SD to LA with kids

Jun 15th, 2019, 09:05 AM
  #1  
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SD to LA with kids

I rarely post to boards, but after reading some helpful advice in this forum I am interested in opinions on an upcoming California vacation with my wife and 3 boys (a sophomore and 2 elementary age). We fly into San Diego on a Monday night. On Thursday night we have Dodger tickets. I'm seeking advice on the best use of the time in between. Below are some guidelines/questions (in no particular order). FYI, we are a budget family. Tend to take advantage of what's free. We enjoy the outdoors. Don't mind spending money to save time. I'll splurge on accommodations to stay in a convenient location. But we do not do a lot of high-priced paid admission events unless they are truly not-to-be-missed. An exception would be the San Diego zoo. One of the boys is a big-time animal lover. But I'm assuming we don't have time for the zoo during such a short visit. T/F?

San Diego
(1) We are beach focused during this part of the trip. Both in SD and on the coastal drive north.
(2) It's our first time to SD. Wish we had more time, but it is what it is. Aiming for quality fun time over quantity of sights seen.
(3) In SD I'm considering staying at one of the airport hotels around Harbor Island. I've found a few to our liking and in our budget. It would be nice to get to the room quickly, stay in the same place 2 nights, and not rent a car until the day we drive to LA. Is this a good plan? Can we make a good day of it on Tuesday without a car? I know little about SD public transit. If this is not a good plan I'm open to other lodging recommendations.
(4) Where to go with the family in the evening, returning at night? Is Old Town San Diego a safe area?
(5) We'd love some good restaurant recommendations. We all like "Mexican" food.

Los Angeles
(1) It's also our first time in LA, but to be honest we wouldn't be going if not for the Dodgers game. Chavez Ravine is on my bucket list. Otherwise, we'd spend our time elsewhere. I'm sure some of you love LA. Feel free to change our minds. You all know CA. But I know my family and we are more likely to enjoy SD or the drive in between better than LA.
(2) Some exceptions to #3 would be Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park/observatory, Hollywood Farmers Market. Those appeal to us. Any thoughts?
(3) Wednesday night we need lodging recommendations. Potentially anywhere from Dana Point to Hollywood (see below).
(4) As the Dodger game is a trip highlight we plan to arrive 2 hours early for batting practice. What's a good use of Thursday AM?
(5) We are looking for lodging Thursday night, after the Dodger game. Obviously, it must be as convenient as possible for after the game. We are NOT leaving the game in the 7th inning to beat traffic. We will be staying after the game for fireworks and leaving late. Burbank was recommended to us. This would be convenient to visit Griffith Park on Thursday morning. Also, Thursday afternoon we are heading out of town (north). Is Burbank a good option for after the game? How would we get there from Chavez Ravine without a car?
Lodging Thursday night is probably the item on this whole list where we need the most assistance. If you were leaving Chavez Ravine after 10/11 pm with 3 children where would you feel safe taking public transportation to get your kids to bed as soon as possible without spending $300 a night?

Thanks for any *constructive* advice anyone is willing to offer. Please consider that the flight into San Diego Monday night and the Dodger game Thursday night are both fixed events. We are not changing them. So I appreciate you kindly restraining from pointing out that X number of days is not near enough time to see all of such-and-such place. :<) We are aware of that.
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 11:25 AM
  #2  
 
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It's not clear to me if you'll have a car during all of your time in L.A. or what day you're leaving. Without that info, it's nearly impossible to give useful advice for the L.A. part of your trip. FYI, trying to get around without a car would probably cost you more overall than keeping the car. I don't think you have enough time (but can't really tell) to use only public transportation to reach the places you mention, and Uber/Lyft fares would add up.

But a few comments about the Dodger game: I'm glad you want to arrive early because traffic getting into the stadium will be extremely heavy. Unless you're flying out of Burbank, heading there after the game would be illogical, and I'm not sure how you would get there without a car anyway. Burbank is far from LAX and has few public transportation options. There is free shuttle service to the stadium on game days from Union Station in DTLA and from the South Bay area (with a few stops). Parking at the stadium is $17. There is a cheaper remote parking lot within walking distance, but I personally wouldn't consider that for a night game. You can bring food and water into the stadium with some restrictions. You should peruse the Dodger website for all stadium info.

