SHOULD I DRIVE OR USE PUBLIC TRANSIT?

The area's public transportation system is tourist-friendly in some areas and not in others. In general, if you are interested in exploring downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, Beverly Grove (the area around the Beverly Center and the Farmer’s Market & The Grove) and Universal Studios (and you will be staying in one of those areas) then public transportation is the way to go.

If you're looking to pursue (or stay in) the beach areas (Santa Monica, Venice, Hermosa, Manhattan, Redondo, El Segundo, etc), or in Century City, Westwood or Brentwood, your rides will be longer, you may have to connect between 2 or more routes and there may be waiting time between connections.

(For Visitors staying near Disneyland, please see the section at the bottom of this page)

 

THE PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM CONSISTS OF METRO BUSES, DASH BUSES AND METRO RAIL TRAINS.  These subsystems will be explained in detail below after an overview of the entire system including instructions for finding public transit route to meet your needs.

You can locate the Metro rail, DASH bus and Metro bus route(s) that would work for your particular transfer needs on the Metro website at metro.net by entering your starting and ending points at the right side of the home page in the TRIP PLANNER section.

These points may be entered as full street addresses (3345 WILSHIRE BLVD), as street intersections (WILSHIRE BLVD / WESTERN AVE) or as landmarks (DISNEYLAND, LAX, UNION STATION, KNOTTS, etc).  Then, enter the day of the week and time of day of your trip, being careful to select either “leave at or after” or “arrive by or before” to indicate whether the time of day you’ve entered is the ‘departure time’ of your trip or the required ‘arrival time' at your destination.

The Metro.Net website will respond with a list of routes and their departure and arrival locations and times.  Fare info will also be provided.  (See below for info about DAY PASSES which can save you money).

You can click on any point in the transfer (starting point, intermediary stops. ending point) to see a local map of the location of that point or stop.

 

METRO RAIL TRAINS...

For a map of the Metro Rail, Metro Liner & Metrolink systems, click here.  Scroll down to the center of the map where you'll see the words 'Downtown Los Angeles".

The Metro Rail system consists of the thicker-lined routes on the map and includes above-ground ‘light rail’ and underground ‘subway’ lines.  These routes cover a portion of the city of L.A. and some neighboring communities.

The Metro Lines (on the map) consist of bus routes that are on private right-of-ways (separate from automobile traffic) and are within the city limits of Los Angeles, for the most part.

Metrolink, while not part of the CITY's public transit system, consists of above-ground commuter trains that connect L.A.’s downtown Union Station with adjacent cities and counties.  Not shown on the map are Amtrak routes which are national rail routes connecting Los Angeles with all of the U.S.  These trains also depart from Union Station.

Here are some notes about the metro rail system and this map:

1. Zoom in or out to see the map better.

2. The purple line, red line, Expo Line and blue line intersect at the 7TH STREET / METRO CENTER station at the very center of downtown (city center) Los Angeles.

2. Union (rail) station is at the eastern end of the red line and purple line metro rail routes (which follow an east/west path through downtown) where they intersect with the north/east gold line route.  Union Station provides a transfer point from the purple and red line trains to the gold line metro rail trains to Pasadena and East L.A. as well as to Amtrak and Metrolink Trains to Orange County (where Disneyland and Knotts are).  See our TOP QUESTIONS section on "Amusement & Theme Parks" for detailed instructions regarding transfers to the Disneyland area.

There are also Amtrak trains to San Diego (to the south, beyond Orange County) and to Santa Barbara (to the north of Los Angeles). Oakland (in the San Francisco area) and beyond.  Intermediate stops on the trains to Oakland include Bob Hope Airport (in Burbank), San Luis Obispo, San Jose and many others.

