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One day in L.A.

Manchester, United...
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One day in L.A.

Me and my girlfriend will be landing at LAX on August 21 2013 at 9 o'clock and have the day to spend till we fly out again at 8pm. The bus tours don't fit in with the times we are there as i have already looked into this.

We want to see atleast Santa Monica and the Pier, Venice Beach and Rodeo Drive. What would be the best way to see all of these?

Any other recommendations on what we should do when we are there are appreciated.

Sydney, New South...
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1. Re: One day in L.A.

Have you looked at Tours by locals? They aren't cheap but they seem a good way of seeing the city and what you want to see. I have never used them but read a really positive report about them on TA the other day.

Manhattan Beach...
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2. Re: One day in L.A.

This is a common question. You don't have as huge an amount of time as you think you do due to annoyances like customs, immigration, baggage claim, traffic into and out of LAX and check-in for your next flight. Depending on the day of the week I think you probably have about 4 or 5 good tourist hours. I think that renting a car would consume too much time and that taxis are a good alternative. If it was a weekend Venice would be a good stop.The Promenade in Santa Monica would also work. Less iconic, but closer and safer, is Manhattan Beach by its pier. Cab fare and tip would be about $25 each way. There are bars and restaurants and stores near the beach. I am not sure what you would do with the suitcases. The further away from LAX you get the more nervous I'd get because of the vagueries of traffic.

Los Angeles
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3. Re: One day in L.A.

I would suggest renting a car. You should have enough time to do so. A quick drive over to Beverly Hills for Rodeo Drive, then to Santa Monica, then to Venice and then back to LAX should be do-able with short stops at each. The car will give you a place to keep your luggage (assuming that it won't be checked through to your next flight).

Manhattan Beach...
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4. Re: One day in L.A.

I see that you are coming in on a Wednesday. If you get to Santa Monica before 1:30 PM you can catch the farmers market. I don't think that Venice Beach on a week day would be that interesting, but there are interesting stores in the Venice/Santa Monica area, near the beach.

California
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5. Re: One day in L.A.

Los Angeles is a sprawling city. Take an HOHO bus to see as much of the city as possible. There are many companies listed so check out their routes and repost as to which ones are recommended.

Santa Monica, CA
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6. Re: One day in L.A.

The issue is typically one of luggage. Will yours be checked through or will you have it with you that day? If it is with you, I think your only logical option is a car hire for the day. There are no convenient/inexpensive storage places at LAX.

West Hollywood...
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7. Re: One day in L.A.

Grayline, America's largest tour company, offers tours of the L.A. metro area that depart in the morning as well as in the early afternoon. The latter would work perfectly for you. Assuming that your flight is an international one, it should take no more than 90 minutes for you to emerge from the terminal. That would make it 10:30. Let's call it 11:00 to be safe.

Here is a description of the Grayline tour that would work best for you:

amazinglatours.com/1b-beverly-hills-hollywoo…

The tour length is 3-1/2 hours. Notice that it does not include Santa Monica or Venice but you can see those on your own since the launch point for the tour is not far from the Santa Monica Pier and Venice is accessible from Santa Monica (it's the adjacent neighborhood -- more on this, below).

All of this assumes that all of your luggage will be checked onto your onward flight. Even carry-on luggage will be a bit of a hindrance on this tour (and on the self tour of Santa Monica/Venice -- but that's up to you).

The website I've linked to above is for a company called "Amazing L.A. Tours" and they are simply ticket brokers whose office is located in Santa Monica. The tour is conducted by Grayline and a description of it appears on Grayline's website as well. Here is the description of the tour from Grayline's site:

grayline.com/tours/….Ud2gU1MRJ6k

Click on the tabs below the photos for more details.

