So, you have a stopover in LA. You want to do something with it but you know will probably feel like a sack of trash after a long flight. How do you maximise your time while being kind to your exhausted, jet lagged body?
Consider renting a car
There are actually some great things in fairly close proximity of the airport (Venice Beach or Long Beach, for example). So if you are renting a car, you can actually see a couple of things straight up before you even check into your accommodation. LA is a really big city, and while it does have public transport and Uber options, as well as hop on hop off and tourist buses, to maximise your stopover it is really convenient to be able to go where you want, exactly when you want.
Pick the right accommodation (for you):
Your hotel needs to be chosen very strategically. It is easy to fall into a few traps in LA with hotels.
Trap #1 Picking the cheapest accommodation available
Ordinarily I am all for bargain hunting, don’t get me wrong. But LA is huge. If you end up staying in a cheap hotel that is close to nothing good you are actually going to chew up your hotel savings in Uber fares very quickly. So my tip here is to figure out what area you want to stay in, and then choose the cheapest accommodation in that area (if that is what you are inclined to do).
Trap #2 Not researching your hotel location
As I have mentioned, LA is massive. It isn’t necessarily quick to get from one area to another, which is why staying in a really strategic location is important. I have highlighted a couple of key areas that i like to stay in.
Venice Beach/Santa Monica
The beach areas are absolutely gorgeous and with palm trees abound the quintessential LA scenery you are expecting will not disappoint. A really quirky and cool area with super hip Abbott Kinney area as well as the Venice Canals close by there is so much to enjoy. Very quick trip to the airport as well!
This area has lots of action and plenty to see!!! A great area of LA if you want to check out all the hot spots of the Sunset strip and Hollywood – and there are plenty of them.
This trip, I stayed at The Mondrian, West Hollywood. This is a beautiful hotel with the famous SkyBar overlooking the pool as well as the LA landscape. Definitely a hotel to be seen at, The Mondrian is on Sunset Blvd and really close to the areas that I wanted to spend time at, even within walking distance to some places (half a mile from the famous Chateaux Marmont, right across the road from The Comedy Store, and close to BodybySimone LA and Soul Cycle options as well). Important for me, it was a quick drive to Runyon Canyon, which I knew was a must do for me this trip.
Beverley Hills/Century City area
This area is good if you are planning to really hit the shops on Rodeo Drive and the wider Beverley Hills area, and perhaps are planning to visit Westfield Century City. You can get out to the beach areas fairly directly but getting to Down Town LA may pose a few more traffic and logistical challenges.
For a previous trip I have stayed at the Intercontinental Century City which is definitely a landmark hotel in the area. Due to its proximity to Fox Studios and some pretty famous Talent agencies, it definitely was a hotel where you felt like you have a very high chance of walking past super famous directors and stars at any given moment. Also close to a Hop on Hop off bus stop (which we were using for that trip) so it worked for us. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily stay there again as I prefer other suburbs, it definitely had it’s benefits including a complimentary car service to Rodeo Drive!
Down Town LA (DTLA)
This area hasn’t previously been a favourite for tourists although it is coming up a bit more with cafes and bars popping up in the area. Really this area is prime for Dodgers Stadium and people needing to be close to Staples Center for concerts and events!
One of the best ways to get your body back on track after a nasty flight is getting your blood pumping!!! There are plenty of ways to do this in LA while multi tasking and sightseeing!!
My personal favourite ways to get in a workout in LA:
- Hire a beach cruiser at Venice Beach and ride up to Santa Monica and back! Not necessarily Tour de France terrain but the views are beautiful and the locals are entertaining!
- Hike Runyon Canyon – with a few loop options to make it as hard or easy as you like, the views on this hike are breath taking, including the Hollywood sign and overlooking LA out to the sea.
Note: I am not a doctor or in any way authorised to give advice on this!! However I have travelled A LOT. And melatonin is available over the counter in LA. Which I have found really helpful! As a relatively natural option as opposed to checmicals that don’t occur naturally in your body, I find this to really help getting me to sleep in the local time zone.