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lynette Feb 19th, 2002 11:37 AM

Universal Studios /San Diego
We are planning a road trip to So. California in March. Coming into LA on I-5 from the north and wanting to make our first stop at Universal Studios. We will need accommodation the night before we go to Universal so should we consider staying out of the city in say Santa Clarita, or go into Hollywood? I originally wanted to stay north of Universal, in the San Fernando Vally, but cannot seem to find a hotel that suits. So I am considering Comfort Suites at Santa Clarita, or I got a great entertainment rate at the Ramada Hollywood on North Vermont. Any opionions on either of these areas would be great. How can we expect traffic to be on a Monday AM. How long would take to drive in from Santa Clarita or how long will it take to do the 6 miles north from Hollywood. Is that area on Hollywood OK to stay in or is it rundown and unsafe. Next, after a day at Universal we plan to drive down to San Diego in the evening as we have hotels booked there. How long can we expect that drive to take and what is the best route to take to get through the city efficiently. Thanks for all your input.

Suzie Feb 19th, 2002 11:44 AM

Santa Clarita is a drive especially if you have any traffic at all. It's way out near the junction of I5 and 126.

Patty Feb 19th, 2002 11:55 AM

I wouldn't recommend staying in Hollywood - it's not a really nice area - and traffic from Santa Clarita can be heavy in the morning. Have you considered staying at any of the hotel properties in Universal City? What part of San Diego are you staying in? Without heavy traffic you can make it to downtown SD in about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. But if you're leaving during rush hour, who knows?

xxx Feb 19th, 2002 12:38 PM

There's a station at Universal Studios, so try and find a hotel along one of the line routes and just take the subway back and forth and skip the traffic.

kkj Feb 19th, 2002 01:30 PM

I've stayed at the Ramada. It was a good rate with large rooms. I didn't care for the hotel that much. No nearby restaurants and not much in the area. You might want to look in Beverly Garlands Holiday Inn in North Hollywood. It's just minutes away from Universal and quite reasonable. I've also not had much luck with Valley hotels. The Sportsman Lodge in Studio City is okay. The Hollywood Holiday Inn is also okay.

Thyra Feb 19th, 2002 03:21 PM

For heavens sake! Hollywood has undergone a HUGE renovation recently, and given it's easy freeway access, and central location it is an EXCELLENT choice of places to stay... even the President will be staying at the new hotel on Hollywood and Highland. <BR>There are many very nice hotels near the new area... Best Western on Highland, Holiday Inn onl Highland, and Holiday Inn express on La Brea... in short anything West of Vine is great. The sleazy, trashy Hollywood of 1985 is history.

Lynette Feb 19th, 2002 03:24 PM

Thank you for your suggestions.<BR>to KKJ I have looked at the Beverly Garland, it would be fine, but it does not offer the comp breakfast, which is something we are looking for. Since we will be arriving in the evening and leaving 1st thing in the AM to hit Universal, all we really need is a place to put our heads. Breakfast is a nice perk as we then will not have to go sit in a restaurant for an hour. Any ways is the area around the Ramada a real dive or is it OK for a 1 nite sleep? <BR>How long can the drive from Santa Clarita take , I know it is about 20 miles, but will it take more than 30- 40 minutes?<BR>We plan to leave Universal after 6PM<BR>so what is the best route out of the city to San Diego. We are staying at pacific beach.<BR>Thanks<BR>

Wendy Feb 19th, 2002 03:28 PM

Santa Clarita to Universal will be a congested drive in the mornings (lots of traffic on the 101). Better to stay in the nearby San Fernando Valley area (ie, Toluca Lake, Studio City, Burbank) or Hollywood. <BR><BR>The Ramada you're looking at isn't in the best of areas. If you want a Ramada, the one in West Hollywood is better, newer and safer, plus about the same distance away from Universal. Also have you looked at places near the new Hollywood & Highland center? There's the Roosevelt Hotel, a Holiday Inn, Renaissance, and a new Days Inn I think, in that area. That way, you can drive 10 mins to Universal, or take the subway over (there's stations right below Universal and right under the Hollywood&Highland complex). <BR><BR>Leaving LA to go to SD will be a headache if you leave anytime between 4-7pm. Both main alleys to SD (the 405 and 5 freeways) will be jammed. I suggest staying until night time and grabbing a bite at Citywalk before hopping into the car.

Wendy Feb 19th, 2002 03:48 PM

Oops, Lynette, looks like you replied with more questions before my post went up. To answer:<BR><BR>1) Ramada on Vermont is in an urban neighborhood, no tourists around. I would not be comfortable walking around at night alone. However, it is near LACC and the Children's Hospital, so it can't be too awful. If you are not planning on venturing out of your hotel after you arrive, it should be ok.<BR><BR>2) Driving from Santa Clarita to Universal in the AM, depending on what time you leave will probably be 25 min if you leave before 7:30 or after 9 (these are guesses though). <BR><BR>3) Best route out of LA to SD? Take the 134e to 5s, though it will be busy--I *really* suggest leaving 1-2 hrs later though, to avoid traffic. That way, you can grab a bite at Citywalk before zipping down to SD. The other route (101 to 405s) is usually horrendous because of the snarls around West LA/airport. Avoid that if you can.

Lynette Feb 19th, 2002 08:03 PM

Wendy<BR>Thanks for your suggestions. I will check out the Highland area you mentioned. Thanks also for the tip on staying until after 7. Might as well grab dinner at Hard Rock rather than sit in the car in traffic. Any other restaurant recommendations for city walk for good family fun. Any that have kids menus?<BR>Thanks L<BR>

Wendy Feb 20th, 2002 09:06 AM

Hi Lynette,<BR>Citywalk is home to several chain eateries--Tony Roma's, Gladstone's for Fish, Hard Rock, Buca di Beppo, etc. There's also a sushi place, tapas bar, hot dog stand, Chinese restaurant, American brewery, plus a food court. <BR><BR>My rec would be Buca di Beppo, an Italian place that serves meals family-style. Kitschy ambience--red checked table clothes, red booths, "That's Amore" playing on the stereo, pictures of Italy on the walls... They give you a quick tour of the kitchen before they seat you, which is neat for kids. It's also fun to decide as a family what dishes to get. The food is good for the portions you get and the price. For dessert, they have a huge slab of hot-pink cake with white icing. Relatively inexpensive too. <BR><BR>Have a great time!

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