this is the most touristy thing to do in Los Angeles as the various attractions of los angeles is across a wide area and if you are pressed for time in touring these famous locations like hollywood boulevard, santa monica, venice beach, downtown LA, etc and you want to to it in your own time, the best thing to do is via the hop on and hop off buses which have designated stops along the attractions where you can spend as much time as you want along these attractions. you can buy the tickets in front of the hollywood boulevard in front of Grauman's Chinese theater or via the desginated stops of the buses where you just pay to the driver and are available in 1 day and 2 day passes of $ 32 and $ 48 respectively. they have at least 70 stops along the various attractions and are available from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm everyday.
they have different routes which are color coded and they provide you maps of the attractions and the route served by the hop on buses.
Don't assume that bus transportation is horrible in L.A. There are good routes you can take to look around the city and greater area without worrying about someone turning right in front of you without warning as you drive and no worry over tailgating.
Relax yourself and spend $5 dollars (day pass; $1.50 for one -way ticket) per person to ride about town. These prices have been increased to these amounts in 2010. Oh, the times are getting expensive but still, great compared to other city metro transits in the U.S.
Bus drivers tend to be adequate as far as customer service. Comparably, overall service is much better in Orange county (on OCTA transit) and on smaller municipal lines of the greater Los Angeles area. There will be those drivers who can be rude, curt or aggressive like a New Yorker but most always they are determined to get the bus moving.
One nice bonus about MTA buses is that many of them have entertainment aboard in the form of Transit T.V. which includes delivering news in English and Spanish, as well as trivia and other games linked to giveaways for MTA riders, such as cash and free bus passes. Some days the best entertainment, however, are funny, "kooky" passengers aboard- that is, when they are NOT super annoying and disruptive.
Here is MY 200TH tip of Los Angeles!!! :
Foothill Transit is one of the better public mass option in greater Los Angeles, serving mainly the San Gabriel Valley (SGV), a modest region of L.A. county where one may encounter and appreciate a more "normal" L.A. My experience on FT has been very good (bus is clean, ride is smooth, comfortable seating, etc). The FT system covers a huge area, easily covering 40 miles.
If you are going from downtown L.A., a Foothill Transit is a good option for being on your way to discover several off the beaten paths in SGV, in cities such as Pomona (where the L.A. county occurs), El Monte (major county transit hub), West Covina and Claremont (the latter three good local shopping points of interest.
Specifically, the Silver Streak route is a great option for region to region travel. Whereas a taxi can run $30+ for a one-way trip from downtown L.A. to an east SGV city, take the SS for around $2.45*.
The vast route hits stops where commuters want to go for everyday conveniences and entertainment ( Cal State L.A., El Monte Station, Pomona Station (with rail connections), Plaza at West Covina, etc). Inside the SS is quite roomy- as it is an accordion bus. Unless it's a super crowded, one can get a good choice of seat. Run times include late night/early morning alternatives. Duration of trip time from most further two stops is about 1 1/2 hrs- not so bad considering tragic commute times in southern CA.
Other L.A.-S.G.V. connections of FT: 481, 497, 499, 699. All do M-F routes, catering to local workforce working roughly the "9-5". However, for a day trip, a tourist can take advantage of getting to and from.
Other key FT routes: 285 and 286. Both go into Orange County, the 285 in La Habra and the 286 goes to Brea, directly to the Brea Mall (one of the best traditional malls in the greater L.A. region)
Regular FT routes (non- SS, express bus) to board are just $1.25 one-way, which is such a great deal for a major transit option. See website for full info on rates and much more.
* Rate subject to change
If you staying in downtown L.A., there is a great, cheap way to know the place. Take the LADOT buses for short-term riding options around downtown without even using a full route Metro bus which is triple the cost!
The majority of LADOT buses in downtown are called DASH which costs only 50 cents!
Here are the main DOWNTOWN routes:
DASH A- operates M-F, get to Little Tokyo riding this route!
