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1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

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Glasgow, United...
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1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

Hello there guys!

Me and my family are visiting LA for the 1st time from the UK. We have been to the states before, but not LA. We are staying just off Sunset blvd and we already have accommodation booked so that's no problem.

The thing is I don't want to drive, so this is why I need advice. We will be there for 7 days and we want to do things such as this. Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Six Flags MM etc. Not entirely sure on a lot of stuff, we like theme parks/zoo's/beaches and general day to day fun activities. As I said, we wont have a car so can anyone recommend a plan for us for the week and how we should go about doing this.

We want to be safe and enjoy ourselves obviously.

Thanks for the help and all genuine answers are appreciated!

Rancho Santa...
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1. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

Where on Sunset? The street goes from downtown to the ocean. It is about 20 miles long.

Who is we? How many are in your family? Ages?

When are you visiting?

Generally, it is best to select a hotel once you've figured out your itinerary. So you've put the cart before the horse. What is your nightly budget?

When you say theme parks, which ones are you referring to?

Why have you decided not to rent a car? The general comment I've heard from visitors is it is much easier than they expected. Stay off the roads during rush hour and you'll be fine. Part of the pleasure of LA is simply tooling around town. If you are going to the beach and getting in the water, you need a car.

HTH

Rancho Santa...
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2. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

If you plan on going to Six Flaggs, a car is an absolute must.

Sydney, New South...
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3. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

We stayed right behind Hollywood Blvd with no car and found with the metro system and tours we could do everything we needed. Because we were right in the think of the tourist area there were a lot of attractions- Graumans, Madame Tussauds, Walk of Fame and many shops just there and Starline Tours and LA City tours have their headquarters/booking office there as well so we were fine. We even got help from Marilyn Monroe when catching a bus to the Beverly Centre!!! We even sat with her in the bus LOL

I found everyone we asked for directions really friendly and eager to help too- they seem to love Aussies but since they kept asking us if we were English they'll prob be just as helpful to you guys!!

Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

"Where on Sunset? The street goes from downtown to the ocean. It is about 20 miles long.

Who is we? How many are in your family? Ages?

When are you visiting?

Generally, it is best to select a hotel once you've figured out your itinerary. So you've put the cart before the horse. What is your nightly budget?

When you say theme parks, which ones are you referring to?

Why have you decided not to rent a car? The general comment I've heard from visitors is it is much easier than they expected. Stay off the roads during rush hour and you'll be fine. Part of the pleasure of LA is simply tooling around town. If you are going to the beach and getting in the water, you need a car.

HTH"

We is Mum, Dad and Teenagers... We will be visiting this month and the reason why the hotel is selected already is because we're from UK. This was all done via a company here in the UK so they put it all in place.

Talking theme parks, I was just talking about in general but I have some in mind. Six Flags, Universal and maybe Knotts. Thinking we will only do two, but not sure yet hence asking for advice.

Onto the car reason, well that's it. The person who drives in our family isn't keen of driving in foreign roads and it is very, very hard to convince her so it may or may not, but probably wont happen.

Glasgow, United...
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5. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

Thanks for the other replies. Any more would be great.

Los Angeles
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6. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

Thanks for following up with us, but the key question in Hitch's post you have not answered yet - where on Sunset Blvd. are you staying? As he mentioned, its over 20 miles long. So unfortunately just telling us that you are staying near Sunset Blvd. without telling us where exactly doesn't do much for us beyond narrowing it down to about half of the LA area, and LA is a VERY large place.

In general, Universal Studios is easy to get to without a car. The other theme parks (Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure) can be anywhere from moderately difficult to reach without a car, to very difficult, if you want to rely on public transportation. Disney and Knott's tend to be a little easier, and Magic Mountain more difficult. In both cases, though, going via public transportation can be time consuming. It may be better to go with a tour company - www.starlinetours.com is one such company that goes to all of these.

The LA Zoo can be reached via bus as well but depending from where on Sunset Blvd., may involve 2-3 bus rides to get there. Santa Monica you could get to, generally, in two bus rides, basically by making your way south to Santa Monica Blvd. or Wilshire Blvd., either by walking if the part of Sunset Blvd. you are stayting near is close enough to Santa Monica Blvd. or Wilshire Blvd. to walk to, or by taking a bus headed south to Santa Monica or Wilshire Blvd. Then taking Metro Bus 704 or 4 west on Santa Monica Blvd. or 720 or 20 west on Wilshire Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA
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7. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

Make yourselves familiar with the transit system and how to plan your trips:

http://socaltransport.org/tm_pub_start.php

Plan them carefully so you don't waste even more time.

Consider using Uber (taxi service) for some trips, too.

We generally recommend our visitors stay near the attractions because of the vastness of Southern California, especially without a rental car. If you must stay in LA the entire time, you can get to Disneyland and Knotts via train:

http://www.amtrak.com/california-train-routes

Or a bus service to and from:

www.gotobus.com/hollywood-to-anaheim-bus/

Please do plot your day trips using Google Maps so you know how much time you are looking at.

The reason Hitch wants to know where on Sunset you are staying is because that may impact how long it even takes to get to a bus stop!

Good luck. I'd love to know what you did get to and how you enjoyed your visit. We get great feedback from others who've done without a rental car, but I don't recall them having such an ambitious itinerary!

Glasgow, United...
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8. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

Yes, we do have an ambitious itinerary haha! We are staying very close to the Chinese Theatre. If I'm not wrong, this is were Starline tours in located, so that could be good, yes?

Also, does anyone know if starline allow you to walk into their place and book instead of calling and doing it online like most places.

Great answers guys, really helpful.

Ireland
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9. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

tbh with you. You need a car. The hassle and restriction to your trip with 4 or 5 people on buses etc will imo make things very difficult

LA is a city where you have to have transport. People will say 'oh we managed fine' but fine itsn't good enough.

Its your holiday, a car will in LA improve it infinitely. its a simple country to drive in. Have a chat with the driver and reassure them

Edited: 10 August 2014, 00:06
Newcastle, Australia
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10. Re: 1st time in LA, no car. Advice needed.

I agree with the other posters, as someone from another LHS driving country, I find driving in LA is simple. Traffic can be dense, but I believe Central Glasgow can be a bit slow as well at times. Without a car your options are limited to tours, long trips on public transit with multiple connections and probably the major attractions only. A car will allow you to visit the magnificent Pacific Coast, have a coffee at a beachside hotel down in Malibu, visit Santa Monica Pier at night, shop at the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, drive up into the Hollywood Hills, check out the huge Mansions in Beverly Hills, visit Rodeo Drive at night and dream of been able to afford to shop here, go to the Hollywood bowl just to see it, drive to Newport, Venice, Redondo, Manhatten or Long Beach (I really like Newport Beach south of Anaheim about an hour away) and about a hundred other things to really let you get to know this wonderful city. It's up to your driver but without a car, you'll just see the tourist brochure sights and not much else. Have a great trip whatever you decide.