Wondering Where to Stay in Los Angeles? (MUST READ • 2019)

Wondering where to stay in Los Angeles, a sprawling city in California? We've covered the best areas in LA + what to do in each neighborhood!

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The City of Angels has been calling artists and musicians to its gates for decades. This is creatives and artists congregate for the film, music, and art that have captivated our generations.

But LA is more than just Hollywood, and more than just palm trees, athleisure outfits, and year-round beach weather, though we can’t complain about consistent sun. Los Angeles has diversity, culture, food, and art around every corner.

It’s surf and skate district is alive and well, and it’s a city that not only stays with the trends but helps invent them.

Each district in LA is totally distinct, and LA is not so much one city as several spread-out cities combined. Most travelers are surprised to long it takes to drive around LA.

This is why it’s crucial to base yourself in an area close to your interests, and the reason we wrote this guide on where to stay in Los Angeles.

We’ve broken down LA’s best neighborhoods to help you find the perfect spot for your vacation.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Los Angeles

  • Where to stay in Los Angeles first time – Hollywood
  • Where to stay in Los Angeles on a budget – Venice Beach
  • Best area to stay in Los Angeles for nightlife – Downtown
  • Coolest place to stay in Los Angeles – West Hollywood
  • Best neighbourhood in Los Angeles for families – Santa Monica

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Hollywood
Hollywood, California is a top destination for tourists and our recommendation for where to stay in Los Angeles for the first time.
Places to Visit:
  • Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Tickle your taste buds with a famous In-N-Out burger
  • Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, a quirky and interesting museum

 

 

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Los Angeles. Make sure to check out our guide to Los Angeles’ best hostels too!

If you are traveling with a group and book an apartment, check out our Airbnb post for a 35% discount!

 

Best Hostel in Los Angeles: Samesun Venice Beach

A great seaside location and hip décor are just two of the reason this Venice Beach hostel is our top choice for where to stay in Los Angeles. It has a cool common room, comfortable beds and an on-site bar and lounge. A delicious breakfast is also available to guests throughout their stay.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Hotel in Los Angeles: Grafton on Sunset

Grafton on Sunset is a luxurious and modern four-star hotel in West Hollywood – and one of our recommendations for where to stay in Los Angeles. It has a beautiful saltwater swimming pool, a concierge service, and a great on-site restaurant and lounge. It is centrally located and ideal for exploring Hollywood, Beverly Hills and beyond.

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Los Angeles Neighborhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Los Angeles

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Hollywood

  • Hollywood, California is a top destination for tourists and our recommendation for where to stay in Los Angeles for the first time.
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Venice Beach

  • Venice Beach is a fun and funky neighbourhood located on the Pacific Ocean. West of Downtown LA, this neighbourhood epitomizes California cool.
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Downtown LA

  • Downtown LA is the neighbourhood in the centre of the city. It is a busy metropolis punctuated with high towers, tall buildings, bustling streets, and lively shops.
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West Hollywood

  • West Hollywood is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in LA. It is one of the most fashionable parts of town known for its high-end boutiques and independent vintage shops.
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Santa Monica

  • Santa Monica is a fabulous neighbourhood located in western LA, and one of the best places to stay in Los Angeles by the beach. It perfectly combines the convenience of a busy city with the laid-back atmosphere of the beach.
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Los Angeles is a massive and sprawling city. The second most populous city in the United States, it’s home to more than 17 million people who hail from all corners of the globe.

Famous for its palm trees, pristine beaches, and fashionable and fabulous people, Los Angeles is a great destination for travellers of all ages, styles and budgets.

It is divided into eight districts that are home to diverse and exciting neighbourhoods. This guide will highlight the top activities and attractions by interest.

Centrally located, Downtown LA is the heart of LA’s business and cultural districts. Home to trendy restaurants and stylish hotels, this neighbourhood is where you’ll find the hottest parties and liveliest clubs.

Northwest of downtown is Hollywood. Famous for celebrities and movie sets, this area of the city is packed with iconic landmarks, vibrant sights, and exciting people watching.

Head west to the fun and funky district of West Hollywood. High-end boutiques, fitness studios, and a farmer’s market perfect for celeb spotting are just a few of the reasons this district is a favourite amongst travellers and locals alike.

Continuing west and you’ll pass through Beverly Hills en route to Santa Monica, Venice Beach and the Pacific shoreline. Known for their stunning beaches and idyllic views, these neighbourhoods are packed with great restaurants, interesting attractions, and fun activities for kids and adults of all ages.