3. The 7th Street/Metro Center Station allows transfer between the red line, the purple line, the Expo Line and the blue line metro rail trains. Blue line trains go south to Long Beach (a city with some tourist appeal) allowing transfers to the Carnival Cruise Ship Port there. All other cruise lines land in San Pedro which is a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the last stop of the blue line in Long Beach. Expo Line trains go south to the USC/Exposition Park area and onward to the city of Culver City.  There are plans to extend this route all the way west to the ocean.

4. You can use the metro rail system to transfer between LAX and all of the following popular areas: downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and Universal City (for Universal Studios). This is an inexpensive means of transfer to/from LAX but it is, by no means, quick or convenient since it requires taking 2 or 3 trains (the green line, blue line and red line) and does not afford any place to stow your luggage or even a guaranteed seat! Note: the Green Line station that serves LAX is at the bend of the Green Line (see map) and is called “Aviation/LAX”).  There is a free shuttle bus (Shuttle G) that connects this metro rail station with LAX, stopping at each of the airport’s 9 terminals.

See our TOP QUESTIONS section on "Transferring Between Plane, Train and Hotel" for info on all airport transfer options including those that are more direct and more comfortable.

5. You can locate the Metro rail route(s) that would work for your particular needs on the Metro website at metro.net by entering your starting and ending points at the right side of the home page in the TRIP PLANNER section.

These points may be entered as full street addresses (3345 WILSHIRE BLVD), as street intersections (WILSHIRE BLVD / WESTERN AVE) or as landmarks (DISNEYLAND, LAX, UNION STATION, KNOTTS, etc).  Then, enter the day of the week and time of day of your trip, being careful to select either “leave at or after” or “arrive by or before” to indicate whether the time of day you’ve entered is the ‘departure time’ of your trip or the required ‘arrival time at your destination’.

In addition, each train's WEEKLY SCHEDULE and route map are available on the metro.net website by clicking ‘Maps & Timetables”  under the “Bus and Rail Basics” heading on the Metro.Net home page.

METRO BUSES...

The buses cover all areas.

The website for the bus system is also Metro.net (as it is for the metro rail system).

Metro bus routes that will meet your particular need can be found on the Metro website at metro.net by clicking on ‘Trip Planner’ on the home page under ‘Rider Tools’ or go there directly by clicking here.

Enter a starting point and an ending point for the trip you plan to make. These points may be entered as full street addresses (3345 WILSHIRE BLVD), as street intersections (WILSHIRE BLVD / WESTERN AVE) or as landmarks (DISNEYLAND, LAX, UNION STATION, KNOTTS, etc).  Then, enter the day of the week and time of day of your trip, being careful to select either “leave at or after” or “arrive by or before” to indicate whether the time of day you’ve entered is the ‘departure time’ of your trip or the required ‘arrival time at your destination’.

In addition, each bus's WEEKLY SCHEDULE and route map are available on the metro.net website by clicking ‘Maps & Timetables”  under the “Bus and Rail Basics” heading on the Metro.Net home page.

The website sometimes favors bus routes over rail routes. In other words, it may sometimes recommend a bus for a route when there is a faster metro rail train option available. So it's a good idea to print out the route map for the 'red line' trains and have it handy since rail travel is quicker and more punctual (no traffic!). The 'red line' metro rail route map can be found by clicking ‘Maps & Timetables’ under “Bus & Rail Basics” on the home page of Metro.net.  After linking, scroll down to the ‘metro rail’ section and look for the red line.

Three notes on riding the buses:

1. Most buses will accommodate bicycles. There are racks on the front (outside) of most buses that you can use at no extra charge.

2. The bus routes are numbered in a way to indicate the speed of the buses. The buses that are numbered between 1 and 299 are LOCAL BUSES which stop very often and take the longest to reach a destination. Buses that are numbered between 300 and 799 are faster buses known as either ‘Limited Stop’, Express or ‘Metro Rapid’ These buses stop less frequently. For example, two of the bus routes on Santa Monica Bl are the #4 and the #704. Both follow the same route but the #704 (being a limited stop bus) is faster. If your bus trip is 20 minutes or less, taking an “express” bus won’t save you that much time -- maybe 4 or 5 minutes. So, in that instance, it’s foolish to ignore a local bus in order to wait for an express bus. But, if the ride is 30 minutes or longer, the time savings can add up. Of course, no matter how long your ride, if both a local bus and express bus pull up at the same time, take the express bus.  Certain express buses run only during the daytime.  In that case, switch to the local bus in the evenings.

