Van Shuttle From LAX - Choose Prime Time Shuttle

Many of our guests have been choosing to take a shared van shuttle from LAX to our hotel.  This is a great option if you are looking to save some money and don't mind sharing a ride with other travelers.
We always recommend our guests use Prime Time Shuttle instead of Super Shuttle because it costs less.  Sample pricing as of December 2014 is below.


Prime Time Shuttle
1 Person - $16
2 Persons - $32

Super Shuttle
1 Person - $28
2 Persons - $37

Be sure to book with Prime Time Shuttle if you want to save money on a shared van shuttle.  You can also take a look at our other blog posts on options for getting here from LAX.


Getting a SIM Card in the US

Getting a US SIM card for your smartphone while in the US will make your travels much easier by accessing the internet on the go and using Google Maps.  Car rental companies offer navigation systems, but they can get costly - especially for longer trips since they charge you per day.  A better option is to purchase a SIM card for your unlocked GSM smartphone.  Be sure to check if your phone is unlocked with your provider back home first.  If you do not own a GSM phone, you can always purchase an inexpensive phone here along with your SIM card.

Two carriers provide service for unlocked GSM phones here in the US - T-Mobile and AT&T.  You can purchase a SIM card directly from either carrier at a nearby retail location listed below, or stores like Target, Walmart or Best Buy.  One of the most affordable (but slower) options is purchasing a Straight Talk SIM card at Walmart starting at just $30.  Just note that Walmart's are located in the suburbs, so if you do not have a car, it will be best to visit one of the nearby T-Mobile stores downtown.


Downtown Eats: TASTE at FIGat7th

Downtown LA is a great place to find tasty food, regardless of your budget.  You will find everything from high end five star restaurants to affordable hole in the wall eateries.  Here at Jerry's Motel, we are big fans of gourmet fast food - food that is inexpensive yet high quality.

The recently remodeled FIG at 7th shopping complex on Figueroa and 7th St. is the home of TASTE, a gourmet food court with great food options at affordable prices.  This is not your typical mall food court.  These options include high quality ingredients.  For about $7-$12 per person you can take your pick from several options that include:

George's Greek Grill
Indus by Saffron (Indian)
Loteria Grill (Mexican)
Mendocino Farms (sandwiches)
New Moon Cafe (contemporary Chinese)
Oleego by Park's BBQ (Korean BBQ)
The Melt (all kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches)
Torta Company (Mexican sandwiches)
And More!


Downtown Eats: Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar has just opened a new location in Downtown Los Angeles!  Just a few short blocks away from Jerry's Motel, Plan Check is a popular gastropub offering amazingly juicy and unique gourmet burgers alongside craft beers, creative speciality cocktails and more!  This is our new go-to spot for a delicious hamburger in Downtown LA.  Plan Check is also a great spot for sports enthusiasts to watch a game and have a drink.  Burgers are priced at about $12-14.

Tempting menu options include:

  • PCB (Plan Check Burger) -  americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles and a delicious crunch bun. 
  • Chefs Favorite Burger - cheese two ways, bacon two ways, ketchup leather, fried egg and hot sauce.
  • K-BBQ Burger - grilled pork belly, kimcheese, sprouting onion, gochujang bbq sauce, sesame salt and fried onions.
  • Southern Fry Sandwich - smokey fried jidori chicken, spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham and pickles. 


LA Driving Tips

Right Turn On Red Light

One of the most common questions we get from our international visitors is, "can I make a right hand turn at a red light?"  The answer is yes, EXCEPT when there is a sign that says "NO TURN ON RED."  Most intersections do not have this sign, but always check before turning right.  If you do not see this sign, you must first make a complete stop, check for pedestrians crossing the street, and then cautiously turn right.

