Everyone says that Los Angeles is best experienced by car. They’re right, I’m sure. Without that luxury, Nico and I instead relied on walking, public transport and (just once) a tour bus. Staying in West Hollywood, we found it wasn’t so hard to get to where we wanted to go, but sometimes it just took a while. I thought I’d document some of the trips for anyone else trying to do them as we had to work it out the hard way.
Getting to Universal Studios by public transport was a cinch.You need to get on the Red Line train. If you’re staying up near Hollywood Boulevard this won’t be a problem as you can get on at one of the stops along Hollywood Boulevard and it will only be a few stops to Universal City (towards North Hollywood). Instead, we stayed near The Grove and Beverly Boulevard, and caught the #14 bus over to Vermont/Beverly to hop on the red line train. We walked up from Beverly Boulevard to Hollywood Boulevard once, but it was uphill and pretty brutal in the sun.
At Universal City you’ll emerge from the train station and diagonally across the road (where the Universal Studios signage is) is the waiting area for the Universal Studios tram. This tram will take you up the for a couple of minutes and drop you off at Universal Studios.
Universal Studios was the easiest attraction to get to via public transport, and loads of people were doing it.
Warner Bros. Studios
We signed up for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Burbank. It’s a great experience being on the working studios, quite different from a day at Universal Studios. To get there we again relied on the Red Line train.
Make your way to the nearest Red Line station and head towards North Hollywood, disembarking at the Universal City stop. To the left of the Universal Hollywood Drive is the Lankershim/Universal Hollywood bus stop where you will catch the #155 bus. This trip takes about 8 – 13 minutes (this trip on Trip Planner), and you’ll get off at the Riverside Drive/Hollywood Way stop. From there it’s about a 5-10 minute walk to the Avon St building where the Studio Tours commence. You can catch the same trip in reverse at the end of your tour.
If you get yourself a tap card and use daily passes, this whole journey can be made
Disneyland and California Adventure
Now here’s the challenge. The first day we went to Disneyland we used one of the local tour operators. The service wasn’t great (we were almost an hour late to depart) and the scheduled return meant that we had to miss the evening events in Disneyland. We also had to endure the back of the minivan whilst almost every other passenger was off-loaded at their hotel.
Be warned that getting to Disneyland from Hollywood is not without effort, but it’s pretty cheap and if you’ve got the time, not all that unpleasant. Here’s how:
Again the red line train is your friend. Make your way to the nearest red line station and head towards Union Station, which is where you’ll disembark. The next leg of the journey is on the Amtrak, specifically the Pacific Surfliner route towards San Diego. You’ll more than likely want to get off at Fullerton station, not Anaheim. It’s a station earlier (so it’s cheaper) and apparently better serviced by buses. This journey is just short of 30 minutes, and was a pleasure due to the huge comfortable seats, free wifi and the joy of above land train travel. Be warned that the ticketing is more like a flight than a usual service train, so you’ll need to allow time to get your ticket and board. It should only cost around $11 each way per person, but you’ll need to be across the times to ensure you have a way of getting home.
Once you arrive at Fullerton station, make your way to the bus stops right outside the station and catch the next #43 bus heading south along S Harbor Boulevard. This will take 17-25 minutes and drop you off at the Disneyland employees’ entrance. You’ll likely be on the bus with people in Disneyland uniforms, so you can just get off where they do (though it’s fairly clear when you see it due to all the Disneyland buses). It’s called the employees’ entrance, but it’s definitely open to the public as it’s a standard bus route stop.