Where to stay around Los Angeles, CA?

Where to stay around Los Angeles, CA?

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Okay, let’s get organized. Papi has it right. There is no way to advise you as to the location for your hotel or if you’ll need a car until you come up with an itinerary. That’s not to say that you need to give us the name of every attraction you plan to visit but it DOES mean that we need to have an idea of the neighborhoods/districts that you’ll be visiting.

L.A. is vast but what you might not be aware of is that, often, visitors to our city visit neighboring cities and counties as part of their vacation. For example, Disneyland is a popular tourist destination but it is not in the city of Los Angeles — nor is it even in the same county as Los Angeles. It’s in the city of Anaheim which is about an hour from Los Angeles by car. By the time you queue up to park at Disneyland and make your way from your car to the entrance to the Park, it’s more like 90 minutes from the city of Los Angeles. Interestingly, the transfer via public transit between Los Angeles to Disneyland is also 90 minutes, proving that so many of the claims that you’ll see on this Forum that using public transit takes 2 or 3 times as long as using public transit just aren’t true. (More on this below).

Here’s a map of the immediate Los Angeles metro area which shows the major neighborhoods and nearby cities as well as some landmarks. The Pacific Ocean (not shown) runs along the western edge of the map; the ports (San Pedro and Long Beach) are off the lower right-hand corner of the map and Anaheim (Disneyland) is also off this corner (further south than the ports):


As you can see, LAX is at the 6 o’clock position; Santa Monica (a major beach community, just outside of the city of Los Angeles) is at the 9 o’clock position, our downtown is at the 3 o’clock position and Universal City (home to Universal Studios) is at high noon. The city of Beverly Hills is the most centrally-located district in the immediate metro area but it’s very expensive.

It helps a lot if you look over our FAQs section (the first link in our list of topics). You need a computer so see it (not a mobile device). Without a computer, use this shortcut:


This content includes a lot of useful info, e.g. ‘Itinerary Ideas’, public transit info’, tips on picking the perfect hotel, places to go for more info about L.A., etc, etc.

Do look these areas over and, perhaps, make a new posting with specific questions about what you read about. Asking ‘where should we stay’ and ‘what should we do’ is an exercise in frustration because we don’t know what interests you and there are hundreds and hundreds of attractions in our metro area (big and small, famous and not-so-famous) so we can’t begin to know which ones might interest you.

Here’s a list of the top 300+ attractions. (link and SCROLL DOWN for the list)


Click on the name of the attraction for a brief description and look over the traveler reviews for each. If you find some that interest you, ask us about them and perhaps, we can assist in putting together a practical itinerary after which we can help you pick a neighborhood for a hotel, help you decide upon a car, etc.

So, let’s talk a little bit about driving in Los Angeles. As someone who drives AND uses public transit, I have a pretty good idea about how public transit works in L.A. I live in West Hollywood (see map) which is a fairly central area (popular with visitors).

The notion that you’ll spend hours and hours on buses if you don’t have a car and that, if you do have a car, you’ll be zipping from place to place in just a few minutes is just silly. Yes, buses go more slowly than cars do but there are many factors to consider:

Our RAPID buses (painted red) stop very infrequently so it’s very close to driving in terms of transfer speed. Add to that, when you arrive at your destination by bus, YOU’RE THERE but when you drive to a location, you have to find parking. Entering a car park, driving up the ramps, looking for a space, finding your way to the elevator/lift, and walking to an attraction can take 15 to 30 minutes. (The last time I visited Santa Monica by car, it took 25 minutes from the time I entered the car park behind a large queue of other drivers until I reached my final destination. Upon retrieving my car, it took the same amount of time (25 minutes) because, in Santa Monica, you don’t pre-pay, so you queue up to scan your ticket to see how much you owe.

Those who are in favor of driving never mention the time it takes to park and unpark (at your hotel, as well). They also don’t mention the time it takes to get the car from the car rental office, the time it takes to refuel it (perhaps, more than once) and the time it takes to return it to the car rental office and then WAIT FOR and ride the tram back to the airport.

Another factor to consider is that metro RAIL is UNCONDITIONALLY faster than driving. So, for example, if you stayed in Hollywood and transferred to the center of downtown, you could do that on the red line in 15 minutes. The alternative, driving on the Hollywood Freeway, is an experience that can take twice as long — or longer (plus the time it takes to park in downtown L.A. — which is expensive and time-consuming since the car parks are underground and are often immense).

Lastly, Los Angelenos, especially those that were born here, are accustomed to driving so the thought of using public transit is a ‘step down’ for most people. To me, (I grew up in New York where almost no one had a car), using public transit is great in many instances because you’re free to sightsee and you don’t have to hassle with parking. (Another hassle associated with renting a car is that if you explore an area — like Santa Monica which is somewhat spread out — you need to transfer back ‘to get the car’ at the end of your day of touring. If you’re using public transit, you only need to get onto the bus that’s closest to your last tourist destination and you’re on your way back to your hotel. Easy!)

So, do some research, decide upon a rough itinerary and re-post with questions. One last thing….

Another favorite scare tactic on this Forum is to tell you that if you stay inland (away from the coast) during September that the heat (climate) will be unbearable. Posters will paint a picture of people like myself, on our hands and knees, exhausted, dragging ourselves through the street, begging for water — while those in Santa Monica are singing and dancing in the streets.

Let me clarify this for you. Yes, there are days in September in which the temperature can get into the 90s in central L.A. On those days (which are relatively rare), temps at the beach are usually 10 (or more) degrees cooler. But, these ‘hot days’ aren’t every day and the worst of the heat is in the early to mid-afternoon (before and after that, it is cooler).

More importantly, the only time it’s important to compare the temperatures AT HOTELS in 2 different neighborhoods is if you plan to laze by the pool or at a nearby cafe midday. If, on the other hand, you’ll be out touring throughout the metro area, it’s not important at all how hot the neighborhood is AT YOUR HOTEL. All hotels are air conditioned and all buses and rental cars are as well. So, for example, if you visit Universal Studios (which is in one of the hottest (temperature-wise) areas in L.A., it will be just as hot at Universal if you’re staying in Santa Monica as it will be if you’re staying in Hollywood.

Happy Searching

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