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 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. Its 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 by 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 LA. In it, we’ve broken down the best places to stay in Los Angeles to help you find the perfect spot for your vacation.
- Where to Stay in Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Neighborhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Los Angeles
- 1. Hollywood – Best Neighbourhood in LA for Tourists
- 2. Venice Beach – Best Place to Stay in Los Angeles on a Budget
- 3. Downtown LA – Where to Stay in LA for Nightlife
- 4. West Hollywood – One of the Coolest Areas to Stay in Los Angeles
- 5. Santa Monica – Best Place In Los Angeles For Families To Stay
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Los Angeles
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in LA
Looking for somewhere to stay but don’t have much time? These are my highest recommendations for places to stay in LA.
Best Airbnb in Los Angeles: Private Studio near the Hollywood Sign
If location is your top priority, then this vacation rental in LA is a winner. Adjacent to Griffith Park where you can hike to see the Hollywood Sign and Thai Town, where you can taste various authentic Thai cuisine. This studio apartment is conveniently located near the 101 highway, just a 10-minute drive to Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, Walk of Fame and a few blocks from Franklin Village.
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 my top choice for where to stay in LA. 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.
Best Hotel in Los Angeles: Grafton on Sunset
Grafton on Sunset is a luxurious and modern four-star luxury hotel in West Hollywood – and one of my recommendations for where to stay in Los Angeles. It has a beautiful saltwater swimming pool, concierge service, and a great on-site restaurant and lounge. It is centrally located and ideal for exploring Hollywood, Beverly Hills and beyond.
Hollywood, California is a top destination for tourists and our recommendation for where to stay in Los Angeles for the first time.
Venice Beach is a fun and funky neighbourhood located on the Pacific Ocean and on of the best places to stay in Los Angeles if money is tight. West of Downtown LA, this neighbourhood epitomizes California cool.
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.
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.
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.
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 travelers of all ages, styles and budgets.
It is divided into eight districts that are home to diverse and exciting neighborhoods. This guide will highlight the top activities and attractions by interest, and help you decide where to stay in Los Angeles based on those.
Centrally located, Downtown Los Angeles is the heart of LA’s business and cultural districts. Home to trendy restaurants and luxurious hotels, this neighborhood is where you’ll find the hottest parties and liveliest clubs.
Northwest of downtown Los Angeles is Hollywood. Famous for celebrities and movie sets, this area of the city is packed with iconic landmarks, vibrant sights, and exciting people watching. There are some great accommodation options including some of the top rated hostels in LA.
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 favorite amongst travelers 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 neighborhoods 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, read on for more information.
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Los Angeles
The city of Los Angeles is spread out over 1,302 square kilometres. Choosing where to stay when visiting Los Angeles can be tough. Although it has a public transit network, the buses and metro leave a lot to be desired. Uber is available, but you should expect delays on the busy and chaotic city streets.
The easiest way to explore the different neighborhoods is by renting a car or staying at the center of the action, which means you want to pick the best area to stay in LA for your specific interests.
Some neighborhoods are better suited than others to certain activities. Do you want to have the beach at your doorstep? Perhaps you’d like to see LA’s 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 and find the best place to stay in Los Angeles based on your interests.
Here are the best areas to stay in Los Angeles broken down by interest.
The best location to stay in Los Angeles for beginners! Hollywood, California is a top destination for tourists and my 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 Theater and the unforgettable Hollywood sign making it the best place to stay in LA for tourists.
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!
Best Airbnb in Hollywood: Private Studio near the Hollywood Sign
If location is your top priority, then this Airbnb is a winner. Adjacent to Griffith Park where you can hike to see the Hollywood Sign and Thai Town, where you can taste various authentic Thai cuisine. This studio apartment is conveniently located near the 101 highway, just a 10-minute drive to Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, Walk of Fame and a few blocks from Franklin Village.
