Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Los Angeles
Reload this Page >

Los Angeles 101: What you must know when visiting LA

Los Angeles 101: What you must know when visiting LA

Old May 13, 08, 5:05 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Programs: FT Member # 642
Posts: 4,358
Los Angeles 101: What you must know when visiting LA

Since many questions are being asked over and over I thought those that have some good input could post here for visitors to LA.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Yes, many in LA will say it is not possible but it is. It is not as reliable as most cities and some places it is really difficult to get from point A to point B.

Flyaway
www.lawa.org/flyaway is a bus service to and from LAX . If you take the LAX to Union Station (Downtown) it takes about 30-45 minutes. Flyaway also goes to Van Nuys and UCLA.

This is the fastest way Downtown but you can take the Green Line to the Blue Line but it takes a lot more time and with luggage not fun....you have to take Green Line Shuttle from LAX to the Green Line too. www.mta.net

Once at Union Station I would take a look around if you have time www.yelp.com/biz/union-station-los-angeles and head over the Olvera Street which is less than a block away. http://www.yelp.com/biz/olvera-stree...w/query:olvera
Olvera Street is like being in Mexico. Check out the restaurants and the carts with authentic products from Mexico.

Back to Union Station you can pick up the Metrolink www.metrolinktrains.com if you are headed out of LA to places like Orange County, Riverside or San Bernardino or take Amtrak Surfliner to San Diego or other Amtrak trains www.amtrak.com

Or you can pick up one of the other rails www.mta.net to Long Beach, Pasadena, Universal City and Hollywood

If you want to go to the beach the rails do not go there but the Santa Monica 10 Bus picks you up near Union Station and takes you to Santa Monica in about 20 minutes. Check schedule www.mta.net

If you want to go directly from LAX to the beach cities a cab ride will cost about $20 to Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach or Manhattan Beach or you can take the MTA www.mta.net or the Beach Cities Transit http://www.redondo.org/depts/hbt/tra...it/default.asp The Green Line does end in Redondo Beach but no where near the beach but it will take you to Northrup Gruuman.

To Venice Beach or Santa Monica
it will cost you quite a bit more by cab but you can use the MTA www.mta.net or the Big Blue Bus www.bigbluebus.com


LAX to Disneyland Resort area try The Disneyland Express http://www.coachamerica.com/citypage...cation/anaheim


Shopping Near LAX

Try the Ocean Express www.gatewaytola.org/oceanexpress.html and go to Manhattan Beach which is just 3 miles away from LAX www.ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us .

There you can go to Manhattan Village (a mall) www.shopmanhattanvillage.com

Then you can take the Ocean Express down Manhattan Beach Blvd near the pier where there are a lot of high end stores including many boutiques www.downtownmanhattanbeach.com/shopping.cfm and the Metlox Plaza www.metloxmb.com


Is It Safe Taking Public Transportation?


On the Blue Line parts of it goes through South Central but I have taken it many times during the day and night. Yeah...sometimes some odd characters but I have never had a problem but I wouldn't do any sight seeing in the area. Just be smart like you would anywhere else. There is no other reason to be in the "questionable areas."

WARNING The only thing you have to really worry about when taking Public Transportation is the stigma about riding buses. My bf and I occasionally opt for taking a bus/rail to Staples Center and Home Depot Center...get over it.

Bike Riding

A fun way to get around parts of LA is by riding a bike. In most, if not all, of the beach cities you can rent a bike and take a nice ride on The Strand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:L...ybiketrail.jpg which is a 22 mile side walk that runs from just North of Santa Monica to Palos Verdes. There are also many bike paths and bike lanes through out LA. www.metro.net/riding_metro/maps/la_bike_map.pdf We do have a lot of traffic so you should wear a helmet on the streets and children are required by law to wear a helmet.

Walking In Downtown LA

I found this great website that gives you maps and podcast to see Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Disney Concert Hall and more www.downtownlawalks.com

Last edited by wingless; Oct 3, 08 at 9:30 am Reason: adding more info
wingless is offline  
Old May 13, 08, 5:20 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Programs: FT Member # 642
Posts: 4,358
MUST DO In LA
(OC)=Orange County
***=highly recommended


Although many of these places are touristy places many locals go there too.

The Links Are To Reviews Which I Find Helpful To Get An Overview, Special Tips and the Official Business Website (when there is one).

