Travel time in LA

Jan 25th, 2006, 04:06 PM
  #1  
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Travel time in LA

From what I hear, traveling by car in LA can be a nightmare. We are planning a trip there, but I'm not sure if my itinerary is too much with relocating every few days.
Am I trying to move around too much, or should I stay in just a couple of areas?

Any feedback on our itinerary?

Day 1 - 3 Anaheim (Disney)
Day 3 - 5 Newport Beach
Day 5 - 7 Hollywood
Day 7 - 10 Santa Monica
Faye is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 04:17 PM
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Traveling by car in LA isn't all that bad. I think you need to rethink your trip-- maybe with a map in hand and a little adjustment in your thinking.

Days 1 through 5: Why Anaheim, then Newport Beach, when the two cities are less than a half-hour apart? Why not make these five days more pleasant by getting lodging in Newport Beach? Other than Disney, there's no There there in Anaheim. Newport Beach-- now that's a lovely town, with lots of things to see and do.

Days 5 through 10: Well, this is the Los Angeles County portion of the visit. You can move up into LA county-- and my suggestion is to make your headquarters Santa Monica for the entire visit. You'll be driving everywhere anyway-- why not make the five days as pleasant (if cliché "sunny, beachy southern California") as possible? Hollywood is really only worth about an afternoon of touring; unless you've got a lot of stuff to do in the immediate area (lots of live theatre), I'd plan on staying in Santa Monica and day-tripping my way to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, etc.

Just my two cents.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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Your visit to Disneyland will be MUCH more pleasant if you disregard RJW and stay in Anaheim within walking distance. You won't feel like traveling back and forth to a hotel in Newport. And it's nice to be close enough to take a mid day break if you feel like it, and to stay late. There is Downtown Disney, btw, RJW, which has free outdoor entertainment, House of Blues, ESPN Zone, and Catal/Uva restaurants.

As to the LA part of your trip, there isn't much to see in Hollywood. You haven't said what time of year you are going, I'm assuming you want to stay in Santa Monica for the beach? If not, another option is to stay half-way between the two areas, in the Beverly Hill's/Farmer's Market area.
mlgb is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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The trick to LA is timing the drives. Commute hours are bad, unless you have someone with you and you can travel in carpool lanes. Then it's the best time to travel. Everyone drives alone in LA.

The second trick is to get up ramps on the interstates quickly. A lot of people freeze at the end of the onramp when first driving there. LA drivers seem crazy, but I find them more predictable than east coast drivers. Generally, if you can find a hole in the traffic they'll let you in.

The city of Anaheim is boring. If you're just going to Disneyland, then stay in Anaheim. If you're traveling around, then Newport isn't a bad idea. Stay off the 55 at rush hour. There is no rushing.

I like Laguna better than Newport. Newport is more commercial. Laguna is more artsy. They're pretty close to each other and easy to get around (though it's been a few years).

There's plenty to do in and around Hollywood. Mann's Chinese theater, Sunset Strip, lots around Griffith Park, the Batman Caves (Bronson Caves), Hollywood Bowl, Universal Studios and Warner Bros are just around the corner.
The J Paul Getty Museum is pretty awesome too. Don't forget Rodeo Drive, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills. Olvera street and China Town are also a special treat.

I might be more tempted to do Santa Monica from Hollywood, then move up to Malibu to get the Northern LA places.

The trains are also a nice way to get around. They tend to run on time and go almost everywhere. But other than that general public transport in LA is terrible.

In other words, I could spend the entire time in one location or a few things in each area of your itinerary. You don't mention what you like to do, so it's kind of hard to guess.