DASH B- operates M-F, get to Chinatown with this one!
DASH D- operates M-F, from transit central Union St to Staples Center/L.A. Live
DASH E - operates every day, execllent option to get to Santee Alley
DASH F-operates every day, great to use for USC trips from downtown
DASH bus stops are not at every corner but they are clearly labeled. In my experience, the drivers tend to be a little more aggressive but safe (just one bad incident I did have). DASH can get particularly busy downtown with standing room only during the rush hours of course (especially 7-8 AM; 4-5 PM) but believe you me...it's worth the ride when the feet give out!
MORE DASH buses roll throughout the city. Check website for schedules and more.
in a jiffy! Well, maybe not rocket fast but somewhat convenient is the Metro bus 460 going from downtown LA to steps away from the main entrance of Disneyland. It is advantageous to catch the 460 by 5th and Grand Ave, close to the Bunker Hill Steps to catch a good seat before the crowd stumbles in.
The cost one way is $2.95* (subject to change), a little higher because public transit on the freeway is at a premium in L.A. If you have a $6 Metro pass, you have to pay up to $1.40* to board if you want to go on the freeway. Warning: This bus does get packed everyday. Tourists will have to compete with locals on the bus. Often it is standing room only but still the convenience to D-Land or downtown LA (and also to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park) is worth the jam.
*Fares are subject to change! Check MTA website for the latest on rates and much more.
Many times, I have taken the bus to the beach. It's a good way to avoid paying for often pricey beach parking. Here are some convenient (one trip) bus to beach routes. All buses listed are popular routes near key points like Union Station, other rail line stops and/or major cross streets.
MTA (downtown LA based) :
Rte 2/302 to Pacific Palisades (by Malibu)
33/333- to Santa Monica/Venice
720/920- to SM ***720 bus stop pictured
444-to Palos Verdes (limited beach access but lovely ocean view)
Express buses :
534 to Malibu
577 to Long Beach (few blocks to shore, approx 10-20 min walk to main beach)
704- to SM
Blue Line rail - to Long Beach (few blocks to shore, approx 5-15 min walk to main beach)
Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus ( from downtown LA ) :
Rte 10 from Union Station to Santa Monica beach/3rd St Promenade area
For $3, you can now take a luxury bus between LAX and Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. From Union Station, you have access to the metrorail, trains and buses. Check the site below for updated schedules & prices.
The first time I was ever at the Los Angeles Greyhound station was August 2003. I prepaid for my ticket at home in Colorado and was told to pick it up at the LA station an hour before departure. I was glad to see a seperate line for will call, as I was a bit late and the regular line had abt 10 ppl in it.
As for the station itself - it was a DUMP. By far the worst one I have been to (I have been to abt 10 stations in Southwestern US.) I highly recommend you NEVER take you eye off your bag. The people in the station were abt as dodgy as the station itself.
*If you are going to/from Union Station (where the metro rail and Amtrak are) you'll need to take a cab. I took the LAX shuttle between the two for $7.
The DASH bus system in Downtown Los Angeles is extremely efficient and a great way to make little hops around the city. It goes to all the major tourist spots (Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Santee Alley, MOCA, etc.) and many major hotels & business places (Bunker Hill, Financial District, etc.). On weekends there is one called "Downtown Discovery" that will take you on a circle tour of the city. It also goes out to USC and the museums at Exposition Park. DASH is extremely clean, mostly frequented by business people & locals, and is completely safe. The drivers are very friendly & will help you find your way.
The best part: it's 25 cents, with a free transfer!
The relatively recent FlyAway bus offers tremendous convenience for $7 each way.
There are direct buses to either Union Station, Van Nuys and Westwood.
Drivers were not only courteous but, in the case of one character, very entertaining! What a great way to get into an entertainment mood in fantasy L.A.-L.A. land.
