Resolved Going to Los Angeles for a few days, what to do, see, eat, hang, etc?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Carlanga, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Carlanga, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009

    I have to go to LA on late July to do some things and I will be staying half a mile from LAX, but I took an extra 2 1/2 days and 3 nights of my own free time to see around LA; I'm going alone and I'm in my late twenties.

    I have never been to LA nor Cali, I would like to go and see good/cool stuff; don't care about Disney nor any theme park. Can I use the buses reliably or do I have to rent a car?

    I was thinking of only renting a car for a day, maybe go up the coast all the way to Cupertino :apple: and back and see the sightings/places around the route and take some detours to see Cali places. :confused:

    I'm open to any recommendations on what to do, see, hang, eat & anything else!! :D
    I also already paid for all days of my stay in the same hotel close to LAX.
  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Lots of good stuff in this 2008 thread: even though Surely was moving there to live many of us who live/lived in So. Cal contributed to the thread.

    I'm afraid that the scene from Swingers where they drive 5 cars one block is still LA (at least it was when I last lived in the area in 2009 and visited in 2010). The buses do work, but unless you plan your travels out you just can't get from point A to point B.

    It's a long drive to Cupertino. With only 2 1/2 days you'll be hard pressed to do much else that doesn't explicitly fall along the way.

  3. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Skip the drive to Cupertino.

    It's a long long drive. Plus, the SF bay area merits its own trip. As a point of reference, I once drove from SF to LA and stopped along the way, it took 5 days just in one direction.

    Car is pretty much mandatory in LA.

    I recommend taking the PCH down to San Diego and back - that's a fairly short drive and you'll see a ton.

    Going in the Malibu direction is also nice.

    Not sure if you'd be able to get to the tops of the San Gabriels or not.
  4. TedM macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2012
    if you are going to LA, I'd suggest hollywood. lots of people like it. There is a decent amount to see, but you'll see it all fast. Go kinda at the end of the evening and join the night scene. My friends and I were drinking at a bar over in hollywood once. till Andy dick came and stole our drinks.

    Other than hollywood, you can go north or south. The gas lamp district of san diego is very nice and they have the san diego zoo as well.

    Go North if you are looking for hiking. Santa Barbara has many different hikes and is relatively close.

    Give us some ideas on what you want to do. There are a lot of things to see, but not everything is something you need to see. Its a matter of perspective. What do you wanna do?
  5. Carlanga, Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013

    Carlanga thread starter macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    Thanks for the tips and link to the thread, will look around it to get some ideas.
    Yeah, I was considering maybe seeing what kind of tours they had when I get there if the buses are flaky.

    Yeah, I saw in google that it takes 5.5 hours on car one way, but I though there could be cool stuff to see? But 5 days is too long! thanks!
    Malibu seems nice, and San Diego also. Thanks for the tip to drive using the PCH. Anything you recommend that I see if I visit them?
    What about a drive to Vegas? seems to be shorter than going up and just spend a day there looking at stuff and come back?

    Yeah, definitely seeing Hollywood and Venice Beach.

    I don't care to do nature stuff like hiking, lived and still visit central america, so I have done all types of nature stuff. I have gone all over the caribbean and seen a whole bunch of beaches too, so I will prob see maybe one or two beaches. I would have liked to go to Yosemite, but I think that would be too far.

    I like the idea of going to at least a bar/club one night like you mentioned to see how LA people party/hang, so I'm all ears.

    Thanks guys/gals for your advices!

    I'm basically looking to get to know as much as a I can of LA and stuff nearby. I don't think I will go back to the west coast of the US any time soon after this trip, so I just want to see stuff that you can only see/do in LA and it's vicinities, landmarks, staples, etc. I was also thinking of going to China town and eat there :)
  6. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    The beaches will be hopping this time of year - definitely a California thing to do, and lots of, umm, sight-seeing. Many beaches in LA county and Orange county, SD county too.

    Yosemite pretty much out of the question, sadly.

    Vegas is do-able but you'll be driving through death valley in the summer to get there. Given your age and what you seem to be looking for, you might consider it.

    If you do, you'd need to go one day and come back the next. Vegas doesn't come alive until midnight. Going during the day would be a waste, frankly. Rooms are cheap and easy to get for the most part.
  7. TedM macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2012
    Glad you are going to see venice. That place is crazy fun to walk around in.
  8. ahughes03 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2013
    SAn Diego is great, but you'd need to spend the night there to really enjoy. If you go down for just a daytrip, I'd recommend getting down there around noon or so, and hitting up Pacific Beach (the town and the actual beach). As a former SD lifeguard who was in his 20s at the time, I'm sure you'll appreciate the beach "scenery." Hang out for a few hours, and either head down to gaslamp (SD's downtown) and hang out near the ball park. There are tons of good bars and restaurants. Two of my favorites are Basic and Neighborhoods. Drive back early evening to catch the sunset as you're driving PCH.

