As a travel blogger and L.A. resident, I am frequently asked, “Where is the best place to stay at in Los Angeles?” Well, the answer to this can often be hard.
I say this because Los Angeles is one large area comprised of multiple cities and suburbs all waiting to be explored. So, when asked, I typically ask a few questions of my own. I usually start by asking people about the reason for their visit. Do they want to see museums, shop, explore theme parks or cuisines relax by the beach?
Of course, I could easily spout off my favorite hotels, but my favorite hotels may leave you thirty plus minutes away from what you came here to see.
So, to help you determine where to book your hotel in the City of Angels here is a quick roundup of the top spots to stay on your next Los Angeles vacation.
L.A. Culture and Museums
If culture and museums are on your bucket list of places to see in Los Angeles, then head over to downtown Los Angeles. Here you can experience The Broad Museum, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, The Staples Center, The California Science Center and the Walt Disney Music Hall.
When hunger strikes, head over to the Sushi Gen Resturant. If sushi is not your thing, that is okay the Grand Central Market is sure to fill you up. I would also recommend the iconic Nickle Diner.
You do not have to worry about transportation in Downtown either. Most everything is within walking distance, including Santee Alley. For those who don’t know Santee Alley is a hidden alley in DTLA Garment District where you can shop for knock-off brand clothing, shoes, accessories, and even some street foods. If you do decide you want to leave the Down Town area, the Metro line can take you to Santa Monica and Hollywood.
Staying in DTLA
While there is plenty of hotels around, my favorites include the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott at L.A Live, New Daimaru Hotel in Little Tokyo, and the Intercontinental Hotel. Less fancy but still pride themselves on excellent service are the Residence Inn by Marriott LA Live and the Doubletree by Hilton Downtown.
If celebrities are your ‘thing,’ then you may want to head over to Hollywood. From here you can see the famous Hollywood sign in the background as you walk down the Walk of Fame.
Here in Hollywood, you have a vast selection of restaurants. From excellent high-end cuisines such as INK and Katsuya to Mel’s Diner and Pink’s hot dog stand, Hollywood has you covered.
Along Hollywood Blvd, you are sure to have fun looking at all the Stars to the Walk of Fame, as you enjoy shopping, eateries, and bars. You can also tour Disney’s El Capitan, the Kodak, and Chinese theaters. In the event, you get bored the Metro Line can quickly get you to Universal Studios.
Staying in Hollywood
After all of my Hollywood visits, I would say that three hotels come to mind. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, W Hollywood Hotel, and the Loews Hollywood Hotel. All three are sure to blow your mind with the beautiful views and great amenities. Want the glamour on a shoestring budget? Try the Magic Castle Hotel with its unique ambiance.
L.A. theme parks
About 45 minutes away from Downtown Los Angeles, the Anaheim area is where the theme park goers love to stay. Not only are there two Disney parks but also Knott’s Berry Farms, if you need a Mickey Mouse break.
Anaheim also has plenty of places to eat too. From your Denny’s to Ruth Chris Steak House, here all budgets can eat happily. The city also has excellent shopping too. There is a gigantic mall in the nearby town of Orange as well as and many smaller tourist shops packed with those Disney souvenirs.
For this area, I do recommend renting a car mainly because it is further outside of Los Angeles. While you do have other options such as Uber, a rental car is much more comfortable, particularly for families.
Staying in Anaheim
Our favorite hotels include Disney’s Grand Californian, Anaheim’s Great Wolf Lodge, the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel (yes, they have snoopy for breakfast) and the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance.
Staying on a budget -no problem isn’t an issue here either. The area has many options to chose from like the Anaheim Residence Inn Maingate and the Embassy Suites Anaheim South.
Yes, Los Angeles has plenty of areas for beach lovers to relax in the sun. If this is what you are looking for, check out the cities of Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice. If you are staying solely in these towns, there is no need for additional transportation. Between walking and bicycling around, you can explore the beaches and piers.
After working up an appetite, you can walk or bike over to Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, and enjoy many eateries.
From the fine dining Boa restaurant down to the Burger Lounge, Santa Monica can cater to your hunger needs.
