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How To Get Around LA As A Tourist


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Jessalin Cervantes



Los Angeles, the City of Angels, is a sprawling metropolis known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant entertainment industry, and diverse cultural scene. Exploring this iconic city as a tourist can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it’s essential to plan your transportation options wisely to make the most of your time.


With a vast area to cover and heavy traffic, navigating the streets of LA can be overwhelming for visitors. However, with a variety of public transportation options, including buses, trains, taxis, and ridesharing services, you can easily get around and explore all that this city has to offer.


In this article, we will guide you through the different transportation choices available to tourists in Los Angeles. From the convenience of the Metro Rail System and Metro Bus System to the flexibility of ridesharing services and the freedom of bike rentals, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from based on your preferences and itinerary.


Whether you’re interested in visiting famous attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, or the Getty Museum, or if you want to explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Venice Beach, Santa Monica, or Downtown LA, it’s important to have a reliable transportation strategy in place to make the most of your time in the city.


So, let’s dive in and explore the various modes of transport that will help you get around LA as a tourist.


Public Transportation Options

Los Angeles offers a range of public transportation options that are not only convenient but also eco-friendly. Here are some of the key options available:

  • Metro Rail System: The Metro Rail System consists of six rail lines that connect various parts of the city. It is a reliable and cost-effective way to travel around LA. The rail lines cover popular destinations, including Downtown LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica. Be sure to check the schedules and plan your trips accordingly.
  • Metro Bus System: The Metro Bus System complements the Metro Rail System, providing extensive coverage throughout the city. With numerous routes, you can easily reach different neighborhoods and attractions. Bus fares are affordable, and you can use the TAP card for seamless transfers between buses and trains.
  • DASH Buses: DASH buses are neighborhood-specific and provide transportation within specific areas of LA, such as Downtown, Hollywood, and Venice. They offer a convenient way to explore these areas without the need for a car.

Public transportation in LA is regularly monitored and strives to provide a safe and efficient experience for passengers. Keep in mind that schedules and routes may vary, especially during holidays and weekends, so it’s advisable to check the official websites or use smartphone apps to stay up-to-date with any changes.


Using public transportation in LA not only helps you avoid the hassle of driving in busy traffic but also contributes to reducing your carbon footprint. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a sense of the city’s vibrant atmosphere.


Next, we’ll explore other transportation options such as taxis, ridesharing services, and bike rentals, which provide additional flexibility and convenience for tourists visiting LA.


Metro Rail System

The Metro Rail System in Los Angeles is an efficient and convenient mode of transportation for both locals and tourists. With six rail lines covering various parts of the city, it provides easy access to popular destinations and attractions.


The rail lines of the Metro Rail System include:

  • Red Line: The Red Line stretches from North Hollywood to Downtown LA, passing through iconic neighborhoods like Hollywood and Universal City. It is a great option for exploring famous landmarks such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Capitol Records Building, and Griffith Observatory.
  • Purple Line: The Purple Line runs from Downtown LA to Koreatown, with plans for extension to Westwood in the future. It is a convenient route for reaching the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Petersen Automotive Museum, and other cultural attractions.
  • Blue Line: The Blue Line connects Downtown LA to Long Beach, making it a popular choice for those looking to visit the bustling Pike Outlets or explore the famous Queen Mary.
  • Green Line: The Green Line extends from Norwalk to Redondo Beach and provides a convenient way to access the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from various parts of the city.
  • Gold Line: The Gold Line connects East Los Angeles to Pasadena, passing through vibrant neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and Old Town Pasadena. It’s a great option for exploring the cultural diversity and historical landmarks of LA.
  • Expo Line: The Expo Line runs from Downtown LA to Santa Monica, providing easy access to popular destinations like the Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, and the beach. It offers a scenic ride along the city’s west side.

Operating hours for the Metro Rail System vary, so it’s important to check the schedules to plan your trips accordingly. Trains generally run from early morning until midnight, with extended hours on weekends and during special events.


