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Cruise out of Long Beach but want sightseeing. Please help!


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I have a group sailing out of Long Beach next year. Flying into LAX, spending 2 full days pre-cruise and want to do the typical tourist sightseeing stuff.

Where would you recommend for them to stay? Santa Monica, Long Beach, somewhere else in LA?

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As mentioned in several threads here, the Los Angeles area has a tremendous number of things to do. The problem is these things are spread over a massive area, and traffic can be a problem. I mean, we are talking things like Disneyland, Hollywood and the nearby film and TV studios, museums, sports, beaches, arts and entertainment, on and on. Many, many, many things to do.

 

So, it helps to know what your group looks like...we have no idea what your interests are, abilities, budget, limitations, etc.

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Thank you.  It's a group of 8 that basically want to see the iconic stuff like the Hollywood sign, Rodeo drive, etc. Could be from a Hop on Hop Off bus, too.

Low key, low budget. Just to see a couple of famous stuff before they hop on the ship. 

No museums, no fancy restaurants or high end shopping. 

 

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Posted (edited)

With a group of 8 and just the basic tourist stuff.... the next questions are:

What time of year... and... how are you counting those "two full days"? Is it, say, arriving Wednesday evening, spending Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights in a hotel and cruising on Saturday... hence a true "two full days" of sightseeing? Or is it arriving Thursday, spending Thursday and Friday nights, the embarking Saturday (so, approx. 48 hours but only one real full day)?

 

For the time being, let's assume it's the former...

If you're planning on the HOHO bus, it's best to stay in either Santa Monica or Hollywood as those are really the hubs of the system... But with 8 in your party, I would strongly consider contacting a local tour provider and arranging one full day private tour... probably get a group rate that would rival the cost of 8 HOHO tickets... and be much more user friendly... and you could customize the itinerary...

 

Also, I would stay in Santa Monica--because, when you are not on your sightseeing tour, it's simply a much nicer neighborhood than most... with much better weather... and there's much more in the way of nightlife, restaurants and lots of nice areas in which just to walk around and relax.

 

Look for hotels as close as possible to the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier... there are many in this area--Loews, Marriott LeMerigot and Shutters on the Beach are along the beach just south of the pier--and are all great choices.  The Fairmont Miramar is the "Grande Dame" of area hotels and right off the Third Street Promenade... as are the smaller Huntley and even the funky, old Calmar. Along Ocean Avenue, there are a few nice hotels--like the Georgian... and the Wyndham is about as close as you can get to Third Street AND the pier.  There are a couple of fairly new hotels--the Hampton Inn and Marriott Courtyard right by the new Metro station on 5th and Colorado.

 

. I would stay in this area and, for the first full day, arrange a private tour to pick you up at the hotel (or the HOHO as an alternative)... and take you to Hollywood--to the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese, to see the Sign and other iconic LA sites... then maybe Downtown LA to see Olvera Street and other interesting sites... sounds like you want to skip Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive?... or do you? It is the very definition of "high end shopping"... but, yes, it would be on your tour route between Santa Monica and Hollywood. You could discuss possible attractions with your private tour company--or just pick from the HOHO bus route map.

 

After the tour drops you off, you can just walk around the Third Street Promenade, find a place for dinner, etc.

 

Second full day, I'd get an Uber (or public bus if you want) and head down to the Venice Boardwalk, walk around, check out the Venice canals, etc.  Then head back to Santa Monica, go to the pier, walk along Palisades Park around sunset...

 

The morning of the cruise, arrange a shuttle or UberXLs to the pier in Long Beach.

