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Travelling to LA...what to do

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by phongus, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Hey everyone...

    I am going to be travelling to Los Angeles to visit some family as well as doing the touristy stuff in mid June...but since it is my first time there, I am not sure what's there worth doing. Will be travelling with my parents...so there are limited things I can do...though I am not afraid to venture out on my own.

    I have compiled the following attractions and destinations that I have found while surfing the web.

    Six Flags Magic Mountain <--definitely going there...love rollercoasters :D
    Universal Studios
    Beverly Hills
    Planetarium at Griffith Park

    Also might head over to Las Vegas for a bit.

    If someone has had experience with any of the above mentioned attractions and could give a feedback, that would be great :D. If you know anything else worth visiting, please mention it :D.

    My main transportation so far is public transport. I'm hoping I can get around with my cousin...but she just had twins so I won't count on it. Was thinking of getting my international license and maybe rent a car or bike and go for a bit of a cruise between places.

    Any other information and pointers would be greatly appreciated.


    phong =P~
  2. get a cheap flight and go see San Francisco??
    same with Las Vegas?
  3. Get out of there as quicly as possible and head to Colorado!

    Ahem, or, just do all the touristy stuff. When I was in LA it seemed fun... but it was pretty dirty and semi depressing.
  4. Well, I'm from L.A., so don't mind me if I sounded jaded. You have a pretty good list there already. Just some quick comments...

    You're going to have a difficult time getting around without a car. The place was designed with car-driving in mind, so getting around in public transit is pretty shitty. Renting cars can be pretty cheap, though buying insurance through the car rental agencies will quickly add up (WAAAAY cheaper to work out your own beforehand, if that's possible.) Oh, and you don't need an intl license there if your license is in English, and you're a tourist -- though double check that though California DMV just in case some things have changed.

    Hollywood's a total shithole, don't give it any more than 1/2 a day (that's just to say you did it).

    Magic Montain is awesome if you like roller coasters. Disneyland is... meh... it's magical if you're a kid, but as an adult, it may be a letdown, especially if you're looking for decent rollercoasters.

    Catch a baseball game at Dodger stadium, get some nasty dodger-dogs and overpriced beer. Entrance is cheap though. When I was last there about 6 years ago, cheap tickets started at $6, but I reckon that's gone up now.

    Planetarium is cool (was one of my hang-out spots in high school :grin:). There's some short hiking trails around there that lead directly to the Hollywood sign if you're around that area during.

    Definitely do Vegas. That's a cool experience. You can fly there cheap, but the drive is about 5 hours, and it's kinda cool arriving there at nighttime in a car, seeing a glow of lights come up in the horizon while everything else is pitch black in the desert night.

    If you're a sun & fun kinda person, check out Venice Beach on a Sunday afternoon. (Santa Monica Pier/beach is another hang out area)

    If you can rent a bike, do so. The easy one would be just head up northbound on highway 2 until you see signs for Angeles Crest Highway, and go straight up there, grab a burger at Newcomb ranch, hang out with the locals (you might be able to hang out with the likes of Jay Leno or Arnold Schwartzneggar if you pop in at the right time, as they stop in from time to time). Some great roads in Malibu as well, but finding good route there takes a little research & effort.
  5. Beyond what you've got already...

    La Brea Tar pits
    Getty Museum (even if you are not into art it has a great view across LA
    drive up the coast and go to the Hearst Mansion at San Simeon

    +1 to the Hollywood comments - not much there

  6. You have to visit Las Vegas. It will blow you away, it will be something you have never seen before it was amazing when I went!!! You can have a fabulous time there and lots of things to see and do even if you don't gamble one cent.
  7. Yeah, but most of them involve a big red convertible, a Samoan attorney and a large drug collection, all of which might be difficult to arrange at short notice without local contacts :grin: .
  8. That time of year all the touristy LA places like Disneyland and Universal Studios are going to be hellishly busy. Be prepared to spend most of your time standing in lines. I went to Disneyland as an adult for nostalgia's sake having grown up seeing so many shots of it in the opening sequences of "The Wonderful World of Disney" lol It was fun, but I went in winter and was lucky enough to score an unusually dry and sunny day in the middle of a big rainy period and there was nobody there but us. Was a blast being able to go on absolutely everything as many times as we liked without waiting in queues!