Rush Hour

Another common question is, "what time is rush hour"?  Rush hour is typically Monday through Friday, from 7am-10am and in the afternoon from approximately 4pm-7pm.  BUT more often than not, you will still run into traffic at any time of the day.  It is just a part of the Los Angeles experience and at one point or another you will have to sit in traffic.  The best thing to do is not get stressed or upset about it.  You can try your best to plan around it, but do not delay the start of your day or shorten the amount of time you spend sightseeing a certain location just to avoid traffic.

Drive safely!  


Closest Metro Stations to Jerry's Motel

Jerry's Motel is conveniently located within 1 mile of 2 Metro light rail stations.  We provide maps of the Downtown LA area at check in, so all of these locations will be easy to locate on a map.

7th Street/Metro Center Station is located just 1 mile away from us, and can be reached by either a 15-20 minute walk, or you can catch bus #16/316 (toward Downtown LA) across the street on 3rd Street and get off at the 6th St/Hope Street stop.  From there, you walk just 3 short blocks to 5th St and Flower St., or 5th and Figueroa.  The 7th St/Metro Center stop is a hub that connects the red, purple and blue lines.


An Evening at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA was designed by the great architect Frank Gehry and is home to the LA Philharmonic Orchestra.  The venue feels small and intimate, and the acoustics are hailed as one of the best in the world.

The iconic building is both great to just see, tour, or attend a musical event.  Events include classical, jazz, world music and other chamber music.  You can have an evening with Beethoven and Mozart, or chamber music with strings only, or perhaps watch a classic Halloween movie like Nosferatu with a live organ!  All of the different types of events provide a very unique LA experience.


Street Food Finds: Tacos Al Pastor

Driving through Los Angeles anytime between the early evening to the wee hours of the morning, there will be no shortage of Mexican street food.  You can find tacos and burritos sold out of food trucks and makeshift food stalls set up in vacant parking lots or even just a side walk.

One of our personal favorite street dishes is tacos and burritos "AL PASTOR".  "Al pastor" is spit-grilled pork meat marinated with dried chilies, an array of spices and to add a pinch of sweetness, pineapple!  It is very similar to shawarma, Turkish doner kebab and Greek gyros.  This delicious meat style originated in central Mexico, where it was adopted from Lebanese immigrants.

It is tender.  It is juicy.  It should be something you try at least once.


Free Guided Walking Tours of Downtown Los Angeles

Free LA Tour provides free walking tours of Downtown Los Angeles.  They currently provide 2 different tours (Historic Core and Union Station to Pershing Square).  Each tour provides a great introduction to the downtown areas history, cool architecture and public art displays.

Each tour requires about 2 miles of walking and lasts approximately 2 hours.  Both tours are available every day of the week, except some holidays (check their website).  Tours start at 10:00am and 3:30pm.  If you do both tours you will get a really great feel for Downtown LA.

PLEASE note that although the tours are free, you should ALWAYS donate a minimum tip/contribution of $10 per person.  This allows these great folks to continue to provide such a great service.  Trust us, even with this small tip, these tours are an amazing bargain.


Downtown Eats: Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market in Downtown LA is a historic open air market that originally opened in 1917.  During the last two years, the market has been reinvigorated and new trendy gourmet stalls have opened and operate alongside the traditional produce, spice and taco spots.

Be sure to visit the iconic market with it's cool neon signs and great food spots.  Prices are very reasonable and the choices are great.

Grand Central Market is located at 317 South Broadway, just 1 mile from Jerry's Motel (20 minute walk).  1 hour of free parking is available with a purchase of $10 or more.  Make sure you save your receipt!

Market is open from 8am-6pm Sunday-Wednesday, and 8am-9pm Thursday-Saturday.

Highlights of popular eateries include:


Modern Art in Downtown LA

If you are a modern art buff, you will have two great museum choices in Downtown Los Angeles thanks to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

MOCA Grand Avenue

First, there is MOCA Grand Avenue.  MOCA is the only museum in the city that features only contemporary art.  The collection includes Minimalist, Abstract Impressionist, Post-Modernist and Pop Art.

