There are a few things that are essential to any trip, no matter where you’re traveling and how you’re getting there. You need modes of transportation. You need good food. You need music for the road. And of course, you need a place to stay once you get there.
A trip to Los Angeles is no different. Whether you’re traveling there for a weekend, a week, a month or longer, you’ll need to know the best location to stay in LA. We’ve put together this guide to help you get the real scoop on where to stay in Los Angeles.
Here, we’ll walk you through not only hotels in Los Angeles but also different areas to stay in LA. We hope that after reading through this guide, you feel confident in booking your Los Angeles trip, knowing you’ll have a place to stay that’s comfortable, safe and provides everything you need.
Like any other city, Los Angeles is loosely broken up into many different neighborhoods, each of which has a unique atmosphere and charm. Any of these different neighborhoods will offer plenty of hotels, and each neighborhood has its own list of pros and cons that make it worth your consideration.
As you plan your trip to LA, however, it’s a good idea to spend a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with the different neighborhoods and learning what you can expect from them.
Let’s review the major areas now, as well as what the benefits and drawbacks of staying in each of them would be.
While you might initially expect the Downtown neighborhood to be the bustling, modern heart of the city, Downtown is actually the historic neighborhood. This neighborhood is dominated by old buildings like banks, hotels and high-rises.
Despite the fact that many of the buildings and streets are old, however, this neighborhood has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity and development, lately. Many of the old and classic buildings are being converted and re-designed as apartments. New shopping centers, movie theaters, restaurants, hotels and clubs are moving into the area.
One of the hallmarks of this neighborhood is its diversity. When you’re downtown, you can easily encounter corporate skyscrapers, Mexican market stalls and modern art galleries.
Staying in the Downtown area presents the advantage of being close to all major hubs of transportation, as well as being fairly central to many of the city’s attractions. If you’re interested in visiting the beaches, however, you’ll be in for a bit of a commute.
Hollywood barely needs an introduction. The very name has a life of its own, immediately conjuring up images of glamorous parties, starlets, red carpet events and movie stars on every corner. Of course, not every bit of the neighborhood is quite this glamorous in real life, but the image still persists.
The reality is that not many celebrities live here anymore. The Hollywood district, as a whole, tends to be overcrowded and relatively low-income as tourists and aspiring performers from all around the country have crowded into the relatively small geographic area.
Don’t let this deter you, however, as things have begun to look up for this neighborhood in recent years. New tourist attractions have been built and modern shopping malls and spaces added in. This brilliant combination of an older and more tired neighborhood with fresh, fashionable new attractions makes for an incredible, eclectic mix of sights, sounds and smells to enjoy.
If you want to stay in Hollywood, you’ll have the huge advantage of being close to lots of great bars and clubs for a fun night out. The disadvantage will be that the neighborhood will tend to be one of the less upscale ones in the city. If you’re looking for the best and the brightest, you might not find it here. If you’re interested in the colorful and the memorable, however, this is a great place to look.
Remember all that glitz and glamour you expected to find in Hollywood? Hollywood itself may not be able to deliver too much of that anymore, but West Hollywood has all the razzle-dazzle you could ever ask for, and then some. West Hollywood is known far and wide for beautiful, wide tree-lined streets, huge high-rises, flashy billboards, high-end shopping centers and all the great restaurants, clubs and nightlife you might imagine of Hollywood.
In particular, West Hollywood is known for being central to the LGBT communities in the city, meaning that if you’re looking for a great gay bar or nightclub to visit, this is the perfect destination. Additionally, you’ll find this neighborhood is a hotbed of shopping, restaurants and more. If you choose to visit the iconic Sunset Strip after dark, you’ll have a nightlife experience you won’t soon forget thanks to all the fantastic entertainment, clubs and food options.
There are plenty of advantages to staying here. The restaurant scene is off-the-charts, second only to what you might find in the Downtown area. It’s also not far from the beach, meaning you could easily head there for the afternoon. The nightlife is spectacular as well.
West Hollywood isn’t without its downsides, however. Lodgings here will likely be quite expensive. In addition to this, public transportation in this neighborhood is slightly lacking, and you’ll have to rely on cars to get around. Given the level of traffic, this can result in a real headache as you form your travel plans.
If you’re not from California and not familiar with the layout of LA, you might be surprised to learn that Venice isn’t just a beautiful city in Italy. It’s also a bustling neighborhood in LA. Like its Italian counterpart, however, it’s set on the water and has plenty of canals running through the city, making for beautiful and scenic walking destinations.
Venice is a wonderful hodgepodge of different things all jumbled together to make an exciting neighborhood well worth the visit. It’s long been established as a neighborhood that’s a little bit worse for the wear, but still has an undeniable stream of bohemian-chic charm to it. For those looking for character, you’ll definitely find it here.
This neighborhood’s had a bit of a facelift in recent years, as big companies have started to move into the area and transform it into a more high-end place. Expensive restaurants, charming boutiques and many other attractions have begun to pop up, particularly along the boardwalk and waterfront, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of affordable options in the neighborhood.
