Los Angeles without a car
February 1, 2004 2:32 AM   Subscribe

Los Angeles without a car. Suggestions? [more inside]

I'm going to be staying in LA for a few days' holiday in the next couple of weeks. My hotel is on S Fairfax Ave, opposite the Farmers' Market and CBS.

What's accessible with public transport? Musuem of Jurassic Technology? Griffith Park? Santa Monica?

Also, what are cabs like to get from place to place?

posted by deaddodo to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most things in LA are accessible via public transportation. Check out the MTA's trip planner for directions on how to get from one place to another. You can buy a one-day metro pass (good on buses or the subway) for $3 when you board the bus. You can sometimes find cabs on the street, but it's a lot easier to phone for a cab and have them pick you up. Your hotel should have a list of phone numbers of cab companies. Feel free to email me (address in profile) if you have any questions.
posted by faustessa at 3:57 AM on February 1, 2004

"Los Angeles without a car. Suggestions?"

L.A. is a great big freeway. Put a hundred down and buy a car.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:42 AM on February 1, 2004

Like the rest of the city, LA cab drivers seem to be from an entirely different universe. Here's what I learned on a trip a few years back...
1) You can't hail a cab on the street or request a pickup by cell phone. If you want to get a taxi, you need to go into a physical building, such as a library, and get them to call for you.
2) Cab drivers don't seem to know their way around like cabbies in other cities. If you're going somewhere, it helps to have directions, or else your cabbie may have to pull over to look at a map or call their operator.
3) Taxis claim not to carry change - bring lots of small bills because you won't be able to get more than $5 back from a $20.
4) Under no circumstances, when leaving a restaurant late at night, and you've called two cabs and only one showed up, say "That looks like a major street down there - let's just walk down and hail a cab." Scariest night of my life.
posted by Gortuk at 10:33 AM on February 1, 2004 [1 favorite]

are you staying at the farmer's daughter? If so, good choice. You need a car though... it's worth it no matter what your budget, because otherwise you'll end up spending all your time on the bus.
posted by chaz at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2004

You're lucky, as there's quite a lot within walking distance of where you'll be staying (relative to the rest of Los Angeles, I mean; not relative to other cities you might be familiar with). In addition fo Farmer's Market, there's Cantor's Deli up the street, which is a decent deli that's open 24 hours. A little further north is Melrose which has a lot of shops and places to eat. If, instead, you go south on Fairfax a couple of blocks to Wilshire you'll find the LA County art museum, the Petersen Automotive museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. If you catch the bus going east on Wilshire you can hook up with the Red Line (the subway), which will take you to Hollywood (or even as far as Universal City and North Hollywood, if you want), or to downtown. There's ton's of stuff to do downtown, or you can transfer to the Blue line (which I don't particularly recommend, as it passes through some of the more blighted areas of South Los Angeles) to Long Beach, or the Gold line out to Pasadena, which I haven't taken yet but goes by a lot of great stuff.

The MJT is definitely not to be missed; check out the new Russian Tea Room while you're there. Next door is the Center for Land Use Interpretation, which is also worth seeing since you're right there, anyway. Also, India Sweets and Spices, which is just west on Venice from there, is a little Indian market that has some prepared warm food you can carry out and eat on the tables in front.

Santa Monica is worth seeing as well. The Santa Monica bus systems is cheaper and nicer than the MTA. If you catch a bus south on Fairfax down to Pico, you can hook up with it there (the number 7? I forget). Santa Monica busses will get you all around the west side including downtown Santa Monica, Venice, Westwood (kinda lame, but UCLA's right there), and a ton other places.

There's also a lot of cool stuff in South LA (the Watts Towers, Leimert Park, the Crenshaw area), but I can't recommend going there by bus, since there're some pretty crappy areas there as well which are difficult to avoid unless you're driving, and you'll probably have trouble getting taxis to go there.