I have a few photos on www.californiatourist.us, though it's not very up to date on Los Angeles.
don1one is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 07:27 PM
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three days in hollywood? what you doing, making a movie? not much there except looking at the sites near Hollywood and Vine.
earl30 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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Oh my goshes..HOLLYWOOD!!! Hollywood and Vine, Chinese Graumans, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Bowl, lunch at Pinks Hotdog stand, Forest Lawn...not really Hllwd...but has to be seen for fun, and also the Hllwd Cemetary where Marilyn, Valentino, Tyrone Power and more are buried...then scoot into Beverly Hills for a look see. I can fill at least one solid day w/ tours of Hllwd for my pals when they come. And I agree about staying close to Disneyland...w/ gas prices climbing ...stay close and stay in the park!
LEANNA is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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Forgot.......And Univeral Studios is great fun. And I agree the Bronson Caves are cool....and have been used in a ton of B C & D monster movies!!!!
LEANNA is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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yea, a day in Hollywood, but not three!
earl30 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 03:54 AM
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Thanks for all the great advice. For clarification around Hollywood, this is where we would stay to explore the area. We are thnking about going to Pasadena, Mann's Chinese theater, Universal & Warner Bros. Studio, and Sunset. Maybe getting tickets to see a show.

On our way to our next stop, Santa Monica, thought we could take in Rodeo Drive, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills on the way there.

We are in agreement on staying in Anaheim. We are staying on the Disney property.

Any other suggestions?

Faye is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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mlgb, my dear friend, shall we agree that Downtown Disney IS a Disney property?!? And once you drive a couple of blocks down Katella from the Disney properties, the Magic fades into mini-malls, ratty T-shirt shops and stucco suburban Generica?!

I love Disneyland and CA Adventure, and Downtown Disney is kinda fun, sure. I'd be hard-pressed to spend three days in Anaheim (then again, I live 20 minutes away, so I can always get away easily). But, assuming the OP has small kids, you are right-- staying on Disney property is convenient. Still, just to be able to get away from that manufactured environment is nice.

Newport Beach is a bit more commercial than Laguna Beach (but Corona del Mar is quite charming). However, Laguna is much harder to get to-- let's be realistic here. At least parts of Newport haven't been Irvine-ized into business parks and McMansions.

I guess I just think all the packing/unpacking is an annoyance, given not unreasonable driving conditions IF one doesn't travel during rush hour. If being central to the LA County sights is important, Beverly Hills/West Hollywood/Fairfax is a nice wide area. I'm not a huge Santa Monica booster (although I work here), but there is a lot to do and it is on the ocean-- and the major LA cross streets all have termina here (Wilshire, Santa Monica, Olympic, Pico, Sunset).
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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I think a bit of clarification is needed before really being able to say whether the itinerary is a go.

I live in Orange County, and it seems a bit strange to me to stay in both Anaheim and Newport Beach - the cities are so close together. However....it depends on your reasoning. If you have children, I can understand perfectly the desire for staying at a Disney property: I wouldn't want to drive back and forth from the beach for 2 - 3 days if my concentration was on Disneyland! I would rather stay close to the park and walk.

But, then why move to Newport?? Granted, Anaheim isn't a hotbed of activity outside of Disneland, but there isn't a whole lot going on in Newport outside of beach and Fashion Island shopping mall, really. I think my recommendation to someone would be to skip the additional unpacking/packing and stay in Anaheim and do the beach thing from there. Orange County is not LA - it's far easier to get around here, providing you skip the rush hour times. And if it's the beach you want, I really wouldn't recommend Newport. There are other, nicer beaches in Orange County, trust me. Even Huntington has always seemed nicer to me for hanging out, but there is Seal Beach, and a little farther south we have Corona del Mar.

As far as the LA selections (something I'm admittedly not as familar with), I would avoid the two hotel thing. I would cut out staying in Hollywood. Yes, it's interesting to go there - for a day. You could everything you wish to do from Santa Monica. Plus, you would be close to the whole beach thing.

Good luck, and I hope you are able to work this out for the best!
Chele60 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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First off, traveling by car in LA is not a nightmare. It is a city founded on transport by car. Because Los Angeles is totally car oriented I find drivers and traffic not bad since everyone gets lots of practice!

I do find spliting Hollywood and Santa Monica kind of strange. They are very close to each other. For me, I'd probably pick Santa Monica, get the hotel for 5 days, and do your sight-seeing from that home base.

It's funny because people more often underestimate distances in California but I think you are way overcompensating. So to answer your question, I'd say yes you are trying to move around too much, quite unnecessarily for the things you say you want to see and do.

