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Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

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Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

We will be staying at the Loews Hollywood during our visit to LA in late Nov. We plan to spend one of the days to visit Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory. Below is our itinerary:

8:30am – 9:30am Hollywood to Getty Center by Metro Bus

10am – 12noon Visit Getty Center ( are 2 hours enough? )

12noon – 1pm Getty Center back to Hollywood by Metro Bus

1pm Lunch & rest at Hollywood Blvd. (any suggestion for lunch?)

2pm Hollywood Blvd to Hollywood Bowl by taxi

2:30pm Explore the Hollywood Bowl & visit the Hollywood Bowl Museum

3:30pm Hollywood Bowl to Griffith Park by taxi

4pm Explore the Griffith Observatory

5:15pm See the show Centered in the Universe, at Samuel Oschin Planetarium Theater

Take a little hike in the Park

View stars thru telescope

7pm Griffith Park to hotel by taxi

Comments & suggestions are welcome.

Edited: 12:35 pm, November 10, 2012
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1. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

I am assuming you are transferring on a weekday, right?

In order to make the transfer in just an hour, you'll need to walk to the corner of Sunset Bl & Highland Av and meet the #302 bus which runs along Sunset Bl. This is a popular 'express bus' which runs only during 'rush hours'. You would get off the bus at the corner of Westwood Bl & Le Conte Av and cross to the southeast corner and transfer to the 761 heading north on Westwood Bl and get off at the Getty

I see a couple of little problems with this routing:

a. As stated, the #702 is a popular bus that runs only during 'rush hour' so it's possible that you might not get a seat for all or part of this transfer.

b. You'll need to walk from your hotel which is just north of Hollywood Bl on Highland Av to the northeast corner of Hollywood Bl & Sunset Bl

Here's the walking route to this bus stop from your hotel:


That's a walk of about 8 minutes (could be a little longer as you'll have to wait for traffic signals at each corner). So, if you plan to take the #302 bus departing SUNSET Bl & Highland Av at 8:30 a.m., you'd better leave your hotel's front door at around 8:15.

c. Since you will be taking more than 3 buses for the day, be sure to get a $5 DAY PASS which you can buy at the Visitor's Center at the Hollywood & Highland Center Mall (adjacent to your hotel). The Visitors Center is accessed from the street level on Hollywood Bl. Do not go up the staircase or escalator into the Mall. Instead walk west on Hollywood past the staircase/escalator and toward the Chinese Theater. The Visitor's Center is on the street level on your right just before the Hard Rock Cafe. You'll need to get a reusable TAP Card as well as load that card with a DAY PASS. The entire cost will be $5 (the card is free if you get it at the Visitor Center) and you can load subsequent DAY PASSES onto the card on any bus, at the red line (metro rail) station or at the Visitor Center. You may only have one DAY PASS on the card at a time; however, you can buy the pass BEFORE the day that you'll be using it; once you start using the card, the DAY PASS will be activated and will apply to that day.

d. Since you'd have to leave your hotel at 8:15 in order to get to the Getty by 9:30, I'm going to suggest a different routing, as follows:

i. At 8:10, Walk from your hotel to the northeast corner of Hollywood Bl & Highland Av. Here's a walking map: http://mapq.st/TAYz6q The walk will take 2 minutes.

ii. At 8:15, take the #780 Rapid bus heading west on Hollywood Bl ( the bus departs from in front of the entrance to the red line metro rail station).

iii. At 8:35, get off at the southwest corner of Wilshire Bl & Fairfax and cross to the diagonally-opposing corner and take the #720 Rapid Bus westbound on Wilshire Bl, departing at 8:39, arriving at the northwest corner of Wilshire Bl & Westwood Bl at 9:02

iv. Cross to the east side of Westwood Bl (the opposite direction from the #720's direction of travel) and turn left (walking north on Westwood Bl) to the next corner Lindbrook Drive. Just before Lindbrook, you'll see the bus stop for the #761 Rapid Bus on Westwood Bl just before the intersection. Ride it 20 minutes to the Getty Center. You'll arrive at 9:27 --- about the same time as you'd arrive using the #302 and 761 routing.

