Los Angeles Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
Upon arriving in LA, we quickly found we weren't staying it the best neighborhood. Our hotel was downtown and everyone we spoke to wished us good luck and safety. Almost every night we walked the streets straight through downtown and it isn't something I would feel safe doing alone... We also noted the apparent problem LA has with homeless people. It doesn't really matter were you go, they can be found everywhere (less in Santa Monica/Venice, but still). The contrast is even stronger in certain parks which are maintained properly, but filled with homeless people sleeping everywhere.
The hostel (Cecil Hotel) we stayed in, was good. They're known for their grand entrance, which has the looks of a outstanding hotel. The rooms itself are of a lesser quality, but still good enough.
We planned to spend the first few days traveling by car and the rest by Metro. Afterwards we needed the car much more and I would advice to have just a few days of Metro traveling and renting a car for the rest of the days. I don't have experience of traveling by bus in LA, so I can't tell whether it's a good alternative.
The day we visited Hollywood was one we wished we had a car (although Hollywood itself is easily reached by Metro). To get a good look of the sign we had to walk a few hours and still didn't get the look we wanted. Have a look on Google maps to search for a good point of view (street view is ideal for this). I took the photo from North Beachwood Drive.
The partly mandatory visits were the amusement parks. Disneyland was a bit of disappointing, since the it's exactly the same as Eurodisney in Paris. (We visited the main park, not the separate California one) Universal was a lot nicer since it has some attractions comparable the Disneyland and an additional range of movie related ones. The tour around the lots is nice (especially the sets like War of the Worlds and Wisteria Lane). Universal is reachable by Metro. Near the Metro-station there's a free transport up-hill to the Citywalk just outside the park.
We visited a few of the beach around LA. The best known beaches can't be reached by Metro, so we used our rental. We visited Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice. On the way back from Malibu we took a small detour via Malibu Canyon Road. Especially the first part has some nice vistas. Venice a nice atmosphere and a nice little park for skaters Santa Monica has a nice pier with an amusement park on it. The last days we didn't have the car anymore and we didn't have anything left to do without it. Therefore we visited the only beach reachable by Metro, Long Beach. This really stands out of the other beaches, as it seems only locals visits this one.