Where To Stay In Los Angeles For Shopping:
Los Angeles is a fashion city. Whether youre shopping locally or seeking international brands, each part of town has something for you. Malls abound throughout LA while vintage and thrift stores line the main streets of Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood.
For designer shops and high-end fashion, Beverly Hills is the place to go. From Rodeo Drive to Brighton Way, youll have endless options as you wander the beautiful streets. Downtown has the Fashion and Arts District, but the second place to stay for shopping is Venice Beach. Along Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a happening shopping strip home to popular indie designers from Timbuk2 to SALT.
Best Apartment In Downtown: Affordable Condo In The Heart Of Downtown
Experiencing the nightlife of LA can end up quite pricey sometimes. In order to spend more money on drinks, youll need to find a cheap place to stay but at the same time, no one wants to cure their hangover in a smelly, loud dorm. This super-affordable condo offers great value for its price and complete privacy. Located in the heart of Downtown, the buzzy streets are pretty much right outside your doorstep! That is why this is one of the best VRBOs in LA.
A Get A Tap Card Or Tap App To Pay
If you plan to use any public transportation in L.A., get a TAP card or even better, the TAP App phone app for iPhone or Android. TAP works on most buses and light rail in the Los Angeles area, including the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica.
You can load your card or app on their website.
To pay, simply tap your card or phone on the payment panel on the bus, wait for the beep, and the fare is automatically deducted. I strongly urge you to get one of these! Its better than cash not only for convenience but also because if you register your card online and lose it, you can regain the value with a small fee. Built-in insurance!
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Is Los Angeles Public Transportation Good
The theme parks, landmark museums, bars, clubs, restaurants, and movie studios that make up Los Angeles are unparalleled.
A city with so much to offer in terms of quality shouldnt compromise on its public transportation system. LAs public transit network is just about adequate for getting around.
If you do not have a car, LA is still a fun, accessible city as there are various options to travel locally. Here are a few local modes of transportation if you want to visit Los Angeles without a car.
Bonus 4 Where To Stay In La Without A Car
Being a huge city, with large streets and driveways linking all the areas, Los Angeles is considered the car capital of the world. Getting around by car could be the easier choice, but what if during your holiday you dont want to stress about rentals, traffic jams, and parking? No worries, Los Angeles offers countless public transportation options to explore any corner of the city: metro, bus, tram youll be spoiled of choice! And if youre not a public transport person, Uber is working at every time of the day.
Anyways, there are some areas that offer better connections and hotels closer to the public transport stations than others, the perfect starting point to discover the citys main attractions or to reach other Californian cities like San Diego.
In Santa Monica and Hollywood for example, being very touristic areas, you will find bus stops in every corner, or you can get the subway and reach Downtown super easily. At the same time, also the main central areas like West Hollywood and Downtown are perfectly connected to the rest of the city.
Enough talking, lets check out the best hotels to stay in LA without a car, from where youll just have to do some steps to reach the bus/metro station:
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Best Hotel In West Hollywood: Grafton On Sunset
Grafton on Sunset is a luxurious and modern four-star hotel and one of my recommendations for West Hollywood as well as favorite places to stay in LA. It has a beautiful saltwater swimming pool, concierge service, and a great on-site restaurant and lounge. It is centrally located and ideal for exploring West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and beyond.
Things To See And Do In Hollywood
- Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- See the hand and footprints of your favourite stars at Graumans Chinese Theatre.
- Spend the day at Universal Studios where you can ride rollercoasters and step inside your favourite films and TV shows.
- Wander the iconic Hollywood Boulevard.
- See the final resting place of celebrities, like Judy Garland and Joey Ramone, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
- Spend a day at the exciting Warner Brothers Studios, where you can explore film sets and TV sets.
- Take a sightseeing bus around celebrity neighborhoods.
- Enjoy stunning views of the city from nearby Griffith Park, a great place for a hike.
- Tickle your taste buds with a famous In-N-Out burger.
- Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, a quirky and interesting museum.
- Catch a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign.
Weve tested countless packs over the years, and now weve found our absolute favourite: the nomad-approved Nomatic Travel Bag.
Want more deetz on why we love it so damn much? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!
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Where To Stay In Los Angeles: A Guide To 5 Amazing Areas
Despite living in San Francisco for nearly a decade between us, we had never really spent any significant time in Los Angeles until recently. On our last visit we spent over a week living in LA and exploring the citys many distinct neighborhoods. The sprawling city which is truly GIGANTIC has so much to offer, and theres a nearly unlimited number of areas to consider staying.
