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3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

Saltillo...
9 posts
3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

My husband and I (28 and 23) will be visiting California June 28 - July 7. The trip includes LA, Highway 1, and SF, but I'm wanting help with the LA portion of our trip here. (I'm posting on the other specific forums for specific questions about the other areas.) We will have a rental car.

Our schedule looks as follows:

June 28: Fly into LAX, arriving around 1:15pm. Visit the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Madame Tussaud's, Sunset Strip, Guitar Center Rockwalk, Rodeo Drive.

June 29: Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Warner Bros. Studio Tour

June 30: maybe Universal Studios, maybe swim time & surf lesson at a beach, drive to Anaheim at the end of the day

-------

July 1: Disneyland

July 2: Disneyland

July 3: Drive to San Simeon along the coast

July 4: Drive to San Francisco along the coast

July 5: SF

July 6: SF

July 7: Return to LAX via Hwy 5 to fly home

Questions:

- Will we be able to get everything done on the first day that we've planned? What about the second day?

- Based on the activities we've chosen, which area would be the best for us to stay in?

- Which beach would be the best for us to visit based on the location of everything else we want to do? We really want to spend some time swimming and maybe taking a beginner surf lesson.

- Is the tour of the Chinese Theater worthwhile, or is it sufficient to just see if from the outside?

- We're struggling with the decision to go to Universal Studios. We went to the one in Florida last year, and so far haven't seen enough differences to warrant spending the cash and taking time away from other activities. What's your opinion?

I'd also appreciate any tips you have on anything else! Thanks so much!

Anaheim, California
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25,711 posts
13 reviews
1. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

OK, do you want one location in the LA area, or are you willing to split it up?

If one location, I would opt for Huntington Beach as a good central location, a great beach community, has a pier, two great resorts, the Hyatt and Hilton.

www.surfcityusa.com

OK, day one, yes, get off the flight, pack up the rental car, drive to the Hollywood and Highland Center and park. Plenty of things to do in a half day (more than a half day, but you can get the main highlights).

www.latourist.com/index.php…

I have taken the inside tour of the TCL Chinese Theater, and would say check out the outside and opt for another activity, maybe the Dolby Theater Tour.

Then drive to your Hotel.

Then on day 2 take advantage of the HB area, take some surfing lessons and enjoy the beach.

One day 3, I would say visit Universal, the big difference is that the Hollywood location is a true working studio with many famous TV and Movies being filmed there. Another option if your family has Roller Coaster fans is Six Flags Magic Mountain, which has more Roller Coasters than any other park in the world.

The drive to Disneyland isn't bad from HB (a lot easier than better then say from Santa Monica). Disneyland should be offering special 4th of July fireworks all week, so plan to stay late.

Hope that helps.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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31,827 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

Everything you have planned for the first day takes about an hour or two (without Rodeo Drive). Yes, you visit the Chinese Theater from the outside, it's a few minutes. Visit Universal on this day/night if you decide to go, but frankly, if you've been in FL, don't bother - you don't have much time, anyway. Santa Monica/Venice is a full day, and you can visit Rodeo Drive and go to the beach on the same day.

Since you want to visit Los Angeles, you should stay in Los Angeles, and not an hour away (as Huntington Beach is an hour away, it's a very bad location for sightseeing LA).

What is your budget per night for a hotel- or have you booked a hotel?

Edited: 11:38 am, February 28, 2014
Santa Monica...
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for Santa Monica
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22,753 posts
263 reviews
3. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

Your first day is concentrated in one area, so you'll be able to visit everything then.

Day 2 - do the WB tour in the morning; you won't want to drive to Santa Monica, then have to be at the studio, back inland, at a specific time. After Warner Brothers, head to Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Go to VB first (not great at night). Don't overlook Abbot Kinney Blvd. (trendy) and the Venice Canals while there. Then, go to Santa Monica, literally the next town north of Venice, for your beach activities, the pier, and 3rd St. Promenade. The SM Pier is an excellent place to take in a sunset.

While you are at Disneyland, if you want more beach time, visit Huntington Beach from there. Poster 1 is an Orange County resident, so it's natural for him to recommend his home turf. HB is inconvenient to Los Angeles. California has spectacular beaches, there is no good reason to make a long drive to one when there are many others, equally as beautiful, right where you will be visiting.

