8 Great Cities nearly 8 miles of Los Angeles
Whenever reputable travel critics compile a list of their favorite American cities, the city of Los Angeles (also known as, L.A.) is always at the top of the list. Activities like a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, or a visit to such notable venues as the Los Angeles Staples Center to catch a Lakers games, one of America’s favorite teams, are only two of an endless list of activities to be had in this great big American city—what else does a traveler needs, right? Fortunately for "would-be" travelers, L.A. County does have more to offer: Unbeknownst to many, there are, indeed, a number of charming little cities and communities near Los Angeles that may be small in stature and size, but big on fun and character. The following list highlights eight such great cities near to the City of Los Angeles that could be worth adding to your traveling list:
Beverly Hills, CA
Yes, Beverly Hills is its own city. And although the larger City of Los Angeles essentially engulfs the smaller City of Beverly Hills, anyone traveling to Beverly Hill will soon find out just how vastly different the two really are. Arguably one the most affluent in the world, Beverly Hills, CA needs no further embellishing—that is, to say, if you’re planning on giving it a go, plan on bring lots of extra spending money: Travel destinations like Beverly Hills, CA, along with Acapulco, Mexico and Cannes, France, are cities primarily designed for the world’s jet-setters. Have you ever heard of Rodeo Drive, The Beverly Hills Hotel, or even, Beverly Hills High School, made famous by the 90s hit show "Beverly Hills 90201?" In that same vein, Beverly Hills, CA may, very well, be a city that’s near to Los Angeles, but its zip code might as well be on another planet…"Planet Platinum."
Huntington Park, CA
Back down to planet earth, in quite contrast to L.A.’s most ritzy neighborhood, there are certain sketchy communities—for example, because of crime and heavy gang activities, that many tourists to the City of Los Angeles dare not go, but Huntington Park isn’t one of those places. In fact, Huntington Park is home to one of L.A.’s most burgeoning districts: The Pacific Boulevard commercial district is the third highest grossing commercial district in the County of Los Angeles, with such notable attractions as the annual Carnaval Primavera (Spring Carnival) held on Pacific Boulevard each year. Tourist planning to give it a try must be aware that this yearly event does tend to pack in carnival revelers in the hundreds of thousands.
Bell Gardens, CA
Are you in the mood for some casino magic? Perhaps serving as a warm up to an actual trip to Las Vegas, the City of Bell Gardens also serves a very important leisurely function for many local residents and tourist alike: Visitors to the state of California never really associated gaming to Los Angeles County, but Bell Gardens—along with Inglewood, Gardena, Commerce and Hawaiian Gardens—are five such cities out of 99 in the county that does, indeed, permit gambling. Moreover, the Bicycle Casino, a large gambling establishment, has been the venue for several major poker tournaments, including the Legends of Poker tournament and Winnin' O' the Green.
At the very eastern end of the San Fernando Valley sits the City of Glendale, which is essentially bisected by the Verdugo Mountains, thus serves as a natural appendage to the Greater Los Angeles Area. Disguised as a kind of Los Angeles suburb, the City of Glendale has a population of 191,719, making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 22nd largest city in the state of California, according to U.S. Census data. What so attractive about Glendale? Well, a couple of factors. First, it could be its shopping: Glendale does, after all, offers its travelers an eclectic blend of goods from a number of world-class outlets—such as Nordstrom, Macy's, Target, J. C. Penney and Bloomingdales. Second, its demographics: the City of Glendale could, very well, contain one of L.A. County’s most diverse racial makeups, serving as home to an ever growing number of Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders.
As this article’s title implies, the City of Alhambra, CA is approximately eight miles from Downtown Los Angeles ; so, by definition of its geography, it would without question be considered a city near to Los Angeles. Also, with a population of 83,089, according to US Census data, the city economically appears to be steadily growing. Most of this economic growth is coming by way of Chinese investments, which as a result has developed an active business district on Valley Boulevard. Hungry for some great Asian food fare? The Valley Boulevard Corridor, not only serve as national hub for many Asian-owned banks headquarters, but is home to a delectable blend of Asian supermarkets, delis and restaurants.
Travelers heading toward Inglewood from Los Angeles, would be heading due south, as the City of Inglewood sits to the very south of Los Angeles, thereby hails from the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area. As of 2010 Census data, its population stood at 109,673; nevertheless, it may not be the number of people that make up the city’s appeal—what’s so appealing about Inglewood? If you really delve into the heart and soul of this "little-big" city near to Los Angeles, what you’ll find is that Inglewood is home to, among others, an endless list of notable celebrities, athletes and entertainers (specifically, Brain Wilson of The Beach Boys, Jim Lefebvre, major league baseball manager, and more importantly, Tyra Banks, world famous fashion model and television personality).
Alas, the City of Carson, CA sits a tad bit outside of the eight mile periphery zone, but for purposes of this article, highlighting great cities near to Los Angles, Carson City does, indeed, make the list. Primarily known as a suburb sandwich between downtown Los Angles and LAX, the city’s world-renown international airport, Carson, as compared to other cities on the list, is considered to be fairly young. To be exact, incorporated on February 20, 1968, Carson is the youngest municipality in the South Bay region of Metropolitan Los Angeles. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped the city from gaining notoriety among its peers, especially amid young adult travelers as a premier student traveling destination. In fact, Carson is home to California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), which is a major commuter school, primarily for minority students from L.A. County’s surrounding communities. Today the school is among the most racially diverse campuses in the United States.
What else can be said about Compton, other than all the negative press that has been portrayed on the news…Is Compton’s bad rep justified? Maybe…maybe not. But what isn’t predispose to speculation is the very fact that Compton, CA is, indeed, within close proximity to Downtown Los Angeles and that it does have a history of gangs and gang-related violence, particularly in the decades of the late 80s and early 90s. Perhaps in an odd twist of economic faith, today’s Compton has seen an economic revitalization: Ever heard of the grocery chain Ralphs, what about Food 4 less? Recently designated as an “Entrepreneurial Hot Spot” by Cognetics, Inc., an independent economic research firm, today’s Compton appears to have learned from yesterday’s mistakes, going on to make the national list for best places to start and grow a business, ranking 2nd overall in Los Angeles County out of a field of 88 cities.
The overall greatness of the City of Los Angeles could be the sum of its smaller surrounding cities, which in this case includes eight great smaller California cities with close ties to its bigger sibling. Any "would-be" traveler to this California metropolis, simply known as L.A., must first understand that the key to truly enjoying a jaunt to the City of Los Angeles, whether it’s for pleasure or business, may lie in venturing off into some of city’s smaller enclaves, thereby discovering what it truly means to “live in L.A.”