One of the most essential aspects of planning a trip to Los Angeles is deciding where to stay. As the biggest city in California, you’ll naturally want to stay close to the major attractions to avoid excess traveling. But with must-sees all over the city, deciding where to stay in Los Angeles is never easy.
To help you find the best Los Angeles accommodation, I’m sharing the five neighborhoods you should consider and the top hotels in each area. I’ll also break down exactly where you should stay based on what you’re looking to do and see and reveal the differences between the central neighborhoods.
Best Areas to Stay in Los Angeles
Being such a vast city means you have various neighborhoods to choose from in LA. The following five areas are most popular with tourists, yet they all have different vibes and offerings. Since LA is so big, it’s best to choose what things to do in LA are most important to you, and pick a location to stay in based on your chosen activities, especially if you are limited on time.
- Santa Monica: Best for beach access
- Downtown Los Angeles: Best for entertainment
- Hollywood: Best for first-time visitors
- Venice: Best for bohemian vibes
- West Hollywood: Best for nightlife
Best Places to Stay in Los Angeles
Let’s find out the unique qualities of each neighborhood and what you can expect from staying at each one. I’ve also handpicked top accommodation choices in each area, with options spanning all price points. Any area you choose will work for a weekend in Los Angeles.
Best area to stay in for beach access
If you’re heading to LA and know you want to stay close to the beach, Santa Monica is a top choice. Here you’ll find 3 miles (4.8 km) of sandy shoreline to relax, sunbathe, swim, surf, or play volleyball. Aside from the beach, Santa Monica has a vibrant downtown area with excellent eateries and shops and is a more up-scale area compared to its neighbor, Venice Beach, which is within walking distance along the boardwalk.
The coastal neighborhood is super popular among tourists yet still tends to have a more laid-back vibe than Hollywood and Downtown LA. This fun-loving area is excellent if you want to balance activity and chill.
Top Picks for Santa Monica
Staying at the lavish 5-star Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows will make you feel like you’re on a beach getaway rather than a city break. Within less than two minutes, you’ll be on the sandy shores, and from your suite, you’ll have a gorgeous beach view to wake up to.
On-site, there’s an inviting outdoor pool hidden from the world by palm trees and other tropical greenery. Here you will also find a hot tub, sun loungers, an outdoor fitness area, and a bar/clubhouse. You can stay in one of the stylish suites or opt for a bungalow with a patio for more privacy.
Huntley Santa Monica Beach is another excellent LA hotel for direct beach access. You’ll be at the beach in less than 3 minutes walking and are just half a mile away from the pier. One of the other highlights of Huntley is The Penthouse restaurant and lounge. You can enjoy dinner with a view and weekend brunch at this elegant rooftop bar.
The rooms at Huntley are incredibly stylish, with white linens and modern furnishings. You’ll enjoy expansive views from your suite, which gets better the higher up you stay, and you can upgrade to a suite for a more spacious and airy environment.
Thanks to the Santa Monica Motel, you can stay close to the beach and third street promenade without splashing out, being less than a 10-minute walk from both. The rooms are clean and comfortable, with thoughtful touches like complimentary toiletries. The motel also serves free fresh coffee each morning.
Downtown Los Angeles
Best area to stay in for entertainment
If you’re in LA for the vibrant city life and want to stay in the heart of the action, Downtown LA is a no-brainer. You’ll never get bored here as there is always something happening day and night. In addition, you will be right next to cutting-edge restaurants, some of the city’s best clubs, and tons of museums.
Downtown LA is split up into smaller sub-districts; Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and the Arts District, the latter of which is home to some renowned art museums. Then in the fashion district, shopping is abundant. What’s more, you can get to Hollywood in just 15 minutes by metro.
Top Picks for Downtown Los Angeles
Hotel Figueroa, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, is an artsy downtown LA hotel with fabulous exterior and interior decor. You can tell that the utmost attention to detail was put into the design of the entire hotel, making it one of the most beautiful places to stay in LA.
The hotel is just across the street from the LA Live entertainment complex, yet it has 2 restaurants and 4 bars on site. There’s also a stunning outdoor pool with cozy sunbeds. The rooms are modern, bright, and colorful, and the king suite features a cozy living room.
The 4-star Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza is a short walk away from Downtown LA’s top attractions like The Museum of Contemporary Art, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Grand Park. It has two restaurants, one with an outdoor patio and a heated outdoor pool.
Omni also offers guests a complimentary luxury sedan shuttle service, taking you anywhere you like within a 5 km radius. The rooms are modern and stylish yet boast a cozy feel. The granite/marble ensuite bathroom has handy amenities, like a lighted makeup mirror.
The Kawada Hotel is a brilliant choice for those who want to keep costs low without sacrificing quality. The modern rooms feature warm lighting, comfy beds, and modern amenities like a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee machine. Unfortunately, there’s no on-site restaurant, but Cherry Pick Cafe next door does excellent coffee and breakfast. Plus, the hotel is just 200 meters from Grand Central Market.
Best area to stay in for first-time visitors
Hollywood is one of the top reasons travelers come to Los Angeles. So, naturally, it makes the best area for first-time visitors. Here, you will be a stone’s throw from iconic attractions like The Walk of Fame and will have multiple views of the famous Hollywood sign.