    Having lived and travelled a lot in the US, I can state that if you have the option, go anywhere but LA to do your touristy things. LA is a dirty hole for the most part. Go do Vegas, go to Colorado and see Mesa Verde, head up into the mountains, go to NY, go to Pennsylvania and head to Intercourse (Amish village) go to Hershey for the hell of it, Mill Run to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water house, head down south to the Carolinas to see what real ribs are like...I mean there are a million things to see and do in the US and if you have the opportunity try and get out of LA for as much of it as possible!
  9. Get the pilot to hang a left mid-Atlantic and go see Amsterdam, or Antwerp, or anywhere...
  10. Thanks for all the replies and thanks for the feedback termis :D...I should maybe have said I am going to California, rather then LA...family lives in Orange County and after using Google maps, I found that most areas are pretty far from where they are staying...besides Disneyland.

    I haven't really thought about going anywhere else at the moment, mainly because my mum decide to buy tickets to LA because they were under $1K return :shock:.

    Sounds like I need to visit Las Vegas :D...I like pretty lights.

    Disneyland is mainly for my parents...so it's like a family thing, and with my cousin's new borns, it seems a good start.

    Magic Mountain has always been one of my goals...ever since playing Rollercoaster Tycoon back in high school, I've been hooked on rollercoasters and theme parks...would love to go Cedar Point too, but that's a bit far from where I am staying.

    I am only going for 2.5 weeks...so not much I can do :( not enough time to travel all of places, though NY would have been good. See how I go...I'm not planning much, just going to wing it when I get there...just got to try and organize transportation :?...anyone got a bike over there I can borrow ;)

    Looks like, Magic mountain and Las Vegas are a must.

    phong =P~
  11. Under 1k return? :shock: Crap, that's a deal! Don't forget to rack up your mileage!

    Ah, Orange Country... Well, in that case, replace Angeles Crest Highway advice with Ortega Highway -- it runs through orange county, and replace Dodger Stadium with Angel Stadium.

    And yeah, 2.5 weeks is a good trip, but it's a big state -- you definitely won't have time to see everything, so pick & choose what you want. Vegas alone will be at least a couple days.

    You can also party it down across the border in Tijuana, though that's definitely not family-friendly.

    And don't forget to have an Island Restaurant's burger or two while you're up there (And In 'n Out burgers, and Tommy's chili burgers too... Mmmmm =P~)
  12. Thanks for that :D...and yes it is bloody cheap, prices have gone back up though, sale ended yesterday.

    Was thinking Tijuana...was told it was great partying there...see how i go about venturing on my own down there :D.


    phong =P~
  13. Been there a few times.

    In Disnelyand - get a front of line pass - skip the queues at all rides!. costs about $100 per person, but saves days!.

    Another tip is that on each ride, there is a queue for people who dont mind splitting up a group and filling empty seats on rides.
    Since everyone wants to ride with their buddies, there are often single seats left on a ride. This way you can skip over half of every queue for free!.

    Surprisingly, I found souvenirs at Disneyland to be reasonably priced, and the customer service is fantastic. I found it to be very well run, and an exercise in management trying purely to achieve customer satisfaction. As a result, they make heaps of dough, because people want to be there! Again and again
  14. I kid you not that Disney regularly visits Australia Zoo among other Australian attractions to learn about customer service. Apparently we're good at it.

    LA huh? Avoid MS13 tagged blocks :p
  15. If you can handle the people you'll love it.
    I recommend flying home from Frisco.
    Be prepared to que the yanks love queues and security since 9/11.
    Do not have any flight changes at the last minute or you'll be frisked, detained and searched at every opportunity. And it helps none if you have a beard and are carrying a laptop. I wont be doing that again!
  16. When in Rome, do as the Romans do

    -go to a shooting range
    you can't embrace the American way of life without shooting something. they'll give you two clips in half a dozen high powered weapons for $100. walk in straight off the street, no appointments

    -hire a Mustang GT
    Mustangs, while kind of exotic here, are a dime a dozen over there. pick one of these up for around $200 a day. make sure you get the GT, convertible if possible. i only got the V6 when i went, and as much fun as i had bouncing it off the speed limiter at 195 with the top down i think i was denying myself the full experience of the V8

    -hire a Harley
    as long as you at least have your Ls here, you can hire big bikes there.
    Death Valley, between LA and Vegas is popular for fun driving. Apparently there's also a place called Carbon Valley in the hills of Cali, full of hillclimbs and twisties. popular with streetracers. if you feel the need to escape the family for a day, hire a car or bike and head out to one of these places

    -put on weight
    bacon is good.
    America tastes so good it makes your heart ache and the side of your face go numb.

