Los Angeles in Nov (First time too)

Oct 18th, 2007, 07:29 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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If you're going to be in L.A, for a week, you ought to stay in Santa Monica at the Oceana. They have remodeled beautifully, are across the street from the beach and many of their suites have kitchens. That would be really nice, I think, if you're going to be there for such a long time.
Have you seen their website? http://www.hoteloceanasantamonica.com/ You don't want to stay in downtown L.A. It's really for business people and those attending conventions. It's kind of creepy at night.
TTess is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 11:11 PM
  #42  
 
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For Downtown Los Angeles, the Omni is central and very nice.
mlgb is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 05:19 AM
  #43  
lvk
 
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Apparently, some posters did not read the part about the film festival in Santa Monica resulting in no availability there for part of the week.

IdaC, your hotel choices are fine. You just need to adjust your activities accordingly. I would not suggest staying downtown if only one day on your itinerary calls for downtown activities. If you schedule your Segway tour for after 11 am, for example, traffic should be much lighter. You can then spend the rest of the day downtown, maybe dine there, and head back to BH after dark.

If you skip Long Beach, how about adding that bike ride from SM to Torrance back into your itinerary? I honestly think it is one of the best ways to see the coast, without sitting in traffic. You can stop along the way to eat lunch, shop, watch the surfers, volleyball players, etc.
lvk is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 09:25 AM
  #44  
 
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Since the OP will be in the LA area for a week, they would have plenty of time to go to Long Beach. As I said before, if they go in the middle of the day, the drive is not bad. And since they have family in Torrance, they could combine the Aquarium with a family visit or some time spent at Hermosa or Manhattan Beaches. During the middle of the day, you can make it from Torrance to Long Beach in 20 minutes depending on how far the family lives from the 405. My younger daughter lives in Redondo and drives to Long Beach State with no problem.
paula1470 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 11:14 AM
  #45  
 
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IdaC-

Google maps will give you a mileage estimate between 2 points. It will also give you 2 time estimate, one without trafic and one with traffic. The time estimate with traffic can be an eye opener in LA.
denise8101214 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 11:41 AM
  #46  
 
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Since you're in LA for 7 days now, there is definitely no reason to stay in downtown LA. If Santa Monica is all booked, I would stay in Beverly Hills, which is pretty central to everything you want to do. West Hollywood is another option.
smartcookie is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 12:14 PM
  #47  
 
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smartcookie-If you go back and read Ida's posts, you will see she is booked into the Beverly Wilshire and then Shutters. We suggested she just stay at Shutters the whole time but that is not possible because of the festival. So, Ida, I think your hotel choices are fine.

When all of us here are telling you about traffic times, we just want you to be aware of what you might find in LA. You can get from Santa Monica to Long Beach in anywhere from around 35 minutes to over an hour. Same goes going from Beverly Hills to downtown LA. It could take you 20 minutes or it could take you an hour. Just try to avoid the major rush hour times which unfortunately in LA is fairly long. In the am from around 6:30 to 9:30-maybe 10am. In the evening from around 3-7pm with the worst being from 4-6pm. But you can work around the traffic. If you are going to Long Beach, explore Santa Monica in the morning. Then drive to Long Beach and visit the Aquarium. After that either stay in Long Beach for dinner or go visit family in Torrance. Drive back to Santa Monica after dinner. If you are going to downtown LA, leave Beverly Hills around 9:30 am and then return no later than 4pm. You might get some traffic coming back but it shouldn't be the worst.
paula1470 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 11:00 AM
  #48  
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Paula - Thank you for your explanation of the rush hour effect on traffic. I did not think it might be so severe, but it is really good to be aware.

lvk - We are still very interested in biking, but it appears that there is not a dedicated bike path all the way from Santa Monica to Long Beach. http://www.labikepaths.com/index.html. If there is a suggested route, I haven't found it.

We'd love to bike it, but don't relish the thought of getting lost on the streets. Anyone have any experience with doing that bike trip?

