Downtown at Night, Los Angeles
Downtown L.A.'s Broadway is no comparision to New York. In the early 1900s, it wasn't quite as bad though, but oh well, one cannot turn back time so much. If it weren't for the dozen or so architectural points of interests along south Broadway, I wouldn't recommend coming down here- unless you are a building buff or want to get some deals on electronics, clothes and various other knick-nacks. This part of town is rich with discount stores galore but a fairly poor area in many senses. Sidewalks are needed for repair, some unsavory people may haggle you a bit though most often nothing more arises. Crime of different levels can occur here more often than not, though I have had no big problem walking around here. The biggest issues are disturbing the peace, robberies and there are instances of drugs exchange in alleys and such. There is usually a visible police presence here which helps in reducing crimes however. Take extra precaution walking around here, especially at night when here for the clubs, bars or perhaps a concert at the Orpheum theater.
and in the entire Westlake District for that matter! This is an area I could never recommend venturing at night aimlessly. If going during the day, use extra precaution as I would. Locals do relax here at the park while taking in some sun around the pond here. During the 80-90s, the park area was a huge haven for drug sellers and abusers, as well as for other crimes. Since the turn of the century, there has been visible improvement with more policing and beautification of the pak and immediate surroundings. The central pond is inviting and several trees provide natural beauty. Much to my surprise, there are new, trendy loft-style units built just a few steps away from the park. Oh my God! Overall, the area is "so-so" but it is really coming up and looking much better.
Alright, people here are a little misinformed of what is and is not a safe part of the greater Los Angeles region. LA is not that bad of a city. Yes it does have crime, but most of it is gang-related. Rarely does a tourist get caught up in that kind of violence (unless your in the wrong place at the wrong time kind of deal). LA is a very spread-out city with a diverse population and it seems like every ethnic group has its own town (e.g. koreatown, little tokyo, chinatown, little armenia, little ethiopia, thaitown, filliapinotown, even a little bangladesh, all of these are little districts designated by the city) I have been living in LA for most of my life (nearly 25 years) and here is my two-cents:
Hollywood: West of the 101 and Los Feliz area/Griffith park (daytime only, unless there is some event at the Greek Theatre, then there is a lot of police)
Downtown: Only between 6am-8pm, when all the buisness people are at work, after 8pm, unless there is a Laker game or other event at LA Live. Also since people have started to rent apartments in downtown during the last 7-8 years, Broadway has started to get a little lively at night as well.
Long Beach: Downtown/harbor area
Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Pasadena, Century City, Westwood, Hancock Park, Mid-City West (West of La Brea, North of Olympic): for the most part good/very good areas
K-town (koreatown/mid-wilshire): Ok, lots of bars/clubs/24hrs places
South Bay: Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, some parts of Torrance, Westchester (near the beach/LMU side + LAX)
Culver City: some parts are good (downtown area is pretty lively)
South Central: Only 'good' parts I can think of is Baldwin Hills (the 'so called' Black Beverly Hills), Ladera Heights
Eastside (East LA): cant think of any
San Fernando Valley: Pretty good
Northern LA: (Eagle Rock, Glendale) ok
Not So good parts:
Hollywood: East Hollywood, most things east of the 101
Downtown: Skid Row (aka Central city east) is the capital city of homeless people in the US. Between 3rd and 7th Sts. around Alameda - anyway just stay out of that area, its kind of shady, just old businesses and homeless down there.
Long Beach: East and North Long Beach, stay away, its just an extension of South Central LA.
South Central : Stay away from this area (For the most part anything south of the I-10, west of the 710/5, east of the 405, north of San Pedro) unless you are seeing the watts towers or look at the old buildings of West Adams/USC.
Westlake/MacArthur Park: Stay away, unless you are going to visit Langers Deli, which ironically closes at 4pm because this neighborhood is on the not so good list. It looks like a different world in this part of town (like a third-world country almost).
Mid-City: pretty ghetto
East LA: stay away (anything east of the I-5)
Northern LA: stay away from Highland Park, Lincoln Heights
Skid Row is an area of Los Angeles that you may have heard of, none of it good news, I am sure. This is probably the worst area of the city. High crime, large homeless population, and just a general unsafe area.
If you're looking at hotels/hostels be sure to cross-reference the address for the hotel you're considering with the term "Skid Row" in the internet search engine of your choice to make sure it's not in this area.
Basically, Skid Row is around 3rd to 7th Streets and Alameda to Main Streets. There is, surprisingly, some nice things to see in this area, especially if you're into architecture. There are a lot of beautiful old buildings here and, if you are used to large cities and know how to be aware of your surroundings and protect yourself, you'll probably be okay during the day but the nights are a different story.
