When planning on traveling to Los Angeles, you are probably having a hard time deciding where to stay since there are so many options. There are many neighborhoods in Los Angeles that are amazing places to travel to and live. However, some areas that are not so great – and a few that are downright dangerous. I have thoroughly researched the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to create a list of some of the best neighborhoods to stay at when traveling in Los Angeles.
Your choice of a neighborhood depends on your LA itinerary. Try to stay close to the area where you’d like to do your sightseeing. With that in mind, here are the best neighborhoods for travelers to stay at –
- Beverly Hills
- Los Feliz
- Arts District
- West Hollywood
Still not sure? Perfectly understood. If you’re only beginning to plan your stay, you may need more help. Keep reading as I explain more on each one of these neighborhoods, their features and pros, and cons. I’ve included information about the sightseeing in the area, safety issues, the parking situation and more. Keep reading to find out all the details!
Considerations when choosing where to stay in LA
Los Angeles is one of the most famous cities in the world for many reasons. The film industry, the beaches, the palm tree-lined streets, and the famous neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills are often the first things that come mind when people think of Los Angeles.
Before we jump into the description, a few words on the considerations which led me to choose these neighborhoods. Even if you decide to stay elsewhere, you should keep these in mind.
Traffic & Parking
Los Angeles is HUGE.
According to Wikipedia, Greater Los Angeles is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States. In fact, it’s so huge, it covers five counties and multiple municipalities. What we call neighborhoods in this post – places like Beverly Hills or West Hollywood, are actually cities in their own right!
There is a proper Los Angeles city. It spreads across 469 square miles – or 1,210 square kilometers. That’s not small, but compare that to the Greater Los Angeles size of 33,954 square miles and you’ll get a sense of the sheer size that is overall called – Los Angeles.
What does that mean for you as a traveler?
First, you need to be careful when choosing where to stay. Just because a hotel says it’s “in Los Angeles” doesn’t mean it’s going to be in the right location for your needs.
Secondly, be prepared to drive or otherwise cover quite a significant distance. There is no one place in LA where you can stay and be within walking distance of Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Disneyland. Unless you’re an extremely avid hiker!
Traffic can get bad in LA, especially during rush hour, so plan accordingly. But most importantly – be aware of this and choose the location of your accommodation carefully, and based on your itinerary. The best thing to do is work your itinerary first – and only then decide in which area to stay.
Hollywood would have you believe there are car chases in the streets of LA on an hourly basis. Don’t be disappointed when you see just how mundane it all usually is. Most areas of LA are safe to walk around, day and night. Especially where the major tourist attractions are. There are warnings for some neighborhoods, especially Skid Row and Compton (obviously, they’re not included in the list you’re getting here).
Regardless of which neighborhood you stay at, be a smart traveler. Don’t park your car in shady spots and don’t leave valuables there unattended. And don’t flash money or valuable around. Just use your common sense.
Another consideration is the atmosphere and vibe. Staying in the Garden area, for example, can be safe and uneventful. It’s relatively central too. What it’s lacking in is an atmosphere.
In this list, we tried to suggest neighborhoods that are vibrant and fun to stay at. And with that in mind, let’s start digging into the recommended ones.
Staying At Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is known worldwide as a hotspot of luxury homes, cars, and more. Its most fashionable district can be found on Rodeo Drive. Cool cafes, palm trees, and gorgeous sculpture gardens are what come to mind when thinking about this neighborhood.
Visitors often enjoy bus tours thinking that they will spot a celebrity. Many locals go out to eat at expensive restaurants where it is more important to be observed than to eat. While you may not get to sit next to George Clooney at lunch – though you may! – you’ll definitely get to enjoy the glitzy feel of Beverly Hills.
Where To Stay
The Montage Beverly Hills (link to Booking.com) has spacious, luxurious rooms and a deluxe spa. Also, there is a heated rooftop pool all that overlooks many beautiful gardens in the center of Beverly Hills.
A distinctive characteristic of the Montage Beverly Hills is that it is ranked number one Five Star Hotel in Los Angeles for two years straight. As you may guess, it’s not a budget hotel. But then again, this is Beverly Hills! If you’re looking for budget options, keep reading as we review other neighborhoods to stay at.
