Go Los Angeles Card

July 25, 2013 by

City Tours & Sightseeing, North America, Places to Go, Things to Do, Travel Advice & Inspiration

Explore more with the LA Go Card

Explore more with the LA Go Card

A prepaid ticket shaped like a credit card, the Go Los Angeles Card offers perks and deals at 150+ miles’ worth of Southern California attractions. The trick to getting the best value from the Go Los Angeles Card is determining what kind of attractions you’d like to visit, then map out your travel routes and budget your time.

Rather than just introducing you to L.A.’s central highlights, the Go Los Angeles Card covers attractions that span three counties: Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego. You could easily travel an hour or more between destinations, so it’s best to devise a game plan before you purchase the right Go Card for you.

While San Diego and Long Beach can be reached by train, and several neighborhoods within the boundaries of L.A. proper can be reached by subway, renting a car is still a necessity for visiting much of the Southland — especially its amusement parks. Fortunately, a savings book comes with the Go Los Angeles Card and includes a code to save 10% off the lowest online rate for Enterprise Rent A Car.

Picking up the Go Los Angeles Card is a fast and easy process.

Order the card online, print your Viator voucher and present it to the staff of any the Go Card redemption locations in Los Angeles.  When using the card at any attraction, seek out an information desk before automatically standing in line as though you’re buying a ticket; chances are, you can skip ticket lines and be shown to a shorter line or desk with a special Go Card reader. Voilá — you’re in!

Attractions covered by the Go Los Angeles Card can be divided into three categories:

Cultural Attractions

Touristy Attractions

Amusement and Theme Parks

Best Go Card Values for Cultural Attractions

La Brea Tar Pits

La Brea Tar Pits

The 1-Day Go Los Angeles Card provides a good value for either of these one-day cultural itineraries:

About 10 minutes south of Hollywood,  Mid-Wilshire is home to several major museums, including the spectacular Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Along the famous stretch of Wilshire Boulevard known as the Miracle Mile, the Go Card covers the Petersen Automotive Museum ($15), which celebrates the city’s long, harmonious relationship with cars; and the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits ($12), where well-preserved fossils are still being unearthed from bubbling tar pits near the entrance to a museum that explores the city’s ancient past. 10 minutes west of this area, at the far edges of Beverly Hills, the Museum of Tolerance ($15.50) is set in a largely Jewish neighborhood and uses the Holocaust as a focal point, but also encourages people of all races and nationalities to be respectful of on another.

Mid-Wilshire/Beverly Hills

Time suggested: One day

Costs covered: $77.50

Cost of a 1-Day Go Los Angeles Card: $64.99

Savings: $12.51

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

Set about one hour south of Downtown L.A.,  Long Beach is a big oceanside city connected to Los Angeles by Metrorail. To beat the crowds at the popular Aquarium of the Pacific ($25.95), aim to arrive around 9 a.m. and spend two hours with amazing sea creatures. Then, travel six minutes by car or taxi to the Museum of Latin American Art ($9 for two-for-one admission, or free on Sundays); you can tour this small gem in an hour, then grab a quick, tasty Latin lunch at the on-site Viva Cafe. Head 10 minutes south to Long Beach Harbor, where you can take a one-hour afternoon sail on Spirit Cruises ($14) and then enjoy a historical tour of the Queen Mary ($24.95), a long-docked Art Deco luxury liner. You can enjoy dinner aboard ship and even sleep over on this floating restaurant and hotel.

Long Beach

Time suggested: One day

Costs covered: $73.90

Cost of a 1-Day Go Los Angeles Card: $64.99

Savings: $8.91

Best Go Card Values for Touristy Attractions

Madame Tussaud's Hollywood

Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood

The 5-Day Go Los Angeles Card provides a good value when combining these two touristy itineraries:

It will never win awards for being the loveliest part of L.A., but Hollywood is certainly full of attractions. Those covered by the Go Card are generally within a condensed area of a few blocks; plan to stay in the neighborhood and you won’t need to rent a car. At Hollywood and Highland, both a street direction and a huge mall and entertainment complex, you can take the Dolby Theatre Guided Tour ($17) and see where the Oscars are held each year. Within two blocks, you can visit Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood ($27.95) and the Hollywood Museum ($15), then catch a vintage film at one of the first movie houses in L.A., the Egyptian Theatre (two-for-one admission, $11).

Mix up your visit with two tours that will pick you up from your area hotel: the Movie Star Homes Tour ($49) and the Red Line Hollywood Behind the Scenes Tour ($24.95), both of which will take you through a variety of L.A. neighborhoods. For area dining, check out the fresh Mexican specialties at Loteria Grill on Hollywood Boulevard, and the delicious Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine at Cleo (off the lobby at The Redbury Hotel).

View from Griffith Park

View from Griffith Park

Consider spending an extra day in the area to visit Griffith Park, L.A.’s largest green space, just 10 minutes from Hollywood by cab or car. Here you can rent a bike ($25) to explore the park’s 50+ miles of trails, or hike up to the Griffith Observatory for gorgeous views of the city. Ride over to Zoo Drive and stroll through the beautifully-kept Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens ($17); Across from the zoo’s parking lot you’ll find the Autry Museum of Old West history, and a half-mile away, Travel Town has a small train museum and a miniature train ride.

Visit top Hollywood attractions

Visit top Hollywood attractions

On the opposite side of town, heading 45 minutes due west toward the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica is one of the most beautiful areas of Los Angeles. To get the most from your visit, book a hotel in this part of town. The average Santa Monica hotel room costs $200 a night, but you won’t need a car; the downtown is walkable and the Hop-on Hop-off Yellow Route Tour ($40) will take you as far as Beverly Hills, a half-hour due east.

