CAR CAR CAR .... You have to have a car to get around L.A since it is such a big city. They have some sort of public transportation look at my tips. BUT it's basically just around Hollywood and Santa Monica. They have busses everywhere but it will take a very long time to get where you want to go.
YOU MUST HAVE A CAR IN LOS ANGELES!!!!!!!!! YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT IT. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS PATHETIC AND VIRTUALLY NOT EXISTANT. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING TO GET AROUND LA ON BUSES OR A TRAIN. RENT A CAR OR DON'T BOTHER COMING!!!! A CONVERTIBLE IS A REALLY NICE CHOICE EVEN IN WINTER ON A SUNNY DAY IT'S MAGIC.
You've heard this before, I know, but I'll say it again . . . you need to get a car! Renting a car in LA is actually not that expensive (but I think you'll find that you do need to be over 25 for most of the major companies). Car culture is big in LA not because we particularly like them, but because it's very hard to enjoy (or work in) the city without one. (By the way, people that maintain that 'in LA you are what you drive' are usually people who are trying to convince themselves that spending more for their fancy car than their (less fancy) home really makes sense.)
If a car is really not an option, try to stay in Santa Monica and use the 'Big Blue Bus' line. This is a good idea as (1) you'll be in Santa Monica/Venice area for your base, which means you are at the consistently most vibrant beach area in town and (2) you will have easy, clean access to a bunch of other places. That said, a car will add to your pleasure a great deal.
Lastly, driving the LA freeways will probably feel daunting at first. Try to know where you are going before you get on as the road signs are not always are good as you would hope. For Brits especially, the fact that you are on a six or seven lane highway where everyone can overtake everyone else in any lane can be scary.
You can fly, drive, bike, or boat into LA. There are other methods, sure, but the best way to get to LA is by plane. Driving across the desert from Arizona or Nevada will be an adventure, but bring lots of water.
You really must have a car. I got a good deal from Alamo when I first visited LA in 1998, but you should shop around for special rates before arriving. If you're adventurous, you can travel by bus and subway, but you've got to be a good planner and have lots of free time and patience. You must also get along well in crowded situations. Buses run until 1 or 2am and start again by 5am. The drivers went on strike last year, so hopefully that won't happen again for a while. The best bet is to stick with an automobile, if you've got the budget, so that you have the freedom to drive all around the city or drive to the mountains and beaches.
(Photo: The old control tower, LAX International Airport - June 2001)
From a long distance flying is the best. Otherwise, driving in can be pretty and fun. Especially coming from northern California, Nevada or Arizona
Driving is really the best way to get anywhere. The freeways are crowded and parking is basically non-existent, but without a car it will take awhile to get around to everywhere there is to go here. The underground is not extensive at all, and the bus system just isn't great.
LAX airport is the best bet when getting to Los Angeles. The location is very good and in a safe location. Take the bus or train and you and Los Angeles will not get off to the best start!
By car of course. Los Angeles is HUGE , in fact you will never know it to see it but Beverly hills is twenty minutes from the beach and LA itself 45 minutes. However if you REALLY don't know where you are going take a taxi or a tour before you get into the drive mode here. LA driver are the worst drivers in the WORLD!
There is no doubt that traffic is a nightmare in LA. The best way to beat it is to just not be out on the road between 7am-10am and 3pm-7pm. It's horrible.
LA does have a subway, but it's not as well known or popular or practical as in other cities.
You'll need to drive and schedule things appropriately.
A car is almost a must !!! they have a new metro system but very limited and buses stop at 20-30 minute intervals on the average. taxis are a rarity and would cost a fortune as places are quite spread out. With a car, the freeway system is amazing though.
You definitley need a CAR to get around L.A. Places are too far away to go by taxi or bus, and you will spend a fortune. L.A. is a big place and expect LOTS of TRAFFIC! The freeways are always packed out here and you can expect to be stuck in it for quite a while during rush hour times.
You must have a car to get around in L.A. There's absolutely no other way. It's just too big and spread out. Plus, one of the best parts of being in L.A. is just driving around and checking things out, whether it's driving thru Malibu and gawking at the monstrous houses or driving along Melrose and looking at all the pretty people, a car is a must.
LA has TRIED so hard to promote public transportation but it will be a long while before people jump out of their cars and into metro and buses. Besides, LA is vast so it's much easier to access places by cars.
From my perspective...obviously you'd fly. United, Qantas and Air New Zealand fly Sydney - LA direct.
More obvious. In LA you drive...sometimes very slowly on the freeway. And I don't think they shoot each other as often anymore..nahh just joking, but a little caution never hurt anyone.
As a local, you definitely need a car to see most of LA. If renting a car is not an option, book a tour to see all the touristy spots. LA is so spread out that public transportation is not the most viable option.
As I told allready, try to rent an electric car! Battery Range is from 50 to 80 Miles per charging, but there are a lot of charging stations all over the town, and if your Goal ist out of this range, plan a break of an hour ore two to recharge, while taking coffe or meals.
I forget to tell, you can rent an EV from BUDGET at LA Airport. The have the new Honda, some Ford Pickup's and the 2seatet sports car EV1 from GM. Prices are a little bit higher than for fuel powered cars, but the expirience and the great feeling in this machines will pay it back!
(about 45$/day for the EV1)
Take the public transportation. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. *laughing uncontrollably* The car makers of America united in the 30's to buy the Red Line street car system and dismantle it, forcing Angelinos to drive. And drive they do. All over their little nation-state. And you will too, if you want to get anywhere. Be sure to add an hour for traffic. You will hit it.