Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice Beach – I’m sure you heard all of these, am I right? They’re all in L.A.! Los Angeles, also known as the “City of Angels” is one of the most famous destinations for people interested in arts, film and music (or any other creative industry in general) in the United States. With over 17 million inhabitants, it is actually actually the 2nd biggest city in the USA!
But Los Angeles means so much more than just Hollywood, pristine beaches and sunny weather; actually, the city has so much to offer to ALL types of travelers out there, regardless if you’re a solo backpacker, a couple or a family looking for some relaxation.
In case you decided to pay a visit to this incredible city, the next thing you probably have in mind’s where to stay in Los Angeles, am I right? Well, this is quite a challenge, as there are so many INCREDIBLE districts in this HUGE city that it might feel a bit overwhelming (to say the least) to decide, especially for people visiting L.A. for the first time that really want to experience everything that this city has to offer.
And this is where I come to the rescue! In this article you’ll find everything you need to know about the 6 best areas to stay in Los Angeles, together with my personalized hotel recommendations.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
- If you’re in a hurry…
- 1. Hollywood – Where to stay in Los Angeles for the first time
- 2. Venice Beach – Where to stay in Los Angeles on a budget
- 3. Downtown L.A. – Where to stay in Los Angeles for nightlife
- 4. Santa Monica – Where to stay in Los Angeles with a family
- 5. West Hollywood
- 6. Beverly Hills
- Best apartments in Los Angeles
- Best hotels near Los Angeles International Airport
- BONUS – Where NOT to stay in LA (+ the list of safest neighbourhoods)
If you’re in a hurry…
The best area to stay in Los Angeles for people visiting for the first time is Hollywood. It’s THE place to be if you want to soak in the true vibe of L.A. and if you want to be close to countless important landmarks – and maybe even spot some celebrities as well, who knows?
Best hotels in Los Angeles in a nutshell:
And, if you don’t have the time to scroll down and choose from all the areas, here are the best places to stay in LA:
Which area should you choose?
First of all, here is a map of all the Los Angeles neighborhoods I am going to talk about in this post, so you can easily visualize them:
As I mentioned above, Los Angeles is a very BIG city and it’s divided into 8 districts, which are further divided into several different neighborhoods, each with its own vibe and unique advantages.
But how can you choose? Check out my personalized list of recommendations below that will help you decide where to stay in Los Angeles depending on your travel style and personal preferences:
- Where to stay in Los Angeles for luxury: Beverly Hills
- Best area to stay in Los Angeles for budget travelers: Venice Beach
- Best area for families: Santa Monica
- Best area for nightlife: Downtown
Now that everything’s a bit more clear for you, let me tell you everything you need to know about the 6 best areas to stay in Los Angeles below:
1. Hollywood – Where to stay in Los Angeles for the first time
Hollywood is definitely one of the BEST areas to stay in Los Angeles for people who are experiencing this city for the first time! Why? Besides being extremely famous, Hollywood has something for everyone – people watching, iconic attractions, incredible food places and more!
Ah, the iconic sights in Hollywood! Where do I even start? From the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame to the picture-perfect Hollywood sign, from the well-known Grauman’s Chinese Theatre or the Universal Studios Hollywood to the scenic Hollywood Boulevard or Griffith Park – you’ll find all these in this amazing district, and more!
Hollywood is very safe and it’s also FULL of amazing restaurants, cafes, pubs and, of course, clubs for all tastes and budgets out there. I’m sure you associate the word “Hollywood” with a luxurious lifestyle, but I’ll let you know that, although super beautiful, this part of the city is not as glamorous as in the movies, and you might be surprised to find out that there are also some very good budget accommodations in this area!
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- Loews Hollywood Hotel – This is one of the best hotels in Hollywood if you want to be very close to the Walk of Fame and Universal Studios as well! This 4-star hotel has a rooftop pool and a sun terrace, plus amazing service – so great!
- W Hotel Hollywood – If you’re looking for incredibly luxurious places to stay with a view of the Hollywood sign from the window, this one’s for you! It has 2 on-site restaurants and a rooftop pool as well – how awesome is that?
