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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.