Edited by Bruin Steve
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BruinSteve,   Is it feasible to stay in Long Beach and hit the highlights of LA? We will have a rental Car and the prices for VRBO & AIRBNB are reasonable compared to Santa Monica?   Want to see USC & UCLA campuses, The Getty, maybe some shopping/lunch Rodeo drive?  Hollywood highlights also. We’ll have 2.5 days

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24 minutes ago, knbcruisers said:

BruinSteve,   Is it feasible to stay in Long Beach and hit the highlights of LA? We will have a rental Car and the prices for VRBO & AIRBNB are reasonable compared to Santa Monica?   Want to see USC & UCLA campuses, The Getty, maybe some shopping/lunch Rodeo drive?  Hollywood highlights also. We’ll have 2.5 days

Here's the problem:  LA is a REALLY big place...with a whole lot of cars.  Traffic is legendary for a reason.  Those of us who live here know how to get around a lot of it--alternate routes, times to leave to avoid the brunt of the traffic, etc...and, even with that, a lot of it is unavoidable.  Long Beach is at the extreme southern edge of the metropolitan area (obvious, I guess, because everything south of there is the Pacific Ocean).  Hollywood is at the northern edge of the "basin"--the flat coastal area before you get into the Santa Monica Mountains.  The two are approximately 35 miles apart, depending on route and where in Long Beach you are.  UCLA is also at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains--but over 7 miles, all on surface streets, from Hollywood...Santa Monica Pier and tourist area is another several miles West of UCLA...If you leave Long Beach and head toward Hollywood at, say, anywhere from 7:00 am to 10:30 on a weekday, it could take you as much as two hours to get there...and you would be driving through the heart of Downtown Los Angeles and through all of the Hollywood corridor...Going home might be even worse...Driving Long Beach to Santa Monica could be just as bad.  And there's little between Long Beach and either area you'd want to stop at...

 

But, if you stayed in Santa Monica, you could plot a route from there to Hollywood (about 13 miles) stopping on route at UCLA, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and lots of points of interest in between. 

 

BTW, definitely visit UCLA--it's one of the most beautiful campuses in the country...USC, OTOH, you can skip if you want to--it's a slum--literally...It's the joke (actually, one of the many) we Bruins have on our Trojan friends.  When SC was founded, it was a rich kids' school...wealthy donors bought them a plot of land close in to the center of the city at great cost...When UCLA was founded, as a poor state university, the only land they could afford was way out in the sticks--in what was then the itinerant farms of Westwood...and they couldn't get the "good" land in the flats--that was too valuable for farming...all they could get was the rocky, hilly stuff at the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.  Over the years, the neighborhoods around SC got worse and worse, properties fell into disrepair...only poor people would live their...Meanwhile, surrounding UCLA, these neighborhoods sprung up--Bel Air to the North, Brentwood to the West, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills to the East...Enough said...To be fair to USC though, there is some nice architecture on campus (though no match for UCLA) and the university has been buying up and rehabbing properties immediately surrounding the campus...

 

Oh, the Getty:  There are actually two of them--The Getty Villa in Malibu (actually in Pacific Palisades at the border of Malibu)...The architecture was based on a Roman Villa in Herculaneum.  It houses Getty's Antiquities Collection (and may require reservations).  It is actually on the property of J. Paul Getty's residence.  A personal note--I grew up next door. LITERALLY.  I used to climb the fence between my house and his and throw oranges at the buffalo he used to keep in a pen right behind my house.  My parents and the other neighbors were STEAMED when they built the museum.  It brought traffic to a quiet residential neighborhood.  They are the reason you need reservations--you can't park outside and walk in and parking is limited.  But the neighborhood will not absorb the parking.  OTOH, it is a cool property and worth seeing.  The other Getty is the Getty Center--off the 405 near UCLA.  Very different architecture...and equally impressive...it houses the art collection--which is impressive.  Both Getty properties are close to Santa Monica...and very far from Long Beach.

 

If you have a car and you are doing AirBnB, you don't necessarily have to be in Santa Monica...You could also look in Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Beverly Hills (yeah, all very expensive)...but also large areas of West LA, Mar Vista, Culver City, Westwood, or West Hollywood...You'd likely be in a residential area rather than a tourist area...but you'll have a car, so you'd be living like a local...

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Thanks for all that info!! I think I’ll stick to The LA Beach area or Hollywood Hills..my DH wishes he’d gone to USC a fan since he was 10 so it’s a must do!   You are always so helpful!

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