Middle-priced (US$50 – US$150)
- Best Western Plus Hollywood Hills Hotel – In case you’re looking for some amazing mid-range hotels in Los Angeles, this one is a great choice for you! It awaits with spacious rooms, a very friendly staff and an incredible location, close to countless important attractions.
- Dresden B & B – Here’s another excellent choice in this cool neighborhood! This Los Angeles hotel has free Wi-Fi, a comfy bed, full access to a pool and more!
Budget (up to US$50)
- Banana Bungalow Hollywood – In case you’re on a hunt for nice Los Angeles hotels that are perfect for budget travelers and backpackers, you just found one of the best ones out there! This cool motel-turned-hostel awaits with a friendly atmosphere.
- USA Hostels Hollywood – Here’s another good choice on my list of cheap hotels in Los Angeles! This property has some unbeatable prices and some very good reviews – and free breakfast as well – so good!
2. Venice Beach – Where to stay in Los Angeles on a budget
Venice Beach is the ideal spot if you want to experience some amazing California beaches and a very cool and fun atmosphere – sounds like a great vacation place, right?
Venice Beach is one of the coolest and most interesting places for all kinds of tourists out there, especially if you’re a bohemian interested in vintage things, but it’s also THE place to be for tourists traveling to the city on a budget. You’ll find plenty of great hostels and dorm rooms here for as little as US$40-50, which will help you save some pennies for sure.
While you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to take a walk on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Main Street (the main streets of the area), soak in some California sun on Venice Beach (of course), see the Mosaic Tile House, explore the Venice Canals by boat or simply relax and soak in the unique atmosphere.
One of the best things about Venice Beach is that it’s super walkable – that’s why I recommend exploring it as much as you can!
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- Hotel Erwin – Are you looking for a superb beach hotel where you’ll feel spoiled during your vacation? This wonderful property is right down the street from the Venice Boardwalk and it awaits with new and cool facilities!
- Inn at Venice Beach – This cool 4-star hotel has some very spacious and clean rooms that I’m sure you’ll love! During your stay, you’ll be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi along with an on-site cafe, a continental breakfast and more.
Middle-priced (US$50 – US$160)
- Venice Breeze Suites – If you want a cool beach hotel located right on the sand, this one is for you! You’ll surely enjoy your stay here thanks to the useful staff, the rooftop deck with BBQ facilities, the cool decor and more!
- Ocean Front/View Bunk beds – In case you didn’t find the ideal hotel with sea view for your vacation yet, you should check this one out! Staying here means you’ll have access to private parking, free Wi-Fi and superb views.
Budget (up to US$50)
- Samesun Venice Beach – This awesome hostel is located extremely close to the beach and it has some pretty incredible prices! During your stay you’ll have access to a common kitchen, different types of rooms that you can choose from and more. Better book it soon, before all the rooms are sold out!
- The Venice Beach Hostel – Here’s another one on my list of incredibly good budget places to stay in Los Angeles! This hostel is cozy and super clean and it awaits with a friendly atmosphere, while also being close to the beach.
3. Downtown L.A. – Where to stay in Los Angeles for nightlife
Are you a night owl? A party animal that wants to experience all the cool nightlife spots in Los Angeles? Then the Downtown area is the right place for you!
Downtown LA (DTLA) is the heart and soul of Los Angeles and the main spot for people interested in culture and business as well. There is always something exciting happening here as well, regardless if we’re talking about a cool concert, a crazy party or a street performance.
Although Downtown Los Angeles is generally safe, especially during the day, I wouldn’t recommend it to families, as walking there at night might get uncomfortable due to the number of unsheltered people around the area.
Downtown LA is also very walkable, so one of the first things you’ll do while you’re here is to take a stroll on the beautiful streets and admire everything that this awesome neighborhood has to offer. While you’re here, you can also visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Chinatown, the Microsoft Theatre and the Disney concert hall, the Grammy Museum – and more.
