Stuck at LAX on a layover? You’re probably on your smart phone or tablet, frantically searching for things to do with your time. If you’re in LA and have a layover (or delay) of more than a couple hours, take the advice from a couple that lives in the area- we’ve got some great ways to get you out of the airport and into a couple cool hidden and not so hidden gems close to LAX!
So what to do with a layover in LA? Here’s some simple advice for areas close to the airport, and the various transportation you can utilize to get there. If you don’t have enough time to leave the airport but want a terminal by terminal guide to food, you can find that in our Eating in LAX guide
Quick and Free
First and easiest, grab a famous In-N-Out Burger and go plane spotting. If you walk out of the airport on the departures terminal, look for the parking lot busses and find the Parking Spot Bus going to the Sepulveda structure.
Update: As of May, The Parking Spot got wise and now require passengers to either show a proof of parking ticket or SpotClub membership card. This might seem like a deal stopper, but it’s not. Go to The Parking Spot website, join their frequent parking card, and bring that with you. Flash it as you get onboard, and a free ride awaits you!
Right next to this structure is the busiest In-N-Out in the world, or so I am told. Grab a burger and fries (animal style if you know what’s good for you), and then walk outside to the small strip of grass where you can join photographers and families watching the planes fly just feet over head on their approach to LAX. Miles, Martinis, and Mai Tais snapped this great photo from In-N-Out…
If it’s one of those trips where a nice libation is what is needed, take the same bus, cross Sepulveda and go to Bar Melody. A sports bar with live musical entertainment from time to time, the drinks are cheap and the company fun.
Also within walking distance from The Parking Spot shuttle: Yogurtland, Brooklyn Water Bagels, some great Thai food at Ayara. Just look these places up on Google Maps and you’ll find it’s a quick walk from where the bus lets you off.
A Bus Ride Away
If you’ve got more time, see where the Santa Monica 3 or Rapid 3 can take you. Take parking lot shuttle C and from there take the 3 toward Santa Monica. If you don’t have much time, getting out on the corner of Lincoln and Manchester gives you a few options:
- Beach Pizza. Want California style pizza that isn’t CPK? This is a local joint in Westchester that Laura and I frequent (you also get extra miles through AAdvantage Dining if you are enrolled. Try the thai surfer- chicken, bacon, carmelized onions, and Thai peanut sauce!
- Tompkins. For the old timers in the neighborhood, they still call it by its original name “The Fireside” but you’ll like it for a few reasons. It’s a good place to catch a game, it’s got a great selection of drinks and some pretty good bar food, and for your small taste of “Hollywood trivia” it’s the bar that was the inspiration for Mo’s Tavern in The Simpsons, as one of the creators went to nearby Loyola Marymount.
- Get a massage. God knows you deserve it. There’s a place walking distance from that bus stop that offers one hour massages for $45. It’s called Just Massage, and it might be just what you need.
- If you are in around Happy Hour, by all means check out Cinco. Cheap beers and dollar tacos. Welcome to LA my friends.
But if you’ve got a bit more time, stay on that three bus and take it down to the Marina. Hop off at Lincoln and Fiji and check out one of the following:
- Grab a sandwich at Mendocino Farms. It’s a bit on the pricy side, but the quality is out of this world good. Order off menu and get The Three Little Pigs. What’s not to like about Korobuta pork belly, cider braised carnitas, smoked applewood bacon thrown into one delicious and life shortening sandwich? Get it to go and walk through the parking lot to Burton Chase Park where you can take in the Marina and relax a bit before returning to LAX.
- A bit more expensive but well worth it is SugarFish. It’s one of our favorite places to grab sushi and the menu is simple: Trust Me and Trust Me Light. Trust the chef, you won’t be sad you did.
- Finally, top it all off with a SusieCakes Cupcake. SusieCakes opened a location in Marina Del Rey in July 2014, and it’s walking distance to Mendo and SugarFish
Worth a Taxi Ride or Uber
Finally, there are some really great options that are close but not easily accessed by public transportation from the airport. But if you’re willing to hop in a cab or Uber Black Car, our suggestion is simple: Go to Alibi Room in Culver City. It’s about a 15 minute ride from the airport, and is home to the famous Roy Choi Kogi tacos and sliders. They’ve got some great libations but the food is out of this world good and cheap.
And that’s our mini guide for life around LAX for those with long layovers. If you need to get a place overnight, we’re big fans of The Custom. It’s actually where all our wedding guests stayed, but we like the chic design, and it sure doesn’t hurt that they not only have a free shuttle to and from the airport, but they’re on the corner of Manchester and Lincoln, the intersection mentioned above. Most of the airport hotels are off Century Blvd. and other areas that do not have great options for walkability or food. The Custom is also usually pretty cheap, so check it out!
And otherwise, if you find yourself in LA with a bit more time, just shoot us a message, either on Facebook or through the comments here and we’re happy to help out!
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