What you need to know!
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!
My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!
Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn't have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!
Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider's as well as an insider's perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.
We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
So many options – and that can be the confusing part of deciding where to stay in Los Angeles. With all the options available through Airbnb, as well as the more traditional hotels and guesthouses, you can more or less stay anywhere in the L.A. area, but for most visitors there are three main options: near the beach (meaning Venice or Santa Monica), Hollywood or downtown. Each area has its own charm and benefits and it really depends on what you want to get out of your stay here, but we’ve given you a few things to think about when planning your trip. All our tours can be easily reached from any of these neighborhoods. Please know that there’s no financial incentive for us to list any of the establishments in this guide. The places we recommend are simply establishments that we know, it’s not a comprehensive list.
NEAR THE BEACH
A lot of visitors like to stay near the sea when they come to L.A. – and why not? The beaches are world famous and if you’re here from Spring to Fall they’re very nice places to hang out. Santa Monica is well connected to public transport, as it’s the terminus for the Metro Expo Line, so from here you can easily get to Hollywood, downtown or Universal Studios. The Getty Center is also above Santa Monica and therefore easy to get to. Venice is a little cheaper, generally, and a little more grungy (although less and less so as time passes), but nonetheless has a lot of charm.
Hotel Shangri-La – beautiful Art Deco hotel facing the ocean and moments from Santa Monica pier. Lovely rooftop bar.
The Kinney Hotel – exceptionally highly rated funky hotel, right by the beach in Venice.
Palihouse Santa Monica – want to hang out near the beach while you’re in Los Angeles. Why not stay in this very beautiful little place which is in a designated historical building?
Inn at Playa Del Rey – very highly rated B&B, well located near Marina del Rey.
Custom Hotel – a boutique hotel near the airport, in El Segundo. The location is very convenient, since it’s also mere minutes from the beach and Venice. Perfect for that overnight stopover?
The Culver Hotel – lovely historic hotel in downtown Culver, easily accessible on the Metro Expo Line too.
Hollywood is an ever popular option for many visitors when considering where to stay in Los Angeles, mainly as most L.A. bound tourists are already planning a visit to the neighborhood anyway. It’s like going to the Eiffel Tower when you go to Paris or the Houses of Parliament when you’re in London. Because of that there’s a wide range of hotels and hostels in the area. Another benefit is that Hollywood’s on the Metro Red Line, so it’s convenient for Universal Studios, downtown, Santa Monica and even Long Beach and Pasadena.
Vibe Hotel – popular with more budget minded travelers and right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hollywood Celebrity Hotel – friendly hotel right behind the Hollywood and Highland Center.
Loews Hollywood Hotel – the place to stay when the Oscars come around every year – if you’re an Oscar nominee!
The Hollywood Roosevelt – if you’re going to stay in Hollywood why not stay in the first place ever to hold the Oscars? It’s right in the heart of Hollywood and it has a beautiful Spanish Mission design.
Mama Shelter – A new hotel in Hollywood. Very hip, very instagrammable and with an amazing rooftop bar where you can watch the sun go down on the Hollywood Sign.
Chateau Marmont – Technically in West Hollywood, this L.A. institution is still used by the stars occasionally. And how many hotels have had an entire movie set there?
Sunset Tower Hotel (photo) – Also in West Hollywood, this famous Art Deco hotel has a beautiful pool and is in a great location right on Sunset Boulevard.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
Ten years ago downtown was avoided by most tourists, if they even knew of its existence. That’s all changed now! There are a huge number of things to do in DTLA and no list of options on where to stay in Los Angeles would be complete without it. The Lakers, Clippers, L.A. Kings and Dodgers are all based in or near downtown. There are also some fantastic museums: the Broad, MOCA, the Natural History Museum and the Science Center all call the area home. Finally it’s the best-preserved historic downtown of any major city in America and most of the metro and rail lines radiate from here, making it a very convenient jumping off point to see the city. There’s a wide choice of hotels and serviced apartments, with new establishments opening almost monthly.
Jerry’s Motel – very well reviewed hotel just a few minutes walk from the heart of downtown.
The Freehand – newly opened boutique backpackers hotel in a historic building right in the center of downtown.
The Los Angeles Athletic Club – a lot of people don’t know that this historic club actually has a small hotel. Now you do!
The Omni Hotel – nice, modern hotel right next to Grand Avenue’s cultural offerings.
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites – perfect place to stay if you are into 70’s style futurism.
Staying Level – for those who prefer to stay in an apartment, rather than a hotel, but still like a little luxury.
Hotel Figueroa – originally the downtown YWCA this is hotel has been a downtown institution for years, but in 2018 it reopened after a complete renovation.
The Millennium Biltmore – when it opened in 1923 this was the largest hotel west of the Mississippi and was the most glamorous hotel in Los Angeles, hosting the Oscars multiple times in the 1930’s and 40’s. Still a beautiful building.
The Standard Hotel (also in West Hollywood) – one of the first of the hip hotels to open in downtown. Still very cool and with a great rooftop bar.
Ace Hotel – occupying the historic United Artists building on Broadway they also renovated the beautiful 1600 seat theater inside. Check the website to see if there are any events, such as screenings or concerts, when you’re in L.A.
If you have any feedback on our recommendations on where to stay in Los Angeles, or if you have some recommendations of your own, please email us and let us know. We’ll be sure to take it into account.
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