Theresa Kinsch, Köln, DEU, about 2 months ago
Hey everybody :)
I am Theresa from Germany. I will travel the west coast in July. And I am looking for a good opportunity to see the cities. E.g. L.A. I want to see how much as I can in 3 days. So maybe it is the best to rent a bike? To rent a car is no option.
Maybe I can find a host/friend also.
I am happy to hear from you :)
beer empire greetings from Germany! :)
Lucy Sivov , Altadena, USA, about 2 months ago
First off, kudos to Greg for such a great description AND such a great offer with his bicycle.
By now you've read lots of replies and may be confused why it's so difficult to get around LA.
So let me clarify. When locals speak of "LA" they mean ALL of "LA County" not just downtown LA (DTLA).
By car, to get from one end of LA County to the other it's minimum 3.5 hours! So how could you do that by bicycle, especially in just 3 days.? Not possible.
It's nearly impossible to see all of LA in just 3 days even if you had a car. The traffic here is miserable so getting around can be very slow.
So your next option is to pick only 1-3 cities within LA County and visit one per day but as they're spread out you'll either need to hop a bus (often that's a very slow option especially if there's no direct route and you need to change lines) OR take a train (some of the train lines have now connected main cities to DTLA such as Hollywood (about a 40 min ride), Santa Monica (about a 50 min ride), Pasadena (about a 20 min ride), and I'm not certain if there's a direct line to Beverly Hills or you need to switch lines.
Btw, you can catch a tour bus in Hollywood to see Hollywood and the stars' homes in Beverly Hills in just half a day (and you shouldn't pay more than $20 for this). A must see in Hollywood on foot is the Chinese Theater, The Walk of Fame (the stars in the ground with the names of famous Hollywood stars), gift shops (as there's lots of odd things to see in them), costume shops (lots of fun checking out all sorts of odd things in there), tattoo shops (if you're into that), and possibly The Wax Museum and/or Ripley's Believe It or Not.
And yes the tour bus from Hollywood to Beverly Hills and back is worth every penny as you'll see so much and get so much info which you can't possibly do by walking or cycling as its too far and there's too much to learn from a tour guide. You can catch one anywhere off of Hollywood Blvd near the Chinese Theater. I suggest you do NOT take the "hop on/hop off bus" as it has a set fee. Instead haggle with the smaller buses and check out at least 2 of them so you can pit their prices against each other and claim you'll go to the other one if they don't give you the trip for no more than $20. If you're a really good haggler you might get it for even lower than that.
And if you have time while in Hollywood it's worth seeing a movie in the Chinese Theater but if you don't have time at least try to go inside it to see it as it's very unique.
So besides the options of things to do in Hollywood you have to decide where to call home for 3 days. You could use DTLA as your hub and location to stay in but to clarify what one of the girls above said about it changing from "nice" to "weird" very quickly is because DTLA has been gentrifying for some time now and that's been pushing the homeless further out of the heart of downtown, to some extent. On the other hand, in the last 10 years the amount of homeless living in tents on the streets has grown exponentially and while most homeless are harmless there are many drunks and druggies and there are many instances of people being harrassed, mugged or sometimes even raped so you have to be smart when walking (or cycling) around DTLA. To be honest there's not much visually to see by bicycle other than the hub of skyscrapers or of course if you park and go inside a store or restaurant or pub or market or rooftop bar or art show. DTLA is worth checking out but just be smart and very cautious of everyone around you and if you turn down a block with a bunch of tents on it follow your gutt to decide if you should turn around or simply proceed with caution. But if you're with a bicycle and you don't lock up that bike when you go inside somewhere it will be gone when you come back out. That's pretty common anywhere in LA County not just DTLA. And remember when passing homeless don't have your camera or cell phone out and DO clutch your purse firmly and walk with determinism and be quick but polite if one of them tries to talk to you. If they ask for money simply tell them "I'm sorry, I have no cash on me." Do NOT reach for cash to give them as it's a perfect opportunity to be mugged.
Another issue is if you rent a bicycle, that takes time and while you can get on trains with a bike you can't during rush hour which also cuts into your limited time. A bus however usually has a bike rack on the front of it but don't expect the driver or anyone else to help you get it in or off and if you can't get it on the rack quickly and can't figure out how to drop the rack to load the bike the bus will leave without you. Again more time lost.
