Los Angeles, known as the City of Angels, is the most populous city in California. On this page, you’ll find tips about the most intriguing places to visit, economical means of getting around the city, and noteworthy hazards in certain neighborhoods. Once, while waiting for a bus in the Watts neighborhood late at night, two people were shot just a few blocks away.
Basic Facts about Los Angeles
Los Angeles is situated in Southern California, and the whole metropolitan area is among the largest in the entire USA. Several distinct cities are often mistakenly referred to as Los Angeles. Some of the most famous ones are Santa Monica, Long Beach, Anaheim, Riverside, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Van Nuys, Encino, Pasadena, Burbank, and Bel-Air. The landscape surrounding Los Angeles is also diverse, encompassing mountains, valleys, forests, deserts, and beaches, all within a few hours’ drive, with the Pacific Ocean marking the city’s western boundary.
Los Angeles’s industries primarily encompass television and film. As you walk around the city, it’s quite common to come across a film or television crew. This doesn’t only occur in Hollywood; filming also takes place in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Culver City, and there are major studios in Burbank.
Other significant industries in Los Angeles include tourism, culture, finance, business, pharmaceuticals, media, and food processing.
Current Time and Time Zone in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, the time zone is PST (UTC-8) during standard time and PDT (UTC-7) during daylight saving time.
The current time in Los Angeles is 06:17.
To calculate the time in Los Angeles from British time, simply subtract nine hours. This is accurate throughout the year, with the exception of a few weeks in March, October, and November, when the USA transitions to daylight saving time. The dates of this transition differ from those in Western Europe, resulting in an eight-hour difference during these weeks.
Los Angeles Weather
Los Angeles has a semi-arid climate, characterized by relatively low rainfall and sparse vegetation.
The sunniest and driest period in Los Angeles is from May to October, when rainfall is scarce and temperatures typically range from 63°F to 79°F during the day, in the shade. August and September can be even warmer, offering some of the most pleasant days in the Los Angeles area. However, these ideal conditions can occasionally be marred by episodes of smog.
Rain in Los Angeles is most common between December and April, with daytime temperatures peaking at a maximum of 68°F and dipping to 48°F at night. Temperatures can be even colder further inland, with frost being a rarity in Los Angeles.
People in Los Angeles and How to Get Along
Much like New York, Los Angeles is extraordinarily diverse, home to individuals from hundreds of nationalities. The largest ethnic group is the Mexicans, who form the most significant community in Los Angeles outside of Mexico. In the city, you will find them everywhere, most commonly in restaurants, buses, or hotels.
In addition to English, Spanish is also widely spoken in Los Angeles. Some Los Angeles subway lines make announcements in both English and Spanish. The same applies to signs on shops or billboards.
People in Los Angeles are generally friendly and, in my experience, always ready to lend a hand. When I didn’t have change for the bus, several people offered to cover my fare. On a late-night bus ride in one of the suburbs, the bus driver even deviated from her route and stopped right in front of my hotel.
Don’t hesitate to engage and be friendly.
How to Get to Los Angeles
🛫 Los Angeles Airport
Several public and private airports of national and regional importance are located in the Los Angeles area. The primary one is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA code: LAX). This vast airport with nine terminals serves destinations worldwide, including exotic locations like French Polynesia.
A free shuttle bus, marked with the letter “A”, operates between the terminals. To avail of its services, head down to the lower level and look for the “LAX Shuttle and Shuttle Connections” sign. If you need to travel between two adjacent terminals, it’s faster to walk.
Free wifi is available inside the terminal; simply log in.
🚌 How to Get from Los Angeles Airport
The connection from LAX to downtown leaves much to be desired. The most affordable option is to follow the “Ground Transportation” sign, leading you to buses that travel to the nearest Metro station. That would be the Aviation / LAX Station on the Green Line. Buses to downtown depart from the “LAX City Bus Center” on West 96th Street.
LAX FlyAway buses also run every half hour downtown to Union Station, and a one-way trip costs $9.75 (as of March 2023).
Good alternatives are the Uber and Lyft apps, with drivers abundant around the airport. Fares depend on your destination, current supply and demand, or the car you choose. At times, Uber is cheaper; at other times, Lyft. An Uber ride from the airport to Santa Monica typically costs around $40. Expect significant traffic and
Several car rental agencies around the airport offer the option to rent a car or pick up a reserved vehicle. Given the long distances in Los Angeles, renting a car can be a good option.
✈️ Cheap Flights to Los Angeles
You can often find round-trip bargain tickets to Los Angeles departing from Europe for as little as €350$376, or around $300 on rare occasions. However, the cheapest tickets usually come with a few restrictions:
- Flights depart from various airports across Europe, often from Germany. You must take into account the additional financial costs and time needed to get to the airport.
- Luggage is not included in the price. You must be content with a carry-on bag only. You can purchase a suitcase, but it will cost up to $150 more.
- The availability of cheap flights is relatively limited and they are not during peak season.
- The ticket must be booked and paid for promptly, as it can sell out at any time.
- You may have to make several stopovers during your trip and endure waiting at airports.
- In some low-cost airlines, in-flight refreshments are not included.
Visit the latest bargain tickets to Los Angeles to get a better idea of the price.
In Los Angeles, you can easily change planes and continue on to other cities in the USA. Personally, I like the low-cost airline Southwest, which offers cheap tickets, a dense network of destinations, and includes two checked bags. Other airlines charge for each checked bag.
🚆 Train to Los Angeles
Train fares in the USA are often expensive, making it more sensible to either fly or take the bus to most destinations.
The primary train station in Los Angeles is Union Station, located at 800 N. Alameda Street. The station provides connections to the Red and Purple subway lines, as well as a stop on the Gold Line commuter rail.
Amtrak long-distance trains operate from Los Angeles to Seattle, San Diego, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans, and Sacramento. It is practically possible to travel as far as the East Coast.
Metrolink commuter trains also serve Lancaster, Oceanside, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Compared to Amtrak, Metrolink fares are more affordable.
🚌 Bus to Los Angeles
Buses are often the cheapest option for traveling to Los Angeles from nearby cities. If you book early enough (look for tickets about 3 months before your planned trip), you can travel for as low as $10.00.
Comfort is not a concern as buses are equipped with power outlets and free wifi. If you’re fortunate enough to find a bus that isn’t fully booked, you’ll have a relaxed journey. Just find a seat in the last row of the bus.
The most well-known carriers operating in Los Angeles include Megabus, Greyhound, and Flixbus. Unfortunately, all three levy a booking fee of $3.99 for each ticket. For more information, read the article how to travel the USA.