Hollywood Walk Of Fame http://www.yelp.com/biz/hollywood-wa...ood%20blvd

Hollywood Bowl *** http://www.yelp.com/biz/hollywood-bo...llywood%20blvd

Hollywood Sign
www.yelp.com/biz/hollywood-sign-hollywood

J. Paul Getty Museum (Brentwood area) *** http://www.yelp.com/biz/j-paul-getty...EA/query:getty

Farmers Market
http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc...+Angeles%2C+CA

Franklin Canyon http://www.yelp.com/biz/franklin-can...ZBMp1FDGjpdcAQ

Museum Of Tolerance http://www.yelp.com/biz/museum-of-to...uery:tolerance

La Brea Tar Pits http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-brea-tar-...uery:la%20brea

Griffith Park *** www.yelp.com/biz/griffith-park-los-angeles-2

Griffith Park Observatory *** http://www.yelp.com/biz/griffith-par...riffith%20park

Huntington Library Art Collections & Botanical Gardens ***
http://www.yelp.com/biz/huntington-l...ery:Huntington

Norton Simon Museum www.yelp.com/biz/norton-simon-museum-pasadena

Descanso Gardens
http://www.yelp.com/biz/descanso-gar...ada-flintridge

Santa Monica Pier www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-pier-santa-monica

The Getty Villa (Pacific Palisades) ***
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-getty-vi...Sw/query:getty

Venice Beach Boardwalk
http://www.yelp.com/biz/venice-beach...Venice%20Beach

The Strand www.yelp.com/biz/the-strand-hermosa-beach

Abalone Cove ***
http://www.yelp.com/biz/abalone-cove...Abalone%20Cove

Queen Mary
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-queen-ma...y:queen%20mary

Long Beach Aquarium Of The Pacific http://www.yelp.com/biz/long-beach-a...ach%20aquarium

Universal Studios http://www.yelp.com/biz/universal-st...3CZCTQ3kMQWuSQ

Disneyland www.disney.go.com (OC)

Knotts Berry Farm www.knottsberryfarm.com (OC)

Sports

Staples Center home of the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Avengers as well as concerts www.yelp.com/biz/staples-center-los-angeles

Home Depot Center home of the Galaxy, Chivas USA as well as MLL http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-home-dep...depot%20center

Dodgers Stadium http://www.yelp.com/biz/dodger-stadi.../query:dodgers

Angels Stadium (OC) http://www.yelp.com/biz/angel-stadiu...gels%20Stadium

Honda Center
home of the Ducks (OC) www.yelp.com/biz/honda-center-anaheim

Last edited by wingless; May 22, 08 at 6:05 pm
wingless is offline  
Old May 13, 08, 6:00 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Programs: FT Member # 642
Posts: 4,358
LA Beaches
From North to South

Zuma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuma_Beach

Malibu http://www.ci.malibu.ca.us/index.cfm...n=nav&navid=12

Topanga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topanga,_California

Santa Monica (known for it's famous pier) www.santamonica.com

Venice (Known for Muscle Beach, sword swallowers, chain saw juggling....good people watching) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice,_California

Playa Del Rey
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playa_d...es,_California

Dockweiler (Great for watching planes fly over from LAX and hang gliding) http://beaches.co.la.ca.us/bandH/Beaches/Dockweiler.htm

El Porto (Known for surfing) http://www.surfline.com/surf-report/...lifornia_4900/

Manhattan (Known for Volleyball, Surfing, Restaurants and celebrity residents) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhatt...st_and_present

Hermosa (Known for sunbathing, partying, boutique shops, restaurants and see Jay Leno perform at the Magic and Comedy Club on Sundays www.hbchamber.net

Redondo (Known for their pier and boating, a great place to go sport fishing on day boat) www.redondo.org/default.asp

Torrance http://beaches.co.la.ca.us/bandh/beaches/torrance.htm

Long Beach (Known for the Queen Mary and Aquarium of the Pacific) http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/visitors/default.asp

OC Beaches

Seal Beach (One of my favorite beaches for it's small town feel) www.sealbeachchamber.org

Sunset Beach www.ocparks.com/sunsetbeach

Huntington Beach (Known for being Surf City USA) www.ci.huntington-beach.ca.us

Newport Beach (Known for it's celebrities) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport...2For_residents

Laguna Beach (Known for being a artsy colony, Festival of Arts, Pageant of the Masters and Sawdust Art Festival) www.lagunabeachinfo.org

Last edited by wingless; May 21, 08 at 12:21 am
wingless is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 1:06 pm
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UALifetimePremierGold, Marriott LifetimeTitanium
Posts: 68,040
wingless, great idea. Maybe we can have a sticky made of it.

