Los Angeles transport
blog.categories.trip-and-adviceArea guide
Casey Makovich

Getting around LA - How to get around Los Angeles for tourists

Heading to the City of Angels? Well you've come to the right place, we've got you go-to guide with all the info on getting around the city and beyond, including how to get to and from the airport. 

When you're visiting this sunny Californian paradise, we're sure you'll want to see as much as humanly possible. So we've got all the best tips and tricks for completing your Los Angeles Bucket List quickly and easily!

Planning to visit lots of Los Angeles attractions? With Go City® you won't miss a thing, plus with a pass you can save up to 50% compared to buying individual entry to everything you want to do - winning!

☀️Compare Los Angeles passes☀️ – 🌏 Explore other destinations 🌏 –  ✈️ Buy a pass ✈️

By car – recommended! 

Los Angeles Downtown

Fortunately, car rentals are relatively cheap in Los Angeles and all major car rental companies have offices at the airports and at popular hotels. Be sure to book ahead of time to get the best rate. Los Angeles has a system of toll-free freeways that connect the area’s spread-out communities But, be prepared for bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic from 7-9 AM and 3-7 PM.

To make the most of your time, it’s best to spend each day in a specific area to minimize travel time. Check out our Los Angeles by neighborhood guide.

Insider tip: a GPS is a big time-saver when navigating L.A. so be sure to bring one with you or if you’re using your smartphone, remember to pack a car charger.

By public transport

Los Angeles metro

The Los Angeles Metro is affordable, relatively easy to use and services most of Los Angeles County and its top attractions. The public transit system consists of Metro Buses, DASH Buses and Metro Rail Trains. 

To ride these buses, trains and subways, we recommend purchasing a reusable TAP Card. These are easily available at TAP machines located within the bus or subway stations. You can load a preset cash value onto the card and travel across all three systems as needed. It's also super easy to add extra cash if you're running low. 

Insider tip: use the MTA’s Trip Planner tool to plan your routes and get estimated travel times. 

By metro buses

Metro buses in Los Angeles

The bus system offers 200 different lines that cross the entire city and beyond. There are three types of bus services to be aware of while navigating on the Metro Buses.

🟠 Metro Local Buses – painted orange, make frequent stops along major districts and tourist attractions around the city.

🔴 Metro Rapid Buses – painted red, stop less frequently but allow for an express ride. These buses even have special sensors that keep the lights green to avoid traffic. Check schedules and routes ahead of time and see if the Rapid Bus is right for you - it'll definitely save you time!

🔵 Metro Express Buses – painted blue, are typically used by commuters. This route connects Downtown Los Angeles with other business districts and travels on a few of the city's freeways.

By metro rail

Public transport in Los Angeles

The railway system consists of two subway lines, four light-rail lines, and two express bus lines that connect to Downtown Los Angeles.

🔴 Red Line is the most useful for tourists and visitors. This line links Downtown Union Station to North Hollywood via Hollywood and Universal City. It also connects with the Blue, Expo and Orange lines.

🟣 Purple Line connects Downtown Los Angeles to Westlake and Koreatown.

⚫️ Expo Line is a light-rail that links USC and Exposition Park with Culver City, Santa Monica, and Downtown LA.

🔵 Blue Line is a light-rail line that runs from Downtown LA to Long Beach, connecting with the Green, Red, and Expo lines along the way.

🟡 Gold Line is a light-rail line that connects East LA to Little Tokyo, China Town and Pasadena via Union Station, where it connects with the Red Line.

🟢 Green Line is a light-rail line that services Norwalk and Redondo Beach.

🟠 Orange Line express buses connect the San Fernando Valley to North Hollywood.

⚪️ Silver Line express buses connect the El Monte regional bus station to Harbor Gateway Transit Center in Gardena.

DASH buses

Dash buses around Los Angeles

These small shuttle buses are run by the LA Department of Transportation and operate along 33 different routes around the city. Many of the Metro Rail and Bus lines connect with the DASH buses. For these buses, when you get on you'll need to pay the exact fee (typically 25-50 cents USD).