There are some hotels and hostels in this area and while the price may be great, bear in mind the area you'll be in is dangerous and has one of the highest crime rates in the entire county. Staying in this area would put you convenient to the subway system but there are other areas where you'd be just as close to the subways and you'll be a lot safer.
Do some research - it'll be worth it in the long run.
As with so many cities, Los Angeles is not without its problems. Lost souls are very common in many outer and inner cities. There was sadly abundunt of lost souls within the confines of the Civic Center area. So be on your toes, even though I have never had too much trouble, but you never know. Especially if you explore into the areas where there may not be enough foot traffic especially on weekends. Safety in numbers is always a good thing if you can. There are lots of hidden plaza's with fountains and scrubbery. Just something to think about.
LA is not dangerous at all. I just moved here from NJ about a week ago, I don't use public transportation or have a car, so all I do is walk almost 20 miles a day job hunting. If I was to walk around lets say, South Newark the way I walk around LA, I would have a bloody mess where my face used to be.
Let's see your warning areas, MacArthur Park? What am I looking out for here mexican children playing soccer?? Downtown... korean people? I don't get it... I walked through south central, went one block away from the jungle... perfectly fine.
I think you guys are over exaggerating or you just assume that anywhere there isn't white people is a bad area.
I HAVENT EVEN HEARD ONE GUNSHOT HERE
Some of these comments are the most ignorant, idiotic and hyperbolic statements ever. I have lived in Santa Monica for many years and all over the westside of Los Angeles and this place is NOT "completely" taken over by gangs (unlike Houston, TX). I have NEVER felt unsafe and I've never had any problems. And let me tell you something, two blocks off Rodeo Drive or Sunset Blvd in WeHo, Beverly Hills or Malibu are homes that most of the morons posting these dumb "tips" will never be able to afford in gorgeous settings with luxury boutiques and stores - your moronic comments on how unsafe it is to venture two blocks away from Rodeo or Sunset is simply ignorant and dumb, because it is not true. There are great parts in this city as long as you stay in the westside (Santa Monica, Malibu, Marina, BevHills, West Hollywood) - since there really isn't anything to see or do on the eastside (trash). Sure, there are bad parts, just like in ANY other big city. Sorry, but some of you obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about. Places like Houston, for example, which is an unrefined city with all the rejects from Dallas, but rotting in a humid, decomposing stew of unsophistication and gut-churning unpleasantness have 0 class, so just stay there, hillbilly.
West Hollywood is mostly safe however it is a soft target and thieves travel into this area. Keep an eye out when you are walking around. Try not to carry too many valuables especially late at night. Thieves often have drivers near by. People have been held up at gun point, robbed and the thief jumps in a vehicle to make a getaway. Somtimes they are well dressed. You never know. If you use common sense you should be fine. Try not to walk around by yourself. There's more to LA than Hollywood. It is culturally diverse and interesting to explore.
I have never driven to and in California, someone else always did the driving. So I never had to worry about traffic, safety or finding my way around until this month.
Now, I was able to avoid all of the freeways in L.A. by taking the roads that pass through the city and suburbs. If you have to drive on a freeway, go a comfortable speed for you. Coming in on the first day, I had to drive on several and did an average of 50mph in the right lane and not once had a problem. We were able to avoid areas such as Inglewood, Compton and East L.A. There are many homeless people on the streets, in fact, at night it appears that downtown L.A. turns into a depressing hole for these individuals. They wandered lost and scared, and it was not an impression that L.A. should allow in my opinion.
We drove on Sunset Blvd., all through Hollywood and Beverly Hills and I must say I was not impressed. Traffic during the day is fine, but at night it turns ugly. Paparazzi and tourists cause for unsafe driving conditions. I was also not impressed by the very looks of these areas. We were hoping to dine in Hollywood and then go shopping around Roberston Blvd. and the surrounding areas, but parking was impossible. Even more disturbing than that was the condition that these areas are falling into. It is dirty, grimy and does not look 'Hollywood' or classy. There were unsavory looking people even on Rodeo Dr. and Robertson Blvd! Hollywood looked like a tourist trap from the worst street you could choose in Dallas. There were adult shops next to liqour stores, tacky stores embedded into some of the most iconic landmarks around. The Walk of Fame was dirty, and travel just a 1/2 mile from Beverly Hills and the upscale shops and there are strip clubs. We were not impressed!
I've been reading all of these tips and I have found so many good tips but the great majority is lies!
