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Los Angeles

Glitter and glamour at night

Practical Info about Los Angeles

Getting around the city

The city of LA sprawls over such a large area that getting around without a car can be frustrating and time consuming. The complex network of freeways connecting the sprawl can be intimidating, especially for those not used to driving in big cities, but with a map or good directions, hiring a car is the best and most popular way to see LA. If possible, visitors should avoid rush hour traffic, which is heaviest from 7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm, when freeways often come to a standstill. It is also possible to get around by bus, but frequent transfers and long distances can make this slow and impractical, and it is not recommended for late-night travel. The Metro rail system has three lines, which cover only a small area of LA, but it is frequent and efficient. Taxis are also available, but they can be expensive due to the long distances.

Time

GMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Electricity

120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the type with two flat pins, though three-pin plugs are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter.

Currency

The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), which is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards are widely accepted. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

Communication

The international country dialling code for the United States is +1. Mobile networks cover most of the country, including all urban areas, however unless you have a tri-band phone it is likely your cellular phone from home will not work in the United States. Internet cafes are prevalent in most towns and cities.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 911

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Martin Luther King Day 20 Jan 19 Jan
Presidents Day 17 Feb 16 Feb
Memorial Day 26 May 25 May
Independence Day 4 Jul 4 Jul
Labour Day 1 Sep 7 Sep
Columbus Day 13 Oct 12 Oct
Veterans Day 11 Nov 11 Nov
Thanksgiving Day 27 Nov 26 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec

Climate

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Los Angeles weather is generally warm and pleasant all year round. Protected from extremes of temperature and humidity by the Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountains, and influenced by the warm, moist air from the Pacific, its summers are dry and sunny and winters cool and wet. Offshore breezes cool the beach communities during the hot summer months, but inland temperatures can rise to well over 90°F (32°C), especially in the numerous canyons and valleys of the area. Smog often gathers in low-lying areas and sometimes the hot, dusty Santa Ana winds blow in strongly from the surrounding mountains.

Los Angeles International Airport

www.lawa.org

Getting to the city

A free shuttle bus service runs to the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station from the lower level of each terminal. Another shuttle connects to the Bus Center, from where city buses serve the Los Angeles area. Prime Time Shuttle and Super Shuttle are both shared-ride van services; reservations are recommended. Some hotels also offer transport.

Car rental

Car rental companies include Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty. Vehicle rental sites are located off the airport property, but travellers can request a free shuttle pick-up to reach the rental car sites.

Airport taxi's

There are taxis available outside the lower level of the airport. Passengers receive a ticket stating the typical fare to major destinations; it costs about $30 to the city centre, which is about 16 miles (26km) away. Airport authorized taxis display an official seal and passengers who use an unauthorized taxi service do so at their own risk.

Transfer between terminals

A free shuttle bus takes passengers between the International and seven other terminals.

Facilities

Passenger services at the airport include ATMs and currency exchange, a business centre, baggage storage, shops, restaurants and bars. Internet kiosks are located throughout the airport and the Travel Right Cafe in Terminal 4 has laptop connections. Cell phones can be rented in Arrivals.

Parking

There are eight central car parks offering long- and short-term parking that are connected to the terminals by the LAX shuttle bus. There is also a Cell Phone Waiting Lot. Parking is charged at $3 for the first hour and $2 per half hour thereafter, up to $30 per day. The Economy Lot is $4 for the first hour and $4 per hour after that up to $12 per day.

Internet

Free wifi is available at LAX.