You’re in Los Angeles and Southern California for one day on a long layover, what to do? Get out and explore of course. I would recommend getting a rental car at the airport. I feel it’s easier to cover long distances that way. It’s pretty affordable these days, especially for one day. Though who knows if it will stay that way with gas prices going up fast.
Leaving the airport I would head north on I-405 and then west on I-10, right to the coast and the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1). Driving north you have the beaches, coastal houses, Pacific ocean, photographers, people in convertibles and motorcycles, vehicles with surf boards strapped to the roof, what could be better?! You’ll pass right through the heart of Malibu and by the beautiful Pepperdine University. I’d keep heading north until Point Mugu State Park. It becomes flat and goes inland after that.
There are multiple stopping points and beaches a long the way. Some of my favorite stops are the aforementioned Point Mugu State Park and also Thornhill Broome Beach and El Matador State Beach. When passing through Malibu grab a sandwich (my favorite is the BLT) at Malibu Kitchen & Gourmet Country Market.
Reverse course and head back south down Highway 1 until you get back to I-10. You will wind up at Ocean Ave. and Santa Monica Beach and Pier. One of the more well-known piers around you’ll find great restaurants, shopping and souvenir stands and fun rides for kids, along with breathe-taking views of the coastline from either side. Around the beach you’ll find lots of people on roller blades and bikes, lot’s of beach volleyball action and people just hanging along the water and getting some sun. For a bite to eat right along the beach I’d recommend a hot dog at Perry’s Beach Cafe.
Time to see some stars. On the sidewalk anyways. You can’t be here and not get at least a little taste of Hollywood. Head to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. You’ll get to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as the footprints, handprints and autographs of celebrities right in front of the theater. They date back to the 1920’s. While your there get a cream puff at nearby Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs. You won’t be sorry. Food always seems to be on the mind with me. 🙂
Looking for something to do off the radar? Heading back towards the airport check out The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Venice. For a small donation, you’ll walk through many dark hallways seeing a lot of bizarre and odd but interesting artifacts from early Jurassic times. Your walk through ends with some tea and cookies.
To finish off a days travels, get to an In-N-Out burger. It’s a tourist attraction in and of itself. I can’t believe every time I drive by one there seems to be a line onto the road. A basic hamburger or cheeseburger does the trick there for me, but they do have a secret menu that is not so secret any more. Check it out. Have an Animal Style or a 4 x 4 burger and let me know how you like them.
Time to return the rental car and head to the next destination. I have always made it a must to have some time in Los Angeles and Southern California when traveling, most recently on my way to New Zealand. If you had a day to spend here where would you recommend others to go?