Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guide by our researcher-writer, Graham Bishai.
USA Hostels Hollywood ($$)
1624 Schrader Blvd.; (323) 462-3777; usahostels.com; reception open 24hr
Modern, sleek, and conveniently located—what more could you ask for? They supply the basics, along with modern touches, a fun atmosphere, and pancakes for breakfast. Spread out on the front patio, a gated oasis surrounded by flowers and the hum of Hollywood Boulevard, which is less than a block away. With its potted flowers, modern outdoor furniture, and Friday barbeques, this hostel feels like a real-life Home Depot ad. Step out onto the street and you’re just blocks away from the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, and the LA Metro. The hostel staff show you LA from an expert’s perspective during their frequent tours and activities—all while finding the time to keep the rooms spotlessly clean.
Dorms from $45, privates from $135; reservation recommended; max stay 14 days; BGLTQ+ friendly; Wi-Fi, linens, breakfast included; coin-operated laundry facilities
Banana Bungalow West Hollywood ($)
603 N Fairfax Ave.; (323) 655-2002; bananabungalows.com; reception open 8am-noon
It’s not the Ritz, but it’s a solid place to spend the night with gorgeously affordable rates. Banana Bungalow offers guests a comfy bed, a social atmosphere, and a hipster-fabulous location just steps away from the Melrose District. Walk a few steps more and find yourself at two of LA’s prime clubbing locations: Santa Monica Boulevard and the Sunset Strip. Or just keep your boolin’ within the comfort your hostel and enjoy the Bungalow’s oasis-like outdoor tiki garden. There are plenty of opportunities to mingle with guests, like barbeques, movie nights, and foosball tournaments. This hostel screams, “I’m so hip” (but in a totally chill, not extra, SoCal kinda way) with its funky décor and beach bum aesthetic.
Shared dorms from $24, privates from $84; reservation recommended; max stay 14 days; wheelchair accessible; Wi-Fi, breakfast, and linens included, laundry facilities available.
Hollywood City Inn ($$$)
1615 N Western Ave.; (323) 469-2700; hollywoodcityinn.net; reception open 24hr
Chilling poolside at Hollywood City Inn is the definition of balling on a budget. Pretend you’ve entered the world of The Florida Project at this motel-style inn. You may never want to leave your spacious room (complete with cable, a microwave, a fridge, and a balcony that overlooks the pool), but you won’t regret it when you do: the Griffith Observatory, a highlight of LA serving up scientific knowledge with breathtaking #views, is practically in your backyard. If you’re looking to get lit, you won’t have much luck in the inn’s quiet neighborhood. But worry not! Your chariot awaits; the metro is just a block away.
Rooms from $120; reservation recommended; max stay 14 days; ground floor rooms wheelchair accessible; Wi-Fi, linens, breakfast, pool entry included; laundry services available for a fee
Graham left behind the stressed-out chaos of Cambridge for the laid back life on the West Coast. A refreshing change of pace, he assumed, until the line for coffee on his first morning took 2 mins longer than he’s used to, and the Northeast nasty jumped out. Starting in Vancouver, Graham meandered south, toning his calves being a pedestrian on San Francisco’s hills and by navigating the monstrosity that is Los Angeles using just his feet and public transit (only resorting to Uber twice!) Graham’s love for the West Coast life only increased as he sat by the Puget Sound in Seattle, sipped kombucha in the crunchy cafes of Portland, climbed into a waterfall in Yosemite and stayed in an abandoned opera house in Death Valley. By the time he hit upper 80s sun of San Diego, buff calves and sun tanned, the words “West Coast, Best Coast,” almost slipped out of his mouth. Identity crisis looming, he figured it was time to go home.