There are people who do not like Los Angeles because of its smog and urban sprawl, not to mention the traffic. Locals don't really ever seem to mind those things though. They keep themselves busy having fun at the beach, shopping at trendy boutiques, or hiking the hills around the city. This is the Los Angeles that visitors should focus on.

Though the film industry certainly plays a major role in Los Angeles, there is more to the city than the movies. There are many interesting cultural goings on that are in no way related to Hollywood or Disneyland.

Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art both host continually high quality showcases. The city boasts one of the best Natural History Museums in the country and it is a great place to visit with children. West Hollywood and Silver Lake are both great areas filled with small art galleries and more than a few good music venues.

Los Angeles western border is a 60 mile long stretch created by a long string of beaches, and the beach towns that have sprung up along them. There is the super rich, movie star laden enclave of Malibu, the great shopping of Santa Monica and the very lively Venice Beach.

Hollywood and Beverley Hills are LA's most famous neighborhoods, and they are located inland from the beaches on the west side of the city. Beverley Hills is worth a trip even if all you do is go hunting for the homes of the stars and strolling along Rodeo Drive.  A bit of cliché perhaps, but still a lot of fun.

Most of the big movie studios have left Los Angeles for the outlying areas of Studio City and Burbank, but after a funding grant from the city government many of the old buildings in Hollywood are being refurbished to reflect their former glory.

Unlike most big cities, the downtown area of Los Angeles is not the center of the city's focus, and is a slightly worn looking neighborhood. The Historic District is worth a visit however, as the old buildings are interesting to check out for a few hours.

Los Angeles Chinatown has the mix of good dim sum and inexpensive souvenirs you find in similar areas all over the country. Little Tokyo has some excellent traditional Japanese restaurants and some beautiful Japanese Gardens to stroll through.

The site of the Tournament of Roses parade every year, Pasadena, is a pleasant place with some stunning architecture.

The city of Los Angeles as a whole comprises 469 square miles, including wetlands, hills, mountains and a number of winding rivers. Because of the temperature climate that is year round you can see a number of exotic flowers and trees in Los Angeles. For a city that is notorious for its smog and pollution, Los Angeles offers a surprising amount of outdoor activities, and far more greenery than the first time visitor might have expected to find.