How to go around Los Angeles, California

How to go around Los Angeles California

Los Angeles Survival Tips: Travel smart and safe!

So you’re visiting Los Angeles!  You’ve researched the places you want to see - Universal Studios, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, etc.  And you’ve booked the places where you’ll stay.  But how are you going to get around? What should you carry? All this and more are below!

Even if you’re an LA native, you might pick up a few tips or two.  Or leave a comment below if I missed something! I’ll give credit where credit is due! So, ready to survive and enjoy LA? Let's go!

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How to go around Los Angeles, California

How are you going to get around?

The easiest answer is by car.  LA is a very driven city/county. Many people working in LA usually drive from outside the area where public transportation is often out of reach or time-consuming.  It isn't impossible, but a pair of wheels (bikes included!) is almost a necessity around here. However, for travelers seeking alternative options...

If you're coming from LAX airport:

Depending on where you plan to go - friend's house, hotel, Airbnb - there are plenty of taxis, Ubers, and shuttle buses direct to hotels / FlyAways.  According to the Ellis Law firm, traveling 4 miles in LA by taxi could cost you about $25, whereas an UberX or Lyft could save you more than half that price <>.  Or better yet, if your destination is closer to one of the many FlyAway shuttles, the shuttle bus might be even lighter on your wallet, at a current cost of $9.75 one way.

If you’re already in LA:

Metros/buses are always an option. You won’t have to worry about finding parking nor the somewhat annoying parking fees.  Some places even charge by the hour or, worse, every 15 minutes, up to a certain daily maximum. Definitely look up where you’re going and allocate time to finding the place, looking around, and making your way back if you end up parking.

I’ve had a fairly good experience with the phone app, Waze, which recommends cheap parking areas. I used to frequent Little Tokyo a lot; so if you’re heading there, add the spot on 2nd Street between San Pedro Street and South Central Avenue to your parking spot list.  It’s conveniently located in the middle of Little Tokyo and a fair walking distance of many things nearby.

How to go around Los Angeles, California

LA People

Yes, some of it is true - celebrity sightings, Beverly Hills luxurious homes and lawns, and a diverse mix of people can be found here.  And no, it isn't incredibly littered with crime and gangsters and crazy hobos as the media may make it seem. But you do want to be careful when you see certain things.

In general, if you see anyone making a scene -shouting at everybody (or nobody), walking casually through congested street traffic - don’t make eye contact.  Also, beware of people who claim to be deaf or mute and pass you a card explaining their disabilities in exchange for money.  It’s not often, but you might see one or two in tourist areas like Hollywood (a city of all kinds of actors, eh?) or the swapmeet.

Most of the time, LA people keep to themselves out of caution. If you’re lost, we’ll answer; but don’t mind our guarded nature.

On a tangent: just the other day, I saw this guy on a bike ask this other guy for tips on his bike and they flipped it upside down and looked at it together right on the corner of an intersection.  An uncommon sight, but warming to see our sense of community is still around!

What to carry?

While many parking meters now allow cards, paid parking areas run by smaller businesses often are cash-only.  Expect to carry on your person around $30-40 just for parking, then maybe $20 per meal for food trucks and local restaurants.  Also in downtown, unless you’re a paying customer, you might have to pay to use certain restrooms.

Not all places have you pay for parking (and restrooms), however.  Premium outlets and malls are usually free of charge (away from downtown, anyway).

Universal Studios has paid parking; but if you don’t mind a bit of a walk, there’s a free place to leave your vehicle. Along the Lankershim entrance of Universal is South Weddington Park. Turn on Valleyheart Drive; you’ll see a wall that separates the designated metro parking from the park.

Chinatown, Santi (in the Fashion District), and Grand Central Market also have some cheap parking spots, so fish around a bit before settling on the nearest one.

How to go around Los Angeles, California
Check out our favorite sunglasses! US  I CANADA

Shades / Sunglasses
It wouldn’t be a complete LA experience if you weren’t rocking a nice pair of eyewear to keep that California sun toned down.  It can get quite a bit bright out here, so take care of your eyes! On that note, make sure you also bring…

SPF-30 is the recommended strength.  Even if you’re not going to be out at the beach, if you’re going to be out for a few hours at all due to outdoor shopping, be sure to put some on.  Unless you want the tan, then you do you.

Other tips

Some restaurants make it easy and give you the pre-calculated option of giving 10, 15, or customized tip percentages.  However, some other restaurants only have a tip jar and leave it up to you how much you want to give.

There isn't a mandatory obligation down here for the most part unless otherwise explicitly stated on your receipt, so don’t worry if the food, ambience, or customer service wasn't worth tipping.  It’s all up to you.

Stay hydrated
It doesn't get extremely hot or humid compared to other states/countries, but be sure to either bring water with you or stop by to have drinks here and there.  The heat can surprise you as you wander around.

That does it for now in terms of a traveler’s survival tips for LA.  Enjoy!

Are you considering a move to California? Check out our guide on how to Navigate Life in California: A Helpful Guide for Future Residents.

Have fun and be safe ^__^

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