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Advice for 5 nights in LA (previously: SFO or LAX in Nov/Dec?)

Advice for 5 nights in LA (previously: SFO or LAX in Nov/Dec?)

Old Jan 8, 19, 9:24 am
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Advice for 5 nights in LA (previously: SFO or LAX in Nov/Dec?)

Just a quick question about SFO vs. LAX as a vacation destination: which one would you recommend in Nov/Dec? Would of course rent a car and stay probably a week. Travelling solo and not interested in sunbathing etc. Not looking for Venice Beach or alikes. More into walking, driving by car and doing public transportation to museums, nice sites and seeing also some less usual things. Heck, even going to Goodwill is fun for me.

I'm most likely doing 'Frisco, but never been to either - yet, so happy for any quick thoughts from ya'll.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 2:42 am
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If you really want to rent a car, then SF is probably not practical due to difficulty of driving on hills and expensive parking. Both cities are large and have plenty of museums and random things to see. SF is more walkable although LA has some walkable areas as well.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 11:46 am
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If you do decide to do SF, please don't call it "Frisco!" Agree that a rental car is usually a negative inside the city of San Francisco. It's helpful, maybe essential, if you're going elsewhere in the bay area.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Yazata View Post
Just a quick question about SFO vs. LAX as a vacation destination: which one would you recommend in Nov/Dec? Would of course rent a car and stay probably a week. Travelling solo and not interested in sunbathing etc. Not looking for Venice Beach or alikes. More into walking, driving by car and doing public transportation to museums, nice sites and seeing also some less usual things. Heck, even going to Goodwill is fun for me.

I'm most likely doing 'Frisco, but never been to either - yet, so happy for any quick thoughts from ya'll.
Yeah, calling it Frisch will get some peopleís knickers in a twist. The hills in SF can be daunting to a newbie, particularly in the rain, but a little care is all thatís needed. The bigger problem about driving in SF is that the traffic is simply horrendous and parking is at a premium, and the price reflects it. Thereís also a problem associated with parking that involves an epidemic level of vehicle break-ins. LA probably has similar issues, but you need to be sure not to leave anything in plain sight.

Transit is easier in SF, but just be aware that itís not exactly a comfortable way to ride. Buses and trains are pretty poorly maintained and are very dirty. If youíre traveling in or near the core area, itís likely youíll have a homeless person or mentally unstable person on the bus part of the way. Schedules, depending on the particular line, are more honored in the breach. But I would still guess that at least availability is better than LA.

weather wise at that time of the year, LA wins hands down. Based solely on the weather, Iíd pick LA in winter and summer. Spring and fall, Iíd pick SF.

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Old Jan 10, 19, 7:17 am
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Okay, many thanks for all your input! Will do - no more 'Frisco. The fare I was looking for was pulled, so not going to CA this time. However will keep in mind the advice, once a suitable fare pops up again.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 4:15 pm
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I would note that the weather has gotten more fickle nowadays - this used to be rainy season, but you can more likely count on SoCal to have consistently nicer weather (assuming there are no forest fires raging). SF is the more compact city, but depending on where you park yourself in LA, you can make use non-road base mass transit (e.g. the light rail between Santa Monica and downtown LA) to get around. It's really a matter of preference.

As for the folks recommending not renting a car - I almost always do when I come visit the Bay Area, including when I stay in the heart of downtown SF. It's expensive, but I much prefer the convenience for getting around, even within the city.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 6:42 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
If you do decide to do SF, please don't call it "Frisco!" Agree that a rental car is usually a negative inside the city of San Francisco. It's helpful, maybe essential, if you're going elsewhere in the bay area.
Call it Baghdad by the Bay and you'll fit right in.
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Old Jan 19, 19, 11:56 pm
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If you want to visit Sf, you can lyft/rideshare to get around and avoid parking expenses. It’s really a great walking city - just 7x7 square miles! Granted I drive all over Sf but at night I’ll lyft a lot.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 3:12 am
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Well, it's typical for my travels that things change as I discover new airfares. So it's going to be CA after all. 5 nights in LA, arriving on Black Friday.

I'm looking to rent a car (most likely from Sixt, based on the current rates for Hertz) as I'll probably cruise around a bit. Most likely wouldn't plan renting, if it would've been SFO. Based on your responses, it's not all too convenient to have a car there.

Any recommendations for where to stay with a rental car as your bless and burden? I.e. which area/s would you recommend? You're also free to suggest why I should skip a rental in LA.

Mainly thinking about traffic and how long driving takes. I have Best Western Platinum status, so I did look up their options, but there's so many options to choose from and it's not easy to evaluate the hotel locations as a first timer in LA. Accor Hotels doesn't have any plausible options for me, but I'm open to grab something with Booking.com. I also have Gold with Radisson, but there's much less options than with all BW brands combined.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 8:17 am
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The thread has been renamed and moved at the OP's request.

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Old Jan 30, 19, 8:21 am
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While it may be an old thread, a lot of the information posted there is still valid:
Los Angeles 101: What you must know when visiting LA
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Old Jan 30, 19, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Yazata View Post
Mainly thinking about traffic and how long driving takes.
The time between any two points in LA is either 20 minutes or 2 hours, entirely depending on the time of day.

Pick a couple areas that you want to visit and get a hotel near one or more of them. What previous posters have said about walking in LA is true - there are many walkable areas, but you have to drive or use transit to get from one to another. There are tons of museums (allegedly 800+, according to the propaganda brochure at a conference I attended here), there's hiking in the mountains, there's a lot of good theater (big and small), and just about anything you could possibly be interested in except for subzero weather.
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Old Jan 31, 19, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Yazata View Post
Mainly thinking about traffic and how long driving takes. I have Best Western Platinum status, so I did look up their options, but there's so many options to choose from and it's not easy to evaluate the hotel locations as a first timer in LA. Accor Hotels doesn't have any plausible options for me, but I'm open to grab something with Booking.com. I also have Gold with Radisson, but there's much less options than with all BW brands combined.
Have a look at Priceline's name your own price feature if it's just the two of you. It might be possible to bag a great hotel for cheap.

Failing that, I used Best Western Plus at 5005 Century Boulevard on a recent trip. Yes it's near the airport but rates are reasonable and the rooms are clean and the breakfast is really good.
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Old Jan 31, 19, 9:06 am
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On a clear / clear-ish day, drive up to Santa Barbara for a day trip. It is under 2 hours w/o traffic, a great walking downtown and beach area (without being the sort of beach you're trying to avoid), and one of the more picturesque cities in the USA.
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Old Jan 31, 19, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by USA_flyer View Post
Have a look at Priceline's name your own price feature if it's just the two of you. It might be possible to bag a great hotel for cheap.
Me, myself and my luggage? I'm travelling solo, which I indeed didn't mention. I've only used Priceline once and it ended up being a crappy leftover room on Marriott in Paris. I have my hesitations to gamble again, but sure, an element of positive surprise is of course welcome.

Originally Posted by USA_flyer View Post
Failing that, I used Best Western Plus at 5005 Century Boulevard on a recent trip. Yes it's near the airport but rates are reasonable and the rooms are clean and the breakfast is really good.
Thanks for the tip! Will look at that as an option.

Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
On a clear / clear-ish day, drive up to Santa Barbara for a day trip. It is under 2 hours w/o traffic, a great walking downtown and beach area (without being the sort of beach you're trying to avoid), and one of the more picturesque cities in the USA.
Duly noted and will keep that as an option. Thanks!

Last edited by TWA884; Jan 31, 19 at 11:35 am Reason: Merge consecutive posts by the same member; Please use the multi-quote function. Thank you.
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