Los Angeles Help

Old Dec 29th, 2008, 05:35 PM
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Los Angeles Help

We will be taking a 'Disneyland' vacation (staying near the park) mid-January but also want to take one day, a Thursday, to go into LA. There will be a mix of adults and teens and we have several areas that could be of interest...Olvera Street and surrounding area, Farmer's Market/The Grove, La Brea Tar Pits/Hancock Park, Beverly Hills/Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Wilshire. and Grauman's Chinese Theater. I have not been in these areas since I was a teen and want to help my teenage daughters enjoy a day seeing these sights. I would appreciate some advice (especially from the locals) on what can practically be done in a day, what order they might be best done in, safety concerns in any of the areas, and the best time and route to drive in from the Anaheim area. Any other suggestions would be very helpful!!
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Old Dec 29th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Good idea to go to L.A. - staying in Anaheim can get a bit boring.

There are no safety concerns in any of these areas. If you're mostly doing drive-bys you can hit all these destinations in one long day.

How many of you? Can you fit into a sedan, or a "soccer-mom-taxi" (Dodge Caravan, etc.)?

You realize that you will need your own wheels, right?

If you're a substantial group, it might pay to hire someone with a vehicle large enough to do the driving (and the parking - that will be the major hassle) - I'd say your hotel or the Anaheim / Orange County Visitors Center www.anaheimoc.org/ at 800 W. Katella (714/765-8888) can advise you.

For geography reasons you'd best start with Olvera St. and whichever parts of Downtown you wish to see - the Disney Hall (concert hall - incredibly stylish new architecture) and maybe the main branch of the L.A. Library - a stunning building on the inside that you may have seen in movies and on tv, the long stairs have been "starring" in many productions over the years.

There will be a lot of traffic in the morning heading for Downtown along the 5, not much you can do, unless your driver figures it's better to head in the other direction - if you or he can dodge and weave, maybe along the 22 to the 405 to get to the mid-Wilshire district, Farmer's Market/The Grove, La Brea Tar Pits, they are all close together. Or go there from downtown, just follow Wilshire through Koreatown.

Then probably B.H. / Rodeo Drive, still along Wilshire from there (it will be a right turn into Rodeo Drive) if you really think you want to do that - it's just a street with shops where things cost more than you want to spend, other than that there is nothing worth mentioning.

The Graumann and a stretch of the dirty sidewalk with the stars is a must for some. If you're starving by the time you get there, head for the new Renaissance Hotel complex, it is the only decent and clean place around there, the rest of Hollywood is grotty and full of weirdos - not dangerous usually, just, well, somewhere between tacky and weird.

Up on the (fully enclosed) plaza level at the Renaissance there is a nice California Pizza Kitchen restaurant, they serve a lot of other things too, and you can sit outside and gaze at the Hollywood sign up in the hills, and take turns taking pictures of each other with that as the background - everybody does it...

Eventually your best bet will be to hop on the 101 from there, towards downtown, and past it - and follow the signs to the 5 to head back down to Anaheim.



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Old Dec 29th, 2008, 07:15 PM
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Thanks for this info. There will be a couple of families and yes we will have vehicles. Your insight is great as I will need to construct a 'place to meet' agenda since I know we won't be following each other as we weave through the traffic. I am sensing that there are three main areas...Grauman's/El Capitan/Hollywood sign view...Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive...and Olvera Street/Farmer's Market/La Brea Tar pits. What would you estimate the distance being between these three. Also, I keep hearing about an observatory to visit as the sun is setting...is it worth it? How far from these locations? Thanks again!!
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Old Dec 29th, 2008, 11:23 PM
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This is not correct: Olvera Street/Farmer's Market/La Brea Tar pits.

Split off Olvera Street from these others.

Olvera is near downtown, just north of it, near the LA Union Station just east of where the 101 and the 110 intersect. That's why I mentioned Disney Hall and the Library in the same breath.

Farmer's Market/La Brea Tar pits and also the new Grove shopping center and the nearby LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of the Arts) and the Petersen Car Museum are all close together, a long ways away from Olvera Street - in bad traffic it could be an hour to get there, in good traffic 25 minutes - that's how unpredictable it is.

Google a few maps and begin to get a sense of the lay of the land. When you do, find Wilshire Blvd as it heads west from downtown - it is one of the longest, goes all the way to Santa Monica, probably some 20 miles or more.

