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Los Angeles

What beach should we stay at in L.A. without a car?

My fiancé and I are going on our honeymoon in July and LA is a stopover so we are staying for 2 nights. We have never been and want to do the touristy things. We aren't going to rent a car anymore (originally we thought we would but we heard parking is expensive and traffic is brutal.) I think we have decided to stay on a beach since we heard Hollywood is only good for what you need to see and that's it and it's kind of dumpy there. We don't know what beach to stay on. We don't want to be too far from Hollywood since we know we have to cab it into Hollywood each day from the beach. Any suggestions as to which beach we should stay on that's not crazy far away from Hollywood? Also, are cab rides from the beach to Hollywood expensive? I heard it's about an hour drive so I can only imagine how much that would be. Is there any public transportation by the beach that takes us into Hollywood? Finally, what about getting from the airport to the beach hotel? Is cabbing it the only way to go?

9 Answers

top answer by
Scott from San Francisco

The thing is, you're going to get dinged for money you don't expect no matter how you slice it.  Car fare to the hotel will be pricey regardless, cabs are pricey, very pricey, and if you rent a car they're going to get you with awful parking fees.  It ends up that you're just borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.  So pick the least painful and most convenient options.  Remember, time is money, and this is your special trip so spending a lot of time stuck in traffic is also a cost.  If you wish to spend your days in Hollywood and the area near there, then stay in or near Hollywood and hang out at the pool instead of the beach.  The beach can have issues even in July.  There is a marine layer that leaves it cloudy sometimes until 1-2PM, the temps can be cool, and the wind can pelt you with sand.  If you're not hanging out at the beach try staying at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and if you do, make sure to get a burger at 25 Degrees, it's one of the best in the country.  Or you might get a bargain downtown.  Also you might try the Loews Hollywood Hotel or the W Hotel Hollywood.   Or West Hollywood places such as Mondrian Hotel- HollywoodLondon West Hollywood Hotel.  West Hollywood is closer to Beverly Hills too so that's a bit of a plus.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (hotel)
  2. 25 Degrees (restaurant)
  3. Loews Hollywood Hotel (hotel)
  4. W Hotel Hollywood (hotel)
  5. Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood (attraction)
  6. London West Hollywood Hotel (hotel)
  7. Petit Ermitage (hotel)
4 thankscomments (3)

answered by
JR from Manhattan Beach

Since you have a short period of time and want to see a lot (hollywood and beach), I would definitely rent a car. You'll just eat up too much time figuring out public transit or blowing too much money on cabs. (but if you decide not to rent a car, use UberX or Lyft apps over cabs to save a few bucks for everything except the airport pickup because cabs are quicker for airport pickups. Uber/lyft not allowed in there quickly right now)

So, if you rent a car, here's something to think about. Find a hotel that doesn't charge for parking. The location of these hotels won't be ideal, but if you're driving to see sights it doesn't really matter that much. Here's a somewhat random idea... there are business type hotels in El Segundo that are very reasonable if you happen to be staying on a weekend. Places like Hilton Garden Inn and Hyatt House Los Angeles/El Segundo are both very nice and they also have free shuttles to Manhattan Beach if you wanted to see what i think is one of the nicest beaches/towns in the area. You could take their free shuttle into MB have dinner and few drinks and even UberX it back to a hotel in this area for probably $7 (or take free shuttle). Parking is free at both of these places. MB has a good restaurant scene, The Strandhouse for sunset view, MB Post for a cocktail and small plates, or Simmzy's for a burger and beer. That would be way more fun than fighting all the tourists IMHO. There is only 1 hotel in downtown Manhattan Beach and it's walkable to everything, called Shade Hotel... it would be more costly than the other options i mentioned but has great location for hanging in a cool beach town like MB. 

Have fun!! I hope you enjoy LA!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hilton Garden Inn (hotel)
  2. Hyatt House Los Angeles/El Segundo (hotel)
  3. Manhattan Beach (city)
  4. The Strandhouse (attraction)
  5. MB Post (restaurant)
  6. Simmzy's (restaurant)
  7. Shade Hotel (hotel)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Sandy from Los Angeles

The Catch 22 about LA is that if you don't have a car, you won't get far. If you do have a car, you will be caught in some traffic, but it's doable so long as you time it right.  I would rent a car and hang out in Malibu Beach for an entire day (horrible traffic hours going to/from Malibu on a weekend are 11am-8pm), you can go to the Getty Villa, eat at the many restaurants on PCH (Malibu Farm Cafe, Malibu Seafood is great), shop at the Malibu Country Mart. Get out there before 11am, and drive back into town after 8pm and you're good. There's no "night life" in Malibu, so you'll have just enough time to get back to the hotel and get ready for dinner. 

From LAX, if you walk down the street to the nearby Denny's or other place of business, then Uber will pick you up. At the moment, Uber drivers are forbidden to pickup directly from the airport terminal.

