Our Los Angeles Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in the USA. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this Los Angeles Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Los Angeles, California.


    When is the best time to travel to Los Angeles?

    Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate, with average temperatures ranging from 58ºF in winter to 74ºF in summer.

    • Most rainfall occurs from December to March, with an average of 5-6 rainy days per month.
    • The sunniest time of the year is from May to October. 
    • Summer, from June to August, is peak tourist season, with hotel and flight prices rising accordingly.
    • March-May and September-November are great times to visit. The weather is pleasant, you’ll avoid the summer’s crowds, and flight and hotel prices are more affordable.

    Los Angeles basics

    • Languages: Primary: English; Secondary: Spanish
    • Plug types: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: United States Dollar (US$)
    • International dialling code: +1 213
    • Emergency telephone number: 911

    How to get to my hotel in Los Angeles?

    Los Angeles International Airport

    Los Angeles International Airport sits 12 miles southwest of the city centre. It hosts no less than 9 passenger terminals connected by shuttle buses. Each of them serves different airline companies and hosts a great range of dining and shopping options as well as facilities including banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to reach Downtown Los Angeles:

    • A taxi to the city centre takes around 25-35 minutes. Taxi cabs can be found on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal.
    • Uber and Lyft apps can be used at Los Angeles Airport. Pick up spots are on the curbside of the Arrival Level outside each terminal.
    • Many hotels offer free shuttle service. Hotel shuttle buses can be found on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal.
    • The LAX FlyAway bus goes to various locations in town, the main one being the Downtown Union Station. Look out for the green signs saying “FlyAway” on the outer curb outside each terminal. The journey takes around 35-45 minutes.
    • SuperShuttle is 1 of the shared minivan shuttle services at hand to get to central Los Angeles from the airport. The journey takes around 30-40 minutes.
    • There’s no Metro stop at the airport but a free transfer bus will get you to the Metro (Green Line) Aviation/LAX Station. Look out for the “G Bus” that picks up under the blue bus stop signs on the outer curb in front of each terminal. The journey to Downtown LA takes around 1 hour.
    • There’s no centralized car rental center at LAX so plan ahead if you want to compare prices. Individual rental companies run shuttle buses to their depots under the purple signs in front of each terminal.

    Union Station

    • Union Station, the central train station in LA, is well connected to the city’s transport system.
    • LA is less than 3 hours away from Santa Barbara and San Diego via Amtrak trains.
    • Union Station is also a major intercity bus terminal.

    photo by Paolo Gamba (CC BY 2.0) modified


    How to get around Los Angeles?

    Travel tips

    Los Angeles is a huge city that covers a land area of over 450 sq miles. You should choose your hotel near the attractions you want to visit so you’re not spending too long travelling across the congested metropolis. Once you arrive at the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Pier or Venice Beach, you can wander around on foot, but before to get there, you’ll have to use 1 of the many public and private transport services at hand.


    Public transport

    • Public transport in Los Angeles is managed by Metro. Metro operates a massive bus network of about 200 lines and a rail service with 7 lines. It’s the most economical way to get around the city.
    • A good move is to purchase a rechargeable TAP card. It can be bought and recharged on board buses and at over 400 vending spots.
    • The Metro website has an excellent Trip Planner tool which, as its name implies, allows you to easily organise your journey to the places you want to see in LA.

    Insider tip:

    • The Red Line is the key one for visitors, connecting downtown Union Station with Hollywood and Universal City.

    photo by George (CC BY 2.0) modified



    • You’ll find taxi ranks outside the major transport hubs, attractions and hotels. Otherwise you need to call ahead or use an app such as Uber, Lyft or Wingz.
    • You’re not allowed to hail a taxi down on the street in LA.
    • Payment of the fare by credit card is usually possible but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • It’s common to give a 10-15% tip to the taxi driver.

    photo by Parker Knight (CC BY 2.0) modified



    • Plan your route before you set out and choose your timings wisely to avoid the worst of those legendary LA traffic jams.
    • Watch out for carpooling lanes! If you’re driving on these roads without any additional passengers, you’ll be stopped and issued a fine.

    Insider tip:

    • Parking downtown tends to be pricey, with private garages being the cheapest option.
    • Check with your hotel if they offer free parking.

    Cycling with Metro Bike Share

    • The Metro Bike Share system operates in Downtown LA, Pasadena, Port of LA and Venice. You’ll easily find docking stations throughout these areas.
    • You just need to download the app and sign up for a pass or link your TAP card to the Metro Bike Share system.

    photo by Downtowngal (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    What are the main annual events in Los Angeles?

    Independence Day

    • What: Block parties, fireworks displays, and large gatherings should be expected on Independence Day as practically the entire city celebrates the birth of the nation.
    • When: July 4th
    • Where: Throughout LA

    L.A. Film Festival

    • What: One of the world’s great celebrations of cinema, you can see many premieres, meet and greets with the stars, and free screenings of the latest movies.
    • When: September
    • Where: ArcLight Hollywood, ArcLight Culver City, ArcLight Santa Monica, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and The Writers Guild Theatre

    Abbot Kinney Festival

    • What: This celebration of Californian culture brings together food, drink, and entertainment in Venice Beach. Families will enjoy the fairground rides.
    • When: September
    • Where: Along a mile-long stretch of Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice

    Halloween Carnaval

    • What: One of the world’s largest Halloween celebrations, this parade completely shuts down the main streets of Hollywood. Expect outrageous costumes and large floats throughout the evening.
    • When: October 31st
    • Where: West Hollywood

    photo by joey zanotti (CC BY 2.0) modified

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