The Amazing LA Tour's website is a little bit easier to manage. For one thing, there is a drop-down menu that tells us which hotels the tour picks up at. If you scroll to the bottom of the list, you'll see a list of hotels in "El Segundo and LAX". The pickup time for LAX hotels is between 12:20 and 12:30 and the transfer bus is designed to get you to Amazing L.A.'s tour center in Santa Monica in time for the 1:30 pm departure of the tour. Their address is:

Amazing LA’s Tour Center located at 1423 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

The transfer bus will drop you at the tour center around 1 pm and then, you'll queue up to have your tickets looked at and then you'll be assigned to a bus. The tour should conclude around 4:30 pm. You're not telling us whether your onward flight is domestic or international. You'll need to be AT THE AIRPORT 1 hour before departure for a domestic flight (75 minutes would be better -- it would be earlier if you had luggage to check) and 2 hours before departure for an international flight.

So, you can do the math as far as how much time you can spend in Santa Monica/Venice 'on your own' before needing to return to LAX. If you have the tour company drop you back at an LAX hotel, that would happen IMMEDIATELY after the tour concluded at the tour center -- so that wouldn't be ideal. So, your best bet would be to use a taxi to and from Santa Monica/Venice which will cost you about $35 each way and take 25 minutes TO Santa Monica and about 45 minutes (with 'rush hour' traffic FROM Santa Monica).

Here are some ideas:

1. Let's assume it's 11:00 when you emerge from the terminal. You can take a taxi to, say, Venice Pier (the southern-most point in Venice). You'll arrive at about 11:25. Remember, you need to be at the TOUR CENTER in Santa Monica by 1pm, for the 1:30pm departure. So, that gives you about 90 minutes to explore Venice (and maybe part of Santa Monica).

The most direct way to explore Venice is to simply head north on the boardwalk (what we call the Strand). There is no way to walk in the wrong direction: the Strand BEGINS at the pier so just keep the ocean on your left and head to the next pier, the Santa Monica Pier. The distance is about 3 miles / 5 km and it would take about 1 hour, 12 minutes to walk. Here's a walking map:

http://mapq.st/1899MGM

2. So, if you walked from one Pier to the other, you'd arriving at the SM Pier at around 12;15. That would give you 45 minutes to walk around the Pier and make your way to the tour center. Here's a map of the walk from the SM Pier to the tour center:

http://mapq.st/12ZoNGH

...a 14-minute walk. There are lots of places to eat in this area so you could grab lunch during this time (and even skip the Pier for now and see it after the tour).

3. Another variation of this would be to hire bicycles and ride up the Strand to the Santa Monica Pier. Perry's Bicycle rental has numerous locations -- including ones near each pier -- so you could pick up the bikes at one pier and drop them at the other. The ride (without stopping) would take about 13 minutes -- giving you plenty of time to stop and look around.

http://www.perryscafe.com/#/BeachRentals/

Here are their locations: http://www.perryscafe.com/#/locations/

4. When you return from the tour, you have some choices:

a. The tour will return to the tour center at 4:30. If you need to be at LAX by 6:00 (for an international flight), I would simply allow the tour company to drop you back at a hotel adjacent to LAX. This could take 45 minutes or so (to reach the hotel) and then you'd need to wait for the hotel's airport shuttle to pull up and take you to the airport (give that about 20 minutes to do that). So, that will put you in the airport at about 5:35 -- better to be early than late.

Alternatively, you could take a quick peek at the SM Pier or the 3rd Street Promenade (both are adjacent to the tour center) followed by a taxi directly to your terminal (I'd give it 45 minutes to be safe).

5. The only thing left to consider is: which hotel near LAX do you want to be picked up/dropped off at (if, in fact, you don't take taxis in both directions). It's kind of arbitrary but the LAX hotel which is CLOSEST to LAX is the Radisson.

Hope this helps. Have a great visit.

Manhattan Beach...
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8. Re: One day in L.A.

If you are flying out of LAX on United, and checking in bags, you need to be in their line, at the terminal, at least 90 minutes before the flight. In general, the lines in the United terminal are long and disorganized.

Edited: 10 July 2013, 22:11
9. Re: One day in L.A.

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