About Los Angeles
Getting to Los Angeles


LAX Airport

The main gateway to LA is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX;  310-646- 5252;www.lawa.org), right on the coast not far south of Santa Monica and Venice. Its eight terminals are built around a horseshoe-shaped bi-level traffic loop. Ticketing and check-in are on the upper (departure) level, while baggage-claim areas are on the lower (arrival) level. The hub for most international airlines is the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

To travel between terminals, board the free Shuttle ‘A’ beneath the ‘Shuttle’ sign outside each terminal on the lower level. Hotel shuttles stop here as well. A free minibus for the mobility-impaired can be ordered by calling  310-646-6402.

Burbank Airport

Domestic flights operated by Alaska, Aloha, America West, American, Southwest and United also use the Bob Hope Airport ( 818-840-8840, 800-835-9287;www.burbankairport.com) in Burbank, in the San Fernando Valley, which is handy if you’re headed for Hollywood, Downtown or Pasadena.

Long Beach Airport

To the south, on the border with Orange County, Long Beach Airport ( 562-570-2600;www.longbeach.gov/airport) is convenient for Disneyland and is served by Alaska, American, America West and Jet Blue.

Ontario International Airport ( 909-937-2700; www.lawa.org/ont), approximately 35 miles east of Downtown LA, is another regional landing base.



The main bus terminal for Greyhound ( 213-629-8421; 1716 E 7th St) is in an unsavory part of Downtown, so avoid arriving after dark. Bus 58 makes the 10-minute trip to the transit plaza at Union Station with onward service across town, including Metro Rail’s Red Line to Hollywood. Some Greyhound buses go directly to the terminal in Hollywood ( 323-466-6381; 1715 N Cahuenga Blvd) and a few also pass throughPasadena ( 626-792-5116; 645 E Walnut St) and Long Beach ( 562-218-3011; 1498 Long Beach Blvd).

Greyhound buses serve San Diego at least hourly ($16, 2¼ to four hours) and there are up to eight buses to/from Santa Barbara ($12, 2¼ to three hours). Services to/fromSan Francisco run almost hourly ($43, 7½ to 12½ hours). There are also frequent departures to Anaheim and Disneyland ($8.50, one hour).

Car & motorcycle

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All the major international car-rental agencies have branches at LAX and throughout Los Angeles. If you haven’t prebooked, use the courtesy phones in the arrival areas at LAX. Offices and lots are outside the airport, but each company provides free shuttles to take you there. You can check all of the major car rental companies rates here.

For Harley rentals, check Eagle Rider ( 310-536-6777; www.eaglerider.com; 11860 S La Cienega Blvd, Hawthorne;  9am-5pm) or Route 66 ( 310-578-0112, 888-434-4473; 4161 Lincoln Blvd, Marina del Rey;  9am-6pm Tue-Sat, 10am-5pm Sun & Mon). Rates range from $75 to $135 a day, with discounts for longer rentals.

Union Station


Amtrak trains roll into Downtown’s historic Union Station ( 800-872-7245; 800 N Alameda St). The Pacific Surfliner travels daily to San Diego ($26, 2¾ hours), Santa Barbara ($17, 2½ hours) and San Luis Obispo ($25, 5½ hours). Amtrak cross-countryCoast Starlight, Southwest Chief and Sunset Limited trains also depart from Union Station.

***For information on the updated requirements for the Visa Waiver Program see the US Visa section of this website.***

Getting Around

Los Angeles Freeway

The city of LA sprawls over such a large area that getting around without a car can be frustrating and time consuming. The complex network of freeways connecting the sprawl can be intimidating, especially for those not used to driving in big cities, but with a map or good directions, hiring a car is the best and most popular way to see LA. The city was designed with the automobile in mind and is more driver-friendly than most big cities with wide streets and plenty of parking.

If possible, visitors should avoid rush hour traffic, which is heaviest from 7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm, when freeways often come to a standstill. Many, however, are equipped with HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes for those cars carrying more than one person - an attempt to curb vehicle emissions, these lanes tend to move more quickly.

LA is one of the cheapest places in the country to rent a car. It is also possible to get around by bus, but frequent transfers and long distances can make this slow and impractical, and it is not recommended for late-night travel. The Metro rail system has three lines, which cover only a small area of LA, but it is frequent and efficient. Taxis are also available, but they can be expensive due to the long distances. 

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