I was hoping that someone might be abe to give me some advice.
I'm going to be in LA for about 8 days (also doing other areas in USA, but LA is our first stop).
Where is good to stay? Any hostels better than others etc. I thought that it might be best to stay somewhere near the nightlife to save trying to get transport at night - so would that be west hollywood? Everyone is saying that it is so hard to get around LA - and we won't have a car. Is it really that difficult to travel from Hollywood to Venice etc and generally just getting around the place. How far apart are the different areas?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Getting around LA is not that easy since the public transportation there is not much to talk of. You might want to rent a car during your stay there since it is a fairly spread out city. As far as hostel recommendations, one of my friends recently stayed at an awesome hostel in Santa Monica. I will try and get the name for you sometime today.
I heard Hostelling International in Santa MOnica is a really nice hostel. CHeck out this link:
and search for the Santa MOnica hostel. Hope this helps.
I have to disagree with Pranav - the public transport in LA is very good, and very cheap. A dollar a ride or $6 for a day ticket when I was there about 3 yrs ago. So unless it's been cut dramatically, it should be fine.
And it's a big however. LA is HUGE.
I travelled from Disneyland (southeast) to the airport (west).
The transport system was fine, but it took me 8 hours to get there and back. My own fault for underestimating the distance and time involved.
So yes, base yourself where you want to be and minimise use of public transport - but not because it's poor!
Thanks for the replies! I'll check it out.
Just back to the public transport issue - how far for example would it take to get from West Hollywood to Santa Monica by public transport and by a cab (cost of cab?)
I'm from Sacramento, CA and have visited LA a lot over the last five years. I moved down here at the new year and have become very geographically aware down here...you have to be to succeed.
I have to agree Pranav and disagree with Stevie...the public transportation is not that good at all. Cabs are everywhere but the subway is complicated and inconvenient. You're not going to find any good transportation from downtown to Venice/Santa Monica, etc. If you want to get from Hollywood to SM a cab is less than 20 bucks if you go at the right time- the problem is when the right time is. Local (meaning the streets) can be a better bet than freeways (10, 405, 5 and 101) at times, but then sometimes the freeways are empty, but they could be out of the way.
Familiarize yourself with those freeways, as they pretty much form a circle around LA, and use www.sigalert.com. You can find realtime traffic updates (it's a map of the freeways with colored dots at each exit indicating the present speed of traffic) and it's very very useful when determining which route to take.
So....West HW to SaMo would be like 20 minutes at night (since rush hour can go until 8:00 pm) but could take 45 in the middle of the day.
Good luck! Let me know when you're here if you need some transportation!
I have lived in LA for 8 years, and I am the first to say, that the public transportation is pretty much non-existent! Buses do run and are efficient if you are patient to look up the schedule and figure it out. I do know for sure they run from West HOllywood to Santa monica, (look up Big Blue Bus while in LA) and that would be your cheapest way, but a cab will cost you an easy 20 bucks one way, so 40 rt. Subways are minimal and they only run in hollywood to downtown. Best bet, get a deal on a rent a car, and then you wont have to worry about it. Stay at the Santa Monica hostel for sure, its in a great area and a cool neighborhood- in fact, this area you can spenda lot of time as it neighbors with Venice and out of all of LA this I think is the best area for young people- it has a really cool vibe, the people are very friendly, and there is a ton to do. Check out main street in Santa Monica/Venice and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and sights near the beach here.
While you are in LA though, stay in the Hollywood hostel on Hollywood Blvd for a night or two and get the touristy sights out of the way- most of them you can walk to from that hostel, like the Hollywood and highland center, and Mann Chinese theatre, walk of fame, trendy nightclubs, etc.. there is also a subway stop right across the street which can take you to other places in hollywood or universal studios if you are interested in that. There is not much to do in downtown LA, but the red line runs there as well.
Hope this helps!