I have been to many zoos in our travels, but few aquariums have been available. I feel I should take advantage of the aquarium while I'm there. Besides Long Beach sounds like an interesting area.
IdaC is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 11:38 AM
  #49  
 
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Ida-Santa Monica to Long Beach is far. If you go back to your bike map and look south of Redondo Beach, you will see the Penninsula. This would add many miles to the drive. Next of all, you would then have to go through areas next to the LA Harbor like San Pedro. You would either have to go over the Terminal Island bridge or through some pretty bad neighborhoods. This is not an area that encourgages bike riders and I am sure there are no bike paths although someone else could give you better advice on that.

The best two bike rides would be Santa Monica to Marina Del Rey or Marina Del Rey to Redondo Beach. I don't see why you couldn't bike all the way from SM to Redondo but for some reason the bikepath map shows a break there. I think, though, it can be done.

As far as Long Beach, it is an interesting town. My daughter just moved there several months ago so I am learning about it. There will be lots of people on this board who will say don't go to Long Beach but if you are already in Torrance it's a quick drive. The Aquarium is nice and also in this area is the Queen Mary. There are restaurants (mostly chain restaurants) on The Pike. My daughter waitresses at one of them On Ocean Blvd there are some nice restaurants. 555 East is a steak restaurant that is always highly ranked in restaurants for all of LA (pricey). Another recommended restaurant (by some Fodorites) is L'Opera which I haven't tried yet but will do so soon.

Another cute area of Long Beach is 2nd Street which has shops and restaurants. Just continue east on Ocean Blvd from the Aquarium for several miles and you will run into it.

It's hard to describe Long Beach. It's not the most beautiful beach city but I like it's vibe. It's not as beachy as other areas. Maybe a good description is urban meets the beach.

You will definitely enjoy any of the bike rides from Santa Monica down to Redondo.

paula1470 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 11:53 AM
  #50  
 
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We stayed at the Millenium Biltmore, in 2002. Very nice room with a great buffet breakfast included (we did stay on a club floor though).
trippinkpj is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 12:47 PM
  #51  
 
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The bike trail does connect all the way from Santa Monica to Torrance at the foot of PV. You do need to skirt the Marina (del Rey) on streets but it is marked.

http://www.coastalconservancy.ca.gov..._smb/bike.html
denise8101214 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2007, 01:52 PM
  #52  
 
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If you do decide to go to Long Beach, I also recommend Belmont Shore for walking around and eating, although there are tons of chain restaurants around the Aquarium.

If you drive down Ocean Ave, you will pass the Long Beach Museum of Art, which has a nice site and cafe, even if the collection might not be your cup of tea.

http://www.lbma.org/

mlgb is offline  
Oct 21st, 2007, 05:33 AM
  #53  
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Denise - Thank you for this link. That is exactly what I was looking for and will make for a really nice bike ride.

I was worried when I saw the LAbikepaths.com maps and did not find any connectors. I could not find this trail on Trails.com (I'm a member) either.

This is a great forum.
IdaC is offline  
Oct 21st, 2007, 07:26 AM
  #54  
lvk
 
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IdaC,

I wouldn't recommend biking all the way from SM to Long Beach. Too many variables. I really think you will enjoy the ride from SM to Torrance, though.

To make your drive from Santa Monica to Long Beach more enjoyable, you could stay off of the 405 and do a scenic drive through the So. Bay beach cities, around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, through the Port of Los Angeles, via the Vincent Thomas Bridge. It would take longer, but it might be worth it, depending on your schedule.
lvk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2007, 08:12 AM
  #55  
 
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The area around 2nd Street in Long Beach that I menetioned is Belmont Shores. Thanks mlgb for adding that, I forgot.
paula1470 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 06:07 AM
  #56  
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Trip report.

