Four Days In Los Angeles
January 21, 2011 1:07 AM   Subscribe

Visiting Los Angeles four four days at the end of February. Help me plan my vacation!

I arrive Friday morning at 9am to LAX. I will have a car and will be staying at the Marina Del Rey Hotel (anyone been therefore?). I am a 26 year old male and will be making the trip solo. I'm not big into art or bookstores. My only concrete plans are:
-Lakers game friday night
-The Bazaar for dinner and either Mr. Chow's (is it worth it?) or Osteria Mozza as well as a stop at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
-Museum of Jurassic Technology and The Getty

My questions:
1. Where should I park at the Staples Center and how early should I arrive before game time? Also, where's a good place to grab a late snack after the game?

2.Driving on the PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu and back, where is the best place to get seafood along the way?

3.Great places for breakfast/brunch?

4.Is most of the parking in LA and Hollywood meter based? Do I need to carry loads of quarters with me?

5. Nightlife spots? I'm tempted to check out some of the clubs.

6. I don't want to do the "dirty" Hollywood tourist thing, but is there anything in Hollywood that I should see?

7.Since I'll be staying in Marina Del Rey, what are the best things to do in Santa Monica?

Thank you in advance for the suggestions!
posted by AMWKE1984 to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (17 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, where can I find the best fish tacos in town?

Anything else that I simply CANNOT miss during my time there?
posted by AMWKE1984 at 1:23 AM on January 21, 2011

-Osteria Mozza
-You don't day if you'll be going alone our not, but if at all possible I would try to get dropped off at Staples. Otherwise bring at least $15 cash and drive around the area until you see a reasonable deal, there are plenty of lots with guys whistling and trying to flag you down.
-Yes, a lot of meters. More important than quarters is paying attention to street signs. Often but not always metered spots are free after certain hours or on Sundays.
-Ricky's Fish Tacos. Check the twitter.
posted by therewolf at 1:36 AM on January 21, 2011

I'm only going to address three things:

1. After the game, consider going to The Pantry. Some will carp about cleanliness or whatever, but the place is really good. I never fail to have a fascinating conversation with some random guy or gal when I eat at the bar. There are MANY more options downtown these days though, so you may prefer to skedaddle onto nightlife, perhaps The Edison.
2. Consider a longer drive and go all the way to Neptune's Net. Their steamed stuff is really great. More rustic than a restaurant, but great people watching (a variety of motorcycling folk gather there) and across the street is a surf spot.
3. Over the years, Uncle Bill's Pancake House in Manhattan Beach never failed to satisfy for breakfast. Killer pancakes.

(also: why must Flash websites suck SO hard? it's not funny anymore)
posted by artlung at 1:52 AM on January 21, 2011

Neptune's Net is a seafood restaurant-slash-biker spot at the northern most-tip of Malibu, right on the county line. That can be a fun little excursion from Santa Monica. I would most definitely check out El Matador beach and bring a camera. The turn-off is very easy to miss.

Mozza I would make reservations. Voyeur's a pretty hot club in that area. If you're downtown, the Standard Hotel Downtown has a very nice roof bar. Of course, these places can be a pain to get into. Lots of meters in LA also take credit cards, but bring change, because they ticket like crazy.

Upon review: The Edison's also a very dope bar.
posted by phaedon at 1:58 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, parking only ever gets worse in Hollywood, but last year I started having good luck parking a stop or two down from where I was going and grabbing a subway a stop or two.
posted by artlung at 1:58 AM on January 21, 2011

For fish tacos, I like Wahoo's and Senor Fish.
posted by cazoo at 2:11 AM on January 21, 2011

If you're planning on eating dinner around Staples before the game I'd plan on getting there no later than 5:30. I'm in Santa Monica, and my usual route is the 10 to Hoover, left on Hoover, right on Pico and then left on Figueroa. Staples is just a couple blocks from Pico and Fig and you can park in one the lots on Fig for a few bucks cheaper than on-site at the Convention Center or Nokia. (I find it's the quickest escape route after the game, too.) We go early to avoid minimize traffic/parking woes, so I can't speak to arriving closer to tip-off.

