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Los Angeles/Long Beach Basics

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Los Angeles Skyline
© 2007 Mfield, under cc-by-sa license

Los Angeles is the largest city on the west coast of the United States, with a population of over 3.8 million. It is the center of a region whose population is just under 13 million residents. It is also a giant cultural Xerox machine, helping to define the cultural tastes for the country and the world.

The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment, aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing center in the United States. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach comprise the most significant port in North America, vital to trade within the Pacific Rim.

Los Angeles has a pleasant year-round Mediterranean climate, with cool temperate winters and hot but dry summers. Humidity levels are generally low. The climate in the Los Angeles area varies dramatically over short geographical distances, due to the area's topography.

Los Angeles map


First Impressions


Chances are that, since you're checking out this page, you're going to either start or end your cruise in Los Angeles. If you decide to tack on a day or two in Los Angeles before or after your cruise, you will be amply rewarded, as there are many fun places to explore.

Los Angeles isn't just a place, it's a lot of places that fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each neighborhood or city in the L.A. metro area is different. It is too big a place to absorb in a short amount of time. If you are adding on an extra day or two in Los Angeles, we've put together recommendations on three places to focus on: Pasadena, in the San Gabriel Valley; Santa Monica, in the West Side, and Irvine, in the heart of Orange County.

Carnival's cruise ships dock at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, which is adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. All the other cruise lines dock their ships at the Los Angeles World Cruise Center in San Pedro.

It's a fact of life that if you're going to see Los Angeles, you're going to need to rent a car. A trip from Pasadena to Santa Monica by car can take 30-45 minutes outside of rush hour, but 2 hours by bus. As a rule, the morning rush hour begins at 6:00 am, lasting through 9:30 am, and the afternoon rush hour begins at 3:00 pm and ends at 7:00 pm.

Bridge

Time Zone


Los Angeles is on Pacific Time, eight hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during Standard Time, and seven hours later than GMT during Daylight Savings Time. Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

USA flag Los Angeles Local Time
 


Language


English is universally spoken in Los Angeles. Spanish is the semi-official second language, and you can also find large communities that speak Korean, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Farsi, Thai, Armenian, Tagalog and Brazilian Portuguese.


Dealing with Money in Los Angeles


Currency

dollar bill

The currency of the United States is the U.S. dollar, and it is printed on bills in seven denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins include the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cent piece and dollar.

Banks and ATMs

ATM machines can be found throughout the town, either in your hotel or at a bank branch. Here are several bank branches with ATM machines in Long Beach and San Pedro:

  • Bank of America, at the branch at 90 Seaside Way; 333 West Ocean Blvd.; and 150 North Long Beach Blvd., in Long Beach.

  • Wells Fargo Bank, at the branch at 111 West Ocean Ave., in Long Beach; and an ATM at City Place at Long Beach, at Pine Ave. and 5th Street, in Long Beach.

  • Bank of America, at the branch at 951 S Pacific Ave., San Pedro.

  • Wells Fargo Bank, an ATM machine at the San Pedro Centre Street Lofts, 285 W. 6th Street, San Pedro.

See our Los Angeles Port-Area ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.



Weather


Los Angeles has a pleasant year-round Mediterranean climate, with cool temperate winters and hot but dry summers. Spring and fall can be the most pleasant months of the year, with generally clear days with little fog. Angelenos often complain about "June gloom," a phenomenon in which a persistent marine layer fails to burn off during the day, making for cool overall temperatures.

The climate in the Los Angeles area varies dramatically over short geographical distances, due to the area's topography; you can see the differences when you look at the temperature charts below.

Rainfall is concentrated in the cooler half of the year, particularly during November through February. Los Angeles averages only 15 inches of rain each year.

Pasadena Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 68 70 71 76 78 84 89 91 89 83 74 68
Avg High - C 20 21 22 24 26 29 32 33 32 28 23 20
Avg Low - F 44 46 47 50 53 57 61 62 61 55 48 44
Avg Low - C 7 8 8 10 12 14 16 17 16 13 9 7

Pasadena Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 4.3 4.3 3.4 1.4 0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.5 0.7 1.8 3.1
Avg, mm 109 109 86 36 13 3 0 3 13 18 46 79

Santa Monica Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 61 64 63 65 66 68 71 72 72 70 68 65
Avg High - C 16 18 17 18 19 20 22 22 22 21 20 18
Avg Low - F 49 50 51 53 56 58 61 62 61 58 54 50
Avg Low - C 10 10 11 12 13 14 16 16 16 14 12 10

Santa Monica Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 2.9 2.4 2.0 0.8 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 1.4 1.6
Avg, mm 74 61 51 20 3 0 0 3 5 8 36 41

Irvine Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 68 69 69 73 75 79 84 85 84 79 73 68
Avg High - C 20 21 21 23 24 26 29 29 29 26 23 20
Avg Low - F 41 43 45 48 53 57 60 61 59 53 45 40
Avg Low - C 5 6 7 9 12 14 16 16 15 12 7 4

Irvine Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 2.7 2.4 2.2 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.4 0.3 1.3 1.5
Avg, mm 69 61 56 20 5 3 0 3 10 8 33 38



Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Los Angeles/Long Beach

You can find Internet Cafes throughout the city's neighborhoods. But the real players are Starbucks stores, which are everywhere and provide free Wi-Fi. Additional free Wi-Fi access can be found at McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, Panera Bread, and countless other coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and bars.