As someone else mentioned the best places to cycle are by the beaches such as Santa Monica or Venice. But keep in mind that while these 2 beaches are not too far apart and are connected by Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and/or the boardwalk you can cycle on, when you get to Santa Monica beach the pier is there off of the boardwalk and/or PCH however the center of the city is above the cliff directly opposite of the beach so you have to find your way up that cliff to get to the majority of shopping, restaurants and bars in Santa Monica whereas Venice Beach and all its shopping, restaurants and bars are all right there off of the boardwalk, PCH, Ocean Ave and Washington Ave. But yes definitely you can see these 2 towns by bicycle though the paths in the heart of Santa Monica (which is considered the 3rd Street Promenade) are not easy to get around by bicycle as there are tons of cars on top of you. But Venice is very bicycle friendly.
So.... what to do? First off I'd research what cities in LA County you feel you must see. Second, Google to check the distance between them. 3rd, possibly consider DTLA as your hub as its the hub of the train lines (which all run out of Union Station) and there are tons of buses too so you can get in and out that way.
I would also consider adding the Uber or Lyft apps on your phone to have an option for "wheels" as someone else mentioned but yes this will still be pricier than public transportation but MUCH cheaper than a regular taxi service. In LA the average taxi charges $2.65/mile or $3.40/mile. The average distance between main cities you may want to visit will be between 10-30 miles each way. And of course taxis start the fare with a flat rate of $3-5. So a taxi ride can average $20-50.
Meanwhile compare Uber or Lyft. Each charges $1.65 service charge plus a minimum flat rate which averages $3.50-5.0p. And their per mile charge is $0.85-0.95/mile. Yes, less than $1 per mile! So if you're only going a few blocks you're ride will be about $5 or if you're going 10 miles it will be about $10. They also charge a per minute fee but it's super nominal at $0.15/minute and that's great for passengers since it's common to get stuck in traffic for a long time.
But I'm guessing if you said renting a car is not an option it's because you're on a budget. Just know LA has a lot to offer but is very spread out so no matter how you're planning it you're going to have to budget for your transportation. And most bicycle rentals charge by hour which can quickly add up so sometimes Uber or Lyft are a cheaper option but keep in mind they have no way of picking you up if you're with a bicycle. And while you may be saying to yourself that you don't need to add Uber or Lyft on your phone cuz you won't use them, as one fellow female traveler to another, I am encouraging you to do so because you could get lost or stuck in a bad area and need to get out quickly. Some areas don't even have taxis passing by but Uber/Lyft on average get to you in 5 minutes of you requesting one through the app on your phone.
I just came back from 2 years of traveling in 16 countries on 6 continents and visited over 130 cities AND I cycled 1,200 km down the coast of Vietnam by myself AND I grew up in LA so please be assured all my advice comes from tons of experience and wishes for your BEST TIME EVER while in LA! Good luck!
Corey Brenner , Cerritos, USA, about 2 months ago
Wow that's some essay^ amazing. All I would add is that if you haven't yet noticed. Couch surfing member who are most zealous tend to be westsiders. This leaves 2/3 of the county unmentioned if not 3/4..if your goal is vegan food, tourist attractions, seeing people with dreadlocks or joining a Bernie rally, then it does make sense to focus on the Santa Monica area. But if you want a peaceful day or to see nature at its finest. Head south. From Palos Verdes to Sunset Beach there are so many amazing views and wildlife, the 2nd biggest port around, and the museums and aquariums and ships and bycycling is unmatched. People regularly do bike rides from the south beaches all the way down to San Diego. You wont have much to be careful of, and it's cheaper to do it. There's gay clubs in long Beach, tons of hard Rock shows around the east bay. Punk shows, and EDM too. The second biggest city, Long Beach.. And you can bus to the most beautiful places like Laguna, Monarch Bay or Crystal Cove. Hike the tide pools of smugglers Bay in Palos Verdes, paddle board the marinas. Canoe the upper Bay reserve, Fish, and eat eat eat... Surfs up! If you hike we lead over 100 hikes a month around Griffith Park, all free. Full moon potlucks are the best. Imo .. So consider not only viewing metropolitan LA, but the south and east sides and Orange County too. Good luck
ABELINO81 , Los Angeles, USA, about 2 months ago
I would ONLY rent a Bike if you plan on cycling around Santa Monica and Venice Beach... MAYBE even some parts of Downtown LA but then again it can get weird really quickly as the streets change from "nice" to.. "weird".. haha. I would be afraid to ride a bike in LA.