3. Buses that are numbered 901.903 or 940 are 'transitway buses'.

The #901 bus line (which is also known as the 'Orange Line') is sometimes thought of as a metro RAIL line since it travels on a roadway that is separate from regular automobile traffic, but, in fact, it is a bus. The #901 travels east/west in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles (the northern suburbs).

The #903 bus line is not a simple bus line but is, rather, a corridor between downtown L.A. and the San Pedro Harbor (to the south of the city). Along this corridor are 6 different buses (#s 444,445,446,447,460 and 550). Only the #444, #446 and #447 make the complete trip; the others diverge to different destinations.

The #940 line connects downtown L.A. with Redondo Beach and Torrance via Inglewood and Lennox. These are communities in the southwest corner of the metro area.

POPULAR BUS ROUTES FOR TOURISTS:

In the San Fernando Valley (the northern suburbs)...

a. The #750 bus runs east/west along Ventura Bl -- the longest road in the valley.

b. The #761 bus runs north/south on Sepulveda Bl, connecting the Valley to the westside of Los Angeles (in Westwood). This bus also stops at the Getty Center Museum.

c. The #281 bus runs north/south on Laurel Canyon Bl connecting the east valley (Studio City) with West Hollywood and Hollywood.

In Central Los Angeles:

The #217 and #780 buses connect the center of Hollywood (Hollywood Bl & Highland Av) with the Sunset Strip, the Farmers Market, the Grove, and the corner of Wilshire Bl & Fairfax Av -- which is adjacent to the L.A. County Art Museum (LACMA), the La Brea Tar Pits and the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Routes connecting downtown L.A. with Santa Monica (and the westside):

a The #720 bus on Wilshire Bl passes through Koreatown, Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Westwood and lands in Santa Monica.  It is a popular bus route for visitors since it spans the region from the western edge of downtown Los Angeles (remember ‘downtown Los Angeles’ is near the eastern end of the city) to the city of Santa Monica (on the ocean -- at the western end of the metro area).

This bus passes through and stops at such areas as: Koreatown, Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. If you're staying in downtown, you will have to take the 'red line' metro rail to the 'Wilshire / Vermont' stop or the 'Wilshire / Western' stop in order to connect with the #720 or you can pick it up along 5th Street in downtown although that might be slower due to downtown traffic.  The bus goes all the way to Santa Monica (the beach).

b. The #704 bus on Santa Monica Bl passes through Silverlake, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles and lands in Santa Monica

DASH BUSES

The DASH buses are a special class of buses with the following features:

1.  The buses are smaller than Metro Buses

2. They usually travel in small, circular patterns within a neighborhood.

3. They run frequently (sometimes as often as every 10 minutes) but they usually don't run on Sundays or evenings (and sometimes not on Saturday either).

4. Fare is just 50-cents but the DASH buses do NOT accept the DAY PASSES -- or WEEKLY PASSES -- offered on the Metro Buses and trains.  More about these PASSES can be found below.

Info about the DASH Buses can be found here: http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

(Link to the above page and SCROLL DOWN for a list of DASH BUS routes.  At the top of the list is a system-wide map.  On that map, slide the blue bar downward to zoom in and click-hold-drag to move the map around.  When zooming in, for better visibility, shrink the 'legend box' by clicking on the white square in the upper left corner of the legend box).

