What you need to know!

  • Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable and passionate about giving us all information in a clear and concise way. The tour was very well planned and organised and was not tiring.

    Hp108 Trip Advisor
  • We did the Hollywood tour and loved it! The tour was at a great pace and the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable and made the tour fun. Thank you

    Lisa Montesanti Google
  • Booked the Wild Wild West To Now tour, our guide Terry was great! (He) was very knowledgeable and the tour brought us to some really cool DTLA areas we've never been to which was so much fun! Definitely worth the reasonable price. THANK YOU TERRY!

    Irene O. Yelp
  • We had an Amazing Murder, Mystery & Ghost tour with Damien and Dante... thank you very much from Italian Girls... very interesting and funny… absolutely recommended!

    Lucrezia Scamarcio Facebook
  • My boyfriend and I took the Heart of Hollywood Tour and had a wonderful experience with Stuart. Really helpful for personal questions, funny, full of knowledge and a passion for Hollywood. Can't recommend this enough!

    E D Trip Advisor
  • Angela took us inside some beautiful Broadway theaters, told us about LA history and was very enthusiastic about her city. The great thing was that she actually took us inside the buildings. Plus after the tour we went for the 35cent cocktails! Great tour and great guide!

    Helena Cardoso Google
  • I did the Historic Core Tour!!! It was an awesome walking tour and very informative even for this Angeleno!! I am downtown daily and drive past this area and never knew the history of various locations of the city!! This provides that!! 

    David Cook L. Yelp
  • My son and I booked and completely enjoyed a private tour. We had a wonderful evening! Damien took us on a fun, informative tour. My son loves photography, and Damien did not disappoint, as he took over 300 photos!

    Laurie Thompson Facebook

How to Use Public Transport in LA

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. It is possible for tourists to get around L.A. without a car, so here’s a guide on how to use public transport in LA.

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 things: one, Angelenos are usually considerate and courteous drivers – until they get on the freeway, when all bets are off. Two, if you’re parking on the street be sure to check the parking signs where you are VERY CAREFULLY (they can be quite confusing) – having your car towed can really ruin your day. Three, you can nearly always turn right on a red light (if not there’s a sign at the junction to let you know). This last point can take some getting used to!

Luckily in the last few years ride sharing companies (like Lyft and Uber) have emerged and this has made a huge difference to a city like Los Angeles, which wasn’t well served by taxis before (largely because, bizarrely, hailing a cab was illegal). It’s a (relatively) cheap, (usually) quick and (largely) convenient alternative to having a car and many of our guests make use of these services. Nevertheless there’s a much cheaper and often more convenient option – the L.A. Metro.

That’s right, L.A. not having public transport is a myth. It has 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 it’s rapidly being expanded. 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 on the Red Line. All of the tours offered by The Real Los Angeles Tours start near Metro stations or bus stops.

So, how easy is it to get around L.A. using public transport? Very. You’ll need to purchase a TAP card ($2 from a vending machine at a station or on the bus) 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).

Bus

There are bus lines connecting all the major parts of the Los Angeles area. They are 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 very 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.

Train

The Los Angeles Metro system has no less than six rail lines that span the city and there are two lines that operate buses on their own dedicated rights of ways, with turn up and go services, and there’s also Metrolink, a rail service that covers the Los Angeles and surrounding counties. As you can see from this map, the combined systems cover a wide area, including most of the main tourist hot-spots, such as Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica and downtown.

SOME EXAMPLES

Hollywood to downtown? Take the Red Line from either Hollywood and Highland or Hollywood and Vine to whichever downtown stop you need to get to (our downtown tours start at 7th Street Metro Center, Pershing Square and Union Station).

Downtown to Pasadena? The Gold Line goes from Union Station to Del Mar or Memorial Park to visit Old Town Pasadena. The line is above ground and goes through some very picturesque neighborhoods.

Hollywood Burbank Airport to Koreatown? 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 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.

Finally L.A. is by no means resting on its, admittedly modest, laurels – proving, at last, that there is a need for this guide! In fact Los Angeles has the most ambitious mass transit construction program of any city in the U.S. The all new Crenshaw Line (which will finally give the Metro system a proper connection to LAX) is due to open in 2019 and several other major public transport projects are also in 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’s even a plan to run streetcars through downtown L.A. again!

how to use public transport in LA