Help with layover in Los Angeles. What to do in 12 hours?

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happycamper

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Oct 11, 2017
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OK thinking of taking Sunset Limited to LAX with a 12 hour layover to the SW Chief to go to Flagstaff and tour the Grand Canyon. I think the trip would be much better if we look forward to the layover and not dread it. Sooooo... I have already toured Los Angeles and Hollywood. Thinking maybe train to San Diego and back or Santa Barbara and back but will have at least one spinner small luggage. I thought I could push the luggage and put a picture of a dog on it so it makes it look like a stroller... LOL LOL but seriously I could leave the luggage in the Metropolitan Lounge as planning on a room on the Sunset Limited. BUT not sure if that would be good to leave for hours and hours... Will have essentials in backpacks on us. Other than that any ideas? Dont really want to take transport to Longbeach or San Pedro as we have done both on cruises... Could take train to Universal Studios?? Or Disney Land? not sure we will have that much energy after 32 hours on the Sunset though... Ideas please!!!!!!
 

Sidney

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You can leave your luggage in the lounge at LAX. They lock the door. I will be in LA for a full day in January waiting for the Sunset. I plan on taking a Surfliner to San Diego and back. Never had a problem leaving my luggage in the lounge.
 

BCL

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Not sure about Disneyland. You wouldn't necessarily have that much time, although the current 8 AM opening time would mean less wasted time in the morning if you could find fast transportation. They also require reservations now.

Not sure how you would plan to get to Anaheim.
 

choochoodood

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If you feel you have the time, take the train up to Santa Barbara. Its an absolutely wonderful town to explore. The station is conveniently located to the downtown area.
 

Chris I

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A few things we've done down there and enjoyed:
- California Science Center. Pretty good museum that includes a Space Shuttle. Convenient walk from the Expo Line. Note: you can stay on the Expo line and get all the way to Santa Monica now.
- Hiking in Griffith Park. Not quite as easy to get to on transit. You can take a local bus or walk from the Glendale Metrolink station.
- Take the Gold line up to Pasadena.
 

zephyr17

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You can go to Santa Monica on the Expo Line and enjoy the beach, the pier ( site of countless movie and TV shoots) and its Third Street Promenade restaurants. You can walk down the beach path down to funky Venice Beach.

You can take the Red Line to Universal Studios. Be sure and notice the subway's horn, which some historian at Metro had something that sounds exactly like Pacific Electric's distinctive trombone whistles installed.

You can go eat breakfast at Phillipes, which serves an excellent and very reasonably priced breakfast until 11 am in addition to their famed French Dip sandwiches.

You can go back and get a French Dip for lunch.

You can take the Red Line over to Alvarado and enjoy the best Pastrami west of New York at Langers at 7th & Alvarado.

You can take the bus up to Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium, also the site of countless movie shoots.

This is a short list. There's no end of things to do.
 
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Sidney

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If you feel you have the time, take the train up to Santa Barbara. Its an absolutely wonderful town to explore. The station is conveniently located to the downtown area.
Your post changed my itinerary. I was going from Sac to LA on the CS,was spending the night at the Metro Plaza and getting on the next night's Sunset.I planned to take a Surfliner to San Diego or Santa Barbara during the day. I checked Santa Barbara hotel prices under $200 that were less than a mile from the station and one came up. About $20 more than what I was paying at the Metro Plaza. Got a Surfliner back Sunday afternoon giving me a whole morning to walk through Santa Barbara. Hope it's not raining. Got to love this forum!
 

niemi24s

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Trip Advisor/Things To Do/Los Angeles/Map (which you can scroll around and zoom in) shows locations of over 2,000 points of interest.

If you arrive on time (5:35am) best use of time might be breakfast at Phillippe's (opens at 6:00am) as Zephyr 17 suggested as it's only a short walk from the station. If you like the aroma of freshly tooled leather, sniff along Olivera Street where the vendors in the Mexican Market are probably just setting out their wares. Other than the nearby Italian-American Museum on Main St., that's all I did during my only layover there a few years back.
 

DonNewcomb

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Not an expert on L.A. but just looking at Google Maps, I see tons of things within an easy stroll of Union Station. Chinatown, Japanese-American Museum, Grand Central Market, The World's Shortest Railway, etc.
 

bratkinson

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I had the same dilemma at LA maybe 6-7 years ago. I had decided to ride Amtrak to San Diego as I had never been on that route. Unfortunately, we got stopped about 20 minutes out of LAX account wild fires along the route. We got rolling again and stopped 10 minutes later at a commuter station, again due to the fires. I quickly realized I could get stranded along the way or in San Diego and my train back to Chicago would leave without me. So I hopped off, figured out the ticket machine, and rode back to LAX, arriving about 2PM. I sat tight in the lounge until #4 was called.

The next year, I came to town on #3 and booked #422 back to CHI, giving me maximum layover time. I made it to San Diego and even spent a couple hours riding the trolleys before getting back to LAX. No fire problems that year.
 

City of Miami

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Not an expert on L.A. but just looking at Google Maps, I see tons of things within an easy stroll of Union Station. Chinatown, Japanese-American Museum, Grand Central Market, The World's Shortest Railway, etc.
I have found downtown LA very interesting. Japan town, and beyond that there's a fascinating toy district and artist district and diamond district. Broadway. The library is wonderful. There's Disney Hall at the top of the hill as well as Dorothy Chandler. You could walk to all these but would be tuckered out.
 

alanh

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Another vote for Olivera street. I've walked over there for some huevos rancheros or a breakfast burrito after arriving on the SL.