Otherwise, Taxi or the SuperShuttle Van (cheaper) are options.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Malibu Beach (attraction)
  2. Getty Villa (attraction)
  3. Malibu Farm Cafe (restaurant)
  4. Malibu Seafood (restaurant)
  5. Malibu Country Mart (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by

Uber's split fare option was only 13 dollars from West Hollywood to Venice Beach for me last week. That is by far your best option. If I were you, I'd spend one morning exploring Hollywood and then head back to the Westside. You can easily see the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Blvd/walk of fame, etc in one morning. (It's not that big and you can see the Hollywood sign from the walk of fame or Hollywood and Highland. Otherwise, you'll want to be at the beach- I'd even say spend a day in Malibu Beach- go to a winery, see the surfers, eat seafood and drive along the coast. It's so beautiful and totally the LA experience.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. West Hollywood (city)
  2. Venice Beach (city)
  3. Hollywood Sign (attraction)
  4. Malibu Beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Lindsay from Los Angeles, California

There aren't really any beaches that are close to Hollywood. Santa Monica would be the closest, but depending on the time of day and traffic, it's a good 30 minutes to an hour or more to get from SM to HW. And it won't be a cheap cab fare - Uber might be better. Public transportation in LA is horrible - save yourself the headache. It will take you forever to get anywhere. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Maria from Dublin

You can take the Big Blue Bus No 1 from Santa Monica to UCLA. Change at UCLA for No 2 bus straight to Sunset Bvd. It costs $1 for the first bus and a transfer ticket for 2nd bus costs $.50. The journey takes about 1 hour 25mins in traffic. We've booked an apartment on Sunset for a few days this Summer which has 2 bedrooms, a pool, gym and free parking for $240 per night. Take a look at you might find a place that is perfectly located and costs the same (or less) than a hotel.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. UCLA (attraction)
2 thanks

answered first by
John from Carlsbad (California)

I hate to type bad news, but a taxi from Santa Monica, which is the closest beach to Hollywood is going to cost you $40 or $50 or more one-way and it would take 30 minutes (if there is no traffic, which is seldom the case) to an hour+.  You would probably save some money using Uber.  There is bus service, but it will take about 1.5 hours each way. 

July is peak beach season and hotels in Santa Monica are very expensive. You aren't going to find anything decent for less that $200 per night on or near the beach in Santa Monica.  If you go out 20 blocks from the Santa Monica beach, you might find something in that range though. You could find something cheaper in Venice Beach, but it's even farther from Hollywood and staying in Venice Beach can be something of an acquired taste.

I usually don't recommend bus tours, but there are quite few companies like might serve you well.  They have various tours, hop-on-and-off buses, etc. that go to Hollywood and all around.  You could also consider renting a car for the day and plan your own tour.  Parking in Hollywood in a lot will cost $15 to $20 for all day and if you return the car at the end of the day and don't park it at your hotel, parking won't cost you a fortune. 

Another thing you might consider is staying in Downtown LA.  Mass transit in LA is pretty bad, but one good thing is the Metro (Red Line) from Downtown to Hollywood, which will only take you about 15 minutes.  There is a lot happening downtown, so you might want to consider staying in that area.  I have stayed downtown on a number of occasions using Priceline.  Plug in your dates and check 4 star hotels downtown.  Usually there are about 5 of them that come up.  Check them to see if there are any you wouldn't want to stay in, especially the least expensive ones.  Usually they will all be pretty good, with several around $200.  Then look at the Express Deals.  They will describe the hotel but not identify it.  Sometimes you can tell which hotel it is by looking at the amenities listed and the percentage they say you are saving and figure out the regular price and compare it to the regular price when you try to book the hotel by name.Ususally you will save about 20% to 35% by booking an express deal.  If you want to shoot for more savings, you can name your own price.  I have stayed at both the The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites and Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza hotels by naming my own price several times at 40% discounts.  Sometimes they accept your bid on the spot, sometimes they refuse it if it's too low, and sometimes they come back and say your bid is too low, but you can have the room for $5 or $10 more.  If they accept your bid, they tell you at the same time the name of the hotel.  One warning: downtown LA hotels charge $35 or $40 a day to park your car.  This will work in other areas, but make sure there is not a hotel you don't want to stay in offered for the regular price in the area and star category you choose.

Have a great honeymoon!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. Hollywood (attraction)
  3. Venice Beach (city)
  4. The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites (hotel)
  5. Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza (hotel)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Sandy from Los Angeles

If you're talking about West LA area, then Santa Monica or Venice Beach would be the closest.

The nicer beach areas though are more south... Hermosa Beach, Newport Beach... or more north to Malibu Beach.

If you're interested in a haggle free, easy to rent car service, look into RelayRides. No hidden fees and tons of different cars to choose from.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. Venice Beach (city)
  3. Hermosa Beach (city)
  4. Newport Beach (city)
  5. Malibu Beach (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
A from California

If you are set on wanting to stay at the beach and be able to go to Hollywood your only option is Santa Monica -- which isn't a bad option at all.  You should definitely use a ridershare service like UberX or Lyft to get to and from Hollywood.  I'll second what another person wrote which is if you are just looking to relax by a body of water staying at a nice Hollywood hotel (W Hotel Hollywood, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, London West Hollywood Hotel, etc.) may be the move particularly since good weather at the coast isn't always a guarantee.  That said Santa Monica is definitely a better area over all compared to Hollywood in terms of restaurants/activities/areas to walk/bars etc.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. W Hotel Hollywood (hotel)
  3. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (hotel)
  4. London West Hollywood Hotel (hotel)

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