DASH buses are a handy way to get around a single neighborhood.  Here are some popular DASH bus routes:

a. The DASH E in downtown L.A. takes riders from the center of downtown -- adjacent to the 7th Street  Metro Center Station to the Fashion District/Santee Alley as well as other downtown locations.

b. The Fairfax DASH route is especially useful for tourists as it connects the intersection of La Cienega Bl & Beverly Blvd (the northeast corner of the Beverly Center Mall) with the Grove and Farmer's Market (at the corner of Fairfax Ave & 3rd Street) and the museums along Wilshire Bl (near the corner of Wilshire Bl & Fairfax Av).  From Wilshire Bl & Fairfax Av, express buses go eastbound into downtown Los Angeles and westbound into Beverly Hills and eventually, to Santa Monica (beaches).

c. The DASH Beachwood Canyon connects a portion of Hollywood Bl with the Beachwood Canyon area for visitors looking to get a closeup view of the Hollywood sign.  Step-by-step instructions for seeing the sign are in our TOP QUESTIONS BOX at the right side of the Los Angeles Forum home page and in our FAQs link at the top of the 'List of Topics' on the L.A. Forum.

d. The DASH HOLLYWOOD WILSHIRE (not to be mistaken with the DASH HOLLYWOOD) transfer passengers from the corner of  Argyle St and Hollywood Bl -- adjacent to the "W" Hotel -- to the entrance gates of Paramount Studios (at the corner of Melrose Ave and Windsor Bl).

e.  The WEEKEND OBSERVATORY SHUTTLE transfers passengers from the Sunset/Vermont red line station (and other nearby stops) to Griffith Park, making 2 stops: at the Greek Theater and at the Griffith Observatory.  This shuttle runs ONLY on the weekends.  The last departure from the Observatory is at 9:56 pm.

METRO SYSTEM FARES

All metro rail trains and metro buses have a single-ride fare of $1.50 (55 cents for Seniors (pensioners) aged 62+, disabled people and those on Medicare) or you can purchase a $5 DAY PASS good for unlimited metro bus AND metro rail travel for the day.  If you plan to ride a metro RAIL train, you must now buy a TAP CARD (even if you don't plan to buy a DAY PASS -- more on this, below).  The TAP CARD is used to store you fare for the train (in multiples of $1.50 per ride or you can buy a $5 DAY PASS to 'load' onto your TAP CARD that will allow unlimited rides for the day on the Metro Buses and Metro Rail Trains.  You may purchase a TAP CARD at any metro rail station and load the appropriate fare on the card ($1.50 per ride or a $5 DAY PASS for unlimited rides).

There are three ways to buy a DAY PASS:

a. From the vending machines at METRO RAIL stations. You must first buy a $1 reusable TAP card (made of plastic and the size of a credit card) on which to 'load' your DAY PASS. Note:  For those who might be familiar with them from previous visits, the paper passes have now been phased out.  For your first day of travel, you'll spend $1 + $5 for the DAY PASS for a total of $6.  On subsequent days, you'll only need to buy additional DAY PASSES for $5.  You may buy a TAP PASS for today as well as for subsequent days at the same time.  In other words, you don't need to buy a new DAY PASS every day.  You can pre-buy them.

b. From any source that sells TAP cards.  TAP cards can be purchased at hundreds of retailers (a list of those can be found below).  The TAP CARDS are free when a DAY PASS is purchased at one of these locations.

c. From the drivers of buses.  The drivers can always sell you the Passes -- just pay the fare for the PASS, e.g. $5 for the DAY PASS and then 'tap' your TAP CARD on the fare box.  If you don't have a TAP CARD yet, sometimes drivers carry them BUT NOT ALWAYS!

