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3 day trip to LA

London
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3 day trip to LA

We are visiting LA 1st-4th June 2010. We have not planned to hire a car but would like to know if we will need one. We are staying in the 'Ramada Hollywood Near Universal Studios' hotel.

We are planning to visit -Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Getty Museum, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, Catalina Island, Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach, West Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory.

Does the Metro extend to these sites, and if so, which stations? Will any of them need a car to get there? Are there any other places of interest we should see? We are a couple, aged 28 and 30.

Los Angeles
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1. Re: 3 day trip to LA

For ideas on what to see, have a look at the FAQ's at the top of this forum, or visit www.discoverlosangeles.com

I would advise you to look into having a car for this trip.

A car is easier, more convenient, and most of all quicker than relying on public transportation. And, as it is, the locations you've listed would be a very ambitious list of things to do in 3-4 days, even with a car. You can reach most of them on public transportation, but the time you'll spend on public transportation will really hamper your ability to squeeze this all in. Universal Studios, by itself, is at least 1/2 day. Practically speaking, Catalina is going to take most of one day too.

May I ask what sort of rate you are getting at the Ramada, and if your reservations can be cancelled without penalty? There are nicer places to stay that will be more convenient for your itinerary, possibly for the same or less money than you might be paying.

In any case, that hotel is near the Vermont / Santa Monica metro station, an easy walk to it, which will be helpful for your trip if you don't have a car.

Of the places that you listed, you can use the subway to reach The Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, Kodak Theater, and Hollywood Sign. Walk to the subway station at Santa Monica Blvd. and Vermont Ave. (short walk), take the red line subway towards North Hollywood. Exit at the Hollywood & Highland Station. All of the above are very close to the Hollywood / Highland subway station, however the sign itself you can not actually visit (the site is closed off, but you can get a great view of the sign from this area).

You can also reach Universal Studios on the metro by taking the subway to the Universal City station, there is a free shuttle bus from the station to the Universal Studios entrance. Again, walk to metro station, take red line towards North Hollywood, exit Universal City station.

On weekends, you'd be able to use the metro + one bus to reach Griffith Observatory, but the bus in question only runs on the weekends which doesn't correspond with your dates. So for the observatory you'll want to use a taxi.

To reach Santa Monica, you can walk from the hotel south to intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Vermont Ave., and take bus 704 from here towards Santa Monica. Exit at Santa Monica Blvd. and 3rd St. You'll want to do Venice at the same time as Santa Monica. You can actually walk along the beach from Santa Monica to Venice (about a 45 minute walk each way) or you can take bus 33 or 333 from intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Ave. towards downtown / union station, and exit at intersection of Venice Way and Main St.

To reach West Hollywood, walk from the hotel to Santa Monica Blvd. and Vermont Ave. and take bus 704 again towards Santa Monica. Exit at corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Sweetzer Ave. Walk north along Sweetzer for about 1/4 mile to Sunset Blvd. and you'll be smack in the middle of West Hollywood and The Sunset Strip.

To reach Rodeo Drive, again bus 704 towards Santa Monica - this time exit at Santa Monica Blvd. and Canon Drive. Continue walking west on Santa Monica Blvd. two blocks to Rodeo Drive, then walk south on Rodeo.

To reach the Getty Center in Brentwood its a bit more complicated. Take the Red Line subway towards North Hollywood, exit at Sunset / Vermont Station. From here take bus 2 or 302 towards UCLA. Exit at corner of Sunset and Hilgard Ave. Walk south on Hilgard to Charin Cross Road. From here take bus 761 towards Pacoima. Exit at Sepulveda Blvd. and Getty Center Drive.

To reach Catalina, your best bet is probably to use the ferry boat from Marina Del Rey. Walk from hotel to Vermont / Lexington intersection. Take bus 204 towards Vermont Station. Exit at intersection of Vermont and Slausson. From the same intersection, take bus 108 or 358 towards Marina Del Rey. Exit at intersection of Admiralty Way and Mindinao Way. Now, you have about a mile + of walking to do. Walk south along Admiralty Way until you reach Fiji Way. Then walk West along Fiji Way until you reach the Catalina Express boat (there's sort of a fisherman's wharf touristy center here, their office is at the docks behind the center next to the water).

