Hotels in Los Angeles: Where to Stay
The following pages will give you an idea of what each part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area is like, with the pros and cons of staying there. Browse around and once you find an area you like, you can go to our lists of the best hotels in that area.
No matter where you stay in the city of Los Angeles, hotel tax is 12%. Other cities may have slightly different rates.
Tips About Where to Stay
- The greater Los Angeles metropolitan area - which encompasses five counties - is a very big place. Traffic is just as bad as you've heard, so it's good to stay off the freeway as much as you can. Think about what you want to see, review the map and pick your place to stay so it's more convenient.
- Getting around LA without an automobile is extremely difficult. Areas that are along the Metro train lines are noted, and you may be able to take the trains to get to some areas.
- Learn about hidden hotel costs and how to avoid them
Bed and Breakfast in LA
For reasons I have never figured out, Los Angeles has very few bed and breakfast lodgings. There are plenty of Airbnb rentals, but only a handful of real "B&B" places, where they pamper you and serve enormous breakfasts.
Hotels in Los Angeles: Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice to Redondo Beach
The cities included in this area lie along the shores of the Santa Monica Bay. They include Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.
Attractions in the Beach Cities
Read the profiles of each city to find out what there is to do there.
- Marina Del Rey Visitor Guide
- Redondo Beach Visitor Guide
- Santa Monica Visitor Guide
- Venice Beach Visitor Guide
Pros and Cons of Staying in the Beach Cities
- Close to the beach, with laid-back oceanside ambiance.
- Location is not central, so depending on where else you want to go, it could be a long distance away.
- Lodging can be more expensive than other areas, especially if you see the water from it, but most hotels do not charge for parking.
- Cooler than inland and less smog, but prone to be foggy all day long in June and into July.
Reserving a Hotel in the Beach Cities
- Instead of giving you yet another long list of hotels, we're taking a different approach. Get all the insider info you need to find the perfect hotel in Santa Monica and Malibu.
- Choose from top-rated hotels north of LAX by choosing the Venice neighborhood and checking reviews and rates at Tripadvisor. You can check hotels in Marina Del Rey online.
- Check the insider tips for finding a hotel in Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach or Hermosa Beach.
- Discover how to get the best possible rate.
Hotels in Los Angeles: Downtown and Pasadena
Downtown Los Angeles has much more to offer than many people realize. On a downward slide for many years, downtown is now full of interesting things to do and see. As a bonus, it's quite common to see film crews on the downtown streets, especially on weekends. They can be interesting to watch.
Pasadena, just a few minutes' drive north of downtown is a good side trip or a convenient place to stay if you need to be downtown but don't want to stay there.
Pros and Cons of Staying Downtown
- Central location and very convenient to many freeways. It's also easy to use the Metro trains to get to other parts of Los Angeles, and frequent downtown shuttles make it easy to get around the area.
- Hotels lower their rates on weekends, but most charge for parking.
- Close to the performing arts center, Staples Center, and L. A. Live
- Downtown has a reputation for being boring, which in our opinion is mostly unjustified. However, it can be less lively than other parts of the city.
Pasadena is a good choice for inexpensive lodging, except during the Rose Bowl. It's close to freeways and if you choose the right hotel, you can use the Metro system to get to other parts of the city.
Reserving a Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles or Pasadena
- Choose from the Pasadena hotels
Hotels in Los Angeles: Hollywood and Sunset Strip
Hollywood and nearby Sunset Strip are cloaked in stereotypes and images from the films. Don't expect them all to be true, but you'll find plenty of familiar sights. If you're interested in nightlife, Sunset Strip may be just the place for you.
Attractions in Hollywood
- Farmers Market
- Photo Tour of Hollywood
- Guide to Hollywood Boulevard
- Hollywood Bowl
- Melrose Avenue
- Sunset Strip
Pros and Cons of Staying in Hollywood
- There's a lot to do, but the area can get crowded because of it. Sunset Strip gets especially crowded at night.
- Some hotels are expensive and charge for parking, especially if they're conveniently located.
- Some of the larger hotels have excellent views from their upper floors.
- If you stay near Hollywood Boulevard, it's easy to use the Metro trains to get to other parts of Los Angeles (including Universal Studios) without driving.
Reserving a Hotel in Hollywood or Sunset Strip
Hotels in Los Angeles: Beverly Hills and Westside Los Angeles
This part of Los Angeles includes Beverly Hills, UCLA, Westwood, Brentwood and Century City. It's great for upscale shopping and museum-hopping.
Attractions Near in Beverly Hills and Westside LA
Pros and Cons of Staying in Beverly Hills and Westside
- Some of the city's best hotels are here, but they are very expensive. However, you can also find moderately-priced places to stay, so don't dismiss it just because you don't have a movie star's budget.
- Conveniently located if you want to visit some of the best museums in Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Museum. Also convenient for events at UCLA.
- Central location but not close to freeways.
- One of the prettiest parts of Los Angeles, surrounded by high-end shops and elegant homes.
