If you've never been to the Los Angeles area, you'd be forgiven for thinking this palm tree-lined haven is all Hollywood and Beverly Hills glitz and glam. While home to some of the world's most famous and wealthy individuals, the City of Angels is a diverse, beach-filled metropolis that's a joy to visit any time of year.
Angelinos love the city and others nearby in Southern California for their moderate, Mediterranean climate rivaling that of many of the world's most popular destinations, said Sylvia Salcedo, one of Delta's elite customer service representatives at LAX. That – and the many offerings from historic architecture and vibrant markets to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
"I tell my European friends we can't compete with their history, but we have some hidden gems throughout L.A.," said Salcedo, a now-rare Angelino born and raised in this city of sun-seeking transplants.
One of the area's not-so-hidden gems is its well-known proximity to ocean vistas. A breezy bike ride on the trails along Porto, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach or a number of other escapes is easily within reach after landing at LAX, often for just $15-$20 a day if you need to rent one. (Salcedo declared L.A. beaches as "the most beautiful in the country" – we suggest there's only one way to find out if you agree!)
In the heart of the city, indulge your inner Anthony Bourdain and sample a smorgasbord of cuisine: Swing by SoCal mainstay In-N-Out Burger, known for its simple menu and huge "Double-Double," a short walk from LAX. The area's Asian influence can be found with a bevy of options in the Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo neighborhoods. Or, venture to the century-old Grand Central Market, filled with vendors representing every corner of the city's culture peddling tacos, pasta, barbecue and more.
After a lunch of street food, pull on your dancing shoes at the Cicada Club, an art deco supper club frozen in time for those nostalgic for the big bands and crooners of yore. The club sits in the Oviatt Building constructed in 1927, one of the city's finest monuments to the art deco style of architecture in the downtown financial district, itself laden with several towering specimens of the movement.
If the Cicada Club doesn't give you your fill of music, catch an event at The Music Center. If an immersive museum experience is more your speed, check out the Grammy Museum's "Mono to Immersive" room for a journey through the history of recorded sound. (And, according to the museum's website, find out what Cardi B would sound like on a gramophone.)
OK, you've read this far, and you're thinking: What about Hollywood? When are you going to finally tell me about where I'll spot the rich and famous, Delta? We won't leave you hanging.
"If you're a movie buff like me, this is where the fun begins!" Salcedo said.
Start with a scenic run, hike or walk through Runyon Canyon Park, where stunning views of the city will also give you a nice view of the famous "Hollywood" sign nestled in the city's foothills. When you're ready for the real thing, head to Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard for the world-famous walk of fame. Since 1927, movie stars from Joan Crawford and Henry Fonda to Morgan Freeman and Carrie Fisher have left their handprints and footprints (among other things) in concrete in the theater's forecourt.
If you're more of a rock 'n' roll buff, rent a convertible, let your hair down and cruise down Sunset Boulevard where the likes of Led Zeppelin, Motley Crue, The Doors, The Stooges and countless others got their start at clubs like Whisky a Go Go. Stop in to the Rainbow Bar and Grill to dine like a rock star – many have been known to hang out there over the decades, including John Lennon and Ringo Starr. (Not far away is the Troubadour on Santa Monica Boulevard, famous in its own right for launching many a career.)
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, there's a way to take in the sprawl and help narrow down your focus. Salcedo suggests a Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus at the start of your trip.
"That way you avoid driving in the traffic and can get your bearings of the lay of the land, which can be quite vast," she said.
As LAX’s largest global airline, Delta prides itself on providing customers with unparalleled access to and from destinations all over the world. LAX is one of Delta's key coastal hubs, where the airline today operates 150 daily flights to 53 cities worldwide, serving 19 of the top 20 markets for LA customers.
Direct routes are easy to book across the U.S., and Delta’s global network makes connecting easier than ever, no matter which part of the world you’re flying from. The airline offers direct, nonstop service from London, Sydney and Tokyo, with service from Paris and Auckland beginning May 9 and Oct. 30, respectively.
When arriving at LAX, you'll find a new, transformed facility with the first two major phases of the terminal unveiled last year: the headhouse and the T3 complex. The project will be finished later this year and is just one example of Delta’s more than $12 billion investment in airport infrastructure over the past decade. When completed, Terminals 2 and 3 will be a consolidated 1.2-million-square-foot, 27-gate complex, featuring a quick airside connector to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, eliminating the need to bus between terminals.