SoCal Itinerary help for family

Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:44 AM
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SoCal Itinerary help for family

We will be taking 12yo daughter/9yo son to CA in August for 2 weeks. I feel like I have the first week (SF/Yosemite and coastal drive) sort-of under control (but watch for panicked postings in a few weeks!), but the SoCal part of the itinerary is making me crazy. We will be driving into LA on a Sunday, 2 nights at Magic Castle Hotel, 4 nights in La Jolla (priceline, so don't tell me to change hotels ), then the last night in Manhattan Beach before flying out-mid Sun. I know that we could fill two weeks in LA/SD, so we will simply not be able to do everything, but what are the highlights and what are sensible itineraries for days?

About us: Last year we went to Chicago and the kids loved it, so I think it's safe to say we're city folk. We are trying to do things that we can't do elsewhere. We've done the Disney thing (in FL) and I'm leaning away from theme parks. Finally, I wouldn't mind a nice relaxing day (or couple of half days) towards the end as I don't want to arrive home needing a vacation.

Things that seem particularly appealing: The hollywood boulevard thing, Mulholland Drive views, interesting neighborhoods in both cities (Old Town SD, Olvera, ...), interesting architecture, SD wild animal park, Balboa Park, bikes on the boardwalk in Manhattan beach.

Big questions: Book tickets to a TV taping (probably Jeopardy given our dates)? Do the Warner Brothers tour? Concert at the Hollywood Bowl our final night (or will the traffic from Manhattan Beach to the Bowl spoil the whole thing; also how bad are the cheapest seats)?

I'm sure there's so much more and I am not thinking sensibly about logistics yet. Please help!!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 07:25 AM
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Wow, what a lot of questions! Let me try to break it down in small digestible morsels. You obviously have done your homework and know what you want to do.

1. Try to do all the Hollywood things while you're staying at the Magic Castle Hotel. You can do the Warner Brothers tour, H'wood walk of fame, Mulholland Drive and Hollywood Bowl all on the same day/night and not feel rushed, because you will not be sitting in too much traffic. You can go to a taping the next day in Hollywood/Burbank. I'm assuming that since you're staying at the Magic Castle Hotel, you'll probably spend one night at the dinner and show at the Magic Castle. Voila! your two nights in Hollywood are finished.

2. Before heading down to La Jolla (I'd never tell you to change your location, La Jolla is beautiful!) You might want to take in Olvera Street. You can combine it with a tour of the new Disney Concert Hall - to get your interesting architecture fix. Also, you, could go west to the Getty Center for great architecture and art. (I wouldn't do all 3 in one day, just pick and choose which would appeal to you more)

3. La Jolla - here's where you relax and go to the beach, taking a break from all of your tours. After your batteries are recharged, then you can hit some of the things on your list. Did you do Sea World in FL? If not, I think your 12 & 9 year old will enjoy it. The San Diego Zoo is great and has the giant pandas. Contrary to popular belief, the Wild Animal Park is quite far from the zoo (actually closer to LaJolla), and not adjacent to it. You wouldn't do more than one of these parks in a day.

4. You could also take the trolley into Tijuana for a day, if that's something that appeals to you.

5. Stroll Old Town San Diego in the evenings and choose nice places for dinner. La Jolla also has nice shops and restaurants.

6. Manhattan Beach - I'm not sure where you are staying, but many hotels rent bicycles for a ride on the strand. If your kids prefer, they can also rent roller blades or skates. You can stop along the way in Hermosa or Redondo for lunch at an outdoor cafe. I would stay close to these beach cities on this last day. Since you'll be there on a Saturday night, there may be some free concerts in local parks, where you can take a picnic.

7. However, if you didn't do the Hollywood Bowl while in Hollywood, I would suggest going via Park and Ride. You park in a local parking lot and a bus shuttles you to the Bowl and returns you to the parking lot afterwards. You can find the lots close to Manhattan Beach on the Hollywood Bowl website.

That's all I have for now! I'll be glad to answer any specific questions if I can. (I have an 11 yr old daughter and 9 yr old son, so I can relate).
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Two more specific questions:

DD really wants to do a taping, but I'm worried that DS will not be allowed in. Our dates are probably pretty constrained, so our show choices are limited. (I *think* we'd wind up at Jeopardy *if* DS would be allowed in, which I don't know about.) Does anyone have experience with this?

Also, the Hollywood Bowl doesn't work when we're nearby, but they're doing 1812 with fireworks on the Sat night before we leave. This would mean getting there from Manhattan Beach (via Park&Ride as lvk suggests!) and probably sitting *way* up in the last row. Would these things be dampers -- would getting across LA and seats at the back of the house make it not worth it -- or would this be a spectacular way to spend our last night in CA?

