Beforehand: My city trip in L.A was entirely done by public transportation (Buses & Metro). Don’t be afraid what people in L.A say about their public transportation system, it’s actually pretty good and you can get around in the entire city because everything is connected.
My camera and I started the city trip in Burbank were I was staying for a conference at this time. I took the bus to L.A. Downtown in the morning and got off at the Staple Center L.A Downtown.
First I stumbled upon the Lakers & Clippers fan shop after circling around the impressive arena. At the fan shop I learned that the Clippers had a game the next day, which was the reason I got to see my first NBA game. What an exciting start!
Right next to the arena is an excellent Diner with some history, called the Pantry cafe. There I had breakfast and some good conversations. I can totally recommend that place. After that I followed the stream of people, packed with pancakes and no real target. I was heading on the the S Figueroa street towards north. Along that street you will get some nice architectural shots from the skyscrapers around you. At some point I took a right on W 7th street and was landing at the Jewelry District. Which is not nice but a great location to explore more of the city.
My next stop was Hollywood and the famous Boulevard. The most convenient way to do this from L.A. Downtown is the M Metro line (red line) which takes you about 15 minutes. Get off at the Hollywood Highland station and walk from there along the Boulevard with it’s uncountable tourist shops, which you are not likely to see because you are starring the entire time to the ground to see all the Walk of Fame stars. Little tip: When you get off the Metro, you can get a good shot of the Hollywood sign. Just look at the hills at some street corner and you will see it.
From Hollywood I was heading towards Santa Monica, which first sounds like a long drive, but in fact it’s super interesting because you get to see a lot of the city this way. To do so, take the 217 (Bus) at the end of the Hollywood Boulevard and exchange at La Brea / Wilshire into the 720er (Bus). The drive takes about one hour and not stressing at all. See the bus route on Google Maps.
After exploring Santa Monica and it’s little shopping streets and checking out the pier, I decided to walk from here towards Venice beach which is relaxing when the sun is shining and people are doing all sorts of activities. It takes you about 45 minutes if you are walking slowly. The name of the street you are walking on is “Ocean Front Walk” which tells you enough, right?
When I was there I spotted a photo shot for the German version of “Americas Next Top Model” (ANTM) with Heidi Klum. For me Venice Beach was a little culture shock at first: Botox on the beach, Medical Marijuana evaluations and dozens of street performers let you think you landed on a different planet, even though you know this place from multiple movies (White Men Can’t Jump) and TV shows you will be surprised.
After eating some good burgers in Venice Beach I decided to head back home to Burbank which is a completely different story ;)
If you are planning to explore L.A yourself, here are some travel tips for you:
Things to do: Explore Chinatown or Little Tokyo, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art or Geffen Contemporary, buy nice things at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising , The Bradbury Building, Angel’s Flight (Railway), attend a basketball game of the Lakers or Clippers (Staples Center),
Sleeping on a Budget: Checkout the USA Hostel in Hollywood I can highly recommend their accommodations. I stayed more than 2 month in the San Francisco at the USA Hostel (on Post street) and everything was perfectly organized and clean. Very good management and the chance to meet awesome people from around the world. Also attend the bar hopping, which is an easy way to meet new people and see a bit of the city.