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Los Angeles Travel Tips & Suggestions

I first spent two months here in the summer on 1975, due to the last depression oil dependent crisis in Michigan, and couldn't get a summer job. Thought I would hate it but I loved it. I got a great evening waitress job in Mar Vista, lived in Santa Monica, and could explore or play at the beach during the day, and only used my bike for transport (not nearly as much traffic as now) -- except when I borrowed a car to visit Grand Central market and Bradbury Building downtown and Watts Towers. Finally, I moved here in 1985 and love it still. Of course, the traffic, smog, potential crime issues suck, but the unknowability and amazing diversity of the city is what I love. LA generally is not beautiful overall, but there are those days when you can be swimming at the beach and see snow on the distant San Bernardino mountains and hiking in Temescal Canyon cannot be beat for a city walk. It's pretty amazing! — Anonymous
L.A. is a great place. — Sal
I was a gangster here for five years. L.A. is the bomb! — David Hedberg
I went to Los Angeles. The beach is ok and the people are nice. When I went to Compton, I was greeted by some homeboys who seemed very friendly in their white t-shirts and box-fresh sneakers. I think Los Angeles is a great place as weed is cheap and plentiful and the weather is hot. Venice Beach is interesting and Americans as a whole are some of the nicest people that you could meet. — Anonymous
I've lived in Southern California my whole life (twenty-five years). When I was younger I would always say I'd move to New York or somewhere else aside from "the mecca of vanity." With that said, I have traveled to many places around the world and my heart stays in California. We have it all, from the weather down to the beaches and up into the mountains. The people here are friendly and we're good looking! We love fashion -- we're education and cultured! There's many different races of people here and there's always something to do. Its a bit fast paced, overcrowded, and expensive but I would never leave Southern California! It's huge here, so if visiting you must rent a car and places to go are endless. So be sure to stay for at least two weeks. — Lisa Nieto
I went to Los Angeles for a few wrestling shows on Burbank (which is a pretty nice place). I stayed on Hollywood. Seriously, get a car! Los Angeles offers tons of activities -- shopping, concerts, museums and a lot of stuff but going by public transportation is really dangerous, even in daylight (not to mention that you have to wait almost an hour to get anywhere). — Carlos
As a native from Los Angeles who has lived in New York City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, and currently in the Washington D.C. metro area, I can proudly say that L.A. has the friendliest people in the U.S. I haven't lived in L.A. in over twenty-one years but I do visit often being my family is still there. As far as the so called bad areas, I found that they aren't that bad, especially not compared to New York. Point blank, people of any culture will embrace you if you're willing to experience what they have to show you (great food, culture, partying). Not to say to just venture out into the unknown, but for instance, Crenshaw Boulevard (a very busy street) stretches from Hancock Park to Long Beach and you have BarBQue joints, restaurants and shopping centers, musical venues -- stuff that is known to people all over the world. Hollywood (to me) is nothing but a money-hungry ghetto (try to get a free cup of ice water). All the other places are cool, but don't be shallow and miss an experience of a lifetime. You know, I was once in Haifa, Israel and I warned not to go into Arab-occupied territory because it was considered deadly but I went in anyway and met nothing but the friendliest, kindest, loving people that would show me warmth and laughter that I'll always remember. That made my vacation and if I had stayed out of the "hood" I wouldn't have had such a good time. — Anonymous
L.A. is a overflowing toilet that just won't quit. It's just one big ghetto. — Anonymous
Orange County is nice, but stay clear of Santa Ana. Let's just say it's the East L.A. of Orange County. — Anonymous
I live in L.A., a.k.a. Calabasas, a small bubble in the L.A. county area. Let me tell you something about this city -- it's boring. I'm eighteen years old and there's never a thing to do if you're underage. And if you aren't, all people care about is money, money, money. But the weather over here is another story -- I wouldn't have it any other way, for as we tend to say, we have no season. But travelers beware. L.A. is only a place I think I would visit. Never move here, you will hate it (especially for people coming from the east). — Jason
I love all of L.A. Areas get rough, but that is L.A. Don't start trouble and you will be fine. The South Bay is the best, Hermosa Beach, Torrance, and Manhattan Beach are all great areas with beautiful people. Just bring your credit card and you will be fine. Just remember, don't use your blinker or you will never get over. — Craig - LA Rocks