Still not sure where to stay in Los Angeles? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

 

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Check out this post to read our full review!

 

5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Los Angeles

The city of Los Angeles is spread out over 1,302 square kilometres. Although it has a public transit network, the buses and metro leave a lot to be desired. Uber is available, but expect delays on the busy and chaotic city streets.

The easiest way to explore the different neighbourhoods is by renting a car or staying at the centre of the action, which means you want to pick the best area to stay in LA for your specific interests.

Some neighbourhoods are better suited than others to certain activities. Do you want to have the beach at your doorstep? Perhaps you’d like to see the top sights and explore on foot? Or, maybe you want to be within walking distance of the best clubs and hottest bars. All of these things are possible if you stay in the right location.

Here are the best areas in LA broken down by interest.

 

1. Hollywood – Where to Stay in LA for Tourists

Hollywood, California is a top destination for tourists and our recommendation for where to stay in Los Angeles for the first time. Here you’ll find some of Los Angeles’ most iconic sights including the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the unforgettable Hollywood sign.

It’s also a great destination for foodies. With everything from high-end restaurants and world-class cuisine to cheap eats and street food trucks, if you’re keen on sampling great dishes from around the world, this is the place for you!

Hollywood, Los Angeles

 

Things to see and do in Hollywood

– Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

– Dine on delicious Japanese food at Katsuya.

– See the hand and footprints of your favourite stars at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

– Savour innovative Mediterranean fusion at Cleo.

– Wander the iconic Hollywood Boulevard.

– See the final resting place of celebrities, like Judy Garland and Joey Ramone, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

– Spend a day at the exciting Universal Studio Hollywood, where you can explore film sets, ride rollercoasters, and step inside your favourite films and TV shows.

– Enjoy fresh and fabulous seafood at Providence Restaurant.

– Enjoy stunning views of the city from nearby Griffith Park, a great place for a hike.

– Tickle your taste buds with a famous In-N-Out burger.

– Visit the Museum of Broken Relationships, a quirky and interesting museum.

– Catch a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign.

 

Best Hostel in Hollywood: Orange Drive Hostel

This hostel has one of the best locations in Hollywood. It’s close to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood’s top restaurants. It has a full kitchen, modern common room, and each stay includes free breakfast. Enjoy a relaxing environment just a few steps from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.

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Best Hotel in Hollywood: The Moment Hotel

The Moment Hotel is a modern three-star hotel and our top choice for where to stay in Hollywood. It has air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor pool, and a stylish on-site bar and restaurant. Surrounded by the top attractions, this hotel is located at the heart of Hollywood.

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Best Hotel in Hollywood: Hollywood Hotel Los Angeles

This charming and colourful hotel is in the centre of Hollywood. It has a gym, swimming pool, and each room is outfitted with a private bathroom and free wifi. Guest can enjoy drinks at the bar or dine on a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant.

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2. Venice Beach – Where to Stay in Los Angeles on a Budget

Venice Beach is a fun and funky neighbourhood located on the Pacific Ocean. West of Downtown LA, this neighbourhood epitomizes California cool. Famous for its iconic beaches and bohemian atmosphere, Venice Beach is the epicentre of LA’s counter-culture, hippie living and vintage vibes.

Not only is Venice Beach one of the coolest places to stay in LA, it is our top choice for travellers on a budget. Here you’ll find a good selection of low-cost hostels and boutique hotels. With a wide variety of accommodations, this is where you will find great value not too far from the city.

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

 

Things to see and do in Venice Beach

– Wander down Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The main street in Venice Beach where you’ll find a mix of local boutiques, great restaurants and fun night spots.

– Grab a cone of fresh French fries at The Wee Chippy.

– Soak up the sunshine on Venice Beach.

– Treat yourself to mini doughnuts at Zelda’s Corner.

– Watch the street performers, magicians and musicians who set up shop on Venice Beach Boardwalk.

– Grab a slice of amazing pizza at Big Daddy and Sons.

– Paddle along the Venice Canals and see the neighbourhood from a different angle.

– Cool down with a cone of fresh gelato from Venice Coffee and Creamery.

– Pump some irons at Muscle Beach.

– Marvel at the detail of the Mosaic Tile House.

– Grab a board and practice some tricks at the Venice skate park.

– Enjoy fresh and delicious seafood and poke bowls at Poke-Poke.

