Los Angeles is one of the must see cities. For most people this city is all about Hollywood and its stars, luxurious estates and a beautiful life. But one should not forget about amazing Pacific Ocean beaches, the Disneyland and the Universal Studio. Whether you want to get an autograph from a world famous actor, to take pictures at the Walk of Fame, to enjoy the sunset from the Santa Monica Pier or to make your kids happy bringing them to a theme park, Los Angeles is great for all and any of these purposes.
But at the same time the city itself can easily confuse even experienced tourists. At first glance, Los Angeles is huge and chaotic. It consists of several districts, and each of them can easily be considered a stand-alone town. The transport connection between districts is not very convenient; the metro, for example, has only one line that connects the downtown with the Universal studios via the Hollywood. There are buses, but often, in order to get to your destination, you will have to change buses (maybe, not just once), and even then you will have to walk for a mile or two because the city is stretched for dozen of miles and traffic interchanges are not always very convenient.
To sum up, the most convenient way to get around Los Angeles is by car. So, the process of choosing the district for accommodation largely depends on whether you have an option to use the car or not. The main rule for tourists without a car is pretty simple: you should stay in the district where the most of sights you plan to visit are located. But if you rent a car and can easily move around the city, then you will have a broader choice of districts to stay at.
What Area is the Best to Stay in Los Angeles?
Most of tourists visiting Los Angeles are interested in seeing places that are related to the Hollywood and cinematograph. That’s why we start choosing hotels from this particular district.
Hotels of Hollywood
The main sights in Hollywood are in the area of the Hollywood Boulevard. Here you will find the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame that is stretching for 15 blocks of the boulevard and creates a unique monument to the cinematograph with its 2,500 stars embedded in the sidewalks and bearing the names of the best of the best actors, directors, cameramen, and even fictional characters.
To take a picture with the star of the favorite actor is a dream for many people around the world, and one of the most popular reasons for tourists to come to Los Angeles. Well, actually they come here to see their favorite actor and/or actress in person and take a picture of/with the star(s) but this is not as easy as it might seem, at the very least it is more complicated than taking a walk along the Walk of Fame.
Walking down the Hollywood Boulevard you will see such famous landmarks as The Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) that has hosted the Academy Awards ceremonies since 2002, as well as Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussauds Hollywood and many other exciting sights.
The area here is pretty loud, always crowded by tourists; in evenings the boulevard transforms into something incredible: crowds grow larger, bright neon signs are everywhere, loud music is played, street dancers and actors perform, and sometimes you can bump into Batman or Captain Jack Sparrow, and take pictures with them. Overall, the Hollywood Boulevard will create a number of great experiences for you.
If that is the ultimate reason of you coming to Los Angeles, then you should stay in the proximity of the boulevard. In this district you will find a lot of hotels within a wide price range, so finding the right place for you to stay at should not be a problem. In particular, I recommend Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Hollywood Walk of Fame. The hotel is just 200 m away from the Hollywood Boulevard; there are comfortable rooms here, the breakfast is decent, and the location is really priceless. Another hotel that you might want to pay attention to is the Saharan Motor Hotel. This hotel, or rather, this motel, is located in the West Hollywood, on the Sunset Boulevard. This is a very budget-friendly option with cozy and comfortable rooms. You will need just 10 minutes to reach the Walk of Fame and the Dolby Theatre from here. In the room there is fridge, a microwave and a coffee machine. Just across the hotel there is a supermarket where you can get whatever you need. A great advantage of this hotel is complimentary Wi-Fi.
The district of Beverly Hills is well known, at the very least, thanks to the famous American drama series of the 90s. Here you will have the greatest chance to see your favorite star with your own eyes. Not to mention that Beverly Hills is an epitome of a beautiful glamourous life. If you want to live close to the stars and touch upon the star glamour, this district is perfect for you. Beverly Hills is great for tourists who would like to experience the star treatment at least for a couple of days. Do not ruin the experience, choose a good expensive hotel where you will feel the atmosphere of the Star Factory. Some interesting hotels are The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Wilshire and The Peninsula Beverly Hills.
We should not forget that Los Angeles is not only cinema and Hollywood. It is also the amazing Pacific coast. If you want to stay closer to the ocean, enjoy sunsets and sunrises on the beach, occasionally stopping by at small shops and purchasing sweet little things, or if you just want to enjoy the feeling of freedom thanks to the proximity of the ocean, then Santa Monica is the district for you.
