It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that Los Angeles is one of the most famous cities in the world. Admittedly, a large reason why LA is so famous is Hollywood and all of the studios and filming locations that you find there.
But if you learn a bit more about the city, you’ll find that there are actually plenty of other reasons why it’s a great tourist destination.
Since the city is so big, there are plenty of different museums, cafes, and locations that you can visit, so how can you figure out where to stay in Los Angeles?
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
There’s obviously the famous Walk of Fame that everyone wants to visit, and the Hollywood sign that everyone wants to get a picture of, but there are also a few lesser-known attractions that are just as good if not better and more entertaining.
For example, you have the Whisky A Go-Go Gallery with its exhibits on rock and roll, the Huntington Art Gallery and the massive mansion that it uses as a home, and many more.
There are also places like Santa Monica that have amazing beaches and fairs, and while places like Glendale or Pasadena have their own great attractions, they’re all the way on the other side of the city.
Regardless of what your personal preferences might be, we’ll go through so many different attractions and locations that you’ll almost certainly find at least one attraction that stands head and shoulders above the rest for you.
Los Angeles’s 5 Best Parts of The City
Los Angeles constitutes what is essentially a megalopolis, so we weren’t able to cover all of the regions. However, the ones that we picked out offer the most entertainment and many attractions, so you’re sure to find an area that might just be perfect for you.
- Hollywood: Home of the Walk of fame and the Hollywood Bowl
- Glendale: A mish-mash of lots of interesting attractions such as the Neon Art Museum and the Scholl Canyon Golf Course
- Downtown: Plenty of historic buildings that you can find and explore
- West Hollywood: The Sunset Strip and the best nightlife in LA
- Santa Monica: Some of the best beaches in California
- Pasadena: Famous for its gardens and museums
Los Angeles’s Best Areas and Hotels
All of the areas that we cover in our article are great tourist spots, and there are plenty of things to see in each of them, but not all of the hotels are going to be the same.
Certain areas of the city will be a bit more expensive. It’s inevitable that places with a high turnover rate will cost you more for a night’s stay, but to help you out a bit, we’ve gone ahead and divided the hotels based on the level of luxury that you’re looking for.
Keep in mind that places like West Hollywood will always be more costly even if you pick the budget hotels that we recommend.
But hopefully, this list can help you save a few bucks by giving you a bit of an insight into what sort of hotels you’re likely to encounter depending on where you stay.
The first thing that most tourists ask when they go to Los Angeles is, “how do we get to Hollywood?” With that in mind, we thought it would be best if we put one of the more appealing attractions right at the top of our list so that you don’t have to wait.
Being the home of movies and movie stars, this area of the city is as famous for the Hollywood Walk of Fame as it is for the giant sign on top of the hill.
Both of these attractions are incredibly difficult to miss since the star-studded boardwalk spans 15 whole blocks, while the Hollywood sign is visible from pretty much everywhere in this area.
Most tourists like to go to Griffith Park since that’s where they get the best shots for their commemorative pics. Another pretty popular attraction in this area is the Universal Studio lot.
Here, you’ll be able to go on a guided tour that takes you through some of the locations where some of the most famous films in history were filmed. Additionally, there’s also a theme park that you can enjoy if you’re looking for something less educational in nature.
This area of the city is packed full of people that want to get a picture on the Walk of Fame or those that are trying to find their way to one of the studios.
Most of the time, this results in a lot of tourists crowding the street and making it hard for you to find an empty table in a cafe or restaurant that you want to visit.
Things to Do
- There’s always something on the venue in the Hollywood Bowl, so check out what sort of concerts are happening that week and which one you’d be interested in the most.
- Go to the Hollywood Museum and check out the artworks and memorabilia from some of the most famous stars that have even walked the red carpet.
- Hollywood has a great wax museum that you can visit to see some pretty realistic versions of some of your favorite movie stars.
- The Museum of Death is a pretty morbid location, but it’s certainly a noteworthy attraction, especially for people that are tired of standard museums and displays.
