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2 day trip to LA

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Pittsburgh...
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2 day trip to LA

My fiancé and I will be traveling to Los Angeles this June for 2 full days. We will be renting a car at LAX and will be staying near Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys.

We are planing on going to Malibu on our first day and exploring either Zuma or Westward Beach, heading down PCH-1 towards Santa Monica/Venice. We would like to eat at a place along the coast that offers quality/affordable food with a view. After visiting Malibu, we considered heading south but it is just an idea. Where might be the best place to visit that offers an authentic beach experience/non-touristy experience?

Secondly, on our next day we are considering doing some window-shopping (boutique style shops... not HIGH end) We read about Robertson Blvd, but are not sure what else we could do around that area. We are looking for culture, non-touristy areas, an LA experience that not everyone is trying to have. We also have considered driving through the hills to look at the houses... Any suggestions?

If you have any questions, or need more information, let me know. We really want to have an exciting 2 days in LA, and are looking for as much help as possible. THANKS!

Santa Monica, CA
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1. Re: 2 day trip to LA

For me, Malibu is a full day's experience. Lots of nature - hiking (short to long trails and many right along PCH), glorious beaches of all types, tidepools, sand dune to run down, etc. I enjoy Duke's for lunch or dinner - it's right on the water, mostly fish (Hawaiian inspired).

Santa Monica/Venice is another day. Santa Monica is full of things to do and see - pier, 3rd St. Promenade, beach. It's the complete LA beach experience. Venice Boardwalk is next-door, and quite a contrast. I bit grittier/edgier. A great experience, especially on a weekday when there are fewer people, is to rent bikes and ride the bike path. You can ride past LAX to the South Bay beaches if you'd like - but it's yet another day trip! Understand that a million Anglenos are doing the same thing that you are will help you understand that tourists and locals are mixing all the time, so "touristy" just doesn't mean much here. If you plan your beach day for a weekday, you will not find crowds at any beach.

If you wish to combine the day, here's how I'd do it. Get an early start and drive up PCH in the morning (after 9:00 am). Drive to Leo Carillo State Beach. If you're up to a short hike, ask the attendant there where a good hike would be. Afterward, visit the beach to see if it's low tide. The left-side of the beach has a very large tidepool area, which will be obvious in low tide. You can rock-hop to see urchins, sea cucumbers, octopi, fish, crabs. Then, head back down the coast, stopping whereever you like for photos or to stroll beaches. Look for El Matador, El Pescador, and La Pieta beaches - called "pocket beaches." They do require a bit of a hike down rickety stairs to the beach, but they are wild and beautiful beaches to walk. Take a peek at the Malibu Country Mart - stop for coffee - there are sometimes celeb sightings there. Stop for lunch at Duke's. Save room to share a Hula pie! Go on to Santa Monica; I like to park at the beach lots, but if a weekday, the city lots should be easy to negotiate. You can rent bikes at the beach to visit Venice for a look see. Try to stay in Santa Monica for sunset to enjoy it at the end of the pier - or from the ferris wheel.

Do a bit of window shopping if you wish, but I'd recommend you go to downtown LA for a walking tour. The architecture, murals, open spaces, etc., is very interesting and a nice walk as well. BTW - driving around the hills to look at houses is the exact thing that only tourists do! For other shopping ideas, visit The Grove/Original Farmers Market.

The only, real touristy area in LA to my mind is Hollywood. Other than that, your experiences will be shared by the rest of us, not just visitors.

Santa Monica...
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2. Re: 2 day trip to LA

Duke's is a good choice, but it's not inexpensive. If you go to their Barefoot Bar you can order off the bar menu and is very affordable. Nikita is also a beautiful view and they have a lot on their menu that is less than $20. The Sunset, in Point Dume, is gorgeous and has a very reasonable menu.

Two days is nothing in LA. Why did you chose the valley for your stay? You'll spend so much of your vacation in your car! Robertson is touristy, and you say you want to avoid that. Abbot Kinney shouldn't be missed when visiting Venice/Santa Monica - also Montana Avenue (which is more locals, less tourists).

Pittsburgh...
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3. Re: 2 day trip to LA

Lots of great advice. Thank you! Any other shopping districts would be appreciated. Also, FYI, we are only staying in Sherman Oaks because my fiancé's brother lives there and it's free for us! Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do! :)

Santa Monica, CA
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4. Re: 2 day trip to LA

Kathleen - Free is my middle name! With a car, you'll be fine.

5. Re: 2 day trip to LA

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