Los Angeles is a hard city to take in. It’s sprawling, it takes hours to get anywhere, and it’s just so L.A. Doing business in Los Angeles can be a challenge, if only because it takes so long to get from one place to another. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the City of Angels, but I can tell you that Venice Beach stole my heart. I love the street performers, pot heads, hare krishnas, tattoo people and every other walk of life you find there. Don’t leave home without a navigation system, and all of your driving patience.
Getting There & Around
The main entry point for visitors to Los Angeles is LAX, the mother of all airports. I would rather connect in just about any airport in the country than LAX, particularly for international connections. If you’re staying in an airport hotel and planning to take the shuttle, plan on waiting a while. L.A. hotel shuttles are only allowed to run every half hour or so, and they are required to service multiple hotels. Gross. But you can do some good sightseeing in the place – last time I was there I saw Screech. Yes, the Screech from Saved by the Bell and Porno fame.
Smart travelers fly in to the smaller, less congested airports, like Ontario or Orange County.
Believe it or not, public transportation does exist in L.A. And it’s supposed to be pretty good. For short trips, the Big Blue Bus gets you where you need to go in an environmentally friendly fashion. Otherwise, check metro.net to plan your trip. The Hollywood Trolley is an option in some areas as well.
While I normally recommend you stay where you play and drive to work, in Los Angeles I definitely suggest you get your hotel near work. You don’t want to get caught in the infamous gridlock and miss an important meeting. Every business park around the city offers at least one decent business hotel option. For some ideas, check out the following:
The Four Seasons
The Beverly Wiltshire
Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey
Omni Los Angeles
Los Angeles has all sorts of food options, from tiny taco stands to the finest upscale, celebrity stalking dining experiences. As a Mexican Food aficionado, I only eat the comida from South of the border when I’m in the area. I recently had the pleasure of eating at El Torito in Irvine, and it was hands down the best Mexican food I’ve eaten in a very long time. Seriously, I want to go back to Irvine just so I can eat there again.
Most folks go to Los Angeles for the whole Hollywood scene. You can do the celebrity drive-bys and check out the stars. A photo of the Hollywood sign is surely a must. For the kid in you, you can visit Disneyland, Universal Pictures, the Santa Monica Pier and even Knotts Berry Farm. In the winter months, it’s a short (by L.A. standards) drive up to Big Bear Mountain for manufactured snow skiing. Head to the beach for surfing and tanning. But don’t forget your wetsuit if you plan on getting in the water…the Pacific is COLD in L.A. Los Angeles is a shopper’s paradise. For my shopping needs, I personally prefer The Basement, the $10 clothing store in Santa Monica. To get back to nature, you can visit Quail Hill in Irvine.