This 3-bus routing has some advantages:

a. It saves you some walking time to the first bus stop which is downhill a little from your hotel and , therefore, uphill a little on the way back.

b. The routing is pleasant, taking you through parts of Beverly Hills.

c. The 780 (and its cousin, the 217 bus) and the 720 run very frequently so if you're a little early or late, you won't have to wait for the bus.

d. Since you'll have a DAY PASS, the total fare will be $5 for the day.

e. No matter which route you take, you'll arrive at the Getty on the 761 bus which will drop you at the entrance to the parking lot. From there, you'll need to wait for and ride the free train 'up the hill' to the museum. It runs every 15 minutes or so and it takes about 5 minutes to make the climb so figure in about 12 minutes for waiting and riding in each direction.

f. Re: how long to visit, I'm of the opinion that the museum is not worth visiting in the first place so I'll leave it to others to recommend a minimum time period. IMO, if you want incredible views, I'd walk a few blocks west of your hotel to Fuller Av and enter Runyon Canyon Park. Walk to the top of the Canyon (the trail on the left/west side of the Canyon is easier -- takes about 25 minutes). At the top of the canyon, the east and west paths meet and there is a third path that heads further north (a left turn when you reach the top). Follow this path for 6 or 7 minutes and you'll see Mulholland Drive crossing your path. Just before Mulholland is another trail on your left. Take it (a 7 or 8 minute trek) to the top where you will see THE BEST view of Los Angeles including our downtown, the entire L.A. basin, the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory and the Pacific Ocean. The walk down is faster.

If it's art you want, there are a number of great options including LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art) a simple ride on the 780 or 217 bus to the aforementioned corner of Fairfax Av & Wilshire Bl. The museum is on the left side of the intersection.

g. consider

ating at the Getty (one of the best features of the Museum!) or if you prefer to eat in Hollywood, there are lots and lots of options. Tell us the kind of food you like. If you do eat at the Museum, you might consider taking a different route back to Hollywood:

The 761 rapid bus in the SAME direction (north) as you were traveling previously -- NOT back to Westwood. Get off at the northeast corner of Van Nuys Bl & Burbank Bl 30 minutes later and transfer to the #156 bus from the southeast corner, heading east on Burbank Bl. Get off at the corner of Odin & Highland which is just past the entrance to the Hollywood Bowl. (Note: if you stick with your current itinerary, you can return to your hotel, rest/eat and then take this same bus, the 156 from your hotel NORTHBOUND on Highland Av to the Bowl. The ride is only 2 minutes and won't cost anything since you'll have your DAY PASS). From the Bowl back to your hotel is a short ride on the 156 or just walk. Here's a walking map: http://mapq.st/UAQ61U The walk takes about 13 minutes and it's all downhill.

h. The tickets to the Planetarium shows are limited. I don't believe you can purchase them in advance so be SURE to buy the tickets THE MOMENT you arrive at the Observatory. There are 2 places to make this purchase at the Observatory:

i. Just inside the center entrance on the front of the building. There is a clerk just inside this door (I believe on the left side, as you enter).

ii. If you enter on the lower level (there is a staircase on the right side of the building that leads to the lower level where there is an entrance), there is a vending machine on the wall that sells Planetarium tickets. You must use a credit or debit card in the vending machine. No cash is accepted but the clerk on the upper level does accept cash. If there's a queue at one of these locations, try the other as the shows sell out quickly.

Again, are you making this visit on a weekday?

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2. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

A Million thanks to your very detailed suggestions!

You are right. We plan this visit on a weekday.

We like your suggestion of the hike up the Runyon Canyon Park. Will do that.In fact, we have tried to figure out where will be the best place to view the Hollywood Sign and someone had suggested the Hollywood Highland Mall. Also from our search on Tripadvisor, the Hollywood Sign is under painting. Will the work be completed by the week after Thanksgiving?

We include Getty Center in our travel plan not so much of its displays inside but mainly because its modern architecture and gardens as appear in its website look fascinating to us.Now we are considering whether it is worth spending an hour taking 2 to 3 buses just to get to that place.