Beverly Hills is one of the safest areas in Los Angeles. The richer areas tend to be safer.
Paid parking on Rodeo drive is your best bet. I recommend the large lot below Santa Monica Blvd (next to Crate and Barrel). There is also metered parking on most streets. However, do not go over the time limit or you will receive a ticket. You can park at Neiman Marcus or Barney’s, and get validated inside the store too. Of of course, you can get a hotel with parking – in most places that would be at an additional fee.
Honor Bar can be found right next to South Beverly Grill. There are amazing drinks and a sleek but casual atmosphere. Honor Bar has a separate a cocktail menu, wine by the glass list, and bottled and draft beer options. It includes classic finger foods. There are sandwiches, burgers, fries, and sushi.
Spago is an LA classic that offers fresh, high-quality service, and food. This is our “go-to” when in Beverly Hills. Spago is one of four of Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurants. His restaurants include the best of California cuisine.
Staying At Los Feliz
Los Feliz offers travelers a cozy tree-lined hillside and beautiful scenery. The eateries and shops that are between both Vermont and Hillhurst Avenues have a casual vibe compared to Hollywood. However, it lacks the trendy vibe that exists in its Silver Park and Echo Lake.
Metro’s Red Line goes all the way to the southern edge of Los Feliz. You could also ride on a DASH bus to the Los Angeles Observatory. Also, the Egyptian style Vista Theatre is a great place to watch classic and indie movies.
Skylight Books includes carefully selected staff picks. Go through the fabulous pop culture at Soap Plant Wacko. Take a break and stop by the art gallery La Luz de Jesus. It includes work from the Custom Kuston, Lowbrow Art Movement, and pop surrealism.
Barnsdall Art Park offers a self-guided tour of the Mayan-inflected Hollyhock House, 1921, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s original construction in California.
Where To Stay
Above the Bar Covell, you will find Hotel Covell. It is a five-room boutique hotel. Each room includes a distinct phase in a well-traveled traveler’s life. There is a typical Midwestern-style bedroom, a lovely Parisian room, and a ’50 style New York room. There is no gym or pool. However, there is an intimate rooftop deck, an attentive concierge, and a stunning soundproof room.
Los Feliz is generally safe. It is an upscale area where many celebrities choose to live.
There are many free, the customer only parking lots such as Von’s parking lot. Parking is cheap in this area. $5 for two hours is a common rate.
The Alcove is a great place. It is so great that it is constantly overcrowded. There are beautifully crafted patios and a great selection of cocktails.
Take some time to enjoy the courtyard at Big Bar and choose a drink from a collection of ingeniously crafted cocktails. The beautiful and light drink called Red Panda’s Unusual Botanical Quest is a great drink to enjoy while relaxing outside on the patio during the afternoon or at night.
Messhall Kitchen can be found in the center of Los Feliz. It features daily specials and amazingly fresh and tasty oysters. The cocktail program is filled with creatively crafted cocktails as well.
Los Angeles’s best Ensenada-style battered fish tacos can be found on the eastern side of the neighborhood at Ricky’s Fish Tacos. They operate in a food truck on Riverside Drive.
Kismet offers the delicious Mediterranean and Turkish snacks. They have broccoli toast, shakshuka, and brilliantly flakey bread with a wide variety of dips to choose from.
Staying at the Arts District
The Arts District is found near downtown. This neighborhood is fairly laid back with sidewalk seating and beautiful murals. This neighborhood was originally a popular place for local artists. However, it has now become a place that is filled with fancy boutiques, awesome coffee shops, great bars, and fine dining.
There is also the International art gallery Hauser & Wirth which is home to an incredible collection of modern and contemporary art. The art gallery is inside a former flour mill.
Where To Stay
Booking an Airbnb stay in a deluxe loft is a great decision to make since there are little to no Hotels in this area. If you desire a hotel, then consider the Doubletree that is right next to Little Tokyo.
The arts district is safe. However, the closer you get to downtown Los Angeles, the less safe you will be.