Something to add if they want to come to the beach area from LAX, is the free "Ocean Express" shuttle that runs along Century Blvd hotels to downtown Manhattan Beach & Manhattan Village Mall, and then back to Century Blvd. Think it runs from 10am-10pm, but not sure. Know there was a link somewhere in this forum.

To Santa Monica, the "Big Blue Bus" runs.

I'd also add Long Beach Aquarium to the list.

Cheers.
SkiAdcock is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 1:18 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 644
Smile

My husband packed our GPS two weeks ago. Cars are not too expensive, actually pretty cheap. We brought the addresses of everywhere we wanted to go. Got to see everything. Stayed at a few different places. Even ventured forth to Hearst castle one day-about 4 hours away-loved it. Had our tkt ahead of time. Very relaxed trip-loved it.
tlhanger is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 1:28 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pasadena, California
Programs: UA 1K, 1MM
Posts: 10,201
Information about Dodger Stadium would probably prove useful, I think. I've been asked about how to get to the Hollywood sign -- is there a good way to help people with that activity? We should also mention Japantown.

Are we extending this to Orange County (I don't think it's necessary)? If so, information about getting to Angels Stadium and Disneyland (get thee to the Disneyland Express!), would probably help people out.
iapetus is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 1:37 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA, USAir, UA
Posts: 866
DRIVING IN GREATER LA

Los Angeles traffic is legendary... And some of the main freeways annually make the top 40 list of the most congested highways in the nation, including I-10 which is the most obvious route from LAX to Downtown.

That being said, the traffic in LA is more a problem for visitors, those who don't know know (or take the time to learn) alternate routes, and those driving over-sized vehicles. Because the greater LA area has few true choke points (like the bridges of San Francisco & NYC) where all traffic must funnel through one narrow corridor. If you have the tools and the knowledge base, you can often avoid the worst of LA traffic.

1) Try to avoid rush hours! 7:00-9:30 am & 3:30-7:00 pm on weekdays are generally bad for freeway and highway travel. While *some* routes are bad only in one direction (generally towards Downtown in morning/away in evening), others are bad in both directions. (check w/ a local if you are contemplating needing to travel during these hours) Holiday & weekends can be bad on certain specific roads I-10 & I-15 (Vegas traffic), I-5 South (San Diego), and US-101 (Santa Barbara & points North), with outbound traffic the evening before, and return traffic on the afternoon last day of the holiday/weekend being particularly awful.

2) Collect your information. A GPS with traffic updates is a very valuable tool. (it pays to get a rental w/ one in LA) And if your rental car doesn't have GPS, you might want to download Navmii or another free GPS app to your smartphone....but either get a cellphone holder, or have a passenger handle your phone chores, because using a cell phone while the car is in motion is a route to an expensive ticket. Equally, if you have a smartphone or laptop with broadband or WIFI access, checking with www.sigalert.com before you get behind the wheel can give you a chance to choose a route around the worst congestion, road construction, or accidents. Finally, having a good map of the parts of the LA basin you plan to travel in and tuning to AM 1070 (KNX News radio, "Traffic on the 5s") will keep you updated on the worst of traffic problems.



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Ethnic L.A.

The L.A. area is arguably the most metropolitan area in the nation, with more ethnic enclaves than most visitors could tour in a month. Here are a few that might be of interest to visitors longing for a taste of home... Or for a taste of something exotic.

Chinatown: While not quite as large as San Francisco's, L.A.'s current Chinatown (it's actually the *third* major location) just east of Downtown has a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops, and services for the Chinese community. And it's within walking distance of Union Station and a stop on the Gold Line light rail. Major Chinese populations can also be found in the outlying areas of Monterey Park, Alhambra, Irvine, Artesia, and Cerritos. (look for the chain 99 Ranch Markets which cater to the local Chinese)


Little Tokyo: Downtown's Japanese community is just Southwest of City Hall and full shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. The New Otani Hotel is an up-scale enclave in the downtown area. Hit Nisei Week in late August & see a variety of Japanese cultural events. The new Gold line has an extension that skirts the edge of Little Tokyo, but the $.25 DASH "A" shuttles also will get you to the heart of the communuity from Union Station. There are also significant Japanese enclaves in the suburbs of Torrance, Gardena, and Monterey Park.

