Given the notorious freeway traffic and long lines for security and check in, make sure you have plenty of time before leaving LAX on your layover adventure. If you’re unsure, just ask us. Once you account for traffic and check in, five hours is the minimal time you should give yourself for sightseeing in LA. With five hours to spare, there is plenty to see and do that won’t take you too far away from the airport.
- Santa Monica Pier (souvenirs, amusement park rides, people watching, right on the ocean)
- Marina Del Rey (relax at a restaurant and enjoy the ocean views)
- Getty Museum (stellar art collection and magnificent views)
- Guided city tour
- Beaches near LAX: Santa Monica, Venice, Redondo, Hermosa and Marina Del Rey
- In-N-Out Burger – a California institution (9149 S Sepulveda Blvd – a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the terminal)
- Rent a luxury vehicle for a few hours and drive along the coast
Santa Monica Pier
If you’re looking for more of a traditional sightseeing trip and want to take advantage of Los Angeles’s perfect weather, then a short ride to the Santa Monica Pier might be just the ticket. The pier offers souvenir shopping along with amusement park-style rides. Located right on the ocean, it’s also a great spot to soak in beautiful views of the Pacific. Finally, as a major tourist attraction, it’s also a great place to people watch.
Marina Del Rey
Another seaside point of interest with fantastic ocean views is Marina Del Rey. The community is known for its laid-back atmosphere and first-rate amenities. The cuisine scene in particular has a lot to offer, with options ranging from gourmet burgers to locally sourced seafood. We love the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey for an al fresco lunch or luxurious spa treatment! Marina Del Rey has tremendous ocean views, which dazzle both day and night.
Los Angeles is a hot spot for art and culture, with several museums within a short distance of the airport. Perhaps the best, the Getty Museum offers a world-class collection of art and is located only 15 miles from LAX. An architectural marvel itself, the museum houses a wide range of artifacts from classical European paintings to ancient Greco-Roman pottery. With free admission and virtually no time limit, the Getty is an educational and affordable use of your layover time.
Guided city tour of Los Angeles
A guided city tour of Los Angeles is an adventure in itself. Tours can be easily customized to fit almost any length of time and focus on different aspects of the city. Traditional sightseeing tours will take you to see the most famous LA landmarks, but tours can be tailored to your preferences. Whether on bikes or Segways, it’s a fun way to take in LA.
Head over to In-N-Out Burger during a short layover or after a long flight without meal service. The restaurant is a de facto institution in California and is known around the country for its burgers. Just a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the terminal, In-N-Out is a great stopover on the way to another excursion or as an experience all on its own. If you’re using the Parking Spot you can even sneak in a free shuttle ride, more or less. Too bad we don’t get free burgers as a kickback for recommending it.
While a long layover at LAX can seem like a boring prospect, there’s no reason not to get out and explore what the city has to offer. No matter where you find yourself on a layover anywhere in the world, CIRE’s travel planners can suggest and arrange things to do and places to go to make your time there enjoyable and memorable.
Rent a car and drive along the coast
No, normally renting a car and driving around wouldn’t fly as a “cool” thing to do. But this IS LA. Driving along the coast is worthy of many a bucket lists. And California is a car culture if there ever was one. Plus, it’s easy with car rental companies inside the terminal waiting for you. Rent a convertible. Rent a sports car. If this is your plan, contact the company ahead of time so you can reserve your perfect wheels.
Staying longer than a layover? Check out our favorite places to stay in Los Angeles here.
No matter where you find yourself on a layover anywhere in the world, CIRE’s industry-leading corporate travel planners can suggest and arrange things to do and places to go to make your time there memorable.