So, you've decided to visit Los Angeles. Great choice! The City of Angels has something for every kind of traveler. Museums, beaches, food, and so much more. If you plan correctly, LA can be one of the most amazing places in the world to visit. And if you don't plan correctly... you may spend more time trying to get around LA than you will enjoying it. This post will tackle 2 big items: Traffic and where to stay.
Let's start with the LA traffic. It's bad. End of story. You've heard about it before and there's a reason why. People in LA spend multiple days of their lives per year in their cars and it is seen as a way of life here. But, you can do some things to help mitigate the amount of time you spend in a car!
Always Plan Ahead. Check where you are going the day before and think about what time you are planning on driving across LA. Avoid the afternoon rush hour that can start around 3pm and lasts until about 7pm. Use the smart map features like Google traffic prediction to show you what traffic may be like when you want to drive!
Get there early. Always good advice, but you don't want to miss an event in LA because of traffic. Say you have a Haunted Hollywood tour at 6pm, you could get there a couple of hours early and grab a meal or visit one of the local landmarks. You would avoid the worst of the evening traffic and there's always enough to do in LA that you can kill some time before your tour or event! If you want advice for what to do in a certain area, you can always ask us for a recommendation.
Group events by neighborhood. Before you come to LA, look up the events you want to do on a map and see which ones are close together! Try and see Warner Bros and the Griffith Observatory on the same day since they are fairly close together. Don't try and and see the Getty Center on the same day that you plan to see downtown. Los Angeles is absolutely giant and you don't want to drive across the city more times than you need to.
Take the Metro. LA has a train system that connects many major areas to downtown Los Angeles. It may be a significantly faster option that driving, depending on the time of day. There is also an expansive bus system that can get you around LA. Use this website to help plan your metro trip: https://www.metro.net/riding/trip-planner/
Where to stay in Los Angeles? Los Angeles has a number of different areas that you may want to consider staying in while visiting. The area you choose is dependent on a variety of different factors.
Beaches. If the beaches are your primary concern, you have several great options. Santa Monica has the world famous Santa Monica pier and it is close to Venice beach. If you want to stay bit closer to the airport, maybe try Marina del Rey. Malibu is great if you don't plan on going into LA often, it is a bit further out.
Nightlife. You came to LA to visit some of our most famous clubs and restaurants. The Sunset Strip is home to many high end hotels, celebrity bars, music venues, and comedy clubs. It is also one of the pricier areas to go out in LA! Hollywood also has a range of great nightlife, from celebrity bars to gangster era speakeasies. Downtown is known for its bar and restaurant scene, but it is not as glamourous as the Strip or Beverly Hills. Speaking of which...
Celebrities. If you want to increase your odds of spotting a celeb, you can't go wrong with Beverly Hills or the Sunset Strip. Malibu could be a good spot too.
Culture. Food, museums, history! Downtown LA is full of great museums, historic buildings, and some incredible restaurants. West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are close to the Miracle Mile, where you can find the La Brea Tar Pits, Petersen Automotive Museum, LA County Museum of Art, and more.
Rental or Metro. If you plan to drive, you can stay just about anywhere. But, if you want to avoid the stress of driving and the high cost of California rentals and gas, you could use the LA Metro. Downtown is where you will have the most train access. You can get to most of the popular LA landmarks (or close to) using our trains. Hollywood also has a couple train stations along the Walk of Fame and one near Universal Studios.
Family vs. Solo. Families may want to consider staying near Santa Monica for the pier and beaches or Hollywood to be near Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Remember that Disneyland is all the way in Orange County!
Switch hotels. Some of the happiest LA travelers that I've ever met, stayed in multiple hotels or locations. Take a couple days in Malibu to be by the beach, then stay in downtown for all the history and better access to landmarks like the Griffith Observatory. This could be a good option if you have a trip that is 5+ days long.
If you carefully consider these two points, you'll save yourself a lot of headache and time when you visit. Remember, you can always contact us with any LA questions! See LA in a Day is here to help with your upcoming trip to Los Angeles. We know you'll fall in love with LA just like we have.