Good luck, and feel free to email me if you need any more information.
posted by electro at 1:56 PM on February 1, 2004

electro - I've lived in LA for 9 years, and I can't think of tons of stuff to do downtown. There must be a bunch of stuff I'm not familiar with, and now I want to know what it is.

There's MOCA and..... what?
posted by willnot at 2:48 PM on February 1, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help.

Being a central London dweeb, I can't drive, so renting is not an option.

Yes, I am staying at the Farmer's Daughter. What's the area like to walk about at night? (same for Hollywood/West Hollywood)
posted by deaddodo at 3:17 PM on February 1, 2004

3rd and Fairfax should be fine at night. West Hollywood is safe and quite pedestrian-friendly. Hollywood can be sketchy in places.
posted by jjg at 3:37 PM on February 1, 2004

Across the street from Cantor's Deli is Damiano's Pizza, which is a run-down joint, but makes the best thin-crust NY-style pizza in LA. I love the food, but it's definitely a joint, not a nice place to eat.

Damiano's Mr Pizza Italian Rst
1511 S Robertson Blvd - Los Angeles, CA
posted by gen at 8:00 PM on February 1, 2004

Check out The Loteria in the Farmers' Market across the street. Very nice, very cheap food.
posted by rdr at 8:21 PM on February 1, 2004

You also may not be that far from Amoeba Music, if you like music, that is.
Amoeba Music - 6400 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
posted by gen at 9:27 PM on February 1, 2004

Amoeba Music is in Hollywood; it would take either a bus or the red line to get there. It's definitely one of the greatest record stores in existence. Aron's on Highland is good too -- not nearly as huge, but still an excellent selection. If you're interested in seeing live music, Cantor's Kibbitz Room, Largo, and Genghis Cohen are all just up Fairfax -- check L.A. Weekly for listings. There's also the Conga Room (for jazz) and The El Rey Theater (for larger shows) on Wilshire, just west of LaBrea.

A few other food suggestions in the area: Tom Bergin's is south down Fairfax, just past Wilshire (where you'll see LACMA to your east and the La Brea Tar Pits just a little further east of that) -- good Irish pub with great whiskey sours (I work at LACMA, and so it's usually where we all go for Friday drinks). Also, Cobras & Matadors (on Beverly, just a few blocks east of Fairfax) is one of my favorite places in town -- great tapas, fairly reasonably priced. As for Farmer's Market food, I heartily concur on Loteria for good Mexican food; Monsieur Marcel has great French bistro food cheaper than any other bistro in town, and there's a good Cajun place (whose name I'm inexplicably forgetting) as well.

If you're interested in shopping in the area, the Beverly Center and The Grove are the area's main shopping centers (The Grove is just behind Farmer's Market). Both 3rd Street and Beverly have a lot of interesting boutiques and restaurants, and La Brea has some good antique stores.

I live spitting distance from where you're staying, and feel safe walking around at night -- with the caveat that Wilshire (and anything south of that) can be a little more dicey, but nothing that's ever worried me too much. West Hollywood is also generally fine to walk around at night. Frankly, I would avoid walking around most places in Hollywood at night unless it's a very well-lit, busy section (the Hollywood and Highland complex, for example, is safe -- but painfully, aggravatingly touristy in all the worst ways, IMO), or unless you're either pretty big or feel pretty sure of yourself in dicey situations. I used to live in a semi-OK part of Hollywood (right by Los Feliz) and there were streets near me I would never walk down after dark.

As for downtown, there's the recently-opened Disney Concert Hall/REDCAT (Cal Arts Theater complex) right near MOCA as well. Little Tokyo and Chinatown are down there, too -- they're not as large as in other cities, but still worth a look-see if you're in the area.
posted by scody at 10:20 PM on February 1, 2004

Also meant to say that you should feel free to email me as well (although I'm not so nearly well-versed as electro in the area of public transportation!) if there's any other info I can help you with.
posted by scody at 10:28 PM on February 1, 2004

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