Parking is cheap in the Arts District. The Arts District remains a low-key area. Metro’s Gold Line is on the very western part of the city. Parking tends to be dense on weekends.
The patio at Everson Royce Bar’s includes a vibrant interior that is great for cocktails and incredibly delicious burgers. There is a growing number of craft breweries in the Arts District is including Arts District Brewing Co., Angel City Brewery, and Iron Triangle Brewing.
Inko Nito is a vibrant Japanese restaurant with food that is far from mediocre. The Sushi is regarded as the best in Los Angeles.
You will definitely need a reservation for a restaurant called Bestia because it is always filled up. The amazing kinds of pasta that they offer come mixed with sea urchin, lobster or lamb ragu with saffron. Smorgasburg LA has an incredible selection of burgers as well. The ROW DTLA market is the best part of the Arts District’s if you desire incredible food and retail vendors.
The original Pie Hole location has incredible slices of Earl Grey and Mexican chocolate recipes if you want a delicious dessert. Plus, you can devour a scrumptious dinner at a Southern-inspired restaurant called Manuela.
Staying at West Hollywood
The iconic palm tree-lined streets, fancy shopping plazas, and glamorous high-rises of West Hollywood, or WeHo, are some of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Los Angeles. West Hollywood is a progressive, fancy place that has some of the most vibrant nightlife scenes in the entire world. The flashy gay bars on Santa Monica and the world-renowned clubs on Sunset Boulevard are incredibly popular all year long.
The Troubadour is an awesome place where you can share the stage with up-and-coming singer-songwriters. The Pacific Design Center is an architecture and design outpost of MOCA that is totally free. The MAK Center for Art & Architecture originated in the beautiful Schindler House.
Laugh your butt off at the world-renowned Comedy Store. It is a dimly lit comedy club where you are almost guaranteed to see stand-up legends as well as sitcom stars on any given night.
For an energizing beginning to your morning, go to the hills of Runyon Canyon before your brunch at one of finest eateries in Weho.
Where To Stay
This beautiful Jeremy Hotel has incredible architecture. It includes some of the best skyline views in the city. The location is convenient since it allows you to have incredibly easy access to the shops on Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, and the multiple hiking trails in the Hollywood Hills.
The Hollywood hotel that is a part of the Standard Hotel chain is the coolest hotel chain in town. It has its very first location right in the center of Sunset Strip. The very first investors in the Hollywood hotel were Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Benicio del Toro, D’arcy Wretzky and James Iha. The Downtown favorite Alma is currently in charge of the culinary program. It features a mid-century style diner that is open twenty-four hours a day.
West Hollywood is one of the safest areas for a woman traveling alone. Most gay men either live in West Hollywood or visit for fun. They will not bother a female.
Plus, the streets are very crowded until at least 2 A.M. every night of the week. This reduces the risk of crimes between people.
Permit parking is popular in West Hollywood. Also, West Hollywood has an infamous Parking Enforcement Division. The city receives a higher share of its budget from parking tickets more than any other city in California.
This means travelers should consider options such as parking garages. There are three, main parking garages in West Hollywood. There are parking garages next to the Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood Library, and King’s Road & Santa Monica Blvd. The King’s Road garage allows one hour of free parking.
Go to The Surly Goat on the weekend, and it will be crowded since it is so popular. WeHo brewers have created an amazing selection of craft beers on tap. There are classic arcade games, a stuffed goat’s head, and banquettes that line the walls.
Melrose Umbrella Co. has incredibly crafted cocktails made to celebrate the end of Prohibition. Now Boarding takes an air travel themed bar that will feel like a blast from the past.
It will remind you of the golden age of air travel. Enjoy a can of Squirt (tequila) under softly glowing 1920’s style chandeliers.
Cecconi’s Dumbo has a happy hour with low prices considering the quality of their food. Cecconi’s Dumbo is a modern day, but still a classic Italian restaurant that is open for lunch, brunch, Cicchetti, and dinner.
Peruvian food haven Rosaliné has amazing table-sized pans of paella, delightful ceviches, and excellently cooked steaks that are cooked in a flame filled-kitchen.
If you enjoy vegan food, then go to Gracias Madre. It is a mix of Mexican cuisine and West Coast cuisine with a vibrant atmosphere.
