We'll be in LA at the end of June as part of a 9 night West Coast trip starting with 3 nights in SD and ending with 2 nights in SF. I could really use some help trying to figure out how to plan the 4 days and nights in between.
I think I want to include a night in Santa Barbara and one in Monterey to bracket our drive up the coast. We don't mind hotel hopping as we travel light and will be out and about most of each day. That leaves 2 nights/3 days in the LA area - it will be a Fri - Sun if that makes a difference. As we'll still be on East Coast time, I expect most of our activities to be during the day and we like to get an early start.
On our list of things we are interested in (in order of importance as I doubt we'll fit it all in): time at the Santa Monica pier (my daughter's #1), Getty Museum (my #1), a studio tour, Universal Studios, Griffith Observatory, Rodeo Drive (my daughter thinks there will be celebrities just hanging out waving to her). We are not interested in shopping.
We'll be using points for our hotel stays so nightly budget is not really something I can pinpoint. We are wanting to stay somewhere "nice" but it doesn't have to be extravagant. For LA we prefer to use Starwood (Sheraton/Westin) or Hyatt. Our hotel requirements are #1 family friendly (ie not the Holywood W), #2 convenient location, #3 easy parking (doesn't have to be free but not outrageous).
So, I ask the experts for advice on an itinerary and some suggestions on where to stay.