Best Place to See the Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign is a must see for most first-time LA visitors.  Although you cannot walk right up to the sign, you can get great views and pictures from a distance.  Here are some ideas on some of the best and easy to get to spots.

1)  Hollywood & Highland Center - This shopping mall is located on Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Avenue in the heart of Hollywood.  There is a patio on the top northeast corner of the shopping complex that provides a perfect view of the Hollywood sign.  Best of all, if you will be driving, they offer affordable $2 parking for 2 hours of parking (with validation from participating shops, restaurants and night clubs).

2)  Griffith Park Observatory - The observatory provides sweeping views of the entire city, as well as the Hollywood sign.  Several guests enjoy visiting around dusk to get a day and evening view of the city.

Happy picture taking!


Metro Fare Increases As of September 15, 2014

Metro bus and rail rates will increase as of September 15, 2014.  Please note that fares will be:

BASE FARE: $1.75 (Includes 2 hours of transfers ONLY when using money loaded on a TAP card)
7 DAY PASS: $25

Day Passes can be purchased and reloaded right on the bus or from a ticket vending machine at Metro stations.  For additional info on using and loading a TAP card, read our blog post on this topic or click here to visit the official Metro site.

Mulholland Drive Scenic Route

If you want to get a taste of glamorous Hollywood Hills homes and great views of the city, the Mulholland Drive scenic drive can be a great experience.  Be aware that some stretches of road are very windy/curvy, so drive safely.

One of the best highlights of the tour is the Hollywood Bowl Overlook, which is best accessed when traveling from West to East.  It will be easy to stop at that point since it will be on the same side of the road you are driving on.

Click here to visit LA Tourist for additional tips on where to access Mulholland, and a full Mulholland Drive scenic route map.


GPS is Essential in LA

When renting a car in Los Angeles, it is absolutely essential to use GPS to make your way to your destinations.  The city is huge, so having guidance will help make your trip easier and much more enjoyable.  Even LA residents oftentimes rely on GPS when venturing to new areas.

You have the following options for getting GPS:

1) Rent a GPS through your rental car company. Depending on how many days you have your rental car, this can be the most expensive option.

2) Purchase a GPS system at a retailer located near Jerry's Motel like City Target (at FIGat7th) in downtown, or a nearby Best Buy.  

3) If you have a GSM smartphone, you may want to consider adding an international data plan to use Google Maps while on the road.
4) You can also purchase a SIM card from mobile stores like AT&T or T-Mobile and add a data plan to your smartphone. 

This is very important, so make sure you have this in mind when creating a budget for your trip.


Bargain Shopping on the West Side of LA

Shopping in Los Angeles is great.  Best of all, there is a place to shop for any budget.  So whether you are looking for high-end or bargain shopping, there is a place for everyone.

Another great option for bargain shopping in particular is the Beverly Connection shopping complex in Beverly Hills.  Located across the street from the upscale Beverly Center mall, Beverly Connection has stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJMaxx, Marshalls and Ross for bargain shoppers.  These stores carry brand name and non-name brand clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories at discounted prices.  Most items are from past seasons, discontinued items, and overstock or clearance items from other stores.  So if you are ok with this, these stores can be a great option for shopping.  Just be prepared to sort through racks and racks of clothing.

Happy shopping!


Hop On, Hop Off Tour of Los Angeles

Hop On, Hop Off Tours (or HOHO) are a great way to visit LA's most popular tourist destinations. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of figuring out what to see and makes trip planning a little easier.  These tours are especially great for visitors who will not be renting a car.  You can purchase a 1 day ($44), 2 day ($59) or 3 day ($74) pass.*

You are provided with headphones to listen to a narrator (multiple language available) telling you all about the areas you drive through on a red double-decker bus.  Best of all, you have the freedom to get off the bus, explore, and then jump back on and continue at your own pace.  This type of tour is a great alternative to guided tours that limit the amount of time spent at each location.  Click here to see a map of all routes.*

The closest HOHO bus stop to Jerry's Motel is located just 5 blocks away at the nearby Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  This location is part of the PUPLE route that runs through Downtown LA.  Be sure to visit the Starline website to see timetables if you want to get dropped off in downtown when you return.  If you want to stay out longer, no problem!  You can easily return to Jerry's Motel from Hollywood via the Metro Red Line by getting off at the 7th St/Metro Center or Pershing Square stops.