Make sure you plan ahead, since the museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Thursdays are FREE from 5pm-8pm.

MOCA Geffen Contemporary

The Geffen Contemporary in the Little Tokyo district of downtown is home to a collection of more unwieldy and playful collections and exhibits.  Like the Grand Avenue museum, Geffen is also closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and free admission is available on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm.

Click here to see current pricing and hours of operation for MOCA.

In other exciting news, The Broad Museum will be opening soon in 2015 and will house post-war and contemporary art collections.  Best of all, admission will be free.


Dodger Game Time: Getting There

Jerry's Motel is conveniently located approximately 2 miles from Dodger Stadium.  Although pretty close distance-wise, we do not recommend you walk to Dodger Stadium.  Unlike stadiums and arenas in other cities that are located in the thick of the city, Dodger Stadium is awkwardly tucked away within a park on a hill.  Trust us, once you make your way there, you will understand what we mean.

Be sure to experience a game if you are in town during baseball season.  Several game nights include free giveaways and souvenirs like bobble heads, beach towels, backpacks and more!  Additionally, not only are Dodger games a great LA experience, but Dodger Stadium is one of the best looking stadiums in the country with its classic mid-century modern design.

Griffith Park Observatory DASH Weekend Shuttle

The Griffith Park Observatory and its surrounding grounds are great for views of the city and the Hollywood sign.  One of the best times to visit is before sunset, so you get a day time plus a nice evening view of the lights of LA.

The Griffith Park Observatory building is open Tuesday-Friday (12 noon-10pm) and Saturday-Sunday (10am-10pm).  The Observatory is closed on Mondays, but the surrounding grounds to enjoy the views are still open until 10pm.

Entrance to the observatory building and the grounds is free, but there is a small fee to watch the show in the Planetarium.


Best Place to See the Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign is a must see for most first-time LA visitors.  Although you cannot walk right up to the sign, you can get great views and pictures from a distance.  Here are some ideas on some of the best and easy to get to spots.

1)  Hollywood & Highland Center - This shopping mall is located on Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Avenue in the heart of Hollywood.  There is a patio on the top northeast corner of the shopping complex that provides a perfect view of the Hollywood sign.  Best of all, if you will be driving, they offer affordable $2 parking for 2 hours of parking (with validation from participating shops, restaurants and night clubs).

2)  Griffith Park Observatory - The observatory provides sweeping views of the entire city, as well as the Hollywood sign.  Several guests enjoy visiting around dusk to get a day and evening view of the city.

Happy picture taking!


Metro Fare Increases As of September 15, 2014

Metro bus and rail rates will increase as of September 15, 2014.  Please note that fares will be:

BASE FARE: $1.75 (Includes 2 hours of transfers ONLY when using money loaded on a TAP card)
7 DAY PASS: $25

Day Passes can be purchased and reloaded right on the bus or from a ticket vending machine at Metro stations.  For additional info on using and loading a TAP card, read our blog post on this topic or click here to visit the official Metro site.

Mulholland Drive Scenic Route

If you want to get a taste of glamorous Hollywood Hills homes and great views of the city, the Mulholland Drive scenic drive can be a great experience.  Be aware that some stretches of road are very windy/curvy, so drive safely.

One of the best highlights of the tour is the Hollywood Bowl Overlook, which is best accessed when traveling from West to East.  It will be easy to stop at that point since it will be on the same side of the road you are driving on.

Click here to visit LA Tourist for additional tips on where to access Mulholland, and a full Mulholland Drive scenic route map.


GPS is Essential in LA

When renting a car in Los Angeles, it is absolutely essential to use GPS to make your way to your destinations.  The city is huge, so having guidance will help make your trip easier and much more enjoyable.  Even LA residents oftentimes rely on GPS when venturing to new areas.

You have the following options for getting GPS:

1) Rent a GPS through your rental car company. Depending on how many days you have your rental car, this can be the most expensive option.

