To all the lovely LA PFers: PLEASE HELP!!

  1. Hi there!

    Me and 3 other friends will be travelling to Los Angeles from Sept. 4-8th, and it would be great if some of the locals on here can answer some quick q's that we have:

    1. We want to rent a car for the entire duration but it can add up to about $120 extra for each of us. Is taking public transport really that terrible? (we're all uni students, so would like to save $$). I have heard some horrible stories about how dangerous taking public transport can be, not to mention that it can be a timely process as almost everyone in LA drives.

    2. We are staying at the Westin Bonaventure street on 404 South Figueroa Street. If we rent a car, valet parking is $35/night there :push:! I have been researching some parking lots near that area and I found the Pershing Square underground parking lot, Amco Parking lot ( on 333 S. Figueroa St.), and the Parking Network ( on 530 S. Figueroa St.) to be some of the closest. These lots are a lot cheaper than the valet parking at our hotel. I mapquested these locations and they seem to be reasonable walking distance to our hotel, is this true? Also, I have read on numerous sites that walking in downtown can be dangerous at night. I was thinking of parking at Pershing Square as it has the most reasonable price and has 24 hour security, but would walking from the park to our hotel at night be an issue?

    3. Could you recommend some great clothing shopping spots? We are thinking of checking out Robertson Blvd, Desert Hills outlet, and The Beverly Centre just to name a few. Are these good places to shop, or is it mainly for tourists?

    This will be the first time in LA for all of us, so we really want to make it the best experience possible!!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read ( and hopefully respond!) to this thread!!! :heart:

    - Melissa :smile:
  2. I live in LA... here are my thoughts... hope your trip is fun!! :smile:

    1. Rent a car!! The shopping in downtown sucks (except jewelry stuff, which is within walking distance of you), so you're going to need to get to BH, west LA, Orange County, etc., somehow. While you're going to be in a group, public transportation is awful and unsafe (especially at night and for women), and cabs will cost you WAY more than a rental car. (If it won't cost you too much to switch your hotel to another one in the Westin family, I'd suggest staying in West LA or Orange County, such as at the W in Westwood or the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City... downtown is not very exciting, and is basically a businessplace.)

    2. Park at the hotel; see if there's self-parking, which should save you money over valet (a little bit). Pershing Square doesn't look far, but it IS a few blocks away, which isn't wise to walk in downtown (which is a no man's land at night and full of homeless/shady people at night), particularly as a woman (I'm not trying to be sexist- I'm just trying to be frank- women are less likely to be able to physically fight off someone, etc.), and ESPECIALLY if you have shopping bags and otherwise look like you have nice stuff. So I'd pay up for the hotel parking- it sucks, but it's your safety.

    3. -Rodeo Drive: I don't think I need to explain this. Huge LV boutique, bunch of designer boutiques, etc. Actually has accessible stuff, especially a block over on Beverly Blvd. A must-have, particularly if you've never been there before!

    -Robertson Blvd.: great, has Kitson, lots of lesser-known boutiques... highly recommended!

    -Beverly Center: Honestly, I'm growing really tired of them. Their LV isn't that great, and they have too many lower-end stores, so there's just a lot of riff-raff. The bright side is this little boutique (also in BH though), Divine (, that has great smaller brands like SKY and T-Bags. There's a really good Loehmann's right down the street, though.

    -Desert Hills Outlet- I can't speak about this one; I go outlet shopping in Camarillo (in Santa Barbara basically, so too far away for your short trip) or Cabazon (also probably too far for your trip).

    -Century City- a good alternative to Beverly Center... just opened a Juicy Couture boutique, and has a pretty good LV boutique, among other designers, and a very good Bloomy's. Has a movie theatre, too, if you're interested in that. Pretty good, but not HUGE, so more of a half-day thing.

    -3d Street Promenade in Santa Monica: Great for low- to mid-range stuff, like Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie, Gap, etc. Also has a huge Anthropologie. Don't go to Santa Monica Place (at the end of the Promenade), though- it's a bad mall.

    -If you want to make a day trip down to Orange County, South Coast Plaza!! It's in Costa Mesa. It's HUGE and has a wide range of designer boutiques. I love it! There's also Fashion Island in Newport, which is a bit smaller but also has a great selection of shops. Between the two, I definitely prefer South Coast Plaza.

    -Melrose- great for smaller boutiques, has a great range, and more obscure shops too.

    Hope this helps! Have a great time. I'll let you know if I think of anything else....
  3. er, meant to put a smile up top, but it put a different smiley... oops! :p
  4. Oh goodness, DEFINITELY rent a car! Los Angeles is the worst place to rely on public transportation. Everything is ridiculously spread out...try to plan your trips around the peak rush hours, or you will easily spend hours sitting on the 5 or 405 freeways. Use to rent your car. Look up the rates for your dates, then do a "Name Your Price" offer of about half the rate. I am renting a car in LA in a couple of weeks and got my car for $13/day for a midsize car. You can probably get it at $10/day for a smaller car if you're really on a budget.