    As far as bars in LA, I'd highly recommend the Edison. It's downtown, and built into a 1920's retired Edison power plant. Great place. LA's really known for their mexican food, I'd recommend you find a place in Culver City (a few miles north of LAX) called El Abajeno - everything's great, but their (carnitas) pork taquitos are insane. They more closely resemble a soft taco than what you think would be a taquito, but rest assured, they're great.

    Santa Monica is worth checking out too. Grab lunch at Bay Cities Deli, or any number of restaurants on Montana, and people watch down at the beach.

    If you're into museums at all, hit up the Getty. There are two campuses, the new one has most of the paintings, while the old Getty (Getty Villa) has a lot of roman sculpture. The new Getty has a crazy view of the LA coast line, and its close to LAX. Also, make sure to hit the beaches at Manhattan Beach. Lots of pretty people.

    Hope that helps!
  9. Carlanga thread starter macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    thanks, lol at the 'sight-seeing' of the beaches, but I will do one or two beaches for sure. I have been living at a place full of beaches and beautiful 'sight seeing' for the last 14 years; I think that is part of the reason I have stayed in the island :eek:
    Yeah, thanks for the tip, I have Vegas in the backburner if I feel adventurous, I don't care to gamble there, but just to see cool stuff at night or a show would be nice, but I think I will leave Vegas for another trip most likely, seems to be more of a place to go with friends and not alone.

    Thanks, seeing that is really close I HAVE to see it in person. :)

    Definitely helps, all those things sound great to do, thanks!
    Been meaning to see if I can get some 'salsa de cacahuates' since they don't sell it here. Got hooked on that sauce when I was eating at cantinas in texas a couple of years ago.
    That bar sounds very cool, will definitely try to go.


    Again, thanks for the tips you guys/gals!!! :)
  10. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    In Cupertino? Nothing to see, but if you do make a (long) drive north, you need go no further than Big Sur.

    And even more impressive, and also a 5.5hr drive, is Yosemite Valley.
  11. Carlanga thread starter macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    Can't disagree w you there. If I was going to do a trip to the north I would try to get them both in the same trip. But, like others have said, the trip there to both is just too long for the few days I'm going to be there; better to stay more in LA and the close vicinities. Anything you recommend to do? :)
  12. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    Yes, I absolutely agree that you should take a separate trip to the Bay Area, and again another separate trip to Yosemite. Far far far too much to enjoy.

    As far as LA, I don't know much about the area having only been there briefly once, so I can't help there!
  13. applelover4 macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2013

    try getting tickets to be an audience member for a tv show for the time your staying, there FREE and pretty easy to get.

    I live in So Cal and have seen Conan (TBS) at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank about 3 times, you go there around noon to check in, and then you can go have lunch around the corner at universal city walk, just get back there by 2 pm and you start the walk over to the studio to see the show.

    also check out and for other shows, there all FREE.
  14. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    L.A.? It's too big a town to get everything in that you possibly can. It's best to try to segment it out into multiple trips, which you can't do this time, unfortunately.

    Around the coast area, I'd recommend Santa Monica. Not for the boardwalk, though that is a nice place, but if you're into nostalgia, Route 66 ends there. IIRC, it ends at the pier. You may be able to see some classic cars and shops along that route (google or wikipedia it for details).

    It isn't that far to Studio City/Hollywood, so a walk along Pico and Sunset might net you some good things.. it's roughly a 10 - 15 minute drive from the airport area, if you stick to surface streets. Taking the freeway will take an hour.

    Any kids coming along? Knott's Berry farm in Buena Park, and the Grove may be in order, especially if you have any girls going along. The American Girl store would be great for them.

    Do you like planes? If so, If you're not far from LAX, head over to In-n-Out burger on N. Sepulveda, and watch the planes land at the park next to the runway. Best place you'll see arrivals and departures. The A380s from Qantas, Air France, Korean Air, and Lufthansa all land on the north side.

    After that, it all depends on how much time you have.

  15. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    You need a car. Our public transportation sucks

    Vegas is a 4 hour drive from LA, but weekend traffic can up it to 6-7. If you're good at making friends, like partying or gambling, it would be its own trip. Personally I would go there because it's pool party season but you need a lot of $$$

    If not just stay in LA. You're at LAX, that's near Santa Monica. Drive out there to 3rd street, rent a bike or jog, go to the boardwalk all the way down to Venice Beach. Beaches are horrible compared to the islands though, water is murky

    Hollywood is worth it. Hollywood/Highlands area is good for clubbing and bars. Get there early, get something to eat, make friends, hit up a club. If you're not a partier, just go in the daytime and do the tourist thing - Mann Chinese theatre, wax museums, etc.

    If you want to drive out to DTLA, there's a lot to do though it's fragmented - get a map because you want to avoid skid row and South LA. LA Live is cool to eat/hangout, someone mentioned the Edison which is a cool looking lounge, there are also a bunch of rooftop lounges - Perch, the Standard, etc. If you like movies, they film a ton of stuff all over LA too and you could chase down locations.