Because you mention fireworks after the Dodger game, I'm assuming this is the Thursday, July 4th game...? If so, finding budget-range lodging anywhere could be a challenge, and you should work on this ASAP.
Jean is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 12:24 PM
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There is a Farmers Market in Santa Monica on Wednesdays from 8am-1pm with only Certified growers, if you are thinking of the Original Farmers Market next to the Grove, there is not much produce it is mostly restaurants there these days.
How old are the two youngest? If under age 8 they will need car seats or booster seats and neither Uber, Lyft or taxis will provide them, restricting you to using only Metro buses and trains where they exist. You can take the Dodger Express to the baseball game and the Dash bus to Griffith Observatory (parking is a mess there) but I strongly suggest renting a car for the day to visit Santa Monica. Might want to also visit Malibu (terrible public transport) the same day as SaMo.
jamie99 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 02:48 PM
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I would rent a car in San Diego. You will be able to have the flexibility to see everything you want. Youcould also use Uber or Lyft but that cost might be more than just renting a car. Head over the bridge to Coronado and park to the north of the Hotel Del. Great beach, look for sea shells watch the dogs run toward the north end and wander through the hotel. Old Town is great to explore and it is safe but I would not eat there. There is better Mexican food in San Diego than on Old Town. Go to City Tacos in North Park for some great tacos or to Lucha Libre Tacos in Mission Hills. You can also go to Balboa Park it is close to the zoo if you decide to go. Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are both fun beaches for boggie boarding and enjoying the sun. Another neat place to check out is Liberty Station. Lots of different kinds of food and activities.
Paqngo is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:16 PM
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Sand Diego and Drive up to LA, 2 days

Can some of you help me plan the best use of 2 days in San Diego and the coast up to LA. We are flying in on a Monday. We need to be in LA no later than Thursday at noon, but I'd really prefer to drive up Wednesday at some point and finish the day at Santa Monica. Here are some guidelines.
(1) We want some time on a good, kid-friendly beach in SD and also want to make a good beach stop or 2 (or 3) on the coastal drive north.
(2) It's our first time to SD. Wish we had more time, but it is what it is. Aiming for a quality fun time over quantity of sights seen.
(3) Would prefer to say the same place Monday and Tuesday night, preferably close to the airport as we arrive late Monday night.
(4) I've already gotten some good info about Old Town San Diego, but would love opinions on that.
(5) We'd love some good restaurant recommendations. We all like "Mexican" food.
(6) Recommendations on good stops as we drive north. As well as best time to plan our entry into LA so as to catch the least-worst traffic.
(7) I'm interested in any lodging recommendations on Wedesday night "near" LA. Again, we'd like to finish the day in Santa Monica, but we are flexible on that.
Thanks for your advice.
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:18 PM
  #6  
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Thanks, everyone! Already some great feedback. I see now that I'm asking a lot in one thread. I've split the thread in order to focus on my 2 main questions.
Lodging recommendations for a family of 5 after a Dodgers nite game?
Advice for 2 days in San Diego and driving up to LA area.

If you have more advice on those it might be best to use those forums to keep the discussions more focused. Thanks again for your help!
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:20 PM
  #7  
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We'll have the car the entire time in LA. I am just insecure about using. I've heard horror stories about the LA traffic.
Thanks for all of your comments. You have offered some good advice.
We have been working on getting our lodging. It's a priority. I am just totally confused about where to stay after the game. That's where I really need some advice.
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:22 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
How old are the two youngest? If under age 8 they will need car seats or booster seats.
Good point. None of our 3 require child restraint seats in CA.
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:26 PM
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Pagngo, thank you. This is exactly the kind of advice I need to San Diego! So do you think Harbor Island would be a good place to stay? The airport Sheraton has accommodations in our budget. It would be great on Monday night when we arrive. Seems convenient enough to the other things you mentioned.
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:34 PM
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Why did you start a new thread?? I'd ask the moderators to delete this one . . .
janisj is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 03:38 PM
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>>I've split the thread in order to focus on my 2 main questions.<<


Just saw this post. It makes no sense to start competing threads for the same SD/LA trip.

Keep everything on one thread . . .
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Jun 15th, 2019, 03:54 PM
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Bdlindley- Harbor Island would be fine. Budget friendly and close to everything you are wanting to do. I have actually stayed there for work and it is a nice hotel with great views of the harbor.
Paqngo is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 04:47 PM
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Thank you, Paqngo. That is quite helpful!
bdlindley is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 07:02 PM
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If you'll have a car for the Dodger game and while you're in L.A., you can stay almost anywhere. But, you haven't mentioned a budget, so who knows what's possible.

