Travelling to L.A. this summer -- suggestions?

Discussion in 'Community' started by wordmunger, Jun 25, 2005.

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  1. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #1
    I'm going to be in L.A. with my family towards the end of summer. I'm looking for family-oriented (kids age 12 and 13) activities and good restaurants there (yes, we're doing Disney, but we're staying for almost a week afterwards, too). Any MR readers who live there/have visited recently? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

    Things I'm considering:

    Museum of the American West

    Getty Museum

    L.A. County Museum

    Broadway -- Theaters

    Venice beach

    Museum of television and radio

    Hollywood bowl
     
  2. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #2
    Definitely take a drive down to Malibu and enjoy the scenery. The Getty is a must. Beverly Hills is a lot of fun....

    I'm out there every year or so - you'd enjoy the drive along Malibu, me thinks. Also - Long Beach is very nice.

    Enjoy.

    Ugh, you just reminded me I have a story assignment looming. Damned writer.
     
  3. wordmunger thread starter macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #3
    Sorry.... Thanks for the ideas, though. What exactly do you do in Beverly Hills? Just drive around and look at the fancy houses?
     
  4. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #4
    You and your family are going to have fun, wordmunger !

    For starters, here's a thread you can review: Anyone living in LA.

    Museums: The Getty Museum is free, except for parking. An impressive building to see, with good views of the city at day or night, as long as it's clear. It's worth going for a short visit anyway, whether or not your family is interested in the artwork inside the museum buildings. If they are, so much the better.

    The best museum visit for many families with kids is the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits next to the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA). Who can resist seeing bones of creatures caught in the goo long ago? Our other many museums, including LACMA, are fine -- you know whether your kids are the type who would be happy to visit them or whine about being dragged along to "cultural stuff".

    If you want something a little more offbeat, there's a small Museum of Neon Art in downtown Los Angeles that's fun. While you are downtown, you might visit Olvera Street, the one-street Mexican area where Los Angeles was founded.

    You can spend a long time at the Museum of Television and Radio if you don't watch out. Each of you can think of an old TV show you'd love to see some of again. If they have it in their library, you can watch it at a viewing station while wearing headphones.

    Live theaters: The quantity and quality of our theatre shows are nothing like New York, and it's hard to get tickets for the occasional big show like Wicked, but there are lots of little community theaters.

    Venice beach: Definitely! Combine it with a visit to the Third Street Promenade (where one of our 9 Apple Stores is). Third Street is the place to visit in Santa Monica, and from there you can walk to the Santa Monica Pier (which you may recognize from movies). On the pier are seafood and souvenir stands, a game arcade, a carousel (used in the movie "The Sting"), and a small amusement park with a ferris wheel. That also puts you at the north end of the venice boardwalk, so you can walk down as far as you like to see the beach and people.

    Hollywood Bowl: If you get tickets to a concert, you'll enjoy a nice outdoor summer evening there. Be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for parking. Don't worry if your seats are far from the stage; the natural acoustics of the canyon and the newly designed shell make listening good from anywhere.

    Two other great places to spend some time, day or evening:

    1. Universal Citywalk, the street area next to Universal Studios Hollywood. You don't have to be going to the other venues there (Universal Studios, the movie theater complex, or the Ampitheatre) - you can just go eat, shop, and people-watch on the citywalk itself.

    2. Hollywood Blvd. It's our version of Times Square. Glitzy, cheesy, with touristy stores and museums (Guinness World Records Museum, Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum), the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held, plus Grauman's Theater (with its movie star footprints) and the Walk-of-Fame stars on the sidewalk.

    Restaurants: Very few people drive across town to go to a specific restaurant. Traffic can be awful, and there are good food choices (and probably bad ones) everywhere. So once you have decided where you'll be visiting, we can make suggestions for restaurants based on your preferences for price range, kid-friendliness, and food ethnicity.
     
  5. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #5
    Just fun to see the weird "other half."

    I always enjoyed walking into Cartier in shorts and sandles. :D
     
  6. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #6
    There are two ways you might want to "see" Beverly Hills. One is to wander on Rodeo Drive between Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd., where rich tourists and locals (yes, including celebrities) shop. I would only window-shop there.

    The other is to drive on Beverly Blvd. between Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. You can take any of the side streets around there too. You'll pass lots of the multi-million dollar homes.
     
  7. wordmunger thread starter macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #7
    Thanks for the advice, and the link to the other thread, Q. Any suggestions on where to stay (not necessarily specific hotels, but areas of town to look for rooms)? Obviously we'll be out by Disney for a week, but we'd like to move to a more central location for the rest of our visit.
     
  8. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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    #8
    Since you are going with kids you might want to also consider the theme parks:

    Disneyland
    Universal Studios
    California's Adventure
    Knott's Berry Farm

    I enjoyed Universal the best out of these.
     
