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Public Transit in Los Angeles?

Grand Island...
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Public Transit in Los Angeles?

I am taking a trip next week to Los Angeles, needless to say I will be there without a car. I am staying at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, but have no desire to do much of the Hollywood thing. Why stay there you ask? Because the friend I am traveling with has a conference there.

Anyway, I would like to get out to a few beaches (it is the inner beach bum in me), and maybe take some surf lessons. How possible is this without a car?

I don't want to call a cab and get to the beach only to find out it cost me $65 one way to get there.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knew how readily availiable public transportation is in LA? How reliable it is? How much time I should plan on it taking to get out to a beach with traffic and all? What is the best way to get to a beach from where I am staying?

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on how best to get out of the Hollywood and to a relaxing beach or any other laid back activities, I need your help please!

Thanks

Los Angeles
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1. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

Public Transit is reliable and frequent, especially in the area you are at.

On the other hand it is not the most convinient place to get to the beach or take surfing lessons.

You can easily make it to Santa Monica within an hour, hour fifteen minutes but it's not really a surfing spot. If you just want to take in the beach "athmosphere" instead, you will have no problems.

Just take the #217 or #212 from the corner of Hollywood and Highland (which is just one block from your hotel) to Santa Monica Blvd, there board the #704 Rapid Bus to the beach. (Do not take the #4, as it is a local bus with frequent stops)

From Santa Monica you can take the Tide Shuttle Bus at third street promenade and broadway to Venice beach. The ride is only a couple of minutes and cost 25 cents each way.

So to sum it up, it is duable, not the most convinient way to travel but you can still have a great day in L.A.

You can stroll

West Hollywood...
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2. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

A taxi will cost $50 to $60 including tip (sometime more, when there is traffic) each way.

You have touched on an emotional topic. Driving is a passion in Southern California and although we have a decent (not great!) public transit system, there are many who would discourage you from trying to enjoy L.A. without a car.

I am not one of them!

I do own a car but I also enjoy taking public transit at times. The good news for you is:

Hollywood is at a crossroads in L.A. Many, many bus lines serve Hollywood and there is also 2 metro rail stations there. So, you can get anywhere in L.A. from Hollywood although you might need to take 2 buses (or a metro rail train followed by a bus) to get there.

Rule #1:

Use the MTA.NET website to plan your trips. In the upper right corner of their home page enter your starting and ending points (use the EXAMPLE listed there) to find a number of routes that will meet your needs. You can use addresses, street intersections or simple landmarks (SANTA MONICA PIER) as starting and ending points.

Most of the time, your journey will start 1/2 block from your hotel. Walk south on Highland Av (from your hotel) to the next corner (Hollywood Bl), Turn right onto Hollywood Bl. You will see a number of bus stop signs after you make the turn. Adjacent to these bus stops (to the right) is the entrance to the METRO RAIL (red line) system. Your journeys will start via a bus or metro rail train from here.

So, in searching for a route, use HOLLYWOOD / HIGHLAND as the starting point. (Don't forget the slash --" /" -- between the street names. This indicates an intersection of 2 streets).

There are 2 major beach areas in the L.A. area:

1. Santa Monica

2. Venice

They are next to one another (Venice is south of SM) and you can walk "up or down" the beach from one to the other. You can also rent skates or a bike to make this trip since the boardwalk (what we call "the strand" connects many southern beach communities together -- all south of Venice.

For the "ending location", use SANTA MONICA PIER (a good place to enter the beach in Santa Monica) or VENICE PIER (a good place to enter the beach in Venice).

RULE #2:

If you are taking 4 or more bus or metro rail rides in one day, buy a $5 DAY PASS from any bus driver (exact money is required) or from a vending machine in any metro rail station (change is provided).

RULE #3:

Buses with higher numbers (for example 780) run faster than buses with smaller ones (for example, 217). These two bus lines cover the same route but the 780 will get you there faster. The higher numbered buses stop at fewer intersections (they are "limited stop" buses and the highest numbered buses -- dubbed metro RAPID buses -- have technology in them that allows the bus to change traffic lights to GREEN so the bus does not wait for traffic lights to change.

RULE: #4

Rush hour is between 6 am and 9 am and again between 2:30 pm and 7 pm. Try to avoid riding public transit (except the metro rail) during this period.

If you are creative, you can pick two different routes for your outbound trip and your return trip to/from the beach. By doing so, you can stop at different places along the way, if you wish to do any sightseeing.

Have fun!

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

You are right about a cab. It will cost you at LEAST $60, and that wouldn't be to the beaches where you can surf or swim (not very nice for that). If you want to do anything other than just looking at the beach, you really should rent a car as you will need to get to a place that rents surfboards and is a good surfing spot, which is not just on any beach. The bus is not a very good option in my opinion unless you just want to go to Santa Monica (will take 2 buses and about 1.5 hours one way) where you can't really swim.

Also, consider the fact that it may not be warm enough for swimming. You need a wetsuit if you're going to do it at this point unless you enjoy freezing cold water :)

Renaissance is fine to stay to commute by bus to West Hollywood, the Grove, etc. Definitely check out a guidebook and go to the Getty. There are a ton of other fun things to do in LA. A car would really make your trip much easier. This is a huge spread out city. You can also consider renting a car just for one day at Hertz around the Renaissance.

Los Angeles
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4. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

You can get to the civic center in malibu in 1.5 hours from hollywood/highland, so it will not take you that long to get to santa monica, which is a lot closer....

