LA LAyover
October 16, 2004 2:33 PM   Subscribe

On Tuesday I'm going to find myself with five or six spare hours as I pass through Los Angeles. I haven't really seen L.A. before, so what should I do? What should I see? Where should I eat?

For what it's worth, my hotel will be near LAX on Highway 1.
posted by mrbula to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (13 answers total)
Lot's of good suggestions here. Venice/Santa Monica will probably be the most convenient for you, but then it depends on what you like to do and whether you'll have a car.
posted by willnot at 3:06 PM on October 16, 2004

See the Getty Museum, if you can. You can get there by bus, or at least I did a while back.
posted by aramaic at 3:35 PM on October 16, 2004

don't bother with the mall nearest the airport.
(i thought i lived in a backwards country, and that a mall in america - in los angeles! - would be wonderful place where i could buy amazingly things at cheap cheap prices. how stupid i was.)

the getty museum would have been so much better.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:41 PM on October 16, 2004

Six hours? That's just enough time to see the traffic surrounding LAX.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:42 PM on October 16, 2004

The Gamble House is another wonderful Pasadena thing.

If I had six spare hours in LA, I'd go to Pasadena and see the Norton Simon Museum and the Gamble House, then I'd go to the cool used book stores and I'd eat at El Portal or La Estrella.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:58 PM on October 16, 2004

A couple of years ago I had a layover of 6 hours at LAX. I put my stuff in a luggage locker, and caught a bus down to Manhattan Beach, played in the surf for about 1-2 hours, dropped by the library, caught the bus back, and got on my plane about 1/2 hour before it left. Worked out very well, and I think Manhattan beach is a step up from Venice/SM.

The Getty is Wonderful. I'd highly recommend it.
posted by weston at 4:21 PM on October 16, 2004

I recommend Santa Monica, too. You could try the area around the 3rd St Promenade, which is a couple of blocks from the beach. It's a great place for eating and drinking and people watching. It's only about a 20 minute drive from LAX. It would also let you stay away from the terrible traffic of the nearby freeways.
posted by shoos at 4:47 PM on October 16, 2004

I third the Getty. Getting there, if your five or six hours is a layover situation, might be something of a PITA, though. If you already have a car rented you ought to be fine though.

I enjoyed the Norton Simon as well; in some ways it has a better collection than the Getty. But the Getty's physical presence is quite something.

If you prefer the small and quirky and love the museumly, you almost have an obligation to go and be puzzled by the goings on at the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

There is Hollywood, but in my experience the only worthwhile thing in the area is a martini in the bar made by Reuben at Musso & Franks. My experience has been quite limited.

It's my understanding that there are numerous organizations and so forth devoted to exploring and preserving L.A.'s interesting and oversized history, but when I've been there I have found them very hard to find or connect with.
posted by mwhybark at 6:33 PM on October 16, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all. This is giving me a lot of good ideas...
posted by mrbula at 7:08 PM on October 16, 2004

Another vote for the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is unlike anything you've ever seen anywhere, and a drink at Musso and Franks in Hollywood. (Lean your elbow on the same bar as Hemingway and Faulkner and every glittering star of the Golden Age. Can't beat it.)

Also, you could just go to Santa Monica and look at the palm trees and the Pacific and buy stuff on 3rd St.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:09 AM on October 17, 2004

Yet a third vote for the MJT, which is really one of my favorite places in LA.

The 3rd street promenade has gone to shit since the independent bookstore "Midnight Express" was forced out. Avoid it.
posted by LimePi at 3:56 PM on October 17, 2004

Santa Monica or Venice Beach. I'm going to disrecommend the Getty, because six hours is nowhere near enough (if that includes getting there on the 405..)
posted by wackybrit at 4:47 PM on October 17, 2004

It depends on the hours at which you're going to be using the 405, but wackybrit's point is a good one: the 405 may well be the world's worst freeway.

Still, between, say, 10 and 2 (maybe even 3) you can make decent time on it. You really wouldn't get to do the Getty's collection viewing justice, but since (IMHO) the buildings and grounds are the real treat, it would still be enjoyable.

Sepulveda Blvd can also be a lifesaver in a pinch when the 405 is backed up.
posted by weston at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2004

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