    Colorado Blvd in Pasadena has a nice stretch of bars and restaurants too

    Lot of iconic restaurants around here too - Philippe's (french dip), Original Tommy's on Beverly/Rampart, etc
  16. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
  17. rick snagwell macrumors 68040

    rick snagwell

    Feb 12, 2011
    oceanside, ca
    best burger in the USA!
  18. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    In & Out is over-rated.


    But seriously, it's pretty good, but not nearly as good as some people make it to be.

    <ducks and runs>
  19. Carlanga thread starter macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    Great! thanks for the links!!! Shame Conan was sold out for the only day I could go, maybe I will try to go and see if I can do standby! the other shows are basically not in my days :( I did get two set up that are ok shows! :cool: Thanks!!! :cool:
    Sweet, thanks, no kids w/ me, just me, myself and my iPhone.
    I like the idea of going to Sunset and there is a Five Guys walking distance from the hotel and I'm about a mile or so from the airport so I think I can walk to the In-Out which sounds cool to do on prob the afternoon I arrive before I have to do my stuff since my hotel is also on N Sepulveda:cool:

    Thanks for all the tips! Yeah I can make friends pretty easily I guess, but I don't really want to spend a $$$ Vegas, that is one too many $$ for a small stay trip.
    Good idea on the bike/jog! sad water is sad!
    Getting more things to do in Hollywood is great since I'm definitely hitting that area of LA, day & maybe night if I like the feel of it. I like doing the touristy stuff and do night stuff later on no prob.:cool:
    I appreciate the food and the hangout locations! will have to start doing a schedule more or less for sure.

    checkmark, will definetly go to the one next to the airport just to try it out :)


    I know I want to also try a Pink's Hot Dog in Hollywood too.

    I was thinking also if anyone knows of a good day tour to see LA stuff?


    lol, I'm a first timer for it, so as long as its good and different I will try it out. :D
  20. Ann P macrumors 68020

    Jun 29, 2009
    Visit the LA County Art museum. I love that place. :)

    You'd definitely need a rental. I wouldn't recommend walking and wondering off in certain areas.
  21. Carlanga thread starter macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    thanks for the tip! I was looking at the train and bus stops, they are about half a mile from the hotel though, I will see how the area looks before deciding if I should take a car w/ me or just go public transportation. The green line is about half a mile from my hotel and it seems easy to just use the trains and some buses as needed? Google says it would take me 1hour and 25 mins to get to the hollywood sign by using the trains + walking , which seems great even if it takes 15 mins more as long as I don't get robbed or something? Is not like I'm gonna carry much more than some light cash and one credit card + ID at the most.
  22. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Let me type this slower...

    (I kid I kid!)





    I'm not sure where you're from (guessing Puerto Rico but not sure), but the mass transit is not good in LA.

    It really isn't.

    You also don't know the area, which isn't good.

    Now, don't get me wrong, it's no hellhole, but why not maximize your opportunity while you're there?
  23. ahughes03 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2013
    One more place in Hollywood no one's mentioned is Amoeba Music. It's the music equivalent of Powell's Book's up in Portland. Definitely worth a trip, especially if you're already in Hollywood. Be prepared though, it's hipster-nation in there...

    It may sound a little off, but check the Hollywood Bowl schedule... it's a music venue icon that is worth the trip, especially if an event that interests you happens to be during your visit.

    Philippe's (Chinatown) was also a great recommendation.
  24. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006
    There's a lot to see in LA, the only question is where to start? The other question is what do you want to do?

    You can definitely get around LA without a car it can take forever, it does also take forever by car because of traffic. Get to know the Metro lines, just be careful when you get on the blue line as it goes through some rough areas on the way up to downtown from the green line. By the way, Metro recently extended the evening hours to end at around 2am and they start up again around 4:30am but there are buses that run all night.

    Definitely check out the museums in downtown. If you haven't seen a space shuttle up close, Endeavour is a sight to behold.

    If you just want to explore, take a trip to downtown in the morning and just walk around the area for the day. From there, you can get into Chinatown and Olvera Street. Definitely get into the area by Metro as parking sucks in downtown.

    From downtown, you can take the red line into Hollywood and explore even more there.

    If you're into nightlife and electronic music, check out Avalon in Hollywood on Saturday. This is also the only club in LA open all night, everything else closes at 2am. By the way, last call in California is 2am so be sure you get your drink on by then.

    I see some people have said to try out In n Out, they have good burgers but there's a place in Hollywood called Fuku Burger, give them a try along with In n Out.

    If you're into movies, take a look at doing studio tours with Warner Bros Studios or Paramount Studios. Universal Studios has their studio tour included as one of the theme park attractions. Don't completely discount the theme park as a whole though, CityWalk might be a good option to check out. You can get there with the red line.

    Feel free to ask for more recommendations. :)
  25. APlotdevice, Jun 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013

    APlotdevice macrumors 68040


    Sep 3, 2011
    I agree. If you want a really good [inexpensive] burger in LA, go to Astro Burger.
    (just remember to bring cash, since they don't accept credit cards)

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