Sure, traffic jams on freeways are all part of the Los Angeles experience, but working on your sleeve tan in a cloud of car fumes isn’t the only way to get around. The city is home to as many unique modes of transport as there are latte variations at your corner coffee shop. Whether you’re planning a little sojourn along the coast or you’re just looking to spice up the journey between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill, there are plenty of unforgettable rides across the city that will bring you closer to a different side of L.A.’s culture.
1. The Getty Tram
The Getty Center needs no introduction, it’s filled with marvels that could keep you captivated for hours. From the incredible, diverse array of American and European art covering the walls to the organic sculptures that continue to evolve in the perfectly manicured gardens. Along with that, the towering hilltop fortress also happens to boast some incredible views of the Santa Monica Mountains. One of the best ways to take in the impressive architecture, views, and landscaping is the Getty Center Tram. Glide up the hill’s edge, weaving through the lush surroundings, overlooking the freeway until you arrive at the cream curves of the towering cultural fortress. Find out more here.
2. Pacific Surfliner To San Diego
This underrated train trip not only avoids the gridlocked roads down to San Diego’s beaches on a sunny day, but it’s hands down one of the most scenic rides you can take along the beachfront where you can stare out the window in awe for the entire journey. You’ll be watching the waves crash on the sandy shores with surfers riding the huge swells, and before you know it you’ll be in a Find out more here.
3. Angel’s Flight
Hop aboard the gorgeous 188-year-old funicular and enjoy the world’s shortest (but possibly the most charming) railway trip between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill. This wooden-clad landmark has been featured in movies and has been the backdrop for a number of romantic scenes in films like the beloved musical La La Land, so naturally, it’s a popular date spot for lovers. What’s more, is it only costs a mere $1 per trip or $0.50 with a metro card. Find out more here.
4. The Santa Monica Ferris Wheel
Yes, yes, we know. This Ferris wheel is by no means a secret, but you can’t beat those panoramic views of the Pacific combined with that funfair nostalgia. It’s a quintessential Los Angeles experience enjoyed by both locals and visitors daily. This 85-foot landmark is also the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel, which is an impressive fact to consider as you soak up the warm sunlight, inhale the fresh ocean air and stuff your face with a delicious cone. It’s old-meets-new in more ways than one and has to be done at least once. Find out more here
5. The Venice Electric Bike Parade
Grab anything you have with wheels, deck it/them out in anything and everything neon, then get ready to join an electric bike parade and light up the streets of Venice. Take in the gorgeous sunsets and swaying palm trees as you make your way from Santa Monica back down to Venice along Abbot Kinney, ending at the Venice Pier. You’ll be joined by enthusiastic bikers, cyclists, roller skaters, and many other locomotive creations covered in glowing lights with 80s and 90s music to get you in the groove. Find out more here.
6. A Trip On A Vintage Trolley At The Grove
While the iconic The Grove might be a tourist magnet, riding atop the historic 1950s streetcar is undeniably magical. You’ll weave through the quaint streets, lined with cute boutiques, plants, and decorations reflecting the season. It’s the perfect way to kill time while waiting for a restaurant reservation, or you may feel like splurging with an elegant (and very exclusive) dining experience on the second floor of the double-decker trolley. Find out more here.
7. A Gondola Cruise
While traveling over 6,000 miles to Venice isn’t always an option, there’s still the option of taking a 30-minute drive to Long Beach for a taste of European life. You can glide down the stunning Naples Canals on 38-foot asymmetrical beauties as gondoliers propel you under the romantic, high-arching bridges as you travel past the Accademia, to Ravenna, to Toledo and the Neapolitan East, to the famous “Treasure Island” bridge.