I used the Union Station line since it allowed me to travel from LAX and transfer to subway, bus and Metro Rail lines. This line also operates later than the other two.
***This is a good option if there is construction work being done on the Metro Rail lines on a weekend, disrupting normal service***
If going from LAX to Union Station you pay after the ride. Just disembark and turn towards the ticket booth.
If you are a sports fan, one of the musts of a stay in Los Angeles is to visit Chavez Ravine and see a baseball game or concert at Dodger Stadium but that is much easier said than done.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Metro Bus Service will offer Dodger Stadium Express bus service from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium beginning today (April 1) and throughout the 2010 regular season under a grant from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC).
Service will be provided starting 90 minutes prior to the beginning of the games and will end 45 minutes after the end of the game.
Service will be provided every 10 minutes prior to the start of the game and run approximately every 30 minutes throughout the game.
Dodger tickets will be honored as fare payment to ride the service. Those without a ticket will pay regular one way fare of $1.25.
Metrolink and Amtrak trains are available and Metro operates many bus lines that serve Union Station where patrons can easily transfer to the Dodger Stadium Express.
Located on the East end of Union Station is a huge area where there is bus system to pick up and drop off called Patsaouras Transit Plaza at the MTA Gateway Center. It is a very lovely area with many wonderful architeture features. It's nice to see such a pleasing area.
800 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
LADOT Transit (213, 310, 323, 818) 808-2273
Commuter Express (West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, South Beach, San Pedro and other surrounding communities)
DASH 1-213-808-2273 (Downtown Los Angeles and surrounding areas)
City Hall Shuttle, San Pedro Electric Trolley and Bunker
Hill Trolley (Provide various employee sponsored shuttles in the downtown LA)
Antelope Valley Transit Authority 1-661-945-9445 ext.200 (LA/Palmdale/Lancaster)
Foothill Transit 1-800-RIDE-INFO (743-3463) (San Gabriel/Pomona Valleys)
Metro Buses 1-800-COMMUTE (266-6883) (L.A. area)
1-213-626-4455 (Outside Los Angeles area)
Orange County Transportation Authority 1-714-636-RIDE (7433)
(San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach)
Santa Clarita Transit 1-661-294-1287 (Santa Clarita)
Santa Monica Transit (Big Blue Bus) 1-310-451-5444 (Santa Monica Freeway Express)
Torrance Transit 1-310-618-6266 (Long Beach)
Airport Shuttle Buses
New FlyAway fares become effective January 1, 2009, and include a new lower rate for seniors 65 years and older. Children under age 2 ride for free.
Metropolitan Express 1-800-266-6883 (1-800-COMMUTE)
Primetime Shuttle 1-800-733-8267 $14.00/person*
Super Shuttle 1-310-782-6600 $13.75/person*
*Above fares are approximate from Union Station to LAX. These shuttles also serve other regional airports and destinations.
Most definitely rent a car when visiting L.A.! There are many places and things to see and they are very far apart. My daughter was visiting my sister there a while back and she waited an hour for a bus at a designated bus stop and finally someone walking by told her that the bus never shows up - ever!
The Rapid Bus 720 takes you to Sta. Monica Beach. It's an hour's travel away from downtown LA depending on the traffic.
Side trips - halfway to Sta. Monica Beach:
a) Beverly Hills for some upscale shopping.
b) Museums along Wilshire Blvd.
I recommend Rapid Bus #720 to Sta. Monica instead of Bus 20 (takes you to Beverly Hills and Museum Row) because as the name implies it's faster and more convenient. You can spot this bus from a mile away because it's huge and it's red.
To make your bus ride around LA more enjoyable, please read my friend's article "How to Ride the Bus in Los Angeles"
If you don't like driving( to go around other places in this city a car is unfortunelty a must )and are staying at any of the airpot hotels and want to go to Santa Monica take the bus number 3 and you will arrive at the pedestrian street called 3rd Street Promenade full of shops, restaurants and book shops !!!