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chriscec2012

NCL Cruise, arrive two day early - want to see the LA attractions - Help

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Small group of us from the east coast coming in two days early for a cruise that leaves Sunday (we arrive noon on Friday) none of us have ever been to LA and wanting to see the MUST visit attractions. 

Would like to ultimately end up on Saturday night in a hotel near San Pedro port for ease on embarkation morning on Sunday. My question is where would be the best hotel for one night to visit Hollywood, and the hot spots that are must visits? 

 

Appreciate any info info on how we can get the most bang for the short amount of time. 

 

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More complicated than you might think...

First, how you define "two days early" is crucial.  If you are talking about flying in some time during the day on Friday...and wanting to be in a hotel in San Pedro for Saturday night, that's really not a lot of "real" time...A lot of your day Friday will likely be eaten up just getting out of LAX and getting to and checking into a hotel...Which would really only leave you the day on Saturday for most of your touring...but, of course, you'd be checking out of that hotel on Saturday morning and would have to store your luggage or have it with you.

 

The other big question is one of how you plan on getting around LA?  Rental van?  Ubers/taxis?  Tour companies?  Public transportation is likely not a good option for you, by the way...

 

Okay, without knowing all that, let's make some assumptions--One, that you are getting in VERY early on Friday and, two, that you won't have a car or van rental.

 

If you really wanted to stay in Hollywood (I don't necessarily recommend it), the main hotels I would consider are the Loews Hollywood-located right in the Hollywood and Highland complex with the Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater, lots of restaurants and the Walk of Fame right out front...or the Hollywood Roosevelt (the old Grande Dame of Hollywood).  There are a scant few other hotels in that immediate area I MIGHT consider...but Hollywood gets pretty scuzzy real quickly as you vary from there.  Beware any bargain hotels.  You could see the sights in the immediate area--but, for a lot of other popular sights--which are not that close to central Hollywood, you would need some sort of tour or transportation.

 

Since you may need to take a tour anyway, you might want to consider staying in my personal favorite area--Santa Monica.  Santa Monica is a far nicer, more upscale area--much nicer and safer in which to walk around on that Friday evening--Lots of very nice hotels near the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier (Loews, Marriott LeMerigot, Shutters at the Beach, Fairmont Miramar, Wyndham, Huntley, Hampton Inn, Marriott Courtyard and more).  Also not as long a trip from LAX.  You could spend what you have left of Friday in that area--maybe hop down to the Venice Boardwalk, hang out at the Pier, stroll along Palisades Park at sunset, then head to a restaurant and hang out at the Third Street Promenade and take in the nightlife after dinner.

 

Then, for Saturday, I'd arrange a private tour for your group with one of the many local companies, to pick you up at the hotel and take you to Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, etc. and either drop you back at the hotel to collect your luggage...or maybe even just take you down to San Pedro to a hotel for Saturday night (Crowne Plaza or Doubletree)...

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Wow! A lot of great info, Thank you very much. I never really thought about the luggage deal of switching hotels so maybe we will pick one hotel and stick with it so Santa Monica may be our best option for both nights. We arrive at LAX around noon on Friday after leaving Charlotte NC at 6am EST, there may not be a lot of sight seeing in our future on Friday ☹️. We were planning to Uber but may consider renting a car, just worried about traffic. I’ve been out there a few times but no one else in our group has been west of Vegas so they have a long list of must see places in a short time frame. 

 

FWIW we do have a 9pm red eye flight out of LAX the day we disembark so we would be open to suggestions then as well. 

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On 7/28/2019 at 7:10 PM, chriscec2012 said:

Small group of us from the east coast coming in two days early for a cruise that leaves Sunday (we arrive noon on Friday) none of us have ever been to LA and wanting to see the MUST visit attractions. 

 

Would like to ultimately end up on Saturday night in a hotel near San Pedro port for ease on embarkation morning on Sunday.

 

I'm not sure if you meant the cruise was this Sunday (meaning yesterday) or just a Sunday, but for anyone else following, I'd start by asking what you think are the "must see" sights of LA. That list might vary greatly from others.

 

For example, to me "Hollywood" would be very low on a list of things I would want to show a friend from out of town. At best to see what sights there are there takes no more than a couple of hours. I think a lot of people confuse Hollywood the physical place with Hollywood the industry. Hollywood the place isn't a glamorous place. Reading Joseph Wambaugh's "Hollywood Station" gives you a feel for the area.

