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Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

Troy, Michigan
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Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

Hi,

I would be visiting California in late December during which I would be staying in Los Angeles for 4 days (Dec.28 to Dec.31). Early morning flight out from LAX on Jan.01 (I would be visiting Disneyland on Dec.22nd and then drive to San Francisco and then come back to LA on the 27th evening).

My planned activities for these days so far include:

1. Universal studios for one day.

2. Hollywood (a movie at Graumann's theater, see the Kodak theater and spend some time near walk of fame etc. around that area). I guess this would probably take one day's time or less?

3. Santa Monica beach and maybe Venice beach.

4. Whale watching tour probably from Newport beach (tour lasts around 3 hours)

5. Visit Griffith Observatory

Except for 4, I guess 2,3 & 5 can be finished in one day? I would really like to hear your thoughts on other places to visit in the remaining one or two day that I would have.

I am debating whether to visit San Diego for a day just for the zoo but I am not decided yet. Some of the reviewers seem to be of the opinion that the zoo is nothing spectacular compared to other zoos in the US (I have been to Columbus zoo, Animal Kingdom in Orlando etc.) and so I am not sure if it would be worth it.

Thanks in advance!

Santa Monica...
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1. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

San Diego is not a day trip. It's many hours in traffic each way, stopped traffic.

Hollywood takes an hour or two to see, in total. Visit Griffith at the same time. Visit Universal the same day as these.

Santa Monica, CA
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2. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

I realize that my comments will be negative, and I am very sorry about that.

I'm not sure you will find much along Venice Beach in winter months. I visited it last December 24th, a gorgeous, 75F day, and it was empty! When it is like that, the homeless population and you are just about the only visitors. So, IMO, take it off of your itinerary. Santa Monica beach, pier, and 3rd St. Promenade will be fun and I would add a stroll along Main St. as there are many shops that are not chain stores. Holiday decorations are nice along Main St., too.

I am in the camp that San Diego Zoo is resting on its reputation. It was a day trip my family and I took last year on Super Bowl Sunday (looking for a less busy Sunday). I found the zoo to be disorganized in terms of how the animals are grouped, no good info on the animals (such as signage). I was very disappointed, too, at the visitors there and the fact that zoo personnel did nothing when they shouted at the animals, banged on their cages and enclosures, and generally acted more like animals than the poor creatures on the other side of the fencing! As yogachik said, it is also a terribly long drive. I would not do it for a zoo that needs attention.

West Hollywood...
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3. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

Are you driving in both directions between L.A. and SF? That's going to use up a lot time during such a short visit especially since you're transferring between 3 different cities. Why not fly back (1 hour flight)? Even with transfer time between the airport and the hotels at each end, security, etc, you'll still save a couple of hours and southwest.com has flights from OAK into tiny BUR (just north of Hollywood) as well as into LAX.

Unfortunately, your vacation is 'just ahead' so fares are around $100 per person, each way but you'll save some time and stress. Southwest has frequent (hourly) flights but the early and late flights tend to be the least expensive. You refer to yourself as "I" rather than 'we', Does that mean you're traveling alone? If so, between the gas and car rental, it's cheaper, faster and easier to fly. If you opt to fly, buy your ticket NOW since prices will rise as your date nears.

Troy, Michigan
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4. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

All

Thanks for your replies. Seems like Venice beach is out of the list, which makes list of things to see even shorter. If san Diego is not worth it any other suggestions?

As for my travel between san Francisco and LA, iam driving the hwy 1 up and down staying at pismo beach for a night both times. So that portion of travel cant be changed.

Santa Monica...
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5. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

I absolutely wouldn't cross Venice off the list - which has much more going for it than the Boardwalk (Abbot Kinney, the Canals, Main Street).

Concord, California
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6. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

I wouldn't bother flying from LA to SF anyways. The ordeal of airports, luggage, delays, etc. can make it take longer than the 6 hours it would take to drive. Of course, that's using Hwy 5. If you're taking 1, it could take 2 or 3x's as long.

West Hollywood...
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7. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

I've flown between L.A. and SF on southwest.com dozens of times and it's never taken longer to fly than drive even when flights have been delayed. I only use carry on luggage so I can't relate to luggage hassles. Picking up and dropping off rental cars have always been an ordeal for me.

8. Re: Itinerary help - 4 days at LA

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