Picking where you stay will almost certainly play a huge role in shaping your LA experience are you spending time doing, seeing, and eating, or are you spending time in the car full of road rage at LAs crazy drivers? We put together this guide to help you decide where to stay in Los Angeles by narrowing down the options and giving you our take on what each area below has to offer.
Our best advice? Figure out what you want to do while you are staying in LA, and then pick a location near the majority of those attractions. This will save you hours of wasted time stuck in traffic.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that we dont stand behind 100%.
Los Angeles United States
Glitz and glamour is the name of the game in the unofficial capital of the US west coast. Head to the heart of Hollywood for your own brush with fame at Graumans Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame, shop in style on Rodeo Drive, ride the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier and experience the bohemian lifestyle on display at Venice Beach Boardwalk. Do some people watching at the Farmers Market, check out a gig at Hollywood Bowl, cruise along Mulholland Drive and head to the top of the Griffith Observatory to get among the stars of the celestial kind.
Things to do in Los Angeles
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private research university located in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. USC has historically educated a large number of the region’s business leaders and professionals. In recent decades, the university has also leveraged its location in Los Angeles to establish relationships with research and cultural institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. An engine for economic activity, USC contributes $8 billion annually to the economy of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and California.
Places to stay in Los Angeles
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Ucla Campus Where The Internet Was Born
Okay, I might be super biased cause Im a Bruin, but I do think UCLA is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the US! You can stroll around the campus, see how American college students go about their daily life and visit the room where the internet was born at 3420 Boelter Hall
PS: I was a Computer Science student and once spent a week straight, day and night, at Boelter Hall finishing my CS project. I have a love-hate relationship with that place.
UCLA was also used as a set for many Hollywood movies and TV Shows. Its been used to illustrate Harvard in Gilmore Girls and Legally Blonde, among many others. If that interests you, check out the full list of movies and TV shows filmed at UCLA.
Hollywood Where To Stay In Los Angeles For The First Time
Hollywood is definitely one of the BEST areas to stay in Los Angeles for people who are experiencing this city for the first time!
Why? Besides being extremely famous, Hollywood has something for everyone people watching, iconic attractions, incredible food places, and more!
Ah, the iconic sights in Hollywood! Where do I even start? From the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame to the picture-perfect Hollywood sign, from the well-known Graumans Chinese Theatre or the Universal Studios Hollywood to the scenic Hollywood Boulevard or Griffith Park youll find all these in this amazing district, and more!
Hollywood is very safe and its also FULL of amazing restaurants, cafes, pubs, and, of course, clubs for all tastes and budgets out there. Im sure you associate the word Hollywood with a luxurious lifestyle, but Ill let you know that, although super beautiful, this part of the city is not as glamorous as in the movies, and you might be surprised to find out that there are also some very good budget accommodations in this area!
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Public Transportation In La
I came from Singapore, where public transport is probably the best in the world. So I cant say I was impressed by public transport in LA, but in retrospect, its not too bad. Its still not the most comprehensive, but at least its not nearly non-existent like how it was when I lived here ten years ago!
Here is a quick rundown of the two types of services youd likely take as a tourist in LA:
- The LA Metro The metro is a transportation agency consisting of rails and buses. Their rail lines now take you from downtown LA to Santa Monica! This is something that didnt exist when I was in college.
- DASH Bus service LADOT s bus service that services mostly downtown. Free with the TAP card you use to ride the metro.
To use the above services, you need to get a TAP card online. If you have a smartphone, you can even just pay for the fares through the app instead of the physical card. Then, you can buy a 1-day, 7-day, or 30-day pass for unlimited rides if youre in LA for longer.
Seeing Los Angeles Without A Car: What You Need To Know
Heads up: some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you click and make a booking or purchase, Ill make a commission . I partner with companies I personally use and the $$ goes towards creating more awesome, free travel content.
When I announced I was visiting Los Angeles for the first time, all of my Californian friends insisted youll need to rent a car.
The reason for this is Los Angeles is a sprawling city with lots of neighbourhoods and suburbs, plus the public transport system isnt as efficient as somewhere like New York. Most people use a car to get around so its considered kind of weird to see Los Angeles without a car.
I have never driven on the other side of the road, and I wasnt sure I was ready to do it in LA traffic. You can get some good rental car deals from the airport so its fairly inexpensive, but I felt really anxious about navigating my way around LA.
