Encounter mural in Ballona Creek wash, Culver City
Renting a car: Renting a car offers convenience and could save you some time. However there are disadvantages as well: A rental car will probably cost more than public transportation. Some of the time you save will be offset by picking up and dropping off the car. You will need to locate and pay for parking (difficult and/or expensive at most destinations). You will need to fill up the gas tank before you return the rental. Most important, you will need to perform navigation on your own, using a map if you have one. (Click here to view the best map of LA on Amazon.com)
Getting there by public transportation:
All of these activities can be reached by public transportation. MTA's Metro Trip Planner displays schedules and fare information for LA metro buses and trains. It's fast and easy to use. Simply visit the MTA's website at www.mta.net and you'll find the Metro Trip Planner on the top right side of the home page.
When you browse LAtourist.com's descriptions for each of the activities, you'll find a link to the Metro Trip Planner, and the exact 'To' and 'From' phrases you need to type into it.
Shared Ride Shuttle: A Shared Ride van is a service where you can share a ride with others who are traveling to the same part of the city. It is often less expensive than a private van.
Prime Time - Serves LAX, Burbank, John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports.
Super Shuttle - Serves LAX, Burbank, John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports.
Getting there by taxi cab: You can get a cab right outside of the terminal. Flat rate to downtown LA is $42. The closest destinations (Marina del Rey or Howard Hughes Promenade) cost around $20 to $25 in fare. A ride to the Getty costs around $45 and fare to Santa Monica will be roughly $40. Taxis charge by 1/7 mile increments. They also charge to sit in traffic. To view the taxi fare rate structure, visit the LA Taxi Services website and click the "Fares" button.
Getting there by walking: LAX is not within walking distance of anything interesting, except Encounter restaurant.
Due to security concerns, there are no lockers at LAX. Your best option is to check your bags in with your airline. If you can't do that, you'll need to take it with you. That can be a problem on a bus, or while walking around at a tourist destination. If you take a guided tour, you might be able to store your luggage on the tour bus.
On planning for your return trip to LAX, don't forget to allow an additional hour to get through security and walking through the terminal at LAX. International travellers might need two hours if it's busy.
The Beach: If you want to visit the beach and you're using public transportation, your best option is either Santa Monica or Hermosa Beach, or Marina del Rey, because it's faster to get to those three locations. Other beaches require more transfers, so it takes longer to get to them. Santa Monica has more things to see and do than Hermosa and Marina del Rey, but it's also more crowded than the other two. Marina del Rey is closest. Hermosa Beach has a nice beach area for swimming and water activities. They all have restaurants and bars.
Quick Getaway: If you only have a few hours to spend, try Howard Hughes mall. It only takes about 20 minutes to get there, and you can eat in a nice restaurant, then look for bargains on name brand clothes at Nordstrom Rack.
Undecided? If you don't know exactly what you want to do, take the LA city guided tour. They will pick you up at the airport, and you'll see a wide variety of attractions.