Downtown at Night, Los Angeles
Well, I just visited Los Angeles and stayed downtown. I was very suprised at how populated it is during the weekdays from 8am-5pm, and then how quickly it become deserted after 5 or on the weekends. My advice if you are a tourist, go to theme parks during the weekends, and then during the weekdays do whatever you want downtown. The worst part about the nightlife downtown after 5 is that all of the homeless people come out; I'm not kidding, I saw like 4 or 5 of them. Overall, don't let these other reviews scare you, as long as your don't rome the streets alone at night, which probably wont happen, you won't have any problem at all in L.A. A second piece of advice, LA is not like NY or DC where you can walk, tourist attracts are spread out and you must rent a car, my advice, rent one from LAX.
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.
Most area in Los Angeles are safe but have some dangerous area, bad neigborhood. I let you know that must stay away from South Los Angeles, Compton, Inglewood, Lynwood and North Long Beach. East Los Angeles are okay to visit huge Mexican/Latino culture but never go there at night same as in Downtown too. Don't be too nervous and afraid to visit Los Angeles. You will fine whole time in your life. You can drive across freeway 110 and 710 to Long Beach. No one need worry about shooting in car.
God said be cheer and happy for go to Los Angeles.
Have great day...
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
For me, downtown LA is not really the place to be at night. During the week it is a ghost town, with most shops closing up around 6PM and the majority of people fleeing the city for surrounding areas. More recently, there has been a lot of condo and apartment conversions or building. Hopefully, that will rejuvenate the nights in LA.
There are many parts of the city that are a little seedy, especially at night, so just be careful.
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.
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.
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.
Many will write off going south in the city of L.A. They do have good reason for this. If you find yourself in South Los Angeles (and Southeast LA), please have extra caution. Parts of this area are increasingly vulnerable to street crimes. Unfortunately, gang activity, pollution and the poorer quality of public services are plaguing communities here.
Other comunities in the general southern area include Watts, Willowbrook, Florence, Vernon, Huntington Park (a world of difference of this and Huntington Beach!) and a few others. The latter four are officially not part of the city/community of Los Angeles but are often thrown in the L.A. mix!
Overall, I recommend to avoid the area at night when generally most crime usually happens. This area is not suitable for lodging for an outsider (mostly there are motels here).
Basically, unless you are a local in this area or happen to be visiting someone here, don't even stay here-especially at night.
There are a few landmarks worth nothing in the area, like Watts Towers. They are visible on the Metro Blue Line which heads from the eventually posh and poor downtown L.A. (The towers are near the Kenneth Hahn stop). In addition, the campus of USCmay draw a tourist or a local outsider to the south. Also, both Exposition Park and Leimert Park where the annual African Marketplace has taken place, gets visitors.
Believe me, passing through South LA on the Metro is fine (and safe) enough to experience the southern parts of L.A. !
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!
We got lost coming back from the Staples Center. Ended up on a very dodgy street in Downtown LA. The pavement was covered with Tents only about 5mins away from Staples. We where informed that a lot of carjacking goes on around that area and four German tourist's shot dead the week before.
Don't walk around Downtown los angeles at night on your own. Try to avoid going to south center la, east la, and compton at all. I am an LA native and would never want to set foot in these three neighborhoods
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
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!