    In addition to article3's suggestions, I'd throw in Melrose Ave as a fun shopping excursion too. And I double her suggestion of switching hotels if possible - downtown LA is indeed pretty dead and you'd be better off in a hotel closer to some of the livelier cities.

    Have fun!! Don't forget to stop by some of the famous eateries while you're in LA (Pink's, Phillippes, Roscoe's...)!
  5. article3 and sailornep5, thanks for the quick response! Unfortunately, we booked out hotel as a package through travelocity ( air + hotel), so it would cost an extra couple hundred to switch hotels.

    I called out hotel and they only offer valet parking. I really would like to consider parking at Pershing Square ( $14 overnight), but if safety is a big issue than I guess we will have to do the valet if we rent a car.

    Thanks so much for the recommended shopping spots! I will also have to check out for cheaper car rates.

    Btw, what is the standard tip for valet? Do you tip them when you drop off AND pick up your car? I live in Calgary, AB and it's pretty much self park everywhere! Also, what is the standard tip at restaraunts?

    We would also like to go clubbing on the Friday, any rec's for good clubs to hit?

    No more questions, I promise! ( Well... for now anyways :angel:)

    Thanks again!!!!
  6. Hi!

    For valet, I usually give a two or three dollars when I pick the car up. If I want them to leave my car right out front (i.e. I want to make a quick getaway) I tip $10. The standard tip is 15-20%.


    Unpretentious and fun:

    Temple Bar

    King King

    (This one is a little different but very fun diverse crowd - gay straight black white and everything in between)

    Pretentious but still fun (IMO):

    Area ([SIZE=-1]643 N La Cienega Blvd.): [/SIZE]you will pretty much have a guaranteed celebrity sighting here.

    Hope that helps and have fun!
  7. If you are into museums we have some really great ones. The Getty is really nice. Also, they just reopened the observatory a few months ago. I have not been up there since they have re-opened it but I hear it is really nice. It is at the top of Griffith Park.

    Malibu is a nice place to go. If you rent a car take Pacific Coast Highway North and you will hit Malibu.

    As far as outlet shopping the closest outlet is about 90 minutes and that is Camarillo and Cabazon is about 2 hours away and the temp. is VERY hot there right now.
  8. unfortunately, a car is a must if you want to leave the downtown area. make sure you are very familiar with the streets & directions before setting out from the Bonaventure. I used to stay there when in LA, and ended up getting lost a couple of times, in areas where i didn't feel comfortable. as i remember, there was no alternative to valet parking in the immediate area...but this was several years ago.

    have fun!
  9. Try for a car rental they have some really great deals usually....BUT as other have said, you DEFINITELY need a car!!!!

    YOu must go up to the observatory now that's its open....old LA with breath taking views, same goes for the Getty....but make sure to make reservations now (@ least for the observatory).

    If you want to stay in Downtown, go to the standard in downtown LA (better than the one in hollywood) and the Eddison....great places!

    If not, make it a night out, so many restaurants in hollywood, have dinner and then go clubbing....for combined dinner/ club, try Ritual, Social House, or Republic.

    If not, you can lways go to geisha house and walk on over to one of the many surrounding clubs....Les Deux, Element, etc.

    Have a blast!
  10. Thanks for the response ladies!

    Are clubs such as Le Deux, Area and Element easy to get into? What's the cover? I always see these clubs featured on celebrity blogs and am not sure if we'll be able to get in.
  11. Unfortunately, downtown is like a ghost town after 5pm as many of the workers rush to go home. It's quite scary to be walking at night especially when there are more transients than tourists in that area. Valet parking is recommended for your safety.
    If you want to see a few celebs, RSVP for dinner at Koi Restaurant on La Cienega on a Fri or Sat night. Food is ok. It's a nice place to hang out since they have a full bar and outdoor patio. Also Dakota Restaurant at the Roosevelt hotel in Hollywood on weekdays (wed) are recommended.
    Have fun!:heart:
  12. 2 other restaurants that you have a good chance to see celebs at are the Ivy on Robertson Blvd and Mr Chows in Beverly Hills.
  13. Welcome to Los Angeles! I work downtown and am there everyday. Pershing Square is too far from the Bonaventure to walk at night or even during the day. The two parking lots/structures on Figueroa might not be a bad option for you if you walk as a group. Drive by before you make your final decision.

    Downtown after 5 is dull but I hear the Standard is the best place to be after 5 if you're going to be in the downtown area.