Before arriving in Los Angeles, my friend and I had naively assumed that the public transport would be simple and easy to navigate. How did we get it so wrong? A lack of planning.
I speak from experience when I implore you to research timetables and how to get to places of interest before straying away from the internet. It is important to recognise just how vast LA is, as well as considering the length of time it can actually take to make any headway in the city’s condensed traffic – particularly during rush hour, which seems to go far beyond the times we would consider as peak rush hour times in England (around 5am to 11am and 3pm to as late as 9pm). My only advice would be, if you choose to explore the sites of Los Angeles by bus, use the site below as your Bible!
I would suggest selecting accommodation within close proximity to bus and metro stops. Luckily, my friend and I had. This was more to do with wanting to be close to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it proved to be a lucky decision transport-wise too. In this vicinity there are two Metro stops, as well as a number of bus stops. Unlike others staying in our hostel, we had not even begun to consider the possible benefits of renting a car for the week. However, it is not impossible to enjoy LA without the use of a car, as I have tried to demonstrate below with the outings I went on by bus during my time in the city.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
3400 W. Riverside Drive Burbank
From the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Take the number 222 bus towards Sun Valley. It will take around half an hour to get to Burbank, where the studios are located.
Everyone knows Los Angeles is the home of many major blockbuster films and well-known television series. With this in mind, my friend and I felt compelled to visit one of the city’s studios and headed to the Warner Bros Studio, where we had booked a tour online a few days prior. True, a studio visit can take away the magic of films; those dark and gloomy cities filled with superheroes that are actually made of perforated card, or that cosy coffee shop with a well-known group of friends that is actually located in an area more reminiscent of a desert than central New York. However, being able to visit the sets of one’s favourite films and television series provides an undeniable buzz.
The majority of the tour takes place on an electric cart, enabling the guide to whizz you around to many a set; providing a running commentary as they drive. This was combined with short periods outside of the vehicle to view costumes and props from major Hollywood blockbusters, such as Harry Potter and Batman. If the latter is of interest, 2015 is the year to visit, as a special Batman Exhibit is currently open to celebrate the DC hero’s 75th anniversary.
In addition to driving past sets, visitors are taken by foot to working sets and to the familiar preserved café of Central Perk. The whole tour provides visitors with a nice combination of the studio’s current role in the industry, as well as its previous importance and successful ventures.
Central Perk- author’s own
LA Farmers’ Market
6333 W.3rd St
From the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Take the number 217 bus Southbound to Fairfax Avenue. Again, this takes around half an hour, but can take longer in rush hour.
During our few days in Los Angeles, my friend and I became big fans of the LA Farmers’ Market for food, a general explore and an evening stroll. Unlike most Farmers’ Markets, these stalls are a permanent fixture. Good job really, because with such an overwhelming choice of eateries a second visit is needed!
The Grove is also located nearby. This is – essentially – an outdoor mall, but designed in a visually pleasing manner, with a free old-fashioned style trolley linking it to the marketplace, a dancing fountain and, at Christmas time, the largest tree in the whole of Los Angeles.
Familiar brand names appear in this area, such as the department store Barney’s, but with its outdoor location the shops have a different feel to your typical mall. Although busy and still popular with tourists, the LA Farmers’ Market provides a more relaxing environment than the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.