TAP cards are credit card sized plastic cards that are needed if you wish to utilize PASSES.  After obtaining one of these TAP CARDS, you then add a DAY PASS or WEEKLY PASS to the card.  Passes can be for the DAY or for a WEEK (or even a MONTH).  The TAP card is reloadable, e.g. if you add a DAY PASS to your TAP card for today, you may add another DAY PASS (or WEEKLY PASS) to your TAP CARD tomorrow (or on some other day).  One interesting fact: the PASS does not become activitated until you use it.  For example, if you plan to use the DAY PASS on a Monday morning, you can purchase the DAY PASS on any earlier day -- say, the previous Saturday. and then once you 'tap' the card in a metro rail station or aboard a metro bus on that Monday, it will activate the DAY PASS for that day.

Note, on some longer bus routes, you might need to supplement the DAY PASS with additional fare.  This is only when you are traveling long distances of an hour or more.

The TAP CARD is explained in detail here.

There are also weekly passes ($20) and Monthly Passes ($75).  

The passes are valid ONLY on Metro Buses and Metro Rail Trains.  They are not valid on municipal city buses like the Culver City Bus Lines or the Santa Monica Bus Lines (known as the “Big Blue Bus”) and they are not valid on the DASH buses which are 5-cents per ride.  You can transfer from a Metro Bus or Metro Rail train to a municipal city bus by paying an additional 35 cents (10 cents, if you are a senior/pensioner, disabled or a Medicare subscriber). Pay for the transfer as follows: WHEN YOU GET ON THE METRO BUS, insert the fare in cash or by 'tapping' your TAP CARD (and include the extra amount for the transfer -- 35-cents or 10-cents) and ask for a ‘transfer’.  The driver will give you a slip of paper which you can use as fare for the onward Municipal Bus.  You may NOT request a transfer if you plan to transfer to ANOTHER METRO BUS or to a METRO RAIL TRAIN.  (Instead, buy a DAY PASS if you plan to make 4 or more trips on Metro Bus and/or Metro Rail trains for the day).


PLANNING TRIPS USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
(HOW TO GET THERE)

Public transportation in the Los Angeles area is provided by a number of different public transportation agencies, the largest of these being the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (known as METRO).  You’ll see the word METRO on buses and on METRO rail trains.

In addition, many local cities and government agencies also run transportation services:

* the "Big Blue Bus" system provided by the City of Santa Monica

* the "CityBus" system provided by the City of Culver City

* The Foothill Transit agency provided by several local cities in the San Gabriel and Pamona Valleys

* The Long Beach Transit authority provided by the City of Long Beach

* DASH and Commuter Express buses provided by The City of Los Angeles's Department of Transportation

Typically, the above transportation agencies provide better service within their own local areas than METRO provides and may also provide better service between their local areas and other parts of the LA metropolitan area.

METRO and these other agencies provide internet-based trip planning services.  You can access these systems on most of the above-mentioned transportation agencies respective home pages, e.g. METRO's home page is www.metro.net.  The METRO.NET website is the most inclusive as it contains information about the routes of all of these agencies whereas the local agencies’ websites contain info about their own routes only.

As explained above, you can use the METRO.NET’s trip planner on the site’s homepage to find a METRO bus route or a METRO rail route.  Another option for planning trips using public transportation is provided by Google, using their "Google Maps" service.  Go to maps.google.com, and click on the "Get Directions" link.  Enter your starting and ending locations in the boxes provided.  In addition, a drop-down menu will allow you to select your mode of transportation:  by car, public transportation, or walking.

Google Maps can be better than the trip planning services provided by the local public transportation authorities as it utilizes graphical maps that are better than METRO.NET’s maps (which you must activate by clicking on a particular starting or ending point in the itiinerary).

On the downside, Google Maps does not always provide routes as direct or convenient as the public transportation agency's own trip planner, as not all of the local agencies have teamed up with Google.  Further, updates to routes are not always communicated to Google maps in a timely manner so be sure to verify the route on the METRO.NET website.  
 