After all the help, I thought that someone might appreciate a trip report. Made a memorable entrance to the Ritz Marina Del Rey. On check-in the man next to me knocked over his suitcase, which hit me in the back so I hit the counter and rebounded so I ended up on my back on top of his suitcase. The check-in clerk was very upset needless to say.

Then at dinner, the sommelier after gesturing wildly, knocked over my glass of wine and splashed me and my husband's silk jacket. Luckily, it was white and not red wine.

The suite at the Ritz was lovely and the fitness centre was great. Food at breakfast and dinner was excellent, but there was an amateur feel about the dinner service. One server was doing real estate, another was between acting jobs.

The concierge was completely useless for us - sent us to a bike store for a bike rental which they didn't do, did not know there was a DVD store a mile away etc.

Monday it was a bit chilly, but we rented beach bike cruisers and did 44 miles of beaches - Santa Monica to Redondo and back. The best bike path we've ever seen.

The Utah Jazz and the Houston Hornets were in the hotel. These basketball players are so tall they have to duck to get into the elevators. It was very weird to be standing beside a few of them.

We had a Segway tour of the Beaches. No-one is supposed to fall off those things, but I got nervous

when we were on a crowded boardwalk, scrubbed a tire on a curb and fell off.

Luckily I wasn't hurt (except my pride) and we had no casualties during the tour. Since that was the third bad thing on the trip that happened to me, I figured that was the end of the bad luck streak.

The traffic in L.A. is scary until we got used to it. The audio tour of the Disney Music Hall was fantastic. The Getty's buildings were wonderful, the Garden outstanding, but the paintings in the art collection we enjoy was not as impressive as some we've seen. A lot of pre-1800 art where we appreciate Impressionist to contemporary.

The Long Beach aquarium was worth the stop on the way to San Diego. I got to pet a Bat ray. It appears they want human interaction and crowd around the edge of the pool to be patted.

We went to San Diego for the last two days. Stayed in a suite at the U.S. Grant. Beautiful hotel, but we think they spent a LOT of money on renovations and overlooked some essentials. Like no lights near the dresser, an internet connection on the desk that was not plugged into anything. (They had to get an extension RJ45 cord and run it from the other room. Still didn't work so we had to use the wireless.)

A couch that looked "interesting" but was very uncomfortable to sit in. A coffee maker on a table that had no plug anywhere near. Like that.

Extremely accommodating staff that tried very hard to fix things. Good location by the Horton plaza.

Great dining room - food and service.

Spent one day at the zoo. It is absolutely the best man-made place we've ever been. Better than the Getty, better than anything at Disneyworld. I didn't get attacked by a suitcase or animal, I had nothing spilled on me and I didn't fall off anything. It was a great day.

Balboa park was wonderful.

It was an excellent trip and my thanks to all for their suggestions.
IdaC is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 06:42 AM
  #57  
lvk
 
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IdaC,

Thanks for reporting back. Sorry about your bad luck, but it looks like you kept your sense of humor and had a great trip.

Did you end up doing the Segway tour of downtown L.A. also?
lvk is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 12:23 PM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Thanks for the trip report, glad you enjoyed your vacation.

Last week was a bit cool and gloomy, this week is warm and sunny.
denise8101214 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 11:06 PM
  #59  
 
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Thank you for the trip report. It helps us to help others.

Did you ever visit the family in Torrance?
MBnancy is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 04:14 AM
  #60  
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lvk - When we decided to go to San Diego, we gave up the downtown Segway tour. After seeing the streets and traffic around the Disney hall, we knew it would be more difficult to maneuver than San Antonio or Austin on a weekday. I think the weekend would be fine, but we would be on our way home.

MBNancy - We dropped in on the family in Torrance twice - on the way to San Diego and on our way to LAX. Orange, lime, persimmon, tangerine trees and tons of camellias in a small backyard. You don't see that in Canada.

Given the cool weather, I'm glad we didn't end up in a beach hotel. I wore a sweater and jacket and was still not warm the 2 days we spent on the beaches. Swimming would have been out of the question.
IdaC is offline  

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