Koreatown: K-town is located in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles and served by the Red/Purple line subway, this neighborhood is the largest single community of Koreans outside of the Korean peninsula. The neighborhood is full of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs; as well as shops and businesses catering to the local Korean population. Less "touristy" than Chinatown and/or Little Tokyo, there are also plenty of Hispanic and student residents of among the many low price apartments of the area. There are smaller Korean communities in the suburbs of Valley Village, Monterey Park, and Garden Grove...although none are as distinct. Here's a link to a classic FlyerTalk thread.

Tehrangeles (aka Little Persia) While not quite as distinct as some of the other ethnic enclaves, many of the Persian elite who fled the 1979 collapse of the Shah's government in Iran settled in the L.A., especially in the Westwood/Beverly Hills/West Los Angeles. Westwood Blvd. from Pico up to UCLA & the surrounding area has become known for it's Persian cafes, nightclubs, and specialty shops. Additional Persian enclaves are found over the hill to the North in Encino & Woodland Hills as well as South in Irvine.

Historic Filipinotown is located located between Downtown and Hollywood, just South of the Echo Park & Westlake districts above the 101 freeway. While heavily mixed with Mexican and south American immigrants, there are a variety of shops, markets and restauraunts catering to Philippinos. West Covina also has a small smattering of businesses & markets on Azusa Avenue and Amar Road.

Thai Town

Little Ethiopia

Fairfax District
(Jewish)

Little Armenia

Little Saigon
(Orange County)

Little India (Artesia) Artesia is home to the second-largest Indian and Pakistani population in the U.S... Centered along Pioneer Blvd, 5 blocks of mini-malls full of intresting shops, markets, and small restaurants. In neighboring Lakewood you can get your Bollywood fix at Naz 8 Cinemas.

Russians in West Hollywood (Moscow on the Pacific) have been an important part of the community since the 1930s. The city itself holds an annual festival. A number of Russian clubs, restaraunts, and shops cater to the population. There are other major pockets of Russians in the San Fernando Valley in Reseda, Van Nyes, and North Hollywood. There are also pockets of Central American culture mixed among the Mexican-American in Burbank, Van Nuys, and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and scattered across the San Gabriel Valley.

Little El Salvador
- Many recent Salvadorian émigrés (and to a lesser extent those from Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) cluster in the neighborhoods surrounding L.A.'s MacArthur Park, where cafés, dance clubs, markets, and places to wire money home cater to their needs.

(more to follow)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++


A few editing notes on transportation:

-Union Station should also mention Amtrak, with frequent local service on the Surfliner route both North to Santa Barbara & San Louis Obisbo and South to San Diego.

-Metrolink service should mention it's service to the North and West in routes to Palmdale/Lancaster & Ventura.

-A particularly important note is the frequent weekday rail service from Union Station to Burbank Airport (BUR).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++
-On a general style note, could I respectfully suggest that the primary link to "Must Do" sites be to the actual site's own website....and not a 3rd-party review like Yelp? While the opinions of other is a nice validation, current information on hours, programs, events, seems more to the point. If a review link seems important, perhaps it could link seperately like this:

J. Paul Getty Museum (REVIEW)

Last edited by mlshanks; Jun 7, 18 at 6:27 pm Reason: added information GPS
mlshanks is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 1:49 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: PHX
Programs: AA Ex Platinum & 1MM, DL PLT, Marriott Gold, HH Diamond
Posts: 2,423
Originally Posted by mlshanks View Post
-On a general style note, could I respectfully suggest that the primary link to "Must Do" sites be to the actual site's own website....and not a 3rd-party review like Yelp? While the opinions of other is a nice validation, current information on hours, programs, events, seems more to the point. If a review link seems important, perhaps it could link seperately like this:

J. Paul Getty Museum (REVIEW)
Absolutely agree w/this suggestion.

How about for the antique lovers The Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena http://www.rgcshows.com/RoseBowlFlea...2/Default.aspx
txrus is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 3:28 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pasadena, California
Programs: UA 1K, 1MM
Posts: 10,201
Originally Posted by mlshanks View Post
A particularly important note is the frequent weekday rail service from Union Station to Burbank Airport (BUR).
Actually, I think a lot more could be said about BUR in general.

Originally Posted by mlshanks View Post
It's all cheap Tijuana junk at double the prices. If they want to walk in that neighborhood, they would do better walking over to Philippe's for a real French Dip Sandwich.
While I think you are being overly cynical about Olvera Street, I agree with your suggestion of Philippe's. While I've never been, I've heard great things and I've really been wanting to go for a while.

Originally Posted by mlshanks View Post
On a general style note, could I respectfully suggest that the primary link to "Must Do" sites be to the actual site's own website....and not a 3rd-party review like Yelp?
Again, I agree with mlshanks here (as I often seem to do eventually ).