The tar pits and Farmers Market are near where La Brea (north-south) and Wilshire (east-west) cross.

If you go further west along Wilshire, you enter Beverly Hills. Nothing spectacular, just businesses and glass palaces of insurance companies and the like, and shop fronts.

From there to Hollywood it looks like just a hop and a skip on the map, but the same trip, in the opposite direction, took me more than an hour the other day. Maybe I should have jumped on the 10 freeway, but either way, all bets are off.

I strongly suggest that you not go in two vehicles. If you do, be sure to have the identical maps and google printouts, and cellphones so you can communicate, you will need to do that, desperately.

But much better - and maybe not even more expensive - would be renting a bigger vehicle or - best of all - a van with driver. Trust me!

The observatory location could be providing a pretty view in the evening, it is kinda fun to drive up there in Griffith Park (really a mountain), you are literally in the middle of Greater L.A. and it feels and looks like a remote mountain drive somewhere far away...

So if you don't have to be back in Anaheim early, drive up there instead of fighting peak hour traffic in the evening. After 8PM it eases off on the freeways.
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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here's my suggestions:

Olvera Street & ADD Chinatown
Farmer's Market/The Grove
La Brea Tar Pits
(i'd skip Beverly Hills) Hollywood/Grauman's Chinese Theater
(i'd skip Rodeo Drive, Wilshire) Griffith Park Observatory (optional)

None of these places are all that far apart. Just get a LA street map and it will be easy enough to figure out a driving loop.

If you can all fit into one vehicle would sure make things easier. Otherwise definitely map out the day's agenda with times & parking lots where you will rendezvous. Don't try to drive together.
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 08:10 AM
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ur gonna have so much fun i love LA/cali
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Where are you all coming FROM? I would NOT skip Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills if you're coming, for example, from a rural area, for example. If you're coming from Manhattan, or San Francisco, then maybe. In fact, I would drive up to the "other end" of Rodeo Drive and into the hills where so many of the mansions are (mansions like you have never seen, and it doesn't matter if you have no idea who lives in them, just a quick drive-by and your teens jaws will drop).
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Here are some suggestions for meetup places.

Downtown.. Phillipe's the Original.

http://philippes.com/about.php

They have directions and good maps on their website. You'll be close to Union Station, Olvera Street, and it isn't right in the hear of downtown where parking is tough. They open at 6 am. Great, historic place and quite good for breakfast. What I would suggest is that you park at Phillipe's or Union Station, have breakfast, then see downtown LA using the DASH (map on the B Route on Phillipe's website or . Very easy to use, the drivers will for the most part actually help you out. Then use the Metro Red Line for your Hollywood leg (can take from Union Station or a few other locations in Downtown LA). It's about a 15 minute trip each way, faster than driving or parking. Day pass is $5 per person.

After returning, you could drive to the area of La Brea Tar pits/Farmer Market/Beverly Hills etc. To me they're pretty much the same locality. You want to do this midday to avoid traffic as much as possible. You can find lots of parking at the Grove, which connects to the Farmers Market, which I suggest as a second meeting place. I'll recommend meeting at Loteria, a Mexican stand in the Farmers Market. Good but a bit overpriced, you can always eat elsewhere.

I would not attempt to return from Griffith Park Observatory during the commute hours..Just awful, awful, probably one of the most congested locations. If you have time, it is a nice view of the basin on a clear day and a great place to visit (and the parking is free, so it's actually another good meetup place).

There are a number of parking structures in Beverly Hills, if I'm not mistaken you can find them on a website. One spot that is little known in Beverly Hills is the commercial building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, called Anderton Court. It's address is 332 N. Rodeo Drive, so that could be another meetup spot.

http://www.you-are-here.com/architect/anderton.html

I sort of agree that Beverly Hills isn't worth that much time, but it is a pleasant place to window shop.

Hope you have a good weather day. Honestly, if it is raining, I might not do this excursion.
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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Forgot to post the link for DASH. And the fare downtown is 25 cents.

http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

There are DASH routes in other parts of the City, although I've not used them, and I don't know if they would run that frequently. The A and B routes in downtown are quite regular during normal working hours.

