3 Traffic-Busting L.A. Travel Tips

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by Ellen Girardeau Kempler

Every visitor to California should consider exploring L.A. for at least a few days. Thanks to L.A.’s expanding Metrolink and bus transit system, your trip can even be partially or completely car-free. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your visit:

  1. Set Priorities: Before you leave, take the time to research L.A.’s various events, attractions, neighborhoods and restaurants. Set priorities based on your interests. No matter what choices you make or how long you stay, you’ll never get close exhausting its possibilities.
  2. Chart Your Course: If you decide to go car-free for at least part of your visit, take the Metrolink from LAX and stay in or near downtown or on a main metro line (Museum Mile is a good choice) for at least one night. From downtown, you can hop the Metrolink in any direction it goes.
  3. Choose a Transportation Strategy: If you decide to rent a car to experience L.A.’s famous boulevards, canyons and hilltop views and explore areas not accessible by Metrolink (such as Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice Beach, the Hollywood Hills and canyons, Angeles Crest Highway to Mount Wilson, Mullholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway and many Westside attractions), you should probably check out of your downtown hotel after 1-2 days, then shuttle back to the airport, rent a car and spend the remainder of your time in a spot along the coast. Before any scenic drives, ask the concierge to check traffic and advise you on routes and timing. During the day, you can rent bikes to ride along the coastal boardwalk from Santa Monica south to Manhattan Beach. If you arrive car-free, you not only save $2 on Venice Beach’s new zipline, but you don’t have to worry about parking.

Writer, editor and travel consultant Ellen Girardeau Kempler is Founder and Chief Navigator of Gold Boat Journeys in Laguna Beach, California. Read Gold Boat’s Ship’s Log for more ideas about what to do in L.A.

Venice Beach Boardwalk, Los Angeles

Venice Beach Boardwalk, Los Angeles

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