One day in LA

Old Mar 31st, 2005, 04:23 AM
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One day in LA

I'm flying in on 1 day early for a flight to New Zealand. I will be staying near the airport. I'm renting a car and will have the day to explore before returning to the aiport for my 10:30pm flight.
Is it reasonable to drive to Santa Barbara, or would my day be better spent elsewhere?
Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old Mar 31st, 2005, 06:18 AM
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Santa Barbara is doable - but I am not so sure whether it is advisable.
Driving time can be around 1.5 hours if traffic is smooth. If it isn't, it can be considerably more - rather around 2.5 hours. And chances are that you will catch some traffic jam somewhere on your trip - be it within L.A. on the 405 which IMHO is prone to congestion or further up close to Santa Barbara, where the 101 merges into two lanes. During peak times, you are likely to encounter a delay here.

So if you should go on that trip, do ensure you account for sufficient time on your way back.

A lot depends on your interests, too. If you have set your heart on seeing lovely S.B., do go and adhere to my suggestion from above. Do consider to take PCH from somewhere around Oxnard/ Port Hueneme on your way back. It might save you some time on the Freeway and provides some spectacular views of the Coastline.

Personally, I would rather take a tour of L.A., where a car is a must, too, but where you can easily stop your sightseeing activity, should you get late for your flight.
I'd probably start the day in downtown and take a peak at the (touristy) ancient Olvera Street near Union Station. You could also venture to the area around Bunker Hill and admire the new Disney Concert Hall from the outside.
I'd then get onto Sunset and drive out to Hollywood. I'd plan for a quick stroll around Hollywood Blvd. and Grauman's Chinese Theatre as well as the Hollywood Highland Shopping Complex, where the Oscar Ceremony is annually held at the Kodak Theatre.

Next stop might be on Melrose in West Hollywood, where funky shops invite for some window shopping.
I'd then continue into Beverly Hills, stop at Rodeo Drive and probably have some coffee in the area which is unusually pedestrian- friendly for L.A. standards.

Venture on via Sunset into Pacific Palisades. You might enjoy a sundowner at Gladstone's 4 Fish, a rustic (and admittedly a bit touristy) eatery right at the junction of Sunset and PCH. You could then turn South on PCH to get into Santa Monica. Have some nice dinner at Ocean Ave. Seafood, I Cugini, Michael's, Il Fornaio or some other restaurant and head back to the airport.

Alternatively, half a day at the Getty Museum might be attractive, too.

I believe that one gets a pretty good taste of L.A. by basically following Sunset Blvd. through half of the megalopolis. On the other hand, this does not consist solely of scenic beauty, which a trip to Santa Barbara would provide you with.

There is an abundance of possibilities in the area for enjoying a day out - just have some fun!
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Old Mar 31st, 2005, 04:13 PM
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Santa Barbara seems a bit far to me. I would stick with Venice, Santa Monica, maybe Malibu along the coast. Hollywood &/or Melrose Avenue, possibly Chinatown &/or Olvera street, all downtown-ish.
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Old Mar 31st, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Are La Brea tar pits open these days?
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Old Apr 5th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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I would advise against driving up to Santa Barbara for just a day. That's a pretty long drive. There is plenty to do and see in L.A. itself.
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