In any case, it may make sense to combine some of these into one outing, instead of starting out at the hotel each time. Hollywood, West Hollywood and Rodeo Drive in one day, for example, and Getty, Santa Monica and Venice into another outing.

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2. Re: 3 day trip to LA

I too fear that without a car, you won't be able to work in all these sights. If you take public transportation plus the ferry to Catalina, for example, that's one whole day (although I suppose you could try seeing Rodeo Drive briefly on the way back - but Rodeo Drive is quite quiet at night).

Using public transportation, the Getty Center would take the better part of the day (although again, some sights like Grauman's and the Hollywood Walk of Fame) can be seen in the evening.

I'd allow the better part of a day for really seeing Venice/Santa Monica and getting into the vibe out that way. Laguna Beach is another great town with a focus on the arts, but if your goal is to get out on the water to see California from the sea, then Catalina is a good choice (although I think there's more to do and see in Laguna, Venice and Santa Monica than in all of Catalina, just an opinion).

Griffith Park Observatory is great. Don't forget to check out the many live music venues around where you will be staying - L.A. has some pretty good entertainment.

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3. Re: 3 day trip to LA

I'm just going to come out and say it:

Forget Catalina.

Even with a car, it's a whole day trip (much of which is wasted going to and from the island) There are a number of cruise ports that offer the triansfer and Marina del Rey's (which is the closest to Hollywood and the most expensive) offers boats that, like the others, take about an hour to get to the island. Since it would take an additional hour to get to the port (and either park your car and queue up for the boat or walk from the nearest bus stop and then queue up), that's 4 hours return in transferring alone, Given that you will be in L.A. for only 3 days (I am guessing that your arrival and/or departure days will only afford touring time for part of these days), there are much more worthy attractions at which to spend your time than at Catalina.

Without Catalina, much of what you can see is possible via public transit. As MachThree mentioned, the following attractions are within a short distance of these public transit stations:

1. Near the Hollywood & Hghland red line station (a 6-minute ride from the Sunset/Vermont red line station which is close to your hotel):

a. Chinese Theater

b Walk of Fame

c. One of Many views of the Hollywood sign (from the rear of the Hollywood & Highland Center mall).

d. Kodak Theater

2. Near the Universal City red line station (4 minutes beyond the Hollywood & Highland Station):

a. Universal Studios (via the free tram 'up the hill to the park')

b. Also recommended: Warner Bros studio tour (via one of two buses you can transfer to at the Univeral City bus plaza -- next to the red line station) Ride is 10 minutes. This 2-1/2 hour tour is conducted on a 12-passenger tram which stops often so you can go inside sound stages, prop houses, etc for an up-close look at the workings of a studio.

Universal, on the other hand has a tram tour but it is less than an hour in duration, is conducted on a tram with over 200 people on it and has no live tour guide (the tour is projected on video screens in the tram). The tram doesn't stop for you to get off and explore; it just drives by the sets and sound stages but it does stop to witness special effects along the way (the shark from the movie "Jaws" "attacks" the tram, a bridge "collapses" while the tram drives over it, etc.

Universal is largely a theme park with live shows and rides.

3. From the corner of Santa Monica Bl & Vermont Av (near your hotel), the #704 express bus will take you to (in this order)::

a. West Hollywood (short walk to the sunset strip)

b. Beverly Hills (get off at the corner of Santa Monica Bl and Canon Drive and it's a short walk to Rodeo Drive)

c. Santa Monica (and then onto Venice on foot, on bicycle -- available for hire at the beach -- or via local public transit).

It will take a full day to see Universal and the attractions of Hollywood and another full day to see Rodeo, the Sunset Strip (west Hollywood) and Santa Monica/Venice Beaches (that's a VERY full day. You might want to visit the sunset strip from Hollywood & Highland -- lots of buses go there from there (10 minute ride).

So, that's 2 full days and given that itinerary, I don't believe that having a car would make things go any faster since the red line is unbeatable in terms of speed (as it is underground and not affected by traffic) and the #704 is a "rapid bus" which moves quickly (stops only at major intersections and can make traffic signals turn from red to green). Lastly, these public transit routes go directly to what you're interested in so you won't waste time transferring or having to walk long distances. (The exception is in Santa Monica/Venice but you'd have to do a lot of walking whether you drove or not which would require 'walking back to get the car" -- something you wouldn't have to do since there are bus stops everywhere.