Originally Posted by txrus View Post
How about for the antique lovers The Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena http://www.rgcshows.com/RoseBowlFlea...2/Default.aspx
Oh, you mean that nuisance that curtails my cycling down at the Rose Bowl every fourth Sunday?!

iapetus is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 3:33 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: PHX
Programs: AA Ex Platinum & 1MM, DL PLT, Marriott Gold, HH Diamond
Posts: 2,423
Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
Oh, you mean that nuisance that curtails my cycling down at the Rose Bowl every fourth Sunday?!
Hey, I did some real good buying there last weekend
txrus is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 3:52 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: CLT
Programs: Choice Hotels/FFOCUS
Posts: 7,251
Great info. Thanks for posting.
coachrowsey is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 3:59 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Programs: UA, AA, DL, HH, SPG
Posts: 881
Comprehensive resource for LA visitor info

This is the official website for the LA Visitors Bureau.


http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/
CaliforniasCentralCoast is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 7:05 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: YVR
Posts: 3,917
Based on myself taking public transit 99% of the time when I'm in LA, I actually find the public transportation not too horrendous as people would thought.

Metro and Buses were fine. As long as just minding your own business, it's quite safe. I know it would be nice to have a car drive around, but I'm too lazy to get driver's license (you don't need it when you live in Vancouver) so obviously I can't drive.

Chinatown is accessible through Metro Gold Line that begins at Union Station. I think they're extending the Gold line southward so that it'll skirt through the edge of Little Tokyo and The Warehouse District.

Metro Red Line will take you to Universal Studio, North Hollywood, Hollywood Walk of Fame and Kodak Theatre....etc. 1-2 blocks South of Hollywood Blvd, is Sunset Blvd, is where CNN's LA building located.

Bus 2, 702 (I believe), will take you to Sunset Strip, the 9000 blocks. It is located near the top of the hill where you can have a good view of parts of LA.

Keep in mind that Metro Red Line and Metro Purple Line shares the same routing track on certain section. So, you might want to be careful with it.


Bus....

The ones begin with 7__, is the express bus. In particular for 720, it can actually runs every 1 to 5 minutes, and sometimes I see 3 buses stopping at once or within 1 minute, it runs between Downtown LA and Santa Monica , along Wilshire, which if you're interested, this is where Koreantown is located, around 3500 - 3800 blocks

There is also a section called Little Armenia located along Santa Monica Blvd, near the Highway 101. Located along the 4200-4600 Blocks. From Union Station, Bus 704 runs pass this area. It actually passes through the outskirt section of Chinatown. 704 runs between Downtown and Santa Monica

The CBS Studio is near the Farmer's Market aka The Grove.

Little Ethiopia, which nothing really special, is along Fairfax, but it is a bit southward so I won't bother.

When it comes to night life, I pretty much just hang around the clubs/bars in West Hollywood.
jimyvr is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 8:56 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SoCal
Programs: AA, USAir, UA
Posts: 866
Los Angeles Museums

Art:

J. Paul Getty Museum
(Santa Monica & Malibu)

Huntington Library (Pasadena)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA] (Wilshire)

Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles [MOCA-LA] (Downtown & West Hollywood)

UCLA Hammer & Fowler Museums (Westwood)

Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena)

Pacific-Asia Museum (Pasadena)


History / Culture:

Autry Museum of Western Heritage (Griffith Park)

Travel Town Museum (Griffith Park)

Museum of Tolerance (Century City)

Petersen Automotive Museum (Wilshire)

Nethercutt Collection (San Fernando Valley)

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
(Simi Valley)

Hollywood Heritage Museum (Hollywood)

California African-American Museum (Exposition Park)

Science & Kids Museums

LA County Natural History Museum
(Exposition Park)

California Science Center (Exposition Park)

Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach)

Griffith Observatory (Griffith Park)

L.A. Zoo (Griffith Park)

Kidspace Museum (Pasadena)

The Page Museum (La Brea Tar Pits) (Wilshire-La Brea)



(More to follow)

Last edited by mlshanks; Jun 5, 11 at 12:24 pm Reason: Added more museums
mlshanks is offline  
Old May 14, 08, 9:31 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: IAH
Posts: 2,674
Excellent! Wingless.

P.S. Former L.A. resident and bus rider.

Last edited by Martinis at 8; May 14, 08 at 9:59 pm Reason: P.S.
Martinis at 8 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: