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    How to get around Los Angeles: subway, bus or car?

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Are you planning a trip to Los Angeles, a symbolic city of American cinema and one of the most famous entertainment destinations on the West Coast and all of America? If this is your project, the first question you will have to solve is always the same: "how to get around Los Angeles? "

    In our previous article (on the subject of "Los Angeles car rental"), we have, on closer inspection, outlined a conclusion, but this time we want to examine in detail the situation related to transport and travel in what is the largest American city for extension: ultimately, how is it convenient to move to Los Angeles?

    Metro e bus are they valid options, as in most large American cities, or is it absolutely not convenient to rely on public transport? Is the city - as they say - really “designed for cars”?

    To answer all these questions, let's start by listing all the options available for public transportation, so you can get an idea of ​​how getting around Los Angeles works.


    • How to get around Los Angeles? The options available
      • Subway Los Angeles
      • Bus
      • Taxi
      • Bus hop-on hop-off
      • How to move from the airport?
    • Is it really worth getting around Los Angeles by public transport?
      • Downtown to Universal Studios (via Griffith Observatory)
      • From Universal Studios to Venice Beach
      • Da Venice Beach a Disneyland (Anaheim)
      • Da Anaheim all’aeroporto
    • In conclusion…

    How to get around Los Angeles? The options available

    Los Angeles, despite all that is said, is gifted with one transport network quite widespread, which is gladly used by the inhabitants of the city. Let's see what services are available:

    Subway Los Angeles

    In such an important city, it certainly could not be missing subway. Active from 5 to 24, the metro in Los Angeles moves on 4 lines:

    • la Red Line connects Downtown Union Station with North Hollywood. This is the line most used by travelers, as it also reaches Universal Studios Hollywood;
    • la Blue Line connects Union Station to Long Beach, an area of ​​Los Angeles known for its long stretch of beaches;
    • la Gold Line connects Union Station to Pasadena, a high-style residential area in the north of the county;
    • la Purple Line va da Union Station a Wilshire/Western, a Koreatown;
    • la Green Line serves the Norwalk-Redondo Beach route: useful because it reaches Los Angeles International Airport.

    For more information, trust the official website Metro Los Angeles. Here are the costs of tickets and season tickets.


    The city is also served by a good network of bus, operated by the LA County Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA, or simply Metro). Here are the different types of buses:

    • Local Metro: recognizable by their orange color, they cover the itineraries along the most important streets of the city;
    • Metro Rapid: Red. To be preferred, if available (there are fewer stops), due to the speed of the service;
    • Metro Express: they are blue buses. They offer a less widespread service, but useful as it extends along the intricate city motorway network;
    • Metro Silver Line, which connects South Bay and San Gabriel Valley to Downtown;
    • Metro Orange Line, whose run extends from North Hollywood to the Warner Center in Woodland Hills.

    In addition to the services of the MTA, other buses are available:

    • Dash is one of the options for making a series of itineraries in the central areas of Los Angeles, but nowhere else;
    • Big Blue Bus, whose service is concentrated in the West Los Angeles, is a good solution for shooting in Santa Monica;
    • Culver City Bus, to move around the area of Culver City, still in West Los Angeles.


    Forget the yellow rivers of Manhattan taxis: in Los Angeles the taxi is best booked by phone. One of the most reliable companies is Independent Taxi.

    Bus hop-on hop-off

    This is not a solution to be underestimated, especially for those interested in letting themselves be guided in a well organized itinerary, while reserving the right to get off and on the open bus at will.

    We recommend this hop on hop off tour: you will have a ticket valid for 24 or 48 hours, and you can choose between five different itineraries, distinguished by as many colors.

    How to move from the airport?

    How to get around in the various areas of Los Angeles from the airport? If you don't feel like facing the throng of the LAX FlyAway shuttles (set up at the exit of the various terminals) with all your luggage, nor do you want to immediately take a rental car, there are some alternative transport services from the airport to various city ​​areas:

    Search for airport transportation services

    PS: Have you taken a look at our tips on finding flights to Los Angeles?

    Is it really worth getting around Los Angeles by public transport?

    The intricate road and motorway network is not only a cinematic suggestion (have you seen the impressive panoramas of the second series of True Detective?), But also a effective plan of urban management to direct the enormous traffic that a city like Los Angeles has to sustain.

    Of course, you shouldn't expect a simple drive through the streets of a deserted American town, but you will soon realize that, to move between the points of interest of this endless city, the best solution is to take a car. Let's try to work out a realistic example of a tour along the major attractions of Los Angeles by calculating times and distances by public transport and by car.

    Downtown to Universal Studios (via Griffith Observatory)

    Making an approximate calculation of the times required to move from one area of ​​the city to another, we will notice a rather interesting data. Covering a distance of approximately 10 miles, from the Downtown to Universal Studios, you will employ by car about 20 minutes while taking public transport (metro + bus) it takes at least 45 minutes. And if on the way you want to stop at the Griffith Observatory, with the means, calculate at least as many more ...

    From Universal Studios to Venice Beach

    By car, it will take you about 30 minutes to travel the 23 miles that separate Venice Beach from Universal Studios. By public transport it will take more than an hour and a half.

    Da Venice Beach a Disneyland (Anaheim)

    And if you want to go from the sea of ​​Venice Beach to the beloved Disneyland? By car it takes about 50 minutes, with public transport you won't be able to get away with less than 2 and a half hours.


    Da Anaheim all’aeroporto

    Let's say that, after Disneyland, you slept, what do I know ?, at the Best Western of Orange, in Anaheim, and that the next morning you have the plane: without the car (40 minutes scarcely) - only by public transport - it would take you an ' infinity: between bus and metro, you should really wake up at dawn, or hope that there is a (expensive) shuttle that takes you from the hotel to the airport ... how many unknowns!

    In conclusion…

    By doing a study on how West Coast itineraries are usually conceived, we can say that the average stay in Los Angeles is 2 3-days, few compared to the distances to be covered. In the previous paragraphs, you will have noticed how moving around Los Angeles by public transport takes a long time, due to the large distances that exist from one part of the same city to another.

    No matter how hard you try to organize theperfect itinerary, calculating the movements to the second and centimeter, you will find that to move only by public transport it wastes a lot of time, and in Los Angeles you will not have time, because moreover most of the major attractions require a one-day visit (Universal Studios , Disneyland). It is therefore only a question of supporting the nature of this city.

    So, to the question "How to get around Los Angeles?"Placed at the head of this article, our answer can only be: in the car! And in this regard, we have given some tips and advice in our in-depth study on car rental in Los Angeles. Also, if you have chosen this means of transport, the article we have dedicated to where to park in Los Angeles will be useful.

    And you? Have you decided how to deal with this incredible city? Tell us yours!

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