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Posted: 5/5/2004 7:39:57 PM EST
Taking the family to LA this summer. We want to visit some nice beaches and soak in the sun. Any advice on what to vist and what to avoid?

Btw I was looking to book a hotel close to or in downtown LA .Is that a safe area for us to stay???

Thanks
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 7:59:17 PM EST
The beach at Santa Barbara is really nice. I was swimming there and a little seal poked its head up next to me. I floated on my back and waved my flippers, and he waved back. That is one of the neatest things that's ever happened to me.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 8:14:23 PM EST
Zuma, which is north og Malibu is nice, but it can get crowded.

Most Orange county beaches are good, the further south you go the better, its cleaner.

My personal favs are 6th st. in Newport Beach. The Wedge is neat if you wanna see some good surfing. Balboa pier and marina are nice to walkabout. San Clemente ranks up there as well as Laguna.

IMHO, everything inbetween is too crowded, and can be polluted as well. HTH.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 8:18:24 PM EST
Iv'e seen some pretty hot Mexican Beaches in California, and some nice Black Beaches also, but I like the White Beaches the best.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 8:21:18 PM EST
'downtown L.A.' 'safe'? yeesh.

Define 'good' beach. The beaches around Santa Monica / Venice have the classic 'boardwalk' scene, quite a circus. The 'beach cities' of Redondo, manhattan Beach, etc, all south of LAX are nice, crowded with surfers, volleyball, and 20somethings. Those in the NW of the county, NW of malibu or the 'public' beaches used by the 'Valley' people, good large 'generic' beaches.

Better look at a map, though, as all those places are 15-30mi / an hour's drive from 'downtown'.

Los Angeles is massive, 10,000sq mi of wall-to-wall city / suburb / people, surrounded by another 10,000sq mi of massive related sprawl.

Could give you better advice on accomodations if I had some idea of your 'must see / go' places.

I've spent most of my adult life, ~20yrs, in Greater L.A., feel free to IM me.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 8:40:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/5/2004 8:41:16 PM EST by warlord]
Wash-Ar15: Do you belong to the AAA? They have lots of books & stuff to see & do around L.A. and hotel recommendations. Personally I like the beaches in S. Orange County(where Disneyland, & KNott's Berry Farm) Huntington Beach comes to my mind. You can drive from L.A./Orange County to San Diego and not know actually left L.A.

BTW: You don't want to be on SOME freeways & roads between roughly 0630-0930, and 1630-1900, those are our peak traffic times, it depends where you're at and where you want to go. If you've never been stuck in L.A. traffic it is a sight to behold, its like total grid lock.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 9:07:19 PM EST
Manhatten Beach & Redondo Beaches have always been some of my favorites. Wide white sandy beaches, nice community, and not crowded. Beautiful women too! Area is very big with the Vollyball crowd. I'm a little biased too, grew up there in my early years.

You can ride a bike on the bike path from Redondo to Santa Monica. About 15 miles each way.

No weirdos compared to Venice & Santa Monica.

Sand from Manhatten Beach was imported to Hawaii when they lost a lot of theirs in a storm. They went all over the world looking for the best sand.
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 10:56:27 PM EST
I think the Orange County Beaches are much nicer (Newport, Balboa, Huntington)

I would avoid staying downtown. Not the greatest neighborhood. I would either stay in Glendale/Burbank, Pasadena, or even Orange County. With Orange County you have less congestion than downtown L.A., you're close to Disneyland, beaches, and only 30 minutes with no traffic from Hollywood. As mentioned traffic can be a bitch during certain hours. You could also visit the Queen Mary in Long Beach, La Brea tar pits, and Peterson auto museum (across the street from the tar pits).
Link Posted: 5/5/2004 11:13:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By warlord:
Wash-Ar15: Do you belong to the AAA? They have lots of books & stuff to see & do around L.A. and hotel recommendations. Personally I like the beaches in S. Orange County(where Disneyland, & KNott's Berry Farm) Huntington Beach comes to my mind.



I second Huntington Beach of course I am kinda biased having grew up there 1981-96
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:43:31 AM EST

The only time I have been to L.A., the nightly news reported that an unidentified dead baby had washed ashore that day.

I did not go to the beaches that week.

Link Posted: 5/6/2004 4:45:45 AM EST

Originally Posted By raven:
The beach at Santa Barbara is really nice. I was swimming there and a little seal poked its head up next to me. I floated on my back and waved my flippers, and he waved back. That is one of the neatest things that's ever happened to me.