There are some good maps on the website that might help you locate tourist sights in the areas served by DASH.
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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With a mix of adults and teens I think someplace like Melrose Ave might be more interesting for shopping, than Rodeo Drive (was my point).
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Wow...you are all awesome!! Thanks for the tips, I really need to get my head around this because there is just to much to see!! I like the idea of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, especially for my teen daughters. Thanks again, would love any other suggestions.
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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I guess another sight and possible meeting place in Beverly Hills is the lobby in the hotel now known as "Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire." Located where Rodeo Drive meets Wilshire Blvd. Aka The Pretty Lady hotel.

Sometimes you can find parking on the residential Streets south of Wilshire but you might have to walk for a ways.

(Have you noticed the focus on parking?)
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Aka The Pretty Lady hotel.

AKA "Pretty Woman"
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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I like the idea of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, especially for my teen daughters. any other suggestions...

Yes like I already said *Melrose*
;-)
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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Pretty Woman. I guess I'm not a fan!
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Old Dec 30th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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Personally, I don't think you can see/do all of this with multiple families in more than one car. The teens and adults will have different priorities, and just trying to meet up after the parking searches will take a lot of time. If it's raining, forget it. Traffic slows to a snail's pace.

I'd suggest you find out everyone's level of interest in these places. Maybe the two cars can take different itineraries, and you meet up for dinner before heading back to Anaheim.

I've never understood tourist interest in The Grove and Farmer's Market, but, then, I don't like to mall shop while on vacation. Decide for yourself:

http://www.farmersmarketla.com/
http://www.thegrovela.com/

Olvera Street, La Brea Tar Pits and Grauman's Chinese Theater are unique to Los Angeles. The view from the Observatory (closed on Mondays) is even better than the one from Getty Center.

http://www.griffithobs.org/

Shopping on Melrose used to be more one-of-a-kind, but the big name designers (Armani, Versace, etc.) have been opening stores, replacing the small original shops that were the reason to go to Melrose. Parking can be a bear.

Rodeo Drive is just eye candy. I doubt any of you will actually do any shopping there.
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Old Dec 31st, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Thanks to all of your great suggestions and other postings on Fodor's I think I have decided on the following and ask your help with a few lingering questions below. By the way, this might look like too much but we are very flexible so will work down the list of areas until we are tired. We will also all have GPS units which might help a bit.

How early do you have to leave Anaheim for downtown to miss some of the traffic?

-1st Area- Downtown (by taking the 5 and then the 101), park at Union Station then walk/take 'DASH' to see Olvera Street, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Grand Central Market, Library.
-2nd Area- Take Metro Red Line to Hollywood to see Graumann's, Walk of Fame, Kodak Theatre and shopping center. QUESTION: I have read the metro is a quick (15 Minute) way to get to Hollywood where the things we want to see are all together, seems like this would save time and parking woes??? Please confirm this.
-3rd Area- Take Wilshire West to The Grove and Farmers Market. (This stop may be optional depending on the time of day and the tiredness of the feet).
-4th Area- Continue on West on Wilshire with a possible stop in Melrose area (I am a dad with a wife and two teenage girls that love to shop...I have gotten used to it!!) then on to see Rodeo Drive, The Beverly Hills Hotel, and a drive up into some homes.

Return taking the 405 South to the 10 to the 5 down to Anaheim.

Please correct anything I am not seeing...you have all been a great help. I have always loved California/LA and am excited to show my gals!!
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Old Dec 31st, 2008, 09:25 AM
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-1st Area- Downtown (by taking the 5 and then the 101), park at Union Station then walk/take 'DASH' to see Olvera Street, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Grand Central Market, Library.

All of these are within easy walking distance. Olvera Street is right across the street from Union Station.

FYI, there are free guided tours at:
Olvera Street
http://www.lasangelitas.org/freetours.htm
WDCH
http://musiccenter.org/visit/toursched.html
Central Library
http://www.lapl.org/central/tours.html

I took all these tours during my stay in LA and enjoyed all of them. Try to join one or more of those if your schedule allows.

If you're interested, you can take a look at my trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35173144
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Old Dec 31st, 2008, 09:34 AM
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I think your plan sounds very good!

Though I would probably use the cars to move around & just deal with parking rather than the extra time of using public transportation in the mix. Not that it is not doable, just thinking you could fit more in more actually sightseeing, if you simply drove to the different areas.

As a native California I did have to chuckle over the question of what time to leave to avoid traffic on the freeway!
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Old Dec 31st, 2008, 09:35 AM
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As a native California I did have to chuckle over the question of what time to leave to avoid traffic on the freeway!

Suze, why, because the answer is there's NO good time?
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