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Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

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Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please


We are flying into and staying in Burbank at the Best Western Media due to it's proximity to WB studios. We have 3+ days in LA (Saturday afternoon-Weds AM), with Monday committed to an 8:45 AM WB VIP tour and Ellen taping in the PM. Traveling with my 14 year old and my sister.

On our to-do list we also would like to see:

The Getty Museum

Griffith Observatory

Santa Monica &/or Venice Beach and/or Malibu (Sunday looks better weather-wise but how busy?)

Farmer's Market

A way to see walk of fame, Chinese theatre, Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive in a tour--either Hop on Hop Off or a traditional tour--very open to suggestions! Does HOHO make sense to get to Santa Monica and Venice Beach?

We will have a rental car, but not sure how much effort is involved in getting to these places from Burbank? We planned to try to go to the Farmer's Market when we arrive around 1:30-2 Saturday afternoon. Is that a bad idea?

Any advice, opinions, or suggestions would be deeply appreciated. Thank you.

Corona del Mar, CA
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1. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

Others may disagree, but I'm probably the only one of the regular posters who has lived in Burbank.

I wouldn't change, the Best Western Plus Media Center Inn is a nice hotel and a good location in a very walkable neighborhood with some good restaurants.

By staying Burbank you maybe add 10 minutes to your drive to the sites you've mentioned, but the tradeoff is being in a relatively new hotel in a nice area.

To see the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Hollywood sign and Hollywood, just drive the 10 minutes to the Hollywood and Highland Center and you can see all those from there then drive to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. You can park in the pay lots at the north end of Rodeo in the metered lots between Santa Monica Blvd and Little Santa Monica Blvd.

The Hop On Hop Off Bus is $44 per person, so that would be $132 for the three of you and to get to Santa Monica using the HoHo you need two different buses AFTER parking in Hollywood to catch it and a third bus to get to Venice Beach and then the same three bus routes to get back to your car.

It is much faster, easier and cheaper to drive yourself.

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2. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

Thank you very much! Are there days and times we should avoid trying to get to Santa Monica, or into Hollywood? Would Sunday be a better Hollywood day and the beaches better on Tuesday? I also considered going through Calabasas enroute to Malibu and down to Santa Monica instead of going through town?

Thanks again!!!!!

Corona del Mar, CA
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3. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

Hollywood is just over the hill from Burbank. I'd avoid Pass Ave and the Cahuenga Pass at peak traffic times (7-9AM and 4-6PM), but other than that you are fine.

I think you are worry way too much about traffic. It is what it is. Calabasas can be just as bad on the 101 as any place. As long as you don't have to be some place at some specific time, just relax and go with the flow.

I would not miss the drive on the 1 from Santa Monica or vice versa. If you wanted to loop, that might be okay, but it isn't a big deal to do it both ways.

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4. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

Note Griffith Obs. is closed on Mondays, as is the Getty, so don't plan for those on the Monday.

Farmers Market on Saturday should be fine, but it and the adjoining Grove mall are crowded on weekends. Sunday would be better for Santa Monica and perhaps the Getty on the way back in terms of traffic (and yes, driving to somewhere like Calabasas and then heading to the coast via one of the canyon roads is a good idea, especially if you don't have big mountains etc. where you are from since it would be something different to see), but depending on the time of year, beaches can be crowded on weekends (are you coming this week? Since you said Sunday looks better weather-wise, I'm guessing yes?). Santa Monica more crowded on weekends especially including the non-beach stuff there.

As mentioned, HoHo bus probably does not make sense for Santa Monica / Venice, but its up to you. If you drive from Burbank to Hollywood, you need to use two of the HoHo's 2-hour loops ( the red loop and the yellow loop_ to reach Santa Monica - meaning each of those is 2 hours round trip assuming that you never leave the bus, so that's 4 hours back and forth. You can walk from Santa Monica to Venice along the beach in 30-45 minutes, or you can use a 3rd loop for the HoHo tour - the Green Loop - but the Green Loop is another 90 minutes. So from purely a transportation standpoint, HoHo would be a lot slower than using your own car. But, of course, you miss out on all the tour guide narration and commentary, etc. if you drive yourself. You could trim some time off the HoHo bus if you drove from Burbank to Beverly Hills, parked there, and then got the Yellow loop from there to Santa Monica, which eliminates the 2-hour red loop from the equation.

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5. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

My only real advice would be for weekends at the beach, is to get there early - like before 10. After that, there will be loads of traffic and people. Much easier to get out of than to get into. Definitely drive.

