Where can we stay in LA and San Diego? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 11-11-2013, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Soooo, our Disneyland trip is rapidly approaching. I've been trying to book hotels/motels, whatever, but the sheer sprawling choice is leaving me sweaty and gibbering.

 

So, figuring pretty much anyone on MDC is closer to California than I am... any ideas? :p

 

First we need two nights in central LA. We won't be renting a car, so it needs to be in a good location. We'll be wanting to do Universal, the Kodak Theatre, the Walk of Fame... typical tourist stuff.

 

Then we have accommodation sorted for a week; then after that we're going to San Diego for either one or two nights, and want to be close to Balboa Park.

 

Then we'll be back in LA for another three or four nights. I was thinking Santa Monica might be a nice change, but we're flexible.

 

So here's the thing: there will be five of us. Me, DH, my eighteen-year-old sister, five-year-old DD and two-year-old DS, who is a shrimpy little blighter and can still sleep in a portacot if the place provides one.

 

Cheap is more or less a necessity; some vague kind of kitchen accommodation would be great; and more than one bedroom would be superb. My sister's happy to sleep in a double with DD.

 

Any ideas? (And if it comes to that, any other tips about travelling to LA/San Diego - must-do things, kid-friendly cheap eateries, awesome fabric stores, bulk cheap maple syrup, etc?)

 

Any help greatly appreciated by my sanity. :)


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#2 of 16 Old 11-11-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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no car, but near universal, kodak theatre and walk of fame?  i'd stay somewhere near the metro red line.  you can get to all those places on the red line.  i'd try downtown or hollywood or universal city.  i was going to say north hollywood (i used to live there), but i'm not thinking of any hotels near the metro.  there might be a comfort inn on lankershim. 

 

we were just in san diego a couple weekends ago and also wanted to be near balboa park (great idea, by the way -- one of my favorite places in san diego).  i'd search downtown or gaslamp quarter.  there's a decent best western not far from balboa park.  maybe go on tripadvisor.com to check out recommendations.  i usually check reviews there before booking anything (especially when i'm going the budget route).  will you have a car while you're in san diego?

 

as for what to do -- what do you all enjoy?  there's so much to do here.  one of the great things about southern california is how much is here -- beaches, mountains, desert, urban areas, etc.  i'd try to do a little of all of it.  while in san diego, i'd recommend going to coronado.  a quaint downtown area and a great beach (at the coronado hotel).  what time of year will you be here?

 

i'll try to think of more specific accommodations.  and how cheap must cheap be?  gosh, if i was closer to what you'd be doing while here, i'd have you stay with us.  :)


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#3 of 16 Old 11-12-2013, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks samstress! I've been painstakingly Google-mapping every hotel that comes up. :p For the first two days, the top contender is Economy Inn Hollywood - it's pretty shabby, but it's cheap. We do want cheap - mostly for the sake of my sister, who's starting Uni next year and trying to save money. (We paid for her flights, but she's paying for her share in the rooms, food, tickets to Disneyland etc). Plus, we don't need luxury - thanks to the generosity of a friend - another MDC mama, actually! - we're staying in the Grand Californian at Disneyland, which is super-fancy and awesome! So we can have our fill of luxury there and slum it the rest of the time. :) My only caveat is that we don't want to get stabbed. I guess all the big-name chain hotels would be fairly safe though, right?

 

Our trip's in January. I know, it's odd to visit California in winter, but it fits in with my sister's Uni plans, and I'll be glad to escape the muggy heat of a New Zealand summer! I've heard confusing reports about California weather - if we brought short-sleeved stuff with jackets/cardigans, would that be warm enough? Or will we need proper (by NZ standards!) winter gear - long sleeves, sweatshirts, woollen tops? Do you think there's any chance we'd get to swim in the fancy pool at the Grand Californian without dying of hypothermia?

 

In terms of what we like to do... well, unfortunately we have differing opinions on that. :p I'd love to go to Hollywood museums and see replicas of movie costumes and sets, if such a thing exists; I'd also like to visit craft stores and fancy food stores, farmer's markets, Jewish delis, a really good sushi place, that sort of thing. DH would like to go to a gun range and shoot things. The kids would like to visit playgrounds, beaches... anywhere they can run around and have fun. My sister would like to do a bit of shopping. We all want to eat as much as possible, especially food you don't really get here - Mexican, Southern-type barbecue, funnel cakes, poutine, beignets, jerk chicken...

