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Stay in Anaheim and travel to LA downtown

Sydney, Australia
12 posts
Stay in Anaheim and travel to LA downtown

Planning to go to LA in April 2011 and got a few questions. We have two adults and two children (13 and 17 yrs old). We would like to go to spend at least two days at Anaheim and go to Disney and also spend three days in LA exploring a few things like Universal Studio, Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive and possibly Santa Monica....usual things for touirsts to do in LA.

- does it make sense to stay in Anaheim for the entire period and commute to LA by public transport?

- how long will it take to travel from Anaheim to adn from LA (those few spots mentioned above) by public transport?

- Or will it be better to spend couple of night in LA downtown and then move to Anaheim?

- Is Holiday Inn Express at Highland (or near Walk of Fame) a reasonable place to stay in LA?

- Is it easy to travel from LA downtown to Santa Monica? What type of transport is that? Train or bus?

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: Stay in Anaheim and travel to LA downtown

Some will say stay in Anaheim the entire time, some will say move for a couple of days.

Not having a rental car also adds to this issue.

Advantages to staying in Anaheim the entire time, no checking in and out a second time, and the related packing/unpacking. Also, more Hotel/Motel choices in the area, and tends to be lower priced than the LA area.

If you split the difference and move, you will more than likely lose a full day in transport. Public transport is not good with luggage, so you will more than likely use the LuxBus bus service from Anaheim to LA, and don't forget you can't check in until late afternoon.

As for public transportation from Anaheim to the LA area, your best bet is to take the OCTA Route 43 bus to the Fullerton Train Station and catch either the Metrolink Train or Amtrak to Union Station. Metrolink is cheaper, but run basically on commuter hours, and has no "late evening" trains. Amtrak is a bit more expensive, but has food and drink service and is a bit more upscale than the Metrolink.

Once you get to Union Station, you can use the LA Metro system, for the most part, tourist use the light rail/subway system, that will get you to most main places, including Pasadena, Universal Studios and Hollywood. To get to Santa Monica, it would be by bus.

One thing to think about, if you stay in Anaheim the entire time, you could upgrade your ParkHopper for just a few dollars more for extra days, and go out of the area during the day, and then return to the Disneyland area to check out the evening entertainment of shows and fireworks.

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
16,035 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Stay in Anaheim and travel to LA downtown

It will take you at least an hour to reach downtown LA on public transit, each way, from Anaheim. And then once you're there, you'll need to get transportation to the other parts of LA - none of the attractions you mentioned are in downtown LA itself.

If it were me, I'd suggest splitting up the trip. And yes, the Holiday Inn Express on Highland Ave. is an excellent place to stay in LA without a car. Its near the red line subway station at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave., and that subway runs between Union Station (where eh trains from Anaheim arrive), through the rest of downtown LA, then into Hollywood and on to Universal Studios. You'd need to walk south on Highland Ave. to reach Santa Monica Blvd. about 3/4 miles, where you cna board bus 704 towards Santa Monica - this will take you to Santa Monica, and you can also exit this same bus at Canon Drive which will put you in easy walking distance to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

If you choose not to split up the stay and elect to stay only in Anaheim, then you'd take the train from Anaheim to Union Station and use Union Station as your starting off point to explore the rest of LA. Red Line subway as mentiond above goes to Union Station, Hollywood, and Universal Studios. You can use the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus #10 freeway express bus between Union Station and Santa Monica (www.bigbluebus.com). For Beverly Hills, you'd take the purple line subway from Union Station to the Wilshire / Normandy Station and there board bus 720 towards Santa Monica, exiting at Beverly Drive and Wilshire Blvd.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
33,619 posts
64 reviews
3. Re: Stay in Anaheim and travel to LA downtown

Unless you plan to spend more than 50% of your time in Anaheim, it makes no sense to stay there the entire time. Split up the trip or just stay in L.A. the whole time. Otherwise, you'll be transferring in and out of Los Angeles 3 times (that's 6 transfers!) whereas switching hotels will involve only 1 transfer! If you stayed the entire time in L.A., you'd only be doing 4 transfers (since you'd be going TO Anaheim only twice -- return).

Darkbeer makes a valid point that hotels are less expensive in Anaheim (not surprising since real estate is less expensive outside of the L.A. City limits and there are lots and lots of hotels competing for the business of visitors to Disneyland). But cheapest is not always the right answer when it comes to planning a holiday. Via public transit, you'd be looking at 3 hours per day of commuting time between L.A. and Anaheim (don't forget: part of the transfer time includes waiting for the buses to pull up and waiting for the trains). Then, once you arrive at Union (rail) station in downtown L.A., realize that downtown is not in the center of our giant city but, rather, at the extreme eastern end of it. For example, from Union Station to Santa Monica/Venice Beach will take about an hour by public transit (plus waiting time for the bus).

If you are adverse to changing hotels, you could stay in downtown L.A. That would be the midpoint between the attractions you've mentioned. Hotels there are also pretty inexpensive (especially the 'better hotels' -- relative to other neighborhoods in L.A.) but our downtown is not the most entertaining place for teenagers as it is primarily a business district which, in recent years, is seeing a lot of (21 and over) bars and clubs. Of course, depending on what you're visiting each day, you could stay in downtown but only to sleep -- simply have dinner and spend your evenings elsewhere.

My suggestion, however would be to change hotels. You could probably find a limo service that could take you from one hotel to the other at a reasonable price. You won't have to pack in any kind of serious way -- use paper sacks that you'll collect from shopping to stow some of your possessions -- soiled laundry, souvenirs, etc, so there's no need to spend a lot of time packing/unpacking). Try zippyshuttle.net for a bid on transferring between hotels. Remember, you'll be transferring once between Anaheim and L.A. instead of 6 times so you'll be saving on 5 days of train and bus travel. This will give you the budget to pay for the limo.

If the limo doesn't work out, I'd amend Darkbeer's transfer instructions between Anaheim and L.A. as follows:

Instead of walking to a nearby bus stop and taking a bus to Fullerton Station, just take a taxi to either Fullerton or Anaheim station -- whichever comes out to be closer to your hotel. It's unlikely to cost more than $10 or $12 whereas a bus will cost $6 for the 4 of you. For the additional $4 to $6, splurge on a taxi that will take you directly to the rail station without struggling with your luggage.

When you arrive in L.A. (at Union Station) you can again jump in a taxi. Taxi fares to Hollywood are around $20 without traffic. No big deal. And, again, someone else will be worrying about your luggage.

4. Re: Stay in Anaheim and travel to LA downtown

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