It’s a modern and contemporary art gallery featuring rotating, museum-quality exhibitions that show for five to six weeks

Muscle Beach Gym rats with an exhibitionist streak can get a tan and a workout at this famous outdoor gym right on the Venice Boardwalk, where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu once bulked up. Its fun to meander past and gawk, because the body builders totally want you to gawk. Venice Skatepark When Angelenos drained their swimming pools during a 1970s drought, board-toting teens from Venice and neighboring Santa Monica made their not-quite-welcome invasion and modern skateboarding culture was born.

Look for great photo ops, especially as the sun sets. Brave the bowls if you dare. Saturday & Sunday drum circle On weekend evenings at the end of Brooks Ave. Dancers come in hoards to feed off the energy and move their bodies to the impromptu music. Its high vibe fun, completely unofficial and totally amazing. It usually starts around noon and lasts well past dark. When to go to the Venice Boardwalk Late nights and early mornings are the quietest times on the boardwalk, but quiet is not really why people come to Venice Beach. Busiest times are summer weekend afternoons, especially when the drum circle is beating its resounding beats. During the off season, local crowds tend to gather at the cafes around sunset.

Where to eat and drink No place melds Old Venice and New Venice like the Rose. This airy institution dates from 1979 yet remains current, serving a diverse, all-day menu (sophisticated pastries to gourmet feasts) to laptop-toting writers, tech geeks and Venice locals. Where to stay Hotel Erwin near the canals and the boardwalk, this one-time motor inn has been dressed up, colored and otherwise funkified in retro style. Think eye-popping oranges, yellows and greens, framed photos of graffiti art and ergo sofas in the spacious rooms. Book online for the best deals. Whether or not you stay here, the High rooftop lounge is wonderful for a sundowner. Valet parking is $42. Getting to the Venice Boardwalk, parking and other practicalities Traffic is bumper to bumper in Venice on busy weekends, especially in summer near the beach.

Well, as the bumper sticker says, ‘skateboarding is not a crime,’ at least not anymore, and if you needed further proof, this public, 17,000-sq-ft, ocean-view skate park is now a destination for both high flyers and gawking spectators

Instead, try parking inland, ride-sharing or do as the locals do and get around by bike. Rentals are available in Venice at Venice Boardwalk Bike Rental or in neighboring Santa Monica.

The Expo Line train opened in 2016 in Santa Monica; the station is about 1

If you go to Los Angeles and don’t catch a glimpse of those nine letters looming large on a Hollywood hillside, did you really even visit Tinseltown? Just as the Empire State Building is to New York City and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the Hollywood sign has become a symbol of LA. But even more, this iconic advertisement, originally built to attract buyers to a 1920s real estate development, has become a global emblem of the entertainment industry. Adding to its allure, checking the sign off your list isn’t as straightforward as visiting other landmarks. The closer you get, the less you can see it as a whole. But the adventure of seeking out the sign – whether that means hiking the hills of Griffith Park or driving winding streets past multimillion-dollar homes, many owned by insiders of the very industry the sign represents – is half the fun.

History The Hollywood sign is actually missing four letters from its original form. When it was built in 1923, it read “HOLLYWOODLAND,” the name of the new housing development it advertised. Each sans serif letter, cut from sheet metal and anchored to telephone poles, measured 50 feet tall. The project took 60 days to complete and cost $21,000 (equivalent to about $335,000 today). Only meant to be temporary, the sign wasn’t built to brave the elements. By the ’30s, the H fell off and for several years the sign read “OLLYWOODLAND. They fixed the missing H and removed “LAND. The sign got another makeover in 1978, when a group spearheaded by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and the rocker Alice Cooper gathered funds to rebuild it in a more weather-resistant form.

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