Usually, when traveling to new countries I like to use public transport to move around the place.
First of all, it’s much cheaper than a taxi or rental car, it’s more environment-friendly and gives adventure-like feeling in those locations where it’s not quite easy to understand the route or where exactly the right bus stop will be.
When you can take a Metro in a new city it’s always easy because there’s a clear route on station walls everywhere and you always know which stop is next.
And this is the case for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). There’s a metro nearby so that you can use it to get to the city and see such awesome things like LA murals and even Hollywood events.
In this post, you will get tips and insights on how to get from LAX to your hotel in the city.
I suggest you research the stops and routes beforehand to make your first trip from an airport to the hotel as easy as possible.
Before flying out to LA I checked that there’s a metro stop near LAX and also checked the closest metro stop to our hotel in Downtown LA.
Luckily the stop was only 8 min walk from the hotel. I was so happy to have a convenient metro connection (with one metro change though, but that’s easy anyway) and the way will be so great and smooth.
Boyyy if only I had known the crazy things that are going to happen next!
See the Contents
HOW TO GET FROM LAX ARRIVALS TO METRO?
Almost next to each exit from LAX arrivals there is a bus stop where you can take a free shuttle to a metro station nearby. The bus ride takes about 5 minutes.
I found it quite surprising that we were the only tourists on the bus though.
HOW TO BUY METRO/ PUBLIC TRANSPORT TICKETS?
To use the metro or other public transport in LA you should purchase a “TAP card”. The same card is valid for Metro as well as public buses.
Each time you get into the metro area or get on the bus you have to register the card.
TAP cards can be purchased in machines at the entrance of any metro station. Ticket machines have instructions how to use them, so you don’t have to bother finding out any details beforehand.
Just have some cash or credit card available and you’ll be good to go.
You can choose to top up your TAP card with either a single ride ticket, day or week tickets. More options are available.
Ticket prices are pretty cheap. We got the 7-day unlimited ticket for 25 USD and ended up making a good use of it. Check out more about fares here.
The 7-day ticket is the best option if you plan to move around mostly with public transport.
IS IT SAFE TAKING A METRO?
The short answer is YES. But there are definitely some conditions that you should be aware of. So keep reading to see our experience and understand what those conditions are.
We had to take a 25 min metro ride from LAX station to the stop where we needed to change metro lines.
The whole ride we were scared as there were only a few people on the metro and all of them seemed pretty shady – as children of fate without a life worth living given to them.
Few drunks, drug addicts, homeless people, some guys talking to themselves.
We were trying to don’t look at anyone not to attract attention. But really – what else could attract more attention than the only two slightly scared looking foreign girls with big suitcases.
At that moment the idea for 7-day ticket didn’t seem the smartest anymore. (Turned out it was indeed a great idea!)
This was above the ground metro line so we could see outside. All the streets outside the windows were pitch black, no people and no life at all.
People outside the metro got lost in the dark. We were terrified to imagine our stop and that it would be all dark and scary streets. What a lovely “Welcome to LA” moment!
DID IT GET BETTER AFTER THE CRAZY RIDE?
Our destination was 7th Street/ Metro Center Station in Downtown LA which is quite a big one as many public transport routes have their final stop there.
We were so relieved to step out of the metro to the place with many people around and lights on the streets.
I opened my Maps.me app on my phone to figure out the direction of the hotel. (maps.me is an app with great offline maps that give directions using GPS. No mobile data needed to use it.) The hotel was about 10 blocks away.
Downtown LA was looking awesome around us, just as we usually see it in American movies. The unbearable joy of being in this amazing city came back to us.
At that point, we had been traveling about 24 hours and felt a bit dizzy but happy.
We started to cross a street towards our hotel just to be shocked a few seconds later about the homeless scene around. There were homeless people on every corner, in every bus stop and most of them looked pretty scary.
The uncomfortable feeling from metro came back 10x stronger now. We basically run to the hotel and finally got there after being screamed at, approached to ask for stuff and scared. This was not the LA glamour that we hoped for at all.
WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS TRIP?
This bad metro experience mainly was a combination 2 negative factors – nighttime and not the best area of the city.
The next days we discovered that public transport is actually a great way to move around in the city so I highly suggest it.
If it’s morning or daytime – public transport is perfect. It has great connections and is super cheap. And most importantly – it feels absolutely safe. But if it’s dark outside, just take an Uber to get around LA.
This goes also for airport trips. The next most affordable alternative to going from the airport to your hotel in LA probably would be taking an Uber. Definitely worth to consider if you have to travel after dark.
During the next days, we took a public bus several times. It was nice with air conditioner inside that gave a relief from the heat outside.
It was convenient to get somewhere near by quickly, for example, if you just need to go up or down the same street.
Now looking back at this particular experience I can say that I don’t regret taking the metro to come to the hotel at the first night because it’s always fun to remember overcoming a difficult situation.
Also, this first experience made the whole LA homeless scene adjustable during upcoming days as we got used to it to the point that all the scary people on streets didn’t bother us at all (almost!).