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- InterContinental – Los Angeles Downtown – Are you looking for the ultimate spoiled stay in Downtown LA? Well, I’m happy to announce that you just found it! This cool 4-star hotel has an on-site fitness center, 3 restaurant options, incredibly spacious rooms and unforgettable views!
- The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles L.A. Live – Here’s another one on my list of incredibly luxurious hotels in Los Angeles! This 5-star hotel has a rooftop pool, an on-site spa and many other cool facilities and amenities!
Middle-priced (US$60 – US$160)
- American Hotel – Here’s one of my top property recommendations for all those of you looking for a great mid-range hotel in the heart of Los Angeles. This one has free Wi-Fi, a concierge service and many other cool advantages.
- Best Western Plus Dragon Gate Inn – Next in line is another great place that offers a very good value for the money you’ll be paying. Guests will surely feel at home here thanks to the amazing service, careful staff and the clean and warm rooms.
Budget (up to US$60)
- Freehand Los Angeles – Are you looking for good cheap hotels in Downtown Los Angeles? This one’s for you! During your stay you’ll be able to use the rooftop pool, the bar, the full-service restaurant and more!
4. Santa Monica – Where to stay in Los Angeles with a family
Santa Monica is located in the Western part of the city, on the coast, and I totally recommend it if you want to have a cool vacation by the beach. It’s also one of the best areas for families traveling to the City of Angels!
I can say that Santa Monica is the ideal combination between the vibrant center and a relaxed beach atmosphere – sounds pretty much ideal, right? If you choose to stay in this area, you’ll be surrounded by everything you’ll ever need – unforgettable restaurants, tons of shops, interesting sights and, of course, superb beaches.
While you’re here, make sure to pay a visit to the Santa Monica Pier and the Aquarium, Santa Monica History Museum, the Museum of Flying, the Farmer’s Market, Tongva or Palisades Park or take a ride on the Ferris Wheel. Or simply sunbathe at Santa Monica State Beach – why not?
Convinced? Here are the best hotels in Santa Monica I could find for you:
Luxury (US$220 and up)
- Casa Del Mar – Are you looking for a superb beach house that seems taken out from a sweet dream? Then search no more, you just found it! This 5-star hotel looks incredible and it has 2 on-site restaurants and other amazing luxury perks awaiting.
- Viceroy Santa Monica – Here’s an excellent 4-star hotel located very close to Santa Monica Pier and other popular attractions in this neighborhood! Some of the cool things about this place are the 2 outdoor pools, the on-site restaurant and more.
Middle-priced (US$150 – US$220)
- SureStay Hotel by Best Western Santa Monica – This hotel offers a great value for the money and it’s not far from the beach either. The rooms are very clean and nice, and the staff is super friendly. Just check out the pictures, I’m sure you’ll like it!
- Gateway Hotel Santa Monica – Here’s another great choice if you want to enjoy a flawless service without spending a ton of money on accommodation. This one has a 24-hour gym, free Wi-Fi, underground parking and more!
Budget (up to US$150)
- HI Los Angeles – Santa Monica Hostel – This cute and super affordable hostel is super close to the beaches and it’s also a great base for those that want to explore the most important sights and landmarks in the area – so great!
- Santa Monica Motel – This cool motel has some very good prices and I think it’s a great solution for those traveling to Santa Monica on a very tight budget. They offer free coffee in the morning as well!
5. West Hollywood
If you love fashion, shopping and celebrity spotting, then you’ll surely fall in love with West Hollywood!
West Hollywood is one of the best areas to stay in the city if you’re looking for a fun atmosphere; this neighborhood caters for all kids of needs! You’ll have plenty of cool restaurants nearby, as well as boutique shops, vintage shops and even a farmer’s market. This area of the city is one of the most loved one by locals as well, by the way!