 

I'd like to visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and see a musical or show one night if possible. We're doing Disneyland/DCA, Universal, the San Diego Zoo, Medieval Times, Knott's Berry Farm and (some of us) SeaWorld. Possibly LegoLand too, just because I can get free tickets.

 

I don't know that much about San Diego, but the Gaslamp Quarter does sound really neat! It'll be a case of "how much leisurely strolling and appreciating historical sights can we get away with before the toddler rebels?" We won't have a car there - neither DH nor I has a full licence, and driving on the wrong side of the road in an unfamiliar place is just too scary. We're taking the train down from Disneyland to San Diego, but haven't figured out how we'll get back up yet!


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#4 of 16 Old 11-13-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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OK, so no suggestions on where to stay, since we always use hotel point in california, but DS (7) and I did Legoland and Balboa Park this summer.  Legoland is lots of fun, it does not open until 10 am, and gets full fast, so there is some time spent in lines.  It is awesome for kids 5-10.  If you have a child in 3rd grade (age 8, usually) or older, be sure to stop by the Mindstorms area first thing in the morning and sign up for a class.  My DS had a blast programming the robots, but the classes fill quickly.  Ds loved the roller coasters and the Star Wars section the most.  Several organic options throughout the park, and they had no problem with us bringing in snacks and water.

 

We LOVED the Fleet Science museum in Balboa Park, basically over 100 hands on science experiments for kids.   They also have a domed IMAX theatre, we watched the movie on space collisions and DS was enraptured.  I loved it too.


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#5 of 16 Old 11-13-2013, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm - I was mostly thinking of Legoland for DS' sake. He's two and a half. Is that too young to enjoy it? I figured he might like a few really tame rides - but then, Disneyland has plenty of little-kiddie stuff. Maybe it's not worth the time? DD's five, but I don't think she'd care (or, well, know) if we missed it. She doesn't play with Lego and she'll get plenty of rides at Disneyland.

 

The Fleet Science Museum does sound fun! Do you reckon we should count on a whole day for the San Diego Zoo? Do they have semi-decent eating options inside the zoo? Maybe we should spend three days in SD. DH, my sister and the kids were going to go to SeaWorld one day, which I will avoid like the plague due to phobias, so I can do some lovely solitary shopping during that time. What else did we want to do there? Back to Google...

 

ETA: OH MY SAINTED AUNT AND ALL THAT IS VIRTUOUS, there is a place called Little Italy in San Diego! And it has a farmers' market! And Balboa Park has an anthropological museum with an Ancient Egypt display which had DD jumping up and down with delight (partly because of a fundamental misconception about museums - she wanted to buy some of the artifacts - but still.) And there's a proper art museum with, like, people I've heard of! Rembrandt! (New Zealand art museums tend to feature Maori flax baskets made last week in traditional style, and the occasional arty art-student display of a meaningfully dirty sneaker hanging up by fishing wire in front of a pop-art teatowel. You can see why I'm excited.)

 

And I looked up the Hollywood Museum, and it has props and costumes from Star Wars AND Star Trek! And Marilyn Monroe stuff! Man, I wish we were staying longer than two weeks. Did I mention Little Italy? SO MANY CARBS!


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#6 of 16 Old 11-13-2013, 11:01 PM
 
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I would skip Legoland. 2.5 is pretty young to get much out of it, and there are better things to do than stand in line at a lesser amusement park when you're already going to Disney. There is a Lego store at Downtown Disney.

About weather, you'll probably be fine with short sleeves under a light sweater, although I'd bring one heavier article of clothing per person (not like a snow jacket, but a thick sweater or light coat). I live 20 minutes from Disneyland, and there are only a handful of days when anyone in my family needs anything warmer than a hoodie or cardigan. On really "cold" days I just throw on a scarf over my sweater and I'm fine.

How fun that you get to stay at the Grand Californian! Even though we live nearby, I think it'd be fun to splurge on a weekend there someday.

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#7 of 16 Old 11-14-2013, 07:40 AM
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I would skip Legoland. 2.5 is pretty young to get much out of it, and there are better things to do than stand in line at a lesser amusement park when you're already going to Disney. There is a Lego store at Downtown Disney.
 

