How to Get Around Los Angeles Without a Car

October 21, 2016

Everyone looks forward to going on vacation to the sunny state of California. However, a Los Angeles getaway can’t happen with a little budgeting and planning.

In that budgeting process, we try to find every discount and savings possible. Sometimes this budgeting means forgoing a rental car as a result. Now you’re left to figure out how to get around Los Angeles without a car.

Navigating Los Angeles without a car sounds impossible, right? Wrong. While renting a car may be a great convenience, it can eat up precious funds that could be spent on Disneyland tickets or getting reservations for the Los Angeles hotel you’ve been dreaming of.
There are several ways to get around Los Angeles without a car. From public transportation to biking around the city, you have multiple transportation options at your disposal in LA.

Image via Sergio Ruiz / flickr

Uber and Lyft

When you scratch the idea of renting a car, your first thought might be to rely on a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. While ride-sharing services are an excellent choice, you need to be aware of the cost. Large cities such as Los Angeles tend to have much higher ride-sharing rates due to the popularity of the service, the congestion of the city, and other market factors.

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For quick trips, ride-sharing services are your best option for getting around Los Angeles without a car. Just keep in mind that the cost, potential traffic, and wait times are all factors when using this type of transportation.

Metro Los Angeles / Facebook

Los Angeles Public Transportation

Public transportation in Los Angeles has an unfortunate reputation for poor service, late arrivals and departures, and other issues. However, in recent years, the city has vastly improved their public transportation services. Most recently, the city introduced the Expo line which runs from Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles with several stops along the way.

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The Los Angeles Metro Public Transportation service offers a variety of transportation options (bus and rail) to help you get around Los Angeles without a car. To ensure that you get to your destination on time and efficiently, use their Trip Planner to find the right line or method of public transportation. You can also use the Go Metro LA app to help you navigate the Los Angeles public transportation options.

When using public transportation throughout Los Angeles keep in mind these quick tips:

  • Be informed before you travel. There’s nothing worse than being unprepared and lost at the same time.
  • Know how much a Metro pass and fares cost. If riding a bus, bring exact change.
  • Try to travel at off-peak times to avoid the hustle and bustle of locals getting to and from work.
  • Have a backup transportation plan in case your train or bus does not arrive on time.

The city of Los Angeles has made great strides to improve their public transportation system. After all, what public transportation system in a large city doesn’t have flaws? Know before you go and you’ll be on your way to a fantastic vacation in Los Angeles without a car.

Taxi Service

Like most notable cities, Los Angeles offers a variety of taxi services for visitors to utilize. However, remember that taxis can have extremely high rates. With the legendary Los Angeles traffic, a taxi may cost you quite a bit of your travel budget. Depending on the current market rates of Uber and Lyft, a taxi has the potential to cost even more than a ride-sharing service. Before you hail a taxi, be sure to check the current transportation rates.

Experience Los Angeles by bike!

Bike Around Los Angeles

Los Angeles, especially the Santa Monica area, is a bike-friendly city. In fact, when you visit Santa Monica, you’ll notice that almost everyone uses a bike to get around. The Metro service actually offers a bike sharing service available all over the city, available 24/7/365. This simple sharing service allows locals and visitors the opportunity to get some exercise, easily get to their destination, and experience Los Angeles along the way.

Whether you it as your primary means of transportation or just for fun, you can rely on a bike to help you navigate Los Angeles without a car.

Take the Bus

While the Metro system does offer a bus system, they aren’t the only buses available in the city.

Looking for a ride to and from LAX? Trust the Flyaway buses throughout LA. These airport bus rides are a mere $8-$10 depending on your location in Los Angeles.

The Big Blue Bus Company also provides transportation around the Santa Monica area. This service is ideal for those looking to get to the Expo line without the hassle of a car, lugging a bike around, or other nuisances.

A tour helps you see the Los Angeles landmarks without a car.

Go on a Tour of Los Angeles

One of the best ways to maximize your time in Los Angeles without a car is to reserve your spot for one of the many tours. From bus tours to walking tours, you can see major landmarks throughout the city without having to worry about parking or traffic. Get your tickets for one of these fantastic LA tours:

Even though you’ll need to use some form of transportation to get to your tour departure point, you have many options for doing so in LA.

Innovative car rental services helps you avoid the prices of commercial rental companies.

Use Turo

Turo is the AirBnB of rental cars. If you decide you need a car at some point during your vacation, you can avoid the ghastly commercial rental car prices and use Turo instead. Through this service, locals can rent out their cars (protected by the company’s insurance policy, of course) to visitors who want to explore Los Angeles.

Turo offers for cars to be dropped off locally, in the city, or at the airport. Drivers and riders must be approved by Turo in order to use the service. This provides a safe and trusted experience for both parties involved.

Turo’s rental rates are also competitive in comparison to the big rental brands such as Enterprise and Budget. As their website states, Turo can offer rates up to 30% less than the big brands. With Turo, you might not have to navigate Los Angeles without a car or break your budget.


Unfortunately, Los Angeles isn’t the most “walkable” city. However, it can be if you plan accordingly and utilize additional transportation options. Most importantly, try to reserve a hotel room in a centrally located area. Doing so will make it easy for you to walk to your intended destinations and attractions.

Even if you don’t intend on walking to your destinations, having a conveniently located hotel will make vacationing in Los Angeles without a car so much easier.

You can enjoy the great city of Los Angeles without a car.

Visiting Los Angeles Without a Car is Possible

Enjoying the sights and sounds of Los Angeles without a car is completely possible. From public transportation to innovative rental car companies, you’ll have no trouble getting to your destinations.

Before you go, don’t forget to book your hotel and attraction tickets through Tripster Los Angeles!

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