One day in Los Angeles

Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2007
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One day in Los Angeles

Hi all:

My husband and I are coming to LA for a conference at the end of January. We will have all of Friday and saturday morning to explore. We are staying by the airport at the Westin. Hoping to get tickets to see the Tonight Show on Friday night. But other than that, we have no plans. We are looking for some suggestions for things to do on Friday and maybe saturday morning. Would also love some restaurant suggestions. We are not sure whether we will have a car. We live in DC, so we are not really interested in seeing meseums. Giving our location (by the airport), what would be some fun things to do? Don't necessarily need to hit the highlights of LA. Just looking for a fun day together. Thanks in advance!
Mir1977 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 11:00 AM
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While touristy, I still like Universal Studios as a single day activity. The back lot tram tour is always fun.

While you've got plenty of museums in DC, you might consider the Getty Museum anyway. The location alone makes it pretty cool.
astein12 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 11:05 AM
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I love the downtown Farmer's Market. Olvera Street and Chinatown are also fun. Classic old-time Los Angeles.
suze is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 12:03 PM
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I like the Olvera Street idea a lot; that's always a treat for me and I live here!

Now, let's talk about the car and the Tonight Show. The Tonight Show is filmed in Burbank, a long stretch from LAX and virtually impossible to get to without a car, unless you want to spend big bucks for a cab. Further, if the writer's strike is still going (highly likely), you need to consider how you feel about crossing a picket line. Since the celebrities that usually fill the on-air time are generally part of SAG, which is honoring the strike, the chance of seeing someone other than a political candidate who doesn't know about the strike (!) is slim. Also, you will need to be in line at 8 a.m. if you want to get on the day tickets, and be in line for the taping no later than 3 p.m. (taping starts at about 4 p.m.), so it ultimately kills most of the day!
Surfergirl is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Venice beach and Santa Monica Pacific Pallisades are great too.
suze is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 06:36 AM
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If you want to stay closer to the airport, West LA's Japantown along Sawtelle at Olympic is fun and there are some great restaurants like Orris.

El Segundo near the airport has Chef Hannes or Second City Bistro.

Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach are near the airport. Manhattan Beach has Uncle Bill's Pancake House for breakfast (an old dive). Hermosa has some night clubs and restaurants along Pier Ave, and you can walk along the Strand or rent bikes if the weather is good. Less of a freak show than Venice, but parking and traffic are not as bad.

mlgb is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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We had a day there once, and took a tour that went to a bunch of the LA sights (seeing the sidewalk with all the stars prints, etc). It was fun. We then had lunch at the Spagos in Beverly Hills - it was FABULOUS!!!! We spent as much time in the sun walking around as we could....
Debi is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Thank you everyone for all these great suggestions and recommendations. We will probably check out Olivera street and one or two of the beaches mentioned. Also, we have decided to rent a car but to bag the Tonight Show idea given the continued strike. We are now considering driving up to Malibu for dinner on friday night - would love a recommendation for a place with great views and food (although usually those two don't seem to go hand-in-hand). Thanks again for all the great advice and tips and restaurant recommendations - please keep them coming - really appreciate all this input in putting together our one day together.
Mir1977 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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I used to go to Malibu once a month for dinner, back in the days when it wasn't a pain in the neck to get there from Santa Monica.

Since you're coming at the end of January, it's going to be touch and go weather-wise. If it is like today, with nice mid-'70's temps and clear skies, I'd say go for it, but keep in mind, to get the BEST views, you have to be there right before sunset, around 5 p.m. Sunset on the west coast (purportedly due to the smog) is a 5 star event, with magenta skies, and that sometimes ethereal flash right as the sun dips beyond the horizon. Afterwards, on sunny days, you get the phosphorescent ocean effect, with the white on the waves lighting up. I remember seeing only one place other than this where the image is as amazing -- unfortunately, I can't remember where it is right now!

Anyway . . . the score on the restaurants. Some say Geoffrey's, the Cal/French place is the best, while others say it's mediocre and overpriced. I haven't tried Dukes, which has been around for about 10 years now, but it's the Hawaiian chain.

I'm not a food snob, so take my advice with a grain of salt -- I look for restaurants with great views and good food that doesn't look like a painting you can hang on the wall. I am not a great fan of Gladstones, although it's a staple, but I am a great fan of another chain -- the Charthouse, both for the great view, great drinks, and the food quality.
Surfergirl is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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Driving for any distance on a Friday or Saturday evening is often a bad idea, even when the weather is good. If you're going to do this, I'd leave by 3pm and come back after 8pm.
mlgb is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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I suggest against doing Olivera Street AND a couple of beaches on the same day. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE TRAFFIC - especially on a Friday. Unless you want to spend 1/2 of the day in traffic, I suggest looking at a map and picking just ONE area. For example, if you decide to do the beaches, I'd visit Manhattan, Venice, and maybe drive a bit north to see Malibu. If you do Olivera Street, concentrate on things in that area.

