(Closed) Public transit for vacation- LA Bees Help!!

posted 7 years ago in Los Angeles
Post # 3
1070 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@MrsRugbee:  Honestly, you should just rent a car.  It will take HOURS AND HOURS to get to any tourist destinations.  

Post # 5
911 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - The Down Town Club, Philadelphia

@MrsRugbee:  I’ve lived in LA for 12 years, and I still can’t figure out the bus systems. They differ by neighborhood – Santa Monica has there own, as does (I think) Pasadena. 

You are really much better off renting a car.

Los Angeles is MUCH MUCH bigger (land-wise) than anyone who doesn’t live here realizes. Public transpo is not a great option for getting around. You will end up enxhausted and frustrated. 

What are the off-beat places you were looking to get to? 

Post # 6
490 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

The public transpiration systems in LA are just AWFUL. Pasadena is a wonderful place, but it is sort of far from everything touristy. I’m thinking you’ll want to go to theme parks, beaches, Hollywood, etc. If you aren’t set on Pasadena, maybe you could stay somewhere closer to the places you’re looking to visit. Do you know what you guys want to do out here?

Post # 8
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Los Angeles is by far the absolute worst destination to rely on public transit.  You absolutely need to get a car and figure out what times to avoid traffic.  Even if you have Google-mapped it, it will 100% destroy the enjoyment of your vacation if you need to travel by public transit around Los Angeles, which is so massively sprawling that you should consider it a collection of cities connected by highways. 

Post # 9
16 posts

Agree with all of the PP’s. The bus system in LA is horrible. Don’t even refer to Google maps for transit; half of the time the busses are way later or earlier than their scheduled time, which makes things even more complicated. Throw in typical LA traffic and it’s a nightmare. 


Are you dead set on Pasadena? If you really don’t want to drive, the metro is fine to take to Hollywood, Burbank and downtown and there’s hotels in both of those areas so you could just shuttle back and forth. (The W in Hollywood actually has a metro stop beneath it.) You’d just have to rent a car for the day to get to the beach. It really is much easier just to drive, though. If you do rent a car, I’d still recommend staying somewhere a little more central so that you can get to what you want to do more quickly.


There is plenty of parking in the city, but 99% of what’s available – especially during tourist season/in high-traffic areas – are all valet or paid lots.


Post # 10
7426 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

Rent a car. Southern California is not set up around/for public transportation.

Post # 11
911 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - The Down Town Club, Philadelphia

View original reply
@MrsRugbee:  Well, driving from Hollywood to Santa Monica won’t take you that long – about 30 minutes if you wait until after rush hour. 

But from Pasadena? Well over an hour, driving. I can’t even imagine how much longer with public transpo.

I agree with PP, I would stay somewhere other than Pasadena, even though Pas is lovely. Maybe stay in Santa Monica for a night or two, then head to Hollywood? 

(Santa Monica is much closer to LAX, which I assume will be your airport)

Don’t worry about parking. Since everyone drives everywhere, there are a ton of parking lots, valets, parking meters. Just be sure to read the signs. 🙂

Post # 12
147 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

HA, I see most ppl have already suggested this – Rent a car! My immediate thought was..omg, she’s considering public transit!? Pasadena is not very convenient any of the touristy places ( beach, hollywood, Disney, Universal) so trust us, the time you will save is well worth the car rental.

ETA: I took public transit from South Pasadena to Santa Monica when I first moved here, it took about 3 hours.

If you must bus, it’s actually not that difficult. Most likely you’ll take a train downtown then transfer to bus. The metro site online http://www.metro.net/ you can enter in your starting and ending destination and it will give you the route. I’ve done this a couple times and it’s super easy just……..takes…..forever…in….travel time.


Post # 13
2515 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

my sister lives in pasadena. she prefers not to drive even though she has a car and transit takes forever. last time i went to visit, we took the metro downtown. if you can get to the gold line, you can get downtown pretty easily. it does take a long time but it’s worth seeing union station (i think it is anyway). i believe we transfered at union station and took the subway downtown. for anything else though, it’s best to rent a car. 

Post # 14
463 posts
Helper bee

@MrsRugbee:  I lived in LA for 95% of my life and I actually DO think you can pull this off.

However I would suggest sticking to metro/light rail as much as possible and avoiding buses. The buses are complicated as heck, NEVER on time or even well timed/spaced, and subject to all the same traffic problems as you’d get in a car.

I used to take the LA metro regularly, and I think it’s quite good. It’s simpler than the buses, works well, and does go a lot of places really. IMO the only area it doesn’t properly cover is what we call “the westside” – Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Venice.

If you’re doing the metro, downtown is the easiest place to stay. From downtown, it’s very easy and relatively fast to get anywhere the metro goes, and it’s actually somewhat bearable to take the bus from there to Santa Monica. If you’re not in downtown, you will have to go through it anyway if you’re taking the metro – depending on where you’re going, that can make for a very long trip.

If you’re set on Pasadena, I would definitely recommend choosing a hotel close to the Memorial Park metro stop in Pasadena. That’s the most central/walkable area of Pasadena anyway, so I’d recommend that area regardless of the metro.

Misc metro-related recommendations:

  • The Standard Hotel in downtown – it’s near the central metro station, and will make you feel like a Bond girl.
  • Take the metro to Long Beach and check out the aquarium, the Queen Mary (historic ocean liner), and the beach. Super easy metro trip and Long Beach has a lot of attractions. Just don’t get off the train between downtown and Long Beach, because it goes through Compton, world famous for its gang violence.
  • If you’re a hipster, go to Vermont/Sunset and walk a few blocks to Los Feliz for great hipster shops and food.

Damn, now I’m homesick. Enjoy!!

Post # 16
373 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Beach

Does anyone know where I can rent a car for a week in LA and then drop it off in las vegas? I checked out sites like: hertz and sixt but they are too dam expensive!

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