I'm not familiar with the "new" downtown, but I like The Pantry idea! You can also walk there, just make sure the lot you parked in doesn't have a closing time.

If it's the Clippers game you're going to it's going to be a blast. I went to the Clippers/Nuggets game a few weeks ago, and let's just say they have my attention :)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:02 AM on January 21, 2011

For fish tacos, I like Wahoo's and Senor Fish.

No. No. And NO. There is only one man for the fish taco job in this town. And that's Ricky. The best fish taco maker north of the border, and a damn nice guy too. He sets up his taco stand during the day on weekends in Silverlake. Here's the twitter.

Also, Osteria Mozza a thousand times over Mr. Chow (unless all you care about is the best chance to see a famous person).
posted by drpynchon at 3:21 AM on January 21, 2011

Oh for breakfast/brunch in that area, I'd suggest Gjelina (try the bacon and date scones. trust me.) or for more upscale, Joe's is great. Huckleberry in Santa Monica is popular but a bit of a zoo. I'm partial to The Griddle if you're heading inland and might like giant awesome pancakes, but it either means getting there before 9 or a long wait, and you'll be around hipster/scene types.
posted by drpynchon at 3:28 AM on January 21, 2011

If you decide to go out to clubs in Hollywood, be prepared to pay quite a lot for parking. The lots along Sunset are as high as $20/car.

The Standard Hotel downtown is a fun place to get a drink. There's a nice rooftop bar with great views of the city.
posted by something something at 6:54 AM on January 21, 2011

1. Where should I park at the Staples Center and how early should I arrive before game time? Also, where's a good place to grab a late snack after the game?
Park in front of the Public Works building just north of the intersection of 12th & Hill. There are 3 free curb spots there. It's about a 3 block walk from there to Staples Center. Then on the way back from the game stop at J Lounge for a bite and a drink. (If those parking spots don't work out, then just bring $10 cash and park in any of the surface lots nearby. DON'T park at Staples center itself, or at the convention center, or at LA Live.)

2.Driving on the PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu and back, where is the best place to get seafood along the way?
Malibu Seafood, get there half an hour before sunset.

3.Great places for breakfast/brunch?
I've eaten brunch at Mercede's Grille several times. Saturday morning/afternoon go there, get anything with fried plantains, and get drunk on mimosas. Then go walk down the boardwalk to Venice beach and sightsee the crazy. (This is also one of the best things to do in SM, so stands as an answer to #7 as well.)

4.Is most of the parking in LA and Hollywood meter based? Do I need to carry loads of quarters with me?
Yes to the first part, but in the most touristy/busy areas they've converted most of the metered street parking to new kinds that can accept credit cards. It's no longer necessary to carry a roll of quarters around with you.

I've never been to Mr. Chow's, but my old roommate went twice when her (now) husband's millionaire pal was in town. She claimed it was a blast when you're tearing it up with someone who couldn't give a rat's ass about the bill, but otherwise it's expensive enough to be stressful when you're footing (for values of 'you' that aren't millionaire playboys).
posted by carsonb at 8:12 AM on January 21, 2011

Also, going to Roscoe's any-time even remotely close to an eating-time is an exercise in patience.
posted by carsonb at 8:49 AM on January 21, 2011

If you venture into Hollywood and you like a really nice cocktail vs. a beer or wine you MUST hit the Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel which is on the same little strip as Mann's Chinese and all of that super touristy stuff, but don't let that stop you. Matt B. concocts the most amazing, fresh and tasty cocktails. They are now cheap at $15+ each, but they are an experience. Hell, the bar itself is awesome.