SHOULD I RENT A CAR?
If you are faced with taking a trip that would overburden the public transportation system, consider renting a car for just one day.  If you plan to explore downtown or other central areas (Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills) AS WELL AS the west side of the our metro area (including the beach areas of Santa Monica and Venice and/or a trip to the Getty Center in Brentwood or the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades), then a rental (hire) car may be advisable for your entire trip.  Traveling with children makes it even more advisable to get a car but be advised that you must have 'car seats' installed in the rear seat of the car for your children if they are under the age of 8.  If your children are under the age of age but are 4'9" or tall (144 cm or taller) they may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat only.

If your inbound flight to L.A. is 8 or more hours, you might consider taking a taxi (or other means of transfer) from the airport to your hotel and picking up the car on your second day of vacation/holiday.  This way, you can adjust to the ‘time change’ (and catch up on your sleep) before getting behind the wheel.  This is especially relevant for visitors from places where driving is done on the left side of the road.

HOW TO SELECT A CAR RENTAL COMPANY
Obviously, price is a factor. Shop around and see what's being offered. Many of the travel services (Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Priceline.com, etc) will provide you with a side-by-side comparison of a number of companies' offerings and their prices. Be sure to find out the TOTAL COST of a rental including all taxes and any insurance that the companies may require of you. If you hold a gold or platinum credit card, it is possible that you can waive the additional cost of the insurance. Check with your credit card company. You may also be covered through the insurance policy on your personal vehicle or through the homeowner’s policy on your home. If you are visiting from overseas, it is likely that you will need to purchase some optional insurance for your rental car. Many of the more popular rental car company websites (such as Hertz.com) include this additional coverage in their quotes once you identify your country of origin on their site (look for this option). You can also pre-purchase your rental including your insurance via a “third party” company like CarHire3000.com -- which offers competitive prices which include the necessary insurance.

There are often "drop charges" (an extra fee of $50 to $200) when you rent a car in one city (or state) and drop it off in another.  Before you decide to drive throughout California or into adjacent states, keep these fees in mind.  Sometimes, instead of a "drop charge", the regular daily rate is increased (when you are dropping the car at a location different than your pickup location). Also, be sure to check with your hotel regarding overnight parking rates. Some hotels charge as much as $30 or more. Often, it's significantly less expensive and no less convenient to drop off a one-day rental car at the rental agency in the early evening rather than dropping it off on the following morning (and having to pay overnight parking at your hotel).

Car rental/hire companies will often offer renters the possiblity of pre-paying for gas/petrol.  This sounds like an attractive option since the pre-pay rate is often 10% less than the cost of fuel in the neighborhood around the car rental/hire lot.  But, think about it.  You take a car that is full of fuel and are asked to return it EMPTY!  (This is the only way you can use all of the fuel that you've purchased).  Here's why this isn't such a great idea:

a. What if you run out of fuel because you're trying to bring it back empty?

b. What if you only use part of the fuel and return it partially full (answer: too bad, you've paid for it -- no refunds).

c. Even if you use up the initial tank of fuel, when you go to fill up the car with more, how much do you put in so that you 'almost run out' when returning it to the car rentalhire lot?  (answer: you can't really know how much so you'll end up putting too much in or having to stop frequently to put in a little bit more).

Bottom line: pre-paying for fuel is a silly idea.  But, some of the third party car hire services, like CarHire3000.com give you no choice.  In such a case, you're stuck with this silliness but, at the same time, you're getting a great price for the car rental/hire compared to U.S. citizens who are barred from using these services.

MAP OF LOS ANGELES NEIGHBORHOODS

Here is a map of the many neighborhoods and adjoining cities and municipalities of the Los Angeles Metro Area:

http://www.laalmanac.com/LA/lamap2.htm

You may ignore much of the map. Center the map, vertically, as follows:

Scroll down so that the blue Pacific Ocean is visible in the lower left corner. Keep moving down until the large "The first CITY OF LOS ANGELES" title appears in the lower left corner of the map,  Keep scrolling down until this line of text is about 1/2 way up your screen.  To the right of this title, towards the bottom of the window, is the community of Westchester -- home of LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).

