The City of Angels is a rich, vibrant city, with more to offer than any one person could possibly fit into one visit. Well, if they know the secrets to getting around town they could. We’ll show how to see La La Land without a car.
Despite what you may have heard about L.A., it’s highly recommended not to rent a car, because it will likely keep you stuck in that famous L.A. traffic. Although the city may not have a subway to rival New York, the metro is convenient for sightseers, and the bus system is extensive. You can make the most of your car-free visit by focusing on the most walkable and well-connected sections of the city.
It just so happens that one of the city’s most famous areas is also one of the most navigable without a car in Los Angeles.
A stroll down Hollywood Boulevard will take you right through motion picture history. Spot the names of your favorite movies stars near the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater on the Walk of Fame, an activity best paired with a tour of the most elite Hollywood homes. Don’t worry, IHG hotels can help you find a tour company for transport!
Just a few stops away from the Walk of Fame (downtown on the Red Metro line) you will find Universal Studios. Here you can spend hours on a number of adventurous rides, or get inside glimpse into movie magic on the backlots of working movie studios.
To check off Melrose Ave, you’ll want to devote at least half a day for strolling. Begin in the eastern Melrose District, where you’ll find quirky boutiques, a number of landmark restaurants and The Groundlings, home of the famed improv club where comedy stars like Phil Hartman, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow and John Lovitz got their start among many others. Then later catch a show here or on Sunset Boulevard, where you’ll find both comedy and dance clubs along with a number of pedestrian-friendly club crawls.
At the end of a long day on your feet, choose from any number of centrally located IHG hotels in Los Angeles, with options in North Hollywood, near Universal Studios and right on the Walk of Fame.
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Cognizant of its reputation as a non-walkable city, Los Angeles developers have been hard at work building parks, restaurants and cafes downtown, as well as extending public transit connections with downtown hubs. Combine that with an excess of world class museums located within a few blocks of one another, and downtown is another ideal neighborhood to consider Los Angeles without a car. We highly recommend using this excellent downtown walking guide as you navigate the area. Check out The Last Bookstore, (pictured above) California’s largest used and new book and record store. There are several nooks and crannies that make awesome spots for selfies.. and the store encourages it.
For visitors taking the train in from the suburbs, Union Station should serve as your main point of orientation. It’s also a good first spot for touring since it is a historic building distinctive Spanish architecture and gardens. Explore the nearby Olvera Street (pictured above), the Chinese American Museum and the Los Angeles City Hall for a glimpse into the city’s current and past operations and to pick up a few souvenirs and Mexican crafts.
Red and Purple Metro rail lines
When taking the metro rail’s red and purple lines in from surrounding neighborhoods, debark at Walt Disney Concert Hall and catch a performance from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Or head a few up to the nearby Performing Arts Center (which features the Los Angeles Opera, the Los Angeles Master Chorale) or The Broad, a contemporary art museum (pictured above). This is the ideal area to explore Los Angeles without a car.
Still using the red and purple lines, head to the 7th Street Metro Station to check out the GRAMMY Museum and the Staples Center, where you’ll find tributes to countless musical genres and artists as well as live performances for today’s most influential music makers. You might even catch an L.A. Clippers, Kings, Lakers or Sparks game if you’re lucky!
The red and purple lines will also take you to the Pershing Square Metro Station, where you’ll find the Wells Fargo History Museum, the main campus of the expansive Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the shortest railway in the world, the Los Angeles Central Library and the mouthwatering, open air Grand Central Market.
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Gold Metro rail line
Need more another great idea? Hop onto the gold line and head down to Chinatown. While there you can take in the colorful streets and authentic tastes in Old Chinatown Central Plaza, have a picnic in Los Angeles Historic State Park or take in a game at Dodger stadium (pictured above). Little Tokyo District is only one stop away, featuring the Japanese American National Museum and MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary branch.
The Miracle Mile, located in the Mid-Wilshire district of L.A., may seem like an odd choice for this list, as there are few public transit links and the region is routinely ranked as one of the most congested in L.A. — and that’s saying something! However, for business travelers who have already seen the major L.A. sites and would like to try something new, staying in or near the densely packed and highly walkable Miracle Mile is a great option. Not only will you find most of your meetings here, you’ll also find Museum Row, which features the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Petersen Auto Museum (pictured above) and the Craft and Folk Art Museum. You’ll also want to check out the La Brea Tar Pits around Hancock Park where countless animal bones have been preserved, providing a fascinating natural history of the region.
Still within Los Angeles County is the idyllic beach side city of Santa Monica. As the city is well-connected to L.A.’s biggest tourist sites via bus line, it makes an ideal base for beach bums and explorers alike.
The top sites in Santa Monica are located within easy walking distance. Choose from a diversity of restaurants and stores along Main Street, Montana Avenue and the Third Street Promenade, or take a ride on the ferris wheel down at Santa Monica Pier. Lay down a towel on Santa Monica Beach, or ride a rented bike down to nearby Venice Beach, known for its carnival-esque atmosphere.