 

I also wouldn't change hotels, especially on a weekend. From Santa Monica, DTLA or Hollywood, it is a very easy transfer.

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BruinSteve,

You are such a great resource on these boards. Looking for some input on a slightly different scenario.  We have one long port day, 8 am to 9 pm on a Wednesday.  I did reserve a rental car in San Pedro.    Our 2 must sees are UCLA and USC. Any suggestions you have as to what else we could fit in? Which to do first? Other good things to do near these campuses? 

Any help is appreciated.

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7 hours ago, knbcruisers said:

... We have one long port day, 8 am to 9 pm on a Wednesday.  I did reserve a rental car in San Pedro.    Our 2 must sees are UCLA and USC. Any suggestions you have as to what else we could fit in? Which to do first? Other good things to do near these campuses? ...

Do you have high school kids on a college tour?  Or just like visiting college campuses?

 

Well, let’s start with the campuses themselves.  There’s an interesting contrast between the two university campuses.  When USC was founded, it was the private school for rich kids...and someone donated an expensive piece of real estate—right in the heart of the city, close to Downtown.  UCLA was the poor public university.  The only available land for a campus cheap enough was WAY out of the way— out on the West Side...where all their was at the time was itinerant farmers...And they couldn’t get the “good” land, the farmable flat stuff ...What they we’re able to get was the rocky, hilly stuff in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.  Of course, that was 100 years ago...Since then, things have changed a little.  The area around USC had aged...and aged badly...turning into a run down “slum”...the inner city, replete with all of the typical inner city problems.  Meanwhile, the areas immediately surrounding UCLA grew into Brentwood on the West, Bel Air on UCLA’s Northern boundary, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills to the East and Westwood Village to the South.

 

USC is a rather compact, urban campus...though it does have some good brick collegiate architecture.  Heritage Hall does include a few Heisman trophies (though I don’t know if OJ’s is still on display). The area around it is a bit sketchy, but the school has done a lot in recent years to buy up, tear down and redevelop several properties bordering on the campus...BUT, I wouldn’t advise investing too much time visiting USC or surrounding areas.  Of historical note is USC’s football stadium, to the south of the campus...built originally in the 1920s for the 1932 Olympics.  Also to the immediate south of campus are the group of County Museums—Natural History, Science and Industry, Space and Aeronautics, etc.

 

Heading North from USC brings you into Downtown Los Angeles—Staples Center to the Southern end of Downtown...and Olvera Street (a very touristy version of the original Pueblo with a few original buildings) and Chinatown to the Northern end of Downtown...Heading up the 101 Freeway from Downtown brings you to Hollywood...and though, as Scott pointed out, it’s not really the home of most of the studios now, it is home to sights many tourists want to visit:  Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame and views of the Hollywood Sign...though I would agree it’s all not worth that much of your time...and parking can be a nightmare.

 

A drive from Hollywood West on Sunset Boulevard will bring you through the Sunset Strip (West Hollywood), through Beverly Hills ...and to the beautiful campus of UCLA. Photos can be taken from Dickson Plaza of UCLA’s iconic brick buildings...including Royce Hall and Powell Library...and, if you’re lucky, you may get a peek inside Pauley Pavilion at the National Championship banners...and the Morgan Center has a gaudy display of the 118 National Championship trophies.

 

Very close to the UCLA campus is the Getty Center Museum...a world class art museum...and it’s a fairly short drive down Wiltshire Boulevard to Santa Monica...

 

How much you can can fit into your one port day really depends on how much time you spend in any one place...You likely can’t take in everything.  And, remember to leave plenty of time to get back to port...it’s a Wednesday, and there WILL most certainly be lots of traffic heading back to port...

 

Good luck...

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You are awesome thank you!!! DH is Big USC football fan since he was a little kid. So a look at the Heismans and the old stadium will be enough to make him happy.  We have a friend on the athletic staff at UCLA so hoping to meet up with him plus see all the sports related stuff.   The rest of the day is bonus time.. I like your advice to stop in Santa Monica, then make our way back to the ship. 

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On 8/6/2019 at 2:50 AM, knbcruisers said:

DH is Big USC football fan since he was a little kid.

