Disappearing into cultural Los Angeles

Story highlights

  • Though often disparaged, LA is bursting with culture, from galleries to museums to historic landmarks
  • The city's museums and galleries are world-class, boasting contemporary, modern and classical art
  • Literary tours of the city are becoming popular, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of famous noir fiction characters
  • No trip to LA is complete without a visit to the legendary Chateau and Bar Marmont
Woody Allen famously said in "Annie Hall" that the only cultural advantage to Los Angeles was that you can turn right on a red light, but in truth the "City of Angels" is bursting with culture.
World-class museums including the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art are must-see destinations for art-lovers, whose touring exhibitions easily rival those in London and New York.
The LA Opera, directed by world-renowned tenor Placido Domingo, art fair Art Los Angeles Contemporary and LA Fashion Week are all helping cement the city's identity as one of the US's major cultural hubs -- and that's before mentioning its number one industry, Hollywood.
Though difficult to navigate on foot, the city is a wonder of small communities, intriguing local landmarks and remnants of Hollywood's golden age.
CNN World's Treasures selects some of the best spots to experience the cultural side of Los Angeles, from galleries to historic landmarks.
SEE: Commercial galleries have sprung up all over the city in the last decade, boasting impressive exhibitions of local and international contemporary art. Artists such as Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Chris Burden and the late Dennis Hopper have put the city firmly on the map but it was established as an important hub in the 1960s, when the Ferus Gallery famously showed Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans.
Today, galleries are concentrated on La Cienega, Wilshire and Washington Boulevards and spaces to visit include Blum and Poe, credited with bringing the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to the US, and David Kordansky. Also on any art-lover's itinerary is Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills -- in January the gallery is showing work by UK artist Damien Hirst.
Meanwhile, take