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How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

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Townsville...
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How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

Hi there!! Firstly let me say, thanks for reading & offering advice! Your time, suggestion and comments are appreciated.

We are 2 (very!) late 30's adults, travelling with our 2 teenage boys on an epic round the world trip in April this year. Our last leg is a 6 day stop in LA, we arrive on 17 April . I have been reading the forums & trying to put pieces together for a fun, not overly stressful travel plan but I cant find many posts for our kind of family, or a family that doesn't have young kids. We're not really into celebrity spotting, or seeing where the rich people hang out, so perhaps LA wasn't the most ideal stop for us???

I know that the theme parks are pretty high up on things to do, and there are a ton to choose from BUT if you had to narrow it down to just one, which one would be more suitable for older kids (& bigger kids like us who cant handle too many rides?)

A day at any theme part can really take it out of a person so the idea of doing more than one theme park while we are there, sounds painful & maybe a waste of money??

In late April, are the crowds & lines at all theme parks going to be long & not worth the wait? Is front of line" deal a better option & worth the extra money to spend?

We would like to get to a taping of the Ellen show, although reading posts in here, tickets seem ridiculously hard to come by. I'm guessing that kids aren't allowed?

A lot of travel forums list & highly rate the California beaches as a must see, however we live in North Queensland, Australia, along the Great Barrier Reef so seeing beautiful beaches is a daily occurrence for us.

I know that a lot of the destination experts state to list your interests & put some context behind what we want to do & realistically, all I can give you is the above.

I guess my main question to ask of someone with the knowledge of the area is that if you were only going to be able to visit LA once in your lifetime, what would you absolutely HAVE to do & see? Even if it means redefining the travel area to all of California?

Thanks so much for your time!

Dublin, California
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1. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

LA (including the greater Los Angeles area) is a huge and very diverse area. There are lots you can do to entertain yourselves. For theme park of course Disneyland is a must. There are some very good museums, great restaurants, and beautiful architecture.

Santa Clara...
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2. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

Even though people think Disneyland is for younger kids, there are a lot of things to do for teens in DL and California Adventure. It also has milder stuff for you parental units. But if they are die hard thrill ride fans, then Six Flags and Knotts are the places to go. There really are not have to or must see. It really is up to you. If this were San Francisco, I would say don't miss the Golden Gate Bridge. Can not think of something that iconic in LA, not even the Hollywood sign or walk of fame (which I think is dirty and a waste of time but that might just be me.)

If you want to get away from the beach and celebrity things, how about going inland to Palms Springs? It won't be too hot yet in April. Easter is mid April so it may be very crowded in LA and Disneyland due to all the families on Spring Break. There is a lot to do in terms of outdoor activitirs in the desert. Joshua Tree has rock climibing if your teens are into that. You can hike and bike. There are opportunities to go off road vehicles too. The desert is only about 2 hrs from LAX.

Edited: 12 January 2014, 05:21
Los Angeles
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3. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

I think it depends a bit.

For theme parks, if I only had one day, I'd probably do Disneyland which is, as they say, "for kids of all ages" - I think its the one that will really be of the most interest to the most people. Disneyland itself is right next to a second Disney Park - Disney's California Adventure. With only one day, I wouldn't do California Adventure exclusively, however you can buy 'park hopper' passes which allow you to freely switch between the two Disney Parks - something I'd probably not do with only one day and just stick to Disneyland itself, but it is an option and a way to see two parks in only one day.

The other main theme parks are Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain (which focuses heavily on thrill rides so may not be a good choice for the adults in your group, as you mentioned) and Universal Studios, which is probably the smallest of the parks, may not even take quite a full day and is a bit more geared to teenagers rather than younger kids.

Generally I would not expect particularly large crowds at the theme parks in late April. Some theme parks actually allow you to buy regular tickets, enter the park, see the actual crowd levels, and then upgrade to front of the line passes if you choose to, and the total cost is the same as risking buying the passes before entering the park and seeing the actual crowd levels. Universal Studios is one park that allows this.

You can get info on tickets for the Ellen show here: http://www.ellentv.com/tickets/ Everyone must be at least 14 years old.

