Los Angeles in May

I probably have a conference in Anaheim in early May, and my wife and I are thinking of using the free flight as an excuse to have our first vacation in California. I’d expect we’ll spend about a week following the conference in LA.

How should we handle the logistics of it, assuming we have a little to spend but we want to save money when possible? Should we rent a car, or rely on Uber and cabs and transit? Should we stay AirBnB, or a hotel? What are some must-see sights, shows, and activities for a young-ish married couple? We love to eat ethnic food (especially Korean, Japanese, and other Asian cuisines)… where should we eat? What should we avoid? We love the beach – which beach is best and most convenient?

And where are the best burritos?

I haven’t much time to reply just now but I feel compelled to inform you: You are not obligated to visit Disneyland. Seriously, unless it’s on your bucket list and you don’t mind blowing your entire budget on one event, you can safely skip the Mouse.

Anaheim is in the OC, not Los Angeles. But…its easy to take a train from ANA to Union Station in LA. Get a hotel in Koreatown and uber or bus it to the places you might be interested in visiting…like the Getty Museum. Hit Cabo Cantina on Tuesdays for all you can eat tacos and 2 for 1 drinks during HH and after 10.

Dopefest!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Oh no honey no. Pretty much none of this.

K-town is pretty rough in parts and is trafficky all the time - not a good base of operations.

And rent a car. The Los Angeles/Orange County area is sprawly as all hell, and the public transit is horrible. Yes, you’ll have to deal with traffic, but you’ll want the flexibility of your own car.

What sort of things do you like doing?

For the beach, I recommend Seal Beach in OC - it’s nice and pretty, has good waves for bodysurfing, and isn’t hella crowded.

I use Uber sometimes when my ride is in the shop, but you will probably find it cheaper and more convenient to rent a car. Navigating the bus system is doable but kind of a pain in the ass. The train is great if it happens to be going where you want to go.

Skip Hollywood. It’s touristy and there’s not much to do.

I’d suggest Culver City as a possible base. There are lots of great restaurants in downtown Culver and you’re centrally located for a lot of what the West Side offers: LACMA, the Tar Pits, the Peterson Automotive Museum, the Grove, the Getty, Little Osaka. It’s easy to get to the beach from Culver City and there’s a very convenient train that can take you to Exposition Park or downtown. (If you were coming a month later you could ride it to the beach, but that part of the line hasn’t opened yet.)

Plus, Culver City has The Museum of Jurassic Technology!

We really enjoyed Newport Beach. Nice bike path all along the peninsula including Huntington Beach. Our favorite beach (and in our opinion - a world class beach) was Little Corona Beach, just to the SE. Park on the street, walk down the hill to the beach. Incredible.

Depending on your age/interests, the Nixon library is near-ish Anaheim and might be worth a visit.

Our favorite things on a trip last year were the Gamble House and the Huntington - up in Pasadena.

Definitely rent a car. We stayed in Newport, and our decision was to stay mostly on the SE side of the city, including a day trip down to San Diego. John Wayne Airport in OC is wonderful - if possible, definitely use it over LAX.

Rent a car. Things are spread out, and you’ll go broke if you rely on cabs. Uber didn’t exist when I left, I lived on the West Side, so there were no trains at the time (unless I drove the same amount if time to get to a train, as I would save taking the train), and I didn’t like the buses the few times I used them. Be warned: An edition of Let’s Go: California that I had back in the '80s said California drivers are ‘confident and speedy’. Mrs. L.A. and I went to Disneyland for our honeymoon, and I had a blast driving like a real driver again. :smiley: Southern California drivers drive fast and close. You pretty much know what the other guy is going to do, and you allow for it. Up here in Washington, you never know what people are going to do. I prefer driving in SoCal. Also be aware that it is legal for motorcycles to go between lanes of traffic. Please move over for them.

Orange County is home to Little Saigon (off the 22, between the 5 and the 405). Great Vietnamese food there. You learn which places specialise in what, decide what you want, and go to the place that makes it best. Not that I ever had bad Vietnamese food there.

