16 May 2012

Los Angeles Travel Guide

UPDATED 2017 with more to come in April...

Travel from Airport:

Super Shuttle
after Baggage Claim go out to the Shared Ride Van area and find the blue uniformed attendant


Standard Downtown
550 South Flower Street, Downtown
one of the trendiest hotels in the Downtown district, with a hip rooftop bar and pool, barbershop and photobooth, yellow 24-7 restaurant, and fantastic rooms with gigantic beds and baths

Travel Card:

Los Angeles MTA
to get a day pass, you first need to buy a plastic TAP card (like an Oyster card in London) then load your day’s travel onto it
this is valid on any bus or rail that day


The Original Pantry Café
Ninth & Figueroa, Downtown
open 24-7 since 1924, bread and gravy and meat and all in gigantic portions, this is an eating experience with a sense of history

Theme Building
# no longer a restaurant #
a spacecraft high above the airport; it’s architecturally great but is covered in scaffolding so you may want to wait till bits stop falling off

George’s Greek Café
# now moved to Long Beach locations only #
fantastic authentic food, quickly served, lots of variety, take away also available

The Cheesecake Factory
2 West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, plus locations in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills etc
an incredible range of cheesecakes, served in a plush, almost European, café atmosphere; somewhere to stay and savour, not rush; take-out available

LACMA Cafe or Ray's & Stark Bar
5905 Wilshire Boulevard (in LACMA)
two nice places at which to get a modern lunch while browsing the art at LACMA


Arcana Books
# now at 8675 Washington Boulevard, Culver City #
a vast collection of art books, with pricey rarities but also affordable hard-to-find books, their inventory is on the website so check before you make a trip

Amoeba Music
6400 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood
the best record store you’ll find in Hollywood, super-friendly and knowledgable staff, you’ll browse for hours before coming away with something you didn’t know existed; good range of DVDs but remember about NTSC and Region 1!

The Grove
189 The Grove Drive, West Hollywood
shopping, trolleycars, cops on bikes, restaurants, hip destination as seen on The Hills

Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverley Hills
140 shops, but poorly served by public transit

Boat Trips:

Catalina Island
the best I could do given that LA has no river (other than the excellent Los Angeles River which is a concrete conduit for floods, motorbikes in The Terminator and space shuttles in The Core)


Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 West Temple Street, Downtown
modern Catholic cathedral, fantastic tapestries by John Nava

Avila Adobe
125 Paseo de la Plaza, enter from Olvera Street
built 1818, the oldest house in LA, part of the El Pueblo district with Mexican market

The Bradbury Building
built in 1893, this is a landmark in its own right, as well as a film setting for movies from Double Indemnity to Blade Runner; visitors are allowed to the first floor, but not in the lifts

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
250 South Grand Avenue, Downtown
very restrictive opening hours make this museum less than welcoming, but it has a good permanent collection and cutting-edge temporary exhibitions

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
unless you have a hire car or know a friendly local who can drive you, you’ll have to catch the bus (234 and 734 from Expo/Sepulveda on the Expo Line) to this beautiful complex out of town.

Union Station
800 North Alameda Street
in a Dutch Colonial Revival style, this ornate and historic Amtrack station is a pleasure to visit and has ornamental gardens

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard

La Brea Tar Pits & Page Museum
5801 Wilshire Boulevard

Los Angeles Central Library
630 West Fifth Street, Downtown

Wells Fargo History Museum
333 South Grand Avenue, Downtown

Architecture & Design Museum (A+D)
# now at 900 East 4th Street, 

Los Angeles City Hall
built in 1928, this iconic structure appears on LAPD badges and feature in an enormous number of films. There's a free observation deck on the 27th floor.


getting there:
The new Expo line takes you from downtown LA to downtown Santa Monica, passing through Culver City. There are also buses but these tend to drive slowly through acres of tract houses.

finding out:
Visitor Information Center, 1920 Main Street
Visitor Information Kiosk, Ocean Avenue

Third Street Promenade

'Wee Britain' with "Ye Olde King's Head British Pub, Restaurant & Gift Shoppe"
Santa Monica Blvd and 2nd St

Santa Monica Pier

Aquarium run by Heal the Bay charity, volunteers explain how they are trying to conserve the local marine life. A 'petting zoo' has fish, eels, crabs etc.

You can walk East along the beach, or alternatively catch a bus from the corner of 3rd and Broadway which runs all the way along the coast road to the end of Venice Beach.
The Tide Shuttle every 15 minutes, only 25c.

Ocean Park branch of Library at 2601 Main St, built 1917-18 one of last of Carnegie Foundation libraries

Buses 1 and 2 back along Main Street


getting there:
Metro Blue Line from Downtown
takes you through lots of suburbs, then travel alongside freeway
as street numbers get bigger and bigger – eventually 190th St!
loop at end goes along main shopping street

finding out:

getting about:
free 'Passport Shuttle' buses from Transit Mall

The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach
vast ocean liner, now permanently berthed in Long Beach, a short bus ride (route C from Pine Avenue); shops, restaurants and historical exhibits of a life on the ocean wave

Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA)
628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach
off the beaten track, but a nice walk from the centre of Long Beach, this new museum has art from a variety of cultures and styles

East Village Arts District

St Anthony's Church
600 Olive Avenue, Long Beach

City Center Motel, Atlantic Ave and 3rd St
classic motel architecture and typography

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