The benefits of staying in Venice are obvious. In addition to being close to the water, you also get to enjoy all the character, culture and color that these streets have to offer. One of the major disadvantages is that transportation is slightly more difficult, as there are no rail lines in Venice. There is a bike sharing program that you may want to take advantage of, however.
This might not be one of the neighborhoods you hear talked about the most, but with its exciting restaurant scene, it’s well worth the visit. The area is extremely densely populated, meaning that you’ll always be part of a pulsing, living crowd no matter where you go. And while the area hasn’t always been as popular as it is now, it’s recently experienced a renewed interest from the public and undergone a building boom that has really placed this neighborhood on the map.
You’ll find something exciting to do no matter where in the neighborhood you roam, but you’ll have especially good luck if you stick along Wilshire Blvd. Here, the bars and other eateries are densely backed together to make for a fun and exciting night of bar hopping with friends.
The food and excitement are two great reasons to stay in Koreatown, as well as the multiple Metro stops in the area. If you want to be right in the center of the city, or close to the beaches, however, you might want to choose another neighborhood.
While some of us are all about the hustle and bustle of the big city and love nothing more than chasing the best nightlife in town, that isn’t for everyone. Some of us would much prefer quieter streets, more casual eateries and a pace that feels slightly less frantic. If that resonates with you, Los Feliz might be a neighborhood worth checking out.
Here, the streets are more casual and quiet. The area is less busy and feels more relaxed overall. At the same time, however, it manages to avoid feeling too cool or contrived, like other neighborhoods might. It feels laid-back and authentic, making it a great place to shop, eat or spend the night.
The pros of Los Feliz include the vast number of public transportation options available to you. In addition to this, you also have the advantage of the more casual and calm atmosphere. A con, however, is that you’ll be further from the main action of the city.
Do you see yourself as the artsy type? Then you probably don’t need to know much more than the name of the Arts District to convince you that this is a place worth visiting.
Like any good arts district, this area is home to cute coffee shops, outdoor dining, beautiful murals and walkable streets. There is a strong warehouse aesthetic that permeates the entire district, lending it a quaint and unique vibe that offers tons of character.
Although this area is becoming more mainstream all the time, it still manages to maintain a feeling of being slightly under-the-radar. When you hang out here, you can feel a little more relaxed, knowing you’re off the beaten path. There are plenty of unknown gems you might stumble across here, from shops and restaurants to bars and cafes.
The advantage here is the great atmosphere. This is a great place to stay that’s far enough away from the action that you can feel relaxed at nights, while still being close enough that you can travel to the center of the city when you want. A disadvantage to be aware of, however, is that the Metro does not reach into this district. This isn’t a bad thing if you like walking, however, as the streets are great for walking, sightseeing and people-watching.
For many people, Santa Monica conjures up a gorgeous image of pristine beaches, absolute relaxation and life in the lap of luxury. And while there’s a bit more to it than that, this isn’t far from the truth. Santa Monica is gorgeous and a place that everyone should visit if they’re in LA.
Between the white-sand beaches and the laid-back beachside resort-town feeling, it isn’t hard to understand why this is the dream for so many individuals when they come to visit Santa Monica. This town isn’t just about the beach, however. There are also some of the city’s finest restaurants, stores and attractions all within the limits of this neighborhood. The area is friendly, open-minded and liberal, making it a great place to hang out.
We hardly need to point out the advantages of this neighborhood. It’s beautiful, relaxing, convenient and home to some of the greatest places to eat and shop in the entire city. There isn’t much to say regarding disadvantages, except to point out that the prices are likely to be high. You may also find that you’re a bit far from the downtown hub of traffic. If you’re looking to be close to that, realize that Santa Monica is a bit farther out than you might initially think.
If you’re looking for that authentic Los Angeles beach experience that you’ve seen immortalized in so many movies, TV shows and commercials, you couldn’t find a better place to be than Malibu. This stunning beach town is far enough away from the heart of the city that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the hustle and bustle, but still close enough that you can head into the city for a night on the town if you like.
The views in Malibu range from wide, flat beaches to secluded sections of coastline, tall cliffs and jagged rock formations, making it a photographer’s dream. If you’re worried about being too far from civilization, however, don’t be. There are still plenty of fantastic eateries and shops to visit out here, and you can do it all without the insanity of the downtown area.
The pros of staying in Malibu are apparent. You’ll be right next to the water and removed from the craziness at the heart of the city. The cons are that you’re less central to most of the city’s attractions, and lodgings are likely to be expensive as well.
Finding a place to stay is the first part of planning your trip. The second and most crucial step is figuring out how you’re going to get around once you’ve arrived in LA. If you’re wondering how you can see as much of the city as possible without having to deal with all the traffic yourself, then we’d like to invite you to experience a bus tour with A Day in LA Tours. We offer full-day tours, celebrity home tours and private tours of LA.
Book your tour with us today and get busy planning to make your trip to LA one you’ll never forget.