A layover in Los Angeles doesn’t have to be all stuffy airport hotels. Here are some ideas of things to do on your next stopover in the City of Angels.
As the second busiest airport in the U.S., you’ll end up passing through Los Angeles International Airport at some point on your travels, even if it’s just for a half-day layover.
What so many travelers don’t know is that some of LA’s best neighborhoods are only a short cab/Uber/Lyft ride away. If your LA layover is only have 24 hours or less, don’t bother going downtown or sight-see in Hollywood because those areas are much too far. You can still have a memorable day experiencing some unexpected parts of the city.
So many people just get an airport hotel and call it a day. But, with a bit of planning you can make the most of your time in the City of Angels. Here’s what to do for a 24-hour or less layover in Los Angeles.
Check out Marina del Rey
This lesser-known, charming LA neighborhood is only six miles from LAX. You’ll be impressed with the diverse restaurants and patios here to chill and take in the local vibes, even if it means just soaking up some California sun for an afternoon.
A top restaurant pick in LA’s Marina del Rey area are SALT Restaurant & Bar, where guests can enjoy local, seasonal California flavors in an ambient and intimate setting. Treat yourself to their epic brunch with mimosas on the patio, or go for apps and cocktails for happy hour to catch the sunset over the Pacific.
Marina del Rey also has a decent amount of bike paths, so renting one and exploring the area is a great way to spend a couple of hours. For a real nature escape, check out the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. The self-guided trails here let you explore this protected area of Los Angeles.
Explore Venice To Santa Monica By Bike
Head a little further north of LAX to Venice where you can rent a bike – those iconic “cruisers” –and follow the easy beachfront bike path from Venice Beach to Santa Monica. You can stop and wander the pier at Santa Monica which marks the end of the famous Route 66 if you have time (and get a funnel cake while you’re at it!).
The trip there and back is only 25-30 minutes each way, more if you stop to take pictures and soak up the views along the beach. On the way back, bike to the Venice Pier and head to happy hour at the Venice Whaler, one of the most popular bars in Venice Beach.
Head To Hermosa Beach
Los Angeles is a coastal city, so why not take in all of the beach time that you can?
Just 15 minutes south of LAX is Hermosa Beach, a local neighborhood in LA offering a calm beach with plenty of space for sports and sunbathing, great restaurants and breweries nearby and a walkable main street where you can shop and explore the area. It’s a perfect choice if you want to get some relaxing beach time in during your LA layover.
Cocktails At Hotel Erwin For Sunset
Proclaimed as the best sunset view in Venice, Hotel Erwin is the spot to pick if you’re looking for great cocktails and even better views. Enjoy some snacks and their signature cocktails that pay tribute to the historic Venice Beach. Dress is casual to upscale, and reservations are recommended.
Hotel Erwin is located just off Windward Avenue, so be sure to stop and take a pic in front of the Venice Beach sign.
Where To Stay On Your LA Layover
Samesun Backpacker Hostel: The closest budget option if you want to stay near LAX, literally a few steps from the beach. This popular chain of backpacker hostels has everything a traveller needs from clean rooms, friendly staff, luggage storage and a simple complimentary breakfast.
Hotel June: A great mid-range option for an overnight stay in Los Angeles, located just less than 10 minutes to LAX. Enjoy Baja-inspired Californian cuisine at their restaurant and take some time during your stay to chill by the pool in style.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com