I have an eight hour layover at LAX. Any thoughts about what I should do with it? I’m coming from NYC and going to Hawaii, so customs won’t be an issue. I figured I’d rent a car for the day just to get around. I’d love some ideas about where to eat so I can avoid airport/airplane food.
As I’m sure you’re aware, an eight hour layover is really more like a five or six hour layover when you take into consideration deplaning, getting out of the airport, getting your car, going through security again, etc. That said, I would probably head to Santa Monica which is fairly close to the airport. There’s a hotel called Shutters On the Beach that has a fantastic restaurant (One Pico) that looks out on to the ocean. It’s a tad pricey but I’ve never had a bad meal there. Same for their other restaurant, Coast. Afterwards you can take a lovely stroll along the beach and even walk up to the Santa Monica Pier. Another restaurant you might want to try is The Lobster. Gorgeous views of the beach, although it is a bit pricey.
If you happen to have a little time left over, check out the The Buggy Whip for a drink. It’s a restaurant that looks like it’s literally stuck in the 1960s. I’ve never thought the food was that great, but I think I’m actually in the minority. A billion movies have been filmed here and the minute you see it, you’ll know why. Such a fun, silly place.
If you don’t want to head quite that far north, try heading to Venice. Abbot Kinney is a fantastic street. Local 1205 is a great restaurant/food market that’s a great place. If you like Chinese food the Wacky Wok is actually great. Not a lot of ambiance, but great food. Johnnies Pizza next to it is fantastic, too. And if you happen to be in the mood for a massage, The Massage Place is right next door and it’s incredible. If you want to get something to take on the plane, Lemonade is great (although there’s now a Lemonade in one of the terminals in LAX, too).
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I know this reply is super late, but I hope it'll help out some other travelers on here. Anyways, you can't go wrong with Santa Monica or Malibu Beach. They're both very close to LAX (SM is about 20min drive and Malibu is about 40min drive from LAX). They both have beautiful beaches. Malibu is more quiet, whereas SM is more touristy. If you like Museums, check out the Getty Center. :)
Part of it depends on the time frame you would be driving. LA traffic is a monster from around 3:30PM-7:30PM, so it may be better to catch a shuttle bus. Sites to see would definitely be Venice Beach, and on the plus side it's pretty close to LAX Los Angeles International (7 miles) and has many tourist and local attractions on the boardwalk right next to the beach. There's street performers, muscle beach, and tons of pop up stores to purchase souvenirs.
Another 2 miles north is Santa Monica Pier which is also nice, has a Ferris wheel right on the pier, other rides and plenty of restaurants, but Venice is closer so I'd say stick with Venice. Leave yourself plenty of time to get back to LAX and have fun!
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