Los Angeles conjures up a lot of images and feelings. It’s a sprawling metropolis made up of dozens of eclectic neighborhoods. You have the coastal towns of Santa Monica and Venice, Hollywood, West Hollywood, posh Beverley Hills, hipster Silver Lake, and the revitalized downtown area.
Which makes planning a trip to LA a bit complicated.
In this sprawling city, where traffic is king, it can be hard to figure out where to stay so you aren’t always stuck in traffic and are near the major sights.
Usually, when I am in LA, for an extended period of time, I’ll bounce around a little but, when you’re on a short trip, that’s not always possible.
So let me break down some neighborhoods to help you plan your next trip to the City of Angels and offer some suggestions on where to stay in each spot.
But, before I get into the specific neighborhoods and recommended places to stay while there, let me answer some of the most common questions I get asked:
What is the best neighborhood in Los Angeles for budget travelers?
Venice Beach. It’s attractive, fun, and affordable.
What is the best neighborhood for to spot celebrities?
Beverly Hills, the original home of the rich and the famous (and the famously rich) is your best bet to get a selfie with an A-lister.
What is the best neighborhood in LA for partying?
Los Feliz and its adjacent neighborhoods Silver Lake and Echo Park are strewn with hipster dive bars that allow for a night of fun bar crawling. That said, you can find a party everywhere in Los Angeles.
What is the best neighborhood, overall?
Los Angeles doesn’t really have a center, but West Hollywood is about as central as you can get. It’s bustling with action, there’s plenty to see, and from here you’re a relatively short ride to the beach, Downtown, Beverly Hills, and other attractions.
So, with those questions answered, here’s a breakdown of each neighborhood with suggested accommodation for each:
Best Neighborhood for Luxury: Beverly Hills
These two words—“Beverly Hills” are known in even the most remote parts of the planet. Synonymous with rich and famous, Beverly Hills boasts some of the world’s poshest hotels, the fanciest restaurants on the planet, and some major league gawking at all the six-figure automobiles cruising the wide roads and the mansion-flanked streets.
And then there’s Rodeo Drive: studded with some of the most expensive shops and boutiques in the world, this street (it’s really an area) has been emulated in posh neighborhoods around the globe. If you want to feel like a wealthy celeb, this is the place to do it.
Best Places to Stay in Beverly Hills
- BUDGET: Hotel del Flores – Cheap accommodation in Beverly Hills? Good luck! But this simple property, located smack in the center of the area, is a good bet. Rodeo Drive is just a short walk away for when you want to get an eyeful of the one percent.
- MID-RANGE: Sixty Beverly Hills – The 250-square-foot rooms here are comfortable enough that you’ll want to hang out in the room a bit. There are upscale products in the bathrooms and handsome hardwood floors. The property also has a gym and a swimming pool that just screams “California!”
- LUXURY: Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – It’s hard to get more lux than this. Anchored on the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards,either at the pool or sipping a cocktail at the swanky Jean-George-run lounge.
Best Neighborhood for Budget Travelers: Venice Beach
Venice Beach, named because, like its Italian namesake, is strewn with canals, is the beach destination in LA for visitors. There are miles of wide sandy beaches for sunworshippers and surfers. And then there’s the famous promenade lined with stalls and shops selling souvenirs, funky clothes, and miscellanea. It’s also packed with great and affordable accommodation options.
Best Places to Stay in Venice Beach
- BUDGET: Samesun Venice Beach – Situated smack on beach, this international hostel chain has ample dorm rooms and a few double rooms. The lounge is a fun place to gather in the evening to meet fellow travelers.
- MID-RANGE: The Kinney – This artsy boutique hotel has a pool, bike rentals, and is located a short walk from the beach. Rare of LA, there’s also underground parking onsite!
- LUXURY: Venice V Hotel – Take a 1915 beachside building that was once home to Charlie Chaplin, renovate it, add things like antique typewriters, comfy beds, peacock chairs in the ocean-view rooms and you’ve got one nice hotel.
Best Neighborhood for Foodies: Koreatown
There are ample neighborhoods for the food-obsessed traveler – Thai Town, Little Ethiopia, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, plus amazing Mexican food all over the place—but I love Koreatown. It’s centrally located and loaded with incredible Korean restaurants, serving both traditional and inventive fare.
Best Places to Stay in Koreatown
- BUDGET: Libra Hotel – You need not have been born between September 23 and October 22 to stay at The Libra. But it’s friendly and affordable and right on the edge of K-Town. There are single-bed rooms as well as a dorm room and each guest room has a microwave.
- MID-RANGE: H Hotel – The H is smack in the center of the Koreatown action. Rooms have all the usual suspects: smart TVs, WiFi, above-average products in the bathrooms. The in-house H Café serves pretty good Korean staples.
- LUXURY: The Line – Opened in 2014 and arguably the hippest hotel in Los Angeles, The Line was one of the main reasons for Koreatown’s renaissance. The 388 rooms here are on the minimalist side but are spacious and comfortable. On Sunday partake in the free Tai Chi classes or take out a hotel bicycle or a spin. The minibars include Korean snacks.
Best Neighborhood for First-Time Visitors: West Hollywood
When people think of Los Angeles, they mostly think of West Hollywood. Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, film studios, tourists, the Walk of Fame, palm-tree-line streets. This are, while not the cheapest in the city, is probably the most central to everything you’ll want to visit during your first time in Los Angeles so I’d recommend staying here.
Best Places to Stay in West Hollywood
- BUDGET: Banana Bungalow West Hollywood – This social hostel hosts regular weekend BBQs, offers shuttles around the city to the main attractions (including Disney), has free Wi-Fi, and has a kitchen for cooking your own food. They have free parking too!
- MID-RANGE: Ramada – With a pool, fitness center, AC, and a restaurant on-site, this three-star hotel makes a comfy, budget-friendly place to base yourself during your visit.
- LUXURY: Andaz West Hollywood – This upscale offering by Hyatt boasts a rooftop pool as well as on-site dining with a seasonal menu. The hotel has a chic bar and the rooms are spacious, airy, and modern.