Going to Los Angles and Orange County, your thoughts

Just looking for some advice on where to get my hotel when I go to LA next month.

My wife wants to hit the Getty Center and Beverly Hills. She wants to drive around and see movie stars homes.

I, on the other hand, will be using the time to visit with some former clients. Just trying to maintain some of these relationships from work. Most of the people I will be looking to visit are in Irvine.

Right now my thought is to get a hotel near LAX. Its roughly convenient to both areas and I think I can score some decent prices there on Priceline. I stayed in the LAX area last time and it didn’t bother me.

Any other areas you would consider? Anaheim, Fullerton, Long Beach?

I wouldn’t think of LAX as being particularly convenient to Irvine, but you say it didn’t bother you last time so if pleasing your wife is important to you, that’s probably a good bet. Staying in Anaheim/Fullerton/Long Beach would obviously be more convenient for your purposes but would make the tourism your wife wants to do a pain in the ass.

LAX is convenient to nothing other than LAX*, but if you don’t mind taking 20 minutes to get anywhere, and over an hour to get to either destination it is sort of centrally located for those two spots.

The problem is that Irvine and Beverly Hills are roughly 70 miles away from each other with some of the worst traffic in the city separating them. Trying to stay centralized by staying at LAX would be roughly equivalent to deciding that you wanted to visit both Philadelphia and Manhattan, so you stay in Trenton, New Jersey**. Yeah, it’s sort of central, but it isn’t really close to where you want to be.

On any given day it WILL take you over 45 minutes to get from LAX to Beverly Hills, it will take you over an hour to get to Hollywood. If you don’t mind the driving and you want to let your wife do the tourist thing, stay in Santa Monica or Century City. Both have some very nice hotels and are closer to the tourist areas. Santa Monica makes a good tourist area in and of itself. Century City doesn’t but is very close to several. Both are close to the 405 freeway so you can get down to Orange County relatively quickly. This makes them better choices than Hollywood or West Hollywood which are farther from the freeways you need to get to Irvine. Culver City wouldn’t be a horrible choice either, but I am not sure what the hotel situation is like.

Downtown Long Beach has gotten very nice recently, but suffers from the same problem of inconvenience as LAX. It will take you an hour to get anywhere that isn’t Long Beach that is worth seeing. Also Long Beach is huge and some areas are very much not safe still.

Fullerton is a nice bedroom community, but there isn’t anything touristy there, same with Anaheim unless you plan on going to Disneyland, and it doesn’t sound like that’s the plan. All of Orange County makes for poor tourism IMO.

The other questions are, how is your wife planing on getting around? Will you each have your own car or do you plan to trade off with the car? What else does she want to see other than movie star homes? Are you interested in doing any touristy things yourself? Are you planning on doing anything together? How important is her ability to sight see vs. your ability to see old clients?

*Not strictly true, but close enough unless you want to spend time in El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hawthorn or Inglewood. And there there isn’t really much to do in any of those places as a tourist.

**Philly and Manhattan are a bit further apart, but not a whole lot. I am sure you get the general idea. The above example is a bit of an exaggeration since LAX is about 20 miles closer to Beverly Hills than Philadelphia is to Trenton, but it really is the absolute *worst *traffic in the city driving between the two. I want to put the distances involved into some sort of perspective.

Don’t go. Your itinerary is roughly equivalent to my idea of hell.

God, I know I’m threadshitting, I can’t stop myself. Voluntarily going to Orange County? As a tourist? Do you enjoy tract housing, chain stores, mini-malls, and a land essentially devoid of character or anything interesting? You’re in luck!

I was thinking about it, and indeed the OP’s situation is pretty grisly. How many days will you be here? If your schedule permits it you could really save yourself a lot of hassle by staying in Orange County close to your contacts for a day or two, getting your business done, then driving up to the Beverly Hills area and staying there for the rest of the time so you can do touristy stuff with your wife. That way you only have to make the horrible commute once instead of yanking yourselves back and forth trying to achieve a compromise.

I agree, if there’s any way you can, stay in Orange County for part and Beverly Hills for part rather than trying to find one location convenient to both. As a counterpoint to Kyla, I actually love the area (including Orange County). We’ve done trips where we’ve stayed in LA and spent some time in Orange County and vice versa. It’s not the end of the world, but you’ll definitely end up spending a lot more time driving if you do that.

In Beverly Hills, we like the Beverly Hilton. Last time we were in Orange County, we stayed at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach and it was nice. I’d stay there again. Obviously it all depends on what you’re interested in spending, though.

Its not a great option to stay at LAX.

Both items on the agenda are important frankly. If it wasn’t for meeting with my contacts, we probably would have gone someplace we haven’t been before. But ever since I was laid off, getting out and meeting with people I have done business with has been important to keeping myself in circulation.

I thought about doing a couple of days in Irvine then moving up to LA. But sometimes these things can be pretty fluid and I would hate to be in LA when I need to get to Orange County or vice versa.

She will probably go to the mall while I am out at a business lunch or something like that. Then we can meet up together and find something to do for the evening. She’s got an app on her cell phone where she can drive around and look at homes for sale. Ultimately if we decide to move to California down the road, her thoughts might come in handy.

The last time I was in LA with my wife, we stayed at the airport and it could be a hassle if I didn’t plan things right. But I have had some wild drives in the area on business trips. We had to fly from Moreno Valley to Santa Ana for a site visit. Once we had to get from San Clemente to Lake Elsinore and thought we could take 74 through the Cleveland National Forest and get there in no time.

