No Car in Los Angeles

Old Jun 6th, 2004, 12:39 PM
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No Car in Los Angeles

for a number of reasons, I would really like to do LA without a car. We are staying on the Sunset Strip for 5 nights in November, and would like to mooch around during the day, seeing sights,etc, and hit the bars at night time. Obviously I've seen numerous posts saying "you have to have a car in LA", but how difficult is life if you don't have one? (for the record, my main reason for not having a car is I am a phobic passanger who also will not drive overseas. How antisocial am I?
libuse is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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well, a few years ago, my husband and i drove up the california coast (we live on the east coast). we were in l.a. area for a couple of days. we could NOT believe how spread out l.a. was and frankly can't imagine doing it again without a car.
i'm really interested in seeing what other people will post.
Old Jun 6th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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If you must do LA without a car it is possible - but not easy - via cab. (A friend of mine had to be there for 4 days and does not drive - he gave me this info.) You will need to get info on cab companies that respond via phone and when you're done anywhere get a cab to come and get you.

Public transportation within the city is fairly nonexistent - distinctly few and far between - especially in the evening.
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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I'm from L.A.area... and L.A. County is 500 sq.miles big (800 sq. kilometers) So.... you NEED a car or else you will spend a LONG time on buses. The subway system does not go to Sunset Strip. It would be better to stay near Hollywood Blvd and Highland then you could go downtown (East) if you would need to for concerts,sporting events, etc... or have more selection of buses from Hollywood area to take you west...towards Beverly Hills, West L.A. and Santa Monica. Happy travels!
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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Well, I guess it depends on what sights you want to see and where you want to go, but I can't imagine being in LA for 5 nights without a car. You'll definitely need to arrange for a cab if you want to see Malibu, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and some of the night spots you probably want to hit.
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Old Jun 6th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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Not sure what kind of sight-seeing you want to do, but anything worth seeing would be a hefty $$$ cab ride from the Sunset Strip (beaches, museums, shopping). Just curious-why there? Hollywood is a dumpy area and IMHO not representative of Southern Cal at all.

Grayline and other Companies offer tours of the LA area, if that is up your alley. I have to agree with other posters that public transportation is very poor.

You will be close to nightlife, however. You just might have to tolerate many types of vice and vagrancy on your evening walks to and from the bars.

Just being honest, being in LA without a car (especially staying on Sunset) can make for a very disappointing vacation.

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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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We did a three day weekend in LA staying on the Sunset Strip without a car. We regretted it no end. Cabs were difficult to come by and even a relatively "short" distance between the Strip and say, Beverly Hills cost about $20 each way by cab. Sight-seeing was nearly impossible as things were so spread out. We missed having the freedom to have our own car. We go back in August and have definitely learned our lesson.

You can always play it by ear though if you have serious reservations- have your hotel deliver a rental to you if in the middle of your trip, you find it too inconvenient....

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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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I had to jump in and correct a little stat:

LA County covers roughly 4,061 square miles as of the 2000 census. Larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Add Orange County (789 square miles), and you're talking a huge area to cover. The city of Los Angeles is roughly 500 square miles in area-- still huge, and spread over a very large expanse of land (with separate incorporated cities like Pasadena, Santa Monica, Culver City, Universal City, etc. within its boundaries).

If you're on the Sunset Strip, you're relatively close to a lot of hot spots, and you could rely on cabs for your point-to-point transportation needs. Take your cell phone with you and get numbers for cab companies from the hotel front desk; on some streets in the greater LA area, you won't be able to rely on cabs just driving by in great numbers.

At least you're upfront about your car phobia. So many of us in this area have to share the road with inexperienced drivers, slo-o-o-o-o-owly sterring their white Cavaliers through the streets, looking for cross streets to turn on, not realizing they're ten miles off-course, then abruptly cutting across two lanes to make a left turn-- or just turning left from the right lane. Maddening.

I'm not quite so critical of the Strip, but there certainly are nicer places to stay in the greater LA area (farther down on Sunset in the West Hollywood area, Beverly Hills, etc.). Still, you should be fine. It's not unsafe, just somewhat grimy.
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 08:23 AM
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Me and BF went to LA last December. We had a rental car for a couple of days, and tried to survive without it the rest of the time (BF felt too nervous driving in LA, he just wanted to take the car back. I didn't want to drive either for the same reason.)

We stayed in Hollywood which was convenient because of the subway, but indeed a bit seedy. (Loved the Hollywood and Highland complex though) We took the subway to downtown and a cab to Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive and Beverly Center. While it was relatively easy, it wasn't cheap. And the cabs where a bit hard to find sometimes, the best way was to look for a hotel, there were usually cabs near there somewhere.

So, I think that to some extent LA is doable without a car, but really don't count on a public transportation. I tried to ask advice on taking the bus, but NOBODY I asked knew nothing about them, and always asked: "Don't you have a car ??" I should have researched a bit on the internet beforehand.

And one piece of advice: don't take the bus in the evening/night if you are not 100 % sure where you want to go and where the bus is going. We did it once after dark, and ended up being lost. Had to wait for a cab at a gas station in some seedy neighbourhood (I still don't know exactly where we were) for an hour, and it cost 45$ to get back to the hotel.
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 08:35 AM
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Touring LA without a car is like trying to tour Alaska on a skateboard.
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 10:17 AM
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thankyou everybody for taking the time to advise me. A bit depressingly, I think I was sort of expecting these answers, and will therefore hire a car. We are now talking about splashing out on a quite exotic car for the 5 days, in the hope that the novelty will quell my panic!!!
lvk; we chose the location of the hotel because it is near so much nightlife. I know its not the most glamourous area (my husband has been to LA before), but would prefer to have lots of clubs, bars, etc, within staggering distance.
Thankyou again for all your advice
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 12:06 PM
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You might also want to check out this SF Chronicle article I posted about in the Fodor's blog yesterday: It covers the "hassle factor" or getting to major attractions from Union Station w/o a car.
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