Reserving a Hotel in Beverly Hills and Westside
- Choose from the top-rated Beverly Hills and Westside Los Angeles hotels
Hotels Near Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) sits midway along the coast of the Santa Monica Bay, and there are plenty of hotels and places to stay nearby. However, it's not a scenic area and has many drawbacks (see pros and cons below).
Pros and Cons of Staying Near LAX
- The obvious advantage is that you're close to the airport, which is helpful if you have to catch an early flight or arrive late at night.
- Poorly insulated hotels can experience a lot of airplane noise.
- Most hotels charge for parking (and some charge a lot).
- The location is convenient to the freeway and it's close to the beach towns, but there's not much to do immediately around the airport. This location may be convenient if you're doing business in the area, especially at the local aerospace companies.
Reserving Hotels Near Los Angeles Airport
- To find hotels near LAX, you can start with prices and reviews using this link at Tripadvisor. Then choose LAX Area under neighborhoods. To find the best-rated ones, sort by Traveler Ranked.
Hotels in Los Angeles: Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, Disneyland
About the Theme Parks
Los Angeles theme parks are spread from one end of the metro area to the other. If you're planning on visiting more than one of them, you may want to move to a hotel near each one.
Don't let a lot of amenities like swimming pools and so on seduce you into paying more than you need to. If you're going to be in the theme park all day long, chances are the only thing you'll do at your hotel is sleep.
Pros and Cons of Staying Near the Theme Parks
- It's obvious that you'll pick these locations if you plan to spend most of your time in the parks.
- Because they get a lot of one-time visitors, some hotels around the theme parks let their guard down about upkeep and customer service.
Reserving a Hotel Near the Theme Parks
Hotels in Los Angeles: Catalina Island, Long Beach, Orange County
The areas on this page may be just the spot for you, depending on what you're going to do.
Pros and Cons
- Long Beach is a good base for exploring a lot of the Los Angeles area. It's close to freeways and somewhat central, especially if your trip includes parts of LA and also Disneyland.
- Catalina Island is a fun, relaxing place to spend a weekend, but access is mostly limited to the number of ferries that go there.
- Orange County is the home of Disneyland, but it also has some great beach towns. However, it can be expensive and crowded.
Los Angeles Beach Hotels
You can find some great places to stay in the LA area that are right on the beach. I'm talking about so close that you might get sand between your toes just looking out the window. You'll find them in these lists:
How to Find a Cheap Los Angeles Hotel
Cheap hotels are a hard thing to find in LA, especially if you care what the place looks (and smells) like. It's hard to find a place at a low price where you feel comfortable taking off your socks and aren't tempted to encase the remote control in a plastic bag before you touch it. And it's even harder in Los Angeles, where tourism is growing at a record rate.
As someone who travels - a lot - I'm always looking for a bargain. I'm also looking for a clean, safe, comfortable place to stay. I'm here to share all my tips and tricks with you. May you never pay full price again.
Best Areas to Find a Cheap Hotel in LA
Pasadena, north of downtown is a good base for visiting other parts of the city on the Metro Train System, including Hollywood and downtown. Hotels on the east side of town are a particularly good value.
You'll find a lot of low hotel prices around LAX airport but beware: many of the hotels close to the airport and in particular the ones on Century Boulevard charge for parking, usually about $25 per day - which pretty much wipes out all your hoped-for cost savings.
Other areas that have a higher percentage of low-cost hotels include the area around Wilshire Boulevard just west of downtown and the South Bay Beach cities along Pacific Coast Highway, especially in El Segundo, which is not far from LAX.
Ways to Get an Even Cheaper Los Angeles Hotel Rate
It might sound charmingly old-school these days, but one of the best ways to pay less for your hotel is to use the telephone. Just use these tips for finding the best hotel rate by phone.
If you're a AAA member, you'll often find a cheaper hotel rate by going directly to a hotel's website and using it. AARP member also often get discounts.
Using Tripadvisor to Get a Low Rate on an LA Hotel
Here's the process I used to find well-rated Los Angeles hotels for a low nightly rate:
- Go to the Tripadvisor Los Angeles hotels page
- Select your location and travel dates
- Use the pull-down menu to select hotels rated 4 (out of 5) or higher
- Use the pull-down menu to choose the lowest price range that returns results.
- Sort by price, lowest to highest
- Skip places with just a few reviews. It's easy for any cheesy property owner to get a handful of friends, family or paid "volunteers" off the street to say their place is fantastic, but it's harder to get hundreds of fake reviews.
Low-Cost Alternatives to Cheap Hotels
PodShare is an interesting and cheap "hotel" in Hollywood that may be most economical for people traveling alone. You get a personal space with a television and access to a shared kitchen and bath. Think of it as a hip version of a hostel.
If you want to stay somewhere REALLY cheap, try Airbnb, where you may find someone who's willing to rent you a night on their couch for very little money. Airbnb is also my go-to resource for a less expensive place to stay than a hotel - but I always rent an entire apartment or cottage to ensure privacy.
If you're interested but unsure, read this review from a family travel perspective.
Budget Chains to Try in Los Angeles
Consumer Reports magazine rated Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham as the best in the budget hotel category by a noticeable margin, followed by Red Roof Inn, Super 8. Comfort Suites also rated well, just slightly more expensive than the others.