Los Angeles: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

Los Angeles: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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The city of Los Angeles and its neighboring cities are famous for their industry, climate, landscapes, and culture.

And while many visitors come for the purported glitz and glam, the region has so much more to offer than celebrity sightings, trendy restaurants, and iconic destinations.

Given its size, diversity, and beautiful location there really is something for every type of traveler to discover in Los Angeles.

The skyline of Los Angeles with palm trees in the foreground.

But before setting off to Los Angeles, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Los Angeles, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette
  • What are the top attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • Best times to visit

Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Los Angeles:

19 october 2018 - Los Angeles, California. USA: Hollywood Sign between Palm trees from central Los Angeles

Did you know… The iconic Hollywood sign is what many people envision when they think of Los Angeles. Located in Griffith Park atop Mount Lee, the sign can be seen from all over LA. Many movies and TV shows will have you believe that you can walk right up to the iconic Hollywood sign, however, that is not the case. It is located in a restricted area and direct access is prohibited and monitored 24/7 by officials. The closest you can get is behind and above which is accessible via hiking trails.

1) Los Angeles Affordability


























Rating: 2 out of 5.

Los Angeles is not the most budget-friendly city. However, if you are traveling on a budget you can save by choosing free or inexpensive activities and choosing your dining options carefully.

Accommodation

  • Average hotel price: The current average rate for one night at a 3-star hotel in Los Angeles is $220, while an average 4-star hotel is about $350.
  • Luxury 5-star hotels: On average, a 5-star hotel costs around $600 per night. However, there are pricier options if you are looking to splurge. The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard has standard rooms for $1,700 per night and suites for $3,000 per night.
  • If you’re on a budget: Hostels in Los Angeles are not cheap. A bed in a dorm can cost between $40 – $60 per night, and a private ensuite room averages around $100.

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The iconic sign of the Beverly Hills Hotel

Food

  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $100.
  • For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay around $25.
  • A beer costs between $8-$9 depending on where you are drinking, while a cappuccino is about $5.50.

Transportation

  • The most affordable way to get around Los Angeles is on public transportation. Tickets for the train or bus cost $1.75 per journey.
  • Taxi fares start at $4 plus an additional $2.70 per mile traveled. Uber and Lyft both operate in Los Angeles and are typically a cheaper option.
  • While not the most bike-friendly city, Los Angeles does offer a bike-share program called Metro Bike Share. Single rides are $1.75 per half hour, or you can buy a 24-hour pass for $5, and all trips less than 30 minutes are free.
  • Car rentals start at about $65 per day and are a good idea if you intend on exploring areas outside of downtown. Just keep in mind that traffic is awful and parking can be difficult and expensive.
Traffic and pedestrians on Hollywood Boulevard at dusk in los angeles

2) Culture And Etiquette In Los Angeles

Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Los Angeles.

  • DON’T try to see it all: Los Angeles is such a big city with so many places to explore. It is also very spread out, so trying to pack too much into your trip is not a good idea. Choose accommodation in the area you most want to explore to reduce time spent in traffic.
  • DO leave a tip: Visitors should plan on tipping at least 20% for restaurant service and $1-$2 per drink at the bar. Also keep cash on hand for tipping taxi drivers, concierges, and delivery workers.  
  • DON’T forget to check the dress code: Casual dress is typically fine at beaches and pools, but many of the restaurants and clubs have dress codes in the evening, so make sure you check ahead.
Aerial View Of Downtown Los Angeles, California, United States

3) Top Attractions in Los Angeles

LA is full of places to explore. Here are a few of the top things to see and do while exploring in and around Los Angeles:

  • Griffith Observatory – LA’s public observatory is perched atop Mount Hollywood and offers sweeping views of the city. Access to the observatory, its grounds, and public telescopes is free. There is also a planetarium with reasonably priced shows and several exhibits to explore.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art – The largest museum in the western U.S. is home to over 150,000 works of art and includes several must-see exhibits for art enthusiasts.
  • Venice Boardwalk – An incredibly eclectic oceanfront walkway that attracts people from every walk of life. Art walls, street musicians, drum circles, and cafes keep visitors entertained in the beautiful seaside location.
Griffith Park observatory overlooking downtown Los angeles at night

4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?


























Rating: 3 out of 5.

Los Angeles is generally safe for tourists. However, there are still some things that visitors should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Beware of thieves: pickpocketing is common in Los Angeles, so be sure to take extra caution with your valuables.
  • Choose your neighborhood wisely: LA has lots of fun and safe neighborhoods to explore, but it also has areas that should be avoided (Skid Row, South Central, and Compton have higher rates of crime). When booking accommodation, make sure you are staying in a safe area.  
  • Watch your drink: don’t lose track of your drink at the bar, and never accept a beverage from someone you don’t know. Take a taxi back to your hotel at night if you’ve had too much to drink or if you are traveling alone.
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Los Angeles trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
Manhattan Beach in LA at sunset

5) Local Eats And Drinks

Los Angeles is an incredible food city, thanks to its diverse population. Be adventurous and don’t let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:

Food

  • Fresh strawberry donuts – This famous donut is worth seeking out from well-known bakery The Donut Man and is only available when strawberries are in season (February – July)
  • French Dip – A French roll stuffed with roast beef, or other roast meats, cheese, and dipped in drippings from the roasted meat. Legend has it that this now popular sandwich was (accidentally) invented at Philippe the Original in downtown LA.
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs – An iconic eatery serving a variety of famous hot dogs since 1939
Pink's Hot Dog restaurant in Los Angeles

Drinks

  • Sour Beer – Craft breweries around LA are coming up with creative sour beers that feature fruits and herbs. Be sure to try some locally made sours from breweries like Beachwood Blendery and Highland Park Brewery.
  • Moscow Mule –  vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice served in a copper mug, reportedly invented in Los Angeles
  • Coffee – coffee culture is alive and well in LA, with cafes on nearly every corner. Some popular spots include Bloom & Plume in Historic Filipinotown and Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City.

6) How’s The WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Los Angeles for April 2023 were 102.06mbps download and 13.39mbps upload.

Tourists-in-Los-Angeles

7) Best Time To Visit

Los Angeles is a great year-round destination. The city is busiest during the summer months when rain is rare, and temperatures reach their peak, making it a great time to explore the nearby beaches. The shoulder seasons of March–May and September-November are pleasant and less crowded. Visiting during winter months is a great option if you are looking to avoid crowds, heat, and higher prices.

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