LA/Beach itinerary

Old Oct 11th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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LA/Beach itinerary


Could I get help with an itinerary for Southern California? Four of us (mid 20s) are arriving mid-afternoon on Nov. 24 and departing early afternoon on Nov. 29, to/from LAX. We'd like to visit the main LA attractions, but still put in some beach time. Since my sister works with the Marriott, we get an insane (charged almost nothing!) discount on the Hollywood Renaissance, Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach and Laguna Cliffs hotels so we were thinking of staying at more than one hotel (we're also renting a car).

I dont know anyone whos been to California (Im from NYC), so Im going based on what I read on the net. Read Santa Monica and Venice are must see (Santa Monica Pier is cool at night? Not unsafe?), but that Manhattan Beach is a nicer (cleaner/less crowded) beach (but theres nothing to do there). Also, will these beaches be too cold in late November? I'd also like to see Newport, even if just for a day, (heard the town's very pretty) but I heard it's very far away from LA and the beaches are not that much better than those closer to LA. So...hows my rough itinerary below?

24 arrive late afternoon, walk around in Hollywood @ Renaissance Hollywood
25 sightsee Hollywood/LA area (what to do??) @ Renaissance Hollywood
26 sightsee Hollywood/LA area (what to do??) @ Renaissance Hollywood
27 morning drive to Venice Beach (few hours) then Santa Monica Pier stay @ Marina del Rey or Manhattan Beach Marriott (comments on hotels, i.e., which hotel to stay @, are areas safe, etc, also what to do @ Venice Beach and Santa Monica??)
28 morning drive to Newport, sightseeing/beach (hows the water)? stay @ Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa (is hotel too far from beach, comments on hotel, what to do??)
29 depart

Finally, is two days for Hollywood/LA sightseeing too much? Should I only do one day and move my schedule up to fit a side trip to Catalina island (maybe do some snorkeling/scuba?) I am trying to convince my friends/sister to extend the trip to the 30th, so we dont rush too much.

CandyG is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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I recommend visiting The Getty Museum. It was a wonderful place to visit.

And, yes the water will be too cold to swim in. The weather may be mid 60's-mid 70's and typically still sunny most days, but the water is cold, like 60 degrees.

I live in San Diego and haven't been to the other beach cities you mentioned.

Have a wonderful vacation!
EmilySD is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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I would stay in Manhattan Beach and Laguna Cliffs, perhaps one night in Hollywood. I don't think there is much point to walking around Hollywood, but you can take an hour to look at the Grauman's footprints, Pantages facade, & Hollywood Entertaiment Museum. That takes about half a day, at most. The main advantage of Hollywood would be that you are close to Beverly Hills, Fairfax/Farmers Market, and Downtown (which actually has as many "sights" as Hollywood.) You can find as many nice restaurants or nightlife places in Laguna and Manhattan Beach, and the environment is certainly nicer.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Manhattan Beach rocks. Funky little clothing stores, nice restaurants, a couple of pubs and nightclubs, good sushi and wonderful beach. I'd stay there over Hollywood or Marina del Ray. Manhattan Beach would put you between Santa Monica and Laguna Beach so you could check both of those places out easily.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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Wow, where to start. Lucky you for getting such good rates at those hotels. Here are just a few thoughts that might help you with your itinerary.

1. The beaches will be too cool for sunning and swimming, but you can rent bikes or skates to ride along the Strand. You can do this in either Venice/SM or Manhattan Beach. Even if the Santa Ana winds are blowing, and the air is warm (I remember playing in a Thanksgiving weekend volleyball tournament on Manhattan Beach, where it was 95 degrees) the water will still be cold.

2. For your Hollywood time, consider a tour of Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank. I'm not sure they will be open on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but you can look it up on their website. If not, you could consider reversing your order, staying at the beach first, and then up to Hollywood on Sun/Mon.

3. I would choose the Manhattan Beach Marriott over the MDR Marriott. For nightlife at the beach, Hermosa Beach (just south of Manhattan) is perfect for your group of 20-somethings.

4. Santa Monica pier might be a place to walk around for an hour or so, but not to spend a full evening. Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica would be a better choice.

5. I also recommend Laguna Beach. It's a great area to walk around & shop, with a beautiful beach.

6. Trying to fit Catalina in would jam your schedule too much.

I just previewed my reply and it seems to come up twice.

Have a nice trip!
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Hi CandyG,

I'm from London so not exactly an expert but I've been twice and had to cram a lot in on both trips, so I'll put my 2 pence in but feel free to discard it, lol! This is just my opinion, and I hope no-one is offended by my impressions of LA!

I was utterly disappointed with Hollywood Blvd, it is so tacky and dirty. The Hollywood sign was one of those "Cool!" moments. The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel just across the street from Graumans Chinese Theatre (the handprints there are quite fun) is where Marilyn Monroe used to live (and apparently haunts) and is where the first Oscars were held, iirc. That was a very nice building, and it is clear to see the link between the style of it and that of Tower of Terror at Disney World! Lots of tacky souvenir shops that all seemed to sell the same stuff. I wouldn't have felt safe at night, and definitely wouldn't have walked around on my own.

Beverly Hills/Bel Air
I loved Beverly Hills, it is so clean and lush (well it would be, I guess).
Seeing the Regent Beverly Wilshire (from Pretty Woman) was fun, and strolling down Rodeo Drive also fun. The Beverly Center is okay, but it is just a mall like any other. Bel Air was also very pretty.