2) Purchase a GPS system at a retailer located near Jerry's Motel like City Target (at FIGat7th) in downtown, or a nearby Best Buy.  

3) If you have a GSM smartphone, you may want to consider adding an international data plan to use Google Maps while on the road.
4) You can also purchase a SIM card from mobile stores like AT&T or T-Mobile and add a data plan to your smartphone. 

This is very important, so make sure you have this in mind when creating a budget for your trip.


Bargain Shopping on the West Side of LA

Shopping in Los Angeles is great.  Best of all, there is a place to shop for any budget.  So whether you are looking for high-end or bargain shopping, there is a place for everyone.

Another great option for bargain shopping in particular is the Beverly Connection shopping complex in Beverly Hills.  Located across the street from the upscale Beverly Center mall, Beverly Connection has stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, Marshalls and Ross for bargain shoppers.  These stores carry brand name and non-name brand clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories at discounted prices.  Most items are from past seasons, discontinued items, and overstock or clearance items from other stores.  So if you are ok with this, these stores can be a great option for shopping.  Just be prepared to sort through racks and racks of clothing.

Happy shopping!


Hop On, Hop Off Tour of Los Angeles

Hop On, Hop Off Tours (or HOHO) are a great way to visit LA's most popular tourist destinations. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of figuring out what to see and makes trip planning a little easier.  These tours are especially great for visitors who will not be renting a car.  You can purchase a 1 day ($44), 2 day ($59) or 3 day ($74) pass.*

You are provided with headphones to listen to a narrator (multiple language available) telling you all about the areas you drive through on a red double-decker bus.  Best of all, you have the freedom to get off the bus, explore, and then jump back on and continue at your own pace.  This type of tour is a great alternative to guided tours that limit the amount of time spent at each location.  Click here to see a map of all routes.*

The closest HOHO bus stop to Jerry's Motel is located just 5 blocks away at the nearby Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  This location is part of the PUPLE route that runs through Downtown LA.  Be sure to visit the Starline website to see timetables if you want to get dropped off in downtown when you return.  If you want to stay out longer, no problem!  You can easily return to Jerry's Motel from Hollywood via the Metro Red Line by getting off at the 7th St/Metro Center or Pershing Square stops.

Remember, Los Angeles is huge, so you have a lot to see and although it's typically not possible to see everything, doing some research ahead of time and deciding what you definitely want to see and what you think you can skip will help you organize your trip and thoughts ahead of time.  By doing this, you will save extra time that you can use to explore the city.


*Prices and information are current as of August 2014.  Visit starlinetours.com to see updated information.


Tasty Cupcakes in LA

The cupcake revolution started in Los Angeles a few years ago, and transformed a traditional cupcake into an amazing gourmet treat.  Sprinkles Cupcakes started it all with their first cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills.  Since then, they have opened locations across the country, and one conveniently located near us at FIGat7th in downtown Los Angeles.  Make sure you stop by and try a tasty classic flavor like red velvet or limited time delicious flavors like S'mores or Raspberry.

Trust us, you'll love it.

Getting From Santa Monica to Venice Beach

Santa Monica and Venice are conveniently located close to one another.  You can either:

1)  Take a nice walk from one location to the other (2 miles, approximately 30 minutes walking).

2)  Take the short bus ride outlined below.  This bus ride will take about 15-20 minutes and is on the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.  Note that the fare is $1 (as of 6/24/14) and Metro Day Passes/Tap Cards are not accepted on this bus.

3)  Rent a bike.  The bike path is straight, flat and very easy to ride while taking in the sunny Southern California weather.

If you're starting in Santa Monica, you can rent a bike at Sea Mist Rentals.  Rates are $7 per hour or $18-20 for an all day rental of a basic bike.  Beach Cruisers and tandem bikes are available for a little extra.  Make sure you get a lock from them (it's included in the price) so you can lock your bike and explore the eclectic Venice Boardwalk shops and eateries.  A deposit is required and they only accept cash, so make sure you are prepared.  They also hold on to your ID until you return your bike, so make sure you have 2 ID's with you if you plan on visiting local bars, and preferably leave a drivers license with them instead of your passport.

