Anything worth seeing/doing near the Staples Center before a Laker game?
January 10, 2015 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Tomorrow night I will enjoy my first home Lakers game against my beloved Trailblazers. Is there anything in particular I should know in advance to prepare me for this? Is there anything in particular I should see or visit nearby in LA Live or the vicinity?

This is my first NBA game in LA but I'm a seasoned NBA fan and have enjoyed a handful of games across the country. We are planning on making a day of it and enjoy a few hours at the Griffith Observatory and other places around town. But specific to the Staples Center location, is there anything to do/see that I should make time for? We have parking already purchased nearby.
posted by pwb503 to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This might help!
posted by cecic at 12:57 PM on January 10, 2015

Best answer: The second answer on this Trip Advisor page has detailed suggestions and directions, including metro and bus info. Have fun!
posted by killy willy at 1:01 PM on January 10, 2015

The Grammy Museum is near the Staples Center (at LA Live, I think?) I haven't been, but I've heard good things, and they've done exhibits that have sounded really interesting. Probably not worth a trip to Los Angeles just to do that, but if you're in the neighborhood killing time, why not?

Also, if you want to get your Portland on while in Los Angeles, the nearby Arts District has a Stumptown outpost and general strolling, browsing, shopping, and people watching options.

The Last Bookstore also isn't far and is a wonderful place to while away an afternoon.
posted by Sara C. at 1:14 PM on January 10, 2015

They can randomly be real sticklers about the camera and recording equipment they let in for Lakers games. (I've never noticed this for Clippers home games.) I wouldn't plan on bringing a DSLR or a mega-zoom pro-sumer unless you're prepared to take it back to your car. You can find the maximum allowed lens length on the Staples Center site.

I haven't been to a game this season but unless something has changed, if you're planning on eating at LA Live before the game you'll definitely need to get there at least two hours before tip-off.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:17 PM on January 10, 2015

The space shuttle is over at the Museum of Science and Industry. It's hard to suggest things, when I don't know what kinds of stuff you're into.

Be prepared for lots of traffic getting to the game and getting out. It's also supposed to rain tomorrow, but the forecasts say it should clear up by the evening.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:39 PM on January 10, 2015

Response by poster: Since you asked. Likes: Good food, margaritas, ethnic food of any type, space/technology, comics, anime, gardens, etc.
posted by pwb503 at 1:52 PM on January 10, 2015

Ooh, grab bacon-wrapped hot dog after the game. Just follow your nose to the first cart you see.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:09 PM on January 10, 2015

I work near Staples - there's not much to do there at the best of times.

El Cholo is about a block from Staples and has pretty good margaritas; I'm a fan of the Santa Barbara enchiladas (get them with the green sauce instead of red). Very old-school Mexican restaurant; I'd recommend reservations on a game day.

There are a bunch of different ethnic restaurants at the food court at Fig & 7th, a short walk up Fig(ueroa) from Staples.

Anything other than the Grammy Museum will be either a drive or a minimum 15-minute walk from Staples (The Last Bookstore, for example, would be close to a 25-minute walk from Staples, and that's at a good pace). Be aware that downtown is full of one-way streets and can be very confusing for drivers.
posted by mogget at 2:22 PM on January 10, 2015

These may slightly out of your walking range but...

The downtown Los Angeles Library is very cool. There are homeless people but if you like libraries you'll like the main branch. They will close at 5:00 pm tomorrow.

There's a rotating bar on top of the Westin Bonaventure that may be cheesy but I really enjoy sitting there drinking and watching Los Angeles spin beneath me. They'll open at 5:00.
posted by rdr at 2:48 PM on January 10, 2015

If you want to do a free walking tour—it starts in downtown and centers around the LA River; we cross ten bridges, heading north to south—I'm leading one tomorrow; it leaves from the Chinatown Metro Gold Line station at 9AM. There are full and half-day options.

You'll learn a lot, meet great people, and you can get back in time for your game.