Ever hear that expression, "If you don't want to get caught, hang out with people that can't run as fast as you"? That seal was probably using you as cover for a Great White lurking in the area.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 4:59:37 AM EST
I went and sailed in Long beach. The beach was nice but that water is too damn cold for me. And I spent most of my time racing anyway.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 5:39:46 AM EST

Originally Posted By AvengeR15:
The only time I have been to L.A., the nightly news reported that an unidentified dead baby had washed ashore that day.

I did not go to the beaches that week.



There's 100 miles of them. That's pretty damned silly.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 5:40:27 AM EST
Just a few of my favorites

Orange County:
Capistrano Beach
San Clemente Beach
Doheny Beach
Aliso Beach
Dana Point
Salt Creeek
Trestles
Salt Creek Beach
Laguna Beach
Corona Del Mar Beach
Newport Beach
Huntington Beach

LA County
Redondo Beach
Pt Vicente Beach
Hermosa Beach
Manhatten Beach
Palisades Park Beach
Will Rogers Beach
Las Tunas Beach
Malibu Beach
Zuma Beach
Dan Blocker Beach
El Pescador Beach
Nicholas Canyon Beach
Leo Carillo Beach
County Line Beach

Ventura County
Sycamore Cove Beach
Thornhill Broome Beach
Point Mugu Beach
Silver Strand Beach
Channel Inds. Harbor Beach
Hollywood Beach
Oxnard State Beach
McGrath State Beach
San Buenaventura State Beach
Surfer's Point
Solimar Beach
Rincon Parkway North Beach
Oil Piers Beach
Mussel Shoals Beach
La Conchita Beach
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 5:51:01 AM EST
Huntington Beach is pretty nice......
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:07:24 AM EST
www.seaspritemotel.com/

I used to live a few blocks from this place. Hermosa was a pretty cool little town when I was there 10 years ago - not too far away from the LA attractions - but far enough, if you know what I mean.

I've reccomended this place to friends in the past and the ones that stayed there didn't have any complaints. Not too far from LAX.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:16:59 AM EST
We went to LA a couple of years ago. We did the disney/hollywood/universal studios thing. We are actually going on a cruise that leaves from Long Beach. We are trying to decide where to stay after we return from the cruise. We wish to stay in long beach but it seems most of the hotels in long beach are either booked up or beyond our budget. I think i'll avoid downtown. I'm sure we will hit Venice as my daughter really want to see it due to a mary kate & ashley movie that was set there.

BTW any good authentic Chinese restaurants reccomended in LA. We ate in Montery Park the last time we went but i was a little dissapointed,probably because we just chose anything that looked clean.

Thanks
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:30:54 AM EST
Pretty much agree with all above.. I go to huntington, it is closest to me.

BOTD from last june at huntington.

Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:32:45 AM EST
I'm going to Monterey Pk later today, I'll look up some that I've been to that think is pretty good.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:42:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By Wash-Ar15:
BTW any good authentic Chinese restaurants reccomended in LA. We ate in Montery Park the last time we went but i was a little dissapointed,probably because we just chose anything that looked clean.


You're in luck! L.A. County has a system where the Health Dept inspects restuarants and assigns them a letter grade for cleanliness. A-F, they close the place down immediately if it is anything below a C for corrections. If they get a C, they must make correction within a limited time, I think it is 3 days to bring it up to a B. And they will be inspected more often for a score C or lower for at least a 6(?) months.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 7:25:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By Wash-Ar15:
We went to LA a couple of years ago. We did the disney/hollywood/universal studios thing. We are actually going on a cruise that leaves from Long Beach. We are trying to decide where to stay after we return from the cruise. We wish to stay in long beach but it seems most of the hotels in long beach are either booked up or beyond our budget. I think i'll avoid downtown. I'm sure we will hit Venice as my daughter really want to see it due to a mary kate & ashley movie that was set there.

BTW any good authentic Chinese restaurants reccomended in LA. We ate in Montery Park the last time we went but i was a little dissapointed,probably because we just chose anything that looked clean.

Thanks



My personal favorites:

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
121 N LA Cienega Blvd Ste 117, Los Angeles, CA

Empress Pavilion
988 N Hill St Ste 201, Los Angeles, CA
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 7:27:48 AM EST
Yeah...you all want to destroy california until you vacation here.

SGatr15
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 7:41:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By Atencio:
I think the Orange County Beaches are much nicer (Newport, Balboa, Huntington)

I would avoid staying downtown. Not the greatest neighborhood. I would either stay in Glendale/Burbank, Pasadena, or even Orange County. With Orange County you have less congestion than downtown L.A., you're close to Disneyland, beaches, and only 30 minutes with no traffic from Hollywood. As mentioned traffic can be a bitch during certain hours. You could also visit the Queen Mary in Long Beach, La Brea tar pits, and Peterson auto museum (across the street from the tar pits).