 

Best Hostel in Venice Beach: Samesun Venice Beach

A great seaside location and hip décor are just two of the reason this stylish hostel is our top choice for where to stay in Venice Beach. It has a cool common room, comfortable beds and an on-site bar and lounge. A delicious breakfast is also available to guests throughout their stay.

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Best Hotel in Venice Beach: Cadillac Hotel

Cadillac Hotel is located at the heart of Venice. Just steps from the boardwalk, this hotel is close to restaurants, shops, and the neighbourhoods top tourist attractions. It has funky art deco décor, comfortable rooms, and modern amenities. Guests will love unwinding after a day on the beach in the stylish lounge bar.

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Best Hotel in Venice Beach: Venice On The Beach Hotel

This charming hotel is just a short walk from Muscle Beach, the Venice Boardwalk and the neighbourhood’s most famous attractions. It has a swimming pool and outdoor terrace. Guests will enjoy relaxing in their spacious and comfortable rooms that are outfitted with fans, a fridge and a private bathroom.

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3. Downtown LA – Where to Stay in LA for Nightlife

Downtown LA is the neighbourhood in the centre of the city. It is a busy metropolis punctuated with high towers, tall buildings, bustling streets, and lively shops. It’s where you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the city and a myriad of cuisines to enjoy and explore.

Downtown LA is also home to the most vibrant nightlife in Los Angeles. From trendy bars to lively clubs to celeb-filled hotspots, this is where to stay in LA if you’re looking to drink, dance and party the night away.

Downtown, Los Angeles

 

Things to see and do in Downtown

– Watch top athletes battle it out at the Staples Centre, home to the LA Kings and LA Lakers hockey and basketball teams.

– Sample great craft beer at Angel City Brewery.

– Dine on amazing authentic sushi and sashimi at Sushi Gen.

– Sip on delicious whiskey cocktails at Seven Bar Lounge.

– See panoramic views of LA and enjoy DJs spinning the latest tunes at The Rooftop at the Standard Downtown LA.

– Dance the night away at Exchange LA.

– Good food and great music – Resident has it all!

– Catch a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

– Enjoy great beer and a wonderful atmosphere at Boomtown Brewery.

– See great shows from famous bands at Club Nokia.

– Sip urbane cocktails at 7 Grand.

– Grab a spot at the Edison, a hip bar built in the basement of an old Downtown nuclear power plant.

 

Best Hostel in Downtown: Freehand Los Angeles

Freehand Los Angeles is one of the best hostels in the city – and our recommendation for where to stay in Downtown LA. It is conveniently located making it easy to explore the neighbourhood and city. It has 24-hour reception, an outdoor pool and a range of modern amenities.

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Best Hotel in Downtown: Miyako Hotel Los Angeles

Contemporary and comfortable, Miyako Hotel is one of our top choices for where to stay in Downtown LA. This three-star hotel has a Jacuzzi, coffee bar and stylish on-site restaurant. Each room is spacious, tastefully decorated and has air conditioning. Enjoy this calm oasis in the centre of the action.

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Best Hotel in Downtown: American Hotel Los Angeles

Thanks to its hip and rustic décor, and fantastic location, this is one of our favourite hotels in Downtown LA. It has comfortable rooms with modern amenities, including cable and satellite TV and air conditioning. Guests will love lounging by the pool before a night on the town.

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4. West Hollywood – One of the Coolest Areas to Stay in Los Angeles

West Hollywood is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in LA. It is one of the most fashionable parts of town known for its high-end boutiques and independent vintage shops. Here, you’ll also find a great variety of home décor stores and fabulous fitness studios.

A bit about West Hollywood: it’s built on a grid of wide and lush boulevards and easy to walk around. West Hollywood is also a hub for the LGBTQ communities and Hollywood up-and-comers.

Its colourful farmer’s market and world-class restaurants are great for sampling delicious dishes, sipping exotic drinks, and spotting a celebrity or two.

West Hollywood, Los Angeles

image source: Flickr

 

Things to see and do in West Hollywood

– Shop til you drop at Sunset Plaza.

– Enjoy great drinks with a dash of Hollywood history at the Chateau Marmont.

– Browse the stalls of fresh and fragrant flowers, fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market.

– Dine on refined Mediterranean dishes at Fig & Olive.

– Wander the infamous Sunset Strip.

– Start your Sunday with an amazing brunch at The Terrace.

– Grab a quick, cheap and delicious bite at Pink’s Hot Dogs.

– Take a hike through Runyon Canyon Park.

– Sip amazing cappuccinos at Urth Café.

