Planning an LA Trip

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Homer33

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I haven't been to LA in 20 years, what's a good area to stay for the tourist stuff? (Disneyland for a couple days already planned) Also all recommendations for stuff to do and see out there much appreciated.

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deactivated-5a0917a2494ce

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Definitely not LA :)

I'd seriously recommend the Orange County are (Disney is part of that) and San Diego. There are still decent parts of LA but it's not exactly a nice city.

If you are set on it, try Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and maybe Santa Monica.

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maginnovision

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#3  Edited By maginnovision

LA is alot larger and more diverse than people seem to think. Even locals. If you like parks you might also try six flags: magic mountain, and universal studios hollywood. Griffith observatory seems to be popular. Maybe getty center? What do you actually like? Could check https://www.lacounty.gov/things-to-do

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Loopah

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I'd also recommend potentially staying outside of LA, and venturing into LA on day trips to explore Hollywood, Disneyland, etc. You could stay potentially stay somewhere in between LA and San Diego and get the best of both worlds? There's plenty of stuff to do in San Diego as well.

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fobwashed

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@homer33: w/out giving ppl a hint about of what type of stuff ur into, it's pretty hard to throw out meaningful suggestions beyond the basic tourist stuff you can find in any LA TOP 10! type list. Unless that's what you're looking for. I suggest TripAdvisor for a good starting off point for general tourist stuff and solid eats =]

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Osaladin

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@homer33: w/out giving ppl a hint about of what type of stuff ur into, it's pretty hard to throw out meaningful suggestions beyond the basic tourist stuff you can find in any LA TOP 10! type list. Unless that's what you're looking for. I suggest TripAdvisor for a good starting off point for general tourist stuff and solid eats =]

Indeed, it'll be a little hard to suggest things, as LA has something for everyone.

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deactivated-5a0917a2494ce

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@loopah: Hollywood is awful if you go to the tourist areas. I've taken dozens of people not from the area to Hollywood and all of them hated it.

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aheriaud

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#8  Edited By aheriaud

With respect to everyone else, LA is pretty dope. While certain places (Hollywood Blvd) should be avoided like the plague they are, there's a ton to do all around town.

Some recommendations!

If you want to go into Hollywood, see what's playing at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Hollywood. It's one of the most interesting theaters in the world, huge screen, and an architectural marvel. Not interested in a film? Check out Amoeba Music, one of the last great record stores.

Downtown LA has a lot of great stuff. I recommend checking out The Last Book Store. Drive all of a few blocks into Little Tokyo and you'll find some really fun escape rooms and a downright bizarre monument to the Challenger Space Shuttle.

Like Nature? Angeles National Forest has a lot of great hiking trails. Like nature without any threat of death? The Huntington in Pasadena has one of the largest and most diverse gardens in the country. It also has a museum that houses a Gutenberg Bible and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. If you watch "The Good Place," you're notice that most of the outdoor scenes are shot there.

Like beer? Angel City Brewery in Downtown LA is great, Golden Road Brewery in Burbank is also great. If you've just finished up at the Huntington head to Lucky Baldwins in Old Town Pasadena where they have an amazing beer selection and some great pub food. Pie and Burger also has some of the best pies and burgers I've ever had.

Hope this helped! Go forth and prosper.

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rorie

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When are you going? The Guiremmleo Del Toro (I'll never be able to remember how to spell his first name; maybe I should just call him William) museum exhibit thing is going on until late November somewhere down there.

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49th

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I really just liked walking around Venice Beach, it's the nicest beach I've ever been to by far. I've visited quite a few European beaches and there is so much more space at Venice. I walked from Venice to Santa Monica pier and there was decent food and stuff to see everywhere, then I jogged back along the beach. I went back the day after because it was so great.

Aside from that Universal Studios was fun but if you are going to Disney already maybe give that a pass. I agree that Hollywood sucks though, I was only there for around an hour and that was long enough. I would have liked to have a car when I went because it would have made exploring 100 times easier.

