Texas tourists in Los Angeles!
January 22, 2010 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Tourists in Los Angeles! Where can I take a group of 6 to 10 rowdy 20-something guys from Texas in or around the Los Angeles area?

I'm in charge of entertaining a group of guys who are in California for their first time. Most in their early to late twenties, one or two under 21. These are not the kind of guys that would enjoy architecture, museums, or art galleries, mind you. I have amusement parks in mind, Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, possibly Six Flags.
Cost is somewhat of an issue. They may like to go to Disneyland but they may not all want to pay the now-exorbitant-prices there.
They've expressed much interest in visiting Hollywood, so tips and ideas on places and events there are greatly appreciated!
I've checked the weather forecast and it seems like the rain is going to dissipate for this weekend.
In short, any and all recommendations for Saturday fun! We have to cram as much California as possible into one day.
posted by Germs of Love to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Amusement parks are always good, or Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Go play in the snow in the mountains, window shopping on Melrose...
posted by cecic at 2:29 PM on January 22, 2010

Well, for fine dining, it's gotta be Tommy's, preferably the one on Beverly and Alvarado.

But by now there are many many other locations.

Other than that, yeah, maybe Universal Studios. . .somewhere where a group like that won't annoy the locals.
posted by Danf at 2:33 PM on January 22, 2010

Venice Beach
Grauman's/Mann's Theater
posted by rhizome at 2:44 PM on January 22, 2010

Saddle Ranch on Sunset?
posted by charlesv at 3:18 PM on January 22, 2010

The truth about Hollywood is that there's not really much to do there. Other than the cool old theaters mentioned above, it's mostly tourism for tourism's sake ... chain restaurants and t-shirt stores. Spending more than an hour there would be stretching it. If you go, walk a black south on Orange street and eat at the In n' Out at Orange and Sunset. There are a lot of clubs and bars nearby. A classic Hollywood joint is the Cat and Fiddle on Sunset. The food isn't great but there's a nice outdoor area and I tend to see a couple of celebrities every time I'm there. Also, under-21 folk can get in.

Disneyland is probably farther than you want to go on L.A.'s unpredictable freeways. Go with Universal.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:12 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hollywood is pretty cheesy, but if you do end up going, If you head east on the north side of hollywood blvd, there there has been decent bars that have cheap happy hour specials. One of my favorites is at yucca and hollywood is "kung pow kitty" good chinese and 2 dollar beers.
posted by mattsweaters at 4:23 PM on January 22, 2010

walk a black south on Orange street and eat at the In n' Out at Orange and Sunset.

Oh, Lord. Walk a block south. A block.

*runs and hides*
posted by Bookhouse at 4:29 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Eek! Not Hollywood! That's why LA has such a terrible rep. People come to Hollywood, it's trash, and then they leave thinking all LA is like that. If you must go to Hollywood, stop by Mann's Groman Chinese Theater, just because it's famous and so you can say you did. Look at the handprints in cement. Then leave.

If you want more of the glitz/fake breasts/expensive vibe that Hollywood is supposedly known for, head down to sunset from around Doheny dr. to about La Cienega to the east. Go at night. A few clubs, lost of fancy bars, etc., in a relatively short distance. Can check out the Viper Room, where River Phoenix died. Saddle Ranch, mentioned above, is also in this strip. It's super crowded, but has a mechanical bull. Not my scene, but very much stereotypical LA, and will give you your "Hollywood" fix.

Next stop is Venice Beach during the day. Also very LA vibe in a stereotypical sense, but IMO much more fun. It is actually possible to see a woman in a bikini rollerblading by the beach (they actually exist), though not so often I can guarantee you'll see one. Also decent odds of finding a guy getting people to sign a petition to legalize marijuana. Lots of tattoo parlors and "smoke" shops mixed in with tourist crap like t-shirt sellers, ice cream, and pizza. Oh, and did I mention it's at the beach? Good times. If you end up being there late enough, afterward stop by Library Alehouse (if you like beer) or C&O Trattoria (if you like Italian and cheesy atmosphere) for dinner.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 4:44 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you want to do Disneyland/California Adventure, make an entire day of it, otherwise you'll be spending all of your time driving. I'm guessing Universal city would be a better fit for guys in that age range anyway, and you'll still be able to hit Hollywood Blvd for an hour or so without wasting too much driving time. (I usually take newcomers to Hollwood Blvd just to get it out of the way. It's a good start, because everything that comes after feels a lot more authentic. Plus you get the cheap ass souveniers out of the way early.)
Keep in mind though that Universal City is $$$! You might get more bang for your buck taking them through Santa Monica,where they can hang out on the beach, walk around the pier or stroll the Promanade. If the wather is nice (NOTE: right now it is not nice) you're close to Venice Beach, which, on a sunny day, is a big kick for tourists. If you're heading to the west side, there's the Farmer's Market and the Grove. I love downtown LA for Little Tokyo, Chinatown and Olvera St, all great people watching places with great food.
Good luck!
posted by biddeford at 5:20 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go to the Santa Monica Pier, play pinball, get a beer, swing on the weird "swing rings" on the nearby beach. Go to Venice Beach, laugh (quietly) at the dudes at Muscle Beach.

