Los Angeles- The Coyote Trip Travel Guide
A world away from its cousins of New York, DC or Boston on the East Coast, the city of angels has a long-held appeal with both residents and visitors alike. Whether it’s the surf-before-work attitude, powerhouse economy, movie star lifestyle or year-round sunshine which draws people here, this city is sure to provide something for everyone. It’s a part of our quite a few of our tours including California Calling trip, West Coast Adventure and The Full Coyote.
Incredibly, indigenous tribes have been living on the land where LA now sits since 8,000BC. Tribes like the Chumash and Tongva had been hunter gathers in the region for generations by the time Europeans arrived.
The first European presence first came in 1542, when the Portuguese sailor, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, explored the area, but it wasn’t until 1769 that the Spanish established an outpost here. Back then, the Spanish controlled Mexico and a growing number of European settlers were making their way North from Mexico to establish farms alongside the Porciúncula River, which is now the Los Angeles River.
By 1781, the settlement had grown and the Spanish Governor named it ‘El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula’ or “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula.” A bit of a mouthful in any language so no wonder it was soon shortened to Los Angeles.
By 1821, Mexico had gained independence from Spain, meaning California was now all under the control of Mexico. That did not last for long though, as within 25 years the Mexican American War broke out, resulting in California being purchased by the United States.
Just a few years later, rich gold deposits were discovered in the Sacramento Valley, leading to the gold rush and a major migration of people to the area in hunt of riches – it was LA’s farms which kept them all fed.
A railway in 1881, then viaduct to supply water to the city in 1913, facilitated further development, and it was around this time that production houses started shooting movies in a small town near LA called ‘Hollywood’. Thomas Edison, who lived in New Jersey, owned most of the East Coast’s film patents, so movie makers were heading West to avoid his intellectual property claims.
The movie, agricultural and oil industries all thrived and by 1924, LA hit 1 million residents. Since then it has faced challenges of racial unrest, wild fires and earthquakes and secured it’s self as a West Coast powerhouse and home of America’s botoxed glamarati.
- Wax up your surfboard and head to the beach. Joining a class is the best way for a beginner to ride the waves quickly and safely. The cheapest classes tend to be at Venice Beach, but if you are feeling fancy, why not head up to Santa Barbara and take a class there. With such a beautiful beach, it’s no wonder so many of the rich and famous choose to make Santa Barbara their home.
- Hike the Hollywood Sign – With a little planning and research, this can be one of the funnest ways to enjoy this incredible landmark. Most people uber up to a carpark near the sign and hike in from there. We recommend hitting it at sunset for the best views.
- Take a tour of the stars’ homes – tacky and brash, yes, but also a guilty pleasure guaranteed to keep you entertained for an afternoon whilst you poke your beaks into the drives and front gates of the glamarati, yes! It wouldn’t be LA without the celebs, but the celebs wouldn’t be there without the fans trying to get a glimpse of them, so don’t feel too bad
- LA is a very multicultural city, so be sure to try some of the varied food and drink options coming from all over the world, which make taste fusions to match the vibrant culture. Grab a Korean BBQ in K-town then sip on boba tea from YI Fang’s Taiwan Fruit Tea Store.
- No visit to LA is complete without a visit to a theme park and our team’s favourite is Universal Studios. If you’re pressed for time and can’t devote a full day to this, then with a fast pass, you can get through all the major attractions in a few hours. Be sure to do a tour of the studios where you’ll see the sets from some of your favourite movies and TV shows with a virtual tour guide. This guide’s gags are funny enough to rival even those of our adventure leaders on the Coyote Trip!
– LA alone has a bigger economy than Switzerland or Sweden.
– The Hollywood sign used to say Hollywoodland. The last 4 letters were removed in 1949.
– LA has had more than its fair share of Olympic glory, hosting the games in 1932, 1984 and is scheduled for a third time in 2028.
– Manage the traffic – yes, LA is notorious for its traffic, so go sightseeing by district to avoid darting all over the city, and never take the 405 – This notorious freeway running the length of the city is gridlocked day and night.
– Despite the guaranteed sunshine, it does get surprisingly cool in the evenings, remember a sweater if you plan to stay out into the evening.
– We wish we could say this about all regions where we run trips, but LA is a dream for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free or just about any other dietary requirement. Our personal favourite restaurant is the Mohawk Bend. Opposite the PETA headquarters in Echo Park, it serves up the best vegan pizza in town, complete with a cauliflower crust and washed down with one of their locally sourced craft ales.
Big Cities Destinations