Poll

If you had a day in LA, what would you do?

Go to Disneyland!
18 (34.6%)
Go to the beach
11 (21.2%)
Do nothing, relax at the hotel pool and in the room
3 (5.8%)
Whale watching excursion
9 (17.3%)
Something else, please post your suggestions
11 (21.2%)

Total Members Voted: 32

Author Topic: First time traveler in Los Angeles  (Read 1382 times)

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ladyknight1

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First time traveler in Los Angeles
« on: May 22, 2014, 09:25:50 AM »
DH and I are attending a conference in the fall in LA. We are very excited and it will be my first time in California.

We have two free days and I think we will probably spend one at Disneyland (for comparison purposes to Disney World). We love nature and wildlife so any tips are welcomed. While searching, I found recommendations for whale watching that time of year and I am leaning that way for our other free day.

Restaurant recommendations would be nice. We are staying at an airport hotel.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 09:38:43 AM »
There is also Disney's California Adventure or DCA right next to Disneyland.  You can get a park hopper pass and do both parks.  It would be a really long day to do and see all you want to see in both parks, though.

If you do go to DCA, make sure you go to 'Soaring California' - it is like you are in a hang glider, soaring over the State.  You get scents, too, when you are over the orange groves or the redwoods.

I have friends that live in Glendale so we head up into the mountains to do some hiking when I go to visit them.  We've also been to the LA zoo and the arboretum which are closer to Glendale.  Griffith Park is right nearby, too.
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ladyknight1

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 09:40:08 AM »
We have Soarin' here at WDW, which is the same one. That is why I think we will stick with class Disneyland this trip and plan another in a few years to do more in the area.

oz diva

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 09:46:06 AM »
The best thing we did in LA 5 years ago was go to The Getty Museum. It has the most amazing collection, and it's free! Though you do have to pay for the car park.

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wheeitsme

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 10:27:29 AM »
Just for the record, Disneyland isn't in LA. It's down the freeway in Anaheim in Orange County. I say this because if you do go, you should think about what time you head down there and how long it will take. Certain times of day it can take over 2 hours to go 30 miles.

There are some great museums in LA county. The Getty, the Norton Simon, the Huntington, just to name a few.

Don't do the beach. Especially on a weekend. It's very crowded, takes even longer to get to, and parking can be almost impossible.

If you want iconic eats, a roast beef sandwich at Phillipes (sp?) And a hot dog at Pinks.


Dr. F.

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 12:15:38 PM »
Definitely go to the Getty - it's remarkable.

If you have a car and some time, you might want to drive out to Joshua Tree (JTree for the insiders). Which airport are you staying near - LAX?

ladyknight1

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 01:07:39 PM »
LAX, it seemed easier to go out to other locations from there. I currently have not planned to rent a car, but that is a possibility.

So much to do, so little time.

DavidH

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 01:14:37 PM »
LA is huge and traffic can be very bad, so you need to plan accordingly.  A five mile drive on the 405 could take 5 min when there isn't traffic (like 3 AM) or an hour or more at rush hour on a bad day.  In LA, you need a car, public transport is minimal, also the area around LAX is not particularly interesting and there is nowhere to walk to. 

For one day, I'd drive up the coast, starting in Santa Monica, and head up to Malibu canyon or further if you're enjoying it  There are great views and nice restaurants long the way.  Depending on your budget and time, you could stop at Jeffrey's in Malibu (right on the water but expensive) or the Reel Inn (near Topanga and inexpensive) or a number of others.  The drive would be about an hour if you take it slowly. 

From there, I'd take Malibu canyon to the 101, about 20 min, but you could stop to hike in Malibu canyon if you enjoy the outdoors. Then take the 101 East across the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood (45 min without traffic) and walk around. Perhaps see the Chinese Theater and other land marks there.  For a longer day, continue East to Pasadena where there are great museums and a nice downtown.

From there, you could cut across Westwood, back towards Santa Monica.  Santa Monica is fun to walk around and the you'll be relatively near the airport.  This is best done on a weekday, avoiding the 101 across LA between 7 and 9 AM and 3-6 PM.  It would also work on a weekend. 

I'm not sure I'd go to Disney Land, since I've heard Disney World is much better, but I'm not a huge fan either way. 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 01:49:52 PM »
If you end up in Pasadena, there is a great sushi place called 'Afloat Sushi'.  The chefs stand in the middle of this counter area and put out these little plates with 2 to 4 pieces on them on these little boats that go around in a moat.  You pay according to how many plates you eat and the plates are priced according to pattern.  So the more expensive pieces, like spicy crab, are on plates that are priced at a higher amount, than say a plate of California rolls.
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TootsNYC

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 02:08:58 PM »
I'm probably not going to be any  help at all, because Disneyland wouldn't be on my list at all.

I'd want to see things like Grumman's Chinese Theater and the Walk of Stars (Hollywood), or other sorts of cultural touchstones.

And then I'd want to see something that showed me what the -land- is like (plants, hills, farms, etc.) apart from the manmade-ness of the city and the culture.


QueenfaninCA

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 02:18:13 PM »
If you are outdoorsy, there is plenty of great hiking. There are great hikes in the Mountains behind Malibu (off Topanga Canyon or Malibu Canyon. There is also Solstice Canyon in Malibu. I'd probably do a nice hike and then head to the beach for a quick swim.

Instead of Disney, I'd probably do Universal Studios which is part theme park and part working movie studio.

TootsNYC

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2014, 02:59:25 PM »
Oh, here's the advice I gave a friend who is planning a trip to NYC:

Make a list of the 5 things you most want to see--perhaps those things that say "NYC" to you (like, for my mom, the Plaza Hotel bcs it was in a play and in lots of articles she read when she was a teenager/college student; for me it would be Times  Square and the Bowling Green, bcs I remember the story about the riot on the green).


(For you it might be Disneyland.)

wheeitsme

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2014, 05:00:10 PM »
You could also maybe see a taping of something.  Perhaps the Late Late show with Craig Ferguson (http://www.cbs.com/shows/late_late_show/tickets/) or something else.  I found this page:  http://www.latourist.com/?page=tv-show-tickets

Onyx_TKD

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2014, 05:28:27 PM »
DH and I are attending a conference in the fall in LA. We are very excited and it will be my first time in California.

We have two free days and I think we will probably spend one at Disneyland (for comparison purposes to Disney World). We love nature and wildlife so any tips are welcomed. While searching, I found recommendations for whale watching that time of year and I am leaning that way for our other free day.

Restaurant recommendations would be nice. We are staying at an airport hotel.

It's not in LA itself, but if you want something outdoorsy you might want to look into visiting Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park. I went there with my parents when they visited, and it was absolutely gorgeous. You take a boat ride out, wander around the island for a while, and then meet back up for the ride back (there's a particular company that runs the boat, and you book your ride in advance). Unfortunately, I don't know the details of how to book the trip, since my dad did that, but I think he found the information through AAA. The islands are gorgeous, we saw lots of seals, pelicans and other birds, and it felt like we had the island to ourselves for most of the time we were out there. You have to take your lunch, water, etc., since there's no infrastructure on the island other than a picnic area and outhouses (and a lighthouse, but you can't go in).

Griffith Park is also beautiful. You can hike, and there are also several stables that do guided trail rides in the park (my family went to Circle K Horse Rentals and were very pleased).

ladyknight1

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Re: First time traveler in Los Angeles
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2014, 06:27:34 PM »
I am adding a rental car. We are very used to driving everywhere and I was going to use public transportation and taxis for a change.

We might be able to extend the trip one more day.