Los Angeles rules. It's the best city in the world, although there are bad parts. You are not going to get shot if you go here and most people are nice but just stay out of the ghettos. But just be careful around these places. — jon
I came to L.A. on holiday. I must say I felt safer on the underground trains than in London. People were friendly and although we did see a few strange characters, it all added to the excitement. It's fantastic and I am planning a family holiday so that I can take my children. As long as you are sensible, you are no more at risk there than in any other city. — kim cook
I was in L.A. and hung out the most of the time in Inglewood, South Central, Watts, Compton, and Long Beach. There isn't an unsafe area. People only have love for you all. And these ghettoes are very beautiful. — Anonymous
Well, personally I've been in L.A. more times than I can think, being as I stay just outside of L.A. city. But I have family and friends that stay in L.A. from East L.A. to Inglewood to Santa Monica. And I have to say that it's what you're comfortable wth. But to me all areas are fun to visit and have different things to offer. — kenny johnson
I have lived near L.A. most of my life and visited often. I have to say it can be a fun place to visit the sights like Hollywood, but the rule of thumb is do not go to certain places at night. For instance, stay away from South Central, East L.A., Echo Park, Boyle Heights, Compton, and Watts at night. If you wander there at night you'll know why. It might be safe for some, but not for most. If you want to visit a place, like Echo Park, go in the daytime. Parts of L.A. can be a shady place once night falls. So just be safe and smart and you'll be fine. Remember there are other beautiful places here in California to visit as well -- San Diego, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Francisco. — Anonymous
"The City Of Angels" -- wow, I love this city. I was born and raised in Compton! I love this place, not to lie that we have a crime rate, but Compton's just where is at! Stay out of here unless you have the street credibility to walk around! However, L.A. is the most beautiful city in the U.S., don't be scared of L.A., at least till someone comes up threatening to lean yo' ass! But stay close to the beaches at daytime! — Compton's Right Wing
I have just gotten back from L.A. and I must say that L.A. is a brilliant hybrid of cultures, creative expression, and diversity. It has crime? So what! So does London.Yet, unlike London, it doesnt have astronomical prices, a disgustingly overcrowded public transport system, and rain every five minutes. Furthermore, the people are superb. Incredibly friendly. Especially if you're British! — Danny Kelly
I've lived in L.A. for twenty-five years and I have to say that it has been the greatest time ever. I live in Silver Lake which I love and enjoy -- five minutes away from downtown and bars, clubs, theaters, museums, and Hollywood. And everyone is friedly with each other. Check out the art over in Silver Lake. If you come out to L.A., it's not scary unless you are looking for trouble. Just don't come with fear -- come with happiness and sunscreen. You only live once. — Anonymous
I am a white boy who was born and raised in Nickerson Gardens, California, which is a very bad neighborhood in South Central L.A. Los Angeles has a lot of nice areas and ghettos -- Inglewood, Compton, Watts, East L.A. all have crime problems but L.A. is the best city in the nation. So go to Santa Monica, Hollywood -- even downtown L.A. isn't bad. Explore the City Of Angels. — Anonymous
If you stick to Santa Monica, you will miss out on a lot, like the Standard Hotel rooftop bar or the gorgeous Disney symphony hall. Don't forget the Verranda bar at the Hotel Figueroa. If you project fear, of course, danger will find you. Walk the streets of L.A. with confidence and no one will bother you. It's as safe as anywhere else. Most of the killings are just gangs killing other gangs. The crackheads are like children. They couldn't hurt a fly. — Anonymous
I've stayed in LA twice, both times just off Hollywood Boulevard at a hostel and it was great. Yeah, its not the safest area at night, but its reality. — Anonymous
I have visited Los Angeles many times on my own and prefer to stay in Santa Monica because the bus system is good (Big Blue Bus) and the streets are clean and safe at night. It's a good base for exploring all parts of this great city. You have to exercise caution and discretion but hey it's a big city and be careful. Los Angeles is the most ethnically and diverse city I've ever visited in my life. I recommend the light rail system too for sightseeing and getting around. Would never dream of driving. The MTA isn't bad either and publishes sightseeing tips on line. Enjoy! — Anonymous
Look people... I've lived in L.A. for 17 years. I know this city better than I know myself. It has it's ups and it's downs. For tourists go to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, 6 Flags, and Disneyland. If u don't wanna look at reality stay away from South Central, east LA, Echo Park, Boyle Heights, Compton, Watts, and East Santa Monica. We're a city too. We're not all glamour. But we still got pleanty of attractions to see. — My name is Lucy and I know what's up!
