Things to do in LA Tuesday evening
November 11, 2012 4:15 PM   Subscribe

I am flying into LAX for work Tuesday and have the afternoon free. 3:15 arrival. Is there something really cool I could do that is 1) open, and 2) accessible considering traffic? (I have a car.). Maybe a museum or a scenic spot, ineresting historic site, or a trendy market area? I am not interested in bars or expensive restaurants. Bonus points if near Oxnard.
posted by tracer to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
LAX and Oxnard are ~60 miles apart. If you want a halfway point, Griffith Park and the Observatory are cool, but if you don't drive directly to Oxnard, you will be in wicked traffic. If you can wait around a couple of hours, the traffic won't be nearly as bad. Maybe LA Mefites in that area have a suggestion for dinner?
posted by kamikazegopher at 4:39 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Malibu has really beautiful beaches, and is just up the Pacific Coast Highway right between LAX and Oxnard. Might be a little chilly, but will definitely be open (and not too busy on a Tuesday.) I personally recommend El Matador Beach.
About 20 minutes from LAX is the Museum Of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. Definitely worth a trip, if a post-modern museum of ambiguous purpose with a dry sense of humor sounds appealing. It's a little out of the way, but really cool. It also happens to be next to an In n Out, which is basically the best fast food hamburger in the whole wide world.
Oxnard is also right next to Ventura, which is a cute little beach town. I've only been twice, but their downtown area has a lot of neat shops.
Have fun!
posted by joechip at 4:43 PM on November 11, 2012

Driving up to Oxnard from LAX on PCH (Highway 1) will be scenic -- you'll be driving right along the ocean in late afternoon as the sun is getting low over the water! On that route, stop and see the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk or the Santa Monica Pier. There are shops and restaurants in both locations.

If you'd rather see some nature, Leo Carillo State Beach is nice (and right on your way to Oxnard).

Do not underestimate the amount of time it's going to take to drive that route -- Highway 1 is a regular surface street until you get out of Los Angeles, so 60 miles does NOT mean 60 minutes, and it's impossible to predict how heavy traffic will be on any given day.
posted by erst at 5:25 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's really too bad the MoJT isn't open Tuesdays. It would be perfect!

Have a nice afternoon at the secluded cliff-lined Dume Cove beach.

Drive on the 1 up towards Malibu. Go left on Zumirez and veer right to stay on Wildlife Rd. Right on Fernhill. Right on Cliffside, park wherever you are allowed. (Read the signs!) Walk south towards the trail, and take it down to the stairs to the beach. It's beautiful there, and on a clear day you can see Santa Monica.

When you're done backtrack along the 1 for a half mile or so and eat a sunset dinner at Malibu Seafood. Their fish and chips is to die for.
posted by carsonb at 5:40 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding the excellent fish and chips at Malibu Seafood. It is easily accessible by car (right off PCH), roughly midway between LAX and Oxnard, has great seafood, and you can take in the beautiful view of the beach and ocean while you eat.
posted by mediated self at 5:52 PM on November 11, 2012

Let's see. By the time you get out of LAX, collect your car, and hit the road, it will probably be 4 pm or later. Given that the sun sinks into the sea at about 4:45, and that it's rush hour, anything north of Santa Monica, beach-wise, will be after-dark for you.

Here's my rec:

Taking surface streets, head toward the beach. From where the rental car lots are, Manchester is probably your best bet. Depending on how traffic flows (or not), you may make it just to Playa del Rey. Not L.A.'s prettiest beach, but still, you'll get to see the sunset (which is drop-dead GORGEOUS this time of year).

From there, in the dark, make your way to either Abbot-Kinney (in Venice Beach), or Main Street (in Santa Monica). Hit one of the happy hours for food specials, and wander around and people watch.

Also:Main Street has a gathering of food trucks on Tuesday nights, which is pretty happenin'.

Kill time till 7 pm or later to avoid the northbound PCH commuter traffic, then make your way up to Oxnard.

To break up the drive to The "Nard, you could stop in Malibu, at the Country Mart, and wander around looking at the glossy people. There is also a Ralph's across PCH that stays open late, and is off the chains for celeb sightings.

On your way back to LAX from O'nard, if you can time your drive to coincide with daylight, you will be in for a real treat.

P.S. Steer clear of the 405 at all costs.
posted by nacho fries at 6:36 PM on November 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Seconding the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:22 PM on November 11, 2012

Nachofries has good sensible advice.
Heed him! Especially about the 405.
posted by SLC Mom at 4:49 AM on November 12, 2012

Last time I was in LA, I went to Watts Towers. It was closed, so we couldn't go in it, but was still totally worth the drive. Despite the misgivings of my family, I didn't feel any safety concerns.
posted by theora55 at 5:36 AM on November 12, 2012

Watts Towers is a neat place, but it is TOTALLY in the opposite direction and it will be after dark before you can get there. I would give it a pass until you are familiar with L.A.
posted by Old Geezer at 7:39 AM on November 12, 2012

I've only been to LA once, and I stayed near the SeaBee Base in Oxnard. I seem to recall that the Getty Museum was between LA and Oxnard. The Getty was fantastic in many ways and free, too! You may have to call and reserve a parking space, there was something like that to it (I wasn't driving at the time).

Alternately, if you can smoke in your rental car, get some nice cigars and head up the PCH towards Oxnard, and let that be its own event. That's what we did one evening.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:49 AM on November 12, 2012

Thanks, sounds like some great suggestions along the PCH. I will also have free time Wednesday and Thursday after 5 but will probably just explore the beach areas around Oxnard.
posted by tracer at 10:19 AM on November 12, 2012

If you find yourself at loose ends after exploring Oxnard, it may be worth the easy drive to hit up Ventura, per joechip's advice upthread. Ventura really has a distinct, classic California feel to it. The Old Town area is lively; lots of people out and about, and lots of decent eats to be had. The Mission will be closed, but it's worth walking by to peek at the exterior.

Near the base in Oxnard, right off PCH, there's an outdoor collection of old planes that might be fun to poke around, if it's lit up after dark.
posted by nacho fries at 10:48 AM on November 12, 2012

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