A Local’s Insight On How To Find Accommodations In LaLa Land
When my sister and her friends came to California for their first visit to Los Angeles, they had booked a room in what they told me was El Segundo, a kind of Mayberry R.F.D., little town just south of the airport, one that’s also becoming an up-and-coming lively spot in L.A.
Instead, they wound up on busy Century Blvd., a mile east of the airport in a “borderline” area, one where a walk to a strip club was a lot closer than one to a brewpub. Needless to say, they got it wrong when they booked a hotel room in L.A.
So many people travel to Los Angeles who have never been here before that it’s hard to know where to say when you are visiting this city. Well I’m here to help and I’ll get straight to the point.
Two things to know first.
Getting Around Los Angeles – Rent A Car
1.) Los Angeles Is A Spread Out City
It’s interesting to note that locals like to claim “there is no Los Angeles.” By that, they mean the city is actually divided up into 86 separate communities (Hollywood is one, for example, Beverly HIlls is another). The distances are often huge from one area to the next and the traffic is usually fierce. Which leads me to my next point.
2.) There Is Little Public Transportation
So You’ll Need A Car. About all you need to know about the mentality and functionality of LA’s public transit system is that the Metro train stops a mile short of the airport. And they are building another line that, you guessed it, stops a mile short of the airport. Getting around by public transportation in Los Angeles is a frustrating endeavor and often involves several buses, the train and walking. So if you plan on being mobile, you’ll need to rent a car.
Tips On Where To Stay In Los Angeles
1.) Stay Close To Where You Have Business Or Want To Visit
The best advice I have is to get a hotel room close to where you are going to be during your stay. That way you don’t have to worry about traffic or other LA transportation hassles. Such as parking. If you want to be downtown, stay downtown. Same with Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, or wherever.
If you can walk, great! The weather is sensational – the sun shines an average of 365 days a year – and many areas have lots of shops, restaurants and other businesses to keep y9u mentally occupied as you walk.
2.) Change Hotels As You Change Where Want To Be In L.A.
This may seem like a hassle but trust me, it’s better this way. If you want to spend two days in Hollywood, two in Santa Monica and then hang out where I live in the lcoals’-heavy South Bay Beach Cities (Hermosa, Manhattan & Redondo Beach), get a hotel in each of those cities. Yes, you have to change hotels every couple of days but you’re right there and don’t have to put up with all the aforementioned hassles of driving or trying to figure out and use LA’s confusing public transportation system.
The latter being said, the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica is an exception to the bad public transportation rule and in the South Bay, the white Beach Cities Transit bus goes through all three towns for just a buck.
3.) Avoid The Bad Areas Of L.A.
Like many places, there are “fringe” areas that are best avoided while in L.A. Some are just dirty with nothing around them – like where my sister stayed on Century Blvd. – while others are unsafe.
To avoid the bad places and find the good ones, here’s a quick guide. Downtown LA is bustling but stay within the main commercial area around Staples Center. Certain parts of Hollywood are seedy; avoid the cheap motels. Even Redondo Beach has some petty bad cheap motels near the pier (which, quite frankly, is ready to collapse). Venice Beach has a lot of run-down areas; it’s better to stay in neighboring Marina del Rey or Santa Monica.
So there you have it; take this advice to maximize and enjoy your time in LaLa Land.
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