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Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

London
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Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

We have 4 nights (3 full days) in LA at the end of May and are undecided between staying in Pasadena or Santa Monica/West Hollywood. We are inclined to Pasadena (as it seems nice, we want to go to the Norton Simon and Huntington, and accommodation is cheaper. But we are a bit bothered about travel times to Warner Bros, Getty Center, Santa Monica, Venice, and other places to the West. Our only other visit to LA in 1999 left a deep impression on me as to LA Freeways.

Can anyone give an indication as to likely journey times by car from Pasadena to, say, Santa Monica leaving at about 9:30 a.m. (We shall be on vacation*!) And of a return journey leaving at, say, 5 p.m. - or later if that'd mean we had a faster jounrey?

For some other places served by the metro we would be happy to use that if it's likely to be quicker: we live in London so are used to public transport. But we are nervous of turning up to find the park and ride parking lots* are full. Any advice on that please?

*please forgive any mistakes in my attempt to write in American

San Diego...
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1. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

Pasadena is nice, but as you already know, not centrally located for many of Los Angeles's most popular attractions. In the morning, I don't think it will be too bad, maybe an hour or so to get to Santa Monica, less to Hollywood....evening traffic is worse and the "rush" hour lasts fairly long...7pm or longer sometimes.

If you decide on Pasadena, you might also like to see the Gamble House and Tourament House (Wrigley Mansion), see

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32859-d12…

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32859-d59…

Topanga, California
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2. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

Neverwas, Pasadena is a great place to stay. The traffic from there to the places you listed shouldn't be too bad if you carefully time your trips.

Don't venture out on the freeways before 9:30am or between 3:30p and 7:30pm, on weekdays, of course. Leaving Santa Monica at 5pm on a weekday for Pasadena is just about the worst possible time. It could easily take 90 minutes...maybe more.

Bring your laptop and bookmark SigAlert.com, which gives you traffic speeds. In fact, you can monitor them before you go, to get a sense of when traffic will be bad.

As far as times goes, the words "could" and "might" figure into any suggestions. Here are my guesses, if you follow the guidelines listed above:

Warner Bros: 10-15 minutes.

Getty Center or Santa Monica: about a 1/2-hour

Venice: 35 minutes or so

And don't worry about filled parking lots. To a very large degree, LA is designed for the automobile, so rarely is there no place to park.

Pasadena, California
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3. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

Hi Neverwas--

You have gotten some good advice already. There are many marvelous things to see in the Pasadena area, and depending on where you stay, it is a great, walkable area with street life and lots of interesting architecture.

For travel to the Westside (Santa Monica, the Getty, etc), try to leave after 9:30 a.m. Then fill your days over there, have dinner, and don't get back on the freeway til after 6:30 pm. Freeway travel between 3 pm and 6:30 pm will be awful.

Without major traffic: approximate times would be

Getty Center 30 minutes

Santa Monica 35 minutes

Venice 45 minutes

Malibu 45 minutes plus

For Hollywood, Universal Studios or Downtown LA, you can take the metro if you like. Not sure if it would be quicker-- perhaps if you are planning rushhour travel. The Gold Line from Pasadena to Downtown's Union Station (a gorgeous old train station-- definitely worth a walk around) is nice, but it runs above ground and is rather slow. Other destinations, certainly drive if you can.

West Hollywood...
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4. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

Given what you want to see:

Pasadena (northeast of the GIGANTIC city of Los Angeles)

Warner Bros (north of the city of Los Angeles)

Getty Center (west side of the city of Los Angeles)

Santa Monica (west side of the city of Los Angeles)

Venice (southwest corner of the city of Los Angeles)

why not stay in a CENTRAL LOCATION and save yourself the headache of driving? Do you really want to have to wait until 9:30 to drive anywhere and then, once you get there, not be able to drive back to the hotel anytime between 15:30 and 19:30. Does this sound like fun to you?

I'll help you out and speak British: "You're on Holiday". Make your life easy. Enjoy yourself! Pasadena is a wonderful place to explore but you can go there on one day rather than having to go there every day.

Stay on the Sunset Strip. It's the most central for you. Here's a map to consider:

visitlongbeach.com/maps/southerncalifornia.h…

Some notes about the map:

1. Hollywood is not positioned correctly. It should be just south of the orange dot that denotes Universal Studios.

2. The Sunset Strip is in West Hollywood (just west of the "correctly positioned" Hollywood but not shown on the map)

3. As you can see, Pasadena and Santa Monica are FAR apart!

If you want to see L.A. like the locals do, you'll stay off the freeways. If you're in a central area like the Sunset Strip, that's easy to do. If you stay in Pasadena, your only remembrance of your holiday will be freeway entrance and exit ramps.

And lastly, the Sunset Strip will provide a place to take a walk in the evening, have dinner, have a drink, etc. Pasadena, is, well, not the place to be for nightlife any more than, say, Greenwich would be whilst staying in London.

Send me a message with your travel dates and I'll see about a better price for hotels on the Sunset Strip. Just click on my screenname and them click SEND MESSAGE. To retrieve messages, click on your own screenname and then click on the MESSAGES tab.

BTW, could you bring me some vegetable curry from the shop that's 2 blocks from the Earls Court tube stop?

Cheers!

Pasadena, California
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5. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

Neverwas,

HopSkip does have a point about Pasadena not being "central"-- but neither is it in the outskirts. However, my main quarrel with HopSkip's comments concern Pasadena nightlife. Pasadena has a great pedestrian downtown-- the Old Town area-- and several other nice walkable areas, full of good restaurants, bars, a few clubs, theaters, etc, and lots of locals walking around enjoying themselves. It is not a tourist mecca, nor is it the hyper-trendy club scene that you will find around Sunset Strip. But then you didn't say you were looking for that. For "culture and fine dining" (from your profile), Pasadena is a good place to be. And the area's best gardens (Descanso Gardens, the Huntington Gardens) are in the Pasadena area.

London
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6. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

We were grateful for the many comments and suggestions. All were good adverts for LA in generla and Pasadena inparticular.

We'll have to think about them for a while. (Now where did I put Deep Thought?) In the meantime, thanks again.

7. Re: Driving from Pasadena to LA touristy sites

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