Hello Elgato and welcome to the forums.
I think there are a few logistical issues to consider. Are you planning to rent (hire) a car while here? If not, what will you do with your luggage after you check out of your hotel on the 1st? Generally you can leave your luggage at your hotel with the bell hop on the day you check out and then retrieve it before you go to the airport. An LAX hotel would be convenient for that but not much else - its a dull area and not really a good place to be without your own car. If you want to do an organized tour, many tours pick up from the LAX area hotels but then you spend an hour or two each way on the bus going to other hotels to pick up other tourists - its often better to get yourself to the tour assembly point on your own.
This year Monday, September 1 is the Labor Day holiday and that day and the preceding weekend is a traditionally crowded time at the beaches. I would still try to stay at one just don't expect it to be that quiet and it will be a bit pricier than an LAX hotel in most situations.
In any case, for the "what to do" part the easy answer is a tour - try www.starlinetours.com and check their Hop-On/Hop-Off tour in particular. But a tour may not be the right way to go - it depends on you a little bit. What types of things interest you? There's lots to see and do in LA so its hard to tell you what you should do without knowing anything about you or the things that you find interesting.
You'll have to cope with your jetlag and I don't think spending all day in LA and after that leave by 8pm for a 5 hours drive to Las vegas through the desert arriving 1am is such a good idea. Better safe than sorry. Why not stay a 2nd night in LA and drive out early morning. You'll be up very early..
Im going to fly to Vegas meeting there with a buddy. Jetlag shouldnt be that big of a issue, I always sleep on the plane.
I thought just spending a day on the beach, but also figured when already in LA to check out Hollywood and some other spots.
Do you recommend any hotels, just so you know Im Hilton Gold if that helps but doesnt have to be a Hilton of course.
In August, the vibe is at the beach! You can just get a cab or bus to Santa Monica and enjoy the beach and walkable city. If you want budget accommodations, check out Sea View Motel, it's very well located. But you can also stay at an airport hotel if you don't mind the 30 minute bus ride to and from.
Of course you can visit Hollywood, too, but it takes a long time to get there from LAX and the things to see only take about an hour. Like I mentioned, August is hot; the beach is where the action will be.
In terms of Hilton properties near the beach, I think the Doubletree in Santa Monica would be your best bet. Its not one of the closer hotels to the beach in Santa Monica, but its not too far.
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