I second this since your family 'want to visit nice beaches and soak the sun'.
Santa Barbara is worth a visit about 1 or 1 1/2 hrs north. The area is really nice.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 7:47:27 AM EST
Playing in the ocean next to a city the size of LA always seemed somehow unsanitary to me.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 8:00:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By raven:
Playing in the ocean next to a city the size of LA always seemed somehow unsanitary to me.



A. We have a GREAT immune system because of it.
B. It builds charachter
C. Who says you have to go in the water.
D. Hot chicks dig it.

all in all, it is just murky/dirty because of the wave action, not biohazzard dirty.. The only real issue is when it rains and you get the runoff bringing up the bacteria levels
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 8:42:58 AM EST
the most authentic asian cuisine is usually not a tourist area, go where the locals eat, if it looks too fancy and you dont see chinese customers, it's probably not authentic or very good from my experience. Westminster probably has some good restaurants.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 9:30:30 AM EST
Zuma or the OC beaches. We always liked Newport best. And there's other things to do there, like take your car across the ferry to Balboa Island and gaze at the yuppies.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 10:15:43 AM EST
Don't go to the beaches in LA county unless you like to watch Mexican woman change their babie's diapers on the beach and discard the dirty diaper in the sand. You might also see a bunch of Mexican men swimming in the ocean with long blue jeans and button up shirts, no shit.

Go to the Laguna/Dana point area and you can't go wrong. It is a little bit of a drive for you but well worth it, trust me. Crystal Cove state park is awesome!!!!
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:25:41 PM EST
I lived in Redondo so I like it,but my sister lives in seal beach(hunnington)also cool, but you got to go to Palos Verdis and see the cliffs! Jimmie Dean's chicken run!

Bob

Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:43:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/6/2004 6:50:54 PM EST by lordtrader]
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:46:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By freeride21a:
Pretty much agree with all above.. I go to huntington, it is closest to me.

BOTD from last june at huntington.




Very, Very Nice!
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 6:46:26 PM EST
Huntington is probably the best overall, mainly because the beach itself is nice and there's some (or at least there were) pretty cool bars and resturants within easy walking distance of the beach.
Malibu and Doheny are pretty cool and Redondo is alright. Venice is worth checking out, if just for the daily freakshow.
Bad thing is, you can't drink on the beaches of SoCal. (at least not openly).

In NorCal it's OK to drink on the beach.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 9:23:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By gamesniper:
Huntington is probably the best overall, mainly because the beach itself is nice and there's some (or at least there were) pretty cool bars and resturants within easy walking distance of the beach.
Malibu and Doheny are pretty cool and Redondo is alright. Venice is worth checking out, if just for the daily freakshow.
Bad thing is, you can't drink on the beaches of SoCal. (at least not openly).

In NorCal it's OK to drink on the beach.





It's legal to drink on Pacific and Mission Beach in San Diego. You never buried a keg in the sand and filled the hole with ice??? Your missing out man.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 9:57:30 PM EST
The only time I've ever been to a beach in California there was an advisory to stay out of the water due to a SEWAGE LEAK.

I figured, that's about right.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 10:32:25 PM EST
Anything from Seal Beach south to the border are real nice, Redondo, Hermosa and Manhatten are OK. north to Pacific Palisades are iffy, Venice and Santa Monica are usually crowded but interesting to see, don't try to beach it there though.

Malibu can have lots of flow from the Valley.

Ventura County and north are ok.

I would recommend staying in the Disneyland area. Lots of tourists but competitive pricing, AAA can help there. Iwouldn't stay at a Disney property too many $$$ and foreign tourists that have too many $$ you can do better. (I only live about 5 miles from there so I don't stay in any.) Frankly downtown LA is not a good place to stay. The nicer hotels are ridiculously expensiv, the cheap ones are unsuitable for families.

DL area puts you in easy visiting distance of most LA area attractions and the OC beaches.

Places to visit: (Not usually mentioned but can be good for kids and the pocketbook, especially if you are sick of theme parks and tourist traps)

"Downtown LA" area -
Exposition Park - Museum of Natural History - lots of stuffed animals, dinosaur exhibit, traveling exhibits, tar pit fossils, bugs, minerals and gold, you'll also recognize it from TV and Movies. Science Museum lots of hands on exhibits for kids, Aviation Museum lots of LA area aviation history Douglass, Hughes, North American, Rockwell, Lockheed, etc. Next to the Coliseum and across the street from USC.

