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Passport to Los Angeles

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    Los Angeles

    Red Carpet Ride

    Hollywood The Purple Passport

    In its earliest days, Los Angeles' most famous exports were oranges and avocados. Today of course, they're Brad and Angelina. As the entertainment epicenter of the country (if not the universe), the city revolves around stars of the big and small screens who dominate pretty much every scene in town. But there are as many scenes to choose from as there are TV networks broadcasting from within the city limits. Your experience here depends entirely upon what "channel" you want to tune into.

    Perhaps you're partial to the paparazzi frenzy that is E! Entertainment Network? Then you'll want to check into either the Chateau Marmont or Sunset Tower Hotel, notorious party pads for rockers and actors alike. Grab your morning brew at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (where Perez Hilton perched in the early days of his celeb gossip blog), then follow the stardust to either Robertson Boulevard or Melrose Avenue for ultra trendy shopping. If you'd rather relax than hunt through racks, lounge by the star-studded pool after a spun glass facial at Ciel Spa at SLS. Get perfectly coiffed at stylist-to-the-stars José Eber Atelier before a night feasting at glam spots like Katana and Koi and imbibing at slinky starlet havens Bardot or Bar Marmont.

    If you prefer your celeb content to have more of a, well..., refined patina (Turner Classic Movies, maybe?), channel Hollywood's Golden Era at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, or retreat from the paparazzi in stylish splendor at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills or The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Venturing to the designer flagships on Rodeo Drive may wear away your credit card's magnetic strip (fair warning!), but you can rejuvenate your shopping-weary self with a treatment at the swank Beverly Wilshire Hotel Spa. Dine alongside Hollywood royalty at elegant Spago or Crustacean, then "stargaze" over a nightcap at the Polo Lounge.

    Or maybe the Independent Film Channel is a little more your speed–laidback but with an edge. You'll get the best of both worlds at The London West Hollywood, where old-school British style meets casual Cali cool. To start the day, head to Intelligentsia Coffee for hipster-approved hot-rod espresso. At lunch, join local foodies (and indie screen stars) at Farmers Market stalls, or sample ethnic eats (like our fave ramen den Daikokuya) on the Eastside. Head west to explore Venice's funky Abbot Kinney Boulevard or gallery hop at Santa Monica’s boho Bergamot Station. Finish off the day with an inventive margarita at kitsch-cool El Carmen.

    But don't forget: surfing is as much of a sport (and an art) as channel surfing in this town. Put down the remote and check into Casa del Mar or Viceroy Santa Monica for a beach-y getaway. Why not start the day by hitting the waves with a surf lesson from Learn to Surf LA? Then drive up Pacific Coast Highway to view fabulous ancient art and sweeping ocean vistas at Getty Villa Malibu. Sure, there's paparazzi hiding out in the Malibu Country Mart/Lumber Yard, a leafy complex chock full of the hottest designer boutiques, but you can escape from it all at serene Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. Catch the sunset with a scrumptious seafood dinner at The Lobster or a seaside cocktail at Moonshadows.

    And please don't be shy if you've really got a hankering for The Disney Channel. Disneyland is one of our favorite guilty pleasures, but we've also been known to go shamelessly touristy with a backlot tour at Universal Studios or a picture with a Marilyn impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard. This is Tinseltown, after all.

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