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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.

Be sure to allow an extra hour in your planning to get through security and check-in when you return to the airport for domestic flights, and up to two hours for international flights. Times listed below are approximate. 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 many 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 The Grove, Third Street Promenade, Rodeo Drive, and Robertson Boulevard. Travel Time (each direction): 15-120 minutes (various routes)
Duration: As much time as you need to shop

Beaches near LAX - When you think of Los Angeles, one image that comes to mind is that of the Pacific Ocean. 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

L.A. City Guided Tour - A list of tour providers who will pick you up at LAX (or arrange transportation). You can (usually) bring your luggage with you on the tour van, if needed. Generally, your flight will need to arrive at least an hour before tour pickup in order to get to the van in time (two hours for international flights). 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. Tours vary, but the minimum is around four hours. Travel Time (each direction): Walk to terminal
Duration: Four hours or longer

Downtown Los Angeles - Visit Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Performing Arts Center (the Music Center), Olvera Street, Chinatown, Grand Park, L.A. City Hall, Shopping Districts, the L.A. Fashion District and many more attractions in downtown Los Angeles. Travel Time (each direction): 30-60 minutes
Duration: At least one hour if you will only visit Olvera Street and Chinatown. You will need more time if you venture far from Union Station.

Hollywood - There are many activities near the Hollywood and Highland Metro Red Line train 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 Ovation Hollywood entertainment complex, eating lunch in view of the Hollywood Sign. Travel Time (each direction): 60 minutes
Duration: At least one hour to walk around Hollywood Boulevard, plus time to visit attractions as desired.

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

Encounter Restaurant - the dome-shaped restaurant that is synonymous with Los Angeles International airport closed at the end of 2013. However there are plenty of restaurants, walk-up food stands and other options for food and beverages within the terminal buildings at LAX.

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.

Theme Parks - No theme parks are near LAX, and the nature of this type of attraction requires quite a bit of time for a layover. But if you have the time, you can visit theme park like Disneyland, Universal Studios or Knott's Berry Farm. Travel Time (each direction): 60-180 minutes (various routes)
Duration: Several hours

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 and 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

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 and Museum (formerly called Page Museum), Petersen's Automotive Museum and Craft Contemporary Museum (formerly 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 La Brea Tar Pits are located. Hancock Park features open tar pits (don't worry, they are protected by fences!) and other exhibits that you can view for free. LACMA offers 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 (four to six hours if you want to see everything). It will take around an hour to visit either La Brea Tar Pits Museum or Petersen's Auto Museum. Craft Contemporary Museum can occupy 30-60 minutes.

Hollywood Park Casino - Features a casino with card games and off-track horse race wagering. It's in Ingelwood, which is not very close to Hollywood.

Travel Time (each direction): 30-60 minutes
Duration: At least one hour. Check their website for details.
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