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5 Tips for an Extraordinary Getaway to Los Angeles

After spending a week in Mexico for Spring Break we are planning our Summer vacation.  This year the kids and I are heading back to Los Angeles to spend some time with my brother.

As much as we love visiting LA, it's really a lot of fun to visit with him since he lived there for nearly 15 years.  He is wise when it comes to all things L.A. and helps his big sis - moi - maximize my travel dollars.  Traveling with a family of six has its challenges, first and foremost being space.  There is no way our family could call a hotel suite home for a vacation and staying with him is out of the question.  We need space and lots of it.

The Diva Me loves staying in places with a resort type flair.  I have to have a place with all the amenities of home - i.e. dishwasher, washer/dryer, full kitchen, etc. - and a few things we DON'T have at home like an in-ground pool, ocean view, etc.

When visiting L.A. we love to glam it up and search listings of Los Angeles mansions for rent.  You'd be amazed at how affordable the temporary glamorous life can be.

Here are a few of my tips to help you save on your next trip to Los Angeles.

1.  Location!  Location!! Location!!!
        Find a place close to where you plan to spend most of your time. If you are planning to visit Disneyland or any of the amusement parks in the Los Angeles area, search rentals near the parks. If you are looking to spend time at the beach, then find a rental near the beach. 
Booking near where you plan to spend most of your time will cut down on your travel time.  L.A. traffic is the worst.  Doesn't matter if you're driving day, night, mid-day, twilight, traffic is horrendous.  It is so much easier just to book a place near the sites you plan to visit.  

If you're booking online filter results to list suggestions near your desired vacation destination.   Why book a vacation stay near an amusement park if you plan to visit Rodeo Drive? 

2.  Walk the Walk
        Thinking again of point #1, L.A. has plenty of public transportation options for most of the fun places you wanna visit.  Wear comfortable shoes because you will definitely get your walk on when visiting L.A.

Whether hailing a train, or catching a shuttle or landing a parking spot, you will get your daily steps.  L.A. is a shoppers delight but garnering a coveted parking spot can be torture.  I remember a trip to Rancho Palos Verde and we must have driven around that parking lot 10 times before finding a spot and don't get me started on the trip to Drake's OVO store.  O to the M to the G.  

My kid was so excited for his trip to L.A. with his best friend and the day before the last day of our stay they hit me with "Can we go to Drake's OVO store?"  

Ok, first of all, I didn't know Drake had a store.

Second, we were in Downtown L.A. and the store was ACCORDING TO our map app, just 8.1 miles away.  Mind you that's 8.1 L.A. miles which is roughly 81 miles anywhere else.

We finally made it and I couldn't just drop my kid off while I hunted for a parking spot so we drove around and around and around and finally found a spot just as the store was closing.  L.A. Commute Lesson learned. 

If you're heading to one of the amusement parks, consider getting there via shuttle.  

Universal Studios offers a shuttle service from the Metro Red Line and the Metrolink runs every 30 minutes or so with stops at Disneyland.  Be sure to check the schedule times - especially that LAST shuttle - as many of the shuttles typically stop operating an hour or so after the park closes.
Heading to the beach by car then you will definitely want to consider parking is limited.  Consider using a travel app like Moovit or Luxe.  I've never used Uber or Lyft when visiting L.A. but they're available in most areas and you can often find discount codes online.  

3.  Do Something Extraordinary
      Live like a queen or a king.  Maybe like the Elvis Presley and rent his Beverly Hills mansion.  Yep, his mansion along with many other former homes of the stars are available for rent.   
Imagine telling your friends you lived it up in Bing Crosby's old house or some other famous movie star.  If staying in the home of a deceased celeb isn't your thing there are plenty of celebs who rent their digs and often are pretty affordable rates.  If those walls could talk.  OMG! 

