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First visit to Los Angeles - Help to make a plan needed!

(20 Posts)
Springroller Tue 05-Feb-19 12:26:01

We have just over 2 weeks off in August and would like to take our DDs (14 & 11) to LA. They would like to visit Disney and Universal and me and DH would like us to visit other attractions and see some sites too. I have chosen LA rather than going back to Orlando as I think the weather will be more pleasant (Florida super humid and a good chance of daily rain in Aug?)
I am aware that Disney and Universal are on opposite sides of the city and have been advised to stay perhaps in Burbank or Santa Monica for Universal, etc and maybe stay down really near Disney for a few nights at the end of our trip. We will have a car - but know that traffic is a nightmare. My questions are really - where would you stay.... coast or inland? ....and which attractions are really worthwhile?
Thanks in advance.

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AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 05-Feb-19 13:38:30

Los Angeles is basically many separate cities that have merged into one enormous mass.

You could potentially stay in one of the hotels at Universal City which actually are within walking distance of Universal (via a pedestrian bridge). There's a Hilton and a Sheraton there. In August I would allow two days to visit Universal as well as arriving there for opening time. There is a metro train station at Universal City too.

The city of Burbank is a lot closer to Universal in terms of driving there than Santa Monica. Its also where Warner Bros is located and they offer tours.

Disneyland is located in the city of Anaheim and there are plenty of hotels in the vicinity of the Disney parks. Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park is located not too far away from Anaheim. I would consider spending a few days near Universal and some time there after in Anaheim.

Springroller Tue 05-Feb-19 13:47:15

Thank you - that's helpful advice. I was wondering about how long the drive would take from Santa Monica. Burbank sounds like the right place then. Any suggestions for other essential places to visit in that area? Is it worth moving out to stay on the coast for a few days do you think? Maybe start on the coast for a few days, then Burbank for a week and finally Disney for 3 nights before back to LAX. What do you think?

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10000days Wed 06-Feb-19 13:58:16

We stayed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. It's an old apartment building so huge apartments and a decent pool. Round the corner from the Walk of Fame but still quiet and out of the way. Best thing about it is their amazing service if you have kids. Unlimited free snacks, drinks and ice cream, and a 'popsicle hotline' by the pool. DVDs to borrow and a decent continental breakfast. Reception will order takeout for you and bring it too your room, ideal if you don't want to traipse the streets of Hollywood late in the eve looking for a place to eat! They also do your laundry for free.

10000days Wed 06-Feb-19 14:00:26

Check it out on TripAdvisor - Magic Castle Hotel Hollywood. It's currently #5 out of #347 hotels in LA so you may have to book very early.

bestbefore Wed 06-Feb-19 14:55:08

@10000days lol - we stayed there too, was a fun place!!

Santa Monica is nice. Will you have a car - if so a trip up the coast might be nice? There's elephant seals on the beach and stunning views.

Also have a google for outlet malls if you/ the kids like shopping, there's one north of la

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 06-Feb-19 16:10:33

I would do a two centre break in LA; one week for instance at the beach and the other week in Anaheim for the Disney parks.

MadisonAvenue Wed 06-Feb-19 16:16:19

We’ve been a few times and when it comes to Disney and Universal I wouldn’t plan on more than a couple of days at each. They’re nowhere near the size of the parks in Orlando. If you’re in the Burbank area though the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is well worth a visit.

Springroller Wed 06-Feb-19 18:09:37

So - visit Warner Brothers Studio and Universal while staying in Burbank- potentially at the Magic Castle Hotel, or one of the hotels at Universal city. Anyone suggest anywhere else unmissable to visit in this area? Should we hire a car while in this area or Uber/walk then pick up a car to drive to...

...Santa Monica - although I've heard it's very busy. Someone has suggested Newport Beach, Hollywood Beach or Malibu. Or any other suggestions for 5 days relaxation?

And finally to Disney for 3 days craziness.
Think my head might explode. Really appreciate your insights. Thank you.

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BubblesBuddy Wed 06-Feb-19 18:27:13

There are some lovely beach side hotels in Santa Monica. Exoensive though. We stayed at a B and B. We went in the winter and it was lovely! Drove everywhere - no jams! There are lots of beach side properties in Santa Barbara too.

