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Los Angeles is one of the biggest cities in the world, quite literally. It’s so sprawling that most visitors need access to a car just to try and see everything. As you might imagine, a city this size also has an abundance of different neighborhoods, each with its own vibe and pros and cons.
Even if you have a car, where you stay when visiting LA is important because of the traffic and how long it takes to get places. With that in mind, I’ll break down some of LA’s top neighborhoods to stay in and where I think you should avoid staying.
The Best LA Neighborhoods to Stay
West Hollywood is one of my favorite LA neighborhoods and is a rare gem here because it’s very walkable. In WeHo, you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, bars, and shopping. It’s also home to the famous Sunset Strip. For those who plan to bring their dog to LA, WeHo is very dog-friendly; I love to take our dog, Piper, to the West Hollywood Dog Park at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and San Vicente. It’s also clean, safe, and central for easier access to other LA areas.
The downsides to WeHo are that it can get pricey, and parking is hit-and-miss since many neighborhoods have permit parking overnight.
The Silverlake area is great for those who prefer to stay in an area without many tourists that also has more of an artsy, eclectic vibe to it. Silverlake is lined with local eateries, coffee shops, bars, and stores, so there’s plenty to do in the area. Also, it’s not too far from Hollywood for those who still want to visit big tourist sites. This hipster-friendly neighborhood is a great find, but keep in mind that it’s not close to the beach, so getting near the water will easily be a day trip with the city’s notorious traffic.
With plenty to do, including its iconic pier and the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica is a great option for those who want to stay close to the ocean (except for any beachfront Airbnbs in Malibu, of course).
Santa Monica is home to many hotels, so there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to lodging. Plus, you can easily access other beach areas, including Venice, which is right next door.
Consider Burbank if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and safe with more affordable hotels. This valley neighborhood has more of a suburban vibe, and it’s where Warner Bros. Studio is located. It’s also right next to Universal City, which houses Universal Studios here in LA. The downside to Burbank is that you’d definitely need a car, though downtown Burbank is fairly walkable and has plenty of shops and restaurants. Another advantage of Burbank? It has its own airport, which is way smaller and less crowded than LAX.
Where to Avoid Staying in LA
Normally, you might assume a city’s downtown is the place to be, but that’s not the case with LA. Though there are some cool spots worth checking out, downtown is one of the less safe areas of LA. The upside to downtown LA is subway accessibility, but personally, I would avoid staying here and opt for another neighborhood.
Hollywood might be on your Los Angeles bucket list, but it’s not the ideal place to actually spend the majority of your trip. Loud, crazy, and filthy are just some adjectives I think of when it comes to Hollywood. You’re constantly dodging poop on the sidewalk, and Hollywood Blvd., in particular, is overwhelming. Instead, plan a day to visit Hollywood.
Though it’s a famous LA neighborhood, Venice has seen an uptick in crime in recent years. Venice is worth visiting, including the boardwalk and Abbot Kinney Road. However, I recommend staying in a different beach neighborhood, such as Santa Monica, because it is safer and less rowdy.
By the Airport
Unless you’re only here for one night, staying by the airport just isn’t worth it since you’re not really close to anything unless you take a drive or an even longer bus trip. Even though hotel deals can be better around the airport, you’ll make up the cost in Uber rides or gas.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Sleep Advisor, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com