If you're starting in Venice, you can rent a bike from Venice Boardwalk Bike Rentals or any other rental locations located right on the boardwalk.

4)  If you will be driving, you may just want to drive from one location to the next, and park again if you want to maximize your time. But it will all depend on your sightseeing pace and how much time you have to spare.


Retro Arcade Bar in LA's Trendy Arts District: EightyTwo

"Barcades" are popping up everywhere across hotspots in major US cities.  Among them is the nostalgic EightyTwo in the Arts District in Downtown LA.

EightyTwo combines a bar with you guessed it, classic arcade games.  Their collection includes classic games like Street Fighter II, Galaga, Frogger, Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat II, Tron and many more.  Full bar includes 10 draft beers, bottled beer and a specialty cocktail menu.

We are located just 1.5 miles from us at 707 East 4th Place in Downtown LA.  A taxi ride will cost approximately $10, or you can opt for Lyft or Uber.


Metro Bus/Train Fares and Passes

If you will not be renting a car, you will probably end up riding a bus or train.  Each ride will cost you $1.75 or you can buy either a Day Pass ($7) or a 7 Day Pass ($25) to get around by Metro bus and train.  You must purchase a TAP card for $1 then add a pass to it.  Passes are valid on Metro buses and trains only, and not valid on other municipal buses (i.e. Culver City, Santa Monica, etc.).  Cards are non-transferable and cannot be shared.

Where to buy a DAY PASS: 
  1. On a bus - just ask the bus driver for a day pass and insert money.  Cost is $1 for TAP card plus $7 for the pass ($8 total).  If reloading your card for a new day pass, you only need to insert $7.   
  2. At any Metro train station customer center or ticket vending machine.
  3. Retail pass outlets.  The closest location is less than one block away from us at Phil's Discount Store located at 1451 1/2 West 3rd Street. 
Where to buy a 7 DAY PASS:
  1. At a Metro station customer center or vending machine.  
  2. Retail pass outlet like Phil's Discount Store one block away from us.
  3. IMPORTANT: 7 day passes are NOT available for purchase on buses.
Once purchased, all you have to do is TAP your card to the card readers, wait to hear a "beep," and you're all set!  


How to Get Here: Union Station to Jerry's Motel

We are located just 2 miles from Union Station.  If you are arriving via Amtrak, Metrolink, or LAX FlyAway Bus, these are your best options to get here are:

1) Taxis are readily available from Union Station and will cost you approximately $10.

2) Take Metro Purple OR Red Line to Pershing Square and connect to bus line #16 toward Cedar Sinai/Century City. Bus #16 drops you off right across the street from us.  See complete directions below.


Taxi Alternatives For Getting Around In Los Angeles: Uber & Lyft

Lyft and Uber are taxi alternatives that are becoming very popular in Los Angeles and many other major cities across the world. They are a great way to get around LA if you don't have a car and don't want to take public transportation. Both companies have mobile apps as well that make it easy to setup 
pickup times and make payments online. 

Fares are very competitive to a taxi and sometimes even cheaper! Lyft provides a more casual experience while Uber brings a "black car" higher end feel.

More details here.....


How to get from LAX airport to Jerry's Motel by public transportation?

Below is the most direct route via public transport from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to Jerry's Motel. Remember you can also take a shared van shuttle or Fly Away bus. See our other blog posts for more details on those options.

Total trip time is about 1.5 hours given all the stops and transfers. It will cost $8 per person for the Metro TAP card day pass to use this route. If you are arriving after midnight it is best to use a shared shuttle or rental car as buses and trains may not be running.