I visit LA at least 2x a year. You need a car to get around. Get a couple of good maps because you will get lost. Plan your drive - I always write out directions before I go out the door. Give yourself an extra 60 minutes to get where you are going (for traffic jams, getting lost, getting coffee - West Hollywood near UCLA has the best mochas I've ever tasted .) Watch out - there are tons of terrible drivers - they are almost as bad as Northern California drivers. Be aware of your surroundings! Be patient and keep your sense of humor. Most Native Californians are friendly but there aren't many of us left. Still I love LA - my mom was born there and there are tons of things to do if you are not afraid of people of color - there's Olvera Street (Mexican arts, crafts, food) Japantown, Koreatown, and Chinatown. If you want to eat the world's biggest burrito, get a Hollenbeck burrito in East LA. Fresh cracked crab - Redondo Beach is where it's at. I personally love visiting the LaBrea tar pits museum and the nearby Modern Art Museum. Check out the LA Weekly newspaper to see what's happening (festivals, concerts, movies, art exhibits - there is always something going on). You can also get a LA for Dummies or Let's Go LA book. I just came back from NYC and the New York for Dummies book was excellent! Have fun! P.S. I lost 5 pounds in 4 days walking around/traveling on the subways in NY - you'll gain weight in LA if you're not careful. - Central Valley Chicana living in The Bay Area :( — California Native
Although Los Angeles is full of interesting venues for the traveler, it also hosts many dangerous ghettos and barrios. If you are unfamilair with the city, do not venture about independently...enlist the services of a guide service. — Anonymous
Seems like a lot of the hostels here require you to either be international or a student. I haven't run into that elsewhere. Just beware if you're visiting from the US that your choices are somewhat limited here. — josh
Downtown L.A is a very weird place to be if your not completely insane. I have no idea how some one could even step foot in that dump. The place is filled with trash and scum, every where I turned my head I was hoping I would see a sign of sanity, but no sign. The streets of Downtown LA have wandered into a shadowy mist that I call Hell... — Anonymous
Hollywood is a horrible place (especially to go out at night). Stick to places like Santa Monica and Beach cities like Venice and Hermosa! — Anonymous
Downtown L.A., even in the day, can be risky. I'm talking the area around 7th/Main. I was there at 2 PM on a Sunday and got hasseled by a hooker for taking a photo of a building. She happened to be in the photo (unaware by me) and threw a plastic bottle at me, shoved me around. I got out of the situation by not esclating anything....she cleary did not believe I was shooting the building. She demanded my film and wanted money. I gave her neither. Extremely scary area...garbage strewn streets, drug addicts staggering down the street...it was like a scene from a movie. If you stay up by the Walt Disney Concert Hall and MOCA, you're fine...but once you get down near 7th/main....it's a completeley different story. — Anonymous
Telling people to stay in Santa Monica is totally ridiculous. Santa Monica is not all LA, in fact, technically it isn't even a part of the city of Los Angeles. If you want to experience the city of Los Angeles, go around the entire city. What the hell is the point of flying all the way out to Los Angeles and being too scared to leave your Santa Monica hostel. Hollywood and West Hollywood are nice areas. There may be some lower income areas nearby, but they are not ghettoes and they are not unsafe. I'm speaking as someone who has lived in LA. Sounds like some of you were expecting all LA to be mansions. Of course that's isn't true. It's a big city, like any other. — Anonymous
I live in LA. And I'd say that if you want to visit LA, stick to Santa Monica. Stay clear of the ghettos Because LA is a very dangerous city. Even places like Hollywood Blvd. have gone downill. Stay clear of places like Compton, Paramount, Boyle heghts, Echo Park, Pico Union, East LA, Ingle Wood, Whittier etc. Best to stay in a place like Santa Monica. There are very few places where you can experience the "Hollywood" glamour and glitz you see in movies and on TV. — Anonymous
If your coming to LA may I recommend that you head straight for Orange County and look for a place to stay. I stayed at Huntington Beach which is far more pleasant than LA itself. The car is king here, so get yourself some wheels and you'll be ok. — OZ
I have been to Los Angeles twice and it was the best holiday I have ever been on. I visited Hollywood, Six Flags, and Disney Land. They were all great. I would love to visit again soon. — Karys Hawkins
I've been to Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Los Angeles is good if you want to experience "Hollywood". Other than that, if you want to experience social beaches I would head to San Diego. If you want a really great city experience, nothing beats San Francisco. There is a lot to do in Los Angeles but be careful because places like ritzy Beverly Hills will very quickly go into some of LA's very ghetto destricts. Same with Hollywood -- past the main touristy area, the town becomes very ghetto. My experience is nothing feels quite as scary as downtown Los Angles at night. By all costs, stay clear of South Central. Venice is an interesting place and so is Santa Monica for some classic social, if not eclectic, culture. Traffic's horrible. Air is terrible. Hey, it's Los Angeles. — Anonymous

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