First Time Visiting LA - Is 7 days too much?

Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 09:26 AM
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First Time Visiting LA - Is 7 days too much?

Hello there! I am planning on visiting my older daughter in August who moved to LA earlier this year. We are from the NYC area. I will be accompanied by my 21 year old daughter and my husband. We have never been to LA. As my older daughter will be at work during the week we will only have weekends and weeknights to spend with her so the three of us will be on our own Monday - Thursday. My plan is to arrive on a Friday and I was thinking of doing a 2 night drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (north??/south??) (all 4 of us) fhe first weekend of our arrival spending a night somewhere along the way. Suggestions welcome!!! Then my plan was to stay in Santa Monica from Sunday evening thru the following weekend, departing back home that Sunday. The daughter who lives in LA really hasn't had time to see/do many of the touristy things in LA so we were thinking of doing some of them with her the second weekend of our stay. Am I spending too much time in LA (Sunday to Sunday)?

Suggestions/comments welcome. Thank you.
lynda55 is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 09:57 AM
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You can easily fill seven days in Southern California.

For your road trip, if you are hoping to see less metropolitan coast line, you should probably head north. Santa Barbara is not so far, but a beautiful destination. A longer drive is Hearst Castle in San Simeon for an alternative destination.

The PCH south is a list of beautiful stops Newport Beach, La Jolla, and a great destination in San Diego.

Your week from Santa Monica has a long list of options from the nearby Getty Museum, all the Hollywood sights, Universal Studios, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and picking up some of the opposite direction visits from your road trip.

Have fun, don't forget to relax.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 10:08 AM
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Of course you can fill a week, two weeks, longer..

Just depends on your interests.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 11:44 AM
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It's probably easier to spend that amount of time in LA than in New York actually, California native that I am. I love New York for theater, restaurants, museums, but the 24 hour noise, dirt, and smell really gets to me after about 5 days and I long for more wilderness.

If you are staying near Santa Monica, Venice is a fun town to walk around through the canals and look at houses. You'll be near Westwood and the UCLA campus, so there will be activities, and it's a fun town to walk around. The Third St. Promenade in Santa Monica will probably be fun for your daughter if she likes to shop.

As for touristy things that are really wonderful, in my opinion, I suggest the following.
Hollywood Bowl
La Brea Tarpits
Yamashiro's restaurant (set for old Japanese movies & great views)
Griffith Park Observatory
Getty Museum
Farmer's Market

Pasadena for the Green & Green house, Huntington Library, Norton Simon Museum.

I really like Laguna Beach, and it's thriving art scene, which is primarily landscapes, celebrating the natural beauty and history of the area. The Pageant of the Masters might be an interesting theatrical adventure, as it is rather unique, and the Sawdust Festival across the street is fun. The museum in Laguna is excellent, Crystal Cove is a beautiful and interesting area for hiking and exploring, the restaurants are diverse, the architecture is in my mind, representative of the quirky, alive freedom of the California spirit.

Newport Beach, Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Dana Point all have views, beaches, shopping, restaurants and activities as well.

You could even take a ride out to Catalina Island.

If you choose to go further, yes, San Diego is full of fun. I like the Hotel Del Coronado, (Some Like it Hot was filmed there, and Frank Oz wrote many books there). Balboa Park is great for museums. And of course, the superb zoo life.

North, Santa Barbara is beautiful. Beaches, art, shopping, a lovely atmosphere.

Advice: try to avoid the worst traffic by going places early, mid day or late, checking traffic reports on the radio or on an iphone if you have one.

Check out the papers for fun festivals. I had the greatest time at the Tofu Festival one year when I was visiting, although I wouldn't have scheduled a trip around it.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 11:50 AM
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I could fill months, years in Los Angeles. Love that city. One week is nothing!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 04:35 PM
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It appears that you have two weekends with your older daughter.

I'd suggest that you plan on spending the longer weekend driving up north on the PCH as far as Santa Barbara or Hearst Castle. You could easily spend Friday night in Santa Barbara and Saturday night in Cambria (near Hearst Castle), then drive back to LA on Sunday.

The second weekend plan on driving south on the PCH to San Diego and spending a couple of nights there. Again, it's easy to reach San Diego on a Friday night to start your weekend there.

In-between there's plenty to do around LA, depending on your interests. If you are interested in museums there are the Norton Simon in Pasadena, the Getty in Santa Monica, the LACMA (LA County Museum of Art) on Wilshire and close to Santa Monica, the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) downtown as well as unique museums such as the La Brea Tar Pits.

There are also other one day trips that you can do such as Universal Studios or the tours of Hollywood.

You could spend another day driving along the oceanfront and visiting the various beach communities from Malibu/Pacific Palisades all the way down to Dana Point/Capistrano. Be sure to loop through the Palos Verdes Peninsula, if you do this drive. You may not get as far as Dana Point, but that's OK, you can turn back any time you feel like it.

Just a few suggestions. I'm certain the other Fodorites could give you more hints and tips.

Have a great trip and welcome to California!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Kailani mentioned the Hollywood Bowl. To me, a night at the Bowl is quintessential L.A. It doesn't matter what's on the program, it doesn't matter what night and it doesn't matter if you're in the last row, just go.

http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/

If you don't want to break the bank, for tickets to the Bowl and many other events throughout L.A., sign up (or have your daughter sign up) on Goldstar. It's free. This is a source for (somewhat) last minutes tickets at greatly reduced prices. Whoever signs up will get a weekly list of ticket offerings, or you can log in and browse.

http://www.goldstar.com
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