Remember, Los Angeles is huge, so you have a lot to see and although it's typically not possible to see everything, doing some research ahead of time and deciding what you definitely want to see and what you think you can skip will help you organize your trip and thoughts ahead of time.  By doing this, you will save extra time that you can use to explore the city.


*Prices and information are current as of August 2014.  Visit starlinetours.com to see updated information.


Tasty Cupcakes in LA

The cupcake revolution started in Los Angeles a few years ago, and transformed a traditional cupcake into an amazing gourmet treat.  Sprinkles Cupcakes started it all with their first cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills.  Since then, they have opened locations across the country, and one conveniently located near us at FIGat7th in downtown Los Angeles.  Make sure you stop by and try a tasty classic flavor like red velvet or limited time delicious flavors like S'mores or Raspberry.

Trust us, you'll love it.

Getting From Santa Monica to Venice Beach

Santa Monica and Venice are conveniently located close to one another.  You can either:

1)  Take a nice walk from one location to the other (2 miles, approximately 30 minutes walking).

2)  Take the short bus ride outlined below.  This bus ride will take about 15-20 minutes and is on the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.  Note that the fare is $1 (as of 6/24/14) and Metro Day Passes/Tap Cards are not accepted on this bus.

3)  Rent a bike.  The bike path is straight, flat and very easy to ride while taking in the sunny Southern California weather.

If you're starting in Santa Monica, you can rent a bike at Sea Mist Rentals.  Rates are $7 per hour or $18-20 for an all day rental of a basic bike.  Beach Cruisers and tandem bikes are available for a little extra.  Make sure you get a lock from them (it's included in the price) so you can lock your bike and explore the eclectic Venice Boardwalk shops and eateries.  A deposit is required and they only accept cash, so make sure you are prepared.  They also hold on to your ID until you return your bike, so make sure you have 2 ID's with you if you plan on visiting local bars, and preferably leave a drivers license with them instead of your passport.

If you're starting in Venice, you can rent a bike from Venice Boardwalk Bike Rentals or any other rental locations located right on the boardwalk.

4)  If you will be driving, you may just want to drive from one location to the next, and park again if you want to maximize your time. But it will all depend on your sightseeing pace and how much time you have to spare.


Retro Arcade Bar in LA's Trendy Arts District: EightyTwo

"Barcades" are popping up everywhere across hotspots in major US cities.  Among them is the nostalgic EightyTwo in the Arts District in Downtown LA.

EightyTwo combines a bar with you guessed it, classic arcade games.  Their collection includes classic games like Street Fighter II, Galaga, Frogger, Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat II, Tron and many more.  Full bar includes 10 draft beers, bottled beer and a specialty cocktail menu.

We are located just 1.5 miles from us at 707 East 4th Place in Downtown LA.  A taxi ride will cost approximately $10, or you can opt for Lyft or Uber.


Metro Bus/Train Fares and Passes

If you will not be renting a car, you will probably end up riding a bus or train.  Each ride will cost you $1.75 or you can buy either a Day Pass ($7) or a 7 Day Pass ($25) to get around by Metro bus and train.  You must purchase a TAP card for $1 then add a pass to it.  Passes are valid on Metro buses and trains only, and not valid on other municipal buses (i.e. Culver City, Santa Monica, etc.).  Cards are non-transferable and cannot be shared.

Where to buy a DAY PASS: 
  1. On a bus - just ask the bus driver for a day pass and insert money.  Cost is $1 for TAP card plus $7 for the pass ($8 total).  If reloading your card for a new day pass, you only need to insert $7.   
  2. At any Metro train station customer center or ticket vending machine.
  3. Retail pass outlets.  The closest location is less than one block away from us at Phil's Discount Store located at 1451 1/2 West 3rd Street. 
Where to buy a 7 DAY PASS:
  1. At a Metro station customer center or vending machine.  
  2. Retail pass outlet like Phil's Discount Store one block away from us.
  3. IMPORTANT: 7 day passes are NOT available for purchase on buses.
Once purchased, all you have to do is TAP your card to the card readers, wait to hear a "beep," and you're all set!  