4.  Dine Like the Stars  
       One of my favorite things to do when visiting L.A. is checking out the L.A. food scene.  L.A. is a foodie's paradise and you can sample cuisines from all of the world in a single day.  If you're lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a celeb or luck up on a scene in a movie.  Yep, that actually happened to us.  We were dining as a tv series was taping and our faces are forever etched on the small screen.  *curtsies* We enjoy checking out restaurants we've seen on the Food Network or Travel Channel and our favorite cooking shows.  
Another one of our favorites places to visit is the Santa Monica Fish Market.  The Santa Monica Fish Market carries every cut of fresh, frozen or live fish or seafood you can imagine.  Succulent prawns the size of your hand and so much more PLUS helpful, knowledgeable staff who are always willing to share food prep ideas.  

5.  See the Free
       L.A. is one of the most visited places in the world and you will spend a lot of money on your vacation BUT did you know there are tons of FREE things to do while in L.A.?  
Besides Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier, another one of our favorite FREE places to visit is the Griffin Observatory.  Get one of the best views of the iconic Hollywood Sign or explore the exhibits, check out the telescopes and so much more.  

The kids and I love visiting museums whenever we vacay and the Getty Museum is one of our favorites.  The Getty Museum is home of a couple of pieces by Rembrandt and has a sketching gallery.  The Sketching Gallery is free and a great place to let the kiddos express the inner artist using some of the museum's easels.  

There you have it, our 5 tips for an extraordinary getaway to Los Angeles.  

What are some of your places to visit while in Los Angeles? 


Masshole Mommy said…
We have been to LA twice and both times ended up in Hollywood. There is just so much to see and do there.
Alli Smith said…
I've been to California, but never to LA. It would be so much fun to visit and stay in a star's home. I'm with you when it comes to vacations, I like to enjoy amenities I don't have at home.
I have been to LA and there is always something to see or visit. All our tips are great. Be prepared for tons of walking which is great and good for you. Fun place to visit.
Marysa said…
I have never been to LA, or even California for that matter. I love your list - sounds like the way to go if I ever make it out west!
AiringMyLaundry said…
I'd love to go to LA one day. My daughter really wants to go. We'd probably do a lot of walking thanks to the traffic. But we'd be excited to try out all the food places and check out movie locations.
Glam Karen said…
It's been so long since I last went to LA but I think these tips are amazing and definitely something that you'd want to take note of the next time you go there. It's good to be able to maximize your trip as much as you can.
I've never had the opportunity to visit LA just for fun. My Mom has been there many times and loves it.
Jenn said…
These are great tips. I would love to go back to LA for a vacation some time. I have only been there for work. So much to see.
Tasheena Womack said…
These are wonderful tips! I can't wait to put them to use. Love Los Angeles! Such a beautiful city to visit.
Rachel said…
These are great tips for finding the perfect place to stay when in LA. I can't imagine how cool it would be to stay in star's home.
LA is somewhere I would love to go one day and I think you have just listed a whole load of reasons why. My Dad got me a tin from Disney when he visited when I was really small and I love it so MUCH!
Chubskulit Rose said…
Just like you, we love going on museums as well. It is entertaining and very educational for the whole family.
Angela Ricardo said…
Hollywood and Santa Monica Beach is my favorite spots when I was still living in California. I am about to go back and visit next month with my family.
Ricci Ellis said…
I have never been to LA before but it's HIGH up on my bucket list!! Thanks for all the recs!!
We lived in Arizona for 4 yrs and would go to California as much as we could. We only got to L.A. a handful of times but you are SO RIGHT the traffic is awful. I mean it was frightening. And I came from Florida and lived in Mass. nothing compares to L.A traffic. I would love to rent Bing's old house, huge fan of his music. Not that L.A. has much of a winter but I would have to go in the "winter" months lol I am not much for their heat. Glad you guys had a wonderful time.
Sara Welch said…
These tips are really going to help out. LA can be so overwhelming!
Kita Bryant said…
I have only gotten to drive through LA. I would love to actually spend some time there!
We have been to California, but we were in Alameda to visit Family. Los Angeles would be some 370 miles from where we were. Maybe someday when we do get to have an opportunity to visit California again, we'd make sure we book a stay in LA.
Alison Rost said…
It's always such a beautiful place! It would be nice to maximize your time there as much as you could. Good to know that there are free attractions too!

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