I agree that John Wayne is better than LAX. I never had any trouble navigating LAX, but that was my local international airport and I had practice. SNA is better.

I lived in the City of Los Angeles, just north of Culver City. Good place to be. It took 20 minutes to get anywhere – beach, Hollywood, LAX, The Valley… (OK, it helped that I rode a motorcycle.) I worked near the intersection of the 22 and the 5 in OC, and my commute was 42 miles. That took me longer. :wink:

Mrs. L.A. and I went to The 94th Aero Squadron restaurant at Van Nuys Airport. We like their prime rib (which is very reasonably priced) and the bombed-out French farmhouse motif. It’s a bit of a hike from Anaheim though.

Go to Venice Beach. Everyone should go to Venice Beach, and later you can point to it and say ‘I’ve been there!’ when you see a commercial on TV that was filmed there. I wonder if Harry Perry is still performing? As long as you’re in the area, go north a mile or two to Santa Monica. Third Street was transformed into a pedestrian promenade when I lived there, and from the commercials I see on TV Santa Monica has become more pedestrian-friendly since then. Santa Monica is also the home of Ye Olde King’s Head. I absolutely love their fish and chips. And their bangers and mash. Since I no longer live in L.A., it’s a touch decision on my infrequent trips. (I can get bangers up here, so I go for the fish. But I’m always tempted.)

Hollywood is sleazy. I appreciate sleaze. But if you’re expecting movie stars and glamor, forget it.

Thanks for all the input so far. Just to be clear, the conference is in Anaheim, but after the conference (and after my per diem and free hotel room are finished!) we will probably get another hotel/AirBnB in whatever part of town we choose.

We’re still trying to figure out what we want to do most, and whether we’d prefer to spend most of our time near the beach or somewhere else. Since we’ll probably have a whole week, perhaps we could spend 3 days at a hotel/AirBnB on the beach, and the rest in town somewhere.

LOL, right? Has this dude been to K-Town? I don’t find K-Town to be scary because I’m not from the suburbs, but what hotel, specifically, does he recommend staying at there? Because most of them are cheap crack hotels. There are a handful on Wilshire that don’t suck, but for the most part, no.

If you’re staying in Orange County and want to visit LA, def rent a car. You don’t necessarily need a vehicle to negotiate Los Angeles… I can hear collective monocles dropping, but it’s true. I’m from LA. I’m not a transplant or suburbanite, it can be and is done all the time. But if you’re coming from Anaheim and want to make the trek up and explore, just get a car and make your life easier. You can, while in LA, park your car and transit some places. Depends on where you’re going.

I’d Air BnB it. Hotels anywhere you’d want to stay will be ridiculously expensive.

The best burritos are everywhere. Def hit up K-Town to eat. Quick heads up: A lot of places in K-Town are very Korean, as in the staff can often speak limited (if any) English. Some places don’t even have signs in English. So you can Yelp where to go, or you can just wander around and drop in any place. I used to live around the corner from two 24-hr Korean restaurants that white people never went to. They were all at Soot Bull Jeep. It’s all good.

Do you like wine? Not far north of LA is excellent wine country. Think Sideways.

Also, since you’re going to be south of the real LA*, maybe even a trip to San Diego. Or, north to Santa Barbara. If you’ve never been, then LA might be attractive, but most of us non-LA Californians avoid it as much as possible…

*Only people in LA insist that OC doesn’t count as LA.

It doesn’t.

We called ‘Behind the Orange Curtain’.

Well, why don’t you just take The 10 from Santa Monica over to The 5, then head south all the way to The OC!!

Seal Beach? Really?

The positive of the K Town area is its central location, close proximity to rail and bus (public transportation isn’t horrible…especially if driving in a strange place with tons of traffic and little parking annoy you) and excellent local food options.

You could get a 4 or 5 star hotel downtown with some of the same advantages.

If you can handle DC LA will be a breeze. I wouldn’t stay on the westside because its too insulated…and I live in Westwood.

You’re going to LA and you’re wondering if you should rent a car or not? Please, do yourself a huge favor and rent a car. It’s LA, man!!