Best Luxury House in Hollywood Hills: Massive Home for You and Your Friends
Alright, hear us out first! This mansion in Hollywood Hills definitely isn’t one of the affordable accommodations but there’s a trick to it. The house sleeps up to 8 people and offers an impressive 6000 sq. ft. (enough space for you and your friends), so just split the bill at the end and, boom, you’ve got luxury for a super cheap price! The deck, sauna, jacuzzi, incredible location, full bar, and pool table add to the value of this home as well, but the one thing that really stands out is the quality and cleanliness. Check out the pictures and convince yourself!
Best Hostel in Hollywood: Orange Drive Hostel
This Hollywood hostel benefits from an amazing location. It’s close to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood’s top restaurants. It has a full kitchen, and modern common room, and each stay includes free breakfast. Enjoy a relaxing environment just a few steps from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.
Best Hotel in Hollywood: Hollywood Hotel Los Angeles
This charming and colorful luxury hotel is in the center of Hollywood. It has a gym, and swimming pool, and each room is outfitted with a private bathroom and free wifi. Guests can enjoy drinks at the bar or dine on a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant.
Things to see and do in Hollywood
- Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- See the hand and footprints of your favourite stars at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
- Spend the day at Universal Studios where you can ride rollercoasters and step inside your favourite films and TV shows.
- 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 Warner Brothers Studios, where you can explore film sets and TV sets.
- Take a sightseeing bus around celebrity neighborhoods.
- 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.
Venice Beach is a fun and funky neighborhood located on the Pacific Ocean. West of Downtown LA, this neighborhood epitomizes California cool. Famous for its iconic beaches and bohemian atmosphere, Venice Beach is the epicenter of LA’s counter-culture, hippie living and vintage vibes.
Not only is Venice Beach one of the coolest and best areas to stay in Los Angeles, but it is also my top choice for travelers 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.
Best Airbnb in Venice Beach: Guest Studio with Pool and Hot Tub
If you want everything during your stay – and yes, I mean everything! – look no further than this stunning Airbnb. It’s located in a top area, offers a pool and a hot tub, multiple surfboards, a washing machine and dryer, skateboards, bicycles, a super comfy bed, a ping pong table… do I need to go on? On top of all these cool things, the guest studio also has a sauna, which is pretty rare for Venice Beach!
Best Hostel in Venice Beach: Samesun Venice Beach
Where is the best place to stay in Los Angeles? It could be Venice Beach. A great seaside location and hip décor are just two of the reason this stylish hostel is my 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.
Best Hotel in Venice Beach: Hotel Erwin
If you want to stay as close as possible to the beach, you can’t find a better place than this stunning boutique hotel. You have unrestricted views of the sea, beach and street promenade from your private balcony. There’s also a massive rooftop where you can have a couple of drinks with your friends. In addition to that, you can also make use of the in-house bicycle rental or head to the fitness center with your day pass, which is included in your booking. If you’re getting hungry but don’t want to go out again, you’ll be happy to hear that the hotel has its own restaurant as well.
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 an outdoor terrace. Guests will enjoy relaxing in their spacious and comfortable rooms that are fitted with fans, a fridge and a private bathroom. Venice Beach is definitely amongst the best neighborhoods to stay in 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.
Downtown LA is the best place in the center 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 is one of the top places to stay in Los Angeles if you want to be in a central location and save a few bucks.
Downtown LA is also home to some of 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.
Best Airbnb in Downtown: Airy and modern loft in DTLA.
Chic and clean, this space is perfect for two to four guests and boasts some modern amenities like 55″ Sony TV, Apple TV, Xbox, WIFI, commercial-grade wireless, firewall, and internet protection; wireless printer and scanner. This is one of the best Airbnbs in LA to make any tech junkie quake with excitement!
Best Apartment in Downtown: Affordable Condo in the Heart of Downtown
Experiencing the nightlife of LA can end up quite pricey sometimes. In order to spend more money on drinks, you’ll need to find a cheap place to stay – but at the same time, no one wants to cure their hangover in a smelly, loud dorm. This super-affordable condo offers great value for its price and complete privacy. Located in the heart of Downtown, the buzzy streets are pretty much right outside your doorstep! That is why this is one of the best VRBOs in LA.
