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Activities Near LAX

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LAX Gateway Pylons - a public art display near LAX,  the columns of light greet arriving aircraft to LAX. [Photo Credit: Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau] LAX Gateway Pylons greet arriving aircraft

Due to the size of Los Angeles International Airport, and the distance from interesting tourist destinations, most of these activities are appropriate only if you have a layover of at least four hours.

The list is ordered by popularity. Be sure to allow an extra hour in your planning to get through security and check-in when you return to the airport (up to two hours for international flights). Times listed below are approximate guesses. Do not rely on these estimates for precise timing.

LAX Layover Tips - Transportation and other issues related to leaving LAX for a layover getaway. Suggestions on where to go.

Shopping Malls and Shopping Districts - There are quite a few shopping malls and shopping districts within reach of LAX. This list includes malls such as the Beverly Center and Del Amo Mall, and shopping districts such as Rodeo Drive and Robertson Boulevard.

Travel Time (each direction): 15-120 minutes (various routes)
Duration: As much time as you need to shop
Route: Various

Beaches near LAX - When you think of Los Angeles, one image that comes to mind is that of the beach. That's why a visit the beach is a popular destination during an extended layover at LAX. Follow the link to find out how to get to Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Marina del Rey, Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach.

Travel Time (each direction): 30-90 minutes (various routes)
Duration: At least one hour
Route: Various

LA City Guided Tour - The tour company will pick you up at LAX. You can bring your luggage with you on the tour van, if needed. Your flight will need to arrive at least a half hour before tour pickup in order to get to the van in time. Your flight should leave an hour or more after the tour is scheduled to end. International flights need to allow even more time before and after the tour for security and walking through the terminal. This is a complete 5.5-hour LA City Tour including Los Angeles, Hollywood, movie star homes and beaches. If your flight does not arrive in time to take this tour, then consider going to Hollywood (see below), where you can catch one of many guided tours that depart from Hollywood Boulevard.

Travel Time (each direction): None
Duration: 9:00AM until 5-to-5:30PM
Route: Van pickup at airport

Downtown Los Angeles - Visit MOCA, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Music Center, Olvera Street, Chinatown, Shopping Districts, California Market Center, LA Fashion District, LA Flower District and many more attractions in downtown Los Angeles. It is a 21-minute train ride from Union Station to Hollywood and Highland on the Red Line. Universal City Metro station is 25 minutes away.

Travel Time (each direction): 30-60 minutes
Duration: At least one hour if you will only visit Olveras Street and Chinatown. You will need more time if you venture far from Union Station.
Route: FlyAway Union Station shuttle from the terminal at LAX to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. From there, you can take Metro buses and trains to various points throughout the city.

Hollywood - There are plenty of activities near the Hollywood and Highland Metro Red Line station. You can take pictures of the Hollywood Sign, and browse the Hollywood Walk of Fame (stars on the sidewalk) to find your favorite celebrities. Match footprints with John Wayne and many other famous actors in the cement courtyard of the Chinese Theatre. You can visit Madame Tussaud's wax showcase of celebrities, or one of the many other museums on Hollywood Boulevard. Or just sit at a restaurant in the Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex, eating lunch in view of the Hollywood Sign.

Travel Time (each direction): 60-90 minutes
Duration: At least one hour to walk around Hollywood Boulevard, plus time to visit attractions as desired.
Route: FlyAway Union Station shuttle from the terminal at LAX to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. From there, take the Red Line train to Hollywood and Highland.

Farmers Market / Grove Shopping District - The Original Farmers Market is an outdoor market, yet it is mostly covered to shade you from the sun. You'll find numerous stands offering fresh fruit, produce, seafood, ice cream, pizza, burgers, wines, cheeses, gourmet foods, as well as gift shops. Nearby, the Grove is an outdoor shopping district featuring high-end stores and restaurants, a theater, live performances. There is a free trolley that connects Farmers Market and The Grove, although it is a novelty. It's much faster to simply walk from one to the other in about 30 seconds. Either of the two would be a great location for lunch. Farmers Market dining mostly involves buying the food at a counter or stand, and then sitting at a picnic table. The Grove features full-service and higher-end restaurants.