Nashville, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Nashville
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5,428 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

For your LA portion, stay in LA, not Huntington Beach, which is at least an hour from everything you want to see by car, and not even in the same county as Los Angeles. Then move to Disneyland for your Anaheim days. As Elle suggested, let us know your budget so we can recommend hotels/areas to stay.

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
5. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

Excuse me, the OP is spending more than half their time at Disneyland, so it does make sense to stay near the Resort if they want one location.....

Also since the OP is interested in Surfing, why not stay at "Surf City, USA"?

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
16,035 posts
58 reviews
6. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

It is impossible to overstate just how poor a suggestion it is to stay in Huntington Beach given your to-do list. Huntington Beach is an hour+ from everything else that you've mentioned for the LA portion of your trip, and there are far, far more conveniently located areas. I have to think its being suggested as a place to stay not because of its convenience or usefulness to your itinerary, but because the affinity that the poster of post #1 has for Huntington. If you want to visit Huntington Beach, do so on the way to Anaheim, or while staying in Anaheim, or stay there as a base for Disneyland though its 30 or so minutes from Disneyland.

Where to stay depends on budget. West Hollywood, Hollywood, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica would all work since you have a car.

Day 1 you can do what you've outlined, I would just suggest going to Rodeo Drive first as the shops there close around 6PM but the other things you've mentioned are open later.

In any case you may want to rethink how you are arranging this a little bit - the Hollywood sights, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. are all relatively close to each other. Beverly Hills is in the middle, Santa Monica / Venice are at the other end of the area you're covering.

Edited: 12:56 pm, February 28, 2014
Nashville, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Nashville
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5,428 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

You're excused. But for their LA portion, it makes more sense to actually stay IN LA, not in Orange County. Then they can move to Anaheim for their few days there. And they actually have 1 more day in LA than Anaheim.

Saltillo...
9 posts
8. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

For the first 2 nights, we plan to stay at one hotel in LA. Then on the night of June 30, we plan to drive to Anaheim and stay in a different hotel in Anaheim for nights of June 30-July 3.

Our budget for hotel is $350ish for 2 nights. (I've already chosen a hotel in Anaheim for 3 nights.)

Hotel schedule I was imaging is this (aka what city we're sleeping in that night):

June 28 - LA

June 29 - LA

June 30 - Anaheim

July 1 - Anaheim

July 2 - Anaheim

July 3 - San Simeon

July 4 - SF

July 5 - SF

July 6 - SF

July 7 - home

We are open to rearranging the schedule.

We are not opposed to staying June 28 and June 29 in LA. Then travel to Disney for June 30 and July 1. Then have Huntington Beach serve as the first day of the coastal portion of our trip.

Substituting Universal Studios with Six Flags could be an option, since my husband loves roller coasters, but visiting a second amusement park is not a necessity. If there's something else that needs more time, we can eliminate visiting a second park.

Los Angeles
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16,035 posts
58 reviews
9. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

For one thing, there's great surfing at all of the LA area beaches. Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa, etc. There's no need to endure the inconvenience of traveling all the way down to the self-proclaimed "Surf City, U.S.A." to have a perfectly wonderful surfing experience, and certainly no reason to base ones-self in a location that is so inconvenient to the remainder of the itinerary in question when there are much more convenient options available, all of which are perfectly fine.

Then, there's actually some conjecture as to what city is actually "Surf City, U.S.A.". While Huntington Beach would like to lay claim to that unofficial title,and tries to market itself as such, its certainly not the only city with a legitimate claim. Santa Cruz, for instance, also has a legitimate case. But don't take my word for it - listen to residents and surfers from both cities:

www.surfermag.com/features/surfcityusa/

The most spot on part of that article is not a quote from any of the people interviewed, but from the author of the article himself: "Surely the residents of both communities realize the trivial nature of a nickname..." Likewise, travelers (and, for that matter, people giving travel advice) should also realize the trivial nature of a nickname. I'd say that unbiased travel advice should not include offering up a city's marketing material as a reason for visiting there, especially when its done as if the city's marketing position is factual, rather than promotional in nature.

And, no, the OP is not spending more than half their time in Anaheim. Please re-read their post.

Saltillo...
9 posts
10. Re: 3 days in LA: hotel area, beaches, general q's

I forgot to mention, hotel budget is $350 for 2 nights, but we would like to spend less if at all possible.