Los Angeles, has long been a beacon for artists and musicians drawn to its vibrant creative scene in film, music, and art. Beyond the glitz of Hollywood, palm trees, and perpetual beach weather, Los Angeles boasts diversity, culture, delectable cuisine, and artistic flair at every turn. With its lively surf and skate culture, LA not only follows trends but often sets them.
The city’s unique character is reflected in its distinct districts, each offering a different experience. Los Angeles is more a collection of spread-out cities than a single entity, and navigating its expansive layout often surprises travelers with the time it takes to traverse the city.
Choosing the right area aligning with your interests is crucial, prompting the creation of this guide on where to stay in LA. In it, we dissect the best places to stay in Los Angeles, ensuring you discover the perfect spot for your vacation.
Best places to stay in Los Angeles
Los Angeles sprawls over 1,302 square kilometers, making the decision on where to stay a challenging one. While public transit exists, its limitations make renting a car or staying centrally essential for exploring. This guide breaks down the city’s best areas, catering to specific interests, ensuring you select the ideal place to stay in Los Angeles.
1. Hollywood – Ideal for Tourists
Hollywood, synonymous with entertainment, stands out as the best location for first-time visitors. Home to iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and the legendary Hollywood sign, this district is a tourist haven. Beyond its star-studded attractions, Hollywood offers a diverse culinary scene, ranging from high-end restaurants to street food trucks, making it a culinary delight for food enthusiasts.
Some things to do in Hollywood:
- Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Marvel at the hand and footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
- Experience thrills at Universal Studios.
- Stroll down the iconic Hollywood Boulevard.
- Explore the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
- Tour Warner Brothers Studios.
- Sightsee in celebrity neighborhoods.
- Enjoy panoramic views from Griffith Park.
- Savor an In-N-Out burger.
- Visit the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships.
2. Venice Beach – Budget-Friendly Vibes
Venice Beach, a funky neighborhood on the Pacific Ocean, embodies California cool. Known for its beaches and bohemian ambiance, it’s the epicenter of LA’s counter-culture. Budget travelers will find value in Venice Beach, with a range of low-cost hostels and boutique hotels. This area is not only budget-friendly but also an epitome of California’s laid-back spirit.
Some things to do in Venice Beach:
- Explore Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
- Indulge in fresh French fries at The Wee Chippy.
- Soak up the sun on Venice Beach.
- Witness street performers on Venice Beach Boardwalk.
- Relish pizza at Big Daddy and Sons.
- Paddle along the Venice Canals.
- Cool down with gelato from Venice Coffee and Creamery.
- Pump iron at Muscle Beach.
- Admire the Mosaic Tile House.
- Practice skateboarding at the Venice skate park.
- Enjoy seafood and poke bowls at Poke-Poke.
3. Downtown LA – Nightlife Central
Downtown LA, a bustling metropolis with towering buildings and vibrant streets, is a culinary haven and a central location for budget-conscious travelers. It stands out as the hub for some of LA’s liveliest nightlife, featuring trendy bars, lively clubs, and celebrity hotspots. For those seeking a central location and vibrant nightlife, Downtown LA is the ideal choice.
Some things to do in Downtown:
- Attend events at the Staples Centre.
- Sample craft beer at Angel City Brewery.
- Explore the Grand Central Market.
- Sip whiskey cocktails at Seven Bar Lounge.
- Enjoy city views at The Rooftop at the Standard Downtown LA.
- Experience performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
- Visit Boomtown Brewery for great beer.
- Unwind at The Edison, a hip bar in a former nuclear power plant.
4. West Hollywood – Stylish and Trendy
West Hollywood, a fashion-forward district known for high-end boutiques and vintage shops, offers a walkable grid of lush boulevards. The LGBTQ hub is frequented by Hollywood up-and-comers due to its proximity to Beverly Hills. With a colorful farmer’s market and world-class restaurants, West Hollywood exudes the decadent Hollywood spirit.
Some things to do in West Hollywood:
- Shop at Sunset Plaza.
- Experience Hollywood history at the Chateau Marmont.
- Explore the farmer’s market.
- Dine at Fig & Olive for Mediterranean dishes.
- Wander the infamous Sunset Strip.
- Brunch at The Terrace.
- Grab a bite at Pink’s Hot Dogs.
- Hike through Runyon Canyon Park.
- Sip cappuccinos at Urth Café.
- Explore LACMA’s Urban Light installation.
- Enjoy comedy at the Comedy Store.
- Try innovative drinks at E.P. & L.P.
- Dine and spot celebs at Nobu West Hollywood.
5. Santa Monica – Family-Friendly Haven
Santa Monica, situated in western LA, seamlessly combines city convenience with a laid-back beach atmosphere. Ideal for families, it offers outdoor adventures, high-class shopping, and a variety of family-friendly activities, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Farmer’s Market.
Some things to do in in Santa Monica:
- Relax on Annenberg Community Beach House.
- Shop on Third Street Promenade.
- Explore the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.
- Immerse in history at the Santa Monica History Museum.
- Sample street food at Street Food Tuesday.
- Experience Pacific Park’s amusement rides.
- Unwind in Palisades Park.
- Visit Camera Obscura for a unique perspective.
- Enjoy games and rides at the Santa Monica Pier.
- Head to Manhattan Beach for a stunning day.
Final Thoughts on accommodation in LA
With notorious traffic, planning your LA trip involves selecting accommodation aligned with your interests to avoid the infamous traffic. The city’s best areas are diverse, catering to health enthusiasts, nightlife aficionados, beach lovers, and skate culture enthusiasts.