 

When USC was founded in 1880 there was no downtown LA, there was barely an LA. The city, such as it was, didn't even have paved roads or electricity and the City of Los Angeles had a population of just over 11,000. The first important railroad had only come in four years before.

 

You can read the real story of USC's founding here, Birth of a University.

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There is so much to see in LA megalopolis you have to narrow your interests and prioritize.   My biggest suggestion for any travel in LA is be flexible, have a good map and GPS with real time traffic, plan at least two routes to where you want to go, and be flexible.    People laugh at me for saying have a map.  But, it helps a bunch when the freeway is a parking lot and you want to get off and find surface streets.  A GPS screen just doesn't allow you to do that.  

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1 hour ago, ATSEAMYLIFE said:

   People laugh at me for saying have a map.  But, it helps a bunch when the freeway is a parking lot and you want to get off and find surface streets.  A GPS screen just doesn't allow you to do that.  

THIS!! I agree totally. My dad taught me how to read a map and it’s one of the best life skills I have.      

 

Excellent advice, especially having back up routes identified.  Thank you 

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On 7/29/2019 at 6:41 PM, chriscec2012 said:

Wow! A lot of great info, Thank you very much. I never really thought about the luggage deal of switching hotels so maybe we will pick one hotel and stick with it so Santa Monica may be our best option for both nights. We arrive at LAX around noon on Friday after leaving Charlotte NC at 6am EST, there may not be a lot of sight seeing in our future on Friday ☹️. We were planning to Uber but may consider renting a car, just worried about traffic. I’ve been out there a few times but no one else in our group has been west of Vegas so they have a long list of must see places in a short time frame. 

 

FWIW we do have a 9pm red eye flight out of LAX the day we disembark so we would be open to suggestions then as well. 

 

Curious if you can share that list. I can't think of more than a handful of touristy things really worth doing in LA.  If your time is limited I would highly recommend skipping Hollywood, or just drive around Hollywood/Highland or something for 20 min to see it and go somewhere else.

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On 8/6/2019 at 2:50 AM, knbcruisers said:

You are awesome thank you!!! DH is Big USC football fan since he was a little kid. So a look at the Heismans and the old stadium will be enough to make him happy.  We have a friend on the athletic staff at UCLA so hoping to meet up with him plus see all the sports related stuff.   The rest of the day is bonus time.. I like your advice to stop in Santa Monica, then make our way back to the ship. 

 

I would usually say do USC first.  The area isn't that great and gets sketchy at night.  But that traffic from the westside down to Long beach will be killer in the evening.  To be safe you would probably want to leave no later than 7, and that will land you in the middle of rush hour traffic.  I guess sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 is part of the real LA experience...

 

The drive down from USC will be similarly traffic-filled, but the distance is a little shorter.  Either way you will be sitting in the rush hour traffic (rush hour is a poor term, it's more, the direction traffic goes since it lasts half the day) both in the morning and in the evening.

 

As bruin steve said, depending if anyone is interested, the museum of natural history is right next to USC, as well as California science center (which also has the space shuttle endeavour).

 

I feel like planning a trip in LA is super difficult, there's nothing super need to see, and everything is just dependent on what you like to do and what you like to eat.  The food scene is super awesome in LA, would definitely have a plan for meals before you go.  After car rental and traffic, 8am-9pm probably won't let you do as much as you hope.

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Only six miles from USC is the La Brea Tar Pits and a few other museums within a short walk.  There is the Peterson Automotive Museum within walking distance.  A short drive is the Holocaust museum.  If you are really into WWII holocaust then the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance is a must and isn't to far from USC, La Brea, UCLA and Beverly Hills.     

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7 hours ago, UnorigionalName said:

Curious if you can share that list. I can't think of more than a handful of touristy things really worth doing in LA.

 

Start with these.

Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory

The Getty Center

The Getty Villa

Petersen Automotive Museum

MOCA

LACMA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

California Science Center

La Brea Tar Pits & Page Museum

Norton Simon Museum

The Original Farmers Market

USS Iowa

The Broad

The Geffen

Armand Hammar

The Nethercutt Collection

Adamsson House & Malibu Lagoon

Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

Aquarium of the Pacific

Greystone Mansion

Autry Museum of the Southwest

LA Zoo

Japanese American National Museum

Museum of Tolerance

USC Pacific Asia Museum

Ethnic neighborhoods Little Tokyo, Sawtelle Japantown, Thai Town, Koreatown, Chinatown, Olvera Street, Little Armenia, Little Odessa.

