A hotel offer (hope this is allowed)

I find public transportation in LA generally great, and Lyft fills in the gaps. Public transit won’t get you everywhere fast, but I never have time to get to all the places on my lists anyway. At peak traffic times the subway can be much faster than driving.

On the rare occasions when I’ve had a car or am riding in a friend’s car, it’s often annoying how much time gets wasted in traffic and finding parking.

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Honestly, DTLA is a bit grimy and not very interesting once you’ve gone to the Broad and Disney Hall, and the Cathedral gardens are spectacular this time of year, if you like that sort of thing (I do).

I recommend Santa Monica. As mentioned, the Expo Line can whisk you downtown to see those sights, and you can transfer at the downtown metro station to Hollywood.

Then, at the end of the day, you get to come home to the ocean. Santa Monica is lively day and night, and you can visit the fabulous farmers market. You like to cook on vacations, I’ve noticed, so it could be fun for you.

I’m not sure of your budget, but Casa Del Mar is on the beach, and a new Courtyard Marriot just opened that is close to the Expo line. There are many other places to stay, also. It is a friendly town.

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Wish we had a guest room. You could kick it with us. AirBNB is often the most affordable choice. Easy under 200. Many friends have stayed in different places we’ve visited

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Casa del Mar is $800/night and that new Courtyard is $400/night. I can make hotel suggestions at the $200ish/night range, but it won’t be pretty (Coral Sands Hollywood, Orchid Suites, Celebrity Hollywood, Dixie Motel, etc).

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If you want to get around on the Metro, I recommend staying in DTLA near 7th St / Metro Center or Pershing Square, in Koreatown near Wilshire / Normandie, in Los Feliz near Vermont / Sunset, or in Thai Town near Hollywood / Western. Those three neighborhoods all have lots of great restaurants and bars but very different styles.

Not counting the time it takes to get to the Metro station and waiting up to 12 minutes for the next train, the Expo Line trip from Santa Monica to 7th St / Metro Center (the end of the line in DTLA) takes a little over 45 minutes. Getting to Langer’s would take at least an hour, to Sapp Coffee Shop at least an hour and 15 minutes.

Santa Monica or Venice are great places to stay in their own right, but I’d probably plan to go no further east than Westwood and Culver City.

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IME, $160 is a great rate for a downtown hotel, especially when it includes parking. It really depends where you want to go in L.A. The BV is only a few blocks from Grand Central Market, which I’m sure you’ll love. Lots of other board favorites are within walking distance or an easy subway ride or car drive away (Langer’s for example).

Our approach, (since we find that driving in L.A. can be sheer hell) is to figure out where we’re likely to be going on our visit, and then get an Airbnb that’s central.

BTW, when I stayed at the Bonaventure (admittedly 15 years ago), I didn’t consider it “gross”, with the exception of the good-sized rat I saw scurrying across the floor in the snack shop.

Easy walking distance in one direction. There are some hills in that area that I’d rather not face after dinner. But it’s a cheap Lyft ride.