Driving, Los Angeles
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.
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.
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.
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.
Los Angeles Driving for the first timer in the City is A Nightmare! with a multitude of Interstate Freeways, US Highways, State Highways, roads and lots of flyovers and traffic (although traffic for me is manageable because if you come from the philippines, you will know the meaning of TRAFFIC!). They key to driving in LA is to stay calm. If you aren't comfortable driving with crazy people, try to keep off the major highways and interstates. If you think you can handle it, make sure to stay in the slow lane. The faster lanes are for experienced (crazy) people and before planning to go from point A to point B, always download the driving routed from map quest or google maps or yahoo driving maps.
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.
A lot of people say that driving in LA is a nightmare and I have spent a fair amount of time stuck on the 405 cursing at the traffic gods. Always give yourself a cushion if you have to be somewhere at a specific time, like any major urban area, traffic backups can occur at any time of the day, not just rush hour.
I didn't have a GPS on my most recent trip and I didn't even really have a map except for the tiny one that the car rental place gave me so I printed out directions from Bing every morning before I left my hotel. The routing was much different than what I would have picked from looking at a map, I imagine that it is adjusted for known traffic backups and the route was more interesting than sticking to the freeways.
Los Angeles is a very large spread out city. With the public transportation not being very well designed, it is recommended that you rent a car to get from place to place. If you don’t know the city well, make sure you have a map or better yet a GPS. The freeways can be quite daunting for those who are not used to driving in big cities and be prepared for traffic.
unfortunately, you can't really get around LA without a car. you can take a bus, but count on not finding the most direct route and waiting for over an hour for the bus to arrive, in addition to getting to your destination. you will be lugging your bags for blocks to find a bus station. i'm talking over ten blocks. LA is a car town. this is not san francisco.
that being said, LA is one of the easiest places i have ever driven, if you can get past the fact that everyone drives over 80mps+. really, it's simple. if you get a good map, you will find your way around with little preparation.
if you really don't want to drive, stay in hollywood and take a cab to your hotel from LAX and take a cab to the walk of fame (or whatever) and bev. hills to see the sights. then take a cab back. from your place in hollywood, DON'T TAKE A CAB TO SAN PEDRO. it's gonna cost you an arm and a leg. just rent a car and drive. then you can actually see other things, like driving on PCH, go the LACMA museum, do other stuff. . . santa monica pier . . . whatever you want!
i would really only spend money on cabs to get around areas that are concentrated with attractions. as far as commuting from city to city within LA, you are best just biting the bullet and renting a car. really, it's not that scary.