In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of fun LA and Southern California theme parks. Whether you're visiting the area's fun amusements, or one of SoCal's myriad other interesting sights, you'll need to find your way around. Hopefully, this page can help you get where you need to go!
LA's freeways aren't simply legendary---
They're REAL! And you WILL need a map to get around the area!
On this page, you'll find links to various maps of Los Angeles and Southern California---interactive maps, road maps, real-time traffic flow maps...and even traffic cams.
Bear in mind, though, that looking at maps on the internet as you plan your visit is NO SUBSTITUTE for having an actual map or GPS by your side as you're driving! The LAST thing you'll need on your vacation is to get lost!
If you're a member of the AAA (USA) or CAA (Canada), you can get free maps of Los Angeles from your local office before leaving on your trip. If you forgot, simply stop into a Southern California office once you arrive; there are dozens of them located throughout Los Angeles and the other Southern California cities.
If you decide to buy a Southern California map, then Walmart has perhaps the cheapest prices on road maps and atlas volumes. But, don't forget to check full-service book stores, too. The Barnes & Noble and Borders book stores have some of the best selection of maps you can find, including specialty maps (large print, trucker's map, hiking & camping maps, etc) that will be difficult to find elsewhere.
Online maps of Los Angeles
OVERVIEW MAPS OF LOS ANGELES---Let's start with a couple of Los Angeles overview maps to help you get a feel for the city's general layout.
HIGHWAY MAP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA---On this next map you may view the major roads, highways and freeways of all of Southern California south of Sequoia National Park. It's an interactive map, so you may click on various links that you find on the map to see detail maps of various cities. (Any of the UNDERLINED CITIES are actually clickable links.) For example, you can easily go from an "overview" look at SoCal main arteries, to a view of Los Angeles main streets, then down to Beverly Hills surface streets. It's fun to play around with, too! Here's a link to the
interactive road map of Southern California.
GOOGLE MAP OF LOS ANGELES: You have undoubtedly already looked at the Google map of Los Angeles. But if not, it's a terrific map to use. Here's a link to the
Google map of Los Angeles, California.
Los Angeles Maps -- PDF maps of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego
Many readers request printable PDF maps, so here's a couple you may enjoy viewing. They're getting harder to find. Now that many people use their cell phone's mapping functions...and no longer carry around physical maps...most of the map sources that used to provide this service (mainly, various state and local tourist bureaus) have simply stopped doing so. But transit authorities still need to print maps, so you'll find us referring to their maps below, in several cases:
Printable PDF map of Los Angeles: If you'd enjoy viewing anoverview map of Los Angeles county (showing major traffic routes and attractions,) there's a good one produced by the LA Metro (transit service.) Here's the link to a printable PDF Map of Los Angeles County showing all of LA's major surface streets, plus buslines. If you're going to use the subway, you will need a different map. In fact, you'll need to see a whole LIST of subway maps...and you'll get to take your pick on the LA Metro & Bus Maps and Timetables page of the Metro website.
The bus maps, in particular, are very good, detailed maps for specific Los Angeles neighborhoods...and they're PDF, too, for easy printing.
West Side--Santa Monica's own Blue Bus: If you're going to stay mainly in the Santa Monica/West Side area, you should be aware that Santa Monica has its own transit system, separate and apart from LA's. If so, you'll want to see the routes. Plus, they have a PDF system wide transit map showing all of Santa Monica and the west side areas that they cover. You'll be able to download that map to your computer, then print it up. Here's the Santa Monica transit website for info about the Big Blue Bus.
PDF MAP OF ORANGE COUNTY: Next, here's the link to a good PDF Map of Orange County, California. This is a transit map from the OCTA website. It shows Orange County's main streets, along with bus lines. Orange County is where you'll find many popular Southern California tourist attractions...including Disneyland theme park, the number one tourist draw in the state! To see still more maps of Anaheim and Orange County, including the busy Disneyland tourist area, please see the Disneyland and Anaheim Maps page of our site.
