Honest answer? Yes, and you should…but only if you’re a group of 1-2. Between the Metro, rideshares and staying close to the attractions you want to see LA is a more pleasant experience without having to navigate a car and miss all the street life on display. If you’re traveling with 4 or more, you might want to invest in a car rental and plan your days wisely. Let me explain.

There are 4 factors to think about when visiting LA and trying to decide if you need a car or not. LA traffic/parking, public transportation, ease of ride share and walk/bike-ability are the things to consider when trying to figure out if you need a car in Los Angeles.

LA traffic and parking: Renting a car in Los Angeles means you will spend several hours everyday of your vacation in traffic, and at least $100 or more in parking fees and gas. LA residents plan their trips based on timing of traffic patterns. A trip to Santa Monica looks easy on a map, but headed there or back during peak commute times can have you at 1 hour plus to travel 15 miles. LA is huge, and many people make the mistake of thinking they can hike the Hollywood sign, catch sunset at the beach, hit the hotel for a shower and make their 8PM dinner reservation. It’s not going to happen. They look close on a map, but they’re not when you’re battling millions of people getting to and from work. That being said, planning wisely by breaking the city up into Westside, Hollywood, Eastside and downtown and planning your days with activities close by each other will minimize the disappointment of sitting in traffic and realizing you’re not going to make it in time for anticipated plans.

Public Transportation in LA: LA’s metro gets a bad rap, but it goes everywhere tourist want to go, and it’s only $1.75 per ride with day passes starting at $5. I take Metro all the time even though I bike and drive too, most times its easier and cheaper when traveling to a popular destination like Universal Studios, Downtown or Hollywood Blvd. when you factor in traffic, parking fees etc. It makes sense for 1-2 people traveling together to take the Metro, but 4 or more and you’re getting into Uber price territory. Keep your situational awareness, use it during peak times, and choose your Metro car wisely-the front ones have a live conductor, and you’ll be fine on the LA Metro.

Rideshare in Los Angeles: It is easy to use rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft in LA, but in popular areas you may end up waiting longer for a car so make sure you factor in a 10-15 minute wait for a ride even if it looks like there are a lot of drivers close by. Walking a block or two away from popular destinations can be helpful to getting a better price and quicker service. A combo of Metro and a few rideshares can be cheaper and far more enjoyable than renting a car.

Walk/bike-ability: A number of neighborhoods are walkable, choose wisely when picking a place to stay. Paying a bit more to stay closer to the destinations you want to see can be cheaper than trying to save money on a far flung hotel or AirBnB then spending $50-$100 a day on gas, parking and rideshares. Downtown, where our bike tours are located, is very walkable if you know where to go, and has a number of excellent hotels with great prices. It is also a transit hub and you can easily catch trains to the beach, Hollywood, or even San Diego or Santa Barbara. If you’re after the Kardashian experience stay in West Hollywood or the beach cities. If it is nightlife you’re after stay in Hollywood. If you want to see it all, pick mid-city, somewhere around the Grove/Farmers Market area. Metro also operates a bike share for the same price as a Metro ride.

Whatever you’re into come ride with us, we’ve got personal recommendations for everyone, and DTLA has it all. Final answer to do you need a car in LA? No, you’ll enjoy your Los Angeles trip much more without a cage, I mean car.