🚌 Beachwood Canyon Route: this route runs Monday - Saturday and takes you right to the Hollywood Sign. It runs from Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street up to Beachwood Drive.

🚌 Downtown Routes: these five routes run daily and service all the hot spots in Los Angeles. Get to Little Tokyo, Chinatown, the Financial District, Union Station and more.

🚌 Fairfax Route: this route runs Monday - Saturday and makes a loop around Beverly Hills Central Mall, the Pacific Design Center, Melrose Avenue, the Grove, and Museum Row.

🚌 Hollywood Route: this route runs daily and services the east side of Highland Ave and Hollywood.

By taxi or ride-share

Taxi around Los Angeles

Hailing a cab in Los Angeles can be difficult. Your best bet is to call a taxi company or download Curb app (formerly Taxi Magic) to schedule a pick-up in advance. Taxis in LA are typically metered and charged by the mile. You can also use popular ride-sharing taxi services, like Uber or Lyft.

They are easily available and relatively cheap (depending on the time you are traveling and where), so make sure to download your preferred service to your phone before your trip. Please remember, Los Angeles traffic can get pretty jammed during rush hour so give yourself some extra travel time when getting to and from attractions at peak hours.

Traveling to Los Angeles 

By plane

Plane into LAX

Most visitors to Los Angeles will arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport, LAX. This enormous airport is surprisingly easy to navigate and the terminals are connected with free shuttle buses. LAX is conveniently located just minutes from Santa Monica and the beaches are only a half-hour journey, traffic-permitting, from Hollywood and the Westside.

In the neighborhood surrounding LAX, you’ll find every popular car rental agency in the area. Conveniently, each of these rental companies offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport. For more information about LAX, visit their website.

It's super easy to get to and from the airport - whether you hail a taxi cab waiting outside, arrange for a ride-sharing service, or hop on a public bus.

The Bob Hope Airport in Burbank is located closer to Hollywood and downtown L.A. If you want to avoid L.A. city proper, you may want to fly into the Long Beach Municipal Airport, south of LAX on Long Beach and closer to Orange County.

Finally, if your destination is Disneyland, you may want to book a flight to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.

By car

Los Angeles by car

Los Angeles is a car-centric city and is connected to several major highways. From the north you will likely take I-5 or U.S. 101 (called the Hollywood Freeway). From the east, you’ll be coming in on I-10, which continues through downtown and ends at the beach. From the South, you’ll drive north on I-5, merging onto I-405 if the beach communities are your destination.

By train

Union Station, Los Angeles

Amtrak services Los Angeles from roughly 500 U.S. cities. The L.A. train terminal is called Union Station (pictured) and is located on the northern edge of Downtown. From the station, you can either take one of the many taxis that line up outside, board the Metro Red Line to Hollywood or Universal City, or hop on a Metrolink commuter train to San Fernando Valley.

For cross country travel, you’ll likely have to switch trains in Chicago or New Orleans. For Pacific coast travel, the Amtrak Coast Starlight runs direct from Seattle to Los Angeles. Additionally, Amtrak runs a specific train along the California coast, connecting to San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

So there you have it, our go-to guide for getting around LA.

Want to save money on those bucket-list attractions?

Check out passes from Go City and you could save yourself up to 50% on your must-sees, perfect! 

☀️Compare Los Angeles passes☀️ – 🌏 Explore other destinations 🌏 –  ✈️ Buy a pass ✈️


Pass, Go City
Love this article? Why not share it:

Buy with confidence

Free cancellation

Plans can change, we get it. All non-activated passes are eligible for a refund within 90 days from your purchase date.

Find out more


Confused? We're here to help!

See our FAQs

We're kind of popular, but don't just take our word for it.

Have a 5% discount, on us!

Sign up to our newsletter and receive exclusive discounts, trip inspiration and attraction updates straight to your inbox.

  • Thick check Icon