Info here:

(If you need info on getting to the start point, just post in the above group or PM me here on MeFi).
posted by soulbarn at 3:33 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

The following probably won't help you very much for tomorrow, but I'll include it for posterity:

The TripAdvisor answer is indeed pretty good with its public transit advice, but it deserves an update since it was written in 2011. In addition to the Blue Line, the Expo Line of the Metro Light Rail also now stops at the Pico station near the Staples Center. If you were to take the Expo Line south(-ish), opposite the direction to downtown, it's only a short ride to the Expo Park/USC station, where there is a nice rose garden in Exposition Park in addition to the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center, as Ursula Hitler mentioned.

Two reasons why that probably won't be worthwhile for you in particular: the rose garden is currently closed for winter pruning, and Endeavour requires timed entry tickets, which are definitely worth ordering online ahead of time, but seem to be already sold out for tomorrow. But like I said, I'll leave the answer here anyway, in case someone comes along later with similar tastes!
posted by sigmagalator at 4:30 PM on January 10, 2015

Google Wacko/La Luz de Jesus and the Velaslavasay Panorama. Wacko is a great store/gallery that's always worth a visit and the Panorama is an odd, dusty little place with a 360 arctic panorama upstairs and an amazing fairyland garden out back. (It's not a very "LA" place; it's more like wandering into some tiny pocket of Narnia or something.) And as I said, the space shuttle's not too far away.

If you're into arty comics, Meltdown is a must... it is a nerd Mecca. But it's a bit of a drive from downtown.

Be aware that after dark, certain parts of downtown can get very scary and sad. LA's skid row is a genuinely tragic place.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:16 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Figueroa north of Pico up to around, I would say 3rd, is pretty safe. Also, at 5 or 6 in the evening there will be a fairly large crowd. Skid row is all the way across downtown. You won't easily walk anywhere near it.

What everyone is forgetting to mention, for good reason, is that the blocks around the Staples Center are filled with restaurants, bars, and stores that are eager to take your money. They are easy walking distance from Staples Center but I don't think of very many of them as interesting.They will be convenient places to fill an hour or two. The current weather forecast for tomorrow is for light rain up until around 4 pm so you might want to factor that into your plans.
posted by rdr at 7:40 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

The LA Live/Staples Center area is largely a tourist shitshow of options. But it's also right there. It does not contain things I would personally seek out, but if you venture futher into downtown, there are a lot of great options. Just walk up Fig and turn right on 7th. You will see all sorts of options between Fig and Main.

For good food sans margaritas, you could check out the stands at Mercado la Paloma near Expo Park (where the Science Center and Natural History Museum are). The Natural History Museum recently installed some pretty great nature gardens. You can drive there or you can park in your spot near the staples center and take the expo line there.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:59 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

OP, please report back! I'd love to know what you thought of the experience compared to NBA games at other venues.

Be aware that downtown is full of one-way streets and can be very confusing for drivers.

And you'll probably need to exit the area a different way than you arrived due to traffic control. Also, I feel like I didn't really sell the bacon-wrapped hot dog hard enough. Think of them as Freedom Franks!
posted by Room 641-A at 2:14 PM on January 11, 2015

Go see the Walt Disney Concert Hall if you haven't already seen it. It looks like it's a mile and a half, and I have no idea if that space is filled with anything interesting. I thought the Hall was very cool to walk around for a half hour.
posted by cnc at 2:31 PM on January 11, 2015

and Endeavour requires timed entry tickets, which are definitely worth ordering online ahead of time, but seem to be already sold out for tomorrow

I find that hard to believe. The tickets are $2, and the "time" on them has been "right this minute" for months. I go to the science center every month or so, and the last time I saw a line to see it was back sometime in 2013.
posted by sideshow at 5:38 PM on January 11, 2015

sideshow, I just went a couple weeks ago, and the time was also "right this minute" for me - but I did have to wait in a pretty beastly line with everybody trying to buy Imax and Pompeii tickets in order to get an entry ticket for Endeavour. There was pretty much instant service at will-call for people who had reserved online, but at least at the time of day I was checking, there were no times for the next day available on the website. Maybe they just stop offering them online after a certain point?
posted by sigmagalator at 11:32 PM on January 12, 2015

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