Some of the highlights of this area include the Sunset Plaza (ideal for some shopping), the Farmer’s Market (you might even spot a star or two here, by the way), the legendary Sunset Strip (a section of Sunset Boulevard), Runyon Canyon Park and, of course, LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
If you feel like this is the place for you, scroll down to find my recommended West Hollywood hotels for all budgets in the area:
Luxury (US$250 and up)
- Sunset Marquis Hotel – In case you want to feel like a queen/king during your stay while being super close to Sunset Strip and other important attractions in the area, this superb 4-star hotel is for you! It has 2 outdoor pools and a restaurant – what more can you wish for?
- Andaz West Hollywood – Here’s another superb luxury hotel that features a rooftop pool and beautiful rooms where you’ll feel spoiled and relaxed. I think it’s the best place to stay in Los Angeles if you want to be in West Hollywood!
Middle-priced (US$100 – US$250)
- Grafton on Sunset – This nice 4-star boutique hotel in Los Angeles awaits with a 24-hour fitness center, free Wi-Fi, an on-site restaurant and bar – so great! Plus, the staff is super friendly and helpful and the rooms are cozy.
- The Charlie West Hollywood – Here’s one of the best mid-range hotels in the entire Los Angeles city! It’s located in a historical building and it has free Wi-Fi, modern kitchens, cute rooms and more!
Budget (up to US$100)
- Banana Bungalow West Hollywood – This cool and comfortable hostel is right in the heart of the neighborhood, close to countless interesting attractions and sights. Ah, and did I mention that their prices for mixed dorm rooms are simply unbeatable?
6. Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is located on the West, in-between Hollywood and the coastal areas. From boutique shops to business centers, palm trees, luxurious mansions and beautiful streets – this beautiful area has it all and I’m convinced you’ve seen at least some parts of it in tons of movies!
If you’re all about luxury and designer shops, then you’ll love Beverly Hills. But hey, don’t expect this famous neighborhood of Los Angeles to be tailored for the rich only, as everyone is welcomed and the area offers a little bit of something for everyone.
If you want to spot a celebrity during your stay in Los Angeles, trust me, Beverly Hills is THE place where it’s most likely to happen!
During your stay, you can explore the food places and shops near the famous Rodeo Drive, but you won’t have tons of iconic landmarks and attractions – for these, you’ll have to go to the other neighborhoods I am recommending in this post. Ah, and did I mention that Beverly Hills is one of the safest areas in the entire LA?
That being said, here are the best Beverly Hills hotels to choose from:
Luxury (US$200 and up)
- The Peninsula Beverly Hills – When it comes to luxury hotels, Los Angeles surely knows how to make them! This is the best accommodation in the entire city in my opinion and it’s very close to Rodeo Drive and other important sights. Just take a look at the pictures, you’ll fall in love!
- Hotel Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Is this the best place to stay in LA for a luxurious experience? I don’t know, but it might be! This 5-star hotel in Los Angeles awaits with a terrace and incredible views from each room!
- Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles – Here’s another great 5-star property in the heart of this district. Some of the best things about staying here include the on-site Italian restaurant, an on-site library and even a gym – so great!
Middle-priced (US$100 – US$200)
- Beverly Hills Private Bungalow – This cool guest house is a great way to save some money while still enjoying a very good service! It’s small but comfortable and full of personality and it has a sun terrace, free Wi-Fi, a kitchenette and more.
- Silver Box – This 3-star holiday home is just great for a bigger group! Some of the advantages of staying here include access to outdoor dining, free Wi-Fi and beautiful views of LA.
Budget (up to US$100)
- DormShare – Are you looking for cheap accommodation in this incredible neighborhood? You just found it! This one has clean and cozy dorm rooms that will help you save some money and they have on-site parking as well for an additional fee.
Best apartments in Los Angeles
Apartments are a great choice for all those of you seeking for some comfort and a homey feeling. They’re a great choice for people who want to save some money during their stay (private rooms in shared apartments have some amazing prices compared to hotels in general) or for those traveling in a big group that wants to stick together, for example a family.