So, again, that's 2 FULL DAYS. How many hours of touring remain for you? Do you have a full FIRST DAY (on the 1st) as well as a FULL DAY on the 4th? (How about jetlag?)

Depending on how many days you have left, you can consider visiting the Getty, the Observatory and, yes, even Catalina. I'll tell you in advance that I'm not a huge fan of the Getty. It is the MOST POPULAR tourist destination in the city of Los Angeles and I'm not really sure why. Yes, it has some great views but so does the Griffith Observatory. I wouldn't go to the Observatory AND the Getty because of this If you're looking for good art, there are better museums for art (which are a lot easier to access via public transit, btw) than the Getty. I make it no secret that I'm a big fan of the Hammer Museum in Westwood which you can access from the #704 bus when it stops at the corner of Wilshire Bl in Beverly Hills (just beyond the Canon Drive stop). At that intersection, transfer to any Westbound bus on Wilshire (the #920, #720, or #20) and get off at the corner of Wilshire Bl & Westwood Bl 8 or 9 minutes later. The museum will be in front of you as you exit the bus.

Another option for you is to hire a car for one day and use it to drive to either Hammer or the Getty and then onto Santa Monica/Venice.

Lastly, I'll agree with the prior poster and recommend that you change your hotel if it's possible. Sad to say, the Ramada Hollywood Near Universal Studios isn't even in the Hollywood city centre and it's not 'near Universal Studios'. True, you can walk to the red line station from the hotel, ride for 10 minutes to Universal City and then take the tram to Universal Studios. But when you ride the red line for 10 minutes, you're passing under dozens of hotels that are a lot closer to Universal than the Ramada is.

Get a copy of the DKK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Los Angeles (a British publication) from your local book shop or library Google it for more info.

Look at our FAQs section (a link at the top of the TOPIC LIST). Once there, click on 'Itinerary Ideas'. Also look at the city's tourism website:

DiscoverLosAngeles.com

If it's possible to change hotels, tell us how much you were paying for the Ramada and will see if we can do better.

Mission Viejo...
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4. Re: 3 day trip to LA

I agree that you should skip Catalina, it will consume an entire, very long day. It's quaint and scenic, but you can get some of the same flavor in the beach communities on the mainland. Since you're visiting in June, be aware there will probably be "June Gloom"....a layer of overcast that persists until noon and sometimes all day. Catalina will probably be cold and drizzly.

Also be aware you can't go *to* the Hollywood sign, but can see it from afar from most of the places you plan to visit. Plan Griffith Park Observatory for the late afternoon; if the overcast burns off there will be a great view of the HW sign and the entire LA area.

Edited: 28 December 2009, 06:16
Hollywood, CA
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5. Re: 3 day trip to LA

Yes you can go to the Hollywood Sign and actually stand right behind it ion top of Mount Lee if you are willing to do a 20-30 minute hike on a paved service road up the mountain. The path is not publicized much and is a little secret of the locals. The general manager at the hotel you are staying has done the hike many times and knows the way. He can give you the directions. The views from atop Mount Lee are spectacular and the pictures you would take from up there would be very special.

Hollywood, CA
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6. Re: 3 day trip to LA

The Griffith Obsevatory is on top of Mount Hollywood which is up the street from the Ramada Hollywood on Vermont Avenue where you are staying. By the way there is also the DASH shuttle bus which stops in front of the Ramada Hollywood which does a complete loop around Hollywood and only costs 25 cents to ride. If you need to rent a car for a day the Ramada Hollywood has a car rental agency located in the hotel starting as low as $39 per day. Go to the hotel website www.hollywoodhotel.net for more info. For more info on bus and metro schedules please visit www.metro.net

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7. Re: 3 day trip to LA

For 3 nights at the Ramada Hollywood I am paying £190.38 in total, with breakfast. My cancellation fee would be £15.42, which I would swallow if I could get a better located hotel for a similar price!

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8. Re: 3 day trip to LA

We arrive at LAX airport at 15.45 on the 1st day (1st June) from Vegas, so no jetlag. We leave LAX at 16.45 on the 4th day(4th June). The rate I am paying for the Ramada is 190.38 for all 3 days,including breakfast. My cancellation fee would be £15, which I would swallow if I could get a better located hotel for a similar price.

9. Re: 3 day trip to LA

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