As for driving in L.A., yes, traffic is horrible for visitors who don't know the ins/out/shortcuts. Unfortunately, traffic in the Santa Monica/Malibu area over the 4-day July 4th weekend will be... hmm, what's a word worse than horrible? If Santa Monica is a must, I would go there by metro or bus; otherwise, you could drive around in circles just looking for a place to park.
Jean is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 07:10 PM
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>> hmm, what's a word worse than horrible?<< . . . GAWD awful . . .
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Jun 16th, 2019, 09:05 AM
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Some ideas for mid-priced hotels, from my notes. Although I don't really know about the ease of reaching this area from Dodger stadium.
Driving in L.A can be challenging, especially on the freeways. We use WAZE to get around, and we avoid highways whenever possible.
These are hotels I observed while there, for future reference:

Elan Hotel (we stayed here and liked it)
https://www.elanhotel.com
Beverly Center is a few blocks away

Hotel Lexen— no suites, not expensive
Lexen Hotel Hollywood - Los Angeles, Hotels In Hollywood CA, Hotels Near Hollywood, Hotels Near Hollywood CA

Best Western Hollywood Plaza Inn— pretty cheap, king room has sofa bed, has king guest suite, some breakfast rates, looks ok from outside

Best Western Plus Hollywood Hills— mid-mod, looks ok, inexpensive, no suites or breakfast
https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsNe...alifornia.html

Hilton Garden Inn, on Highland
http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/e...ons/index.html
Nice outdoor pool and hot tub, looks nice mid-mod, $239 one King, no breakfast, no suites

Holiday Inn Express, on Highland
https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpres...fa/hoteldetail
pool, hot breakfast, looks good, very good prices

Hollywood Orchid Suites

BLVD Hotel
https://www.blvdhollywood.com
@ Hollywood & Highland= very busy with tourists
Looks cute, very tiny outdoor pool
BLVD Family Suite— Two Bedrooms. About $371 AARP
“One bedroom has one California King Bed with a 42” TV and wooden dresser and the other bedroom has Two Queen Beds with another 42” TV, closet and full bathroom. This Suite also features a Full Kitchen and dining table. The additional living area has a work desk, another full bathroom, couch and coffee table”
Double queen suites about $259 AARP
Smallest double queen rooms about $185 AARP rate

Last edited by MoBro; Jun 16th, 2019 at 09:39 AM.
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Jun 16th, 2019, 09:39 AM
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Why don't you stay in San Diego on Wednesday night? That would give you two full days here and you'd have time for the Zoo and other parts of Balboa Park. Your kids would probably also like the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero, not far from where you'll be staying on Harbor Island, and the USS MIdway. Weather at the beginning of July is sometimes not very "beachy". I remember some years ago getting to the beach VERY early on the 4th to save space for our group and it was overcast and chilly all day!

Old Town San Diego is perfectly safe and as a major tourist destination, very busy. It's also very interesting. In Old Town, Cafe Coyote has good Mexican food. I also like Casa Gudalajara. Another good Mexican place is Ortega's Bistro in Hillcrest. It is the US location of a Puerto Nuevo restaurant which we used to go to for lobster and margs many, many years ago. Also very good is Rubio's which began in San Diego. We get our Mexican food from there mostly because they're all over and there's one close to us.
Barbara is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 09:57 AM
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SD - Rather than stay on Harbor Island, I'd research accommodations on Mission Bay, lovely to skate/board/bike/walk around, and if at the Catamaran, which I'd recommend for sheer convenience and access to Pacific Beach , which beach is right across the street (PCH 101 but fine to walk across). Lots of pre-teen and teen interests there. Definitely drive to Coronado and park to the north side of the Hotel Del, their beach is amongst the best in the country and it's a historic landmark. Also Pt. Loma think the boys and you would enjoy immensely, it's free as a national monument with tide pools and cliffs and great views of downtown SD as well as the takeoffs/landings of Navy planes from North Island nearby. Boys might enjoy the Midway aircraft carrier on the harbor too. I'd skip Old Town and Seaport Village. Plan a day to drive up the PCH 101 (the shore route) to La Jolla, stop at Seal Beach where you can walk out on the rocks amongst them, kayak at La Jolla Shores, and walk down thru La Jolla Cave (from Coast Blvd) too. Another fun and free outing is Annie's Canyon, hidden just north of Torrey Pines (at north end of La Jolla), a great hiking reserved tucked in tiny Solana Beach, also free, boys would love it. These are all easy day or half-day trips from downtown SD. You can get back down via the 5, but recommend the scenic route at least one-way. Traffic comes south in the morning and north in evening (from 4-6:30) Have made above recommendations considering your budget considerations.
aliced is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 10:26 AM
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"Seal Beach" is actually the Children's Pool. It hasn't been renamed.

I don't think roads in San Diego are labelled "PCH-101".

Most of the Mission Bay hotels will be more expensive than Harbor Island hotels.
Barbara is offline  
Jun 16th, 2019, 12:26 PM
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On a weekday you want to be in LA by 3:30-4pm to avoid rush hour traffic. The drive takes 2-3 hours depending on traffic so if you left in the morning and maybe stop for a quick lunch in Laguna Beach or Huntington Beach you will be in the LA area in good time.
Can't help much with San Diego, but for LA you need to provide your budget per night for lodging in USD. Tax is 15% on top of posted rates in LA County.
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