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Los Angeles. |The Ultimate Travel Guide

When to go, where to stay and what to do in the land of palm-fringed beaches and Hollywood A-listers

Updated

Venice Beach, Los Angeles at Sunset

Known as the City of Angels, Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US and is the hub for all things Hollywood.

Under the watchful eye of the famous Hollywood sign lies Sunset Strip and its world-famous landmarks and bars, Rodeo Drive and its rich clientele, Universal and Paramount Studios and their studio backlot tours and Santa Monica Pier and its bevy of sun-kissed bodies and palm tree lined boulevards. And not far from reach are hotspots like Disneyland, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Los Angeles Airport (LAX) is one of the country's largest and busiest airports, welcoming flights from Australia daily.

Ready to rub shoulders with the A-listers? Here's what you need to get started.

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Getting around in Los Angeles

Certain areas of LA are walkable but often people want to explore more territory. We recommend that you rent a car if you want to see more than just the downtown core. If you just want to see the major attractions, you can use public transportation as there is a stop for each famous hot spot.

Los Angeles public transport

  • Types of transport. Buses and trains are serviced by Metro.
  • Paying for transport. You can pay for transportation in cash or with the electronic Metro Tap card. You can purchase Tap cards at Tap vending machines at Metro rail stations for $1 or at authorised vendors for $2. If you use cash, you must pay in exact change.
  • Getting to and from the airport. Free shuttle buses provide transport to the Metro Green Line Aviation station which connects to the city and other Metro lines. The G shuttles pick passengers up on the lower/arrivals level in each terminal. The Lot C shuttles bring passengers to the Metro Bus Centre, which has routes throughout LA. Alternatively, FlyAway buses depart from the lower/arrivals level in front of each terminal under the green FlyAway bus sign. They go to locations across LA for US$8-$10.
  • Best apps for getting around. The LA Metro and Bus app provides real-time predictions of when the next train or bus will arrive, locates your nearest stop and gives you access to the Metro rail map.

Los Angeles metro map

This detailed Metro map shows you which lines are best to take to your destination.

Los Angeles car hire rental companies

It is fairly common for tourists to rent a car in LA since many tourist destinations, like the Hollywood sign, are not within walking distance. LA also has beautiful scenic drives you can take if you rent a car.

All car rental companies are located off of airport property but there are shuttles provided by the rental companies. The pick-up point is on the lower/arrivals level outside of baggage claim.

Avis, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, Advantage, Alamo, Dollar, Fox, Midway, National, Payless, Sixt and Thrifty all service the Los Angeles airport. Use DriveNow to compare car companies and find the best deal.

Read more about hiring a car in Los Angeles, compare prices and get the latest deals.

Taxis and rideshare

  • Taxi. You should book or call a taxi in advance as hailing one from the side of the road is extremely difficult and is even illegal in some areas of LA, such as in the downtown core. You can also find taxis at designated taxi ranks in busy areas.
  • Rideshare. You can book a ride with Uber or Lyft in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles airport transfers

Budget-friendly transfers that can be booked in advance with Viator and Jayride that will surely get you from LAX to downtown LA in no time.

Shared Airport Arrival Transfer: LAX International Airport to Los Angeles Hotels
Shared Airport Arrival Transfer: LAX International Airport to Los Angeles Hotels

Viator

Private Arrival Transfer: Los Angeles International Airport to Hotel
Private Arrival Transfer: Los Angeles International Airport to Hotel

Viator

Los Angeles Arrival Transfer: to Los Angeles Hotels
Los Angeles Arrival Transfer: to Los Angeles Hotels

Viator

Frequently asked questions about Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to the Santa Monica Pier, Sunset Strip and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It's a buzzing city full of celebrity and film culture, adventurous activities and culinary delights.

Whether you're planning on seeing the sights, shopping in style or nurturing your spirit of eccentricity, Los Angeles offers all this and more.

It's easy to see why so many Aussies flock to Los Angeles each and every year, so what's holding you back?

Is Los Angeles hot?

Los Angeles tends to experience year-round mild-to-warm weather. Its climate is classified as Mediterranean, which is a type of dry subtropical climate, identified by seasonal changes in rainfall. LA usually experiences a dry summer and a rainy season during winter.

It's seasonable temperatures are comparable to Sydney, however the summers are often a bit warmer. Expect dry, 30-degree days if travelling in summer.

Does Los Angeles have mountains?

Los Angeles is home (in part) to the San Gabriel Mountains, a mountain range located in northern Los Angeles County, which also crosses over to western San Bernardino County, California.

How far is it from Los Angeles to San Francisco?

The distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco is approximately 614 km. This equates to a drive that is just over six hours on the main roads, or longer on the scenic coastal route.

Does Los Angeles have a beach?

Yes, it has many. Los Angeles county has almost two dozen beaches to choose from. These include Paradise Cove, where many films and TV shows have been partially set, and Zuma Beach where, if you're lucky, you may spot dolphins in the surf.

Is Los Angeles safe?

Los Angeles is relatively safe for travellers who are safety savvy. We've outlined the important things that an Aussie travelling to LA should be aware of:

  • Driving. If you're planning on renting a car in Los Angeles, avoid rush hour wherever possible. It's manic, and drivers native to the large and widespread city can be pushy. Remember that Americans drive on the opposite side of the road to Australians,
  • Know where to avoid. LA's safer neighbourhoods generally lie to the north and west of the city centre. Most of the areas with high crime rates are south and east of the city.
  • Crime. While there are some more dangerous spots within the city, if you practice good judgment, you'll be fine. Exercise the same level of sensibility with your personal safety and possessions, as you would in any other city. Avoid dark alleyways and walking the streets alone at night.

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