Los Angeles, the last stop for many on the way back to Australia from the USA. But it was not somewhere I realised that I wanted to spend any time until maybe ten days before my flight from LAX was going to be leaving.
For some time I had thought of doing whatever I could to avoid having to be in Los Angeles any longer then I could. My first time in LA I spent the eight-hour stopover in an Airport Lounge. My second time in LA I change my flight so a 9-hour stopover would be just three hours.
Finally, I gave in; firstly I was going to stay two days. Then because of a mistake in remembering my flight details, it turned into three days. Finally, when I was looking at hotels, it ends up being five days. Which to be honest was probably just about right to see the city and have a little what turned out to be forced down time as well. There are some things that I would change about my visit and some that I wouldn’t, but that is what hindsight is good for.
The first and possibly the only thing that I would change is the hotel I choose to stay in. This was a hotel near the airport. Which when I first booked it was a good idea if you are only going to be in a city for less then two days. However, for a five-day stay, it is worth finding a hotel that is better located to most of what you want to see.
Getting around LA is pretty easy, especially if you are staying on or near a metro subway line. Even being on a bus line means you get almost anywhere you want in the city with only one or two bus changes. The only thing you need to be aware of is that depending on where you are staying the transport does take time. Not really a major issue, you just need to be aware of this if you have to be somewhere at a specific time.
Another good point to remember is that even though public transport does not leave directly from LAX airport, there are shuttle’s that connect with public transport which can get you to your hotel for less then a shared ride shuttle. Although this will be far from the quickest option.
What to see
This is likely to go a little longer then some of my blog posts previously purely because I am rolling five days in Los Angeles all into one post. However, this should make it more complete for those of you looking to visit Los Angeles. Following is what I got to see in 5 days, depending on the depth you wanted to explore different places you may be able to see more or less.
At the corner of Highland Ave and Hollywood Blvd, are some of the highlights of Hollywood. The location of the Kodak Theatre the home of the Academy Awards, from here you can also get a decent view of the Hollywood Sign. Close by you can also find Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Another highlight is the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which extends off in each direction featuring stars for many, many famous people from today and the past.
Beverly Hills – Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive is home to some of the most exclusive designer brands in Hollywood, if not the world. You would recognise many of them if you followed fashion at the awards shows. It seems that there are two options to visit here. You can get here early before opening time and avoid too many tourists around, of course only a benefit if you don’t want to at least try finding something you can afford here. Your other option comes later in the day, but there will be plenty more people around.
I managed to get to three different beaches in my time in Los Angeles. These included Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach. There are many other beaches as well however these are the most convenient to where I was staying at the airport. About half an hour and you can be at any of the three. Of course just like in Australia these beaches are all very popular, even though the weather was not the warmest when I was in Los Angeles, this did not stop people visiting the beach in large numbers. Although it did mean fewer people are going in the water, I imagine.
While Santa Monica Beach may be a nice place to see this is not all that Santa Monica has to offer. Santa Monica Pier, combines an amusement park with a roller coaster and Ferris wheel, with places to eat a few other attractions. Santa Monica Place is also a good place to stop if you want to shop or find a nice restaurant to sit down for a meal. Finally, there is the 3rd street promenade, combining more shops with places to eat.
Los Angeles Downtown
Just because Los Angeles is better known for Hollywood doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to it then the small area that is Hollywood. Downtown Los Angeles has many interesting areas’s and places to see. If you get to Downtown by subway, Union Station will likely be your first stop; it is a really big old station building. Stepping out of Union Station it is not far to the Old Town area which has some historic buildings and a sort of flea market.
Some of the other places worth seeing are the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Nokia LA Live and also the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, is a more modern example of a cathedral.
While not to far from Hollywood, this is still one of those places that you need a car to make it easier to access. While it is possible to take a tour that will take you along here, it is much better to have the flexibility of having a car. There are some different lookout spots along here, and all over some spectacular views over most of Los Angeles. Also, an alternate stop to see the Hollywood sign, and probably the best view of the Los Angeles skyline.
More To Explore
There was still plenty of other sights in Los Angeles that I missed. However, they will still be there, later on, the next time I get to visit. Having a local to show you around is a good place to start in Los Angeles, however, if you don’t just do the best you can with public transport and hopefully you will get to see all that you want to see.