There's probably no other city on Earth as hard to categorize as Los Angeles. That's because L.A. is just too big to be distilled into a neat, accurate description. The city of 3.5 million sprawls across 467 square miles of desert basin, mountain canyons, and coastal beaches. Outside city limits, another 6 million people live in 80 incorporated cities within Los Angeles County. Beyond that, another 5 million reside within the economic shadow of Los Angeles, in the region's four other counties. But that is the big picture. If we zoom in for a close-up, we discover a city immensely rich in human diversity and culture.
Much notice is given to L.A.'s ethnic diversity and its status as a cultural hub of the Pacific Rim. People from 140 countries speaking 96 different languages call L.A. home. Signs in Spanish, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Armenian, and Russian are as common in some areas of the city as English signs. While diversity adds rich texture to the city's makeup, it does not always create harmony.
We can't predict what your Los Angeles will turn out to be -- lazy afternoons on the beach, touring Hollywood or the movie studios, taking the kids to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm, eating dim sum in Chinatown, practicing your Spanish at Olvera Street, or exploring the city's museums. Whatever you do, let it be a close-up shot on Los Angeles that's yours alone.