In L.A., where the automobile is worshipped—and will be, no matter how high gas prices go—the freeways are the best way for you to get around town.

Renting a Car. Definitely plan to do it at the airport. And if you want to cruise around in a convertible—a quintessential L.A. experience that allows you to catch some sun while sitting in traffic—reserve well in advance. It's also a good idea to spring for a GPS system.

Parking. With the exception of Downtown high-rises, where parking costs can be exorbitant—parking in L.A. is not inexpensive and plentiful. Avoid rush hour (before 10 am and between 5 and 7 pm) if at all possible, and remember that even-numbered freeways run east–west, and odd-numbered ones run north–south.

Taking Taxis. There are, however, ways to get around Los Angeles without a car. Taxis are not as plentiful as in New York or San Francisco, but you can always find them at major hotels. From LAX to Downtown, a cab ride runs about $42, and shuttle vans cost about $16 per person. Ride-sharing services like Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft are other options.