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Excitable_Misunderstood_Genius

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As some people have mentioned, be aware that "Los Angeles" is a massive massive area that people speak about rather loosely. Don't make a list of things you want to see, make a list of areas you want to visit and things you want to see there.

One thing I'd suggest is the Getty Center if you care about art at all. It's a fantastic museum up on the hills west of the 405 with views out to the ocean on one side and into the city on the other. It also has one of the finest art collections on earth.

I'd also like to repeat the advice to avoid Hollywood, it's not what you think it is and it is awful. Well, maybe you want to see Iron Man punch Sailor Moon in the gut outside Madame Tussaud's. I can't say for sure. But it is definitely a garbage area for herding tour busses full of people through a gauntlet of vendors screaming at them to buy a $25 shirt with a hollywood star and tweetie bird on it.

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#12 FinalDasa  Moderator

Shake Shack was pretty great.

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Osaladin

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@aheriaud said:

With respect to everyone else, LA is pretty dope. While certain places (Hollywood Blvd) should be avoided like the plague they are, there's a ton to do all around town.

Some recommendations!

If you want to go into Hollywood, see what's playing at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Hollywood. It's one of the most interesting theaters in the world, huge screen, and an architectural marvel. Not interested in a film? Check out Amoeba Music, one of the last great record stores.

Downtown LA has a lot of great stuff. I recommend checking out The Last Book Store. Drive all of a few blocks into Little Tokyo and you'll find some really fun escape rooms and a downright bizarre monument to the Challenger Space Shuttle.

Like Nature? Angeles National Forest has a lot of great hiking trails. Like nature without any threat of death? The Huntington in Pasadena has one of the largest and most diverse gardens in the country. It also has a museum that houses a Gutenberg Bible and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. If you watch "The Good Place," you're notice that most of the outdoor scenes are shot there.

Like beer? Angel City Brewery in Downtown LA is great, Golden Road Brewery in Burbank is also great. If you've just finished up at the Huntington head to Lucky Baldwins in Old Town Pasadena where they have an amazing beer selection and some great pub food. Pie and Burger also has some of the best pies and burgers I've ever had.

Hope this helped! Go forth and prosper.

This is a good list. I'll add that the Getty Villa in Malibu, not to be confused with the Getty Museum, is amazing, and free most days, only have to pay for parking. The Griffith Observatory is also fantastic, especially if you see one of the shows in the planetarium. I recommend the one about the universe and not about water. (I also recommend you be high when you see it, as it's breathtaking)

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kcin

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#14  Edited By kcin

Hey, I lived in OC and LA for 9 years, until two years ago.

First, I assume you have a rental car already, but if you don't, you need a rental car. I can't imagine being in LA without a car. I can't stress this enough.

If you are going to Disneyland, and you also want to go to LA, it might be a good idea to stay in Anaheim the days that you're going to Disneyland, and LA for the rest. LA proper is about 30 miles north of Anaheim. You'll want to get to the park as early as you're able to in the morning, and you won't be wanting to drive very far at the end of the day, having walked all day. Plus, Trader Sam's, a truly fantastic tiki bar (seriously, it is one of the best in the nation) is on Disneyland Resort, just "down the street" from Disneyland (read: from the Disneyland gates, walk through the outdoor mall boulevard called Downtown Disney, and it's at the end there.) It's a great place to close the night out, especially if you can get inside.

Anaheim is not a great place, in my experience. A few friends who lived there colloquially referred to it as "Anacrime". You'll not have any trouble there, as you'll be staying near the park I'm sure (Anaheim has many blocks surrounding Disneyland dedicated completely to hotels and huge restaurants, all of which are usually crawling with people day and night), but feel free to drive a few blocks in any direction to get a taste of what the city's really like.