Also in the same area, if it interests you, is the Magic Castle. Which is a private club for which you need both an invite and dinner reservations for. If that's your kind of thing, let me know, I'm a member and can provide the invite.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:28 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

One of the best restaurants in town is the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. Not one of the usual suspects, and definitely worth it. If you are alone, they have a bar you can sit at and order from the full menu, probably without a reservation. (Maybe before or after the Laker game.) Downtown L.A. is full of interesting possibilities. Check out Gallery Row, where the Art Walk happens very month. You can go there any time and check out the galleries and restaurant, not just the 2nd Thursday of every month. If you're up for a drive, I also love the Arboretum.
posted by ljshapiro at 1:05 PM on January 21, 2011

Some further thoughts:

5. Nightlife spots? I'm tempted to check out some of the clubs.
I suppose it depends on what you're looking for. One night stand? Any bar/club between East LA and the ocean. Dancing? Pretty much everything in Hollywood/WeHo. Top-notch? You need to either know someone or have a coterie of beautiful, skimpily-dressed women along with you otherwise you'll be standing in a line on the sidewalk with a bunch of bros for the entire evening.

6. I don't want to do the "dirty" Hollywood tourist thing, but is there anything in Hollywood that I should see?
Nope, not really. Though the Griffith Observatory is nice, and on a clear day it provides a fairly spectacular view of the city too.
posted by carsonb at 5:26 PM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you so much for the answers! Ricky's fish taco's will definitely be visited, along with Neptune's net! La Cabana and The Mercedes Grill will also make the itinerary.
posted by AMWKE1984 at 12:22 AM on January 22, 2011

1. There's no great answer on parking. If you drive around there are plenty of lots that will be offering parking. I know there's a lot at 8th place and figueroa that's not too expensive. If you're not eating before the game, I'd say it doesn't matter too much how early you get there. 45 minutes maybe. If you are, then god help you and show up at least 2.5-3 hours in advance. The wait at nearby restaurants can get crazy long.

For a late night snack, you have a few options. If you want a beer, I'd go to the Yardhouse that's right across the street. There are also a bunch of other restaurants in the same area, but they can be very pricey. The Farm is not bad (but I'm not sure they're open after the game). If you want an LA experience, you can head up to 9th and Figueroa and eat at the Pantry. It's not the greatest food of all time, nor the best ambience, and the service is uniformly terrible, but it's been open forever and can feel like stepping in a time machine. It's also famous, and a Los Angeles landmark.

2. I like Gladstone's. If it's a nice day sit outside, right by the beach. Also not as crazy expensive as some of the other options along PCH.

3. I defer to others. If you'll be in Hollywood, you can check out the Griddle, which has giant portions for very cheap. It's always crowded, so there's a wait. I'm not sure I've had a breakfast in LA that has knocked my socks off.

4. There's a fair amount of non-meter parking too, but it's often pay parking. If you can get a meter, you often probably should. So yeah, bring quarters.

5. I defer to others. If you like bars, you can check out Lola's, which has a ridiculous number of girly martinis. Or go to the Edison in downtown for a real martini. But others will have better advice on this than I do.

6. Eh. There's nothing you should see, but then again you should probably briefly check out Hollywood just so you know how awful it really is. Just park at the shopping center at Hollywood and Highland and walk around that block for an hour. Then leave and never return.

7. For Santa Monica, definitely checkout 3rd Street Promenade, on either a friday or saturday night (weekends during the day also work). that's where you will find plenty of street performers of varying levels of ability and the occasional Hare Krishna giant dance party and conversion effort. Also a bunch of bleh shops, but don't go for that. If you're not stopping to watch the street performers of varying levels of ability you're doing it wrong.

Also head down to Venice beach and walk down the beachside shopping, where you will find an absurd number of tattoo parlors, the occasional dirty hippie looking for signatures on a pot legalization petition, and a fair amount of bad street art. It's like 3rd street, but with the corporate sheen replaced with hippy grime. Good fun. After that, drive through Dell Ave. between Venice Blvd and Washington Blvd, and learn why the area is named "Venice."

Last, I like dinner at C&O Trattoria (make sure you go to the outdoor one, right by the beach, not the one in a building a few miles inland). Waiters sing and toast with everyone in the room sometime during your meal. It's a fun time.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 2:56 PM on January 25, 2011

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