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Transportation To and Around Los Angeles

by Mommy Frog on June 12, 2014

As one of the most-visited destinations in the world, Los Angeles boasts numerous transportation options. Planning for your Los Angeles transportation isn't difficult thanks to an abundance of airports, freeways and other options.

Transportation to Los Angeles

Whether you drive or fly depends largely, of course, on where you're coming from and how many passengers you will have with you. Larger families may find it's more economical to drive, but you should always factor in the additional cost of gas and food while on the road.

If you do decide to drive, be sure to check out our helpful tips for a smooth car ride.

Airports

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

 

If you're flying to LA, you have an abundance of options. The two biggest airports are Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or John Wayne Airpot (SNA), although depending on your origin, you may find the smaller airports to have more competitive rates or to be more convenient from your departing airport. At 12 miles away, John Wayne is the closest airport to Disneyland, although Long Beach is only 18 miles away. Burbank is closer to downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood than LAX.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

 

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

 

Airlines that fly into LAX

PDF version of the terminal map

Rental car companies at Los Angeles International Airport

John Wayne Airport (SNA)

Airlines that fly into John Wayne

Terminal map

Rental car companies at John Wayne

Long Beach Airport (LGB)

Airlines that fly into Long Beach

Terminal map

Ground transportation options at Long Beach

LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT)

Los Angeles transportation - Ontario International Airport

Airlines that fly into Ontario

Terminal map

Rental car companies at Ontario

Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR)

Airlines that fly into Burbank

Terminal map

Rental car companies at Burbank

Shuttle service

We offer discounted service through Super Shuttle to get you to and from Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport, including the Disneyland Resort Express. For more details, select Transportation under the Los Angeles ticket options.

Traveling between Los Angeles and San Diego

 

Los Angeles transportation  - Union Station Courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

 

For visitors planning to visit both Los Angeles and San Diego (about 120 miles away), it is usually much cheaper to rent a car or take Amtrak rather than fly between the two cities. Amtrak operates from the historic Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, and makes stops in several Orange County cities (including Anaheim) before making it to San Diego's Santa Fe Depot (also historic), about two and a half hours.

Transportation Around Los Angeles

If you're taking a trip to Los Angeles, you most likely are better off renting a car than relying on public transportation. The biggest exception to this is if you are visiting Disneyland (in neighboring Orange County) and that is your only major destination (see below under Disneyland Resort Express). Expect to do a lot of driving as most of the area's major attractions are quite spread out!

The good news is that LA boasts some of the cheapest rental car rates in the country. And if you book through us, you can save up to 50% from five top-name brands! All the stories you hear about LA traffic are true. You'll need to pack your patience to get around its many congested freeways, and you should expect to find bumper-to-bumper traffic if your traversing the city during rush hours (roughly 7 a.m.-9 a.m. and 3 p.m.-7 p.m. weekdays). Plan to spend time ahead of your trip familiarizing yourself with the major roadways and mapping out your major destinations, starting with the journey from the airport to your hotel.

HOV Lanes

Many of the Southern California freeways have designated HOV lanes, accommodating two and three-passenger vehicles. The so-called "diamond" lanes are fixed lanes that can go for several miles without a break. We recommend getting out of the lane a few miles before your planned exit, or you might just miss it.

Parking

In LA, parking can be tricky. Some locations have ample free parking, others are metered or require paid parking. Depending on where you're headed, it's not a bad idea to pack a roll of quarters ahead of your trip.

Bus Service

While the city operates a bus service, it is not recommended because of spread-out service and frequency of stops.

Rail Service & MetroRail

The Los Angeles area does have a commuter rail system, but it is most helpful for those traveling to Los Angeles from outlying commuter areas.

Taxis

Because Los Angeles is such a sprawling area, we only recommend cabbing it for short distances as it can get quite expensive to use them as your primary destination.

Disneyland Resort Express

If Disneyland is your primary destination, you should consider the Disneyland Resort Express from Grayline Tours, which provides round-trip and one-way shuttle service from both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John Wayne International Airport in neighboring Orange County to the Disneyland Resort and Anaheim Resort hotels. Buses depart frequently, and reservations are not required. Unlike Magic Express at the Walt Disney World Resort, there is no free transportation to the Disneyland Resort. We offer discounts on the Disneyland Resort Express tickets. The buses make their first stop at the Disneyland Resort. From there guests will either be transported directly to nearby hotels or they may take a smaller vehicle to their destination hotel. Allow for extra time, as the number of passengers and stops will determine how long it takes.

Popular Los Angeles Transportation Addresses

Popular addresses are listed below if you would like to plug them into your favorite mapping system.

Los Angeles International Airport

1 World Way

Los Angeles, CA 90045

John Wayne Airport

18601 Airport Way

Santa Ana, CA 92707

Long Beach Airport

4100 E Donald Douglas Dr

Long Beach, CA 90808

LA/Ontario International Airport

2500 E Airport Drive

Ontario, CA 91761

Burbank Bob Hope Airport

2627 N Hollywood Way

Burbank, CA 91505

Amtrak (Union Station)

800 N Alameda St

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Disneyland Resort

1313 Disneyland Dr

Anaheim, CA 92802

Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plaza

Universal City, CA 91608

Six Flags Magic Mountain

26101 Magic Mountain Parkway

Valencia, CA 91355

Knott's Berry Farm

8039 Beach Blvd

Buena Park, CA 90620

We hope you've found this overview of when to visit Los Angeles helpful in planning a visit to Los Angeles. You'll find more resources and tips inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide.

 

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