Touring LA

Old Oct 19th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Touring LA

Message: Message: Hi. My fiance and I are flying from Calgary, AB Canada mid December to Mesa, AZ for a couple of weeks. Then we are going to rent a car and drive to San Diego for 5 days where we will turn in the rental car and take advantage of the trolley/transit system. Would going to the San Diego Zoo be a good idea at this time of year??
On Jan.3 we will re-rent a car to carry on to Los Angeles. I've been reading that a car is a necessity while in L.A....so we'll hang on to the car for the 5 days that we are there. We are not wanting to stay central L.A. but rather on the outskirts as we would like to take in Universal Studios and Knotsberry Farm....weather permitting???? Would staying in Fullerton be a good idea? And could you tell me what your opinion is of Anaheim Park Hotel in Fullerton. The other hotel that I've searched out is Portfolio Inn & Suites in Anaheim. Any suggestions. We would also be driving in to LA and doing the 'touristy' things there as well.
I'd appreciate any info or opinions
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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RE: San Diego. The SD Zoo is always worthwhile, and it will be late fall winter in a coastal desert, so you can expect daytime highs 60F and a little above-- if it's not raining. However, I think you're overestimating the utility of the SD public transit system. Translation: Keep the car, you'll need it.

It appears that you have no real idea as to how spread-out things are in southern California. Universal Studios Hollywood (actually in Universal City) and Knott's Berry Farm (in Buena Park) are separated by a county line and almost 31 miles. (But Knott's Berry Farm?! Do you have kids or something...? It's not a stellar theme park for adults.)

Staying in Fullerton is never a good idea-- there's not that much to do there (other than the Cal State University campus that's there). Actually, Orange County inland cities are rather charmless (and I'm including Anaheim, which outside of Disneyland is a grim bit of suburban Generica). If you must stay in OC, plan on staying near the coast.

Actually, if you want to go to far-flung points in the LA area, my suggestion is to stay in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood. Central to everything, and easier to get into and out of that a coastal LA County city like, say, Santa Monica.

I think you need to check out the Southern California info on this website in more detail, then come back with a short list of what really interests you.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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Unless you're going to see Disneyland as well, I'd skip the Anaheim Fullerton area and stay somewhere closer to Universal. Just see Knott's on the day that you do the drive up from San Diego, then continue on up to L.A.

Check out the San Diego Wild Animal Park, we like it as much as the zoo.
Try to plan your L.A. visit on Fri Sat Sun, since the traffic on Sat & Sun is much easier to navigate.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 06:58 PM
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I agree that there is no reason to stay in Fullerton. As rjw said Knotts Berry Farm and Universal are 31 miles apart but it could take you 1.5-2 hours to drive that distance depending on traffic. If you are really set on visiting Orange County, stay there one night by the coast. Laguna or Newport Beach are very nice. To see the sights in the LA area, you really need to stay close to the city to avoid spending all your time driving. Beverly Hills or West LA would be good.

As far as San Diego is concerned, I can't imagine visiting it without a car. As has already been pointed out, the trolley/transit system is limited. It can get you around downtown San Diego, and over to Coronado but since you will be in SD for 5 days there is alot more to see. You should definitely visit La Jolla, perhaps Mission Bay and the Wild Animal Park as Tracy suggested. Wild Animal Park is in Escondido about 30 miles north of SD.
The San Diego Zoo would be fine in December unless it is raining. I went once in January, it was cold (by SoCal standards)and drizzly but we saw all the animals.
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 08:02 PM
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Thanks to those of you who responded. I appreciate the feedback. It's just my fiance and on this journey...no kids....so maybe Knotts is totally out. We really don't have an idea as of how things are in the LA area. So any info is good info! We apparantly need to do some more homework for this trip. We'd like to stay in about a 3 star hotel...any recommendations that would give us a central place to stay to be able to take in what LA has to offer us tourists?
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 09:37 PM
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As far as the car goes....are you going to be driving back to Mesa, or flying out of LA?
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Old Oct 19th, 2004, 11:51 PM
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I replied to your other post so I am reposting here.

The only reason to stay in Fullerton is to be close to Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland. If you are also going to do touristy things around Los Angeles, I would stay more towards the Los Angeles area. For example, it would take you at least an hour to get to Universal Studios from Fullerton. If there is traffic, even longer.

COnsider staying in Hollywood or Santa Monica and driving one day to Knott's Berry Farm if you must. The rest of your time can be spent where the action is for a tourist.

It would be helpful to decide what kinds of things you would like to do/see? And let us know. Are you into bars and clubbing? Museums? Theater? A room with a view? Studio tour? The ocean?