Where to Eat
- Gold Diggers Bar is a great place to get a cocktail and listen to a live band or a DJ.
- King Buffet is where you go if you want to get some breakfast in the morning.
- Musso & Frank Grill is one of the oldest eateries in the city, and they make great martinis.
Hollywood Budget Hotels
- Hollywood Historic Hotel comes with a TV and refrigerator in every room, a 24-hour front desk, and an in-house craft cocktail bar.
- Hollywood Hotel comes with free wifi throughout the property, a refrigerator and microwave in every room, and a business center that guests can use.
Hollywood Mid-Range Hotels
- Quality Inn offers a complimentary breakfast each morning, as well as an outdoor pool and a front desk that’s on-call all day and night.
- Loews Hollywood Hotel comes with a pool that’s located on the rooftop right next to the sun terrace, a cable TV in every room with pay-per-view channels, and a breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelets.
Hollywood Luxury Hotels
- The Hollywood Roosevelt comes with a fully-equipped fitness center, an outdoor heated pool that can be used in any season, a bar that offers quite a selection of different cocktails, and even a bowling lane in the hotel.
- W Hollywood offers all of the guests access to the business center that’s always open, an in-house restaurant, and a front desk that’s on call 24/7 and provides transportation and diner arrangement services whenever the guests need it.
Glendale is packed with bars and nightclubs that you can visit, especially if you go to the Americana at Brand. During the night, you’ll also find plenty of places where you can get a drink, but during the day, there are quite a few cafes that you can visit as well as a lot of outlets and boutiques.
Right next to Glendale, you’ll also find Griffith Park, which is a pretty large park that even has hiking trails and horse riding tracks.
The star of the show, however, is the Los Angeles Zoo and the Griffith Observatory, which has a planetarium inside and telescopes that everyone can use to experience the fantastic view of the city at night.
The Roslin Art Gallery, which hosts a few pieces of Armenian art, is often overlooked, but in our view, that’s not justified.
If you have the opportunity to go there, it’s safe to say that you’ll see exhibits that you won’t be able to see in many other museums in the US — it’s that unique.
If you prefer learning about the history of the old west, though, the Autry Museum of the American West will be your go-to spot, and it’s no less exciting.
Glendale is a pretty large area, and there are many entertainment venues that you can take advantage of and a lot of bars and restaurants where you can get a table for the night.
However, most of these attractions are pretty spread out, so regardless of which hotel you pick, you’ll likely do quite a bit of walking or make use of public transport.
Things to Do
- Go and check out the wide variety of animals on display in the Los Angeles Zoo located on the northeast side of Griffith Park.
- There’s a golf club that you can visit where kids can learn how to play the game while the adults play a few games for themselves.
- Visit the Museum of Neon Art if you want to check out the collection of neon signs and light-based artwork that they have on display.
- The Brewyard Beer Company is the best place to go if you’re interested in learning a bit about the brewing process, where you can also enjoy a drink after the tour.
Where to Eat
- Porto’s Bakery is where to go if you want to get yourself some pastries.
- Raffi’s Place serves authentic Armenian dishes that you can try.
- Din Tai Fung Dumpling House is the place for you if you’re in the mood for some Asian food.
Glendale Budget Hotels
- Chariot Inn comes with a cable TV and an AC unit in every room, guests are provided with free parking, and there’s also free wifi throughout the property.
- Glenridge Inn is located relatively close to Griffith Park, all of the rooms come with a flat-screen TV, and all of the guests get access to free parking and wifi.
Glendale Mid-Range Hotels
- Embassy Suites has a front desk that’s always open, an outdoor pool that you can use, and a cable TV with premium channels.
- Vagabond Inn is located close to several notable attractions, and the hotel itself comes with a flat-screen TV and a coffee maker in every room, and an outdoor pool.
Glendale Luxury Hotels
- The Glenmark provides all of the guests with a free parking spot and free shuttle services, a free a la carte breakfast each morning, and all of the rooms are pet-friendly and come with free wifi.