As to what you have to see if you only go to LA once in your life - well, it does depend on interests but I guess it really comes down to things that are unique to LA (or to California), or nearly so, that you couldn't see anywhere else. One thing that comes to mind is the space shuttle orbiter Endeavor which is at the California Science Center - since there are only four in existence at various museums in the US, this is a pretty unique thing. What else is unique? Well, outside of LA there's the coast between LA and San Francisco, especially the portion known as Big Sur, which is one of the most scenic drives in the world. In northern California you can visit the various Sequoia and Red Wood forests - these trees are the largest living things on earth. And, for beauty, there's no beating Yosemite National Park. But, with only 6 days and some large distances involved, you'll have to pick and chose a bit.

california
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4. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

Griffith Park observatory, maybe a Dodger game, studio tour (maybe Universal would work for the theme park), Endeavor space shuttle, downtown Olvera Street (or visit one of the missions or historic ranch houses), hiking or horseback riding (maybe Griffith Park or Will Rogers State Park). A day trip to San Juan Capistrano. One if the two car museums (Nethercutt or Petersen).

You can find reviews of attractions on TA under " things to do"

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32655-Activitie…

Santa Monica, CA
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5. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

I'm not apt to recommend theme parks; they are pretty much everywhere. LA is blessed with wonderful weather, so outdoors is the best.

Teens love Santa Monica. From the 3rd St. Promenade to all the beach activities and sports, young people really like the vibe here. Spend at least a day visiting the pier, riding bikes through Venice Beach (and beyond), strolling Main St.

Our mountains are very entertaining and April is a good month for hiking in them. Both Griffith Park (home to the Griffith Observatory - another must-see) and the Santa Monica mountains have hikes of all levels. From the Santa Monica mountains, you get great sea breezes and views as well.

Museums, galleries, shopping. Some kids enjoy a good museum experience. I always plan at least one (or a walking tour) in an attempt to broaden my kids' horizons! LA is home to the Natural History Museum (excellent dinosaur exhibit - great for all ages), the Science Center (Endeavor space shuttle), LaBrea Tarpits/Page Museum (mastadons and saber tooth tigers have been uncovered from the goo there), the Grammy Museum downtown should be interesting to your teens (afterward, do a walking tour of downtown).

Don't overlook the Getty Museum or the Getty Villa, both of which are beautiful. Again, it never hurts to bring kids to a place like this for a couple of hours.

Malibu is a great day trip (you'll need a rental car). From tidepools to huge sand dunes to run down to pocket beaches with wild waves and huge boulders, it is rugged and beautiful. Again, hiking trails abound right off of the Pacific Coast Highway.

LA Zoo, horseback riding, hiking, and scenic views of the vast city can be found at Griffith Park.

california
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6. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

Being from Queensland you will not be impressed with Santa Monica or Venice Beach (both urban beaches created by sand replenishment). It always amuses when some of our experts don't "get" this.

Santa Monica, CA
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7. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

A Southern California experience that doesn't include beaches would be both odd and dull, IMO. My recommendations only included a tiny amount of time devoted to beaches, so not sure why mlgb felt it necessary to do her usual snippy bash.

Santa Cruz...
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8. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

Ummm...7 days in LA would be 4 days too many for me.

I am wondering why you don't mention San Francisco? Will you have been here before LA?

Edited: 13 January 2014, 05:31
Santa Cruz...
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9. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

OK...misread, but 6 days would still be 3 days too many for me.

Townsville...
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10. Re: How to amuse 2 adults & 2 teenages in LA for 5 days?

Hi Everyone! Thanks for your replies so far - lots to think about.

We are flying in from London so LA is our only US stop, which is disappointing, but for the price, was the only way we could afford it.

Beaches arent really on our to do list, although I have no doubt they are absolutely beautiful! But thanks to all who recommended.

Thanks MachThree, we are definately keen to visit the California Science Centre & Yosemite would be great, but just not sure of the travel & whether we can realistically fit it in!

I do like the idea of flying to San Fransisco & then possibly driving back down the coast to LA, maybe spending the last few days in LA & then fly home to Australia. Our travel agent didnt believe we had enough time to do that & was highly against us hiring a car.

So in short and to answer your question Puter, we dont want to spend all the time in LA & would love to see more of California.

Thanks again - your suggestions & feedback is fantastic. Keep them coming :)