Tickets for the Metro Rail System can be purchased at station ticket machines or using a TAP card, which can be loaded with the desired amount of fare. The TAP card can also be used for transfers between buses and trains, providing a seamless experience.


Overall, the Metro Rail System is a reliable and cost-effective way to explore Los Angeles. It allows you to bypass traffic and offers a stress-free transportation option, ensuring that you can easily reach your desired destinations and make the most of your time in the city.


Metro Bus System

The Metro Bus System in Los Angeles is an extensive network that complements the Metro Rail System, providing convenient transportation options to various neighborhoods and attractions in the city.


The Metro Bus System offers a wide range of routes, ensuring that you can easily get to your desired destination. Whether you’re exploring Downtown LA, Hollywood, or the beach cities, there’s likely a bus route that can take you there.


One of the advantages of using the Metro Bus System is its affordability. Bus fares are reasonable, making it a cost-effective option for tourists who want to maximize their budget. You can pay with cash or use a TAP card, which offers discounted fares and allows for seamless transfers between buses and trains.


When using the Metro Bus System, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the bus schedules and routes. Be mindful that traffic conditions can affect travel times, especially during peak hours. Plan your trips accordingly, allowing for extra time in case of delays.


Bus stops are clearly marked throughout the city, and many major stops have real-time signage that displays estimated arrival times. This makes it easier to track the next bus and plan your journey more efficiently.


To enhance your experience, consider using smartphone apps that provide real-time bus tracking information, such as the official Metro app or third-party apps like Transit or Moovit. These apps can help you navigate the bus system more accurately and provide updates on any service disruptions or changes.


Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, the Metro Bus System offers a flexible and accessible way to explore Los Angeles. From iconic landmarks and cultural attractions to shopping districts and dining hotspots, the bus system can take you there.


Keep in mind that the Metro Bus System operates on a fixed schedule, with reduced service during late-night hours. It’s advisable to plan your return trips in advance and be aware of the last scheduled bus to your destination.


Overall, the Metro Bus System is a convenient and economical option for tourists to navigate the city. It provides a comprehensive network of routes, allowing you to explore the diverse neighborhoods and experience the vibrant energy of Los Angeles.


DASH Buses

For tourists looking to explore specific neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the DASH Buses offer a convenient and localized transportation option. DASH stands for “Downtown Area Short Hop” and consists of several routes that serve specific areas of the city.


One of the advantages of using DASH Buses is that they provide transportation within neighborhoods where other public transportation options may not be as accessible. These buses cater to the needs of residents and tourists alike, allowing you to easily navigate specific parts of LA.


The DASH Buses operate on shorter routes and have more frequent stops, making them ideal for shorter trips and hopping between attractions and landmarks within a specific neighborhood. Whether you’re exploring Downtown LA, Hollywood, or Venice Beach, there is likely a DASH Bus route that can take you there.


Another advantage of using DASH Buses is their affordability. The fares for DASH routes are generally lower than traditional metro buses, making them a cost-effective option for tourists on a budget. You can pay with cash or use a TAP card for a seamless experience.


It’s important to note that DASH Buses have specific operating hours, and some routes may have limited service on weekends and holidays. Therefore, it’s recommended to check the schedules in advance to plan your trips accordingly.


Like other forms of public transportation in LA, DASH Buses can also be tracked in real-time using smartphone apps, such as the official LA DASH app or third-party apps like Transit or Moovit. These apps provide up-to-date information on bus locations, estimated arrival times, and any service announcements or detours.


When using DASH Buses, keep in mind that they can sometimes be crowded during peak hours, especially on popular routes. It’s always a good idea to allow extra time and be prepared for potential wait times, especially during rush hour.


In summary, the DASH Buses offer a localized and affordable transportation option for tourists exploring specific neighborhoods in Los Angeles. With shorter routes and more frequent stops, they provide a convenient way to navigate these areas and discover the hidden gems of the city.