Go to the sunset strip, go to the hustler club, drive down sunset all the way to the beach!

Go swimming in Malibu, the water's not really that much colder in the winter, and you may be able to rent boogie boards and wetsuits.

Not sure if it's their thing but the view from Mulholland drive is pretty fantastic.
posted by schyler523 at 5:25 PM on January 22, 2010

Don't miss out on Miss Lynnsters website -- she is a fount of knowledge on all things LA and that is what her web site is all about.

She's not here as much as she has been in the past, I believe due to keeping her web site current and totally jammin'. Otherwise she's probably given you about forty-seven pages of great LA info.

I wish I'd known about her/her site before I went there; I wanted to check the city out, had as much time as I wanted to spend there, enough money to do so; I left after about eight hours, couldn't stand what I'd seen of the people in the one museum I went to, felt exactly like people said LA feels, the only people who spoke with me had brown skin AND worked at/for the museum. And I'm pretty friendly, and outgoing, etc, especially in a museum.

Anyways, check out her site, lots of good info there...

Have fun!
posted by dancestoblue at 5:33 PM on January 22, 2010

If they like amusement parks, how about skythrills - http://skythrills.com/ - fly a stunt plane and do insane tricks, no flying experience needed. May be outside your budget though.
posted by grimlock at 7:21 PM on January 22, 2010

Hey there. Here I am! Thanks so much for the nice words, dtb! Main reason I haven't been here lately though is actually because I got an actual J-O-B. At this point, HiddenLA is mainly just something I do when I have time between deadlines. :)

I agree with everything people said about Hollywood. Everyone wants to go there and then they go... and POOF... spend the next decade talking about all the reasons LA sucks. "Hollywood" refers to the industry, rarely the actual place. The street itself will be a big disappointment to your glamorous expectations, especially the Hollywood and Highland mall which has as much to do with the real LA and Angelenos as going to the Paris Hotel in Vegas has to do with French people. I used to go to movies at the Chinese Theatre all the time but now I avoid it 'cuz I'm allergic to fat guys dressed up in smelly superhero costumes. Bleccch.

You don't say where you're staying and that would make a difference in my recommendations... this is a big place and you don't want to spend all your time driving. First thing I'd recommend is pick up an LA Weekly (or go here) and comb through it to see if anything's happening this weekend that sounds fun to you, possibly near where you'll be staying. This place is FULL of surprising stuff to do, for any taste... you just have to look. If you like comedy, I'd recommend going to see a show at the Upright Citizen's Brigade on Franklin in Hollywood. It's usually cheap. There are a few restaurant/bars on the block right there. Parking may take some block-circling if you don't valet. You'll get more of a local feel of Hollywood by hanging out on that one little village block than you ever would on Hollywood Boulevard.

If you really want to see "Hollywood," maybe you could try finding a movie location from your favorite film. (Of course, whether or not you want to do that all depends on how well your designated driver navigates a strange big city though. LA drivers are often behind the wheel for 30 minutes to – in my case – two hours a day so we often operate by a set of unwritten rules that can scare timid, uninitiated visitors who aren't used to the intensity of life here.)

Anyhoo, other good areas to walk around at night might be Vermont or Hillhurst in Los Feliz and Main Street Santa Monica. For guys from Texas, I'd say Main Street because it's close to the beach. And I agree that you should go to Venice Beach during the day just for the experience... it's like no other place you'll see. And if you're going to go to a mall, go to either the Santa Monica Promenade or the Farmer's Market/Grove in Hollywood.

Thing to keep in mind is that LA is full of little villages, each with its own personality. People tend to say there's no city here and that's actually not the problem... the problem is that Los Angeles is like a country with MANY little cities that are all separate and different from each other. It's a huge melting pot of many communities, which overwhelms people. It's always easier to say something you don't understand "sucks." So FYI, the main trick is figuring out which neighborhood the most of what you want to see and going there.

I'm honestly half asleep and I've got to go to bed now, but if you have other specific questions you can just MeMail me here. Hope I can help you.

posted by miss lynnster at 12:45 AM on January 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

And if you have any money at all, I highly recommend Neil Patrick Harris' Accomplice Hollywood on Saturday or Sunday. Now *that's* the way to see the streets of Hollywood Boulevard... what a blast! :)
posted by miss lynnster at 12:47 AM on January 23, 2010

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