Downtown Los Angles on a Budget with no car

May 4th, 2009, 05:34 PM
Original Poster
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Downtown Los Angles on a Budget with no car

I am traveling to LA for business, but my friend will be staying with me and unoccupied during the day. We will be staying downtown near the convention center and we will not be renting a car. I am wondering if anyone has any advice on the best method of public transportation for those on a budget. The best museums and shopping she can get to on these public routes, if the transportation is safe, etc. Also in the evening we would like to go out for dinner and drinks are there any reasonable places in this area? or anything else you would recommend on weekday evenings? Finally I will have all day saturday and half a day on friday. Given the above what would you most recommend seeing. I know this is a lot of questions. Hoping someone can help make this a fun memorable trip for two temporarily single ladies. Meaning a week the only one in the year with no kids!!
aimoosh is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 05:45 PM
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I don't have any specific suggestions as I can't imagine really covering LA without a car. And I just wanted to say that over the years I've met more people who HATED LA than any other US city. Why? Because most of them were "stuck" downtown for a convention without a car. You can make something out of it, but it just isn't really seeing LA.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 4th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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I think staying in downtown L.A. can be what you make of it.

Read the recent trip report by yk for lots of info on seeing the sights in downtown L.A.

There are museums in downtown L.A (MOCA, Japanese-American Museum, Chinese-American Museum), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a 30-minute bus ride away. $1.25 each way. (There is currently an excellent exhibit on Pompei art; tickets required.) With a $5.00 day pass, you can ride the metro/subway to Hollywood or Old Town Pasadena.

For $3.50 round-trip/day pass, you can ride the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus #10 Express from downtown L.A. to the Santa Monica Pier and the 3rd Street Promenade. About one hour each way.
Jean is online now  
May 4th, 2009, 11:18 PM
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Actually, you can see a lot by walking. What we enjoyed most:
- Frank O. Gehry's Disney Concert Hall - a masterpiece of contemporary architecture.
- The Cathedral - also stunning architecture and lots to see inside.
- The Grand Central Market with a lively assortment of hispanic foods and inexpensive eateries.
- The historical core around Olvera Street Plaza.

There are also a few museums in downtown which may be worth a visit: The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wells Fargo Museum, the Neon Museum.

We found L.A. Downtown much better than its reputation.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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I love downtown Los Angeles! I can't help with the exact transporation (as I did have a car myself when I was there). But I think seeing: Farmers Market/the Grove, Olvera Street, Chinatown are all worthwhile and close to the central areas. In your situation I'd also maybe consider doig one tour, like if you are interested in seeing Walk of the Stars, Hollywood, etc.
suze is online now  
May 5th, 2009, 08:07 AM
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In addition to traveller1959's downtown suggestions, there are:
- The Bradbury Building (interior)-- used in a lot of movies, most notably Blade Runner. My Mom used to work there!
- Central Library
- Riding the scary elevators at the Bonaventure
I grew up in LA and a visit downtown is nostalgic for me.
azzure is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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Getting around within downtown LA during the day is easy, with the 25-cent "DASH busses". Note that they don't run at night, when I would call for a taxi. The "F" line goes closest to the Convention Center, ask for a transfer.
There is also a weekend Discover Downtown route

There are a number of museums downtown within easy reach, including the two contemporary museums and the Japanese American Museum. Also be sure to visit the Disney Concert Hall. If you are there on a Thursday evening, take advantage of free museum night.

Since you're downtown, try shopping at the Fashion District (Saturdays and last Fridays are best) and Santee Alley.

You can also use the Metro system with stops in Downtown LA, for example on your full days off you could take the Metro Red Line to Hollywood or to Universal Studios, or Metro Gold Line to Pasadena. Maps link:

As far as restaurants, there was this recent article in the LA Times. Rivera for a splurge and perhaps Corkbar for
lighter meals.,3965638.story

Definitely check out yk's covers a lot!
mlgb is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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azzure reminded my that some hotels are attractions which are worth to visit. Another must in downtown is the Millenium Biltmore - the lobby and public rooms are like a museum.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 5th, 2009, 11:42 AM
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i had the pleasure of living at the Biltmore hotel one summer; it IS amazing
suze is online now  
May 5th, 2009, 12:06 PM
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Ah, the Biltmore... Site of my high school proms!!!
Jean is online now  
May 5th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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Check out this great report from yk who stayed downtown in LA....
socialworker is online now  
May 5th, 2009, 10:30 PM
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Besides the Big Blue Bus #10, one can also take the Metro Rapid 720 to Santa Monica. It travels on Wilshire Blvd through the Miracle Mile (LACMA), Beverly Hills, Westwood. Or one can take the Rapid Express 920 which makes fewer stops, but its Eastern terminal is the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station.
rkkwan is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your generous and helpful comments. We really appreciate you taking the time to respond and make this a great trip.
aimoosh is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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Thanks to those who posted the link to my trip report. There are a bunch of activities in downtown LA that don't cost a dime (some have been mentioned already):

1) Tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall (excellent)

2) Tour of the LA Central Library

3) Tour of Olvera Street

4) Self-guided walking tour of historic downtown

Or if your friend doesn't mind paying $10, the docent-guided walking tours by the LA Conservancy are excellent as well.

If you're staying in downtown, apart from taking the regular buses and metro, don't forget to check out the DASH bus routes. Each ride is only 25cents (vs $1.25 for regular bus/metro), and the weekend Downtown Discovery route is itself quite a sightseeing route!

Apart from the 40 hours in LA trip report, here's another one by me (longer) from December 2008:
yk is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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You're welcome, yk. I figured something was up when you did not respond right away and then I find out you have been off to Vienna and Budapest! (Glad you had a good trip.)
socialworker is online now  
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