Taxis have long been a popular mode of transportation for tourists seeking a convenient and direct way to get around Los Angeles. While ridesharing services have become increasingly prevalent, taxis still offer a reliable transportation option, especially for those who prefer the familiarity and professionalism of licensed taxi drivers.


One of the advantages of taking a taxi in LA is the convenience and door-to-door service it provides. Taxis can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands throughout the city. Additionally, many hotels and tourist destinations have taxi stands or can assist in arranging a taxi for you.


Los Angeles has several taxi companies, each with its own fleet of vehicles. These range from traditional yellow cabs to luxury sedans, with various options to suit different budgets and preferences. Licensed taxis have meters to calculate the fare based on distance and time.


When taking a taxi, it’s important to be aware that fares may vary depending on factors such as traffic conditions, time of day, and the specific taxi company you choose. It’s advisable to ask the driver for an estimated fare before starting your journey to avoid any surprises.


If you prefer the convenience of booking a taxi in advance or want to ensure a specific type of vehicle, many taxi companies offer online or phone reservation services. This allows you to plan your transportation ahead of time and have a taxi waiting for you at your desired location.


While taxis can be a convenient option, it’s worth noting that they may be more expensive than other forms of transportation in LA. The fares can add up, especially during peak travel times or if you encounter heavy traffic. It’s always a good idea to consider alternative transportation options and compare prices to find the most suitable option for your budget.


Overall, taxis in Los Angeles offer a direct, reliable, and convenient transportation option for tourists. Whether you’re looking for a quick ride to your hotel, a specific attraction, or need transport to the airport, taxis provide a personalized and hassle-free experience to help you navigate the bustling streets of LA.


Ridesharing Services

Ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, have revolutionized the way people get around cities like Los Angeles. These convenient and user-friendly platforms have gained immense popularity, offering tourists an accessible and flexible transportation option.


The process of using ridesharing services is simple. Just download the app, create an account, and input your pickup and drop-off locations. The app will then connect you with a nearby driver who will arrive to pick you up. Rideshare services are available throughout the city, making it easy to get a ride whenever and wherever you need it.


One of the advantages of ridesharing services is the transparency of pricing. The app displays the estimated fare upfront, so you know what to expect before confirming the ride. Fare pricing is generally based on factors such as distance, duration, and demand, which may vary depending on the time of day.


Ridesharing services often offer various vehicle options to suit different needs and group sizes. From economical options like UberX or Lyft Line for solo travelers to larger vehicles like UberXL or Lyft Plus for groups, there is a wide range of choices available.


In addition to standard rideshare options, some services also offer luxury or premium vehicles for those seeking a more sophisticated travel experience. These premium options may include amenities like luxury sedans or SUVs, professional drivers, and additional services.


When using ridesharing services, it’s important to consider factors such as surge pricing during peak travel times. Surge pricing occurs when demand is high, and fares may increase temporarily. Waiting a few minutes or adjusting your pickup location slightly can sometimes help mitigate surge pricing.


Ridesharing services are also ideal for those who prefer cashless transactions, as payment is done seamlessly through the app using a stored payment method. Additionally, you can track your ride in real-time through the app, ensuring you know the estimated arrival time and can plan your day accordingly.


It’s worth noting that ridesharing services provide an alternative to traditional taxis and public transportation. They offer convenience, personalized service, and the ability to request a ride on-demand. However, it’s always a good idea to compare prices and consider other transportation options to ensure you choose the most suitable and cost-effective mode of transport for your needs.


Overall, ridesharing services are a popular choice for tourists visiting Los Angeles. With their user-friendly apps, transparent pricing, and widespread availability, they offer a reliable and convenient way to explore the city and reach your desired destinations.


Bike Rentals

Exploring Los Angeles by bike can be a fun, eco-friendly, and active way to navigate the city. With an extensive network of bike lanes and paths, as well as numerous bike-friendly destinations, renting a bike is a popular option for tourists looking to experience LA up close and personal.


