Los Angeles

Los Angeles (also called L.A. or LA) is the largest city in the state of California, and is the home to about 17m people. Famous for being the center of the American film and TV production in Hollywood, as well as the home to many celebrities. Most of the touristic activities are connected to the film industry (Universal Studios, Disneyland in the nearby Anaheim, Hollywood Walk of Fame..), although the city has some beautiful beaches on the pacific. Regarding safety, LA is at both extremes : while most of the touristic neighborhoods such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica are safe, L.A. has some very dangerous areas downtown (Skid Row) and nearby (South Central), as well as some cities famous for gang related violence (Compton – the 4th most dangerous city in the US). SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip while in Los Angeles, and be aware of all potential dangers.

SAFETY INDEX

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Los Angeles is an overall safe city, with extremely safe neighorhoods and extremely dangerous ones. With a rating of 69,4% The US, is ranked 51th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

There is some pickpocket-related risk in Los Angeles. Be careful on the subway, transport to and from the airport and on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some pickpockets can pose as beggars.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Los Angeles is an averagely safe city regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of the dangerous zones which should be avoided by looking at our map or by asking local advice.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in Los Angeles. Homeless people can be aggressive towards you if you don’t hand them money. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Transports and are generally very safe in Los Angeles.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Earthquakes can happen in California, but are not very common (the last major one was in 1994).

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Los Angeles has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks, but it is best to stay alert.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Los Angeles is generally very safe for women travelers.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

Downtown

Downtown LA is the central business and cultural district of the city, with highlight tourist spots such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street (Mexican Neighborhood) or the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The area offers a lot of restaurants for all budgets, and shopping districts. During the day, Downtown LA is safe (except for Skid Row – check next paragraph). At night, some areas get empty and dark really fast and should be avoided. Neighboring areas such as Pico-Union, South Central, Westlake or Boyle Heights are best avoided. Skid Row: the 1 square mile area around 3rd / 7th street and Alameda is called Skid Row. Since the 1970’s, it has been one of the neighborhoods with the largest homeless population in the US. Although most homeless people are harmless, some can be aggressive if you don’t hand them money. The whole area and its hotels should be avoided by tourists.

Hollywood

Hollywood is a residential area west of Downtown. Famous for its mountain-side “Hollywood” sign and the walk of fame, Hollywood now only hosts a few entertainment companies such as Paramount, since many other have fled to nearby cities with larger facilities and lower rents. The Griffith observatory is a great place to have a view on the city and look at the stars through telescopes. The streets around the Hollywood walk of fame are filled by tourists during the day and some pickpockets operate in the area. At night, Hollywood is safe. Check the LA Times Map for more details.

West Side

With areas such as Venice Beach, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, LA’s West Side is a rich, trendy neighborhood with some of the US’s largest homes and villas. From visiting the Getty Museum, UCLA’s campus or surfing on the Pacific, the area has plenty of alluring activities – for those who can afford it. While the West Side attracts mostly burglars and vehicle thieves, the beach area can be dangerous after the sun sets. Venice Beach is known for its meth trade, so avoid it after dark. The area between Culver City and the Marina del rey is best avoided at night.

Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application. Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information. Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city. The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation. A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page