Angels Flight & Grand Central Market

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

LA Central Library

Flower District

Toy District

Santee Alley & Garment District

Jewelry District

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

 

There are 100 to 200 significant architectural sights. A dozen to two dozen important shopping areas. Beaches and coves up the ying yang. Nature hikes including ones to waterfalls. Kayaking on the LA Rver.

 

There is so much more to LA than Hollywood, Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier it isn’t even funny.

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On 8/9/2019 at 10:02 PM, scottca075 said:

 

Start with these.

Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory

The Getty Center

The Getty Villa

Petersen Automotive Museum

MOCA

LACMA

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

California Science Center

La Brea Tar Pits & Page Museum

Norton Simon Museum

The Original Farmers Market

USS Iowa

The Broad

The Geffen

Armand Hammar

The Nethercutt Collection

Adamsson House & Malibu Lagoon

Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

Aquarium of the Pacific

Greystone Mansion

Autry Museum of the Southwest

LA Zoo

Japanese American National Museum

Museum of Tolerance

USC Pacific Asia Museum

Ethnic neighborhoods Little Tokyo, Sawtelle Japantown, Thai Town, Koreatown, Chinatown, Olvera Street, Little Armenia, Little Odessa.

Angels Flight & Grand Central Market

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

LA Central Library

Flower District

Toy District

Santee Alley & Garment District

Jewelry District

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

 

 

There are 100 to 200 significant architectural sights. A dozen to two dozen important shopping areas. Beaches and coves up the ying yang. Nature hikes including ones to waterfalls. Kayaking on the LA Rver.

 

 

There is so much more to LA than Hollywood, Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier it isn’t even funny.

 

i kind of want an outsider's perspective.  Like almost everything on that list is more of a nice thing to do on a weekend level. to me it's not really travel internationally or across the country to see. but maybe that's cause i know what they are already.  say if you only had 1 or 2 or 3 days, i'm hard pressed to find anything that is  obviously MUST do level above everything else.

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12 hours ago, UnorigionalName said:

i kind of want an outsider's perspective.  Like almost everything on that list is more of a nice thing to do on a weekend level. to me it's not really travel internationally or across the country to see. but maybe that's cause i know what they are already.  say if you only had 1 or 2 or 3 days, i'm hard pressed to find anything that is  obviously MUST do level above everything else.

 

If the Louvre and Uffizi are must sees, so are the Getty Center & Getty Villa. The Autry museums (American West and Southwest museums) might be even more so because few other cities have such collections.

 

ANYTHING on my list is WELL ABOVE the Walk of Fame, Hollywwod Sign and juiced up muscleheads at Venice Beach.

 

Do people travel to Paris JUST to see the Louvre? Do they fly in on Monday, see the Louvre Tuesday and fly home Wednesday to Kansas? Or it is one of many places people go to on a Paris vacation? I go to Florence more for the bistecca alla fiorentina than the Uffizi, but the Uffizi is one of the must do's in Florence that I go to every time I am there.

 

The La Brea Tar Pits would be a must do. It is a very unique attraction. It is as significant as the Foro Romano.

 

The CA Science Center has one of the only two or three Space Shuttles on display. If you are a science/space person, it would be on the list of must do's.

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14 hours ago, UnorigionalName said:

 

i kind of want an outsider's perspective.  Like almost everything on that list is more of a nice thing to do on a weekend level. to me it's not really travel internationally or across the country to see. but maybe that's cause i know what they are already.  say if you only had 1 or 2 or 3 days, i'm hard pressed to find anything that is  obviously MUST do level above everything else.

 

I guess it all depends on your personal interests.  If you want to relax go out to Catalina and spend the time.  If you want to NOT relax go to Disneyland.  A must do is the "VOID" at Downtown Disney.    

We love the Amazon TV series Bosch.  So last time we went to visit the kids who live in LA, DW and I planned a "Bosch" set trip.  We found his house (not near as impressive as on the show), rode Angel's Flight, and did the Grand Central Market for lunch.  Few years ago I did the same for Son's of Anarchy.  Funny how it's supposedly based where we live, but shot in LA area, which doesn't look at all like where they are suppose to be located.  Near we could figure the club house was suppose to be about three miles from our house.      

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