There are various bike rental options available throughout the city, from bike shops to bike-sharing programs. These services offer a range of bikes, including traditional bicycles, electric bikes, and even specialty bikes like beach cruisers or tandem bicycles.


Renting a bike allows you the flexibility to create your own itinerary and explore at your own pace. You can pedal along the scenic beach paths in Santa Monica or Venice Beach, glide through the streets of Downtown LA, or venture into the picturesque neighborhoods of Beverly Hills.


Many bike rental shops provide helmets, locks, and maps to ensure your safety and convenience. They can also offer recommendations on popular routes, landmarks, and scenic areas worth exploring on two wheels.


In recent years, bike-sharing programs have gained popularity in Los Angeles. These programs allow users to rent bikes from various docking stations located throughout the city. With a simple registration process, you can unlock a bike using a mobile app or membership card, and return it to any designated docking station when you’re done.


Bike-sharing programs are a convenient option for short rides or one-way trips, as you don’t have to worry about returning the bike to the same location. They can be a great choice for quick jaunts between attractions or for exploring neighborhoods where you might not want to walk the entire distance.


When renting a bike, it’s important to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and bike lane regulations. Always ride with caution, obey traffic signals, and be aware of your surroundings. And don’t forget to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and carry a small backpack or basket to store your belongings.


Renting a bike provides a unique and immersive way to experience the sights, sounds, and energy of Los Angeles. It allows you to connect with the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, enjoy scenic views, and get some exercise along the way.


Before you rent a bike, compare prices, read reviews, and choose a reputable rental provider or bike-sharing program. With the right bike and a sense of adventure, you’ll be ready to pedal your way through the diverse and captivating streets of LA.



While Los Angeles is known for its sprawling size and car-centric culture, walking can be a surprisingly enjoyable and practical way to explore certain areas of the city. With its pleasant weather and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, walking allows you to fully immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and discover hidden gems along the way.


Walking is an excellent option for exploring compact areas like Downtown LA, Hollywood, or Santa Monica. These neighborhoods offer a plethora of attractions, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues within walking distance of one another.


One of the advantages of walking is that it allows you to slow down and appreciate the details of your surroundings. You can soak in the vibrant street art, admire the unique architecture, and stumble upon charming cafes or local boutiques that you might have missed while driving or using other modes of transportation.


Walking also provides the opportunity to interact with locals and soak up the city’s diverse cultural atmosphere. You can engage with street performers, strike up conversations with shop owners, and get a sense of the vibrant energy that makes Los Angeles so unique.


It’s important to note that while certain areas of LA are pedestrian-friendly, others may not be as accommodating for walkers. Be sure to research the area you plan to explore on foot and choose routes that prioritize safety and convenience. Sidewalks may be uneven or crowded in some areas, so remain vigilant and use crosswalks when necessary.


When walking longer distances, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Stay hydrated and bring along a small backpack or bag to carry essentials such as water, sunscreen, a map, and any items you may purchase along the way.


For longer journeys or to reach areas that may not be walkable from your starting point, you can complement your walking adventure with other forms of public transportation, like buses or the Metro Rail System. This gives you the flexibility to cover more ground while still enjoying the benefits of walking within specific neighborhoods.


In summary, walking is a wonderful way to explore and experience the unique neighborhoods of Los Angeles. It allows you to discover hidden gems, engage with the local culture, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere that makes the city so captivating. So lace up your walking shoes, grab a map, and set off on foot to uncover the many treasures that LA has to offer.


Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Buses

If you’re a tourist visiting Los Angeles and want a convenient way to explore the city’s top attractions without the hassle of navigating public transportation or driving yourself, the Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses are an excellent option. These sightseeing buses offer a flexible and immersive experience, allowing you to discover popular landmarks and get a comprehensive overview of the city.


The concept of the Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses is simple yet effective. You purchase a ticket, typically valid for 24 or 48 hours, which allows you to hop on and off the bus at designated stops along the route. This means you have the freedom to explore different attractions at your own pace, spending as much time as you desire at each stop.


