The 9 Best Hostels in Los Angeles, California

LA's hotspots are within reach at the city's best hostels
LA's hotspots are within reach at the city's best hostels | © Beth Dixson / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Katie Watkins
6 November 2020

While the City of Angels might not have a reputation for affordability, it’s home to a growing number of hostels. If you want to explore the city’s hotspots on a budget, these wallet-friendly options are a good place to start.

A sprawling metropolis brimming with museums, restaurants and celebrities, Los Angeles can be overwhelming and expensive to visit. But it is possible to explore the city without breaking the bank. Hostels aren’t particularly widespread in the US, but in LA, you’ll find them dotted from Venice Beach to Hollywood – there’s even one sitting right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Whether you’re looking for a party atmosphere, want to stay in a classic Hollywood manor or prefer something beachside, these affordable and sociable hostels are the best in LA.

Melrose Hostel

Hostel
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Courtesy of Melrose Hostel / Expedia

Located off the bustling and much-loved Melrose Avenue, the Melrose Hostel is the perfect place for travelers looking to cram a lot into their LA schedule. It’s a location handy to favored sights like the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Runyon Canyon, plus you’ll be surrounded by plenty of edgy LA boutiques and hip matcha latte-serving cafés. Amenities include the basics like free wifi and breakfast, but it also offers a whole host of daily and nightly activities, such as Hollywood hiking tours, allowing ample opportunity to meet fellow travelers.

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Walk of Fame Hostel

Hostel
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Courtesy of Walk of Fame Hostel / Expedia

For those interested in a bit of celebrity spotting, the Walk of Fame Hostel is a downright cornucopia of opportunities. Located on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, you have a front-row seat to movie premieres at historic theaters such as TCL Chinese Theatre and Disney’s El Capitan. However, the hostel doesn’t just ride off its enviable location; it also offers great amenities to boot, such as free breakfast, organized outings and laundry facilities. This hostel is for those who want to fill their days with fun but are still looking for some classic home comforts.

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Freehand Los Angeles

Hostel, Hotel
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Courtesy of Freehand Los Angeles / Expedia

Freehand Los Angeles feels more like a hotel (with a price to match), but in typical hostel fashion, it offers a slew of shared rooms. Located in Downtown LA, the hostel is within walking distance to sights such as the Last Bookstore, Grand Central Market and the Broad, a contemporary art museum. In terms of amenities, Freehand has a rooftop pool and bar, plus a restaurant and fitness center. The shared rooms can house four, six or eight people and have en-suite bathrooms. Beds in shared rooms also have privacy screens with outlets and reading lights. Freehand does organize a few events each week, including rooftop yoga by the pool on Saturday mornings.

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Samesun Venice Beach

Independent Hotel, Hostel
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Courtesy of Samesun Venice Beach / Expedia

Located about as close as you can get to the golden sands of Venice Beach, the location of Samesun is unbeatable. How many hostels can boast about palm tree-lined views over the Pacific Ocean? When you’re not making new friends at the nightly in-house events or skateboarding along the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk out front, you’ll be in your comfortable room being lulled to sleep by the sound of waves lapping the shore. If you do fancy exploring further afield, the hostel has an on-site reservation agent to book excursions and trips for you – so, gather up your new friends and head out on a day trip to the Hollywood Sign, before retreating to the beach in time for happy hour.

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  • PodShare DTLA

    Hostel
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    Courtesy of PodShare DTLA Arts District - Hostel / Expedia

    If you’re sick of cramped bunks, then PodShare is for you. As the name suggests, beds are pod-like spaces (you won’t notice your neighbor) – each with a television and reading light. The Downtown location lies in the Arts District, where you can explore breweries, art galleries and thought-provoking street art. Check out up-and-coming talent at Art Share LA – something of an arts collective with exhibitions, residences and classes – and then head to Arts District Brewing Company for a craft beer in its lively warehouse-style setting.

    Orange Drive Hostel

    Hostel
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    Courtesy of Orange Drive Hostel / Expedia

    Orange Drive Hostel lies inside a historic 1910 manor steeped in Hollywood history. During the Golden Age, it became a boarding house where stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth stayed. In its current phase of life, the hostel hosts budget travelers looking for a relaxed environment. It’s located on a quiet street within walking distance of famous sights, including Sunset Boulevard, the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The hostel offers dorm, private and group rooms. A free breakfast (with pancakes and waffles) is included in the stay.

    Banana Bungalow Hollywood

    Hostel
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    A former motel, Banana Bungalow is ideal for those who want to socialize (or party) during their trip to La La Land, as it organizes free social nights, including karaoke and a pub crawl. Dorms have either six or eight beds and a bath and kitchen; the hostel also has private rooms. Because of the motel-esque layout, there is also on-site parking, and the Hollywood Sign is visible from the courtyard, which has been converted into a hangout area.

    HI Los Angeles Santa Monica Hostel

    Hostel
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    Courtesy of HI Santa Monica Hostel / Expedia

    Located in the coastal city of Santa Monica, HI Los Angeles is just a block from the beach. The surrounding neighborhood is full of trendy shops and restaurants, and nearby public transit is available for guests to explore the rest of LA. The hostel also organizes daily events and tours that you can sign up for. With more than 260 beds across four floors, HI Los Angeles is a giant, but the behemoth hostel is also eco-friendly, having been awarded Santa Monica Green Business Certification for its sustainability measures.

    USA Hostels Hollywood

    Hostel
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    Courtesy of USA Hostels Hollywood / Expedia

    USA Hostels Hollywood is minutes away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre and organizes daily tours and activities, such as a hike to the Hollywood Sign. Plus, there’s a shuttle three times a week that takes guests to the beaches in Santa Monica and Venice. In 2018, USA Hostels installed central air conditioning and remodeled the rooms and bathrooms. Beds in group rooms have privacy panels, a shelf, a bed light and a power outlet. Breakfast is also included in the price.

    Molly Codyre contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on November 6, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.