See our Los Angeles Port-Area Wi-Fi Hotspot Map for the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots near the Los Angeles-area ports.

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service provides digital coverage to all counties in the Los Angeles area.
Data services: Verizon offers extensive 4G LTE coverage in the greater Los Angeles area. Ranked #1.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services coverage in the Los Angeles area.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service covers all of the greater Los Angeles area.
Data services: AT&T offers extensive 4G and 4G LTE service in the greater Los Angeles area. Ranked #2.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage in the Los Angeles area.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service provides digital coverage to all of counties in the Los Angeles area.
Data services: Sprint offers extensive 3G service in the greater Los Angeles area. Ranked #4.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage in the Los Angeles area.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service offers good to excellent service in all of the greater Los Angeles area.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 3G/4G service in the greater Los Angeles area. Ranked #3.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage in the Los Angeles area.

Los Angeles rankings per RootMetrics report, March 2012.

Internet Cafe

Samsung Galaxy S III

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in the Los Angeles area in 2017:

  • Rose Parade, Monday, January 2. The City of Pasadena's New Year's day extravaganza.

  • Rose Bowl Game, Monday, January 2. The Dean of college bowl games, this year featuring USC and Penn State.

  • Breeders Cup at Santa Anita
    ©2016 Jlvsclrk under cc-by-sa 4.0 license
  • Racing at Santa Anita, Monday, January 1 to Sunday, April 10. (The racing season at Santa Anita actually begins on Monday, December 26, 2016.) The four month racing season will feature the nation's top horses, trainers and jockeys, and plenty of fun in the sun.

  • Academy Awards Presentation, Sunday, February 26. See the Hollywood luminary set up close and personal at the 89th annual awards show. Must get tickets to be in the crowd at the Dolby Theater at Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood.

  • Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Friday, April 7 to Sunday, April 9. For the motorsports enthusiast in all of us.

  • Cinco de Mayo, Friday, May 5. A big thing here, if not in Mexico. Time to gorge on nachos washed down by a cervesa or two.

  • Hollywood Bowl
    ©2009 Eric Chan under cc-by-sa 2.0 license
  • The LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, September 3. The season kicks off with the Playboy Jazz Festival, and ends with a concert featuring Carrie Underwood. In the intervening days, great concerts by the LA Phil.

  • Independence Day Celebrations, Tuesday, July 4. Fireworks, parades, BBQs, and the whole nine yards throughout the LA area.

  • Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters, Friday, July 7 to Thursday, August 31. Taking place in the artsy berg of Laguna Beach, the 84th annual presentation of the Pageant of the Masters is celebrated in 2017. If you've never gone, it's worth a visit.

  • Orange County Fair, Friday, July 14 to Sunday, August 13, in Costa Mesa. What's summer in Orange County without a visit to the fair?

  • Nisei Week Japanese Festival, Saturday, August 19 to Sunday, August 27. This nine-day festival in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo district highlights Japanese and Japanese American culture, and 2017 marks its 77th year.

  • Los Angeles County Fair, Friday, September 1 to Sunday, September 24, at the Fairplex in Pomona. What's summer in Los Angeles County without a visit to the fair and a deep fried turkey leg? Oink!

  • Doo Dah Parade
    Courtesy of the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade
  • Doo Dah Parade, Sunday, November 19. The annual Doo Dah Parade, a spoof of the Rose Bowl Parade put on by wags and crazies in Pasadena, has been bemusing bystanders for 39 years. A fun few hours in Pasadena isn't guaranteed, but close.

  • Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23.

  • Christmas Day, Monday, December 25. Celebrates the birth of Christ.

Cruise Port Schedules


Carnival ship in Long Beach
©2009 John Murphy under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are home ports for ships on 3- and 4-day cruises to Catalina and Ensenada, and for 7- to 14-day Mexican Riviera cruises. Some cruise lines use Los Angeles for coastal, relocation and Hawaiian Islands cruises as well as for Panama Canal voyages.

As a general rule, ships arrive at the city's cruise ship pier between 7:00 am and 8:00 am, and depart between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

In 2017, the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach are slated to host 832,600 passengers sailing on 364 ships. See our Los Angeles/Long Beach Cruise Ship Schedule - 2017 for further information.

In 2018, the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach are slated to host 958,200 passengers sailing on 368 ships. See our Los Angeles/Long Beach Cruise Ship Schedule - 2018 for further information.


Cruise Lines Making Port


The following cruise lines will make port in Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2017:

Carnival icon Carnival Princess
NCL icon Norwegian Oceania icon Oceania
Celebrity Cunard Cunard
Regent
Seabourn
Crystal
P & O
Hapag Lloyd

Cruise Ship


       
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