What to see: The Getty Centre in LA is just an amazing building. One of the best we have ever seen in terms of quality and imagination. The centre of LA (Hollywood Boulevard) is pure YUK. However you could check out the Max Factor factory museum which is close by. The Paramount Studios tour is fun. We also drove the whole length of Mulholland Drive. You end up with a good view of the Hollywood sign. We also went to Topanga Canyon and had a nose around the canyon drives where Joni Mitchell lived in the 70s. (Yes, we are not young).

Malibu is one long beach! One long beach side community. On a recent visit DD saw Leonardo di Caprio there. It has the Getty Villa though and that is worth a visit. I am not sure I would stay there though.

Further up the coast there is lovely Santa Barbara and its mission. all these areas have great restaurants and if you have time take a trip out to Pasadena. It will be fiercely hot but the Huntington Art gallery and gardens are fantastic.

There are surfing beaches to visit all along the coast and they would be great fun too.

MadisonAvenue Wed 06-Feb-19 18:37:39

Griffith Park and the Observatory (try to be there for sunset) are places to see. I’ll second the recommendation for Pasadena, and if any of you are Parks and Rec fans you’ll recognise the City Hall (which can also be seen from Sheldon’s apartment in Big Bang Theory).

plotholes Wed 06-Feb-19 19:16:11

We are also going in august, we've been a few times and love L.A.
the theme parks are definitely more compact than Orlando but reallly good fun.
We are taking a trip into the desert for two nights just to have a new experience will be v hot though.
All the previous suggestions are good but also a walk around Beverley hills is nice to admire the houses,
The farmers market is a really nice place for lunch.
We have stayed in Santa Monica before very nice and can walk to restaurants etc especially nice if you want a rest from the driving.
This year we are staying in a mixture of hotels and air b&b the great thing there unlike European villas in the summer is they let you book for a few nights rather than Saturday to Saturday so much more flexible

BubblesBuddy Wed 06-Feb-19 20:47:35

We drove around Bel Air. The original Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford estate. So ultra manicured! Amazing houses when you could see them! Lots of big gates!

Triffictriffid Wed 06-Feb-19 20:59:25

I agree on Warner trip, Griffiths Observatory, Getty Museum, drive along Mullholland Drive, Santa Barbara (and the Mission) . Hollywood itself is tacky but we enjoyed driving into the Hollywood Hiils goggling the stars mansions and mega security detail, a walk around Beverley Hills is good for people watching. We drove to the Joshua Tree National Park which was amazing . The trees themselves look like they belong on another planet. The drive was about 2.5 hours as I remember but really worth it.

Lightsdown Wed 06-Feb-19 21:11:27

You must go to the Getty Centre. We like Sherman Oaks and stay in an AirB&B house. Great for Universal, Hollywood, Getty , Beverly Hills/Bel Air . You can do day trip to Santa Monica.
Disney LA is great as it is small and you can stay in a non Disney hotel for not too much $ directly at the park gates on S Harbor blvd. Means you can go back mid afternoon for a swim / nap and stay till they throw you out. We loved Knotts Berry farm - was a fab theme park. I would have a day off between though.
Beachside I lovee Newport Beach- houses right up to the beach boardwalk. You could go to Knotts from there i reckon.

I would do 5 nights Sherman Oaks, 3 in Anaheim, 6 at the beach Newport or similar. Santa Monica beach is a bit grotty in itself but good to visit.

Springroller Wed 06-Feb-19 22:47:20

This is soooo helpful. Thank you for all your ideas. Any more gratefully received.

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bestbefore Thu 07-Feb-19 10:48:56

This place is kind of fun - my kids thought it was weird but it's really interesting - know one believes me when I said we went to a tar museum in LA!

bestbefore Thu 07-Feb-19 10:49:32

FFS no one blush

MadisonAvenue Thu 07-Feb-19 10:51:52

bestbefore Yes! It's definitely worth a visit!

Springroller Fri 08-Feb-19 18:46:15

@bestbefore - this looks crazy. Not sure my girls would appreciate it tbh!🤣

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