How to Get Here: Union Station to Jerry's Motel

We are located just 2 miles from Union Station.  If you are arriving via Amtrak, Metrolink, or LAX FlyAway Bus, these are your best options to get here are:

1) Taxis are readily available from Union Station and will cost you approximately $10.

2) Take Metro Purple OR Red Line to Pershing Square and connect to bus line #16 toward Cedar Sinai/Century City. Bus #16 drops you off right across the street from us.  See complete directions below.


Get Excited About Your Upcoming Trip To Los Angeles.....

Check out these awesome videos and visually prepare yourself for your trip to LA!


Taxi Alternatives For Getting Around In Los Angeles: Uber & Lyft

Lyft and Uber are taxi alternatives that are becoming very popular in Los Angeles and many other major cities across the world. They are a great way to get around LA if you don't have a car and don't want to take public transportation. Both companies have mobile apps as well that make it easy to setup 
pickup times and make payments online. 

Fares are very competitive to a taxi and sometimes even cheaper! Lyft provides a more casual experience while Uber brings a "black car" higher end feel.

More details here.....


How to get from LAX airport to Jerry's Motel by public transportation?

Below is the most direct route via public transport from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to Jerry's Motel. Remember you can also take a shared van shuttle or Fly Away bus. See our other blog posts for more details on those options.

Total trip time is about 1.5 hours given all the stops and transfers. It will cost $5 per person for the Metro TAP card day pass to use this route. If you are arriving after midnight it is best to use a shared shuttle or rental car as buses and trains may not be running.

LAX to Jerry's Motel Via Metro Train/Bus:

1. Take the Metro Green Line Shuttle "G" from LAX to the Aviation/LAX Green Line Metro Station
2. Take Green Line towards Norwalk and exit at Willowbrook station
3. Transfer to Blue Line towards Los Angeles at Willowbrook station
4. The Blue Line ends at 7th St Metro Station; transfer to the Red Line going to Union Station
5. Take the Red Line and exit at the Pershing Square stop. Go up to the 5th & Hill intersection.
6. Take Metro Bus 16/316 bus towards Cedars Sinai/Century City from 5th & Hill
7. Get off at 3rd & Lucas and walk across the street to Jerry's Motel

Detailed Directions:
  1. Exit your terminal, and cross to the center median. Look above your head for the blue sign reading "LAX Shuttle Airline Connections". You'll see a listing for "Metro Green Line Aviation Station". The shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 5 AM to Midnight on most days.
  2. Board the free LAX Green Line "G" shuttle for the 15 minute ride to the Aviation/LAX Metro Rail station.
  3. At the Aviation/LAX station ride the escalator up to the above-ground station. You MUST take the Norwalk train and transfer at Willowbrook (Blue Line Station) to get to Downtown LA. 
  4. Get off at Willowbrook station and transfer to the Blue Line. Descend the stairs to the lower platform which services the Blue Line and board the train headed for Los Angeles.
  5. The Blue Line ends at 7th Street/Metro Center, in downtown Los Angeles. Total travel time from LAX to 7th Street/Metro Center Station via metro rail is about 60 minutes depending on connections. 
  6. At the 7th Street Metro Center station take the Red Line towards Union Station and get off at the Pershing Square stop. Exit the station and board the Metro Bus 316/16 bus at 5th & Hill headed towards Cedars Sinai Medical Center. 
  7. Get off at the 3rd and Lucas stop and walk across the street to Jerry's Motel!

How to get to Disneyland from Downtown LA without a rental car?

This is a question we get on a weekly basis from our guests who don't have a rental car and want to go to Disneyland which is located in Orange County. Unfortunately there is no direct train route that makes it all the way from downtown LA to the Magic Kingdom. Below are a few options to consider:

By Public Transportation - total trip time of 2 hours each way ($3 per person)

Catch the 760 Metro Bus towards Lynwood at 4th/Beaudry (2 blocks from Jerry's Motel)
Get off at 7th & Flower and transfer to the 460 Metro Bus towards Disneyland

By City Taxi - total trip time of 45 minutes 
A taxi will cost approximately $100 each way including tip.

By Chartered Tour Bus - total trip time of 1 hour
Lux Bus has a pickup location at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel which is located 4 blocks from Jerry's Motel. Pricing varies depending on tour type.

See links below for details:
Starline Tours also offers similar packages