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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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We are not returning the car back to Mesa, returning it in LA and taking our flight back to Calgary from there
We're passing on the Knotts Berry Farm idea and are now going to check around for hotels in the suggested areas that you've all been kind enough to respond with. Someplace not too pricey but not 'icky'or noisy to stay at either. I'm 39 and my fiance is 40...we aren't into clubbing however, but museums are of interest as well as theatres could be a go and definitely seeing the ocean. Universal Studies, tours of such as well.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 01:48 PM
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7 day car rental often prices out the same as a 5 day rental. So you might want to rent that car in San Diego a couple of days early. You will have it to visit attractions around the San Diego area for 2 days then for 5 days in LA.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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If this schedule puts you in L.A. around New Years, you'll want to book a hotel soon since they do fill up for NY Eve and the Rose Parade.
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Old Oct 20th, 2004, 07:15 PM
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If you like museums, then you must go to the Getty museum in West LA/Brentwood area. Admission is free but you have pay $7.00 for parking. You used to need a reservation for parking but they have done away with that. In Pasadena there is the Norton Simon Museum and the Huntington Libary with its art collections and botanical gardens. You could enjoy a nice lunch or dinner in Old Town Pasadena-just be aware they do set up for the Rose Parade the end of December.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for the info. We will be arriving in LA on Jan. 4th. We'll miss the Rose Parade...is that a good thing or a bad thing. I'm sure it gets quite crowded.
Anyone have any suggestions for 3-star hotels? We'd like to stay under $80.00 as we have to consider our exchange rate.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 09:08 AM
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My recommendation: Priceline. $80 per night in the popular tourist areas of LA and San Diego will be just about impossible without the use of Priceline-- unless you stay in the nastiest of cheap motels, in the worst areas.

Have you done any research at all on this area? If you look at a site like Travelocity and plug in a city, you'll get a huge list of possible hotels. I can tell you that in southern California I wouldn't stay in properties whose cheapest rack rate was $80 USD. Well, in any "big" city in the US.

My suggestion is: Pick a location in the LA area (and SD area, if you haven't picked a hotel yet). Say, "Beverly Hills" (LA) or "Mission Beach" (SD). You will get a lot of recommendations from this board, including hints on how to get a reasonable price on the room. And I would accept the fact that you'll probably pay a bit more than $80 a night.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2004, 10:09 AM
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As rjw said, using Priceline would be your best bet for getting a decent room for the $80 range you discussed.
Doing a quick search on Priceline in LA, it appears that the Hyatt West Hollywood is being awarded the most right now at the $55 range. You would bid for a 3* in the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood area. You can also get plenty of hotels at LAX for that price range. I personally wouldn't want to stay by LAX and would pick the West Hollywood Hotel. If you bid on a 2* or 3* in the Burbank/Universal studio area you could also get a room in your price range. The only problem I see there is you could end up getting the Sheraton in Glendale which is a little bit more of a drive. Go to biddingfortravel.com, check the list of hotels and read reviews on them at tripadvisor. I would probably go for the Hyatt West Hollywood, most people seem to like it although it can be a little noisy from partying.

As far as San Diego is concerned, I can give you a little more advice on that. For the $80 range about the only thing you could get would be Motel 6 or Super 8 in Mission Valley, not places I would want to stay. Looking at priceline again you could bid on a 2.5* for Downtown San Diego and might get your price. Other options would be 2.5* for Point Loma/Old Town. Again read tripadvisor reports or ask here on this forum.

If you want to stay in Mission Valley, I saw someone just got the Doubletree Mission Valley for $47 (a nice hotel). Just to explain Mission Valley-the Hotels are lined up along Interstate 8 (also called Hotel Circle). No ambiance-just a freeway-but the location is close to everywhere. Downtown, Sea World, Zoo, etc are all about 10 min drive. There are a lot of hotels in the 3* and 2.5* in this area. To stay here you would absolutely need a car. In fact unless you can pick up a hotel in downtown San Diego, you will need a car for other areas such as Mission Bay, even Point Loma/Shelter Island. You may have to pay for parking but some hotels parking is free. After you pick a few choices come back on this forum and ask more questions.
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 11:12 AM
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I agree that you should stay in the West Hollywood/Bev Hills area to get a feel for being in LA. In terms of Knott's Berry Farm, on your drive up from San Diego I'd suggest stopping at Knott's for lunch or dinner. You do not have to pay to enter the theme park (which is mostly rides) in order to eat their famous chicken dinner at the wonderful restaurant -- AND browse in many fun shops that surround the restaurant.

By the way, one of my favorite ways to visit the beach in LA is to have a meal at Gladstone's (located at the Pacific Palisades/Malibu border). Their breakfasts are fantastic but I believe are only served on weekends. But lunch is good, too. You can eat overlooking the ocean (which is why I don't recommend going when it's dark at dinner time) and then have a stroll on a lovely beach. The restaurant's a bit expensive, but well worth it for the views and the food is very good -- and the portions are huge. Enjoy!
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