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Mapping the Unexpected (and Expected) Tourist Spots in LA

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Los Angeles can be a difficult city to visit. Unlike, say, New York, or London, it doesn't have a massive, easy to use public transit system, nor a single well-known tourist zone, like Times Square or Oxford Circus (sorry, LA Live; good effort, Hollywood Boulevard). Visitors to LA are, for the most part, left to their own devices to figure out where to go, and how to get there. Which raises the question—where the hell do they go? That's exactly the question data artist Eric Fischer answers with his Locals & Tourists map (via CityLab), which uses geotagged tweets to determine who goes where.

"Locals," who show up as blue dots, are defined as users who've been tweeting from the same location for more than a month; "tourists," the red dots, are users who have been tweeting from one location for less than a month, and are considered "locals" elsewhere. The methodology may not be perfect, but the resulting maps make a remarkable amount of sense anyway.

The biggest blobs of red (for tourists) are concentrated in Hollywood, Downtown, Santa Monica, and Venice.

Packed Hollywood/Highland and famous Hollywood/Vine are the two most popular intersections in Hollywood, predictably. Activity Downtown is centered around booming South Park, probably thanks to Times Square Lite, aka LA Live. Bunker Hill and the Historic Core are fairly popular as well, as is Dodger Stadium (the big chunk of red to the north). Union Station sees some red, too—some tourists really do take the train, apparently.

The Grove and Beverly Center are predictably big; LACMA, in the bottom right, doesn't seem to be too popular, crazily enough. (Tourists: go to LACMA!)

Universal Studios, the Americana at Brand mall, and downtown Burbank (??) are big in the eastern Valley.

Locals, of course, are everywhere. Fischer put the map together without any sort of backbone, but the city's iconic streets and freeways are still recognizable. It's a fun, innovative use for some pretty useless data—click around and have some fun. —Ian Grant
· Locals & Tourists Map [Mapbox]