As for LA: as others have said, the city itself is a masterpiece of gerrymandering, and as such is massive. It's the second-largest city in the US. Here's a map of the neighborhoods:

http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/

You're almost certainly not going to go north of Central LA - San Fernando Valley is where people live, not where you go to do something, and you definitely won't be going south for much. Central LA also has most of the stuff you'll probably want to see as a tourist. I'd recommend staying in the Westside or Central LA, preferably somewhere right along the border. Good access, pretty safe. Also, don't be deterred by repeated mentions of safety. It's fine. Again, LA is huge, and there's lots of crime, just not where you're going.

Per the anti-Hollywood talk: just don't go to Hollywood and Highland. It's the intersection with the wax museum, what is formerly the Chinese Theatre, Ripley's Believe It or Not!, the Walk of Fame, etc. All of those things resolutely suck. They aren't worth your time, the area is fucking THICK with people, and it's also a pretty gross and dirty place. Also, again, this is literally one intersection. Feel free to drive down Hollywood Blvd. or Highland Ave. anywhere else in the city, and definitely don't be afraid of visiting Hollywood itself.

Things to do: Museums dude. LA has tons of fuckin museums and they're all awesome. LACMA is the one I always recommend first. It has a very accessible collection that spans dozens of cultures and centuries, some really cool installations like Chris Burden's famous Urban Light sculpture right on the steps, the Tar Pits are right on the property along with a little museum about them, and yes, this is where Del Toro's collection is currently being displayed. I also recommend the Norton Simon if you like classic and early modern art; the Getty is itself a truly fantastic museum-going experience (same goes for the Getty Villa), in addition to having a great collection of classic art; and if you want to try something new on for size, check out MOCA or The Hammer. There are many, many others, too.

Do you like comedy? LA's comedy scene is virtually unparalleled. It's the thing I miss THE ABSOLUTE MOST about living in LA. This includes my friends. I was a religious visitor of UCB on Franklin, having gone there twice a month for all 9 years I was down there. All shows are $10 or less, and everyone plays fast and loose and fucking weird. You can bring booze in, too! If you are even remotely interested in improv, this is the fuckin place to go, and ASSSSCAT is the show to see. It's free on Sundays at the Sunset location, and $10 on Saturdays at the Franklin location. If you wanna go on Sunday, show up at LEAST 30 minutes early, as seating is first-come-first-served. I also recommend looking at the shows that start around 8PM or later, Tuesday through Sunday - these are gonna be the stronger teams and performers. If you're looking for standup, Put Your Hands Together is hosted by the utterly ineffable duo of Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, who present a stand-up variety show that is a sort of spiritual successor to Comedy Death Ray (the precursor to Comedy Bang! Bang!) The Largo is also a great venue for stand-up and talk format comedy shows, and it's right next to some great restaurants on La Cienega, and only a few minutes from Santa Monica Blvd, one of the most interesting streets in the city. There are, of course, other much more famous mainstream venues, too, like The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, The Improv, etc., but I've never been to them (never needed to, frankly!) There are also other independent theaters, like iO West, The Groundlings, etc. All of em are worth checking out, or at least take a peek at the schedule and see what's up. Comedy is seriously the best thing in LA, if that's your bag.

I personally don't like going to Downtown LA, but if you want to check out a historic bookstore, as previously mentioned, The Last Bookstore is a cool, pretty expansive used/new book shop. The views of the huge, old buildings downtown are also quite good if you're not burnt out on that kind of thing from New York already. Little Tokyo is also downtown, and once you're there there are some cool outdoor malls. There's also this really weird indoor mall that is all but abandoned, with some SUPER FUCKIN GOOD restaurants inside. Honda-Ya is one of the best Japanese places I've been to in California, with an ENORMOUS menu, and is on the third floor. I'm vegan and one of the best vegan restaurants in LA, Shojin, is one floor beneath it :) There's also a cool late-night bowling alley in there! The Bradbury Building is also downtown. It's where they shot some scenes in Blade Runner, and is worth checking out if you're on foot in the area already as the architecture is fucking gorgeous and extremely ornate, though you can't go up the beautiful stairs, as it's a currently-operating office building. The natural light inside is fantastic for photos, though. However, don't park just to see it. Parking downtown is a fucking pain in the ass.