As I mentioned before, Los Angeles has something for everyone so, naturally, it doesn’t lack tons of incredible Airbnb options either. I have selected the best apartments I could find for you down below, all sorted by price and with great reviews and all of them in Hollywood (my recommendation for people traveling to LA for the first time) or West Hollywood:
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- Rustic Space Perched in the Hollywood Hills – In case you want to feel in luxury at home, this incredible apartment is for you! It’s on Hollywood Hills and the decor choices are impeccable – just take a look at the pictures!
- Hollywood Hills Zen Retreat with Gorgeous Views – Here’s another amazing choice if you want to have the ultimate luxurious vacation in Hollywood Hills! This one has a pool, an outdoor shower and it’s just perfect for 2 guests.
Middle-priced (US$90 – US$150)
- Ultra Clean, Spacious & Lux Private Rm, Bath & A/C – This clean and colorful room in a shared apartment is a very good option if you want to save some money and still be in the center of it all! It’s right in the heart of West Hollywood, by the way!
- Hollywood Bungalow Oasis – Here’s another great mid-range option for you! This entire guesthouse is just perfect for up to 5 guests, it’s clean and it has an easy check-in and check-out system – so great!
Budget (up to US$90)
- Nice bedroom in WEHO – This cute room in an apartment is an ideal choice for all those of you traveling on a very tight budget that still want to be in a great area. It won’t take you long to reach the main sights and attractions in the area and you’ll feel right at home here!
- Mexican inspired room in the heart of Hollywood – If you prefer a joyful, colorful room instead, this one may be designed for you! It’s super clean and cozy and it comes with some very good rates – win-win!
Best hotels near Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the main international airport of Los Angeles metropolitan area and the place where you’ll most probably land when you arrive in the city. The airport is located 19 miles / 30 km away from Downtown, which means around 20 minutes by car.
In case you have a very early or very late flight to Los Angeles, I advise you to book a room located as close to the airport as possible; this way, you won’t be in a rush to leave your hotel room in the morning and you won’t have to carry your luggage downtown during the night. This can also save you quite some sleep, so I’d say that in some cases this is a very good idea.
If you decide to do so, below I have found the 3 best airport hotels in Los Angeles (one for each type of budget):
- (Luxury) Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport – Here’s my recommendation for those of you that want to stay in a luxurious property close to the airport. This 4-star hotel is less than 1 km from the airport and it has tons of different rooms to choose from!
- (Middle-priced) Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX – This 3-star mid-range hotel is 1.4 km from the airport and it awaits with clean and comfy rooms and a very good service!
- (Budget) LAX Teresa B&B – For those of you that are on a budget I can recommend this nice homestay that comes with some great prices and a super friendly staff. Plus, it’s only 2 km from the airport!
BONUS – Where NOT to stay in LA (+ the list of safest neighbourhoods)
First of all, I want to make it clear that Los Angeles is a safe city to visit, after all there are more than 35 million tourists going there each year! And it’s becoming safer and safer with each passing year. But although the city is mostly safe to visit and walk around, there are some sketchy areas that I wouldn’t recommend visiting, especially at night, mostly because of the homeless people living there.
Here is the list of neighborhoods that are best avoided:
- Skid Row (the largest number of homeless people in the US live here)
- South Central
- Downtown LA (only at night)
- Hyde Park
- West Adams
And here is the list of the safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles:
- Any of the neighborhoods recommended in this article (Hollywood, Venice, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills), except Downtown LA at night
- Marina del Rey
- Mar Vista
- Playa del Rey
As with any other city in this wide world, if you follow some common precaution measures such as being mindful of your belongings and surroundings at all times and avoiding the sketchy areas at night, you’ll surely be safe in LA!
Yay, you have reached the end of my complete guide on Los Angeles accommodation! I hope this post was useful to you and maybe you already found your dream hotel, who knows?
In this post I have explained everything you need to know about the 6 best neighborhoods in Los Angeles – from the famous Hollywood to Santa Monica and Venice Beach, and I gave you my hand-picked hotel recommendations for each of them, all with fabulous reviews and sorted out by budget. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and not recommend some incredible apartments in the city, as well as airport hotels. In short, everything you need is right here!
Are you heading to LA soon? Do you have any other questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments, I’m happy to help!
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