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Itinerary review and transport help please :)

Hobart, Australia
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Itinerary review and transport help please :)

Thank you in advance for reading this post and your replies. I promise I have researched these boards thoroughly, but some of my questions remain unanswered.

Hubby and I are arriving ~10am at LAX on October 4th. We need to be at San Pedro port ~11am Oct 8th. We are staying at Orchid Suites Hollywood. We have no intention of hiring a car as we're from a very small city that drives on the other side! That's the only stuff we have set in concrete at this stage. We do have a rough plan but have some questions I'd like answered please.

1. LAX to Orchid Suite transfers. Our preferred option is shared shuttle. I wouldn't mind booking in advance but none of the websites explain how to find the shuttles once you arrive and whether if your plane arrives late you forfeit your prepaid fare etc :(

My question is: can the shuttle be arranged on arrival at LAX?

2. Our rough plans are:

Arrival day - check in to hotel, go to Farmer's Market/Grove, La Brea Tar Pits, arrange City Tour for next day - evening unknown

Second day - do organised city tour in morning, afternoon/evening unknown

Third day - Santa Monica, Venice Beach & Third St Promenade

Fourth day - Universal Studios during the day, City Walk in the evening

My questions are:

a) If we purchase the Universal Studios plus shuttle option from Starline tours will we still have time to check out City Walk in the evening (I can't find return shuttle times anywhere)

b) I'd prefer to do the LA City tour in an open-air bus/trolley if possible - are there any reputable companies who offer this?

c) I don't want to travel far in the evenings as we will be reliant upon public transport. Are there any organised tours in the evening other than the one that Starline offer? (I don't really want to do that as it seems too similar to the daytime tour we'll do with them) A pub-crawl style tour that took us to the Viper Room, Whisky-a-go-go, The Comedy Store etc would be right up our alley, but I haven't found any!

d) we don't mind paying a bit extra for convenience: would you recommend HOHO or buses/rail to go to the places I've mentioned.

e) if there aren't any evening tours available, can you please recommend places we would be safe to walk to from Orchid Suites?

Mega-thanks in advance :)

Berkeley, Ca.
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1. Re: Itinerary review and transport help please :)

I'll start the ball rolling and other people can answer more of this.

Your arrival day plan is well-conceived and very feasible on transit. From the Orchid you can just take the Rapid 780 or local 217 bus to the Farmers Market. From there you can walk maybe 15 minutes to the Tar Pits, or take a very short bus ride. You might want to look at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art when you're around there--it's a large and great museum.

You can also do Santa Monica and Venice via transit--you can walk or take a bus from one to the other. It's about an hour ride from Hollywood, you can either take the 780 to the 704 Santa Monica Boulevard Rapid to Santa Monica, or take about a 20 minute walk down (downhill) to Santa Monica Boulevard and take the bus there. There might be an advantage to a tourbus for this if it will take you straight from Hollywood to Santa Monica. As is often noted on here, however, the tourbus won't run as often as the city buses, so there's less flexibility.

Day 4--I don't think you're going to need that much time at Universal Studios, but others are more expert. It's easy to get to--one stop on the Red Line subway from the Hollywood/Highland station that's a block from the Orchid, then a shuttle tram up the hill.

I'm assuming that your pub crawl c would take you fairly late into the evening. If it were early in the evening (end by around 10:00) you could actually do it on the 2 Sunset bus, since all those places are on Sunset.

From the Orchid, you can safely walk along Hollywood Blvd. to Vine St. and a couples block east, and west along Hollywood the shorter distance to La Brea (you could actually keep going, but it becomes a purely residential street). You can also walk along major streets that cross Hollywood, like Vine, Cahuenga, Highland, and La Brea. I'd use caution on smaller side streets in Hollywood, some are OK, but some can still get weird. You can also walk along this section of Sunset, which is two blocks south of Hollywood Blvd., but only some of it is active. There's a busy section right around Sunset & Vine.

West Hollywood...
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2. Re: Itinerary review and transport help please :)

It sounds like you haven't found our FAQs section which can be accessed either from the link at the top of the TOPIC LIST or from the box in the right column near the top of the page that is titled "Top Questions About Los Angeles". There, you will find, among other things, an explanation of all of the LAX transfer options (including where to find the shared vans at LAX), itinerary ideas, descriptions of tours from different tour companies, public transit info, etc, etc.

You might consider a taxi from LAX to the hotel as it will take half the time (40 minutes versus 80 minutes, or so). It will cost more but not that much more than a 'shared van'. You can arrange for the 'shared van' on the spot at LAX (no prior booking required) but if there others waiting to go to the same neighborhood, your transfer could take longer as those with prepaid reservations are given priority as are those who 'walked up' before you.

Remember, in addition to the long flight from Australia, you'll also have to make your way through immigration, baggage claim and customs which could take anywhere from an hour to two. So, saving 40 minutes in your airport transfer may be worth the extra fare, especially since you'll be in a different time zone and, most probably, deprived of sleep.

Since your hotel is in Hollywood and Universal is just north of Hollywood, there is no need to buy transportation to Universal when there are public transit options. As mentioned above, you can take the red line metro rail to the Universal City Station (a 5-minute ride from the nearest Hollywood metro rail station on the corner of Hollywood Bl & Highland Av -- a 3-minute walk from your hotel if you walk through the Hollywood & Highland Center Mall (ask at reception how to do this)).

In addition to using the metro rail. you can also catch the #156 metro bus on the EAST side of Highland Av at the corner of the EASTERN portion of Franklin Av. Both the metro rail and the metro bus will drop you at the bottom of the hill upon which Universal sits so you'll need to add some transfer time for the free tram that will take you to and from the Park. The ride is short (1 to 2 minutes but the tram runs only once every 15 minutes or so).

Other transfer options include:

a. A Taxi (which will run about $12 and drop you AT the entrance gates to the Park -- at the TOP of the hill)>

b. The Starline HoHo tour which also has a stop AT the entrance gates to Universal.

Both Hollywood and the Sunset Strip (which are 10 minutes apart by taxi or bus) are walkable in the evenings. They are packed with pedestrian and automobile traffic. Just stay in well-lit areas with plenty of people and you'll be fine. You could easily do the aforementioned pub crawl on your own.

Look over tours from this company: http://www.lasightseeing.net/tours.aspx

Santa Monica...
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3. Re: Itinerary review and transport help please :)

Take a taxi when you arrive. After such a long flight, and after dealing with customs, you won't want to spend hours on a shared van. The difference in price is very little, yet it will take a quarter of the time.

Be sure to read our FAQs!

Hobart, Australia
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4. Re: Itinerary review and transport help please :)

Thank you all so much for your advice. I actually did read the FAQs in the early days of planning -I should have re-read them after firming up some plans!

5. Re: Itinerary review and transport help please :)

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