Having lived in West Hollywood for over a decade, may I suggest the Ramada Inn - West Hollywood.

Yes, it is in the middle of Gay “boys town” and yes, it is really, really far from Orange County - but for your wife, she could easily get to Beverly Hills (down the street, ten city blocks, practically within walking distance) and she could walk to the Beverly Center (about five blocks) and there are lots of restaurants and coffee houses just minutes away by foot. It is a nice area and about as safe as it gets for a tourist who just wants to wander around and shop and eat and have some fun - even your wife on her own.

Sure, it is a schlep for you, but at least the Ramada is a clean, nice, inexpensive hotel in an ideal location. I have stayed there, and used to suggest that friends coming to visit stay there and everyone liked it.

Go to either or both Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda and the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

Also Corona Del Mar is lovely.

I have to agree with DMark, if it wasn’t for the fact that you want to spend a lot of time in Orange County I would have put West Hollywood at the top of my list of places to stay as a visitor. It’s a very nice part of town and is close to everything your wife wants to do.

Other than Beverly Hills and the Getty, is there anything specific that she wants to do? If you are going to have to do the split trip maybe we can get a better idea of where to send you if we know more of your itinerary. Is she going to want to go to the beach? Is she going to want to see other museums? Is she going to want to go to Griffith Park or a tour of a movie studio or see downtown LA?

The thing is, Beverly Hills isn’t all that big. It has a great library and Rodeo drive can be kinda fun to walk about as long as you look rich enough to be given the time of day, but for the most part it’s nothing special. It won’t take you a whole day to really see all there is to see there (though while you are in Beverly Hills be sure to stop at Sprinklesand get a cupcake, they really are very good.) The Getty is great, and right now they have a Rembrandt Exhibition that is supposed to be very good, so that might take you most of a day. But you can probably do the two together and make a single long day, so if that’s all she wants to do that is touristy then you don’t really have to be very close. You can make that a separate day trip.

Some people think a nice trip to “LA” might include hitting a few of the local attractions like Disneyland, the Queen Mary, the Getty, Venice Beach, Hollywood, and Magic Mountain without realizing how huge, sprawling, and trafficy the LA Basin is. Parking in the middle and trying to do that kind of thing would be a nightmare for me. Avoid it if you can.

Beverly Hills and Irvine are not close to each other.

It sounds like the thrust of the trip is business in OC. I’d be inclined to just go to OC and stay there. Although there isn’t much to do, there is Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Mission Capistrano, malls…

Driving in LA is a nightmare. Especially if you’re planning on traveling during rush hour which is approximately 6am-10am and 3:30pm-7:30pm. If you want to see what driving during rush hour is like, check out Google’s traffic map of the LA region during this time and see all the red squiggly lines.

If your wife really wants to do the Getty and Beverly Hills, maybe you can reserve a day or two at the end of the trip and hit up both places. Otherwise, if the main purpose of the trip is to meet your business associates, I would recommend staying around the Orange County area and try to sell your wife on the idea of a shopping/beach/spa vacation. Santa Ana has the Bower’s Museum, which is a tiny little museum with some world class traveling exhibits. There’s the South Coast Plaza and the Irvine Spectrum for shopping. There’s also beaches along Newport Beach and Laguna Niguel which are in my opinion, much cleaner than the beaches in Los Angeles County. I don’t know much about spas, but given the wealth of the area and the abundance of trophy wives, I’m sure there are some top-notch ones around.

If you and your wife are into different types of ethnic foods, there’s Little Saigon north of Irvine in Garden Grove. Garden Grove also has a trove of Korean BBQ restuarants. There’s an Islamic Chinese restaurant in Anaheim I’m really fond of and a Japanese Bakery in Tustin that has the best strawberry croissants I’ve ever eaten. If you’re interested in what to eat around Orange County, http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/ has some pretty good reviews centering on the region.

Thanks for the input. I can Priceline a hotel in Irvine for about $50 so that might be the way to go. My wife can check out a couple of the Nordstrom Racks down there. We have five days so that should give us 1-2 days to run up to LA to see the Getty and let her walk around Beverly Hills. We just never had a chance to do that last time we were in town together.

That sounds like a good plan. There’s a Nordstrom Rack right next to South Coast Plaza, which is fairly close to Irvine.

Good luck and have fun!

You might fly into John Wayne Airport.

And it’s not like malls are the only thing in Orange County. South Coast Rep is one of the best regional theaters in America, and right now they are putting on a production of August Wilson’s play Fences. I am not, as a general rule, an August Wilson fan, but I like Fences. It’s only on until the 21st, so if you aren’t coming to town before then you probably can’t catch it, but In a Garden by Howard Korder starts on March 7th and it’s the world premier of the play and it looks really interesting.

Also, Newport Beach can be great. My wife took me on a dinner cruise for my birthday that left out of Newport a couple of years ago and it was tons of fun. While you might not want to do Disneyland itself, you can always check out Downtown Disney which is sort of an open air Disneyland Mall that is free to the public. It has a House of Blues and some nice restaurants. And heck, go to Disneyland. Go on a Tuesday, statistically the day when they have the fewest people. Disneyland mid week while school is in session is great. You can skip California Adventure though, it’s not worth it.