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Where to stay in LA?

Posted by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 5:04 PM
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We are thinking of visiting Los Angeles for family vacation this summer.  I have three girls, 18, 15 and 10. They are excited about seeing Disneyland, Universal Studios, and some cool beaches. 

Do any of you have recommendations as far as accommodation?  We are trying to do this trip on a budget of around $6K and will need to fly, which will be around $2k to start off.  I've looked at some affordable condos ($1500-$1800/week) in the Venice Beach area that seem pretty nice...but not sure if that is the best place to stay?  All suggestions welcome!


by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 5:04 PM
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by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 5:10 PM
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I often use

My uncle lives in Marina Del Rey, which is pretty much next to Venice. We often stay at The Inn at Marina Del Rey. It's reasonable and there's breakfast included. Parking can be a pain, though.

We also really like the Foghorn Inn. It's a bit dated to say the least. But it was right on a beach. I could sit on the patio and watch my older kids on the beach while my little one was with me.

I've also rented houses off of CraigsList

by Gold Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 5:46 PM
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your girls will love staying by the beach. I was 16 when I first moved to Los Angeles with my then boyfriend now hubby and I could of lived right on the beach. That's where I met my first celebrity. I was never there as an actual tourist tho

by Member on Feb. 23, 2015 at 9:33 PM
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We did that last summer.

We stayed on the Queen Mary. It was fun. We did the ghost tour which was great, but it goes to 1am so I wouldn't plan on doing anything early the next day.

As far as prices went ti was comparable to any other hotels.

We didn't stay in LA itself and after going to do our sightseeing we were glad we stayed outside of LA.

I would recommend the Warner Brothers tour.

We spent a couple of days at the Queen Mary and then changed over to the Paradise Pier (one of the Disney hotels). That worked out well because we could walk to the parks. We were able to get breakfast at one of the cafes in Downtown Disney. The hotel is also close enough for me and my son to walk back while my husband and daughter stayed at the parks.

After driving around for a little while, we found that the area around Disneyland was kind of dismal. None of the other hotels are within walking distance (safely). There's also not many places to eat in the area.

I don't know what the price was because we are Disney Vacation Club members and we used points. We also got free parking because we a DVC members. I think that non-DVC members pay like $19 a dyay.

If you want to go to the beach, I would go up to Venice Beach or Santa Monica. The "beaches" in LA are actually in the area near the port so I would expect the water to be contaminated.

Have fun! Check Yelp. We found that to be helpful.

P.S. If you have gone to WDW in Florida, you will very likely be disappointed with Disneyland. The area is small, the attractions are very close together and we found the park to be very understaffed.  I use a motorized scooter and it was hard to move around. In Florida, there is usually a cast member at the beginning of the line to help with how I navigate the lines. At Disneyland, we had a lot of trouble finding anyone to help us.

by on Feb. 23, 2015 at 10:59 PM
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i would start with trip advisor to look at hotels. You want to stay closest to the places you will be visiting because traffic is a nightmare all day, every day. 

In addition to beaches, you should check out other cool stuff. Hollywood is fun, go to the Chinese Theater to see the star handprints, do the walk of fame. La brea tar pits is fun, too. The science museum is cool, Griffith park for the trains was my favorite as a kid. SoCal has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. oh, take a day trip to the Channel Islands if you can. Gorgeous! 

Eta: if you go to knotsberry farm, be sure to buy fudge. It's delicious. Also? Their chicken dinners are awesome in the restaurant. Check out in and out burger, an LA institution, cupids hot dogs if you are in the valley. And fyi, the beaches are very crowded in summer. But to my knowledge, not contaminated. :)

by Silver Member on Feb. 24, 2015 at 12:23 PM
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They'll like Venice, and may not want to go anywhere else once you get there! Allow a LOT of time to go anywhere from there, because access is not easy and traffic is ALWAYS bad, no exceptions.

by Group Admin on Feb. 24, 2015 at 1:07 PM
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I am clueless but I have a friend who is there right now. She is staying for a month. I will ask her where she's staying.

by Silver Member on Feb. 24, 2015 at 10:00 PM

18, 15, and 10 are all great ages!!!!

