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When looking for a Los Angeles hotel, convenience is key. If you plan on spending most of your visit in Hollywood, you don’t want to stay at a hotel near Los Angeles airport. Thanks to infamous L.A. traffic, it could take well over 45 minutes by car just to get to the area you wish to explore. In other words, pick a neighborhood in L.A. you are targeting for your trip based on your interest and budget, and then look for nearby L.A. hotels.
As you might expect, you will find luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and downtown, if you wish to be lodging like the rich and famous. In Hollywood and West Hollywood you’ll find more diverse options ranging from economy motels to boutique hotels to five-star hotels in Los Angeles. If it’s the beach you’re after, you’ll find some of that same diversity in Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice. Here you find anything from waterfront hotels to budget motels within walking distance or a short cab ride to the beach. If you stay at a Los Angeles hotel or resort that is further inland, such as in the valley, note that getting from one side of Los Angeles to another takes much longer in a car than many U.S. cities because of traffic and how sprawling the city is.
Travelers going to the City of Angels can find cheap flights to Los Angeles here on Expedia.com. Most flights fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is located west of downtown Los Angeles near the beach and within 10 miles of most major points of interest. However, there are also nearby airports including Ontario International Airport, which is east of Los Angeles, and John Wayne Airport, which is south of L.A. in the northern part of Orange County. No matter which airport you’re flying in and out of, there are shuttles and taxis serving all these airports 24-7, that can take you to your hotel in Los Angeles
L.A.’s location in Southern California also makes it convenient to access it from major cities by car, including Las Vegas, Anaheim, Palm Springs, and San Diego. Cities like San Francisco, Sacramento, Napa, and Sonoma are a little further out, but can still get you to L.A. in a few additional hours. Los Angeles travelers who prefer the scenic route and don’t mind slow travel, can take advantage of the nearby train and bus stations allowing for relaxed travels between Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco, and beyond. Cruises from Los Angeles run year-round.
Because Los Angeles is so spread out, it isn’t as accessible by foot, unless you plan on spending most of your time in one location, such as Hollywood or downtown Los Angeles. Contrary to popular belief, the city has an extensive public transportation system which includes buses, light rail, and subway. The metro has lines that serve the Fernando Valley, Culver City, downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Pasadena, and East Los Angeles. The metro bus system has nearly 200 different bus lines.
For those travelers who want a little more flexibility, consider booking an affordable car rental in Los Angeles. Los Angeles hotels offer parking, many of which are free of charge and take the hassle out of getting around. When parking around Los Angeles, be sure to watch the street signs, as some neighborhoods only allow parking for residents with permits.Also watch for parking areas getting closed off during certain hours for street cleaning. If, however, you’ll be using a taxi, call the front desk of your Los Angeles hotel and they’ll call a cab for you.
Things to Do
With the grandiose Hollywood sign staring down at you no matter where you are in L.A., it’s really hard to visit Los Angeles and not to visit Hollywood. As crowded as it may get, especially on the weekends, a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard is a must-do. Convenient to many Los Angeles hotels, Hollywood Boulevard is home to many of the city’s most iconic attractions, including Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dolby Theatre, and views of the Hollywood sign always leaving you with things to do in L.A.. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see one of your favorite celebs, or at least maybe a celeb look-alike.
For a can’t-miss beachfront activity, head west to the Santa Monica Pier. The 100-year-old landmark is a California icon, offering something for every type of traveler, from adults want to try their hand at fishing at the end of the pier to kids who want to ride the ferris wheel to couples who want to see one of the legendary sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Venice Beach, Abbot Kinney, the Third Street Promenade, and many other popular attractions are also nearby.
To see where the magic happens in Hollywood, you’ll have to go behind the scenes on a studio tour. Choose from places such as Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal, or Sony. Most tours will pick you up from your hotel in Los Angeles. Other Hollywood-esque tours take you on a tour of your favorite celebs’ homes or to prominent filming locations.
