Im starting off a trip from LA to NYC during the last part of my RTW trip. However before it starts I have 3 days to spare in LA. Im guessing funds will be pretty low at this point but I still want to see the sights etc.
Im flying in to LAX airport but want to stay as central as possible to the main sights Sunset Boulevard, Graumans Chhinese Theatre etc. Does anyone know of a good hostel/ cheap hotel motel to stay in around these areas? Also I have heard that public transport isnt that good to get around with so Im wondering if its worth hiring a car? Has anyone ever done this? and can you recommend a good place to hire from or let me know of the prices?
LA is a bad place to go when funds are low (NYC even worse)! Staying in the Hollywood-Beverly Hills area you'd probably need a motel unless you'd want some fleabag place. YOU DO NOT WANT TO RENT A CAR IN LA - first timers should not attempt LA Freeways! Are you going solo? I would suggest changing your itinerary to San Francisco instead - seriously!
Im starting my Grand Northern Tour with STA travel in LA. I fly into LA 3 days early before the tour starts so I have a few spare days there. By the time Im on the tour my accomodation etc will be paid for including in NYC. Im not planning on going anywhere other than the main tourist areas and would just like to know if it would be better renting a car to get around for the few days or using public transport, but I have heard its not very good and taxis are expensive. Im looking to spend at the most 50 GPB per night on accomodation.
Rent a car and drive yourself. Go north to the Santa Monica area or south to the Huntington Beach area for a couple of days.
If you've driven in London and other large UK cities, you can drive in L.A. The only people who I advise not to rent a car here are the elderly or anyone who is used to driving only in rural areas. If you're looking for deals, talk to a travel agent in the U.K., they can sometimes find great pre-paid rental car deals that aren't available when you get here. Or look at local rent-a-car agencies like Fox or Advantage.
As for lodging, some of my favorite cheap hotels are in Culver City, which is a hip, growing community on the Westside close to lots of attractions. There's an inexpensive Four Points Sheraton there and a good Best Western.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
I haven't been to LA, but the HI hostel in Santa Monica is supposed to be good.
For most visitors, the Santa Monica area offers what they need: A good beach, lots of restaurants, a reasonably safe environment, easy access to sightseeing, good public transportation, a fine hostel, lots of hotels in most price ranges, and—best of all—a laid back, pleasant, and uplifting environment. This may suit to you also. Local transport is good but hiring a cab from the nearby local agency is definitely a better option.
Yes, I know my first response was short--but you need to understand that Hollywood is not the upbeat, great place it is advertised as in all the literature and TV shows--in fact, it is one of the most run-down places in the LA area (along with the areas just a short ways south of town). You will enjoy your trip much more (especially if you need to get from place to place) if you stay closer to the beaches on the west or southern section of town.
Once you get just west of Hollywood, and west of West Hollywood, then the areas start to get better--first there is Beverly Hills, then Westwood, then Santa Monica.
Same with heading south--get way south down by Long Beach, and then the areas start getting good--as you head on down to Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach. Just north of Huntington Beach a short ways is Buena Park (home to Knotts Berry Farm) and Anaheim (home to Disneyland).
But people just don't understand the difficulty in navigating LA. The city is over 50 miles (90 kilometers) long--and there is essentially no public transportation system worth anything. Also, unlike most cities in the US, the stuff that a tourist would want to see is not located in one area, but rather is also spread all over the 90 kilometer by 90 kilometer area-and the roads are perpetually jamed. It would be like saying you are going to visit London and while still in London you want to visit Stonehenge, Warwick Castle, Cambridge University, the cliffs at Dover, the Roman Baths at Bath, and take in a game in Portsmouth, while not realizing that there are no trains (and very few buses) in the area that could get you to any of the places you wanted to go (unlike in the UK).
You could essentially spend your entire trip (some say your entire life) in your car just trying to get from one tourist attraction to another. That is why Daawgon (and I) suggest you consider San Francisco instead--or else just go to the places we've mentioned.
P.S. I lived in LA for the first 30 years of my life--and have lived about an hour south of SF for the past 10 years--so I know both areas very well. When one lives in Los Angeles--like I did, one has to take in account how far away things are even when planning what we wanted to do for the weekend. For example, I would never plan on going to somewhere on the far side of town for the day unless I was willing to leave at 6 or 7 AM so that the whole day wasn't used up just in getting there and back. Los Angeles is actually a nice place to live because of all the things you can go see and do--but it is a difficult place to visit because of how spread out these things are.
Write me if you have any particular questions about these areas.
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Feb-2009, at 17:05 by Calcruzer ]