If it were me and I'd have only one day, I guess I'd spend time in the Hollywood area. I'd do all the touristy things there, go to Universal Studios, and then (hopefully) see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl that evening. Good luck!
Johnnyman7 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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My modest proposal would be to head up to Beverly Hills for breakfast on Friday. Use surface streets - up Sepulveda to La Tierja, then east to La Cienega, then north all the way to BH. Breakfast at Nate 'n Als on Beverly Drive - pretty reliable VIP sightings (Larry King the most regular "regular" it seems) and not a bad plate of latkes or salami and eggs.

Then walk it off for a little while on Beverly or Rodeo, then into the car and up to Hollywood and Highland for a walk around the shopping center, Kodak Theatre, and Grauman's Chinese (foot and hand prints) - just because.

From there it's a fairly short drive (east on Hollywood to the 101 Freeway, off at Broadway) to the LA old town, for Olvera Street, the old square, and - don't miss - a walk through Union Station, one of the best train stations in the country. Lunch at either some place in Olvera Street, or at Philippe's ( a block away.

After lunch, take either Sunset Blvd (aka Cesar Chavez downtown) or Wilshire Blvd (aka 7th St) all the way out to the beach. Sunset ends at the south end of Malibu; Wilshire ends in Santa Monica. Plenty of places for sundowners or dinner or conking out in the area; of course traffic will be heavy but not all that horrible. The sun will be down early (thus the view goes away) but if you're not interested in eating at 5, a place we like is Lula Cocina Mexicana on Main Street in SM. Good food and lots of life.

The next day, breakfast at Martha's in Hermosa Beach, or Uncle Bills in MB, or if you don't mind a chain operation, Le Pain Quotidien in a small shopping center on Manhattan Beach Blvd. in downtown MB - for delicious organic stuff. Follow any of the above with a long walk on the Strand, the oceanfront walking street that runs all the way from Manhattan Beach to Redondo. Then off to the airport and back to the mysterious east.

Have fun!
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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I agree with those who advise to do as little driving as possible during your very short time here -- especially on a Friday.

Once with houseguests (who had only one day here before leaving on a cruise), I did the loop from LAX up to Hollywood (via La Cienega, not the freeways), where we stopped for lunch, then continued west on Sunset Blvd. through Beverly Hills to the Coast then back to the South Bay. It was freaking miserable! The enjoyment from seeing the famous LA landmarks was all but erased by the time sitting in mind-numbing traffic. I remember thinking that no wonder people hate L.A., if this is how they spend a day here.

My advice would be to head south of LAX to the South Bay beaches (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo). It is much less congested than Malibu/Venice/Santa Monica. A drive along the Palos Verdes Peninsula would rival the views of Malibu. You can also dine with a view at places like Kincaids in Redondo ( Trump Nat'l on Palos Verdes, among other places.

Since you just want to spend a fun day together, you could rent bikes and ride along the beach (, whale watch from Point Vicente (, or hike on trails with spectacular views - all without getting on a freeway.

Hopefully the weather will be as nice as it is this week.

lvk is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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I'd probably head up to the Farmers Market for breakfast, go up to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, then drive the Sunset Strip and on into Beverly Hills to check out the neighborhoods and Rodeo Drive. For dinner I'd head to the Restaurant at the Getty Center (make reservations!). You can go to a great restaurant in ANY city, but you can only experience The Restaurant at the Getty in one city.

I don't think I'd drive to Olvera Street on a weekday, but if you really want to visit you could metro subway down and back from the Walk of Fame.

On Saturday morning I'd take a drive up to Malibu or just to Santa Monica beach...nicer to see in the daylight I think if you're only going to see the area once.
joesorce is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:27 PM
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Oh, and by the way, where is your conference? I hope ta heck it's not too far from the airport!
joesorce is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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We like the Charthouse near Malibu, also.
Nice views and food.
There's another restaurant with views in Malibu, called Moonshadows. It's fancier, more expensive.
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 58
I vote yes to the Charthouse and riding bikes--some of my most favorite trips have included riding along the beach to Manhattan beach to breakfast.

Venice Beach is a must-see for our family.
valeriej is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 08:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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i vote for a drive to Santa Monica and walk along the water there. My daughter lives in LA and that little strech always makes me happy. Also you can head on over to Venice Beach and go to Jin Patisserie on Abbott Kiney (sp?) and enjoy the zen garden while having tea.
nicemama is offline  

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