Staying at Venice (The one in Los Angeles!)
The beachfront neighborhood of Venice has been seen some major changes in the last decade. The and tech-industry titans and farmers market have slowly taken over many popular areas of Venice.
Simply take a short walk on the Venice Canals and enjoy the Italian inspired canal. There are charming beach houses, beautifully crafted pedestrian bridges, and boat rentals.
The Ocean Front Walk which is commonly referred to as the Venice Boardwalk. You will find elegant fashion boutiques on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Rose Avenue includes a decent dining scene that is just a couple of blocks inland. There is no public train service in this area. However, L.A. Metro does offer a convenient bike share system.
Where To Stay
The Venice Beach House is a historic inn that dates back to 1911. This ivy-covered inn includes rooms that are individually and beautifully decorated. There are extravagant suites that have private entrances that overlook the ocean that includes a plethora of luxuries. There is a wide range of prices and options at this inn.
Many locals agree that Venice Beach is safe during the day, but it is unpredictable at night. Panhandlers that congregate at Venice beach are mostly harmless.
There are few free parking spots in Venice. There are three main parking lots which are the North City Parking Lot, the South City Parking Lot, and the Washington Blvd Lot. It usually costs $3 per hour. However, the price goes up during the summer.
The Lincoln is a cool industrial patio bar with a beautifully crafted cocktail list. This bar includes a Model-T and auto books.
Relax while watching an L.A. sunset with a fantastic drink at Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge. There is a beautifully constructed patio that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
There are great restaurants such as the Poke-Poke. It is a Hawaiian seafood restaurant that is right next to the beach. Gjusta is a bakery that is well-known for folding fresh fruit slices and turning them into a sugar-glazed dough. They have top-notch, handmade pasta.
This town has an interesting and balanced Art Deco history with a 21st-century building boom that has turned Koreatown into one of L.A. most vibrant neighborhoods.
There are many Korean BBQ joints to awesome karaoke bars. You should definitely visit all of Koreatown’s best spots. They are spread out across the town. However, if you go along Wilshire Boulevard between Western Avenues and Vermont, you will find the most going on.
6th Street has an awesome stretch of restaurants and bars. The area includes Metro’s Purple Line. This will allow you to skip the struggle of street parking. Keep in mind that this town is packed tightly and includes a city center that is open all day long.
The massive, 24-hour Wi Spa is the largest Koreatown saunas. It includes treatment rooms, hot tubs, dry and steam saunas, sleeping rooms, a restaurant, and co-ed-jimjilbang.
Where To Stay
The Line Hotel includes floor-to-ceiling windows that will allow you to view the city from an incredible angle. Roy Choi offers culinary excellence at this hotel. Plus, there is a karaoke bar created by the Houston Brothers.
Koreatown is considered less safe than Beverly Hills and Los Feliz, but it is safer than downtown Los Angeles. make sure you lock up your bike properly if you bring it to Koreatown.
Koreatown does not have very many free parking spots, and parking on the street is difficult since this neighborhood is so compact. The K3 parking garage and the Wilshire parking garage are your best bet.
The Walker Inn has a creative plethora of cocktails that are available by the drink or through omakase-style ordering. Take a gander through the secret black door of the Normandie Club, and you will find a massive list of drinks created by experts in mixology.
Guelaguetza is Koreatown’s most well-known restaurant even though it is a Mexican restaurant. This place serves awesome Oaxacan food. I recommend the tasty black mole-topped tamales. Also, the pizza-like corn cakes are fantastic.
Your mouth will water when in the presence of Kobe-style beef at Park’s BBQ. It is Koreatown’s undisputed KBBQ restaurant.
If this is your first time traveling to the de-facto capital of California, things can get confusing – and overwhelming too! We hope this post helped you find a neighborhood to stay in while visiting Los Angeles. There are other options out there but these neighborhoods all offer a great mix of points of interst, safety and a vibran atmosphere.
How about you? Have you stayed in LA or perhaps you’re a local? We’d love to get your feedback on the information here and get your recommendations for the best places to stay at Los Angeles.