Hey Everyone ,
Im heading to LA mid december for 4 nights and after doing some research im still unsure which area is a best base to explore the city , i would like to do the usual things like the walk of fame , hollywood sign , Universal Studois and City tours , i have been looking at Santa Monica as a potential base , was just wondering if anyone could give some advice or any recommendations of best areas or hostels to go for .
Really any place on the west side of town would be good. Normally the places on or near the beach will be pricier. Santa Monica is an excellent choice, but you'll find cheaper lodgings in places like Hollywood or Culver City. Westwood (home of Univ. Calif. at LA) is an excellent location but not inexpensive. If you love the beach, I'd suggest going a little south (south of the airport) to the Manhattan Beach-Hermosa-Redondo area - this is the home of the Olympic beach volleyball champs - you might see them practice - also a good place for swinging singles/college kids. LA is so spread out, you'll find out that most of your day will be spent in your rental car (good place to rent a hybrid). One of my all time favorites is the old Farmer's Market located next to CBS TV at Third & Fairfax in W. Hollywood.
Venice beach is alot of fun. They have a drum circle that's very entertaining. I think it will be a memorable place to see.
Rent a car and drive all the way down Sunset Blvd. It's a great way to see the huge and ever-changing landscape of LA. Sunset starts near downtown LA, and will take you through some really unique districts (Echo Park, Silver Lake, Hollywood, West Hollywood (home of the famous "Sunset Strip"), Beverly Hills, Westwood, Palisades). If you stay on Sunset, it will take you all the way out to the beaches in Malibu Enjoy your trip!
Daawgon gives a good summary. You also need to be aware that LA is very spread out, so it will take some time getting from place to place. For this reason, don't be afraid to spend one night in one town, and one night in another--for example, when you plan to see Universal Studios and Hollywood, stay near Studio City or Burbank or North Hollywood.
When you plan to visit the west side and the La Brea tar pits or Getty Museum, try either Venice Beach or Santa Monica or Westwood or Culver City.
When you plan to visit Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm, stay in Anaheim or Buena Park, or Huntington Beach or Newport Beach or Irvine.
If you plan to visit Huntington Library (in San Marino), stay in Pasadena.
I'd suggest one night in each of these places--but to do so, you'll have to either get a rental car or take the Blue Line transit system.