Go Solo In LA
Los Angeles is massive. Yes, its size and vast array of neighbourhoods coupled with an almost entirely automobile focused transport system means that if you don't hire a car it can be tricky to navigate. But fear not, I've done it car-less and you can too! This is how...
Do Your Research
As cities go LA isn't even really one, not in the European sense anyway. It's a fantastic clusterfuck of many cities in one delightful sprawl connected by heavily used roads. There's shit loads to see, eat, drink and do so fairly thorough research was key to making the most of my time.
For the latest events, food, drinks, and gigs plus the usual and unusual points of interest, DoLA, Songkick, Time Out, Culture Trip and Thrillist had me more than covered online. I combine my online research with books, maps and guides.
Being the extroverted introvert that I am, I really love Quiet Los Angeles, Lost In and Herb & Lester. Not only are they a welcome break from staring at a screen, each focuses on particular areas, themes and people through a tangible medium.
I'm also a massive geek. I love a spreadsheet and plan every trip using Google Docs so I can access and update on the go. My sheets are brimming with flight and accommodation information, day trips, URLs to useful articles and, most importantly, budget.
With the exception of budget for the most part, I may not stick to it to the letter but it really helps shape my itinerary and prioritise the must-sees from the mehs.
I know, I know you want to do it all. To soak up every morsel of the city's vibe, culture and prosecco possible (bottomless brunches, hello!). Me too, but it's likely only the surface will be scratched in one trip.
Don't let this get you down! Focus your energy on what you actually want to see or do - whether that's hiking to the Hollywood Sign & Griffith Observatory, vintage shopping on Melrose or getting your kicks at the Museum Of Death. This is your trip, make it so.
Everyone says you have to hire a car, and to an extent I believe them with all my heart. But, I have managed to do LA without a car without feeling I missed out on anything massive.
Going car-less on my last visit wasn't totally out of choice. As well as an international driving licence you need to have a credit card to hire a car. Unfortunately my credit card was stolen the morning of departure so any hope of cruising around Southern California solo went out the window pretty sharpish.
This wasn't a total disaster.
Uber and Lyft are very reasonable and take out the pain of getting totally lost, finding parking/attempting to park, and stressing about getting value for money. An obvious con is that whisking myself up the coast on a whim wasn't a viable option but you win some, you lose some.
The LA Metro is not all doom and gloom, I promise, although some element of extra planning was needed to make the most of this very, very cheap transport option. Sure, it doesn't go everywhere and I'm not totally convinced I'd use it late at night, but that's just me. However, staying in Palms meant I was in Santa Monica in about half an hour for $1.75. With no traffic, driving is approximately 20 minutes and will set you back $10.
No doubt that driving is fun and freeing, but if getting behind the wheel yourself isn't possible, you have decent options to hand.
Shit Happens. It's Not The End Of The World. Be Flexible.
Sometimes, shit happens. Spanners can be thrown into the works and plans change for whatever reason. Don't let it get the better of you and trust your gut - I appreciate this can be easier said than done.
Take a deep breath and consider your options. This is LA. Plenty of other plausible and possible futures await you, all perfect in their own way
That's the aim of the game, right? Get out there and enjoy everything this amazing place has to offer!