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Hitting the Road

Considering that the greater L.A. area sprawls over more square mileage than some small countries, it comes as no surprise that residents clock a lot of road time. Contrary to popular belief, however, stand-still freeway traffic is only part of the picture. In Los Angeles, the popular 1950s-era pastime of cruising is still alive and well.

One of the premier ways to see the L.A. hot spots so often captured on the silver screen is to take a drive down Sunset Boulevard. The famed thoroughfare runs from the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu to Downtown Los Angeles, but the most well-known stretch is the Sunset Strip, in West Hollywood.

Heading east on Sunset Boulevard, pass by legendary music venues including the Roxy, the Whisky-A-Go-Go, and the Viper Room. Continue a little father to glimpse movie star magnet of yesteryear the Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle Hotel) and current celebrity hangout the Chateau Marmont.

The famous roadway, Mulholland Drive, snakes along the ridge separating L.A. from its suburban neighbor, the San Fernando Valley. Like Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Drive starts at the ocean and extends all the way into Hollywood, but unlike its urban counterpart, Mulholland forgoes street scenes for mountain views and traffic lights for unpaved stretches of road.

Another not-to-be-missed scenic stretch is the winding road that climbs through Laurel Canyon, a nexus of the 1960s music scene and former home to rockers Joni Mitchell and Neil Young among many others. At its apex, Laurel Canyon Boulevard meets up with Mulholland Drive, so be sure to fuel up before you start the climb.

Updated: 2014-07-24

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