To the above posts of others I would add this information FWIW:

The greater LA area is a target rich area for things to do and places to see. We tried to hit the ones that interested all of us and that will vary between families.  Lots of folks would have no interest in visiting precedential libraries, Catalina, the Getty, etcetera. So, you do what you want to with the time you have.

To most of us out of town visitors, LA is that whole basin of cities in LA County and the surrounding counties.  (Like Disneyland is in city and the county south of LA county.).  As others have noted the highways are most always crowded in the LA area.   

We spent five days in the LA basin last August and had a wonderful time.  One thing that you can do to keep the traffic issues to the minimum possible is to PLAN AHEAD and do things in a sequential order rather than running back and forth across the basin.

On the first day we came in from the west and stopped at the Nixon Library and then continued over to Long Beach to see the Queen Mary, the beach, and stay at a Motel 6 for the first of two nights before going over to Catalina the second day. On the third day we headed up to USC, downtown LA, Griffith Park, Hollywood, finishing up at a Motel 6 close to LA airport for the first of two nights and watched sunset off the Santa Monica pier and beach. The fourth day we ran over to UCLA, Rodeo Drive, the Getty Museum, and saw the beach and sunset again.  The fifth day we went to the Reagan Library, then drove through Malibu, stopped at the Danish themed town of Solvang, and up to a Motel 6 within thirty miles of Hurst's Castle at San Simeon to be their early the next morning.

For your price comparison, two rooms at the Motel 6 cost in the range of $200 per night ($100 for each room) as that is high season in LA and the coast area of California.  As a side point, two nights at the Motel 6 up in San Francisco was even more expensive, but all of these motels were somewhat well located for where and what we were doing.   

Over the past five years we have had good times exploring America from coast to coast with our two daughters and SILs.  Before these, our summer vacations were trips to Walt Disney World and Florida beaches.  Next December we return to the trips to Walt Disney World and the Florida Beaches as the grandsons will be those ages. 

For price comparison, Florida beaches and Walt Disney World can be done for far less than $6,000.  We drove the 1100 miles each way, usually 300 miles after work on Friday and the other 800 miles the next day, on the way home we would stop at beaches.  (By the time you get to the airport early as required now, fly, take time to get a rental car a day is shot anyway.)  Our trips to WDW were generally 16 nights on the road. There is a Motel 6 within five miles of the front gate of WDW that costs around $40 per night per room year around.  (If it's you, hubby, and the girls I would check in with two adults and two children, as they will never notice the extra one.)  We generally ate breakfast out of a cereal box, one meal out of a cooler box, and one meal in the park, with sometimes leaving the park to find a buffet house or pizza place.  I think the 10 day park hopper tickets now sell for about $400 each, and they allow you to hop between the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood studio, Disney's animal park, blizzard beach, typhoon lagoon, etcetera.  If Universal Studios is important, there is one located in central Florida also.  Daytona Beach and Tampa are about an hour drive away.  So is Cape Canaveral for those space buffs. My personal opinion is that the Florida beaches are superior to those in California.    (And NO, I do not work for the Florida department of tourism of WDW, LOL.)  But you may be living in Seattle, which would make LA a better choice for you folks.

Whatever you do, please come back and tell us about your summer vacation.  I hope it is a good one.

by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2015 at 1:29 AM
Venici is NOT a great area to stay in with teen girls. There can be a lot of gang activity there, especially on summer evenings. DH is an LAPD motor cop and works Venice regularly. Venice is a fun day trip to people watch and sight-see.

Santa Monica, Manhattan beach, Redondo, Long Beach, Huntington beach are all much better areas.
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