a VirtualTourist member
We are staying at Montage Laguna Beach and will be driving up to LA to visit family. Is it true the highways are very crowded on Fridays? Are they any better on Saturday?
Any tips on a great restaurant near the hotel known for great food, atmosphere and service?
I drove through the area on a Friday afternoon a couple of years ago, thinking I was smart and beating the traffic at roughly 3pm, but it was really bad. If you don't mind paying, there are a network of toll roads that run in the mountains that get you around a little easier (https://www.thetollroads.com/).
But I would definitely not drive into LA on a Friday afternoon from Laguna Beach unless you have a lot of time on your hands.
It depends on when you go. If you drive up to LA on Friday at, say, 11am, you should be fine but anything much after 2pm is usually a mess (sometimes a little earlier than that on Fridays, I think people get off work early). The only advantage you'll have is that you'll be going the wrong way. People getting off work in LA are heading home, in other words OUT of LA, and you'll be heading into LA so you shouldn't have quite as bad of a time if you go later in the day. Still, it won't be great.
Saturdays are surprisingly bad. You'd think it would be better since it's not a work week but the freeways are almost as bad (but not as bad as during the week) and traffic on the surface streets in Laguna will most likely be really bad. People are out running errands and heading down to the beach on their day off so it gets pretty crowded. In fact, it's so bad that I won't even go to Huntington, Newport, Laguna area on a weekend.
Sunday would be a little better on the surface streets and the freeways should be terrific.