Grew up in LA. You need to rent a car.

Like Johnny LA also did Disneyland when I got married. Took the whole wedding party. I guess it just depends what you like.

Culver City is not a bad thought at all for where to stay. I would recommend the Tar Pits and the Getty Museum. Almost any beach from Santa Monica down to OC, but pay attention to warning flags and signs. The Pacific is not always a friendly ocean.

The LA zoo is one of the best zoos in the country, if you like zoos. (I do. I volunteered there at one point.)

There is a nice aquarium down in Long Beach, if you like those.

Wine country is fun, but that’s a whole day.

San Diego, ditto.

Olivero Street down near the train station used to be fun. Don’t get a hotel there, but if you like kitschy Mexican anything that’s your place.

Food, OMG. Really, really awesome food of every type imaginable and every budget. Tell us where you end up staying and we’ll give you some recommendations.

Remember that distances everywhere are large. LA to San Diego can take 3 hours or more one way. People from LA tend to take longer drives for granted, but just be aware.

Have yourself a French dip at Phillippe’s.

And a pastrami dip at the Hat.

And a chili burger at Tommy’s.

And find yourself a mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant and order the carne asada fries. (Or some fish tacos. Or a chimichanga. Or taquitos/rolled tacos with guacamole. It’s all good.)

If you want to visit an amusement park, skip Disneyland and head up to Magic Mountain instead - the rides are better, the lines are shorter, and it’s not as saccharine and kiddy-centric.

The Grove. Great place just to window shop or book shop if you like books.

La Brea Tar Pits.

The Getty.

OC beaches.

Double plus second Phillippe’s for a French dip sandwich. And while you’re in that part of town, go to El Pueblo de Los Ángeles Historical Monument and the little shops in that area.

Another thing: If there’s a show you like to watch that films in LA, you can probably get tickets to a taping of it for free. We used to go to see the Craig Ferguson show (RIP) filmed all the time. It will take up most of a day, but there’s always a lot to do in the areas where the studios are, so you will still be able to do other stuff.

I’m in Culver City and happy to see the love for the Westside. :cool:

While I do recommend at least one stop in K-town (Kyochon Chicken, for Korean soy garlic chicken wings), I do not recommend driving through K-town for a first-time visitor unless he has a local to show him around. My husband and I have lived here 10+ years and we love Kyochon, but we’ve only been there once because the driving/parking aspect is offputting. We’ve only been to one AYCE cook-the-food-yourself BBQ place and it wasn’t great, but if that sounds like your kind of thing, there’s a lot to choose from in K-town.

I myself don’t drive, but I echo the recommendations to rent a car. I have taken the train from Union Station to Anaheim, but again, I don’t recommend it if you’re new and on your own. Neither Union Station nor the Anaheim station is really in a tourist-friendly location. Not really dangerous, just not great if you don’t know your way around.

The Grove is ok if you’re fine with crowded places. Parking can be a bitch, but I like going to the Farmer’s Market for beef jerky, fresh meat, nuts, candy, etc. Avoid on Saturday nights if you dislike crowds. While there are restaurants here, this is not the place for ethnic fare. FWIW, The Grove is just north of the La Brea Tar Pits, a 5 minute drive.

For Japanese food, I recommend the Sawtelle Blvd area between Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd on the Westside. It is full of Japanese restaurants and shops. We go there all the time for Japanese curry, ramen, and gyoza. I also really enjoyed my trips to the Little Tokyo area of Downtown LA, but I’d say if you’re staying on the Westside to just go with the Sawtelle area.

For Chinese food, I recommend Chinatown near Downtown LA. Parking is a bitch, but the best Chinese food I’ve had in LA is here. It’s been a few years, but Yang Chow was great last time I was there. If you like soup dumplings (xiao long bao), check out Din Tai Fung at the Americana in Glendale or ROC Kitchen in the aforementioned Sawtelle area.

Not sure if Cuban is your kind of thing, but there’s a place called Versailles that has delicious garlic chicken, served with black beans and rice and plantains. It’s by far my favorite discovered cuisine in LA.