LAX to Jerry's Motel Via Metro Train/Bus:

1. Take the Metro Green Line Shuttle "G" from LAX to the Aviation/LAX Green Line Metro Station
2. Take Green Line towards Norwalk and exit at Willowbrook station
3. Transfer to Blue Line towards Los Angeles at Willowbrook station
4. The Blue Line ends at 7th St Metro Station; transfer to the Red Line going to Union Station
5. Take the Red Line and exit at the Pershing Square stop. Go up to the 5th & Hill intersection.
6. Take Metro Bus 16/316 bus towards Cedars Sinai/Century City from 5th & Hill
7. Get off at 3rd & Lucas and walk across the street to Jerry's Motel

Detailed Directions:
  1. Exit your terminal, and cross to the center median. Look above your head for the blue sign reading "LAX Shuttle Airline Connections". You'll see a listing for "Metro Green Line Aviation Station". The shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 5 AM to Midnight on most days.
  2. Board the free LAX Green Line "G" shuttle for the 15 minute ride to the Aviation/LAX Metro Rail station.
  3. At the Aviation/LAX station ride the escalator up to the above-ground station. You MUST take the Norwalk train and transfer at Willowbrook (Blue Line Station) to get to Downtown LA. 
  4. Get off at Willowbrook station and transfer to the Blue Line. Descend the stairs to the lower platform which services the Blue Line and board the train headed for Los Angeles.
  5. The Blue Line ends at 7th Street/Metro Center, in downtown Los Angeles. Total travel time from LAX to 7th Street/Metro Center Station via metro rail is about 60 minutes depending on connections. 
  6. At the 7th Street Metro Center station take the Red Line towards Union Station and get off at the Pershing Square stop. Exit the station and board the Metro Bus 316/16 bus at 5th & Hill headed towards Cedars Sinai Medical Center. 
  7. Get off at the 3rd and Lucas stop and walk across the street to Jerry's Motel!

How to get to Disneyland from Downtown LA without a rental car?

This is a question we get on a weekly basis from our guests who don't have a rental car and want to go to Disneyland which is located in Orange County. Unfortunately there is no direct train route that makes it all the way from downtown LA to the Magic Kingdom. Below are a few options to consider:

By Public Transportation - total trip time of 2 hours each way ($3.50 per person)

Catch the 760 Metro Bus towards Lynwood at 4th/Beaudry (2 blocks from Jerry's Motel)
Get off at 7th & Flower and transfer to the 460 Metro Bus towards Disneyland

By City Taxi - total trip time of 45 minutes 
A taxi will cost approximately $100 each way including tip.

By Chartered Tour Bus - total trip time of 1 hour
Lux Bus America has a pickup location at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel which is located 4 blocks from Jerry's Motel. As of October 2014, a roundtrip tickets costs $45 per person. You can also purchase Disneyland tickets directly through them.

See links below for details:
Starline Tours also offers similar packages

Downtown Los Angeles Area Parks

Our guests often ask us for recommendations on a nearby park to go have a picnic at or for a quick morning jog. Below are a few parks located in or around downtown LA that are a perfect fit:

Echo Park 
(15 minute walk or 5 minute drive from Jerry's Motel)
This park features a mile long loop around a lake with 3 large fountains. Paddle-boating and trendy restaurants on nearby Sunset Blvd. make this park a very popular destination for locals.

Vista Hermosa Park
(7 minute walk or 3 minute drive from Jerry's Motel)
The Downtown area's newest park features jogging trails, green spaces for picnics and stunning views on the downtown skyline. 

Los Angeles State Historic Park
(10 minute drive from Jerry's Motel)
Covering 32 acres of open space on the edge of downtown near Chinatown this park is the perfect for for a jog or taking photos of the downtown skyline.

Elysian Park
(7 minute drive from Jerry's Motel)
This park is the second largest in Los Angeles at nearly 600 acres in size. Elysian retains much of its natural chaparral, a landscaped crisscrossed with hiking trails and a central picnic area with barbecue pits and children's play areas.