Best Hostel in Downtown: Freehand Los Angeles
Freehand Los Angeles is one of the best hostels in the city – and my 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.
Best Hotel in Downtown: American Hotel Los Angeles
Thanks to its hip and rustic décor, and fantastic location, this is one of the best 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.
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 food at one of the food vendors at the Grand Central Market.
- 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.
- Catch a performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
- Enjoy great beer and a wonderful atmosphere at Boomtown Brewery.
- Grab a spot at the Edison, a hip bar built in the basement of an old Downtown nuclear power plant.
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected. It’s just that easy.
Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.Buy an eSIM!
West Hollywood is one of the coolest and best places to stay 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 is easy to walk around. West Hollywood is also a hub for the LGBTQ communities and Hollywood up-and-comers, since it’s close to Beverly Hills.
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 is the best part of LA to stay in tune with the decadent, gauche Hollywood spirit.
Best Airbnb in West Hollywood: Green and sunny vintage home
This cute studio is the perfect spot to relax after a long day of exploring. It’s decorated with an eye for detail, which gives it a super charming and welcoming vibe. The vintage style is being highlighted by a couple of nice houseplants (don’t worry, you won’t have to water them) and a sun-flooded living area. You can make use of the small library and head up to the rooftop to admire the stunning sunset (they’re next level according to the host!). All-in-all, it’s a real home away from home!
Best Hostel in West Hollywood: Banana Bungalow West Hollywood
Thanks to its central location, this hostel is my 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.
Best Hotel in West Hollywood: Grafton on Sunset
Grafton on Sunset is a luxurious and modern four-star hotel – and one of my recommendations for West Hollywood as well as favorite places to stay in LA. It has a beautiful saltwater swimming pool, concierge service, and a great on-site restaurant and lounge. It is centrally located and ideal for exploring West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and beyond.
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.
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.
If you ask me where the best place to stay is, it’s Santa Monica. Santa Monica is a fabulous neighbourhood located in western LA, and one of the best places to stay in LA 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 my 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.
Best Airbnb in Santa Monica: Large 3 bedroom family apartment
Accommodating up to 6 guests at a time, this 3 bedroom bungalow is the perfect place for you and your family. You’re in a prime, but safe location, only a 5 minute walk to Santa Monica beach. It’s equipped with everything you need, including a modern kitchen where you can cook delicious meals to refuel after a long day of exploring the area. If you don’t feel like making use of the kitchen, there are plenty of restaurants around too.
Best Apartment in Santa Monica: Massive Family Home in Top Location
If you’re looking for a safe place for you and your family, you just found the perfect one. This stunning apartment doesn’t just offer a total of 1200sqft., it’s also located in a safe upscale residential area that is within walking distance of supermarkets, such as Whole Foods. If you want to, you can make use of the fully stocked kitchen, but there are plenty of restaurant options around as well. It’s close to the beach and some of LA’s top hotspots. The highlight of this home is the spacious living area – perfect to bring the whole family together after a long day!
Best Hostel in Santa Monica: Ocean Park Hotel
The best budget accommodation 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 a flat-screen TV.
Best Hotel in Santa Monica: Travelodge Santa Monica
This hotel is my 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.
Things to see and do in Santa Monica
- Relax on the beach or play in the surf at Annenberg Community Beach House.
- Go shopping along the Third Street Promenade.
- 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.
- Head to the Pacific Park amusement park and ride the solar Ferris wheel.
- Relax in the Palisades Park.
- 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.
- Head over to the stunning Manhatten Beach for the day.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Los Angeles
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Los Angeles and where to stay.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for LA
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
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. The best areas to stay in LA are spread across the city and each has its own character.
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 has covered the top areas in the city of Angels. That said, if you’re still not sure where to stay in LA, I highly recommend Orange Drive Hostel.
If you need some more inspiration about where to stay in LA, consider checking out these motels in LA for a truly authentic and affordable experience.
Do you own or run a kick ass hostel? Want to be featured in this list? Get in touch at [email protected]
Bye for now, but not forever!
If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!