Griffith Park - Gene Autry Museum of the West, TV, Movies and real western history, Planetarium - being rebuilt so may not be accessible all the time. Landmark from movies and TV, and great shows, and exhibits, overlooks Hollywood. Traaveltown - steam engines, trolley cars etc. On Sundays the Live Steamers give rides on miniature steam trains and have Walt Disneys collection on display.

Hollywood itself. I guess it's interesting to see if you are a TV/Movie buff.

Will Rogers State Park on Sunset Blvd. and William S. Hart Ranch Park in Newhall are the homes and ranches of the stars and are good for the cowboy in you. Lots of memorabilia.

Orange County - (outside of Anaheim and Buena Park), well the beaches, John's Philly Grill 4 locations, El Camino Real in Fullerton for Mexican Food.

San Diego County - Wild Animal Park - must see, Camp Pendleton has a tracked vehicle and Mechanized Marine Corps Museums.

San Diego City - Zoo, Balboa Park, Pt. Loma/Cabrillo National Monument -overlooks city and bay, naval Air Station and Sub Base on one side and on the other the Ocean, often see whales, has tide pools, Old San Diego has several great Mexican Restaurants, I prefer Casa De Bandini, Maritime Museum has Star of India and other ships, USS Midway is just down the way.

Chinese Food - Sam Woo BBQ/Dim Sum/Seafood is always good (although they slip to B grades sometimes) PF Changs are good but on the more fawncy side. Ask around there are hundreds.

Korean BBQ - Try it you'll like it.

Mexican Food - Be adventurous, avoid the national chains. Ask around. Hole in the wall taquerias are neat. basically they serve soft tacos and not much more. Soft tacos usually are two corn tortillas with meat, onions, cilantro, and salsa of some kind. Kind of down home cokking. The guy making them is likely to be illegal but what can I say. If you have never had carnitas try them. They are braised pork and make unbelievably good tacos and burritos. Albertos/Molcasalsa's - fast food stand try the carne asada burrito. If you are not into spicy foods be a little careful, it might not burn going in but can burn coming out.

I'm a 4th generation angeleno, USC grad, grew up in San Gabriel Valley but I live in North Orange County now.

Tommy Burgers,

In and Out Burgers

King Tacos


Link Posted: 5/6/2004 10:51:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/6/2004 10:52:53 PM EST by raven]

Originally Posted By PaDanby:
Places to visit: (Not usually mentioned but can be good for kids and the pocketbook, especially if you are sick of theme parks and tourist traps)




Hey, dont forget the Getty. An incredible treasure and FREE entry. Even if you dont care about art, it's an amazing facility with a great view of LA.

Huntington Gardens in Pasadena is really cool too.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 11:03:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/6/2004 11:04:24 PM EST by warlord]

Originally Posted By raven:

Originally Posted By PaDanby:
Places to visit: (Not usually mentioned but can be good for kids and the pocketbook, especially if you are sick of theme parks and tourist traps)




Hey, dont forget the Getty. An incredible treasure and FREE entry. Even if you dont care about art, it's an amazing facility with a great view of LA.

Huntington Gardens in Pasadena is really cool too.


For the Getty, if you're going to drive a car, you need a reservation because of limited parking spaces. Any other mode of transportation ie bus, bicycle walking etc, no reservation needed.

Huntington Gardens is located in San Marino.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 3:43:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By PaDanby:

King Tacos




Hmmmmm, Just went to King Taco 5 hours ago.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 12:54:14 PM EST
Definitely the Getty, they do have some kids activities but older kids/young teens are a little old for that and maybe young for the rest. If boys send them off to find the nude that looks most like a friend of theirs. If you can get one of the Docent led architecture tours it's worth taking. You can park at UCLA (gaack ptooie) and grab a bus across the street on Sunset that takes you right to the Getty parking area.

Southwest Indian Museum is right at a stop on the Gold Line, Universal Studios/Universal City Walk has a stop on the Red Line.

La Brea Tar Pits and right next door is County Museum of Art and easy walk to Farmers Market. Kids will like the Tar Pits, Farmers Market is one of those interesting "Hollywood" Landmarks.

