Getting around in L.A. as a tourist

You can forget public transportation. You can also forget walking. The distances for sightseeing are just too far.

One option is the Hop On Hop Off buses where you book one or more days and get the bus from one sight to the next.

The other possibility would be booking a full or multiple day tour of Hollywood, a part of LA or the entire LA. In this case you will have to go where they take you and you will have as much time to visit as they give you. It might be inconvenient if you want to visit certain places or to take a walk but it’s not planned in the tour itinerary. For example, I’ve seen lots of tour buses on Rodeo Drive which just drove through and didn’t stop at all.

The last option and the best way in my opinion is to drive with a car but this can become also stressful. Don’t forget your navigation system!

The freeway 405 around LA is just complete madness. Too many lanes, too many crazy drivers and a sure chance to get into an accident. We tried to avoid it like a plague if there were any alternative routes.

When already in LA, it can be pleasant to drive around on the small streets where there’s not so much traffic but on the big boulevards this can turn into hell. You have to watch where you’re driving but also what the other people are doing. Everybody is switching lanes like crazy without blinking. They just jump in front of you and if you’re not careful and break, it might get ugly. There’s a whole lot of honking going on too.

I thought people here are laid back but once they are driving on the street, it becomes a jungle!

I cannot understand the intersections with the first come first serve system and it is everywhere like that. It is so confusing and sometimes people just stand there and look at each other trying to figure out when is their turn.

Also there is no traffic light when turning to the right. You have to be sure that no other car is coming and that no pedestrian is crossing the street and then go. Sometimes fast drivers just come out of nowhere after you thought it’s safe to take the right turn and you’re wondering how did you not see that car coming.

So with all of this in mind, we considered booking a full day tour but eventually just took the car and visited Beverly Hills and Hollywood in just one day.

What to visit:

– Mulholland Drive
– Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive
– Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame
– the Hollywood sign from the Deronda Drive
– Sunset Boulevard
– Santa Monica Boulevard

My advice to you is don’t get your expectations too high and then you’ll not be disappointed.

You’ll probably not see any celebrities or their homes because it’s just so covered up with gates and bushes and trees and full with security.

We did see one alledged celebrity on Rodeo Drive being followed by the paparazzi and a big crowd but when we asked who it is, none of them knew. A guy told us that yesterday they were following a girl because they thought she’s Brad Pitt’s daugther but this girl was all grown up and you don’t need a high IQ to figure out that it can’t be Brad Pitt’s daughter since they are all so young and small.

Hollywood Boulevard is nothing to write home about. The Walk of Fame was kind of impressive but otherwise the whole Boulevard (like all the other Boulevards as well) are in a pretty bad shape.

Some of the streets look like I wouldn’t want to be walking there alone during day, not even to mention during the night. And I didn’t even visit the bad neighborhoods!

Would I want to live in LA? Well, that’s difficult to answer. I like Santa Monica and I could imagine living in one of the big houses and palaces I saw today in Beverly Hills or on the Hollywood Hills. And I wouldn’t mind living on the beach either.

But living in California has its perks. I saw a lot of California beach babes and Barbie dolls, just like you see in the movies, and I don’t think I would fit in, I just love food too much! I do like to be fit for health reasons but living here would add so much stress into looking good that I am not sure I would want that. I saw some of these girls at the neighboring table during lunch and instead of eating the bread, they were only taking the breadcrumbs from the plate. You gotta make sacrifices to look good, right?

When I saw this, I remembered a scene from Sex and the City where Miranda came to California to visit a friend and was pleasantly surprised how nicely tanned this friend was and how much weight he lost. She considered moving to California too but eventually saw the real truth behind it. This friend was totally stressed out because of his looks and as they sat in a restaurant, he was only chewing his food and not swallowing it. Eek!

I’ve also met all kinds of people here. Most people here are super nice. They just struck up a conversation with us about any topics. I like the fact that nobody cares here where we’re from.

There was one guy who saw me with my Giants SF cappy and jokingly said that the Giant fans need to pay here to take pictures. But I only bought the cappy to protect my face from the sun since I burned myself badly on the first day in SF!