Some neighborhoods are served by local DASH minibuses(your area code + 808-2273; www.ladottransit.com). Here are some of the useful routes (fare per boarding 75¢) :
Beachwood Canyon Route Useful for close-ups of the Hollywood Sign, runs from Hollywood Blvd up Beachwood Dr.
Downtown Routes Six separate routes, hitting all the hot spots, including Chinatown, City Hall, Little Tokyo, the Financial District and Exposition Park.
Fairfax Route Makes a loop taking in the Beverly Center mall, the Pacific Design Center, the farmers market, LACMA and other museums on the Miracle Mile.
Hollywood/West Hollywood Route Connects Hollywood & Highland with the Beverly Center along Sunset Blvd (including Sunset Strip) and La Cienega Blvd.
Santa Monica-based Big Blue Bus (310-451-5444; www.bigbluebus.com) serves much of western LA, including Santa Monica, Venice, Westwood and LAX (75¢). Its express bus 10 runs from Santa Monica to Downtown LA ($1.75).
Unless time is no factor - or money is extremely tight - you’re going to want to spend some time behind the wheel, although this means contending with some of the worst traffic in the country. Avoid rush hour (7am to 9am and 3:30pm to 6pm).
Parking at motels and cheaper hotels is usually free, while fancier ones charge anywhere from $8 to $25 for the privilege. Valet parking at nicer restaurants and hotels is commonplace.
LA’s main public transportation agency is Metro (800-266-6883; www.metro.net), which operates about 200 bus lines as well as four rail lines:
Red Line Downtown LA’s Union Station to North Hollywood, via central Hollywood and Universal Studios.
Blue Line Downtown to Long Beach.
Gold Line Union Station to Pasadena.
Green Line Norwalk to Redondo Beach.
Tickets cost $1.25 per boarding or $3 for a day pass with unlimited rides. Bus drivers sell single tickets and day passes (exact fare required), while train tickets are available from vending machines at each station. Call the toll-free number or check the website for trip planning help.
Except for those taxis lined up outside airports, train stations, bus stations and major hotels, cabbies only respond to phone calls. The fares are metered and are $2 at flag fall plus $1.80 per mile. Some recommended companies:
Yellow Cab (800-200-1085)
Most buses are equipped with bike racks and bikes ride for free, although you must securely load and unload it yourself. Bikes are also allowed on Metro Rail trains except during rush hour (6:30am to 8:30am and 4:30pm to 6:30pm, Monday to Friday).