Part of my job is to drive around the whole day and I drive a lot in the South East area, a lady mentioned that Huntington Park is dangerous! What a lie! Every city has its danger at night, I give you that but you cannot say that this city in particular is one of the most dangerous. The city is 90% Mexicans and most of them decent, working people. I also drive through Watts, Compton, and South Central etc. At night is a different story but during the day, you are safe! Gangsters come out at night not during the day.
About Skid row, it is just plain sad that's all. I have gone through there at 8 pm on a weekday through 6th and San Pedro and I'm still here. The only thing you see is people doing drugs, drinking or prostituting. They are too much in their little worlds (much like the phone crazies from Stephen King's Cell). If you are interested in donating some of your vacation time in charity, this is the perfect spot with all of the shelters who take volunteers.
That you have to guard your car and your purse when you go to Hollywood is another lie. True, at night is another story but at daylight, you are okay!
The ONLY and REAL warning to tourists is to get a map and be careful with the many freeways and with the bad drivers. We drive like MANIACS! It is more likely that you will either get lost or in a car accident than you get robbed!
Don't get discouraged with the excessive warnings, come to LA, take care of yourself at night and be happy during the day. Enjoy it, it is fun!
For all of you out there that are being scared away from downtown DONT BE! downtown is very fun and the shopping is good.. The santee alley is a good place to shop especially for tourists and locals alike.. The really only place i can think of downtown to steer clear of is east of San Pedro and 6th streets.. that is known as skid row. high drug and homeless area... but even there isnt as bad as some places.. as far as the out of la neighborhoods like compton, watts, lennox, inglewood. etc these places are culturally rich and diverse you can find some awesome resturants in these area... so my message to any tourists that are planning a trip to this area is: Have fun, Be smart. Dont parade around as a tourist. and Enjoy OUR City!
I didn't run into any trouble on either of my visits to downtown LA but I was a little uncomfortable as I walked from Olvera Street to the Grand Central Market on my first visit as it was a totally deserted even though it was a beautiful sunny day in the middle of a work day.
On my second visit the LA Conservancy tour started at Pershing Square, once a lovely tree filled park but now a place where you will encounter many homeless people. I'm not suggesting that you don't go there especially if you are meeting up with the LA Conservancy, I felt perfectly safe as I wandered around with the group, but just be aware of your surroundings and your valuables.
LA seems to have a disproportionate amount of mentally ill and/or homeless people walking around. They can be quite abusive at times, particularly in the city centre. Apparently the authorities feel this is a much better way of doing things than ... oh, I don't know ... actually giving these poor people some treatment and rehabilitation. Anyway, just take it in your stride, and be alert, particularly when driving.
For those who seek out the harsh reality of life in places...
It is hard, and frankly irresponsible to not mention skid row, that part of Los Angeles that the travel guides, some city officials and others won't highlight. Skid row, within the Warehouse District of LA, emcompasses about 50 square blocks, due east from fancy, financially happy downtown and south from a more cheery part like Little Tokyo. Much of the core area is along San Pedro, Los Angeles and San Julian streets between 5th and 7th streets, just a short walking distance from fun, thriving downtown spots.
Obviously, you don't want to flash money around here and try to avoid walking down idlely on the streets. Most likely, a beggar will approach, though, often not in a very confrontational way. I found it more depressing than dangerous here. What is truly alarming is the fact that more families with women and children are taken up residence here. Drugs continue to plague as well. Missions and other organizations are constantly busy serving the needs of locals, though arguably, they could be unintentionally contributing to the hinderance the homeless. The saddest point to be made here is that as much as the "good part" of downtown is thriving, so is skid row.
For years, we have all been told of the importance of water. The general guideline has been to drink 2 litre of water each day. For a person who is not living an active lifestyle this may be enough, but if you are physically active, you need more water than that. That is especially true if you are hiking in the city of Los Angeles due to the fact the average temperature is much higher than other areas and the landscape goes up and down.
Water is essential for everyone, especially if you are hiking. Water helps almost every part of the human body function properly. Our bodies are almost two-thirds water, and proper hydration is essential to keep your body functioning properly during the hike. Some of the things water does in the body are:
* The brain is 75% water; even moderate dehydration can cause headaches and dizziness;
* Water regulates body temperature, which is especially important here in the area where the temperatures can be so brutal;
* Water carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body
* Blood is 92% water;
* Water protects and cushions vital organs;
·* Water converts food into energy (which is something you will need on a 3 to 4 hour hike…);
* Muscles are 75% water, and you will use many muscles on a trail as you climb above the desert floor.