I'm kinda losin steam here, but Griffith Observatory is a go-to spot to hang out on a weekend; Hollywood Forever is a beautiful, ostentatious, and fascinating graveyard which is also host to some great outdoor live performances and movie showings; and as someone else said, Angeles National Forest is a good recommendation if you're lookin to hike.LA has the best variety of restaurants on the West coast. Yelp it up while you're there, you won't be let down.

Enjoy! Thanks for reading my very long post. I deeply miss LA. It's great. Fuck the Bombcast guys.

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s-a-n-JR

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#15  Edited By s-a-n-JR

Well I'm going to be living in LA for 2 years next summer (from England), so this thread has been helpful for me as well.

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lead_dispencer

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#16  Edited By lead_dispencer

Who would visit Louisiana?

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Homer33

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Man I knew you guys wouldn't disappoint, we are booking it this weekend and I will be referring back to this thread when making choices, thanks for all the great suggestions everyone! Good museums and the areas to stay (and avoid) are much appreciated, I feel like I'm way more prepared to book! Plus I love comedy (listen to many podcasts at work) I don't know why I didn't think to see that when out there, thanks again

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#18  Edited By personandstuff

Admittedly I've never been big on touristy crap but LA is not a good vacation town. I love it to death and don't want to live anywhere else. But it is huge and very spread out. No one can really see all of it. Ever, really.

I'll reiterate UCB and Griffith Park. I'll also add that Cinefamily and Tarantino's theater often have cool movie stuff. Check their calendar as your trip gets closer and buy tickets ahead of time. Also, Majestic Crest. They don't do many shows anymore but it's a beautiful theater. Maybe find something to do in Koreatown. I don't know of any central Koreatown activity besides going to Korean malls and the Korean movie theater but it's a cool area.

Food wise, there are a lot of good taco trucks, assuming you're not in West LA. I'm partial to the truck on Washington and Arlington but there are plenty around. Pupusas are also really good and, as a tourist, probably harder to find where ever you're from. If you're looking for something special, read up on Jonathan Gold. He's the big food reviewer and he specializes in amazing smaller restaurants. There is a documentary about him called City of Gold that might also give you a feel for the city.

Edit: Also, Zankou Chicken is real good.

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I have had an LA trip before and I enjoyed the beaches. I also saw the childhood home of the Wilson brothers in the Beach Boys and the stars on the sidewalk. Maybe you could go to a taping of your favorite TV show too. I was glad when I was in LA that there were many 24 hour restaurants open late. Enjoy it!!

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Osaladin

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#20  Edited By Osaladin

OP, I should mention that LA's food scene is extremely diverse and authentic, so don't get stuck eating at chains or anything like that. This may be a rare opportunity to try authentic food from different cultures, and they're all delicious!

Edit: @personandstuff have you tried Rotisserie Chicken of California? It's pretty darn good too.

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aheriaud

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#21  Edited By aheriaud

Edit: Also, Zankou Chicken is real good.

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Advice for Zankou. Never read the nutritional details. Don't do it, you'll be happier that way. Also if you're going to eat the Chicken Tarna plate, bring a glass of water, or seven, it's more salt than meat.

Edit: RoRo's Chicken is great, California Chicken Cafe is also great. It's just a good chicken city.

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deactivated-5a0917a2494ce

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@osaladin: this I agree with for sure. Go to Taeem grill if you want some middle eastern/Israeli food that's hard to get anywhere else. I recommend the shawarma with Laffa. Fill it up with all of the different toppings and add fries into it, it's amazing.