- Residence Inn comes with a fitness center where you can work out, an outdoor pool where you can swim a few laps, a front desk that’s on-call 24-hours a day, and free wifi throughout the property.
The Downtown area in most cities is actually the place where you go if you want to see the bustling nightlife, but LA is a bit different.
This area of the city was surprisingly pretty devoid of any sorts of cafes and restaurants until a few decades ago, and it’s only now that we’ve started seeing a few of them pop up here and there.
Having said that, rather than the clubs, Downtown LA is the business district of Los Angeles, but what probably concerns you is that it’s known for having some pretty prominent monuments that tell the story of the city.
Some of the most notable historical buildings and locations that you can visit are Union Station, Central Library, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, and Olvera Street, where you’ll find 26 historical structures that you can explore.
This area of the city is also known for its art galleries. The two most notable galleries here would have to be the MOCA Grand Avenue, where you’ll find thousands of art pieces that you can look through.
The other is the LACMA, where you’ll find some more contemporary and experimental pieces and exhibitions. As we mentioned in the intro to this section, this part of the city doesn’t really have all that many entertainment venues outside of museums, galleries, and monuments.
This area would probably only seem appealing to people that want to learn a bit more about history. In other words, if you’re looking for a party, you might want to try somewhere else.
Things to Do
- Check out the Infinity exhibit in the LACMA and see how a simple room of mirrors and lights can make you feel like you’re floating in the cosmic void.
- Visit the Grammy Museum if you’re looking to learn a bit more about music history and some of the most notable musicians in American history.
- You might like to visit the Walt Disney Music Hall even if you’re not planning on going inside since it’s an architectural marvel that needs to be seen to be believed.
- If you want to cool down on a hot day, then your best bet would be the gelato and wine menus that you’ll find in the Spring Arcade Building.
Where to Eat
- The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a great place to grab a warm beverage.
- Bestia is where you go if you’re in the mood for some Italian food.
- Manuela offers both cocktails and a rustic-chic dining environment.
Downtown Budget Hotels
- American Hotel comes with free wifi throughout the property, concierge services, as well as a TV and AC unit in every room.
- Hollywood Inn Express South offers pretty simple and cheap rooms, but you still get access to an outdoor pool and free wifi throughout the property.
Downtown Mid-Range Hotels
- Omni Los Angeles Hotel California Plaza comes with an outdoor pool and spa services, while the hotel itself is adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
- The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites provides you with valet parking, as well as dry cleaning and wake-up services, and you even have an in-house seafood restaurant.
Downtown Luxury Hotels
- Doubletree by Hilton comes with a rooftop garden where you can enjoy a drink, a flat-screen TV in every room, and a fitness center that’s always open, so you can go and use the equipment anytime you want to.
- Freehand Los Angeles has an in-house restaurant that offers Israeli cuisine, an outdoor pool and drinks bar that you can enjoy, and an on-call desk and fitness center, both of which are open 24/7.
4. West Hollywood
West Hollywood has a lot of notable attractions, but one of the most unique would probably have to be the One Gallery.
This is where you’ll find the largest collection of LGBTQ books, movies, and magazines in the US and where you’ll be able to learn a bit more about the history of persecution that queer people used to go through back in the day.
West Hollywood is also known as the nightclub scene in LA, and here, you’ll find plenty of bars where you can enjoy a drink and listen to the live performance on stage.
This area also has quite a large number of gay bars like Micky’s Weho or Bayou, both of which have fantastic cocktail bars where you can get a drink and dance the night away.
If you’re in the mood for a different sort of entertainment, then the Laugh Factory is always a good place to spend the night and check out some of the new stand-up comics that are trying to make a name for themselves.
And finally, you can also visit the famous Roxy Theater — there’s never a dull moment here. There are plenty of different places to visit in West Hollywood, but they’re pretty well advertised, so everyone knows about them even if they’re first-time visitors.
