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TRAVEL Los Angeles: City of Angels has a lot to love
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Many Chicagoans choose to move to Los Angeles in California and it is easy to see why. There is plenty of sunshine and a moderate climate to enjoy.

The grid layout of the city makes it easy to navigate but traffic needs to always be taken into consideration. Public transportation is continually in the works and ride sharing with Uber has turned into a popular option.

People tend to be LGBT-friendly, thanks to a long history of political figures and activists. One National Gay & Lesbian Archives houses more than 2 million items in its archives celebrating that history. Early editions of Outlines, published by Windy City Times' Tracy Baim, were found along with a multitude of others.

The country's first gay church, the Metropolitan Community Church, and first gay synagogue, Beth Chayim Chadashim, both began in Los Angeles.

Out & About Tours provides a walking tour to see many LGBT historical landmarks and learn about the pioneers of the gay community.

That tradition of helping the LGBT family continues with the Los Angeles LGBT Center in The McDonald/Wright Building. Social services and housing is provided here with The Youth Center nearby as another vital piece to the work being done.

The Downtown Los Angeles area has changed drastically over the years. For a time the area deteriorated and became desolate. Now thanks to renovations and a vibrant arts scene things are on the upswing. Grand Central Market features 40 vendors with all types of cuisine offered. Don't resist instagramming about the messy sandwiches of Eggslut or the burgers of Belcampo Meat Co.

The cuisine has a wide range of offerings in Los Angeles. Many chefs have migrated there with Michelin star backgrounds bringing new ideas such as the open aired Birch, now presenting picnic meals for people on the go.

B.S. Taqueria combines a sense of humor with rice and beans. The agave bravo drink was smooth to wash down those delicious chicken tacos.

The Mud Hen Tavern seems to hit all the right notes with fun music, casual environment, and comfort food. Who doesn't love a deviled egg, fried chicken and whisky?

To impress a guest look for the bit hidden away restaurant Spring with beautiful decor, an open kitchen, and tasting from the South of France.

There are massive amounts of macarons in a rainbow of colors at Bottega Louie. The brunch is fresh and tasty, from the lobster hash to the lemon ricotta pancakes, there is something for everyone.

La-La Land has a colorful bar scene. Bar Mattachine is a new bar in Downtown LA specializing in creative cocktails and drag. For classic haunts try the Black Cat in Silver Lake with rich history of protests back in 1967. Once a gay bar, it is now a restaurant with some excellent food.

Akbar is another place to drink with character that packs in the hip folk who like to stay up late and jam to a jukebox.

The Abbey has some of the best people watching outdoors on the patio. The drinks are overpriced for the size but it's a must stop for the West Hollywood experience.

The historic Millennium Biltmore has been the location for tons of filming including A Star is Born, Ghostbusters, and Independence Day. It was an early home for the Academy Awards and most recently the semifinals for American Idol.

For a more hipster place to stay Mama Shelter is just a block off of Hollywood Boulevard. The food is fresh and the service friendly. The rooftop is a busy spot and the elevator can be a lesson in patience. The rooms are European style with no TV and computer monitor instead.

Another rooftop to check out is The Roof on Wilshire with specialty drinks like the bourbon smash mixing raspberries and honey with bourbon. Sip poolside there during the day or try The Hollywood Roosevelt at night located along the Walk of Fame. The rooms there are stylish with vintage decorations.

Get out of that hotel room and head out on an excursion. Universal Studios Hollywood has something for everyone. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is extremely popular with a show, two rides and tons of shopping. The Walking Dead Attraction is based on the AMC hit television program and is the newest scare in the park.

Museums to hit include the Hammer Museum, with a collection of European art, and the massive J. Paul Getty Museum. The restaurant there not only has a incredible view but rich cuisine to accompany it.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art or LACMA holds more than 150,000 works of art. The Rain Room is sold out for the entire run but if tickets open up again don't miss motion sensor water that follows spectators around the room.

Where there is rain, there are rainbows and the future is so bright you gotta wear shades with Los Angeles bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics. So head westward, brave traveler, and explore the City of Angels today.

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