One of the advantages of the Hop-On Hop-Off buses is the extensive coverage they provide. The routes generally cover all the major tourist destinations and iconic landmarks in Los Angeles, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, Griffith Observatory, and the Santa Monica Pier.


As you ride the bus, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to informative and entertaining commentary about the attractions and neighborhoods you pass through. This can enhance your understanding of the city’s history, culture, and significance.


Another advantage of the Hop-On Hop-Off buses is the convenience they offer. Buses typically run on a frequent schedule, ensuring that you never have to wait long for the next one. You can easily hop off at any designated stop, explore the area on foot, and then hop back on when you’re ready to continue your journey.


The buses are usually equipped with open-air or top-deck seating, providing excellent views of the city’s sights along the route. Opting for the open-air seating allows you to capture stunning photos and enjoy an immersive experience as you witness the beauty of Los Angeles unfold.


Many Hop-On Hop-Off tour operators also provide additional perks, such as discounted admission to popular attractions, walking tours, or free onboard Wi-Fi. These value-added features enhance your overall sightseeing experience and provide further convenience and enjoyment.


It’s important to note that the Hop-On Hop-Off buses may operate on specific routes and have fixed schedules. Therefore, it’s essential to plan your itinerary in advance, taking into consideration the opening and closing times of attractions and the frequency of the buses.


In summary, the Hop-On Hop-Off tour buses in Los Angeles offer a convenient, flexible, and informative way to explore the city’s top attractions. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or looking to refresh your memory of the city, these buses provide a hassle-free and comprehensive sightseeing experience. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the panoramic views as you discover the wonders of Los Angeles.


Sightseeing Tours

If you’re a tourist visiting Los Angeles and want a guided and immersive experience of the city’s top attractions, joining a sightseeing tour is a fantastic option. These tours are designed to showcase the highlights of LA and provide valuable insights from knowledgeable guides, ensuring you make the most of your visit.


Sightseeing tours come in various forms, catering to different interests and preferences. Here are a few popular options:

  • Guided Bus Tours: Bus tours are a popular choice for those who want to sit back, relax, and enjoy a comprehensive overview of the city. These tours cover major landmarks and attractions, often accompanied by informative commentary from guides who share interesting facts and stories about the sites you visit. Some bus tours offer the flexibility to hop on and off at specific points of interest.
  • Walking Tours: Walking tours are a great option for those who prefer a more intimate and up-close experience. Guides lead you through specific neighborhoods or areas of interest, sharing historical and cultural insights along the way. Walking tours allow you to explore hidden gems, interact with locals, and fully absorb the ambiance of the city.
  • Food Tours: Los Angeles is known for its diverse food scene, and food tours provide a delightful way to explore the culinary offerings of the city. These tours often take you to popular local eateries, food markets, and iconic restaurants, where you can sample a variety of delicious dishes while learning about the history and culture behind them.
  • Theme Park Tours: With world-renowned theme parks like Universal Studios and Disneyland, Los Angeles offers immersive experiences for all ages. Theme park tours provide insider tips, access to special features, and guided explorations of the park’s attractions, ensuring you make the most of your visit and enjoy a seamless day of fun and entertainment.

One of the advantages of joining a sightseeing tour is the convenience and efficiency it offers. Tours typically have planned itineraries, ensuring you cover a lot of ground and visit multiple attractions within a specific time frame. This is especially beneficial if you have limited time or prefer to leave the logistics to experts.


Sightseeing tours also provide the opportunity to meet other travelers and engage in a shared experience. It’s a great way to make new friends, share recommendations, and exchange travel stories. The group dynamic adds to the overall enjoyment and camaraderie during the tour.


It’s important to choose a reputable tour operator that offers informative and engaging guides, comfortable transportation, and a well-structured itinerary. Reading reviews, checking the provided services, and comparing prices can help you select the best tour for your interests and budget.


