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LA or Santa Monica

Glos
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84 posts
6 reviews
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LA or Santa Monica

We are going to be in LA for 2 nights in August and can't decide whether to stay in central LA or Santa Monica. We will have a car and want to visit both.

Any advice on which will be the best base will be great?

Cheers

K30
Cornwall
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705 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: LA or Santa Monica

I am sure that others who live in LA will tell you this, but there is no central LA as such. It is spread over a huge areas that more resemble towns within a county! (unless you mean downtown, which is completely unsuited to tourists but good for business travellers)

Santa Monica is a fantastic base. There is tonnes on places to eat and drink, shop, people watch etc etc. I stayed on main street which was really fantastic as it has more of a local vibe but i am sure that staying near 3rd st promenade would be equally as great. Also of course, you are right by the pacific.

I would recommend SM over Hollywood and Bev Hills in a heartbeat, especially since you have a car.

K30
Cornwall
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2. Re: LA or Santa Monica

Oh yes, and I HIGHLY recommend a sat nav. LA has a lot of roads and lots of cars! We would have spent most of our holiday hopelessly lost and in a stress without it.

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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3. Re: LA or Santa Monica

What is your budget per night? That will dictate where you stay, as will the availability. Its a bit late to book for August.

Glos
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84 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: LA or Santa Monica

Thanks for that info, I think we will look at Santa Monica then and drive into LA. How long should a drive into LA take?

Our budget is up to $200 per night I reckon. I know we have left things a liitle late so we need to make a decision and find a good hotel in SM!? Any suggestions?

Cheers!

Oakland, California
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97 posts
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5. Re: LA or Santa Monica

In terms of how long it will take to drive into LA, it all depends on what part of LA you're going to. For example, Venice Beach, directly south of Santa Monica is a part of the city of Los Angeles and only takes about 5 minutes to get to. Hollywood, another district of LA takes closer to 30-45 minutes. Santa Monica, though technically its own city, is mostly considered to be a part of LA. The same goes for Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, which are also technically independent cities but for all intents and purposes, are a part of LA.

Glos
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84 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: LA or Santa Monica

Thanks for that, we are looking at the Doubletree guest suites or the Holiday Inn...Any views on which is better?

Thanks

new york
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1,222 posts
26 reviews
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7. Re: LA or Santa Monica

I guess the huge # of homeless in Santa Monica left us feeling happy we didn't stay in SM. Walking from our car to the beach- through 3rd street Promenade we encountered many, many people down on their luck- obviously living in the park. Most were mentally unstable- as one was yelling "Welcome to Child Molester Park- this is where we live". Totally spooked my daughter. Yes we encountered homeless in Hollywood- but not to that magnitude.

I guess it depends on what you want to see. We loved doing the Hollywood sights - SM was a disappointment. Loved the drive to get there through Beverly Hills- down sunset blvd.

Santa Monica...
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for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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8. Re: LA or Santa Monica

Doubletree is further from the downtown area, but not by much. It sits on a freeway, no views. Holiday Inn has great views, great location, but currently surrounded by construction - get a high floor.

Glos
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84 posts
6 reviews
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9. Re: LA or Santa Monica

We are now thinking maybe Laguna Beach...I'm guessing maybe an hours drive into Hollywood??

Rancho Santa...
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8 reviews
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10. Re: LA or Santa Monica

What do you want to do during your visit? You only have two days, so your time will be at a premium. In addition to price and availability at this late hour, I think this should drive your decision about where to stay.

Laguna Beach is lovely. But, it is not what I'd call convenient to Los Angeles. Staying here and driving to L.A. proper will give you a strong feeling for the L.A. freeway experience. I'm not sure this is your priority.

I'm a little puzzled by the concerns raised about Santa Monica. Yes, there is a significant transient population which exists. However, this experience shouldn't be taken as representive. That said, I'm sure it was a very unpleasant experience for those involved. I find Santa Monica is a good location for first-time visitors, particularly those with little time.

HTH