North of LAX, in light grey with a number of blue parallel lines, is Marina del Rey (MDR) -- not labeled on the map.  North of  MDR is Venice and north of Venice (in the unlabeled gray area) is the city of Santa Monica, a popular beach community.

Going northeast from Santa Monica, you will see a large unlabeled   white area (above the areas labeled 1,2,3).  This is Beverly Hills (BH). The finger-like strip of land on the eastern edge of BH is the city of West Hollywood (home of the Sunset Strip).

Below, West Hollywood (to the east of the main part of Beverly Hills) is an area labeled “Fairfax Mid-City West”.  Here, on Trip Advisor, this area is known as “Central Los Angeles” and the center of this area is referred to by some locals as “Beverly Grove”.  Here, you will find major shopping of all kinds (from the three major malls in the area -- the Beverly Center (upscale/upmarket), the Grove (mid-range. 'younger' fashions and the Beverly Connection (mini-outlet mall) -- to the boutique shops that run along Melrose Av and Robertson Bl to the north of the three malls. Just south of the Beverly Center is Loehmann's -- another mini-outlet store.

Northeast of West Hollywood is Hollywood (home of the Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame). The tiny triangular-shaped, unlabeled gray area north of Hollywood is Universal Studios.

Turning in the southeast direction from Hollywood, following the red-colored line which is the "101 (Hollywood) Freeway" and crossing over the "110 freeway" (the red-colored, diagonal line) brings you into downtown (city centre). Moving the map to the right uncovers a red line that ends (near the bottom edge of the Boyle Heights community).  This is the "5 Freeway" which, continues in a southeast direction, leading to Orange County (Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, etc) -- about 40 minutes later (by car, without traffic) -- and eventually to San Diego (about 2-1/2 hours from downtown L.A. by car, without traffic).

Below is an L.A. Times newpaper article which discusses many of these neighborhoods:  http://projects.latimes.com/mapping-l...

Transfer Times

From LAX, it takes about 20 minutes to drive to Santa Monica and 30 minutes to drive to downtown L.A. or Hollywood (without traffic!). During commuter "rush hours" (weekdays, 6:00 to 9:00 in the morning and 3:00 to 7:00 in the afternoon/evening) those times could double. Heavy traffic is also common on Sunday afternoons from 4 until 9, as local residents return from weekend vacations. By public transit, assume the ride will take about twice as long as “non rush hour” driving since you might be waiting for buses, experiencing frequent stops (on some routes) and possibly transferring to a second or third method of conveyance.

TOUR COACH COMPANIES
Many tour companies will take you around the city (and/or to many of its outlying attractions like Disneyland). There are tours that last an hour, 2 hours, 1/2 day an entire day or longer. By taking these tours, you get to see the neighborhoods of the city without having to navigate with an automobile or fuss with metro rail or bus maps. In addition, there is usually a live, in person commentary that is ongoing to tell you about the sights you're passing or about to stop at. The two most popular coach tour companies are

Grayline Tours and Starline Tours

Most will either pick you up at your hotel or at specific Los Angeles Landmarks, e.g. Starline Tours picks up in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd, just west of Highland Avenue. If a tour coach company doesn't pick up at your hotel, you can arrange to be picked up at a neighboring hotel that is served by that tour company, without having to be a guest at that hotel.

These same tour companies offer 1-, 2- and 3-day tours to outlying areas of California (like the City of San Diego) and to cities or attractions in neighboring states (like Las Vegas in Nevada or Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona).

There are also specialized tour companies that offer unique vehicles like smaller buses, private cars or helicopters and offer special themes (like haunted locations throughout the metro area).

