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Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc..
By Live_on_Broadway Comments: 2538, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:15 AM

Hello DDN!

My boyfriend is attending a conference in LA in February, and since I'm off work, I've been thinking about flying out to meet him there. His conference is only three days, but I'm hoping we can stay an extra few days and go to Disneyland. (because I'm a huge dork and I love Disneyland.)

If I do end up meeting him in LA, I'll probably have a day or two free while he's busy at his conference.

Do any of you lovely DDNers have tips for things I should see or do by myself in LA? Our hotel is close to LAX, and I'm reluctant to rent a car (don't want to get lost in LA by myself!)... is there public transportation in LA? Is it safe? Or will I have to take a cab or shuttle?

If you had one day free in LA, what would you do?

I should mention, none of this is set in stone; we haven't even booked our flights yet. I'm just brainstorming at this point. :)

Thanks!!

7 Replies to Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc..

re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc.. (karma: 1)
By DefyingGravityPremium member Comments: 5265, member since Sun Jan 19, 2003
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:13 AM
If you're going to be stuck in a hotel near LAX and you don't want to rent a car, you probably shouldn't go. I don't mean that meanly, but LAX is near *nothing* and there is no public transportation in that area that will get you to *anything*. You could take a taxi or Super Shuttle to Santa Monica or Venice for $43ish... or get to Downtown for a flat rate of $36ish... but those are both one way fares. LAX, for all intents and purposes, isn't in LA. It would be like "going to New York City" but staying in Newark, NJ, but not having the awesome public transportation and shuttle service to get you into the city. Womp womp.
re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc..
By schuhplattlerPremium member Comments: 3037, member since Sat Dec 23, 2006
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:50 AM
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re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc..
By Live_on_Broadway Comments: 2538, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 01:43 PM
DG -- Aaah, okay. That's good to know! We'll look into renting a car. It might even be a better alternative than taking a shuttle to Disneyland, anyway. Thanks for your insight! Do you drive around LA a lot? Is traffic a nightmare? Or is it only a nightmare around the downtown core?

(Can you tell I really want to make this mini-vacation work? I'm SO sick of winter.. haha)
re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc..
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12956, member since Wed Mar 17, 2004
On Fri Jan 24, 2014 02:35 PM
If it reassures at all, my boyfriend and I (Edmontonians) took a California road trip over Christmas and driving in LA was really not a big deal, in my opinion. I mean, a gps (either on your phone with a roaming package or one you rent along with the car) is helpful, but traffic-wise it was completely fine. Busy, sure, but no worse than any major Canadian city and way better than anywhere I've driven in Western Europe. I'm a cautious driver and I did just fine, even alone in the car. I really wouldn't let LA's reputation for scary driving concern you much.
re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc.. (karma: 1)
By bigTreblemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1737, member since Mon Jan 26, 2004
On Sat Jan 25, 2014 09:57 AM
Ughh. I had a whole response typed up, opened a new tab to go fetch a li k for you and then came back to this tab and my response was gone. Thanks iPad.

To summarize my previously typed response:

- Get a car. Car rentals are actually pretty cheap in LA. Especially if you can get one from a non-airport rental location. (Hint, if your hotel has a free shuttle from the airport, use that to get to your hotel and then use a rental agency that will come pick you up, like Enterprise.)

-LA isn't the typical city layout. It's extremely spread out and made up of lots of different neighborhoods. There is a downtown, but there's not a whole lot there that you'd want to hit up on your first trip to LA with limited time. And traffic is bad all over, not just around downtown. Mostly on highways and during rush hour.

-Speaking of traffic, when people say it's bad, it's not like bad drivers or aggressive drivers, like Chicago or anything. Yeah, you'll have the person who suddenly needs to cross five lanes of traffic to get to their exit, but mostly it's bad just because it's so congested.

- If you can, avoid driving on the 405.

- Here's a link that does a pretty good job of summarizing traffic and getting around LA:  www.frommers.com . . .

-For a lot of the neighborhoods, you'll be able to drive there and then park, traveling by foot within the neigborhood. Which I think is a great way to get a feel for a city. :)

-Disneyland is technically in Anaheim, which is south of LA and a bit of a hike, but nothing terrible. If you're in to amusement parks, I also suggest looking in to Knotts Berry Farm.

-As for advice on what to do, it depends on what you're in to! 
  -Personally. I'm never a fan of big tourist-y things, but if you've never been to LA, the Walk of Fame is pretty cool to see, and you kind of feel like you get a chance to pay respecta to some of the Hollywood greats. 
  -if you don't live in a city that has In n Out burger, GO. Seriously. 
  -When I go to LA now, I typically spend my time in certain neighborhoods because I'm staying with friends who live there. I'm personally fond of Culver City, Silver Lake, Westwood and Santa Monica. LOts of great places to eat and drink there. Of course there are a ton of other neighborhoods to visit. I recommend just googling info in LA neighborhoods and you'll find a whole slew of info.

-As a very very general rule, the further west you get in town, the nicer and more expensive the houses get.  Again, I'm generalizing with this one.

If you can make this trip work, do it! I went to LA the first time when I was invited to an event at the DGA, and I just fell in love with the city. There are of ton of resources online for you to read that will get you ready for the trip!
 
re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc..
By Live_on_Broadway Comments: 2538, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:55 PM
Megan -- That does reassure me! And actually, I spoke to a coworker who was in LA over Christmas, and he told me that the traffic there isn't that much worse than Toronto traffic. Lord knows, I've dealt with my fair share of Toronto traffic.

bigTreble -- Thank you for your response!! You've given me lots to mull over.

Alright guys, I think I'm going to try to make this trip work... :)
re: Los Angeles in February - What to do, how to get around, etc.. (karma: 1)
By Live_on_Broadway Comments: 2538, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Sat Mar 01, 2014 09:21 AM
Just thought I'd post an update.

The trip turned out GREAT. It was short, but the sunshine and warm weather was much needed.

I had one day free while my boyfriend was at his conference, so I ended up taking the bus into Santa Monica. Santa Monica transit (the Big Blue Bus) only costs a dollar (!!) and it took me directly from my hotel at LAX to downtown SM. I walked along the Third Street Promenade (shopping and dining), and went down to the nearby beach and pier. It was GREAT.

The next two days my boyfriend and I rented a car. Everyone was right - the traffic was fine. Not too different from the Greater Toronto Area, except more freeways. We went to Disney during the day, and in the evenings we checked out some great vegetarian restaurants that were recommended to us. (My bf and I are both vegetarian.)

All in all, it was a good trip. Looks like we just missed the rain too.

Thanks for your help, DDN!

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