Hop On and Off Buses

Wilshire and Figueroa

I’ve lived in Los Angeles all my life and have traveled most of the world and have taken these Hop On Hop Off City Tours but never in Los Angeles. I was a bit curious where this would take me, so I forked up the $49 and got myself on these double decker buses. Would I ever do this again? Probably not. Would I recommend this to tourists? It depends.

The ticket I got was valid for 24 hours. Meaning from the time I bought the ticket, I have 24 hours to use it; I bought the ticket at 2 pm and it expired at 2 pm the next day. I bought the ticket at the starting point at Hollywood and Highland but I’m guessing you can buy it along the route.

Chinatown Gates

Between 2 pm and 7 pm, I had only taken 2 buses out of the 6 routes (without getting out).Β These buses don’t start up again till 9 am; so technically my 24 hours becomes 10 hours. And since I had Saturday to do this, my 10 hours became 5 hours.

The routes are listed below:

  • Red Route (Hollywood and Beverly Hills) 2 hour loop
  • Yellow Route (Beverly Hills and Santa Monica) 2 hour Loop
  • Purple Route (Downtown Los Angeles) 2 hour loop
  • Green Route (Venice and Marina Del Rey) 1 1/2 hour loop
  • Blue Connector (Universal and Hollywood Bowl) 1 hour loop
  • Orange Connector (LAX Hotels and Marina Del Rey) 45 min loop

Westlake

Being the accountant that I am, all of these routes sums up to 9 hours and 25 minutes. Which means, you are probably unable to ride each route/connector in Los Angeles in these 24 hours and would have to pay extra for maybe a 48/72 hour pass ($64/$79 respectively – BTW these are adult prices). Yes, I know 9 hours and 25 minutes is under 10 hours. However, I am also counting the time you transfer from one route to the other.

Pros:

  • Los Angeles is a big metropolitan city, our transportation system is unreliable sometimes and you have to take multiple buses/subways to get from one major landmark to the other.
  • These tour buses will take you to all the major destinations and famous landmarks and then sum. In addition, they give you free headphones so you can learn different facts about each destination/landmarks. I learned a lot of new facts along the way I never heard of before.
  • You don’t really have to hop on/off and just can check out the views from the comfort of your seat on the bus.

Cons:

  • Los Angeles is too big of a city, that even the tour recommends only taking 2 routes in 24 hours – so $24.50 for one ride. Is it really worth it?
  • The buses are old. The seats are bit dated and rusted and people are just dirty. Also, the seats are a bit too close together.
  • I went during the summer and it was hot! Going around Hollywood and Beverly Hills was not fun on the top deck. I went down to bottom deck and they didn’t have the air conditioning on.
  • Takes too long. If I go on my own. It takes at least 45 minutesΒ to go from Hollywood to Beverly Hills and back, but then I have to deal with parking.

Tips:

  • Looking at the map, it looks like the major destinations are only on 4 routes instead of 6. You can pass on the Blue and Orange Connector.
  • If you don’t like Hoping On and Off and staying on the bus, you can probably do all in 10 hours. Start your day at Hollywood and Highland and take the Red Route to the Yellow Route and to the Green Route. Loop the Green, finish the Yellow and Red Route and transfer to the Purple Route to end your day. Of course, it’s going to suck just because you’re on the bus the whole day lol. It was somewhat fun in on the Purple Route just because there was lots to see but on the Red Route it was a bit boring just because of not a lot landmarks along the way. I can’t really imagine on the Yellow Route though; There’s practically nothing on San Vincente and Pico Blvd.
  • You can always combine the Metro with this bus just so you can get to the destination quicker especially now that they have an Expo line that gets you from Downtown LA to Santa Monica.
  • You probably would need to add a Metro if you take the Purple Route as the last bus. The last two buses that goes Downtown LA does not go back to Hollywood and Highland. It stops in the last Downtown LA stop; you would probably need to take Uber/Lyft/Taxi or Metro to your next desired location. This is the same for the Yellow Route, but I think there are more options in transportation is you end in Downtown LA than in Santa Monica.

Would I recommend to tourists? I say it depends because if you have the money and want to know more about Los Angeles then Yes. However, if you’re on a budget and just want to check out the sights then No. I mean tourism is a big business every where around the world not only in LA. You have to decide if this is worth it.

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