– See impressive works of art including the very instagrammable Urban Light at LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

– Laugh the night away at the Comedy Store where world-famous comedians regularly pop in to perform their sets.

– Sample interesting and innovative drinks at E.P. & L.P.

– Enjoy great quality food and celeb spotting at Nobu West Hollywood.

 

Best Hostel in West Hollywood: Banana Bungalow West Hollywood

Thanks to its central location, this hostel is our top choice for where to stay in West Hollywood. Situated on the Melrose Strip, this hostel is close to bars, restaurants, shops and museums. It has a cool design and rustic décor, and guests will love making use of the BBQ area and lovely terrace.

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Best Hotel in West Hollywood: Grafton on Sunset

Grafton on Sunset is a luxurious and modern four-star hotel – and one of our recommendations for West Hollywood as well as favorite places to stay in LA.

It has a beautiful saltwater swimming pool, a concierge service, and a great on-site restaurant and lounge. It is centrally located and ideal for exploring West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and beyond.

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Best Hotel in West Hollywood: Le Parc Suite Hotel

This swanky hotel is ideal for travellers looking to enjoy an elegant stay in LA. Located in West Hollywood, Le Parc Suite Hotel has a golf course, sauna and swimming pool. Each room is tastefully decorated and comes with a kitchenette, private bathroom and luxurious robe and slippers.

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5. Santa Monica – Where to Stay in Los Angeles for Families

Santa Monica is a fabulous neighbourhood located in western LA, and one of the best places to stay in Los Angeles by the beach. It perfectly combines the convenience of a busy city with the laid-back atmosphere of the beach.

It has everything from outdoor adventures to high-class shopping and dining. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Santa Monica.

It’s also our top choice for families visiting Los Angeles. In addition to the restaurants and shops, here you’ll find a wide variety of family-friendly activities, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Farmer’s Market.

Santa Monica, Los Angeles

 

Things to see and do in Santa Monica

– Relax on the beach or play in the surf at Annenberg Community Beach House.

– Enjoy free samples and lots of fun at Candytopia.

– See sharks, octopus, fish and more at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

– Dive deep into the history of the area at the Santa Monica History Museum.

– Sample a diverse array of delicious foods at Street Food Tuesday, a weekly celebration of Santa Monica’s best street food stands, stalls and trucks.

– Ride the Pacific Park solar Ferris wheel.

– Explore the history of flight at the interactive Museum of Flying.

– Browse the stalls of produce, crafts, treats and sweets at the Farmer’s Market.

– View the world through an unusual lens at Camera Obscura.

– Play games, ride the carousel and enjoy the view at the Santa Monica Pier.

– Rent bikes and ride along the seashore.

– Explore the beautiful and unique Tongva Park.

 

Best Hostel in Santa Monica: Ocean Park Hotel

The best budget accommodations in Santa Monica is the Ocean Park Hotel. This hotel is a short drive from the beach and is close to restaurants, shops, and the museum of flying. It is clean and safe, and each room has its own kitchenette, microwave, and flat-screen TV.

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Best Hotel in Santa Monica: Travelodge Santa Monica

This hotel is our best recommendation for where to stay in Santa Monica. It is close to shops, attractions, and restaurants. The hotel has free wifi, a modern gym, and its own lush golf course. Enjoy family-sized rooms and all the essentials at this charming Santa Monica hotel.

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Best Hotel in Santa Monica: Days Inn Santa Monica

The Days Inn Santa Monica is a great choice for families visiting Los Angeles. It has large rooms, comfortable beds, and a great outdoor BBQ and picnic area.

Guests can enjoy relaxing in the sauna or working out at the gym. Close to restaurants and shops, this hotel is walking distance to a number of top tourist attractions.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in LA

There is a reason LA traffic and the 401 are so famous. Famously awful, that is. When you’re planning your trip to LA you want to book accommodation in the best area for your interests so you can avoid the traffic at all costs.

And there is plenty to do in LA, whether you want to be close to healthy restaurants, LA’s best nightlife, sunny side beaches, or the original skate culture in Venice Beach.

This guide on where to stay in Los Angeles has covered the top areas in the city of Angels. That said, if you’re still not sure where to stay in LA, we highly recommend Orange Drive Hostel.

We also have tips for staying safe in Los Angeles. And don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

Do you own or run a kick ass hostel? Want to be featured in this list? Get in touch at hostels@thebrokebackpacker.com

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps keep the site going.


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Wondering where to stay in Los Angeles, a sprawling city in California? We've covered the best areas in LA + what to do in each neighborhood!

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