About eating options in Hollywood neighborhood, we like varieties, from something truely authentic LA (are there such a thing at all?) to popular restaurants frequent by locals, to some fine dining ( I mean the food is fine not just the place )..

From the Bowl to the Griffith Observatory, we can of course take a taxi. Just want to know if there are other better alternative way of transfer.


Edited: 5:16 pm, November 11, 2012
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3. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

I also think you should consider eating at the Getty, if you wind up going there.

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4. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

Thanks for the details reply. The Getty Centre is something we are thinking of doing.

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5. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

Quintessential L.A. cuisine? I'll have to think about that. Mexican food is very popular with Los Angelenos but I'm not a big fan of Loteria which is the local Mexican restaurant in central Hollywood. Sushi is also popular here. Toward that end, I like Murakami Sushi:


(The reviews on Yelp are 4.5 stars out of 5 -- pretty unusual for Yelp -- those people are picky!). FYI, the restaurant is really known for their 'sushi bowls' as well as sushi. They offer the option of selecting the ingredients you want in your bowl from a large list. I'm a vegetarian and there is plenty to choose from if you don't like traditional sushi. Here's a menu: (Click 'menu' and then each of the categories: "Bowls and Plates", etc)


Here's a 'walking map' from your hotel to the restaurant:


You could jump on a bus on Hollywood Bl and ride it for a couple of minutes but you'd probably have to wait for the bus so you wouldn't save that much time by riding. But if a #222 or #217 bus pulls up, jump on it.

Central Hollywood is a 'tourist area'. That's not to say that there aren't local people there but I think you'll have better luck at finding something 'popular with the local people' if you look in a different neighborhood.

You can reach neighborhoods that are adjacent to central Hollywood pretty easily. Here are 2 of them:

1. The portion of Franklin Av between Bronson Av (at the east) and Tamarind Av (at the west). Here's a map of that section of Franklin Av, points "C" and "D", as well as the location of your hotel. point "A". and Murakami, point "B".


That stretch of Franklin has a number of very popular places (as far as local people are concerned). There's a French place (La Poubelle), a "chicken place" (Birds) that makes chicken in dozens of ways, an Italian restaurant, and a deli -- to name a few.

2. The Los Feliz neighborhood. This area is just to the east of Hollywood and you'll be passing through it on the way into Griffith Park when you visit the Observatory. The restaurants are clustered along 2 parallel streets (Vermont Av & Hillhurst Av) both to the north of Hollywood Bl. Here's a map showing your hotel ("A") and an outline of this neighborhood:


You can zoom in on the map using the "+" sign at the right and you can move the map around by clicking-holding-dragging the map.

By public transit, you can take any bus eastbound on Hollywood Bl to the corner of Vermont Av and then walk north on Vermont or you can take the red line metro rail to Vermont & Sunset Bl but you'll need to walk north on Vermont for few minutes until you reach Hollywood Bl.

I have so many favorite places to eat in Los Feliz.

1. Mexico City -- the corner of Los Feliz and Avocado St. Great Mexican food (not 'peasant food' like you find in most places but real, grownup Mexican fare). They make homemade guacamole there that you have to try.

2. Alcove Cafe & Bakery -- On Hillhurst just north of Franklin Av -- great, great, great desserts and their food isn't bad either. If you like marzipan, their 'princess cake' will rock your world. You cannot get a bad dessert at this restaurant which is set in an old Craftsman house as well is the front and side yards. They also have a bar. Open Late!

3. Palermo -- On Vermont just south of Franklin Av. Italian fare. You cannot get more 'local' than this place which has been there a long time and is beloved by its patrons. Tony is the owner and he is always there to greet you. There pizzas are wonderful as well as their pasta dishes. I am not a fan of their pesto or their meat dishes (when I used to eat meat!)

This is really getting me hungry. I'm gonna make dinner!

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6. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

... About dining: I'm still a tourist in L.A, but I think these two restaurants are iconic...

Musso & Frank http://www.mussoandfrank.com/history/

Yamashiro http://www.yamashirorestaurant.com/

7. Re: Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl & Griffith Observatory in a day

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