The most popular attraction in Santa Monica is Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier ($22.95), a small vintage-style amusement park that’s fun for kids and adults; the most famous of its rides is its romantic ocean-view Ferris wheel. The Pier also includes a shopping arcade, an array of seafood restaurants (try The Lobster for lunch or dinner) and the small, friendly Santa Monica Pier Aquarium ($5). Hit the beach path with a bike from Santa Monica Bike Rental ($25), and journey as far as 22 miles away through the beach cities of the South Bay.

Biking on Santa Monica Beach

Biking on Santa Monica Beach

Plan to spend two or three days in Santa Monica  and consider visiting: the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market (Wednesday and Saturday mornings), a celebration of Southern California’s best produce; the fancy top-floor food court at the Santa Monica Place Mall; the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian mall with few independent shops but great opportunities for people-watching; nearby Venice Beach and the independent shops and restaurants on Abbott Kinney Boulevard; and the cocktail bars at the Huntley, Fairmont and Shutters hotels.

Hollywood

Time suggested: Two days

Costs covered: $144.90

Griffith Park

Time suggested: One day

Costs covered: $42

Santa Monica

Time suggested: Two to three days

Costs covered: $87.95

 Santa Monica + Hollywood 

Costs covered: $232.85

Santa Monica + Hollywood + Griffith Park

Costs covered: $274.85

Cost of a 5-Day Go Los Angeles Card: $224.99

Savings: $7.86 – $49.86

Best Go Card Values for Amusement and Theme Parks

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

Southern California’s amusement and theme parks are set in disparate locations from one another. As a general rule, it’s ideal to budget one day for each park, as their size, activities, crowd-navigation and relative distances from one another can require large amounts of energy. It’s also a good idea to split your lodgings into three areas: Hollywood or Universal City; Buena Park or Anaheim; and the San Diego area.

The 7-Day Go Los Angeles Card provides a good value for this itinerary of amusement and theme parks:

One hour northwest of Hollywood, Valencia is a residential sprawl of housing developments, walking paths and outdoor malls in the Santa Clarita Valley. The only real tourist draw here is Six Flags Magic Mountain ($64.99), a huge amusement park full of enormous roller coasters, as well as rides tailored for families and small children.

Set 10-15 minutes north of Hollywood,  Universal City and Burbank are set within a mile of one another. Universal City, a hilltop commercial development, encompasses Universal Studios Hollywood ($84), a movie-themed amusement park, as well as an enormous outdoor mall and a handful of hotels. Just shy of the exit off the 101 freeway for Universal City, Barham Boulevard heads steeply downhill, crosses over Forest Lawn Drive, and becomes W. Olive Avenue. One block later you’ve officially entered Burbank, and will find yourself in front of Warner Bros. Studios. Here you can take the two-hour Warner Bros Studio VIP Tour ($49) and catch glimpses of celebrities and big-budget film and TV productions on the working lot.

Seaworld in San Diego

Seaworld in San Diego

One-and-a-half to two hours south of Hollywood (and more if traffic is heavy), the San Diego  area is home to a wide array of popular theme parks, including the sprawling San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the globally famous Sea World. In San Diego proper you’ll find the huge San Diego Zoo near downtown, and the fascinating Birch Aquarium at Scripps, on the University of California San Diego campus. With the Go Card, you can enjoy the seaside amusements and rides at Belmont Park ($26.95) and a harbor tour with Flagship Cruises ($22). 40 minutes north of San Diego, in Carlsbad, the Go Card covers the interlocking marvels of LEGOLAND ($78) and its adjacent LEGOLAND SEA LIFE Aquarium ($10), that suburban town’s two biggest tourist draws, aside from the elegant La Costa Resort and Spa.

About 40 minutes southeast of Hollywood,  Buena Park is home to the quiet, 105-acre Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, a handful of historical buildings, and two wildly popular amusement parks: Knott’s Berry Farm ($62), which has roller coasters and other thrill rides, and the splashy, water-themed Knott’s Soak City Buena Park ($34.99). You can pair visits to these adjacent parks with two evenings of themed entertainment, at the Pirates’ Dinner Adventure Show and Medieval Times. If you make Buena Park the final destination of this itinerary, you can easily travel 10 minutes southeast to Anaheim and visit Disneyland; Viator offers several options for Disneyland tickets.

Disneyland!

Disneyland!

Valencia

Time suggested: One day

Costs covered: $64.99

Universal City/Burbank

Time suggested: One day

Costs covered: $133

Buena Park

Time suggested: Two days

Costs covered: $42

San Diego/Carlsbad

Time suggested: Two days

Costs covered: $136.95

Valencia + Universal City/Burbank + Buena Park + San Diego/Carlsbad

Time suggested: Seven Days (including travel)

Costs covered: $431.93

Cost of a 7-Day Go Los Angeles Card: $260.99

Savings: $170.94

The 1-Day Go Los Angeles Card also provides a good value when visiting only San Diego/Carlsbad:

There are so many popular attractions in the San Diego/Carlsbad area that it can seem a shame to travel all the way here and not allow yourself several days for exploring. Fortunately, the high price of admission to LEGOLAND makes a 1-Day card a good value, and Viator offers good deals on several other San Diego area attractions.

 San Diego/Carlsbad

Time suggested: One day

Costs covered: $88 (LEGOLAND attractions alone)

Cost of a 1-Day Go Los Angeles Card: $64.99

Savings: $23.01

There’s certainly a Go Los Angeles Card that’s right for you, so plan carefully, enjoy your trip to Los Angeles — and enjoy saving some money while you’re here!

-Melanie Wynne

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