I'm gonna have a 12-hour layover in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Never been there, no idea what to do. Can anyone recommend me a few places to see? Also, what's a good and cheap way of getting around? No, not a taxi or rental car. I'm assuming the public transport is abysmal, as it's the US, but are there buses and trains from the airport to those places of interest? Any recommendation for vegetarian/vegan restaurants? If any blogger's there, wanna come hang out?
LA is so spread out that how you plan to get around will pretty much determine what you can see. From LAX, you've got two main options if you don't want to rent a car. The first, and the one I recommend, is the FlyAway bus. It runs from LAX directly to the Union Station train terminal downtown. Depending on traffic, this can take an hour plus one way. The station has access to the subway system. The second is to reserve a seat on one of the private shuttles which go to various hotels. They are much more expensive than FlyAway, but reach parts of the area that would otherwise require many hours on city buses.
As for what to see, the two most accessible options will be downtown and Hollywood. Hollywood is the obvious tourist magnet, with all that implies. Still, if you're a movie fan, its well worth seeing at least once. Read the blogs and see what looks appealing. Things quickly get sketchy after dark, though. The subway goes directly there from Union Station.
Downtown is a formerly run down area that has seen a huge revival in recent years. It offers great and varied museums, a large amount of history, some pretty architecture, adventurous bars and restaurants, plus easy access to Chinatown and Little Tokyo. Be careful on the eastern side, still one of LA's toughest neighborhoods.
If you're willing to drop the cash for a private shuttle, the beach towns of Santa Monica and Venice, which are right next to each other, can be really fun. Venice is LA's "alternative" neighborhood, with lots of street performers and memorable characters. Santa Monica is a movie star playground, although you probably won't see any in public.
Thanks so much for the extensive reply, Ezra! That helps a lot and I think I'm gonna follow your advice and take the airport bus to check out what's going on downtown. Maybe I'll go to Hollywood as well, if I have enough time. The priority is getting back to the airport in time for my next flight, of course. Cheers!
2 Best Options are: Hollywood and Disneyland.
Indeed best options are Hollywood and Disneyland.