From the metro.net triplaner

]

Metro Bus 780 (WASHINGTON/FAIRFAX) heading west

From: HOLLYWOOD BL/HIGHLAND AV(NW corner) Lv: 10:12AM

To: FAIRFAX AV/VENICE BL(SW corner) Ar: 10:41AM

Pay $1.25, Monthly Pass: $62.00, (EZ Pass accepted)

Ride Metro Bus 534 ( MALIBU - PCH-TRANCAS) heading west

From: VENICE BL/FAIRFAX AV(NW corner) Lv: 10:46AM

To: CIVIC CENTER WY/MALIBU LIBRARY(NE corner) Ar: 11:38AM

Los Angeles
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5. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

And because i have nothing to do before dinner, i looked up Hollywood/Highland to the Santa Monica Pier, which takes about an hour

Ride Metro Bus 780 (WASHINGTON/FAIRFAX) heading west

From: HOLLYWOOD BL/HIGHLAND AV(NW corner) Lv: 10:12AM

To: FAIRFAX AV/SANTA MONICA BLVD(SW corner) Ar: 10:22AM

Pay $1.25, Monthly Pass: $62.00, (EZ Pass accepted)

Ride Metro Rapid 704( SANTA MONICA) heading west

From: SANTA MONICA BL/FAIRFAX AV(NE corner) Lv: 10:35AM

To: BROADWAY/4TH ST(NW corner) Ar: 11:16AM

Sure enough you might be faster by car for a couple of minutes, but by the time you get out of the massive Hollywood/Highland Parking Garage and find parking by the beach in Santa Monica, the bus seems almost a better option

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

Unfortunately, these times are not realistic, and especially considering you have to switch buses, so that means waiting time before each one. Have you driven from Hollywood to Malibu before? It takes 30 mins to DRIVE down PCH just from Santa Monica to get to Malibu. By bus, with stops, it will be at least 45 mins just for that part. And then you have to add a minimum of an hour from Hollywood and Highland to PCH, more realistically an hour and 15 mins. You should do it once for fun and then report how long it takes. I've taken buses before, so I'm not speculating. It doesn't do the tourists any favors to underestimate these large travel distances.

Topanga, California
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7. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

I have three words of advice for someone who wants to stay in Hollywood and visit the beach:

Rent

A

Car

Doing it any other way turns your vacation into an ordeal. Why do that to yourself?

Rancho Santa...
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8. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the public transit system, particularly since you are located in Hollywood. You just need to little more planning. Always make sure you know when you're going to be heading home to ensure you don't miss the last bus or train.

One suggestion which I didn't see for getting to the beach is to take the Red Line to Union Station (15 minute ride on the train). At Union Station switch to the Big Blue Bus #10. It will take you Santa Monica via the 10 freeway. Outside rush hour, it is surprisingly quick (about 25 minutes). If there's traffic, double that.

Since you're going to be here a week, consider picking up a weekly pass. It would definitely be worth it for you.

Some suggestions for things to see and do from Hollywood:

1) Look you are in Hollywood. Take a look at the Chinese Theater. Fantastic place to see a big-screen blockbuster. The Egyptian is nearby and home to the American Cinemateque. So too is El Capitan, which is run by Disney (watch it, pricey!). If you like music, check out Amoeba Records on Sunset near Vine. One of the ultimate collections of music and film. Also, check out In'N Out Burger on Sunset just south of the Chinese Theater. Classic hamburgers.

2) Make some reservations and take the shuttle to Griffith Observatory. Iconic building which was recently renovated. Wonderful views of the city, too.

3) Catch a bus on Sunset and head west to The Getty Museum. Get off at Sepulveda. You can walk up or catch another bus to the museum. Even if you hate museums, go. Interesting architecture, astonishing views. surprisingly good food. One of the city's most successful public spaces. Oh yeah, it is free.

4) Take the Red Line downtown to see Disney Hall and the Cathedral. More iconic architecture. Exit at Civic Center and walk over to Temple. The Cathedral is right there. Great public plaza. impressive building. Some good public art. The cafe is decent. Then walk over a block on Grand to Disney Hall. Be sure to check out the park on the roof. To avoid the stairs, catch the elevator to the roof. It is well hidden off of First Street.

5) Take the Red Line to Union Station. Walk across Alameda to Olvera Street. This is the historic heart of the city (bet you didn't think there was one). Union Station and Olvera Street are very walkable. Definitely get a churro. My recommendation for Mexican food is the little place on the left downstairs at Sunset (i.e. across from the gas station). However, I'd recommend getting a sandwich at Phillipe's which is on the edge of Chinatown on Alameda. Just keep walking past the gas station.

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas. Also, remember, Hollywood is now the night club capital of L.A. So you should be able to easily amuse yourself in the evening.

HTH

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

It's a lot more than a little planning. It is a huge ordeal even to someone living in LA who knows the general vicinity of all areas and major streets. The people coming here to visit do not even have that basic knowledge and it takes years for many to figure out LA. Imagine yourself arriving in Miami and trying to get around by bus across all parts of the city within 3 days. It's not a vacation as said above.

Topanga, California
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10. Re: Public Transit in Los Angeles?

"One suggestion which I didn't see for getting to the beach is to take the Red Line to Union Station (15 minute ride on the train). At Union Station switch to the Big Blue Bus #10. It will take you Santa Monica via the 10 freeway. Outside rush hour, it is surprisingly quick (about 25 minutes)."

This is just hilarious.

It would take a miracle to get from Hollywood/Highland to Santa Monica via downtown LA in 40 minutes as you describe.

I will repeat this. Ignore my realistic 2nd generation LA advice at your peril:

Rent

A

Car