The city of Los Santos is the newest setting for Rockstar's critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto series. A sprawling municipality located on the southwest coast of the United States, it draws its inspiration from Los Angeles, California and its greater metropolitan area. Expansive and detailed, its teeming streets are packed with stunning sights to see, charismatic people to meet and entertaining things to do.
In this article I'll be walking you through some of the intriguing recreational activities you can take part in, and highlighting some pursuits that perhaps you may have missed. Without further ado, here are five awesome things you can do in GTA V's Los Santos.
Ammu-Nation Gun Range
The foremost fanatical firearms distributor in the GTA universe makes its return in Grand Theft Auto V, with plenty of locations available throughout San Andreas. Notably, select stores contain within them their own shooting galleries, where for only $14 you can take part in a plethora of challenges to boost your shooting skill and earn awards.
Each specific weapon has its own set of objectives associated with it, and there are multiple models of firearm for each gun-type available. These range from handguns like the Combat and AP Pistols, to submachine guns such as the Micro and Assault SMGs, to shotguns, assault rifles and machine guns.
Once the clock starts, you are tasked with free-aiming at a selection of targets – some of which are stationary, while others move around and flip back-to-front. The closer to the centre your shots land, the more points you receive, with a multiplier bonus for consecutive hits. Gold, silver and bronze medals can be secured and your high scores are added to competitive leaderboards to show you just how terrible you really are.
Vanilla Unicorn Strip Club
Now GTA simply wouldn't be GTA without its fair share of T&A, and in Los Santos the best place to find them is the Vanilla Unicorn Strip Club. If you make it past the burly bouncer on the door, there's all sorts of mischievous things you can get up to in its faux luxurious depths.
Fancy a drink? You can pound some shots at the bar – at least until you get cut off – giving you a strange rippling double vision reminiscent of Max Payne 3. If pole-dancing is more what you're after, you can catch a show in first person, and if you're feeling flush, can even make it rain dollar bills.
However, the most lascivious pastime the club offers is its private lap-dances, which frankly are nothing short of pornographic. If you accept a stripper's offer, she'll lead you into a private area where she'll grind you like a skateboard, wearing nothing but a thong. By flirting and touching her, you can increase how much she likes you; but beware, if security catches you they will very literally throw you out. At the end of the dance if the girl fancies you enough, you can take her home and assuming you seal the deal, she'll become available for future carnal rendezvous.
If you need a break from a life of crime, there are an assortment of cardiovascular activities you can take part in, right on your doorstep; quite literally in the case of Michael, who has his own tennis court in his backyard. This sport will feel very familiar for those who played the Top Spin series, allowing you to serve, lob and backspin your way to victory, with all the unsportsmanlike conduct you'd expect from a Rockstar game.
By visiting the golf course, you can give Tiger Woods PGA Tour a run for its money, utilising a comprehensive HUD to inform you of everything from hole and par numbers, to wind direction and playing surface. It's easy to preview both the terrain and your shots, before using wedges, irons, a putter and a driver to hit that sweet spot and take on the leaderboards.
Thirdly, if you've got what it takes you can compete in a series of triathlons, which for those who don't know, consists of swimming, cycling and running. By regulating a stamina gauge, similar to the one your horse uses in Red Dead Redemption, you can test your endurance against a host of challengers, over a cavalcade of increasingly taxing marathons.
Choice & Customisation
Open world games are all about individualism, and in Los Santos there are myriad ways to make your characters, and their possessions your own. You can alter both their hairstyles and beards at barber shops, purchase a diverse range of attire from numerous clothing outlets, and even go so far as to personalise their skin via a series of tattoo parlours.
This level of choice persists in the adjustment of weaponry. Spending your hard-earned cash at Ammu-nation allows you to fit suppressors, scopes, extended magazines and flashlights to your firearms, making them more efficient and deadly than ever.
However, it's vehicle customisation that lets your imagination truly run wild. At Los Santos Customs you can upgrade and tweak almost every aspect of your car, and respray it the colour of your choice. Everything can be tuned, from brakes, and engines, to horns and licence plates. If you're really willing to fork out, you can soup up your suspension and install armour and a roll-cage. There's even a selection of car washes you can frequent, if you wish to keep your ride free from blood and dirt.
Lastly, throughout GTA V, there is a wealth of media at your fingertips. By buying a ticket to the movies, you can enjoy documentaries such as 'I Married My Dad' and movies like 'Water Torture: the bath is running... are you?' Alternatively you could simply settle down on the sofa and smoke a bowl, whilst watching cartoons like 'Republican Space Rangers', or reality classics like 'Organ Farm' and 'Rehab Island'.
If radio is more your thing, there are a profusion of stations to choose from, covering everything from hip hop and rock, to reggae, soul and funk. There are also a hilarious pair of conversational stations, in the form of 'WCTR 95.6′ and 'Blaine County Talk Radio', whose satirical comedy styling will have you in stitches. Lazlow's back, baby!
You can even go online via your smartphone, and sign up to fictional social networks, Life Invader and Bleeter. With multiple amusing websites in the categories of media & entertainment, food & drink, money & services, transport & travel and fashion & health, Rockstar's in-game web services provide yet another welcome distraction.
While that may seem like a deluge of information, it barely scratches the surface of what this open-world masterpiece has to offer, and this doesn't even cover the pastimes within the city limits. Outside the metropolis there's a multiplicity of thrilling pursuits, including hunting, scuba diving and parachuting, that will keep you occupied long into the future.
Let us know how you're getting on with Rockstar's billion dollar release in the comments below, and which recreational activities you favour. In the meantime, keep it locked to GameGrin for moreGTA V content, including our full written review, and we'll see you in the multiplayer come October.