For a break from all things Hollywood, head to the hills to Griffith Park Observatory in Griffith Park, which features a planetarium, numerous exhibits (including a Tesla Coil), and beautiful views of Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and the Pacific Ocean.
While there is plenty of shopping in Hollywood, some of the best can be found at The Grove and Farmer's Market, an outdoor marketplace home to restaurants, shops, bars, and a movie theater.
Culture and museum lovers should make it a point to visit the Getty Center. Located in West Los Angeles, it features beautiful architecture, gardens, and stunning views of Los Angeles. The museum is home to an impressive collection of artwork that includes the work of Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. Visit later in the day and you’ll likely be treated to a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
While the La Brea Tar Pits points to a history that dates back thousands of years, urban Los Angeles dates back to the mid-1800s. While L.A.’s population in the early 1840s was no more than a couple hundred people, the discovery of gold started to put Los Angeles on the map in 1842. However, it wasn’t until a few years later, in 1848, that Mexico ceded California to the U.S., near the height of the Gold Rush. It was in the late-1800s that travel to L.A. was made more convenient, with the first rail links, trolley line, and streetcar.
By the early to mid-1900s, Los Angeles was a boom town, considered an industrial and financial powerhouse. This was aided in large part to the film industry. By 1920, 80% of the world’s films were being shot in California. The next decade saw Los Angeles’ population top one million and the opening of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which has grown to be the world’s busiest airport in point-to-point passenger traffic and fifth busiest overall. With the continued growth of Hollywood, beautiful weather year-round, and plethora of beautiful beaches, Los Angeles will only continue to grow and attract travelers from around the world.
Arts & Entertainment
Los Angeles is something of a Mecca of the arts and entertainment, delivering entertainment to theater screens and people’s televisions for decades. Beyond television and movies, L.A. has a thriving music scene, including some of the most notable music venues in the U.S., the Greek Theatre, a 5,870-seat outdoor theatre at Griffith Park, and the Hollywood Bowl, a 17,376-seat amphitheater in Hollywood, both of which feature some of the world’s best musicians. If you prefer stage shows, then you’ll find Broadway shows taking the stage at venues like Pantages Theater, a renowned art deco theater that dates back to 1930.
L.A. has plenty to choose from for the art and museum lover. A number of galleries and museums, many of which are convenient to L.A. hotels are located on Museum Row on the Miracle Mile, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest art museum in the Western U.S. with over 1,000 works), Craft and Folk Art Museum, and the Architecture and Design Museum. Other notable museums include the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Getty Center.
There are few U.S. cities that compare to Los Angeles, with each of the major sports being represented, with the exception of the NFL. L.A. has long had pride in their Dodgers, formerly of Brooklyn, but calling the City of Angels home since 1958. Convenient to Hollywood and downtown L.A. hotels, Dodger Stadium is the third oldest MLB stadium, after Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. After the Dodgers came to town, NBA’s Lakers soon followed, becoming one of the most successful teams, holding numerous NBA records.
Unique to Los Angeles is that it is home to two NBA teams. The Los Angeles Clippers have called L.A. home since 1984. While they haven’t had the same success as the Lakers, you saw them win their first division championship in 2013. We’d be remiss, however, not to also mention the city’s other championship professional sports teams, NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the L.A. Galaxy of the MLS. Both have won the respective titles of their leagues. The Kings, Lakers, and Clippers can all be seen at the Staples Center, which is walkable from many downtown Los Angeles hotels.
What’s great about Los Angeles nightlife: if there is an experience you want to have, then you can have it. Dive bar, check. Speakeasy, check. Burlesque show, check. Comedy club, check. Swanky lounge at a Los Angeles hotel, check. You’ll find a bit of everything in Los Angeles, with many of the popular neighborhoods, like Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and downtown Los Angeles, having just about every type of nightlife you can think of, ranging from dance clubs to dive bars to cocktail lounges and more.
