LA Layover
October 7, 2022 6:58 AM   Subscribe

I have 4 hours to kill before my flight home in LA tomorrow Saturday. Staying at the airport. Would like to go somewhere and do a thing before being trapped on the plane for 6 hours. Dont want to go more than a 30 minute drive away. Any suggestions?
posted by edbles to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (15 answers total)
I've had it take me more than 30 minutes just to get into or out of the airport before... That said, Manhattan Beach and Venice Beach/Marina del Rey are both close to the airport and can be reached without getting on freeways. Depending on what you're looking for, one of those might be worth visiting. For my personal preferences I'd lean toward Manhattan Beach, but Venice is definitely... something to see if you haven't.
posted by primethyme at 7:07 AM on October 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I've never had it take less than 30m to deplane, get my stuff if I checked a bag, get "outside," get transport. Also at a major airport I would budget a pretty good chunk of time to get through security again once you return. . While spending 4 hours at the airport seems like a waste of time, with the way things are traveling these days, I'm not sure missing my next flight is a risk I would take.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:25 AM on October 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

Okay, so you're saying you're staying at a hotel at/near the airport, and between the time you (have to?) check out of the hotel and the time your flight is scheduled to take off is four hours? I agree with the previous commenters that I wouldn't want to go too far, but that's a different scenario from "I am on a flight inbound to LAX, I get there and have to get myself and my luggage off a plane to a destination and then back through security, I have whatever's left out of four hours to kill."

Especially because you'll likely be able to leave your luggage at the hotel and retrieve it once you come back, you should be fine checking out something like Venice Beach, maybe the Santa Monica Pier and farmers' market. I probably wouldn't cross the 405.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 7:46 AM on October 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah sorry I'm staying in an airport hotel and I have about 4 hours in the morning I can use before I need to head to the airport. I don't have an actual layover. The title of this out is misleading.
posted by edbles at 7:53 AM on October 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh, yeah, then I'd totally hit the beach. Earlier it'll be on the quieter side (though you will have your dedicated athletes out doing their thing not much after sunrise), but by 9 or 10 it'll be pretty busy (but with more people-watching opportunities). Same with the farmers market, which opens at 8.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 8:10 AM on October 7, 2022

I would not leave LAX and/or the LAX area if you only have 4 hours. The very best case scenario is that it takes you about 30 mins to get out of the airport and to somewhere else, then another 30 mins to get back, plus security and actually getting to your gate which might only take 15ish minutes but could also take 30 minutes, and you're already at about 1.5 hours and that's not even accounting for the actual time you want to spend at the somewhere else. I wouldn't consider it worth the stress of making it to your gate on time tbh, and all it would take is one traffic snarl to make you late.

That said, depending on the time on Saturday, you could probably make it to the Santa Monica Promenade in 30ish minutes, and you can wander around for 30-45 minutes or so before booking it back to the airport. If it's a Saturday morning in particular, could be worth it for the farmer's market. Again though, I wouldn't really consider this worth the trouble and risk of missing your flight.
posted by yasaman at 8:10 AM on October 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

I would do the Manhattan Beach Pier area or The Point in El Segundo for breakfast, then it's easy enough to get back to the airport. Allow yourself wiggle room for security though, it's been nightmarish but also unpredictable.
posted by Temeraria at 8:13 AM on October 7, 2022

I think the classic recommendation under these circumstances is any combo of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Tito's Tacos, the In N Out nearest the airport, or the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Also I think if you really have a full four hours, you could get to the Getty Museum and have a solidly beautiful 2 hours there.

(I'm assuming this 4-hour window also means you've given yourself plennnnnty of time to deal with the airport.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:17 AM on October 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

I would recommend not the Getty with only 4 hours and a hard deadline. There's a monorail from the parking/dropoff area to the buildings and back that adds enough time that I would find it more stressful than relaxing to try to do while leaving enough time to catch the monorail back and allow time in case traffic is bad. And it would be pricy for a short visit - I want to say the last time I went from LAX to the Getty (in 2019, so things may have changed) was around $40 one way.

But it is a great museum so if you'd be OK with a short visit and high transit costs, it's something to consider.
posted by Candleman at 8:53 AM on October 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I would go to El Segundo's little downtown area (both quaint and surreally right next to a refinery, if you like those sorts of contrasts) to have breakfast wander a bit.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:23 AM on October 7, 2022

Museum of Jurassic Technology currently requires reservations in advance, with timed entry, so who knows if they're already booked up or open for the Saturday in question. I would nix this option.

Also, is your four-hour time window four hours from checkout to flight? Or you have allotted yourself four hours of free time before you get to the airport comfortably in advance of your flight? Because if it's the latter, then, yeah, definitely head to Santa Monica or Venice for a ramble and a meal.
posted by yasaman at 9:30 AM on October 7, 2022

Coming from someone who toiled in one of El Segundo's corporate towers for four years, I have no desire ever to return to that former sundown town.

If it's just beach and people-watching you're after, Venice or Manhattan Beach will be quite adequate. (Back in June, in answer to a similar question, I described Manhattan Beach access. Venice is a little further, in the opposite direction). The passing show is more entertaining in Venice, but you needn't go quite that far; head to Marina Del Rey to catch the southern end of Ocean Front Walk (aka the Venice 'boardwalk').
posted by Rash at 9:33 AM on October 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would have brunch in Venice and walk around the canals.
posted by pinochiette at 3:54 PM on October 7, 2022

Response by poster: I've alloted myself 4 hours. I have like 6-8 total depending on how early I wake up.
posted by edbles at 5:16 PM on October 7, 2022

I know this one! The answer is: Dockweiler State Beach. It is maybe 5 minutes from LAX. Now is it a fancy beach? No. Are there restaurants and shops? No. It's just sand and the ocean. BUT it's directly under the LAX flight path and you can stand in the surf with the ocean rumbling in in front of you and jumbo jets cruising overhead. There's really nothing else like it.

I don't know if you would actually want to spend 4 whole hours there. It depends how much you like vibes.
posted by escabeche at 9:44 PM on October 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

« Older Identifying and locating source of possible blown...   |   Obsidian Advice Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments