Are you traveling to Hawaii? Australia? If so you may be spending some time (it not half a day or more) in Los Angeles.
We recently flew from Greensboro to Queenstown, New Zealand and we had a 14 hour layover in LA. As if a 15 hour flight from LA to Australia wasn’t enough, might as well add another half day to the mix!
We try to leave the airport during layovers as much as possible to hopefully see a new city. Usually if we have 4+ hours, depending on airport location, we’ll take a train or Uber into the city and at least do some sight seeing. Needless to say a 14 hour layover definitely warranted some exploration.
I was just in Los Angeles less than a year prior, so I was hoping to do something different (I really wanted to go to DisneyLand), but we got caught up at the airport a bit. We usually have 1-2 bulky suitcases with us that we check the entire way to our final destination, but it can be difficult when passing through multiple countries. We planned to not have to get our bags at all in LA so we had the freedom to Uber around, but LAX wanted to be difficult. Did you know LAX does NOT have a luggage storage facility on site like almost every other airport on the planet? Neither did we. They have third party companies that will come pick up your stuff and hold it for a fee but it was expensive and just weird feeling. We decided to just rent a car, but at this point it was too late to make it to Disneyland ugh!
10 things to do in LA to make the most of your layover:
1) Disneyland – who doesn’t love Mickey?! There are very few people more obsessed with Disney than me, but I have only even been to Disney World (a ridiculous amount of times). Tickets can be kind of pricey – I know, you’re shocked – so I would probably only suggest this if you have a really good chunk of time to get your moneys worth!
2) Santa Monica Pier – The Pier is an iconic stop in southern Cal. Grab yourself a funnel cake and enjoy the views from the pier, hang out on the beach, or grab an electric scooter and check out the houses along the shore. My personal favorite option in Santa Monica is the trapeze classes on the pier. Click here to watch my trapeze video. Not going to lie, I am better than I expected!
3) Hollywood – When I travel I want to see both the touristy things and the hidden secrets, so the Hollywood sign was a must. I walked from my hotel to the Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood sign and back to my hotel. 23 miles. Why? I don’t know, but honestly it was a lot of fun! If you don’t feel like walking a marathon, Uber to Griffith Observatory for a great view of the city and the Hollywood sign.
4) Universal Studios – I haven’t been able to get here yet, but who wouldn’t want to enjoy some butterbeer at Harry Potter world?
5) Eat – to say there are a lot of places to eat in LA would be a serious understatement. So much food. Personally I would say to skip the greasy In-N-Out burger and find something more unique to try. Personal favorite was the crispy French toast at Blu Jam Cafe on Melrose Ave. (JOSH THOUGHT: don’t forget the Gas-X before you get on your next long flight)
6) Rodeo Drive – Rodeo drive at least deserves a walk or drive down if you have time. It really makes for the best people watching. I like watching people get out of their Lamborghinis and trying to guess how they made their money. You can also snag yourself that $65,000 couch you always wanted (true story: Ralph Lauren, second floor).
7) Venice Beach – Venice Beach is also great people watching, but in an entirely different way. Walk the beach, check out the street performers, watch all the skateboarders, and you have to get a picture at Muscle Beach! The Venice Canals are worth the walk across the street too, especially if you like unique houses like I do!
8) Malibu – another gorgeous beach with beautiful views. Stop off at one of the many seafood restaurants along the Pacific Coast Highway for some fresh fish tacos.
9) Beverly Hills – so many pretty houses to look at! It’s a great place to take one of those bus tours to celebrity’s houses, if you are into that kind of thing.
10) Combine them all – it is true the traffic in LA can be a nightmare, but if you are there on a Sunday or weekday it’s manageable. Rent yourself a car at the airport (we got one for about $35) and see as many spots as you can!
One thing I DO NOT recommend: seeing the stars on Hollywood Blvd. I was so unimpressed by the stars. For one, Hollywood Blvd is, for lack of a better work, icky. The stars really are not well taken care of and the street itself doesn’t have much going for it – a few places to eat and some junk souvenir shops. But hey, that’s just my opinion!
LA is a huge city with so many options, so get out there an enjoy your layover!
S & J