While nearby San Diego has made a name for itself because of its craft brews, you can see a rise in craft beer establishing a presence in Los Angeles, too. Visit brewpubs to sample local beers at the birthplace all around Los Angeles. The craft cocktail lover will find a slew of options in downtown Los Angeles, from speakeasies to whiskey-only bars. West Hollywood caters to every taste, from the Surly Goat, featuring a long, ever-changing menu of craft beers, to The Hudson, part craft cocktail bar and part eatery.
With thousands of restaurants in Los Angeles, there’s no reason for you to go hungry. If there’s a cuisine you all of a sudden get a hankering for, you’ll find it in L.A., be it Mexican, Korean, Thai, Italian, and much more. With its proximity to Mexico, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that L.A. is home to great Mexican, be it street tacos or a California burrito. Taco stands and food trucks can be found throughout out the city, if you want something on the go, although there are plenty of sit-down restaurants to choose from as well.
Unique to Los Angeles are the different international neighborhoods, where you can find plenty of exceptional food from a region that you can’t just find in any U.S. metro. This includes Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Toyko, and Thai Town, just to name a few. Travelers to Los Angeles can find many celebrity chef restaurants, including several by Wolfgang Puck, and The Bazaar, located at the SLS Los Angeles hotel. If you’re having trouble deciding on a single cuisine, relay on a plethora of buffet restaurants located around Los Angeles to decide for you.
Treating yourself to shopping is the icing on the cake of a Los Angeles vacation package. As you might expect, Los Angeles offers every shopping experience you could ever want, from outlet shopping at the Citadel Outlets (which actually looks like a Citadel) to high-end boutique shops in Beverly Hills to upscale complexes like the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica to independent retailers on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
For the jet-setting traveler, it’s hard to find a more iconic shopping experience than the palm-lined streets of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Here you’ll find more than 100 shops, such as Gucci, Brooks Brothers, Celine, and Guess, to name a few. There are several multi-faceted complexes in Los Angeles, such as the Third Street Promenade and The Grove, which feature everything from upscale shops like Barneys New York, to movie theaters and multiple restaurants. There are also more traditional types of shopping centers, such as Westfield Century City Mall and Beverly Center, both of which are home to about 150 stores. Best of all, most of these shopping areas are convenient to hotels in Los Angeles.
Personalities & Culture
One of the many unique things is that because Los Angeles is so spread out, it features so many different personalities. While it’s made a name for itself because of Hollywood, you can really be anyone and anything you want to be. While Beverly Hills and Hollywood can be more chic, you’ll find many downtown Los Angeles locales to be more cozy, while the beach cities are more laid-back. Consider your personality and style when choosing what parts of Los Angeles you’ll be staying in.
Los Angeles has long had a reputation as a city where renting a car is necessary for getting around since it’s so spread out. However, getting around Los Angeles by car also means you’ll have to plan around traffic and parking. Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles is one of the most walkable cities in the U.S., ranked #13 by Walk Score in 2013. Visitors who intend on spending most of their time between downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and West Hollywood, may consider using the Los Angeles Metro rail system, which serves multiple Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Pet Friendly Travel Basics
Thinking of bringing Fido along on your trip? You’re in the right city for it. Los Angeles is a very pet friendly city, especially since many of the large pet friendly outdoor areas, such as Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park, are within walking distance of multiple Los Angeles hotels. Many hotels are accommodating to pets, though before bringing your pet, check your hotel’s pet fees and restrictions, since most pet friendly hotels in Los Angeles don’t accept pets over 50 lbs. Many restaurants in town are also accepting of your four-legged companion. With comfortable weather year-round, it’s never a bad time to sit on a restaurant patio with your canine.
There are few U.S. cities that you’ll find the weather as agreeable as it is in L.A. Cold weather and rain showers are few and far between. However, you’ll still want to pack a light jacket, especially if you’re by the beach come sunset or late at night. The winter months can get cooler, so you’ll want to make sure that you pack more than just shorts and flip flops. Make sure to have at least a pair of jeans and closed-toed shoes for when those rare cooler days strike.