Solren Marc, Aix-en-provence, FRA, 18 days ago
Hello ! Me again =)
So I was wondering the best way to go from the airport to santa monica, ive seen there was public buses that will do this route but I was especially wondering if the suitcases will enter the bus because i have a pretty big one ! I also thought of Uber but I guess if you're stuck in the traffic it becomes a lot more expansive.. also is there any discount on the first ride?
Basically I'm looking for the cheapest way to do this trip even if it wont be the most comfortable one well...
Also, where could I find a (kind of) cheap US power supply adaptor in store ? (I have French devices)
Thank you !!
Manny Aguilera , Los Angeles, USA, 16 days ago
For public transportation you can take the free G Shuttle from LAX which will drop you off at LAX City Bus Center. From there take the Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica's municipal bus line) number 6 or Rapid 6 to downtown Santa Monica. They use huge buses and it's common for people to take their luggage on board. Total fare, $1.25. :)
Jeff Zagnoli Austin , Santa Monica, USA, 16 days ago
The cheapest is take the free "Lot C" shuttle from the terminal to lot C (not G). Then catch either the Big Blue Bus R3 or 3 to downtown Santa Monica. One way is $1.25.
Emre Erol , Los Angeles, USA, 16 days ago
First take any rental car shuttle to outside of terminal than request uberpool it will cost you around $7. Much more comfy easy relax transportation
Alev, Bremen, DEU, about 2 months ago
I am planning of booking a flight from LA which starts from LAX at 7:30 am on a Tuesday.
As far as I checked the metro does not offer a connection at around 4:30 am (wanna make sure i am in the airport at least 1.5 hours before my flight plus some backup time.) from the city to the airport.
Maybe I checked something wrong but could anybody give me a tip concerning any public transport option from the city center (dont know where I am staying yet) to Los Angeles International making sure I reach there by latest 6 am?
I am not looking for private shuttle, taxi or any costly option. My questions is purely about public transport.
Many thanks for the replies in advance.
P.S. Id be up for a drink with any of you . Will be there between 18-23 August. Feel free to drop me a line if you are interested.
FlyAway... to Union Station. There you can catch subways that connect to most any part of the city.
Stephanie Burke , West Hollywood, USA, about 1 month ago
Where are you coming from in LA? The FlyAway isn't the most convenient option depending on what area of the city you are coming from.
Pablo Bustos Aedo, Seattle, USA, about 2 months ago
I'm planning to go to LA the first week of August. I want to go to Six Flags, but I don't want to rent a car to go there (I don't like driving). Do you know any alternatives? I heard LA has terrible public transportation.
Any advice would be great! Thanks for your help.
Derik De Baun , Torrance, USA, about 2 months ago
If you don't like driving then it's still possible to get there with public transit.
Here's a link from Magic Mountain's website:
If you don't want to drive yourself then find a rideshare. It's still more flexible than using the buses. But you can use Santa Clarita Transit. It looks like your last bus leaves the park (and it's actually a stop a 1/4 mile south of the gate) is 8:35pm so you'd have to leave the park by 8:15pm or so. But it won't affect you enjoying the park a huge deal because in August the park closes between 6:00pm and 9:00pm anyway, depending on the day.
Kacey Messier , Burbank, USA, about 2 months ago
You can take metrolink to Santa Clarita and take the bus from there - really depends on where you're staying.
LeeYyu, Milan, ITA, about 2 months ago
Nice to meet you here. I am a newbie on CS. I am a Chinese who lives and works in Milan, Italy. I am planning a 2-3 weeks study-traveling trip to LA from 15th of July to 3rd of August. I want to improve my English language skill while visiting your city a bit. Do your guys know some nice well-organized language schools in LA? Many thanks! Mei
Hiep Luong , Hawthorne, USA, about 2 months ago
The same question that I'm looking for for my little sister. Thanks.
Just get in it and immerse yourself. There are a lot of ESL classes... just not sure if they'll line up with your visits.