Was I crazy to even try to get around LA without a car?
As it turns out, it was easier than I thought. I successfully spent 5 days staying at USA Hostels Hollywood and used a mixture of transportation methods to get around.
Here is how you can see Los Angeles without a car:
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Where To Eat/drink In West La
- C& O Trattoria Nice place for Italian dinner. The garlic balls are the best!
- In-N-Out You havent been to LA if you did not have In-N-Out!
- SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa Ive mentioned this in the DTLA portion, but there is also a branch in Santa Monica.
- Sushi Zo I used to go here for omakase dinner. Im glad they are still around and kicking!
- Sidecar Doughnuts My friend Kat brought me here and Im in love! I did not try the decadent maple bacon doughnut, but I quite enjoyed the Butter & Salt and the Huckleberry doughnuts.
- Afters Ice Cream Their milk and cereal ice cream is SO good
- Salt & Straw Ice Cream Portland-based ice cream that has opened a branch in Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Exploring Los Angeles Without A Car: Is It Possible
Exploring and living in Los Angeles without a car is possible. Although a car can offer the easiest and most reliable accessible way of getting around a large city, not having one wont prevent you from having an exciting trip. Below, weve compiled a list of the top tourist attractions you can explore without a car.
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Visiting Los Angeles Without A Car Is Possible
Enjoying the sights and sounds of Los Angeles without a car is completely possible. From public transportation to innovative rental car companies, youll have no trouble getting to your destinations.
Before you go, dont forget to book your hotel and attraction tickets through Tripster Los Angeles!
Bonus: Malibu And Long Beach
Not technically in Los Angeles proper, Malibu and Long Beach are worth adding to the discussion. Malibu is under 20 miles from Santa Monica along Highway 1. This section of road is incredibly scenic, making every trip towards LA one for the books. The town is a mix of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, combining beachfront vibes and exceptional luxury. Malibu is also romantic. Its seaside cliffs are home to some of the best sunsets. During the day, you can wander along the quieter beaches to Malibu Pier or explore the Malibu Creek State Park.
- VRBO: Beachfront Penthouse
25 miles south of LA, Long Beach is laden with great restaurants and a bunch of family-friendly activities. The beach itself is decent, but its the mix of price and activities that make Long Beach an attractive option. Among the fun things to see in town is the Queen Mary which has been in Long Beach since 1967. Travelers will also find the Aquarium of the Pacific, multiple art museums in the East Village Art District along with the beautiful Catalina Island. Importantly, Long Beach is a top spot for whale watching from November to March.
- VRBO: Oceanview Villa
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Where To Stay In Los Angeles For The First Time:
Whenever you visit a city for the first time, it can be hard to envision the size, the layout, and how long it takes to get from one side to the other. Los Angeles is a huge city, and unlike New York, it doesnt have an exceptional public transport system to cut through the citys often maddening traffic. With that said, Downtown LA provides the most amount of flexibility in terms of seeing other parts of Los Angeles. If you want to do nothing but chase city highlights for multiple days, then Hollywood is the place to go. Likewise, for the sun and ocean, Santa Monica is calling your name.
Here’s How To Explore La Without A Car
Despite Los Angelesâs car-centric reputation, plenty of people do, in fact, walk in L.A. Bicycling and hitting the trails in the surrounding hills are a great way to see the sights, as Bikes and Hikes LA tour guide Elizabeth Conway explains on the California Now Podcast.
Sealed up in a car, you remain more isolated from this dynamic metropolis. But by bicycling and hiking, Conway says residents and visitors can more intimately experience L.A. âYou are right there. Youâre seeing the city, youâre smelling the cityâ¦youâre riding alongside the ocean, youâve got the salt and the sea breeze in your hair.â
Conway offers insights into four Bikes and Hikes LA tours, each with its own personality and focus.
1. Wake Up in Runyon Canyon
The early morning Hollywood Hills Hike explores Runyon Canyon, a natural area just blocks from the heart of Hollywood thatâs popular with celebs and fitness buffs. The three-mile, 90-minute trek takes in panoramic views of the city and spectacular hillside homesâthough youâll work for it. âYouâre definitely going to break a sweat,â says Conway. âYouâre going to get a good workout and youâre going to feel it the next day.â
2. Head to the Hollywood Sign
3. Tour de L.A.
4. Star Search
To hear more of Conwayâs insights into exploring Los Angeles without a car, listen to the latest episode of the California Now Podcast.
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