Thanks to all the Fodors SoCal experts out there!! And special thanks to lvk!! Your itinerary sounds great, and we'll probably follow most of it, although there are a few little gotchas. (E.g., it's my understanding that we can't do the Magic Castle itself, because no one under 21 is allowed in outside of Sunday brunch.)

p.s. I *hate* that clown. I meant a smiley, but Fodors and I have different ideas of what that looks like....
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Old Jun 27th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Brie,

Sorry, I have no experience with children and TV tapings, so I can't help you there. Maybe someone else in Fodorland can!

As for the Bowl, sitting in the back is still a very enjoyable experience. The just replaced the band shell, so the acoustics are supposed to be improved. The 1812 w/fireworks is a winner!

The nearest park&ride location to MB is the Westchester location. I'm not sure where in MB you're staying, but most hotels are on either Sepulveda or on Rosecrans. The Westchester lot is about a 5-min. drive from the intersection of Sepulveda & Rosecrans (towards LAX). It's not just the traffic headache you'll avoid, but the nightmarish parking at the Bowl. Bring a soft cooler with drinks and snacks, sit back and enjoy the ride. Keep in mind, it's just a city bus, and the route you take isn't scenic, but it beats driving any day!
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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brie,

If you are trying to compare Southern California with Chicago, you will be sorely disappointed. The Southern California area you are talking about is more like a bunch of spread out, connected towns. "City folk" is really not a term used with Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

There is still much to do, but it's much different than what you experienced in Chicago.

Curious
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Brie,
Re: tv tapings, we are taking 16 yr old daughter to Ryan Seacrest on air in July. There doesn't seem to be a minimum age, just that minors be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Go to their website http://ryanonair.com/index.asp
for more info. Good luck.
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Old Jul 1st, 2004, 08:37 AM
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I booked a Jeopardy taping....Can cancel if we can't make it, but I'm hopeful (and both kids love the show). Questions:

The ticket says 11:15, other sites say 11am, and advice varies from "show up on time" to "show up 90m in advance". I would like to get there in plenty of time but not stand around unnecessarily. What time would you leave the Magic Castle Hotel (weekday am)?

We will dress and behave nicely. Any predictions on whether we'll have trouble getting in? (Will they question my son?)
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Old Jul 1st, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Where is Jeopardy taped? WB, CBS, NBC, Sony?
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Old Jul 4th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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Jeopardy is at Sony, lvk.
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Old Jul 4th, 2004, 10:41 PM
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Check your tickets, I don't think a 9 yr old will be admitted to a tv taping. They give away more tickets than seats, to ensure a full house. They turn people away regularly due to being filled to capacity. If someone in the back of the line sees a 9 year old in line, they're likely to complain.
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Old Jul 6th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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OK, I did it....I booked the 1812 tickets, but now am thinking that we should try to stay Sat night in Hollywood instead of Manhattan Beach. (I was thinking about airport convenience as well as just differing venues when I booked the beach hotel, but the flight's not until 2:15 Sun....I naively hope traffic won't be that bad...)

If we stay at the Magic Castle (it looks like there's room that night) will we be able to get a cab back to the hotel after the concert? If not, what are our other options? (We'll have a car, but it sounds like parking at the Bowl is a zoo and likely to be as far away as the hotel. And we could walk there -- if that's not blasphemy in LA -- but not home at 11pm unless my kids grow wings.) Can we ride the BowlBus Shuttle from Hollywood&Highland without parking there? Or is there public transportation (though it'll be late afterwards...)?

Downside, of course, is missing hanging out on the beach a bit Sunday morning....

So should we (try to) switch hotels?
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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 07:55 AM
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Brie,

I would discourage you from staying in Hollywood again on your last night. I think after your 2 nights there, you probably won't want to go back either. It will really limit your view of what L.A. is all about. But that might just be my "South Bay bias". As I'm sure you have read, Hollywood is kind of a seedy area.

I honestly think that spending the last day in MB will be a more relaxing ending to your vacation. You'll spend you're last several hours enjoying the beach, instead of fighting traffic in Hollywood and on the freeways. (Let Park&Ride fight the traffic for you on Sat. night instead.)

Also, Sony Studios are in Culver City, southwest of Hollywood. I would allow at least 45 minutes for the drive that time of the morning. After the taping, you might want to check out the famous Venice Beach, since you'll be only a few miles away.


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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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The park and ride from Manhattan Beach is fine and easy. The bus ride to the bowl from the Manchester location can be fun and less hassel. Some people drive almost all the way to the Bowl and park and ride at the Highland location to avoid the parking. The traffic on Saturday will be lite and coming home at night will take less then 30 minutes. Manhattan Beach is a great town and has a great beach. If you post your emai, I can send you an email with specific things to do and places to eat in Manhattan Beach.
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