Well, you can't talk about L.A. freeways withough mention of the 5. It is hard to miss, since it cuts through Metro LA and Orange county. Morever, the freeway goes all the way north to California's capital on paper, Sacramento. So for your California trip, the 5 should be met at some point. The 5 jammed packed in various parts along its route, but especially notewothy in LA in the downtown vicinty (Boyle Heights) Also, traffic tightens in LA suburbs of Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada which all make up a kind of gateway between LA county and Orange county at large.
...and also downtown L.A. At the Artesia Transit Center, there are many buses that go into South Bay L.A county region, including nearby Gardena and Torrance. I like the colorful art deco of the station and that big clock since I don't usually have my watch! Park and ride the bus -or just ride especially on Metro bus 444-447. A few of these express routes start/end in downtown LA and San Pedro, where there is the nice Ports O Call area for boat cruise and other beachside entertainment.
Public transport in L.A. is poor compared to Europe but it's certainly possible. The first thing to keep in mind is that when people say "L.A." they're talking about a *HUGE* area. Think of it like saying Belgium. :-) Trying to cover it all in a few days even with your own car would be madness. It's best to spend a day in a specific area within L.A. and then, yes, you can walk around and take short bus or subway rides. You can always call a taxi but because of the distances that can get expensive. Example: Don't try to see the stars of Hollywood Blvd. during the day and see sunset on the beach in one day. Instead, spend one day in Hollywood, there's plenty to do with great nightlife. Stay there overnight. Then the next day, take the long bus ride to the beaches, do it up and then find a different place to stay in Santa Monica, Venice, or wherever you want.
Okay, anyway, you can do public transport in L.A. It works. You can buy a day pass for $3 which covers all of the subway AND busses for 24 hours. Otherwise, I think a one-way ticket is $1.25 - there are no more "transfers" anymore (got rid of them, two years ago now, I think?) You can buy the passes from the bus drivers, or in a subway station from a machine, or also at some convenience stores (the equivalet of European tabbacs).
Okay. Enough of my yammering... It's all just my opnion anyway.
Yes, belive it or not , on a major fault line , LA has a brand new metro transport system .
With three lines built already , you can basically cover the entire LA county . Yes, this is an extremely large city and the metro has been desparately needed for years .
You can go down to Long beach for only 3 dollars , not bad concidering the distance you are covering . There is also a train that goes to LAX airport and this is a big plus , it can be hell to get there in a car with all the traffic .
Even with the risk of Earthquakes , IT IS SAFE an extremely efficient way to get around .
Not expensive either ;-)
While not pratical for all trips LA's Metro rail can get you from the Port of Long Beach with the aquarium and what not to Pasadena -home of the Rose Parade. A day pass costs about $3. There are 4 distinct lines with most running above ground except the Red line which runs under Downtown LA and will take you to the Kodak theater in Hollywood or Union station to conect with the traditional trains.
If you are not renting a car, save yourself money with a day pass. It only costs US$ 3.00 and valid till 3.00am the next day. It can be used for all Metro and Metro buses. Passes are available at the Metro ticket office or any Metro bus.
LA actually has a good transportation system, as long as you live in the city. Union Station in downtown, you can go to Hollywood or in the San Fernando Valley via the Metro Rail Red Line, or to Pasadena via the Gold Line. You can even go to Long Beach via the Blue Line.
In addition, there is now a "Rapid" Bus System along major thoroughfares. An example is the 720 line running from the suburban city of Montebello in the East, going through downtown LA, passing through Wilshire Blvd, ending in Santa Monica, just a couple of blocks away from the Pacific Ocean. Along Wilshire Blvd are other bus lines running north to south of the city.
And the best deal? You can have a day pass for just US$3, unlimited transfer, unlimited rides!
Despite what many may think you don't need a car to get around Los Angeles. Did you know that Los Angeles has the second largest public transportation agency in the nation that operates more than 1,500 buses? There's also a subway system that can take you from Downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood in about 12 minutes!
With the Metro Day Pass you can ride any Metro bus or rail line all day long for just $3.
By Air : Los Angeles has four major airports, LAX International, Burbank-Glendale Airport, John Wayne Airport and Ontario International Airport. LAX International Airport is just 3kms to the city.
By Rail : Amtrak, is America's intercity passenger rail system which is statewide and nationwide and pulls into Union Station.
By Taxi : Distances are long in Los Angeles, and cab fares can be high. A service charge is added to fares originating at LAX.
By Bus : apparently not the best or most practical way to get around. Short trips are probably ok, but don't rely on them for longer journeys and certainly don't travel on them at night.
In July 2003, a website was launched as a public service by several Los Angeles government agencies promoting the use of the Los Angeles Metro fixed rail and rapid bus lines to get out and experience Los Angeles. The site known as ExperienceLA.com promotes the use of the Red Line, Blue Line, Gold Line and Green Line along with the Rapid Bus Lines on Wilshire Blvd and Ventura Blvd to get around Los Angeles. The website includes neighborhood tours along these lines for Hollywood, NoHo, Thais Town, Original Farmers Market. In addition, the site talks about getting to and from LAX using this system. A trip on the Gold Line from Union Station to Pasadena has much to offer. It is possible to see Los Angeles without a car.
It's ideal to have a car- but if you must, all the places I've described can be reached via one bus line (santa monica blvd-from the beach to hollywood line 304) or the red line subway from hollywood to downtown and points in-between.
Public Transit in LA sucks! It is very difficult and long, boring and time consuming to get around LA by public transit. It can take you hours just to do a simple trip from Santa Monica to Hollywood. Forget about the subway except for the most useless of trips. Add to that the fact that the subway can take you for no reason to a connection in a very sketchy part of town where you'll be standing around for an hour, and you'll see why LA is public transits disaster poster child. A trip from Manhattan Beach to Staples Center Arena for example can take you hours and drop you in deserted and threatening spots. Get a car.
International airport. Plane, train, bus car, any type of transportationl.
A car is a huge convience. You can go on guided tours, but a car gives you much more freedom. LA is to big to bicycle around effectivly.
If you can, driving to LA is a good idea since you're going to need a car once you get there. However, flying is probably more practical if you don't live on the West Coast, although you'll have to cough up all that money for a rental.
LA does have a bus system, but it's best avoided at all cost. The city has been trying to put a subway in place, but Angelinos so far have been resisting (as public transportation is about as un-Californian as they come). In short, having a car in LA will make your stay so much easier. It isn't absolutely necessary, but I wouldn't particularly want to be there without one.
They have a small subway system and many bus routes. I only used the buses a few times, so I don't know how reliable they are. If you are not afraid of the crazy LosAngeles drivers, renting a car might be your best choice.