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Going to LA

SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
edited October 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
On October 19th, I'm headed to the LA area for a wedding, and I need some ideas of things to do. I'm spending a day in Joshua Tree park, hiking around outside, but I'll have a Wednesday and a Friday in the city. I'm thinking about going to a boardwalk area in Newport, potentially a whale watching ride, but I could use some ideas for the city itself, like museums, areas that are particularly nice and walkable, or historic/architecturally interesting etc.

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Posts

  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Where are you coming from? Where are you staying? Joshua Tree is like a ~3 hour drive from LA. LA to Newport Beach is an hour at best, and could be a lot more if you're coming on the 405 at rush hour.

    kaliyama on
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  • DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    I can't claim to know the city much at all, but I had an absolute blast during a very brief visit to the city at the Groundling's Club, a comedy place where some known talent perform in a really small, intimate theater, and the price seemed very reasonable. (I saw Jim Rash, the Community Dean, when I was there.)

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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    We fly into LAX in the morning, around 10:30 or so, so we have most of that day in the metro area, then we drive to Joshua Tree at night. The wedding is in Santa Ana, so it's closer to Joshua Tree(2 hours?), so ideally anything on friday would be closer to Santa Ana.

    I guess hitting some places on the way southeast of LAX on Wednesday would be good, unless that makes us miss something really great in the northern part of the city. But, I also want to give heed to travel time to some extent.

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  • jackisrealjackisreal Registered User
    The Getty Center is a really amazing place to visit, not for the exhibits but just for the place itself.

    Also, eat In 'n Out.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    iO/Bash/UCB/Groundlings for your stage comedy fix (go to at least one of these!)
    Hiking at the Bronson Caves is fun, you can see where the cutaway for the original Batman TV show was shot!
    The California Science Center is getting one of the shuttles and it might already be there, look into it because holy shit a shuttle.
    CSC is right near the Natural History Museum, I wasn't a big fan. The Page museum at the Tar Pits was neat, really nothing else like it.
    LACMA (LA's museum of art) is a solid choice is you like art

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    You weren't a fan of the CSC, or the natural history museum? That's the kind of thing that would get me excited, much more so than art.

    Septus on
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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited October 2011
    That was a poorly worded sentence. I thought the CSC was great, the History Museum didn't do much for me (though their dino puppet show was fucking extraordinary).
    I also didn't spend a ton of time there, maybe I missed a few things?

    edit: I've also been to a lot of natural history museums, so I've seen most of what they have on display elsewhere.

    Skoal Cat on
    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    I've only been to one that is at least decent, which happened to be the one in New York when I was 7. Will this one at least be somewhere in the ballpark?

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited October 2011
    Yes! Those museums are seriously top notch.
    You're probably bound by time though, and my point was more that the History Museum won't give you anything unique over any other (good) history museum. Tar Pits and possibly seeing a shuttle though? More unique.

    Skoal Cat on
    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    LACMA is next to the tar pits.

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  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    When I lived there, it was being refurbished, but I bet the observatory at Griffith park is probably open again. That's very cool and the park is a nice walk (just try not to trip over any gangland bbqs).

    The beaches (malibu in particular) are great walks if you're not already jaded at the sight of the endless horizon. Venice beach is more about the people than the water but also quite a nice walk.

  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Heh, all of these are to the northeast of the airport, but I guess I may just have to go that way.

    How much can I rely on google maps for travel times on a weekday, say between 10 and 4? The afternoon bit I imagine will be much morse.

    I'm also considering spending a few hours on a boat whale watching. Good idea? Bad idea, for my first visit to the city? I do enjoy the ocean and wildlife.

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  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    whale watching eh. just pick a direction and go for it. all of the parts of Los Angeles that you want to visit are northeast of the airport.

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  • jackisrealjackisreal Registered User
    This is a fairly successful whale watching thang: http://2seewhales.com/ I think it's Blue Whale season right now. Big guys!

    There really isn't very much south of the airport...Manhattan beach is there I guess, which can be fun to walk around a bit, get some drinks, maybe watch some volleyball etc. If you really want to see L.A. though, you're going to have to go north, NW, or NE. Unless you want to up your street cred, in which case Compton is just a hop a skip and a drive by east.

    Or there's the Watt's towers (http://www.wattstowers.us/) which are, uh...something! [Don't go to Watts]

    I usually add a few minutes to online directions, but traffic does vary from street to street. If you're on Santa Monica Blvd. ever, for any reason, at any time of day, you're doing it wrong. Sunset gets bad at night. Try and stay away from freeways after ~4, Sepulveda is often a good alternative depending on where you're going. Weekends aren't as bad.

    If you want to see a great beach, even though it's way, way out of the way, my top L.A. recommendation is to go see Matador Beach if you get a chance. It is a long drive, but you can take Pacific Coast Highway which is really beautiful in its own right.

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  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    Watts Towers are awesome but not worth going out of your way for. Whenever you figure out what you're doing, I would start west and slowly work your way eastward as the day progresses. If you're looking for places to eat, Father's Office in Santa Monica & Culver City, Soot Bull Jeep in k-town, cafe stella in silverlake, or wurstkuche / calori kitchen / lazy ox downtown are all good places.

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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    jackisreal wrote:
    If you really want to see L.A. though, you're going to have to go north, NW, or NE. Unless you want to up your street cred, in which case Compton is just a hop a skip and a drive by east.

    Yeah, I was hoping that whatever beach I saw, would be to the southeast, and slowly travel toward that, but I may have to revise that.

    I'm feeling more set on making sure to go to the natural history museum, so that at least puts me in the vicinity of some other museums, and presumably other fun stuff.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    Yea, Natural History is right next the the Science Center (space shuttle zomg).
    Also, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Yessss.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    So just how tremendously awful will highway 60 east be at 5:00 on a weekday? Google maps tells me 2 hours 12 minutes from downtown to Joshua Tree. I'm assuming 3 hours, and I hope I'm not still too optimistic.

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  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    go at 3:30 or wait until 7:30.

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  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    Both of my parents are from LA, and the best things to do have mostly been listed. If you're not from the west coast, I'd suggest food.

    Go to In-N-Out.

    Get some Fish tacos from one of the better taco stands. Whatever part of LA you're in, do a search for best fish tacos within 5 miles, and enjoy.

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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    I don't really get excited about food though. I may have to try a fish taco though. I'm not a fan, but maybe if I go to the source, it'll change my mind.

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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Just thought I'd follow up by saying that I really enjoyed the Natural History Museum. I was thoroughly impressed with how many exhibits it had, and the large rose garden right next door was quite nice.

    Joshua Tree park was great, but probably too far of a drive to recommend to other people unless they specifically want to do rock climbing, or hike around the desert while in the general metro area.

    Whale watching was not particularly impressive, but that may be a matter of managing expectations. I was probably hoping for much more than the average sightings. Newport beach was ok, the atmosphere was nothing to write home about, and if just going for the beach, it seems that I might have preferred Venice beach.

    Also, using Yelp to pick highly rated(and not expensive) did not yield any impressive food. I'm assuming price was the catch here.

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  • kaliyamakaliyama Registered User regular
    Thanks for following up! Glad you liked j-tree.

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