    -witness America's War on Drugs
    it will help you lose some of those kilos you put on
    double cliche points if you buy off some aging black pusher on the Vegas strip.

    if you're a smoker, you can only take so many boxes of cigarettes with you. find out what that limit is, and stock up, you probably won't be able to get any of our local tobacco brands over there and their cigarettes are widely regarded as, well, shit

    of course, always respect and obey foreign laws.
    LA cops have a reputation.
  17. I think your pretty much covered with everyones thoughts and suggestions.

    For what its worth, yeah you will need a car for sure! Good luck getting around without it.

    Vegas is awesome although I dont think you need more than like a week there or it all gets a bit much.

    Personally I found LA quite dirty and depressing too, I couldnt wait to move on but I am sure heaps of people love it. San Fran is awesome though.
  18. +1 for heading to VEGAS. I think the time you are looking to head over there is right around spring break, you may just miss it, not sure. I did VEGAS last year for 3 nights. it was insane. Becareful not gamble to much. Enjoy the clubs. Find out what Hotel is hosting the big night. Get to PURE on its night... its an awesome club... Stay at the hardrock hotel, especially if its spring break.. its off the strip, but its full of younger people vs some of the hotels on the strip...

    LA. As someone said, get yourself to a ball game. Maybe stay only for 7 innings if baseball isnt your thing, but give it ago. My mates did clubbing in LA and had a blast !!

    You can hire exotic sports cars, ie. ferraris and mercs quite cheaply, so give that a go.

    Agree about San Fran, its good to visit for a day or 2 if you have time, once you see the bridge, alcatrez and a few other bits, you are pretty much done. Maybe have dinner at asiaSF, its pretty famous in San Fran.

    Be well behaved going through customs, the officers take themselves very seriously. No Joking heading through. If you do like a disco biscuit or other substances, remember the US takes posession fairly seriously.
  19. It's been a long time, but my strongest memory is of hiring a car and driving up the coast. One of the world's great drives, and twice as good if you can stretch to a convertible. All the way to SF if you can, but whatever you can manage. Cops are 'on it' - got my first ticket within 15 minutes :LOL:
    Venice Beach was kinda fun back then, dunno what it's like now.
  20. Most of the stuff on your list is tourist trap bollocks that makes my skin crawl, but that's not to say you won't like it.

    My enduring memories of California are the phenomenal Yosemite National Park, which is just indescribable, and the coast road between LA and SF, which would be nice for a cruise on a motorcycle if you can hire one. San Diego is a pretty vibrant town on its day, although I'm permanently scarred from going in for a slash in a public dunny. I discovered both to my horror and the obvious displeasure of the enormous black man sitting there taking a dump, that they use open plan shitters, so you can see and smell all. That was perhaps the most odious eye contact I've ever made with anyone.

    San Francisco feels pretty much what Melbourne would feel like if it was bigger and had more hills - and it has a bigger creative/artistic movement. It's a pretty town, the bridge is beautiful and it's great to watch the fog roll in. LA is equal parts disgusting and "wait, I recognize this." I hated it. I drove around Hollywood with some mates looking at rich peoples' houses off a map for about half an hour before realising I couldn't give two farts about what knob lives in them, but if you read all the magazines and know who you're supposed to care about, then go for it.

    If you're into music, the live scene in LA/SF is absolutely staggering. Check the gig guides, it'll be green day at this pub, tower of power at this one, john mayer over there and pat metheney at the other. If you're a modern jazz fan the Baked Potato in LA has a phenomenal lineup every single night. It's worth going out of your way to find an artist you like and watching them peform at home - the production on medium to large gigs is just amazing, they can't ship all the gear to Australia so we generally only see artists in a stripped-down format.

    What the other blokes say about public transport is pretty accurate. I'd plan to hire a shitty car if you want to get around the state a bit. If I had just one tip it would be to get to Yosemite, it knocked my socks off and changed the way I look at the world.