In summary, sightseeing tours in Los Angeles offer a convenient, educational, and enjoyable way to explore the city’s top attractions. Whether you opt for a bus tour, walking tour, food tour, or theme park tour, you’ll have the opportunity to uncover hidden gems, learn interesting facts, and create lasting memories during your visit to the vibrant and diverse city of Los Angeles.


Rental Cars

If you prefer to have the freedom and flexibility to explore Los Angeles on your own terms, renting a car is a popular option. Having a rental car gives you the ability to customize your itinerary, visit off-the-beaten-path destinations, and navigate the city at your own pace.


Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis with a vast network of highways and major roads, making it easy to navigate by car. Renting a car allows you to seamlessly travel between neighborhoods, attractions, and even venture out to nearby cities or natural landscapes.


There are numerous car rental companies in Los Angeles, offering a wide range of vehicle types to cater to your specific needs and preferences. You can choose from compact cars for easy maneuverability, SUVs for more space and comfort, or even luxury vehicles if you want to explore in style.


When renting a car, it’s important to have a valid driver’s license and be familiar with local traffic laws and regulations. Keep in mind that Los Angeles can experience heavy traffic during peak hours, so planning your routes and allowing extra time for travel is recommended.


While having a rental car provides convenience and flexibility, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Parking in popular areas, especially in downtown or near tourist attractions, may be limited and/or expensive. It’s advisable to research parking options in advance or consider utilizing public parking lots or garages.


Additionally, be aware of any toll roads or bridges you may encounter during your travels. Some rental car companies offer the option to prepay for tolls or provide transponders, making it easier to navigate through toll checkpoints if necessary.


It’s also essential to consider the cost of renting a car, including insurance coverage, fuel expenses, and potential fees like additional drivers or returning the car late. Compare prices and policies among different rental companies to ensure you get the best deal for your budget.


Lastly, consider your comfort level with driving in a busy urban environment. If you’re not accustomed to navigating big cities or prefer not to drive in traffic, alternative transportation options like public transportation or ridesharing services may be more suitable.


In summary, renting a car in Los Angeles offers the freedom and flexibility to explore the city and its surrounding areas on your own terms. It allows you to create your own schedule, visit hidden gems, and travel at your own pace. Just be sure to consider the cost, parking availability, and your comfort level with driving in a bustling city before choosing this mode of transportation.



Los Angeles, with its sprawling size and diverse attractions, offers a multitude of transportation options for tourists to navigate the city. From public transportation to ridesharing services, bike rentals, and even walking, there is a mode of transportation for every preference and itinerary.


Public transportation in LA, including the Metro Rail System and Metro Bus System, provides a reliable and cost-effective way to explore the city. These systems connect various neighborhoods and popular attractions, allowing you to easily navigate from one destination to another.


If you prefer the convenience of door-to-door service, taxis and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft offer a personalized and reliable transportation option. With their user-friendly apps and knowledgeable drivers, you can easily reach your desired destinations while enjoying the comfort of a private ride.


For those who want to enjoy the outdoors and have more control over their explorations, bike rentals offer a fun and eco-friendly way to get around. Los Angeles has an extensive network of bike lanes and paths, making it a bike-friendly city for tourists to pedal through.


Walking, although not always practical for covering long distances, provides a unique and immersive way to experience certain neighborhoods and attractions. Walking allows you to soak in the local atmosphere, discover hidden gems, and connect with the vibrant energy of the city.


For a comprehensive and guided experience, hop-on hop-off tour buses and sightseeing tours offer the convenience of expertly curated itineraries and knowledgeable guides. These tours ensure you don’t miss out on the top attractions and provide valuable insights into the history, culture, and significance of Los Angeles.


Last but not least, renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace and venture off the beaten path. It’s a convenient option for exploring the far reaches of the city and allows you to customize your itinerary based on your interests and preferences.


In conclusion, Los Angeles offers a wide range of transportation options that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of tourists. By choosing the right mode of transportation based on your itinerary, budget, and comfort level, you can navigate this vibrant city with ease and make the most of your visit to the City of Angels.