Although some might say it’s a little tacky, Hollywood is a very safe area of LA, so it is a good choice for solo travelers. There is also an excellent selection of restaurants, bars, clubs, and a lively atmosphere 24/7.
Top Picks for Hollywood
If you want to feel like a celebrity during your stay in Hollywood, head to the Loews hotel. Here you will be just a short stroll from all the sights on Hollywood Boulevard and just 2.4 miles (3.8 km) from Griffith Park. Onsite, you can enjoy the breathtaking rooftop pool and sun terrace and tuck into a gourmet breakfast buffet.
Even the Standard King rooms are incredibly lavish with priceless city vistas. You can also upgrade to a view of a specific landmark, such as the Hollywood sign or Capitol Records. But the real winner here is the Highland Suite. This top-floor corner room has floor-to-ceiling windows and an expansive lounge and dining room.
Magic Castle Hotel is just one block away from Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s, Guinness World Records Museum, and many other famous attractions. It’s notably one of the best hotels in Los Angeles for families as the hotel has spacious apartments with fully equipped kitchens that sleep up to six.
On-site, there is an outdoor pool and fitness center. They serve a deluxe continental breakfast each morning, and the staff are incredibly welcoming and friendly.
Dunes Inn on Sunset Boulevard is just a few minutes from the Walk of Fame and Dolby Theatre. The hotel offers free parking, and there is an American-style diner on-site. The rooms are clean with remarkably comfy beds and amenities like a mini-fridge, flat-screen TV, and hairdryer. What’s more, the ensuite bathrooms has a shower and mini-bathtub.
Best area to stay in for bohemian vibes
Suppose you like all things alternative or appreciate quirkiness and creativity. In that case, you’ll find Venice to be the most enjoyable area to stay in Los Angeles. The neighborhood is full of colorful, creative energy and free spirits, with street performers, talented skateboarders, and graffiti artists creating thought-provoking murals around town.
The downside of staying in Venice is that you’re pretty far from Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. However, if you’ve been to LA before, or those areas are not your vibe, you’ll undoubtedly love Venice. You can spend your days in the hip cafes and artisan bakeries, and people watch on the vibrant beach boardwalk, which also connects you to nearby Santa Monica.
Top Picks for Venice
Hotel Erwin offers a luxurious beachfront stay with balconies and sea views. Being so close to the ocean, you can start your morning with a dip and then wind down after a day of adventure at the hotel’s open-air rooftop lounge. The hotel even has its own pizza bar, Venice Way Pizza, so you can grab a hot slice whenever you get hungry.
The suites are bright, colorful, and stylish with on-trend designs and furnishings. For example, the King Suite features a separate living room area with a large sofa bed and dining table.
The Kinney is an 8-minute walk from the beach and a shorter stroll to Marina Del Rey and Venice Canals. The hotel’s exterior boasts colorful artwork, as does the courtyard. There’s also a small outdoor pool, hot tub, bar, and ping pong tables.
The rooms at this artsy hotel also feature fun designs. You’ll have various in-room amenities such as a coffee machine, refrigerator, flat-screen TV, and bathtub.
Samesun is one of the most stylish hostels you could find, with cool chill-out zones complete with hammocks. The hostel has a 24-hour reception and complimentary breakfast and is an easy 1-minute walk from the beach with views of it while you eat breakfast. If you want to keep costs as low as possible, you can stay in a dorm. Otherwise, you can choose a private room with a shared or private bathroom.
Best area to stay in for nightlife
West Hollywood is one of the coolest areas in Los Angeles and the place to stay if you’re in town to party. It’s home to some of the hottest nightclubs and bars, such as Nightingale, Soho House, and Chateau Marmont. This is the part of town neighbors Beverly Hills, so it’s where the rich and famous love to celebrate life, so it is also a fabulous place to do some celebrity spotting.
West Hollywood is also a hip fashion hub with a funky bohemian style, similar to Venice. You’ll find everything from vintage clothing to boutique designer stores. No doubt you’ll enjoy staying in West Hollywood if you love to shop.
Top Picks for West Hollywood
The London West Hollywood is undoubtedly the most lavish hotel in Los Angeles. If you choose to splash out and stay here, you will be treated like royalty. You’ll experience world-class service, a gourmet complimentary à la carte breakfast menu, and a private cabana by the outdoor pool. In addition, there are tons of other excellent facilities, including a rooftop restaurant and lounge, fitness center, outdoor yoga area, and hair salon.
There is a wide array of suites with well-balanced, elegant yet modern styles. Many have balconies, a dressing room with a vanity, a walk-in shower, and a bathtub. However, the most exclusive suite is the Metropolitan Suite, with a separate living room, floor-to-ceiling windows, a kitchenette, and an oversized work desk.
Le Parc Suite Hotel is a newly-refurbished boutique hotel with a rooftop pool and bar, colorful furnishings, and trendy decor. The hip hotel also has a fitness center and tennis courts. What’s more, it is just a few blocks away from world-class restaurants like Gracias Madre. The Deluxe King Suite has a separate living room with a fireplace, a kitchenette, and an ensuite bathroom with a shower and bathtub.
Ramada Plaza Hotel & Suites by Wyndham West is centrally located close to all of West Hollywood’s best restaurants and bars. There is a 24-hour reception for your convenience and an outdoor pool and fitness center. The rooms have modern designs, comfortable beds, seating areas, and ensuite bathrooms.