San Pedro doesn't get a lot of attention, but if you are interrested in the "working" ocean it's worth a day. Korea Friendship Bell over looks Pt. Fermin and the entrance to Los Angeles Harbor, adjacent to Ft. MacArthur Museum, and several of the coast defense batteries. Maritime Museum in the old Ferry Building in San Pedro is nice, tends to the working mans perspective and coastal shipping both of which have more or less disappeared. Two interesting Memorials to Merchant Mariners and Fishing Fleets, Fireboat Station adjacent. Rebuilt Streetcars run along the old line there from the Cruise Ship Terminal which is also the home to SS Lane Victory, a restored Victory ship and open to visitors. Ports of Call Village is a tourist trap that never took off as a shopping are but has several good restaurants and other eating places. Ranging from some big $$$ to low brow. Crusty Crab is middle of the road. San Pedro Seafood Market has some really nice lunch specials, and the kids may find the fish market fascinating. The outdoor eating area is on the main (busy) shipping channel and generally there is at least one ship working containers within view. On Friday evenings and weekends they serve big platters of fajitas and grilled french bread, usually a mariachi band. The indoor dining area is a little less exciting. There are several other walk-up seafood places along the channed side walkway. Again this is by no means the Marina Del Rey fawncy area but is a interesting if you are willing to be a little plain.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 2:53:40 PM EST
Thanks for all the places!!! Sana monica and venice and huntington beach. Hows the parking at these beaches?safe to leave things in the car???

where can I get a squid taco?? Wifes been itching for one ever since she ate one in cozemel. Sounds tasty.

Don't mean to be rude but PF Changs??? I want real chinese food like chicken feet, pig ears and stufff like that!!!!


Thanks
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 3:07:35 PM EST
Huntington has tons of parking, Pretty clean and I have always felt safe there. The worst part is lugging all your crap as you try to walk across the sand.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 3:26:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/7/2004 3:29:54 PM EST by chuckhammer]

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Yeah...you all want to destroy california until you vacation here.

SGatr15



I agree that it's a natural treasure. I'm assuming you agree that it's entirely too full of fruits, nuts, and flakes. After all, it is the cereal state.



Seriously, Cali offers a gorgeous landscape but many of us don't find the PC attitudes, socialist politics, high cost of living, high taxes, and never-ending sprawl (in SoCal) to be worth it.

Dump all those man-made flaws and I'll move there with bells on!


ETA: Almost forgot, isn't the ocean temp there like 65°F due to the arctic currents? Piss on that. Even in the middle of "winter" herre in South Florida, the ocean temp is at least 70°F. I consider going into the water a part of going to the beach. Call me strange.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 3:38:21 PM EST
Yeah the water can be on the cold side sometimes with 65 the usual high. It's ok once you get in...brrrrrr.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 3:52:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By Atencio:
Yeah the water can be on the cold side sometimes with 65 the usual high. It's ok once you get in...brrrrrr.



Palm Beach is at 79°F this weekend, 8-9 May '04. Even San Diego averages only 63°F in May:
www.californiavacation.com/regions/San-Diego-California.html
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 8:32:20 PM EST
I would imagine the Florida water is nice. Went to Cancun one year and could not believe how warm the water was.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 10:38:57 PM EST
haven't seen any squid tacos but there are a lot of Ostioneras (Mexican "Oyster" Houses) around. I wouldn't be surprised if they have them. With a little exploring you can find just about anything in tacos.

You want real Chinese food? The Sam Woos are pretty good about many of the more exotic dishes. China Town just north of downtown LA has a batch of places that might interest you. Monterey Park on Garvey, Little Saigon down in Westminster/Garden Grove area has a lot of Chinese VietNamese restaurants.

If you're into the slightly more ethnic, then there is one reasonable hotel in downtown that might interest you. The Days Inn Downtown, http://los-angeles.calhotels.us/hotelinfo.php/134053/days-inn-downtown-la-los-angeles-california gets good reviews from the Rail Fan Crowd. Is across the street from LA Union Station on the edge of Chinatown and the Plaza/Olvera Street. I have heard good things about it. Walk during days, Shuttle nights to LAUS where you have Red Line to Universal City and Hollywood attractions, Gold Line to Pasadena. Amtrak to San Diego.

Since you seem to be a little adventurous this could be a good place for you.


Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:13:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/7/2004 11:16:33 PM EST by rayra]

Originally Posted By Wash-Ar15:
Thanks for all the places!!! Sana monica and venice and huntington beach. Hows the parking at these beaches?safe to leave things in the car???

No, hell no, yes.
Venice and the Getty would make a nice full day - Getty in the morning hours, aft / eve at the beach. And if it's a LONG day, you get an ocean sunset, too.

EDIT - although if you flip that around, the view from the Getty at sunset should be spectacular. Used to go to the Griffith Park Observatory for such a view, but iirc, it's closed for a multi-year remodel / upgrade
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