Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable & passionate about giving us all the information in a clear & concise way. The tour was very well planned & organised & was not tiring.
We did The Real Hollywood tour & loved it! The tour was at a great pace & the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable & made the tour fun. Thank you!
Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour – so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.
We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante… thank you very much from the Italian girls… very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!
This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites – highly recommend!
Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn’t that much walking, to be honest. It’s very fun!
How to Use Public Transport in LA
A key concern for a lot of visitors is how they are going to get around L.A. once they get here. Unfortunately one of the most prevalent myths about Los Angeles is that it doesn’t have any public transport and therefore everyone must use a car. This is inconvenient for tourists, as most cities in developed countries have some kind of mass transit system and that’s what most visitors use during their stay. It’s expensive to hire a car simply to get from one neighborhood to another and even in the age of smart phones with GPS, it can be very stressful driving around a city that you’ve never been to before. One of the cool things about Los Angeles is that it is in the process of reinventing itself from being a very heavily car dependent city and it’s opened several new metro train lines in recent years. Finally it is possible for tourists to get around L.A. without a car, so here’s our guide on how to use public transport in LA.
The first thing to understand is that there are three separate components to our pubic transport system; we have an underground metro system, light rail and buses and while it isn’t on a par with most European, and many Asian, cities, it is high quality (in parts) and is rapidly expanding. It’s also often the quickest way to get around the city – for example there’s no faster way to get from Hollywood to downtown than the Red Line. All tours offered by The Real Los Angeles Tours start near a Metro station or bus stop.
The Los Angeles Metro system has no less than six rail lines that span the city (for over 100 miles) and two services that operate buses on their own dedicated rights of way, with turn up and go services, and there’s also Metrolink, a rail service that covers Los Angeles and surrounding counties. As you can see from this map, the combined systems cover most of the main tourist hot-spots, such as Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica and downtown.
There are bus lines connecting all the major parts of the Los Angeles area. They’re not necessarily frequent (often running just two-three times an hour), but if you have time they will get you from A to B. There are also express buses that are actually pretty fast and can cover quite large distances (such as Santa Monica to downtown). Google Maps provides real time info on bus departure points and times in L.A.
Hollywood to downtown? Take the Red Line. There’s no faster way to get to downtown, as traffic on the 101 Hollywood Freeway is always terrible. You can also easily take the Red Line to Universal Studios, one stop before North Hollywood (which is the last stop).
Downtown to Pasadena? The Gold Line goes from Union Station to Del Mar or Memorial Park if you’re visiting Old Town Pasadena. The train goes through some very picturesque neighborhoods, so it’s a great way to see L.A.
Hollywood Burbank Airport to Koreatown? Easy! Metrolink and the Purple Line.
Beach to downtown? Smugly observe L.A.’s famous traffic on the 10 Freeway as you pass by on the Expo Line. This is one of the best public transport options that you can use here.
LAX to downtown/Hollywood/San Fernando Valley/Santa Monica? There is a shuttle bus service connecting LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to the Green Line and there are direct connections to several other Los Angeles neighborhoods, including downtown, Hollywood, Santa Monica and Burbank.
BEST WAY TO USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN LA
Couldn’t be simpler! Purchase a TAP card ($2 from a station vending machine or online) and either buy a pass (a one day or a seven day pass, depending on the length of your stay, is a good idea) or put an amount of money on the card ($10 or $20 is enough for a number of rides). A single fare on the Los Angeles Metro is $1.75 and when bought with the TAP card can be used for up to two hours of transfers (in other words if you need to take a combination buses and trains $1.75 covers the entire journey within two hours).
TAXIS AND RIDE-SHARING COMPANIES
Another option has appeared In the last few years, as several ride sharing companies (such as Lyft and Uber) have emerged, and this has made a huge difference. Finding a taxi previously was a nightmare, largely because, bizarrely, hailing a cab in Los Angeles was illegal and, if you did manage to get one, the cost was prohibitive. Nevertheless the cheapest and most convenient option is usually, believe it or not, the Metro.
RENTING A CAR
Of course many people do rent a car while here, but it’s definitely not something we’d recommend just for getting around the city. Especially because driving will often actually slow you down, once traffic and finding parking are factored into the equation. Nevertheless if you’re driving in Los Angeles just remember these three important facts:
- Angelenos are usually courteous drivers – until they get on the freeway, when all bets are off.
- If street parking be sure to check the parking signs VERY CAREFULLY (they’re often very confusing) – having your car towed will ruin your day.
- You can nearly always turn right on a red light (if not there’s a sign to let you know).
Finally L.A. is by no means resting on its, admittedly modest, laurels, in fact Los Angeles has the most ambitious mass transit construction program of any city in the U.S. The all-new Crenshaw or K Line (which will finally give the Metro system a proper connection to LAX) is due to open in 2021 and several other major public transport projects are also under construction, including extending the Purple Line to Beverly Hills along Wilshire Boulevard and Miracle Mile and an extension of the Gold Line to Montclair. There are even plans to run streetcars in downtown again and operate a gondola services to the Hollywood Sign and Dodgers Stadium!
We hope you found this guide to using public transport in LA helpful and we look forward to meeting you on a tour soon.