PDF MAP OF DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO: An inset in the above map will show a map of San Diego's downtown area. For more specific information showing bus routes, here's a list of PDF San Diego neighborhood maps that also show the bus routes in those areas. Every area that has a bus line going through it has its own small PDF map of that area.
Downtown San Diego a relatively small part of the city, but it is home to the San Diego Convention Center, which hosts many thousands of visitors each year. Also, downtown is where you'll find the Petco ball park, popular with sports fans. The Gaslamp Quarter is downtown, and a favorite of both history buffs and shoppers by day (& diners and nightclubbers by night.) Speaking of shoppers, an important and popular San Diego shopping mall is downtown---the famous Horton Plaza Mall. And, one of San Diego's most stunning sights---its Embarcadero---is downtown, as well (and is also where you'll find the San Diego Convention Center, Seaport Village, the Cruise Ship Terminal and the San Diego Maritime Museum. If you're interested in learning more about San Diego's wonderful tourist attractions, you may wish to visit the San Diego Attractions section of our site.
Los Angeles Maps -- Traffic Flow Maps
LOS ANGELES TRAFFIC FLOW MAP: Many tourists are scared to encounter LA traffic because of the "scare stories" they've heard. Actually, traffic jam time is no worse in Los Angeles than any other major US city...although knowing that fact won't help you feel better when you're stuck traveling 10 miles per hour! (And, at non-rush hour times, the wide freeways of Southern California move traffic along quite efficiently!)
The following LA traffic map will tell you how congested the streets of Los Angeles are at any given moment. You'll first see an overview map of Los Angeles' major streets...but, if you'd like more detail about any specific area of the city, you may click on links to a number of the city's sub-regions to view the traffic flow within that smaller area. Use the following link to view the interactive
Traffic Flow Map of Los Angeles.
SIGALERT.COM, A HELPFUL WEBSITE TO KNOW: There's still another important website which will help you navigate through the traffic of Southern California more easily. On this next website, you'll even be able to choose locations in Orange County and San Diego county...as well as different neighborhoods in Los Angeles. (For Los Angeles county itself, there aren't as many links to specific areas as there were in the first link.) On the other hand, you're probably not going to stay within Los Angeles County for your whole Los Angeles vacation getaway...and with this map, you'll be able to view traffic flow no matter where you go within the Southern California area. Use the following link then, to view the
www.sigalert.com website, with traffic flow maps for various Southern California areas.
WHAT IS A SIGALERT? While we're talking about "Sigalert.com," why don't we talk about what a "Sigalert" IS? A Sigalert is the name unique to Los Angeles for a "mega traffic jam." As you're listening to drive-time radio in Los Angeles, you'll undoubtedly hear the word "Sigalert." And, if the radio tells you to avoid a certain freeway because there's a Sigalert in progress, then...by ALL MEANS...avoid that freeway! (That's one reason WHY you MUST have a map of Los Angeles! There are plenty of ways to detour around a Sigalert mega-traffic jam...but they won't be available to YOU unless you have a map!)
Why the name "Sigalert?" Well, "Sig" was the nickname of a popular radio announcer in days gone by. He's crossed over to the "other side" now, but back when he was broadcasting Los Angeles traffic reports, he coined the word as a cute way to warn motorists. As a gesture of fondness to this iconic LA radioman, ALL radio and TV announcers use the term these days. That's the story!
Los Angeles Maps -- Traffic Cams
CALIFORNIA TRAFFIC CAMS: While we're on the subject of traffic flow, here are links to some live traffic cams. If you use the following link, you'll head to the state of California site listing all its traffic cams...so not only will you be able to view traffic cams in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, but also in other parts of the state. If you're headed to the Los Angeles theme parks via a road trip from out of state, you might find these other traffic cams (say, in San Francisco or Sacramento) to be useful, as well. You may click on the following link to see the menu for
State of California live traffic cams.