In addition, there are walking tours of Hollywood.  Info is at www.redlinetours.com

TAXI SERVICE THROUGHOUT LOS ANGELES

For the most part, taxis do not roam the streets of the city but this is changing in some neighborhoods. Mostly, you must call for taxi service (except at high-volume tourist or entertainment areas, e.g., at major hotels, at the 5 major airports, at train (not metro rail) stations or at the Sunset Strip and Hollywood nightclub areas on weekend evenings). If you plan on using taxis, keep a list of taxi phone numbers with you. Your hotel's concierge can provide you with these phone numbers or you can go to www.taxicabsla.org for a list of licensed taxi companies.

For visitors staying in the Disneyland area (Anaheim, Buena Park or Garden Grove) who wish to visit the city of Los Angeles and adjacent municipalities, you can either

1. Transfer into downtown L.A by rail/train. and connect with local public transit,

2. Rent/Hire a car or

3 Take a tour coach into Los Angeles.  There are two popular tour coach companies:  Grayline Tours  and Starline Tours

For those that are staying near Disneyland...

If you are staying near Disneyland (in Anaheim, Buena Park or Garden Grove), and prefer to tour Los Angeles on your own (without a car or an organized tour), you must first transfer to Union (Rail) Station, located in downtown Los Angeles in order to access L.A.’s local metro rail and metro bus system. (Anaheim, Buena Park and Garden Grove are in a southern suburb of Los Angeles, outside of the city and county limits).

In order to reach Union Station from the Disneyland area, take either a taxi or a bus to the nearest rail station (either Fullerton or Anaheim -- your hotel's staff will tell you which is better for you). The taxi or bus ride should take 10-15 minutes. Take either a Metrolink (regional train -- metrolinktrains.com) or an Amtrak (national train -- Amtrak.com) to Union Station. NOTE: There is no "c" in Amtrak.

Union Station affords public transit access to all of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, as follows:

A. The Station is in downtown L.A. which may be explored on foot or by metro bus or the red line metro rail, both of which are accessible at the station.

B. Several metro rail lines connect Union Station with areas outside of downtown:

1. The Gold Line to Pasadena (northeast of downtown)

2. The Purple Line to Koreatown (west of downtown) Note: The last stop on this line is at the corner of Western Av and Wilshire Bl where you may transfer to the #720 metro rapid bus westbound on Wilshire Bl for Beverly Hills (a 20-minute ride)

3. The Red Line to Hollywood, Universal Studios and North Hollywood (northwest of downtown).  Use this line as one method of transferring to buses to Magic Mountain from the North Hollywood Station.  Step-by-step transfer info is available in our “Theme and Amusements Parks” section of the TOP QUESTIONS box which can be found on the right side of most Fourm pages.  (You can also transfer to Magic Mountain via ‘above-ground trains’ from Union Station.  Instructions for this transfer are also in the above-mentioned section).

4. The Blue Line to Long Beach (south of downtown) which provides access to the two L.A. cruise ports (Long Beach and San Pedro). You may access the Blue Line from Union Station by taking either the Red Line or Purple Line to the 7TH ST / METRO CENTER station and transferring to the blue line on the level above.

C. There are a number of metro buses that pull up either in front of the Union Station, behind it in the bus depot, or on adjacent streets. These buses will take you to all L.A. destinations including the beach areas.
Metro rail routes can be found on the Metro website at metro.net by entering your starting and ending points at the right side of the home page.

These points may be entered as full street addresses (3345 WILSHIRE BLVD), as street intersections (WILSHIRE BLVD / WESTERN AVE) or as landmarks (DISNEYLAND, LAX, UNION STATION, KNOTTS, etc).  Then, enter the day of the week and time of day of your trip, being careful to select either “leave at or after” or “arrive by or before” to indicate whether the time of day you’ve entered is the ‘departure time’ of your trip or the required ‘arrival time at your destination’.

Once you know the route you will be taking, you can look up Schedules and route info (maps) for those metro route(s) at METRO.NET by clicking on “Maps & Timetables” under “Bus & Rail Basics”.

There are 2 major methods of public transport in Los Angeles: the newer metro rail system and the older transit bus system.  The transit  buses, themselves, aren’t old -- just the routes are!