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Looking for lodging recommendations near Los Angeles CA Union Station Amtrak Station

Looking for lodging recommendations. Friends are dropping me off at Santa Monica Pier after a Route 66 trip, and two days later, I leave via Amtrak train out of Los Angeles Union Station. Prefer lodging within walking distance to public transportation transit stop. Budget under $200 per night.

I am currently considering lodging near Union Station, for example Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown, Metro Plaza Hotel, or Best Western Plus Golden Gate Inn, Kawada Hotel. Wonder how safe the Union Station neighborhood is.

Posted by
2643 posts

I can not comment about hotels and I haven’t been there for a few years...and now with covid who knows? That being said, Union Station is very near to Olvera Street (Little Mexico). Great food, outdoor market, and some interesting architecture. It is very close to the station, to which we walked to catch the Southwest Chief to Chicago. Try not to miss that area. Beautiful art nouveau station as well.

Posted by
2716 posts

My favorite hotel for walking to Union Station is in Japantown. Love the area. Downtown is so interesting and walkable from there. Will add hotel name soon. Also download the LA walking tour from the Historical Society.

Edit: Miyako Hotel

Posted by
6511 posts

I would stay right in Santa Monica/ Ocean Park neighborhood, assuming its easy enough to take Metro Line E to Union Station. This is a great and affordable hotel just blocks from the water, can't beat it! Not many down-to-earth places like this one left in a very pricey market. Santa Monica is a wonderful place to spend a few days, very beautiful and chill.
http://www.seashoremotel.com

Posted by
5482 posts

Stay in Chinatown. Metro Plaza works.

Neighborhood not overly burdened with the out of control LA homeless situation. Easy walk to Union Station.

Eat a Philippe’s or have the slippery shrimp at Yang Chow’s.

Covid restrictions have been eased regarding indoor dining.

Posted by
1480 posts

Downtown isn't as bad as it used to be, but it's still not great. It's really not what people are thinking of when they think of "Los Angeles." And on many streets the homeless situation will take your breath away.

Since you're going to be at the coast, look for somewhere at the coast, or near Century City. All the usual stuff you'll want to see (Beverly Hills, Hollywood) is in that part of town. You can then take the Expo Line trolley downtown and transfer to the Red Line for Union Station.

Posted by
4 posts

Wondering how safe the Chinatown neighborhood near LA Union station is during the day.

Posted by
7446 posts

Claudia wouldn’t recommend Chinatown if it wasn’t safe... : )

Posted by
7950 posts

I second Claudia’s suggestion to go to Yang Chow for the Slippery Shrimp. I’ve eaten at many Chinese restaurants and I’ve never seen anything like Slippery Shrimp anywhere else. We try to go there every time we are in L.A. The relative who introduced us to Yang Chow sent us a copy of Yang Chow’s Slippery Shrimp recipe that was published in the L.A. Times. It’s really good, but not quite the same as eating it there. Still, I get many requests to make SS as well as my homemade potstickers. Have a great trip!

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you! Just watched a few minutes of the video, and it is like being there. My stress melts away and it feels like my vacation has already begun!

Posted by
5482 posts

Glad the stress has melted.

However be aware homeless in LA is rampant. It’s embarrassing. Downtown LA hasn’t been vibrant in 40 years. It’s was scary in the early 90’s. Likes to boast with all the young entrepreneurs and new condo residents it’s changed....it hasn’t. Covid closures took a toll on restaurants and coffee shops. Hipsters bailed.

Stay in Chinatown. Wander around Chinatown and Olvera Street and admire the architectural gem Union Station...know that the Oscar telecast will take place in Union Station this year....do not bother wandering around DTLA ( downtown LA ).

FYI there was a big dust up over the clearing out the homeless at Echo Park Lake. The encampment was huge. GOOGLE it.

Posted by
753 posts

You cannot imagine how lousy public transportation is in L.A. I advise you to plan around it. Seriously, just pretend there isn't any.

If you're getting dropped in Santa Monica, stay near there. You have the ocean, one of the nicest parts of town, and plenty to do right there. If the Getty is open take a cab and go there. It's better than anything downtown. Go walk around UCLA and eat at In and Out, or Westwood and look for famous people. Even Rodeo Dr is just a couple miles away. Go make like Julia Roberts. Use Uber or Lyft. Stay north of the 10. Don't waste two days in downtown.

I grew up around L.A. My dad worked on 7th and Spring; just down from Philippe's. I worked on 12th and Grand, just a couple blocks from the Convention Center. Olvera St was once a historic place; now it's cheap tourist junk. Chinatown isn't much either any more. Traffic sucks, the bums are legendary, and locals can't wait to leave downtown.

Posted by
6511 posts

I think people may have 1980s perceptions of downtown Los Angeles. I can't claim what it looks like right now (during Covid) but I lived in SoCal for 20+ years, visit regularly (have family there) and have been in various parts of downtown regularly and saw no issues. Obviously Skid Row is not nice but it's not like ALL downtown is some hell by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, there are homeless people but they are everywhere in Santa Monica too, which is a super wealthy enclave where one wins the lottery by scoring a rent control apartment. Personally, I prefer the beach by a long stretch, so I would stay in Santa Monica. The public transit isn't what it used to be either - it's gotten a hell of a lot better. Metro was extended to Santa Monica some time ago. Everyone drives in CA so they have no idea what public transit even exists. There is decent public transit in some areas (mostly the Blue Bus in Santa Monica or where students live, etc).

Bashing LA is an Olympic sized sport, so just take that into some consideration. Again, yes there are homeless people (lots and lots)...but there are so really cool parts of downtown to explore. Personally I think you'll be fine by Union Station but you don't need 2 days there. Unfortunately some parts of downtown worth checking out are not adjacent but cut off from each other by freeways, and navigating from one to another is not fun at all on foot. I try not to go under any freeway underpass unless there's a lot of foot traffic and in daylight - it's just creepy and, yes, homeless do congregate there.

Don't sweat it, you'll be fine in Chinatown/ Olvera/ Union Station area. I would ask your friends to hang out in Santa Monica for a while and then drop you off directly in Chinatown afterwards.