Travel Time (each direction): 60-90 minutes
Duration: At least one hour
Route: Lot C Shuttle to Metro Bus 439b to Metro Bus 217 to Farmers Market (Fairfax Ave and 3rd St).

Encounter Restaurant - the dome-shaped restaurant that is synonymous with Los Angeles International airport. It was renovated and re-opened in 2007.

Travel Time (each direction): 5-10 minutes
Duration: At least one hour
Route: Walk out of the terminal. You can't miss it! Once outside, you can ask a bag check attendant or police officer if you need specific directions from your terminal.

Sony Pictures Studios Tour - Sony Studios is one of the world's most famous studio lots, this walking tour gives you a rare glimpse of old Hollywood's glory days and an insider's view of a state-of-the-art motion picture studio. Tours are conducted Monday through Friday at 9:30AM, 10:30AM, 1:30PM and 2:30PM. Call for availability and reservations.

Travel Time (each direction): 60-90 minutes
Duration: Two hours.
Route: Lot C Shuttle to Santa Monica Bus 3 to Lincoln Bl / Washington Blvd. Transfer (get coupon) to Culver City bus #1 to Washington Blvd / Madison Av.

Theme Parks - Do you have A LOT of extra time on your layover? If so, try a theme park like Disneyland, Universal Studios or Knott's Berry Farm.

Travel Time (each direction): 60-180 minutes (various routes)
Duration: Several hours
Route: Various

Portrait of Jeanne Kefer by Fernand Khnopff at the Getty Center museum in Los Angeles. [Photo Credit:] Portrait of Jeanne Kefer (Fernand Khnopff)

Getty Center - The world-renowned art museum, featuring works of art by major artists like Corot, Monet, Pissarro, da Vinci, Van Gogh, many more! The gardens offer a nice view of Los Angeles. There is a cafe and a restaurant on the premises, so you can spend several hours at the Getty Center.

Travel Time (each direction): 90-120 minutes
Duration: At least two hours
Route: FlyAway Westwood bus to various bus routes (see details)

Museum Row on Miracle Mile - Four museums are located within a span of one city block: LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), La Brea Tar Pits / Page Museum, Petersen's Automotive Museum and California Folk Art Museum (CAFAM). All are all within a 5-minute walking distance from a single bus stop at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. You can also walk through Hancock Park, where LACMA and Page Museum are located. Hancock Park features many open tar pits (don't worry, they are protected by fences!) and other exhibits that you can view for free. The most famous of them is Lake Pit, where replica mammoths portray one of them trapped, while the others look on helplessly. LACMA has free outdoor art exhibits, such as the Urban Light lamppost exhibit and sculptures by Rodin.

Travel Time (each direction): 60-90 minutes
Duration: At least one hour to walk around, if you don't go inside any of the museums. Allow at least two hours to appreciate LACMA. It will take around an hour to visit either Page Museum or Petersen's Auto Museum. CAFAM can occupy 30-60 minutes.
Route: FlyAway Westwood bus to Wilshire Blvd / Gayley Ave. Then take Metro Rapid Line 720 to Fairfax Ave / Wilshire Blvd.

Hollywood Park Racetrack & Casino - Features a horse racing track and a casino with card games. It is in Ingelwood, which is not very close to Hollywood.

Travel Time (each direction): 30-60 minutes
Duration: At least one hour. The horse racing schedule is seasonal. Check their website for details.
Route: Lot G Shuttle to Metro Rail Green Line train to Metro Local Line 212

Wilshire Blvd Bus Tour (5+ hours) - Wilshire Boulevard spans 15.8 miles from Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. This is not a formal tour offered by a tour bus company. You simply ride the public transportation on Wilshire Blvd.


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