As a result, most of the bars and clubs are usually packed tight, and there’s barely any room to move. Obviously, the popularity also results in high prices. The hotels are also a lot more expensive than other areas of the city.
Things to Do
- Take one of the many bike tours that are organized on an hourly basis and learn a bit more about the history of this section of LA.
- Check out one of the drag queen brunch and bingo events that are usually taking place in the Hamburger Mary’s chain of restaurants.
- Visit the Whisky A Go-Go Gallery and check out rock and roll history exhibits.
- Go out at night and just check out the prolific nightlife scene in this area to find a bar that you might like to have a drink in.
Where to Eat
- Laurel Hardware is where you go if you want to get either some breakfast or a cocktail.
- La Boheme offers American-Mediterranean fare.
- Doheny Room gives off an old-school bar feel and has a pretty big list of different cocktails that you can try.
West Hollywood Budget Hotels
- Hotel Ziggy provides you with a fitness center that’s always open, a flat-screen TV in every room, complimentary toiletries, and even ironing facilities for your clothes.
- Best Western Plus Sunset Plaza Hotel provides all of the guests with an HD cable TV and free wifi in all of the rooms, as well as an outdoor pool and fitness center that they can use.
West Hollywood Mid-Range Hotels
- Le Parc Suite Hotel comes with a great view of the city from the roof, which is where you’ll find the outdoor pool, the sun deck, and the tennis court.
- 1 Hotel West Hollywood comes with a fitness center that’s always open, an outdoor view on the roof of the hotel, as well as two in-house restaurants and two in-house bars.
West Hollywood Luxury Hotels
- Pendry West Hollywood comes with a fitness center, a business center that’s always open and that comes with an ATM, an outdoor pool and hot tub that all of the guests can use, and both an in-house restaurant and bar.
- Sunset Tower Hotel provides all of the guests with access to a full-service spa that they can visit, a fully-equipped fitness center, and an in-house restaurant that serves both Italian and French cuisine.
5. Santa Monica
Los Angeles might not be quite as well known for its beaches as its neighbor to the south, but even though San Diego might have more, Santa Monica beach is definitely good enough to give all of them a run for their money.
Santa Monica Pier is the home of the Pacific Park, which is arguably one of the most well-known fairs in the entire US. Here, you’ll find the famous Ferris wheel and rollercoaster that most visitors come for.
But there are also countless food stands that you can try out as well as fairground games that you can try your luck in.
Additionally, you have an aquarium that you can visit and the historic Looff Hippodrome, which is a 19th-century building that houses a famous carousel built by master carousel builder and amusement pioneer Charles I.D. Looff.
You obviously can’t go to Santa Monica without actually getting your towel and having a beach day where you just lounge in the sun, swim a little, and maybe play a few matches of beach volleyball with your friends.
While Santa Monica is a great place for some fun in the sun, and there are a few theaters and other entertainment venues that you could visit, it’s kind of lacking in terms of both beachfront bars where you can grab a cold drink and escape the heat. The nightclubs are scarce as well.
Things to Do
- Go to the Santa Monica Pier and check out the famous fair with all of the different stands and attractions.
- Visit the Santa Monica Camera Obscura to witness an optical illusion created through light that can’t really be described and needs to be seen.
- Shop at the Santa Monica Farmer’s market and look through the many stalls to get some fresh ingredients for your lunch.
- Palisades park is a great place to go if you’re in the mood for a jog or if you just want to enjoy the view of the ocean or the Santa Monica Mountains.
Where to Eat
- Elephante is a great place to grab a bite while enjoying the ocean-side view.
- Stella Barra Pizzeria & Wine Bar offers Italian cruising with a pretty decent wine list.
- Earth Wind & Flour offers a blend of both American and Italian meals.
Santa Monica Budget Hotels
- Ocean Park Hotel offers free parking, an on-site laundrette that all of the guests can use, and free wifi throughout the property.
- Bayside Hotel offers an on-call desk that’s available 24/7, and the hotel itself is located near both Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park.