  9. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #9
    I thought of some other spots popular with tourists:

    1. NBC Studios in Burbank, where you can take a tour.

    2. Paseo Colorado in Pasadena, where I hear there's good evening life.

    Without any professional training for this, I'll play travel agent... If you look at a map of Los Angeles and its western area, and mark the sites you are interested in, you will see that you can be close to one site, but not close to most of them. I think what's most important is to be along a freeway, since that's how you'll get from here to there. Being a resident, I don't know much about hotels and their prices in different areas, but I'll suggest an area that makes sense to me: in the San Fernando Valley, along the east-west section of the 101 freeway east of the 405 freeway and west of the 101/134/170 interchange. You can see the area in this closeup map.

    That lets you get to many of the suggested places fairly easily (as long as it isn't rush hour, when nobody gets anywhere):

    Pasadena: 101 east -> 134 east
    Burbank: 101 east -> 134 east -> 5 north
    Universal Studios, Hollywood, downtown L.A.: 101 east -> 101 south
    Getty Museum: 101 west -> 405 south
    Santa Monica: 101 west -> 405 south -> 10 west

    There are probably all the usual chain motels along there. Bates Motel, anyone? It might be pricier but you could stay in a hotel at or near Universal Studios, which is just south of the 101/134/170 interchange, along the 101, because it's both fairly central and because it has the tourist attractions I mention above. That would put you right in the center of this map. The Universal City area is in that empty-looking area, south of the Lakeside Golf Club.

    Yet another choice: along the 10 freeway between the 405 and downtown. Closer to Beverly Hills, the Getty, and Santa Monica, still easy to get to downtown, but a little further to Hollywood and Universal City, and pretty far to Burbank and Pasadena.

    There is no freeway through Beverly Hills. You'd get there either driving north from the 10 freeway or driving along one of the major east-west streets between the 405 freeway and the 101 freeway or downtown area.

    I suggest that you and your family make a list of where you'd like to go (with the usual compromises for your various interests), based on how long you'll be here, before you finalize lodging choices.

    Final thought: You could stay at one hotel for a few days and then switch to another hotel in another area.
     
  10. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    #10
    Definitely see the Tonight Show...at least i want to....
    also check out In-N-Out ... ;)
    link
     
  11. Duff-Man macrumors 68030

    Duff-Man

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    #11
    Duff-Man says....not really for the kids, but I quite enjoyed the Nixon Presidential Museum in Yorba Linda...love him or hate him, it's very interesting. And when I was there they just happened to have a big Johnny Cash exhibit which was super cool.

    I definitely enjoed the stroll along Venice Beach and Malibu, and Bev. Hills (had to go the the Teuscher shop there for some champagne truffles....mmmmmm). I was only there for a week so I didn't get to all the things I would have liked to but at least that gives me a good reason to go back again.....oh yeah!
     
  12. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #12
    If you go to Venice Beach, you should check out the Pier at Santa Monica, they're right next to each other - and its on the way to Malibu as well. For some reason Hollywood loves that place and there have been a large number of movies shot there.

    D
     
  13. StarbucksSam macrumors 65816

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  14. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #14
    if you go to southern cali, you definitely should experience the traffic.
    From Santa Monica get on the 10 freeway at about 430pm and try to make it to the 405 going south. great fun!


    But Srsly, 3rd street Promenade in Santa Monica. I used to live a couple blocks from there. Its a nice time. It even has an apple store!
     
  15. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #15
    Ahahaha! That I don't miss at all....

    One other place that might be interesting, in the mountains above Pasedena is Mount Wilson Observatory. If its a nice day, its a cool trip to the mountains and a change of pace from the rest of L.A.

    D
     
  16. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #16
    what are the interests of your kids?

    that is a great place to start...do they like malls?...the sherman oaks galleria is kind of a fun place to be for teens
     
  17. wordmunger thread starter macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #17

    Thanks for the geography lesson, Dr. Q! I think I found a good, relatively centrally located hotel.

    They're not big mall rats. They like interesting museums, movies, the beach, etc. My son is interested in the whole Venice Beach weirdo culture, so we'll probably check that out. My daughter likes anything ACTIVE.

    That sounds cool! Is there a tour or something, or do you just look at the buildings and the views? Also, we'll be spending a few days driving from L.A. to Vegas -- actually only a 4 or 5 hour drive, right? So anyone have a recommended detour along the way?
     
  18. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #18
    museums galore so you are in a good place

    beaches...malibu, venice (both mentioned of course) and zuma beach is cool, too

    active...universal studios, disneyland
     
  19. stylum macrumors member

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    #19
    Don't forget the disney concert hall by Arch. Gehry of Guggenheim museum fame

    Griffith park

    Universal studios,

    Dinner at the rooftop restaurant Top of five at the westin hotel in downtown

    my $.02
     
  20. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #20
    stylum is right about that one. You don't need tickets to a concert. When you are downtown, just drive by and gawk at it.

