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1st time in LA....need advice!

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henley, mo
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1st time in LA....need advice!

We will be bringing our children (16 & 18 year old) to California for the first time. We will be here for 6 days. We have booked the Comfort Inn Cockatoo in Hawthorne for our stay and we do have a rental car booked. The kids have mentioned Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd, Hollywood sign, Malibu and Santa Monica Pier. There was also the mention of Huntington Beach or Laguna Beach but I wasn't sure how long of a drive that would be. They have not said anything about going to any of the theme parks as we are trying to do this vacation on a tight budget. Are there any recommendations on additional places to see for our visit? Both my kids are not into museums they prefer action and are daredevils - would of loved to have been there recently for the XGames! They both love Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory on MTV but figured there is no way to make arrangements to visit that. Thanks for any information!

Santa Monica...
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1. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

Hawthorne is extremely inconvenient for visiting the places on your list. Can you change your hotel? What is your budget per night? When is the trip?

Anaheim, California
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2. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

Tight Budget, look at the Alpine Inn in Anaheim or the Newport Channel Inn in the Balboa Peninsula area. Another option that is a bit higher is the Ayres Hotel Chain. Comes with a GREAT free breakfast.

http://www.ayreshotels.com/

Pasadena, California
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3. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

Yogachik has a good point. Please let us know your budget.

Whether or not you stay in Hawthorne, Manhattan Beach is a great small beach town, as is the adjacent Hermosa Beach.

If in the budget, your kids may really enjoy a surf lesson. I know those are available at Santa Monica and Huntington Beach-- possibly Manhattan/Hermosa also. Let me know if that is of interest, and I'll ask my surfer son which location he'd recommend (for the surf, that is-- he won't know anything about the surfing classes).

If you have a rental car, Huntington Beach and Laguna are definitely doable as day trips from LA. No problem. Just try to avoid getting on the road before 9:30 am (easy with teenagers...). And stay at your destination til after an early dinner. You want to avoid major freeway drives between 2:30-7 pm on weekdays, if at all possible.

Pasadena, California
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4. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

Please read the reviews carefully. The hotel sounds just fine but the neighborhood is not the greatest. So drive directly there in the evening, and do all your sightseeing elsewhere.

Huntington Beach...
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5. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

If you come to Huntington Beach, I recommend you get here early (11am), before it gets crowded. M-F would be better. If you don't mind walking a block or two to the beach, there is free street parking in the residential areas west of Downtown HB. I try to park on 7th st between Pacific Coast Hwy and Walnut Ave. You can also try Walnut Ave between 6th St and 8th St. However, pay attention to the signs that indicate no parking on street sweeping days.

Since your hotel is near the 105, you should avoid traveling Westbound in the morning and Eastbound during the afternoon. It's so bad, that at times the car pool lane traffic doesn't move faster than the car pool lanes.

Finally your hotel is convenient since it is close to the airport.

Pasadena, California
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6. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

Possible activities:

1. Rent bikes near the Santa Monica pier; ride north to Annenberg Community Center, then ride south to Venice, turning around at Washington and going back to where you started. Plenty of places to stop for lunch (any of the Perry's fast-food stands, Back on the Beach at the Annenberg, etc). @ 9 miles of level bike path, great views, lots of variety. Highly recommended. Then check out the pier, go in the water, etc. It'll be a great day.

2. Check out Beverly Hills--drive on Sunset Blvd, winding past all the fancy houses. Park near Beverly Hills Hotel (check address, not on Sunset), walk in, look around, have a soda at the old soda-fountain there. Think about all the stars that sat there (my MOL had a nice chat with Paul Newman while sitting at that soda fountain).

3. In Hollywood area--Griffith Park Observatory. Cool building, great views, neat exhibits and planetarium show. Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax for lunch (eat at Gumbo Pot or Loteria, NOT at one of the steam-table places that have been around since the 30s or 60s).

Edited: 06 July 2012, 23:55
henley, mo
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7. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

The main reason I chose that hotel is I am a member of the choice privileges program so most of our stay at this hotel is free. I understand there is no attractions right near the hotel but we are used to driving at least 30mins to get to any town where we live.

Thanks for input... I had considered a surf lesson, how much does that usually cost?

We will be in LA from Tues evening til Wed morning the end of this month. I'm trying to come up with some type of itinerary to make sure we aren't just sitting around our hotel with nothing to do.

Pasadena, California
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8. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

That shouldn't be a problem....if in doubt, just head for the beach...

What kind of activities are you looking for, and do you have a daily budget for entrances/activities? I understand that the theme parks are increasingly expensive, but what kind of $$$ limit are you comfortable with?

henley, mo
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9. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

Don't really have a set budget just trying to do as much as we can for as little as possible. Does anybody know anything about the iFly or anything similar to that? That is something my kids would definitely be interested in.

Oregon
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10. Re: 1st time in LA....need advice!

There are many other Choice hotels in the area, many that are probably in better locations for you.