The tours take about 2 - 4 hours and are really good. Paramount Studios is in Hollywood, and has a lot of old movie connections. The other studios (CBS, Fox, Disney, ABC, Culver City etc) are all slightly north of Hollywood in Burbank. Also in Burbank is the Warner Bros Studio Tour which was excellent; we saw ER and the Gilmore Girls being filmed, the set of Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and loads of other cool stuff. Also near there is Universal Studios, which was a lot of fun; streets and town squares from movies like Bruce Almighty and Back to the Future are very visible here and this is where they shoot Desperate Housewives. I would definitely do one of the studios - early in the morning is good because you can move on to your next POI without losing too much of your day.

Santa Monica was only about 25 mins from Beverly Hills, and Venice Beach is right next to it so all that can be done in an afternoon/evening with no problem. It was all very pretty and there is something special about looking out from the beach thinking - wow, this is the Pacific Ocean. Next stop Australia (I know, not literally) but how warm it would be in November I'm not sure. has historical weather figures so you might check that out.

I haven't been to Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Ray or Newport so I will avoid commenting on them! But imo I think your itinerary is spot on - 2.5 days in LA and then head to the beaches. (I couldn't find the "1/2" key like you had on yours ( )

I bet I've missed something out and will remember it as soon as I hit post, lol.

Hope you have a brilliant trip!

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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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I can comment on this a little bit. I think your age group is perfect for Venice Beach. I think of this beach as really hip. Very entertaining as well. There is plenty of shopping here too. I only spent a few hours at this beach but wished I had stayed the night.

The Laguna Cliffs Marriott is really beautiful! It's actually in Dana Point tough. I really like this place. Beautiful views of the ocean and Dana Point Marina is right at the bottom of the cliff. The beach is not right there but it is close by. The Laguna Cliffs Marriott has a nice pool with views of the ocean and bar service. The pool might be warm enough to swim in. I think you are probably getting the sense that the ocean is too darn cold although I see people swimming in it year round. Although the ocean is too cold for swimming the weather is usually warm enough for tanning on the beach. (If you are like me and prefer to tan in 60 degree sun. That to me is perfect).

Catalina Island - well worth extending your stay. What a fun day trip for a group of 4. I am not certain but I believe you can ferry from Dana Point to Catalina Island. I can check that for you. If so you could do Catalina on the 29th and depart on the 30th.

In November it will be cool at night.
Hope this helps
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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Hi, You can leave from Dana Point to Catalina. Here's some info

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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 08:36 PM
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I'm a NYer, was just in L.A. this summer. Make Santa Monica your base, it's a great city with spectacular views of ocean and an easy drive to Beverly Hills, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, etc. Make sure you go to the Third Street Promanade. The pier is overrated. We also went to Laguna Beach, about an hour drive from L.A. Just beautiful and you can daytrip to Newport and Balboa Island. Don't spend too much time in Hollywood.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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To get you pumped up a little for your trip check out the virtual tours on (click on visitor info then click on virtual tour of downtown & pier) and also check out the live cam at Hermosa Beach just down the Strand from MB.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 12:20 PM
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Here's another vote for staying in Manhattan Beach. Be sure to go for a leisurely walk on The Strand, which runs along the beach front homes. That's where I go for my morning walks.

Woody is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Thanks everyone! My friends and I are v. excited about this trip. Actually we just got two more who said they want to go. We decided to do spend the night of the 24th and all of 25th in Hollywood (stay @ Renaissance), visit Venice Beach and Santa Monica for a few hours on the 26th and then head to Manhattan Beach (staying at the MB Marriott), then checking into the Laguna Cliffs Marriott on the 27th so we can explore Newport on the 27th and go to Catalina island on the 28th, then come back to NYC on the 29th.

Thanks again everyone for everything!
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Old Oct 13th, 2005, 10:55 PM
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I will echo the statements from above:
I was in Hollywood 2 months ago, and I found it to be very tacky and dirty, worthy of a few hours of 'been there/done that/bought the fake Oscar statue', and also the same for Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier.

If you want to visit the beach then STAY on the beach, don't even think about staying on the beach and then traveling inland.

Marina Del Rey is a waste of time compared to your other options.

Now I will give you the same speech I give everyone: After you get your rental car, hit a store, drug store, any kind of store that would sell a cheap foam cooler, like a $5 wal-mart special, and buy lots of drinks. Bottled water is the best choice, you can buy a case of it for $3-5 bucks. If you want pop buy it at a 'grocery' store also.
Because if you buy it at a Kwik-store, you will spend $1 or more A CAN for pop, and $2-3 A BOTTLE for water. Just go to the Kwik-store for Ice, nothing else.

At the end of your trip, leave the cooler near the ice machine at your hotel or give it to someone checking in.
You will save a ton, trust me.

Old Oct 14th, 2005, 12:22 AM
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I would avoid Hollywood, though maybe staying a night there would be ok, because you could use it as a nice base if you went to warner brothers studio in the valley, or huntington gardens in pasadena, or had dinner in koreatown.

the good thing about staying in multiple places is that you can have a little base when you are exploring different regions, because you don't want to spend all your time driving. if it were the summer, manhattan beach would be great, but for november i'd skip it and go to laguna instead, though you don't want to spend your last night in laguna because it's a long way from lax, with that in mind i'd suggest something like--

11/24: hollywood
11/25 hollywood
11/26: laguna beach
11/27: marina del rey
11/28: marina del rey

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