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LA and surrounding areas advice(11 Posts)
Has anyone been and with kids?
Looking for a bit of advice on how long is enough and good ideas to stay.
A brief google has suggested Santa Monica May be a good base but I’d appreciate any advice.
One definite thing to do is Universal Studios and another is to see Beverly Hills and also the walk of fame.
We’ve got 10 days. We’ve done Vegas and SFO before so sticking with LA I think.
We were there three years ago with DCs. We've been a number of times over the years and have always stayed in Santa Monica. It's a great base, close to the airport and even more so now that the metro goes there and can take you to Universal etc. You can hire bikes and ride to Malibu or south through Venice - the canal areas are pretty. Third Street Promenade is fun for shopping and eating. Hire some rollerblades and skate along to the Venice beach area.
I've stayed in other areas but not enjoyed them as much as SM.
To add, the Walk of Fame is actually a bit grim - we didn't spend much time there but did join our Hollywood homes tour near there which was a lot of fun.
You could do an LA San Diego combo perhaps- plenty to keep DCs occupied there.
I found LA quite rough. Especially Hollywood area. Seedy and not particularly feeling that safe at night. Santa Monica was ok but public transport a bit rubbish. Universal was good. Get there early to gave full day. If going in high peak consider queue jump passes if can afford it. Do lower lot first then upper lot.
Would you consider going down to San Diageo? We loved it there. So nice and friendly. The aircraft carrier is a great visit. USs midway.
There are quite a few parks in Orange County (the two Disney parks and I think Knotts Berry Farm....possibly another too). Plenty of hotels in Anaheim. You can get a shuttle to Universal from there too. Santa Monica is nice but you’d be doing a fair bit of driving to each park.
LA is not known for its public transport. It’s the city of the car! And wide boulevards. Don’t expect public transport.
So many people on these threads just don’t go to the best places in LA. San Diego isn’t better. It’s just different.
The “Hollywood Boulevard” area with the walk of fame is tacky, grimy and not worth visiting. It’s just a pavement. Far better, and just nearby, is the Max Factor factory museum with some real 1930s glamour! Also go to the Getty Centre. It’s wonderful and a masterpiece of architecture with views to die for. Go to the Mondrian Hotel for lunch. Check out the pool. Go out to the Huntington Gallery and Gardens. Visit Pasadena. We also enjoyed driving along Mulholland Drive. It’s along a ridge and has superb views. Paramount Studios is near Bel Air which is where the first power couple Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford developed land. The houses there are worth a drive round but there’s a lot of big gates!!
Malibu is worth a visit and the Getty Villa there is lovely. Santa Monica is a nicer place to stay than central LA. We found it friendly and local restaurants were very good.
You could go north to Santa Barbara if you have time or go south to La Jolla. Lots of beaches on the way. Look around Venice Beach and go up into the canyons too. There is plenty to see and do with a good guide book and imagination. Avoid tacky. There’s better places to see by a long way.
What time of year are you thinking of travelling there?.
How old are your children roughly?. Teens or younger?. This will also have a bearing too, you've got to do things that you will all get something out of. What do you all like doing?. There is all sorts of things to do in LA for all age groups.
If you want to visit Universal there are a couple of hotels at Universal City (also linked to the metro) which are both about a ten minute walk from the entrance to the park itself (these hotels are not affiliated with the park). As Universal can and often does get rammed and particularly so later on in the day it would be a good idea to arrive there for park opening.
The Hollywood/Vine area is really tacky as a whole, often rammed full of tourists and is only worth a brief visit before eating lunch (best time to go there are mornings). The LA metro these days is both widely used and being further expanded and we have found it useful to get around the downtown area of LA and out towards Long Beach and Santa Monica.
A note re Paramount Studios. This is located on Melrose Avenue and they do a basic tour of around 2 hours and a longer tour where lunch is included. You will need to bring along government issued photo id for all adults in your group to be checked in and no children under 10 are permitted on their tours.
I would also consider a visit to Anaheim particularly if the Disney Parks are on your list. Anaheim is also located near the city of Buena Park where Knotts Berry Farm (still family owned) and their associated water park Splash City are located. Both are good to visit with children.
10 days is too many for LA. Wak of fame, rodeo, and Beverley hills in one day easily, Griffith observatory and Hollywood hills hike 1/2 day.,,, go to San Diego.
We spent 2 nights there in Oct, for us this was enough. We stayed in Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood which was great for the kids as they had free snacks and a pool. The rooms were dated, but big. We walked to the walk of fame and Chinese theatre from here early the first morning when there was hardly anyone around. Then went to Griffith Observatory and hiked in the hills in the afternoon. Went to universal the next day which was amazing in Oct, there was hardly anyone there, but then drove straight from there over to Palm Springs, we also visited Joshua Tree National Park and San Diego. We had an evening flight home and spent the last day driving back from San Diego and went to Santa Monica for a few hours before going to the airport as it's close by. We liked it but an afternoon felt plenty to see what we wanted too. Although I have been before and spent 3 days just there, but this was part of a much longer trip and I was happy just to relax on the beach.
I'd say 10 days for just LA is probably too long, I'd recommend both Joshua Tree National Park and San Diego if your wanting to combine your trip with another location or two.
It’s such a shame that posters don’t consider the wider LA area. If you have a car there’s plenty to see and do. Everyone just sees the obvious tacky sights and never explore the better areas. How can 2 night’s be enough to see all that LA and it’s environs has to offer? It has a history. It has some outstanding buildings. It has museums and galleries. Why not visit them?
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