I agree that 2.5 is a bit young for it, but our family liked that park and the San Diego zoo better than Disneyland.  Oh, they loved SeaWorld.  My kids (at the time they were almost 9, 6, and almost 3).  They didn't really play with legos either.  However, they loved seeing all the stuff built out of legos.  Also, my kids preferred the rides at lego land.  Sure, disney has little kid rides too, but the music in them was soooo loud that it bothered my kids.  The legoland rides were pleasant and amusing, not super loud.  Also, the last area of legoland had buildings to build legos in.  We went there last because it was just playing with legos and our kids didn't do much of that.  We regretted that.  It was so cool, our kids dove right in.  They had a building for cars -- and had ramps set up to time how fast they went.  They had a building for mindstorms, duplos, etc.  I wish we would have had time to do more in that area. 

 

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#8 of 16 Old 11-14-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We'll see how we go with Legoland. Right now I'm thinking there are so many other things to do in SD that more of us would enjoy, that it might not be worth it even with the free tickets. It does sound kinda cool, and if DS were three years older we'd definitely go, but... ehh. Maybe.

 

Limabean, that's very helpful weather info! Thanks! I'll make sure we have plenty of cardis/hoodies... autumny things by NZ standards. :)


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#9 of 16 Old 11-24-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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In terms of what we like to do... well, unfortunately we have differing opinions on that. :p I'd love to go to Hollywood museums and see replicas of movie costumes and sets, if such a thing exists; I'd also like to visit craft stores and fancy food stores, farmer's markets, Jewish delis, a really good sushi place, that sort of thing. DH would like to go to a gun range and shoot things. The kids would like to visit playgrounds, beaches... anywhere they can run around and have fun. My sister would like to do a bit of shopping. We all want to eat as much as possible, especially food you don't really get here - Mexican, Southern-type barbecue, funnel cakes, poutine, beignets, jerk chicken...

 

i'd definitely eat at canters deli -- a bit of an institution in los angeles.

 

speaking of institutions (and if you LOVE hot dogs), you must eat at pink's as well.  the guadalajara dog is my absolute fave!

 

as for sushi -- i'd go to little tokyo (sushi gen is a must).  but if you're looking for a place in hollywood, i'd say sushi ike.

 

plenty of shopping to do in hollywood.  there's a large mall at hollywood and highland (where the kodak theatre is -- although it's now called the dolby).  grauman's chinese theatre (that's also called something else now too) is nearby as well.  that's where the celebrity hand and footprints are.  if you're into film, that whole area is pretty cool.  and of course there are plenty of tacky souvenir shops (love 'em).  you'll see tons of them when you're doing the walk of fame.  


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#10 of 16 Old 01-02-2014, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, any San Diego-ites know how to get from Balboa Park to SeaWorld on public transportation? Google tells me the trolleys don't go near Balboa Park. Anyone know the right bus route?

 

Four days to go. Kind of terrifying!


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#11 of 16 Old 01-02-2014, 12:56 PM
 
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Does the "Plan Your Trip" part of the San Diego transit authority site give you useful results?

http://www.sdmts.com/tripplanner.asp

 

I'm not familiar with the area but I've used a similar site for my local transit authority...


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#12 of 16 Old 01-02-2014, 01:49 PM
 
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I hate to be a downer, but please don't got to sea world.  They are notorious for mistreatment of orcas  Watch Blackfish for more info.

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#13 of 16 Old 01-02-2014, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Really? I thought their orca was notorious for killing people. I'm not going, in any case - I have a phobia of orcas and large aquatic life in general. I shall mention it to the others and leave it to their consciences.


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#14 of 16 Old 01-02-2014, 09:51 PM
 
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Yes. Their orcas has killed some people. Probably because of the mistreatment he received greensad.gif. I'm not a PETA type either. But the documentary blackfish was horrifying.
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#15 of 16 Old 01-08-2014, 01:54 PM
 
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Four days to go. Kind of terrifying!

 

i trust you and your family have arrived safely -- hope you're enjoying your stay so far.  

 

looks like you've got some pretty decent weather in store for a bit.  

 

have fun!


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#16 of 16 Old 01-08-2014, 02:22 PM
 
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Yes. Their orcas has killed some people. Probably because of the mistreatment he received greensad.gif. I'm not a PETA type either. But the documentary blackfish was horrifying.

Just watched it last week. I'm done with SeaWorld/Busch GardensGardens. Also watched The Whale. Also sad, but in a different way.
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