I'd try to do a drive up the coast (and back) around 8 or 9 and park in Venice by 10. Walk along the boardwalk, maybe get a late breakfast at the Sidewalk Cafe, rent bikes and bike up to Santa Monica. Explore the Pier and Santa Monica proper for a while and head back. It's a short bike ride (maybe 15-20 minutes) each way.

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6. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

My suggestions:

1) Consider visiting the Getty after you leave LAX. It makes a great intro to LA.

2) If you go to Santa Monica on Sunday, I agree, get there by 10 a.m. If the weather is good, the beach areas will get busy. Venice Beach is optional. All I will say is they have upped the police presence.

3) When visiting the Griffith Observatory, bear in mind, the Observatory building may be closed on Mondays. But, you can still productively visit the Observatory. People go to enjoy the views which are iconic. Dusk or early evening is very worthwhile.

4) Are you aware of the Grammy Museum? If not, consider a stop here for your Hollywood/entertainment biz fix. It is located at the LA Live complex in downtown.



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7. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

Scott, you said: "Others may disagree, but I'm probably the only one of the regular posters who has lived in Burbank."

I don't disagree. You ARE probably the only one of the regular posters who has lived in Burbank"


Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Lots of great info above. Here's my 2-cents:

1. The BW Media Center is a fine property -- nicer than most of the properties in Hollywood so I would stay put. Add to that, there are wonderful dining options within walking distance of your hotel including Don Cuco (Mexican), Bob's Big Boy (hamburgers), Mo's (gourmet hamburgers), Timmy Nolan's (Irish Pub -- a little bit of a walk or just drive they have a parking lot behind the pub).

I'm not as optimistic about the 'drive time' between the hotel and central Hollywood, however. 10 minutes is likely at 3 a.m. In practice, Barham Bl is a busy route and it's upsloped and has traffic signals which always causes traffic to lag. I'd estimate closer to 15 or 20 minutes, most of the day, 30 to 40 minutes during 'rush hours' (morning rush hour TO Hollywood: 6:00 to 9:00; afternoon rush hour FROM Hollywood to Burbank: 4pm to 7pm. I would still stay in Burbank, however.

You don't say when the trip is: If it's during the 'concert season' at the Hollywood Bowl that will add to the traffic.

2. Hitch's idea of hitting the Getty upon landing (is it the Getty Center or the Getty Villa? Both are hilltop art museums). My fav is the villa. If you opt for that, it will be a little out of the way, the first day and I believe you still need reservations to visit. For both museums, check the website at getty.edu/visit

3. Santa Monica is liveliest on the weekend so I'd visit it on Sunday (along with Venice/Malibu, time permitting). You COULD drive to Santa Monica and take the Santa Monica/Venice loop of the HoHo if you wanted.

4. You could certainly see the Farmers Market, Rodeo Drive and the Observatory on Tuesday.

5. As far as Hollywood attractions are concerned, since they're near your hotel, relatively-speaking, you could fit them in anytime (on your arrival day), before heading to the Getty, on Tuesday or even on the way to the airport. Keep in mind that the Walk of Fame never closes; nor does the courtyard to the Chinese Theater, views of the Hollywood sign from the rear balcony area of the Hollywood & Highland Center Mall (next to the Chinese Theater and, also, therefore, on the Walk of Fame).

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8. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

I would take the city bus from the Best Western to Hollywood. The bus stop is a block from the hotel, it runs late, you don't have to worry about driving and parking, and it's just a 20 minute trip (on weekends this bus is usually more than half empty). Once at the Walk of Fame, you can easily hop a 2nd bus down to the Farmer's Market if you really want to.

Any driving trips should be done on Sat and Sun, so I'd do Rodeo Drive Sunday morning and then continue to Santa Monica after noon.

Griffith Observatory is closed on Mondays.

Upon arrival on Saturday you might just want to walk over and explore the Toluca Lake district instead of going to Farmers market. Then drive to Griffith Observatory after dinner.

Maybe you're planning to go directly from LAX to Farmer's Market? Parking there is pretty secure but I still wouldn't leave a van full of luggage-in-sight....if your baggage is in a trunk you will be more comfortable


Hollywood sign/ Walk of Fame/ Chinese takes very little time unless you love shopping for trinkets and tshirts or wish to see a movie.

Burbank has a store called "It's A Wrap" that sells wardrobe from various tv shows. Fun shop to visit and just over a mile from your hotel.

9. Re: Rethinking staying in Burbank and itinerary help please

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