Do stay at Disney properties in Anaheim, that's a good move IMO.
suze is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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Background, grew up in Laguna Beach and still have a place there. Lived in West La/ Santa Monica for 12 years.

Most people that have written are right about certain things.

I go down to Disneyland and stay at the Grand California because it is much less hassle if in the park more than one day. Then head to the beach. Laguna is more interesting and picturesque than Newport but access is easier to Newport and more lodging options (although the Montage in Laguna is breathtaking! Have a sunset drink upstairs there!)

Newport is 6 miles from Laguna so it is no big deal to go down. However, Newport has Balboa island, Fashion island and a good bouncing off point to LA.

Hollywood...I would not stay there period! West Hollywood maybe, Beverly Hills maybe. Santa Monica is a great choice and the 10 freeway makes connecting to the inland areas easy. After hassling with fellow tourists, traffic and smog all day...Santa Monica would be a good homebase to come back to. Lots going on and a sea breeze!
wherenext is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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I live in orange county too and wherenext has good advice. However, I have never thought of Laguna beach as difficult to get to. I take my kids to Heisler park beach, it is right in Laguna but not as crowded as main beach.
tledford is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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I again appreciate all the good comments. I picked Newport due to its location, and because we will be visiting friends in the area. With Laguna so close by, I thought we could drive down maybe for dinner? Any suggestions for a good restaurant? We will have some teenagers with us, so it needs to be somewhat a family type restaurant.

Regarding our stay in Hollywood, we are staying at the Magic Castle, basically for the larger accommodations and the price. We were planning on taking in Universal Studios for a day, which we thought the kids would enjoy. One comment I keep reading is that WB studios has more to offer than Universal, unless you do the VIP tour? What's the difference between the tours? And is the extra $$ for the VIP tour really worth it?
Faye is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Laguna restaurant with teens. Javiers-mexican. Right downtown. Good food and atmosphere. Beach house for on the beach yummy food. Just walk around and see what you like as well.

Magic Castle is great for dinner and show. Very fun! I haven't stayed there though.

Universal Studios...very limited. Teens will get bored fast! The free city walk is enough! I haven't been to WB. I think shopping on Melrose would be more of a kick or Venice beach where so many movies have filmed. Lots of freaky people but fun. Muscle beach, psychics, shopping, restaurants beach...it has it all.
wherenext is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Newport Beach vs. Laguna? All your comments really got me thinking about this one! I picked Newport, since we are visiting friends. But when I realized we are only talking about a few miles, I decided to check out Laguna.

I found a place called Laguna Riviera, which offers family suites. a quieter setting on the ocean sounds much more relaxing.
Faye is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 10:38 PM
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The Universal tour is OK in a touristy kind of way. The drive through the lot is very much like a ride with specially built thrill elements built in. However, it's included with the theme park price, so if you don't take the experience too seriously, it's not bad.

The Warner Brothers tour is just a tour of the lot, without the theme park or fancy ride elements. However, it's much more intimate giving you a closer look at shows currently in production. In my opinion, if you're a serious TV/film buff, you'll get more out of the WB tour than the Universal one. However, if you have kids, they may get a bigger kick out of the latter.

JennaZ is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 04:47 AM
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With all this good information, I did revise our schedule and dropped the reservation in Hollywood. We will commute from Santa Monica to take in the sites of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, etc.. I also switched from Newport to Laguna Beach. Thanks everyone!
Faye is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Laguna Rivera is in a good location but is old. It is not fancy at all. I like the vacation village better in the same price range. They have two bedroom suites with kitchens. (I have stayed there myself and it is just fine) I wouldn't send my higher maintenace friends there but the beach and town access is fantastic and it is clean. I can give you more info if you need it. Again these places are mom and pop places and not like the Surf and Sand which is much nicer. The montage which rivals any 5 star. Many of my friends visitors stay at the Inn at Laguna I think but the rooms are tiny. I am from here, if you need any info.

If your kids watch MTV show, Laguna Beach they will get a big kick out of the area.
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