Here you will find the famous Santa Monica Pier with a theme park and the sign that marks the end of the legendary American Route 66. The Pier is well-known to many people because it is used as a location in many Hollywood movies.
An additional bonus for choosing a hotel in Santa Monica is that most of hotels here have parking available, otherwise it is incredibly tough to find a parking spot in this area. Even paid parking spots are occupied at any time of day or night, and finding a free parking spot is next to impossible. All in all, Santa Monica is a great choice for both categories of tourists, those with the car and those without one.
Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles is a typical business district. Here you will find all the sky scrapers, business centers, as well as cafes, and restaurants. During the week it is loud and dynamic here, on weekends the area slows down. To stay in this part of the city makes sense only if you are on a business trip and need to live close to your office.
You should take into account that the main landmarks are pretty far away from here (even though you can reach the Hollywood Boulevard by metro from here), and the hotel rates are almost the same as in other districts.
If you really have to stay in Los Angeles business district I recommend The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles (the maximum level of comfort), Hilton Checkers Hotel (the usual quality of the Hilton chain, the metro station is just next to the hotel) or The Los Angeles Athletics Club (a great budget-friendly option).
Chinatown and Little Tokyo
Next to the downtown there are two ethnic districts: Chinatown and Little Tokyo. From the tourist’s point of view, they are interesting, even though they might be less impressive than ethnic districts in other US cities, for example, the Chinatown in San Francisco, but the experience you get will still be amazing. For example, in these districts you can see the Golden Pagoda, the wishing well (you just have to throw a coin in there), the Buddhist Temple.
Nevertheless, it is not recommended to live in these districts: they are really far from all the main attractions, and trouble districts are close-by. But if you really want to stay here or just do not have any other choice, look into the Miyako Hotel – a small cozy 3-star hotel.
The district Universal City, as its name suggests, is located near the famous Universal studio that is a must-see place for all movie lovers. The district is pretty far from the city in the valley. It is rather a residential area, but hotel rates here are not lower than in other Los Angeles districts. That’s why staying in the Universal City makes only sense if all hotels in the areas where main landmarks are located, are booked; if you plan to only visit the studio; or if you have a car and do not care where to stay.
In this case I recommend the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City. The Universal studio is located just two minutes away, the metro station is close-by too and you can easily reach the Hollywood Boulevard and the Downtown. In the hotel you will find comfortable rooms, a great breakfast (but it is really expensive), and a pool.
Los Angeles Airport (LAX) Area
Hotels in the area of the airport, are, as a rule, a good choice for those who stay in Los Angeles for a day or two, who have a late arrival or an early departure, and those who plan to move around the city using a car. If you worry that these hotels might be too loud, then cast these worries aside. The rooms there are sound proof and are very comfortable. The rates might be different. You can find very budget-friendly options, as well as deluxe hotels (also quite affordable). I recommend choosing from hotels that are members of the famous chains, such as Los Angeles Airport Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott LAX or Holiday Inn Los Angeles International Airport, for example.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Hotel in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a large city consisting of a dozen of districts. This article covered the most important ones from a tourist’s point of view. If we talk about safety, there are some districts that you should not under any circumstances choose for accommodation even if a hotel comes free of charge for you. These are Inglewood, Culver City, El Segundo.
As for the rest of the districts, the choice is all yours, but remember if you do not have a car, you will be bound to the district where the hotel is located. By the way, if you do not have a car, find out in advance if the hotel offers shuttle buses to the airport. It will help you save some money because taxi rates in Los Angeles are pretty high.
But even if you have a car and have an option to move freely around Los Angeles, go for hotels that are located near the places you plan to visit. Otherwise, Los Angeles traffic will ruin your experience.
In my opinion, the best districts to stay in in Los Angeles are Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. If your budget is limited, but you still want to be closer to the city life and all the great events, choose the Hollywood district.
When choosing a hotel in Los Angeles you should always keep in mind that in most cases hotel rates do not include extra taxes. Plus, parking is almost never free of charge. Find out about this in advance.
Finally, almost all hotels offer season discounts, and run promotions to attract guests. If you plan your trip in advance, regularly check the relevant information on hotels’ websites. This way you will not miss the chance to save some money.
And the last thing, in the area around Los Angeles there are lots of small cities, sometimes it is tough to figure out if they are stand-alone towns, or LA’s districts. In any case, you can always choose a hotel in one of them, if you have a car: Long Beach, Malibu, Laguna Beach, even if it is quite far from all the cinema landmarks, but they will be perfect if you want to be close to the ocean and beaches.