
And it's probably right, on that last part at least.
8 Record-Breaking (Bizarre!) Museums
7 The Getty: Going Green On A Whole New Level
Speaking of museums, possibly one of the most famous ones in L.A. is the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Getty houses some of the most amazing pieces of art found anywhere. Not only does it house priceless art, the Getty has also striven to cut their energy consumption in some interesting ways. One of the ways it has accomplished this is by using goats to clear the bush around the 110-acre hillside campus. The goats save energy and reduce waste, which helped the Getty earn its Silver LEED certification. LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, recognizes sustainable and responsible building practices. The Getty was the first existing building to earn LEED certification, and it was certified at a Bronze level until it took additional steps to conserve energy and reduce waste - such as utilizing goats to help clear the brush. With the prevalence of wildfires in the area, it's very important to keep the brush under control.
6 Hollywoodland Housing Estate
There are few things more iconic than the Hollywood sign. It welcomes those who dream of breaking into the entertainment industry, while also having taken at least one life from someone who failed (Peg Entwistle jumped to her death from the “H”).
5 You Can Picnic At An Abandoned Zoo
4 The Watts Towers - Built By One Man
The Watts Towers consist of seventeen sculptures constructed out of steel and covered in mortar. The tallest tower stands 99 1/2 feet tall and contains the longest slender reinforced concrete column in the world. And all of this work was done by a single man, Simon Rodia. He purchased the lot in 1921 and started work on his masterpiece, which he called Nuestro Pueblo, or Our Town. Rodia worked on the project for 34 years, and without the benefit of machines, scaffolding, bolts, rivets, welds or drawing board designs, he built it using simple tools, pipe fitter pliers, and a window-washer's belt and buckle, nothing more.
3 Capitol Records Building - Architectural First
The Capitol Records building is famous in the music industry, but it's also famous in the architectural community. The building, which boasts the Walk of Fame stars for John Lennon and Garth Brooks out front, was the world's first circular office building. It's been said that the building was built to resemble a stack of records, but that's nothing more than an urban legend. It's just what it looks like; a circular office building. However, one lesser known fascinating fact is that the spire blinks out the word “Hollywood” in Morse code at night.
2 The Walk of Fame Is A Money Spinner
An estimated 10 million visitors come to the Hollywood Walk of Fame each year. The Walk of Fame stretches for 18 blocks and has more than 2,400 stars from Hollywood Boulevard to Vine Street. However, what few people know is that in order to be considered for the Walk of Fame, a celebrity must first be nominated. Anyone can nominate a star, but the celebrity must agree to be considered and if chosen, they - or a sponsor - have to pay for the ceremony, which currently costs $30,000.
There are a number of big names who surprisingly don't have stars on the Walk of Fame, including Clint Eastwood. There are a number of reasons some big stars are notably absent, which may include missing the requisite five years of history in their field, or an unwillingness to pay the hefty fee. However, others, like Charlie Chaplin, don't have a star because of some controversy: Chaplin's name was removed from consideration because the committee questioned his morals, most notably his acquittal of “white slavery” charges and his left leaning politics. However, Chaplin did eventually get a star, 12 years after his son sued over the exclusion.
1 Hollywood Is Plagued By Poverty
When most people think of Hollywood, they think of glitz, glamor and movie studios. And while there are many studios in the surrounding areas, Hollywood itself is home to only one major movie studio - Paramount. Other major studios like Warner Brothers and the first studio to locate in Hollywood, Universal, have long since relocated to other parts of Los Angeles.
While there are still landmarks like Grauman's Chinese Theatre, most of Hollywood isn't glamorous or glitzy, and in fact you can find countless homeless people lining the streets, many of them young. The USC School of Social Work did a street count on a random night in October, and of the 460 youth they talked to, 222 of them were homeless (meaning either on the streets or in a homeless shelter).
It's no secret that Los Angeles is a very expensive place to live, and sadly, it can be disastrous to try and live on a minimum wage salary or be unemployed. Visitors come to Hollywood to see celebs and experience the glamorous life, but instead are more likely to catch a glimpse of something more shocking on the streets of Hollywood Boulevard; the loss of hope and dreams.
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