    Places we've already mentioned are good for weirdo-watching (i.e., seeing varied and interesting people): Venice beach boardwalk, Hollywood Blvd., Universal Citywalk, and the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, where there are street performers, often musicians, but sometimes a break dancer, a guy playing a robot, or other oddities. Of course, the real weridos are the people in our 9 Apple Stores, standing around discussing what speeds their firewire ports are when they could be outside enjoying the sunshine!

    Re the Los Angeles County Musuem of Art: there is a full-page ad in Newsweek saying "mention Newsweek at the LACMA box office through Aug 31, 2005 and receive two for one general admission" (except for the King Tut exhibit). If you are here in August, you can save $9. Also, general admission to the galleries is free after 5pm on the second Tuesday of each month.

    Mr. Anderson: I've never been to Mount Wilson!
     
  21. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a

    absolut_mac

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    #21
    As one who has lived here for over 25 years here's my very biased input.

    *Venice Beach is a must. There's no other place like it, anywhere.
    *Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are great and both are popular with tourists and locals alike.
    *Getty Museum is amazing - get there as soon as it opens in the morning, that way you'll miss most of the heat and the crowds.
    *The Huntington Library also has beautiful gardens and paintings, besides their famous books
    *Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive is fun to window shop and people watch
    *Malibu is a fun drive, but there are long stretches where you can't see too much - hence the reason that it's popular with the *stars*.
    *Disney Hall is another must IMHO, even if you're not a big fan of classical music, it is amazing to see. Pictures just don't do it justice.

    If you see yourself running out of time (more than likely) and need to choose between 2 or more places, which to see and which to leave out, feel free to ask and we'll help you narrow your choices down.
     

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  22. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #22
    There is so much to see, I could come up with a really long list. I'll try to add some things here and there which may be helpful.

    One thing about LA when it comes to views is the smog. There are some spectacular views to be seen, but the smog plays a role in this. Locally, it is referred to as haze, a common euphemism.

    When it rains in the greater LA area though (especially a nice big rain) the smog is nicely cleared. So, visiting the Getty the day after a nice rain is good because you can see a long way and a lot more of the city. Probably the best time to take pictures of LA is after a good rain and the Getty provides some spectacular views.

    There is another interesting site close to the Getty called the Griffith Observatory. Another place which provides spectacular views of the greater LA area. It is also a historical site and interesting to visit. However, it was closed fairly recently for renovations that are supposed to last about 3 years. I haven't been keeping close track of the dates, but it was closed a while ago and is probably due to be reopened fairly soon. The Griffith Observatory is free as far as I know, there are some things you can do that require a fee. I think there is a service that offers a horse ride around the hills it is situated on that is interesting. But a visit to the Observatory could be easily combined with a trip the the Getty. Griffith Observatory and the Getty do not take all that long to see and could probably be done in a day (providing the Observatory is open). But I would definitely plan on spending the majority of your time at the Getty. The Getty buildings themselves are worth seeing. Venice Beach is fairly close to the Getty, and a good spot to finish the day, cause there are some interesting things to see in the evening.

    I would group events based on location though. Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm are in Orange County. One thing you will learn about Southern California is that traveling from one place to another takes a lot of time, so it is better to limit that as much as possible.
     
  23. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #23
    The Griffith Observatory is closed until May 2006. They have a temporary building which probably has some exhibits in it, but I suspect that most people drive up there only for the view, which is wonderful, especially at night. It's at the top of the mountain above the Greek Theater, in Griffith Park. You get to it from the south side of the park.

    As you can see from this map, Griffith Park is also the home of the L.A. Zoo and the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, which you get to from the east side of Griffith park.

    I wouldn't consider either of them to be near the Getty Museum, but of course "near" is relative to traffic speed more than distance.

    I suppose you'll want to see the Hollywood sign, which you might have spotted on that map. You can see it from many areas, including not only Hollwood but from as far south as the 10 freeway. In particular, you don't need to drive up any windy roads to see it.
     
  24. freiheit macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Places to eat in LA

    What kind of food do you like? LA's got it all and most of the "hole in the wall" places are very, very good. I worked for almost 2 years in Korea Town in LA (Wilshire Blvd. between Vermont and Normandie - you can get there easily on the Metro Red Line subway) and can highly recommend Thai Delight on Vermont if you like spicy Thai food or Falaffel Corner just one block south of the Wilshire/Normandie Red Line station if you like middle eastern/Greek cuisine. Cassell's (a couple blocks up from Wilshire/Vermont) makes some great burgers.
     
  25. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #25
    Well, distances are also relative in the LA area. You will drive almost an hour (in good traffic) to get to Disneyland from Central LA, even though it is considered to be close. Just trying to be helpful.
     
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