Staying in Santa Monica
While staying in the Santa Monica area, the Fairmont Miramar, Loews Santa Monica Beach and Hotel Casa Del Mar top the list. For a more budget-friendly option, there’s the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica and the nearby Marina Del Rey Marriott.
If high-end fashion is what you are looking for, then Beverly Hills is your playground. Many movies like Pretty Woman and In and Out of Beverly Hills were filmed on its posh streets. And like many other tourists, you too might even catch a glimpse of a few celebrities enjoying the California sunshine while you are there.
For the avid shoppers, designer brand seekers Rodeo Drive is an absolute must. But there are alternate options too. Robertson Boulevard and Melrose are packed with vintage and hip unique styles especially for the younger crowd.
Shopping as we all know is exhausting so stopping for lunch, or early dinner is always a good idea. If you’re a high roller, you can always choose Spago’s or romantic Il Cielo. Garlic fans should try The Stinking Rose with their fragrant dishes and even a garlic ice cream. Don’t want to spend too much and still fill up? Head on to Nate ‘n’ Al Deli, a locals’ favorite for a quick bite.
As far as transportation, be prepared for traffic. While places are within walking distance, I would recommend a rental car ( yes, splurge on that convertible) or using a car service like Lyft to get around.
Staying in Beverly Hills
When it is time to retire for the evening, this is Beverly Hills, so you’ve got to splurge. The Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel and the Montage of Beverly Hills are a great place to rest your head, and tired legs and feet. From the moment you walk in, you will feel like a celebrity too. For a lesser experience be prepared to stay on the outskirts of the happening places but still have a good time. A sound choice is the Courtyard Los Angeles Century City/Beverly Hills.
L.A. outdoor scene
The Conejo Valey is perfect for Nature lovers. Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, and West Lake Village are next to the Santa Monica mountains, right behind Malibu and the beach. Here visitors can hike around Paramount Ranch, the filming site of many old western movies, as well as Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman series. The area is also perfect for horseback riding, golfing and even wine tasting. Since this is suburbia, you will need a car to get around.
Want to cram some history during your stay? Make sure you visit the Ronald Regan Library in neighboring Simi Valley and the mini Stagecoach Museum in Newbury Park. And for those who can’t stop shopping the Camarillo Outlet Mall offers hundreds of brand stores at discounted prices.
For dining The Four Seasons’ Onyx Asian themed restaurant is a great choice as is Zin on the banks of the lake in Westlake Village. If you are looking for a great fish place or Mexican grub in a casual setting? Lure and Figueroa Mountain are the spots for you.
Staying in the Conejo Valley
As far as where to stay in this area, the Four Seasons Hotel and Westlake Inn are top of the line choices. However, if you want to stay comfortably without breaking the bank, there are several notable choices like Residence Inn by Marriott Westlake Village and Homewood Suites by Hilton in Agoura Hills.
L.A. small town U.S.A
Before Hollywood took over as the center of the movie scene, Culver City was the happening place. Many famous movies like the Wizard of Oz were filmed here. Sony Studios formally MGM Studios are located in Culver City and offer a guided tour. The city even has a mini Walk of Fame.
When it comes to a central L.A location, the city fits the bill. Its downtown area is small and walkable. The city has a small bus system that can take you around the town as well as spots like Westwood and L.A proper. Furthermore, it is situated 15 minutes away from the beach and on the Exposition metro line so one can quickly get to downtown, Universal Studios, Hollywood and Santa Monica.
Staying in Culver City
Downtown Culver City is filled with casual dining as well as ethnic eateries that will please everyone. As a relatively small city, it doesn’t have too many choices regarding lodging. However, the renovated Culver Hotel and the Courtyard by Marriott Westside will provide guests with a comfortable stay.
I hope this short list of places helped answer a few of the questions you might have had. As you can tell by now, LA is filled with spots waiting to be explored. There are several others like Long Beach, Burbank, and Pasadena that are also excellent areas to discover albeit further from the popular more touristy areas.
Bottom line, when you are planning your next vacation in LA remember to stay close to the landmarks or attractions you seek to explore since the city is quite spread out and traffic is challenging.
Have you been to Los Angeles? What is your favorite spot to stay while exploring the city?