I wouldn't try for Disney, particularly now. You don't really have enough time.
 

Willbridge

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Some good suggestions above. My favorites with a day layover:
Downtown/Broadway/Angel's Flight/Grand Central Market/Bradbury Bldg./ Pacific Electric Terminal, easily reached to or from LAUPT have a lot of interesting stories to go with the old movie palaces and office buildings although it's best done with a guide brochure or one of the walking tours. In the morning ride the Santa Monica rail line and have lunch at the beach...

P1040466k.JPG

Watching a tarantula wrangler on the Santa Monica pier...

P1040460k.JPG

Movie fans may recognize the Bradbury Building...

P1040973 (003).jpg
 

Dan O

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Some good suggestions above. My favorites with a day layover:
Downtown/Broadway/Angel's Flight/Grand Central Market/Bradbury Bldg./ Pacific Electric Terminal, easily reached to or from LAUPT have a lot of interesting stories to go with the old movie palaces and office buildings although it's best done with a guide brochure or one of the walking tours. In the morning ride the Santa Monica rail line and have lunch at the beach...

View attachment 24796

Watching a tarantula wrangler on the Santa Monica pier...

View attachment 24797

Movie fans may recognize the Bradbury Building...

View attachment 24798
When I was there in June the Bradbury building was closed due to Covid. Grand Central Market across the street was open. A few years ago went on a tour of Disney Concert Hall which was very interesting.
It would be a bit of a walk but a short subway ride to eat lunch at the Original Pantry which used to be open 24 hours but has limited hours/days open now. .
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
57
You can leave your luggage in the lounge at LAX. They lock the door. I will be in LA for a full day in January waiting for the Sunset. I plan on taking a Surfliner to San Diego and back. Never had a problem leaving my luggage in the lounge.
Thank you! Little concerned about taking the train to San Diego but it looks like the timing works fine and there are multiple trains. Have you done it before?
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
57
If you feel you have the time, take the train up to Santa Barbara. Its an absolutely wonderful town to explore. The station is conveniently located to the downtown area.
Thank you. :) Anything you would recommend in Santa Barbara near the station?
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
57
A few things we've done down there and enjoyed:
- California Science Center. Pretty good museum that includes a Space Shuttle. Convenient walk from the Expo Line. Note: you can stay on the Expo line and get all the way to Santa Monica now.
- Hiking in Griffith Park. Not quite as easy to get to on transit. You can take a local bus or walk from the Glendale Metrolink station.
- Take the Gold line up to Pasadena.
Thank you - I will look into the Metro Line - is it safe? I would like to go back to Santa Monica - we went to the pier on tour so didn't get to stay long. The Science Center sounds good too. :)
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
57
You can go to Santa Monica on the Expo Line and enjoy the beach, the pier ( site of countless movie and TV shoots) and its Third Street Promenade restaurants. You can walk down the beach path down to funky Venice Beach.

You can take the Red Line to Universal Studios. Be sure and notice the subway's horn, which some historian at Metro had something that sounds exactly like Pacific Electric's distinctive trombone whistles installed.

You can go eat breakfast at Phillipes, which serves an excellent and very reasonably priced breakfast until 11 am in addition to their famed French Dip sandwiches.

You can go back and get a French Dip for lunch.

You can take the Red Line over to Alvarado and enjoy the best Pastrami west of New York at Langers at 7th & Alvarado.

You can take the bus up to Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium, also the site of countless movie shoots.

This is a short list. There's no end of things to do.
Love movie and food! Thank you! I will look into these suggestions!!
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
57
Your post changed my itinerary. I was going from Sac to LA on the CS,was spending the night at the Metro Plaza and getting on the next night's Sunset.I planned to take a Surfliner to San Diego or Santa Barbara during the day. I checked Santa Barbara hotel prices under $200 that were less than a mile from the station and one came up. About $20 more than what I was paying at the Metro Plaza. Got a Surfliner back Sunday afternoon giving me a whole morning to walk through Santa Barbara. Hope it's not raining. Got to love this forum!
Sounds like a great plan! I forgot about the Sac stop verses Emeryville to connect into the CZ or vice versa. And a great idea about Santa Barbara if we go that way. :) :)
 

Sidney

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Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
617
Thank you! Little concerned about taking the train to San Diego but it looks like the timing works fine and there are multiple trains. Have you done it before?
Many times. Other nice stops are San Clemente Pier,Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano.
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Messages
57
I had the same dilemma at LA maybe 6-7 years ago. I had decided to ride Amtrak to San Diego as I had never been on that route. Unfortunately, we got stopped about 20 minutes out of LAX account wild fires along the route. We got rolling again and stopped 10 minutes later at a commuter station, again due to the fires. I quickly realized I could get stranded along the way or in San Diego and my train back to Chicago would leave without me. So I hopped off, figured out the ticket machine, and rode back to LAX, arriving about 2PM. I sat tight in the lounge until #4 was called.

The next year, I came to town on #3 and booked #422 back to CHI, giving me maximum layover time. I made it to San Diego and even spent a couple hours riding the trolleys before getting back to LAX. No fire problems that year.
I was concerned too about not making it back for the train home. But like your idea that you can get off and switch back if needed. Also about the trolleys in San DIego - I will look into that. :) :)
 
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