Santa Monica Mid-Range Hotels
- Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica has an outdoor pool, as well as an LCD flat-screen TV and a coffee maker in every room.
- Wyndham Santa Monica provides you with access to a fitness center, comes with a front desk that’s on-call all day and night, and has an outdoor pool.
Santa Monica Luxury Hotels
- Santa Monica Proper Hotel is pet-friendly, it comes with free wifi throughout the property, and it also has an outdoor pool that’s located on the roof, and that’s right next to the bar and sun deck.
- Casa Del Mar has a coffee maker and a 42-inch flat-screen satellite TV in every room, as well as an in-house restaurant that provides complimentary breakfast, lunch, and cocktails at night.
While Downtown LA is home to the oldest and most notable old buildings like Union Station and Central Library, Pasadena offers a different glimpse into the past of this city through the many museums that are located all over the place.
The most notable museum in Pasadena would probably have to be the Norton Simon Museum, famous for housing over 10,000 pieces of incredible artwork.
Furthermore, the USC Pacific Asia Museum, which gives you a brief look into the history of the Asia and the Pacific Islands, is also a sight to behold. Lastly, the Pasadena Museum of History displays regional artwork dating as far back as 1834.
Pasadena also has a lot of natural beauty that you can explore as well. The mansion of Henry Hungtington covers a space of 55,000 acres and holds some of the most beautiful Botanic gardens that you’ll find in California.
Additionally, you can also visit the Descanso Gardens and see the cherry blossoms bloom in the Japanese garden area. This area has a lot of historical significance and natural beauty, but it’s pretty unremarkable in every other way.
There aren’t that many entertainment venues, cafes, or interesting local attractions that you can visit outside of the museums and gardens.
Things to Do
- Those that are interested in space might like to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Science and get a tour of the facility.
- There’s the Huntington Art Gallery, located in Henry Huntington’s massive mansion that holds over a thousand pieces of European art that you can explore.
- Visit the Eaton Canyon Nature Center and check out the hiking trails there that lead to the Eaton Canyon Falls.
- Check out the Los Angeles County Arboretum that’s located a few miles outside of Pasadena and explore the floral and peacock gardens.
Where to Eat
- MILO Cafe & Organic Juicery offers exactly what the title says.
- HomeState is where you go if you want to grab some tacos on the go.
- Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ offers some great Asian cuisine.
Pasadena Budget Hotels
- Ramada by Wyndham is a pretty small hotel, but it still comes with a decently equipped fitness center and an outdoor pool.
- Sheraton Pasadena Hotel comes with an outdoor pool, cable TV in every room, and free wifi throughout the property.
Pasadena Mid-Range Hotels
- Howard Johnson provides all of the guests with free parking, access to free wifi, and a flat-screen TV in every room.
- Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles has rooms that are all equipped with a satellite TV and an AC unit, and they also have a fitness center that all of the guests can use.
Pasadena Luxury Hotels
- Hilton Pasadena comes with a fully-equipped fitness center with all of the gear that you might need to work out, an on-site restaurant with quite a large menu, and an outdoor pool.
- The Langham Huntington comes with three tennis courts that guests can use, a full spa with several treatment and massage options, several in-house restaurants that they can choose from, and even a fitness center that offers yoga classes.
So, Where Should You Stay in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is a pretty big place, and while you have public transportation that you could use, it’s still better to try and stay close to the attractions that seem the most interesting to you so that you don’t have to spend too long trying to get to them from your hotel.
If you’re still unsure of where to stay in Los Angeles, then we might have a few tips. If you like to spend your time off dancing or drinking, then West Hollywood is the best choice for you, since this is where you’ll find a lot of nightclubs that you might like.
Anyone that’s interested in seeing the stars on the sidewalk or the famous studios that LA is known for will naturally want to spend as much time in Hollywood as possible.
Lastly, if you just want to spend some time on the beach getting a tan or doing a bit of swimming, then Santa Monica would definitely be the best choice for your vacation.