Mike’s Travelogue: LA LA Lots of fun in LA
May 22, 2023, 12:27 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2023, 2:47 pm
SPONSORED – November weather in Seattle: average temperatures in the low 50s with rain likely half of the days. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the temperature is 20 degrees warmer and its usually dry and sunny. So when there’s a chance to take in a late November football game in Southern California, it’s a no-brainer for football-centric travel!
Remember, Alaska flies direct into LAX, Burbank, Ontario, and John Wayne (Orange County), so you have choices on how you want to get there, where you want to stay and what you want to do before and after the game. They play in Inglewood, so LAX will be the closest. But Burbank offers the quickest path to a rental car and it’s only a short trip to Hollywood and downtown. Ontario is 60-90 minutes east of the city but is super convenient for exploring some of the natural wonder of Joshua Tree or even a drive to Palm Springs. And John Wayne gets you closest to the theme parks in Anaheim and the beaches in Laguna, Huntington and Newport.
I lived a good portion of my life in the LA area so here are a few of my favorite spots. This time we’ll focus on an LAX based trip.
LAX is certainly the largest and closest option to the stadium. Once you arrive, you want to head south to check out the beach cities of Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo. Manhattan has the upscale restaurants but you can still get a cheap lunch at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. It also has dozens of beach volleyball courts and some of the best competition in the country – it’s worth sticking around to watch. Hermosa is kind of a party town with a ton of bars and restaurants clustered together. But Redondo might be my favorite of the three. It has the most variety and just feels like a real Southern California spot. Redondo Beach Brewery is a perfect spot to take in the scene.
In the other direction, you’ll find Venice and Santa Monica, the areas where I spent most of my time when I lived there. Venice is famous for its colorful boardwalk, street performers, basketball courts and Muscle Beach. Those are all great, but did you know Venice was originally designed by Abbott Kinney to mimic its namesake in Italy? There are a series of canals that run between Washington and Venice Boulevards that are tranquil, beautiful and a fun place to take a stroll. You can also look for the house in which Sean William Scott’s character lived in the movie Role Models, if you’re into that sort of thing.
There are a million trendy restaurants in Venice, but three old school options still hold up. James Beach is a great spot of happy hour (Editor’s Note: James Beach has permanently closed). Mao’s Kitchen has legendary Chinese food. And the Firehouse has the best breakfasts and healthiest meals for the workout warriors coming off Muscle Beach.
Santa Monica has everything. Shopping at the 3rd Street Promenade, fancy hotels like Shutters and Casa Del Mar, and every kind of restaurant you could imagine. But for lunch, it’s tough to beat Bay Cities Italian Deli on Lincoln. The meats are fantastic but it’s their bread that really sets them apart. Order a Godmother with prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami and provolone cheese. You won’t be disappointed (or hungry) if you finish it! If you need more meat for dinner, try to get to Father’s Office for a unique and delicious cheeseburger with 40 or so beers on tap. That should give you plenty of energy to walk around the boardwalk, the beach or even attempt the Santa Monica Steps (where the most in shape people you’ve ever seen come to run up and down every day).
Just a few minutes east (depending on traffic), you can go to Westwood and see the beautiful UCLA campus. Brentwood and Bel Air aren’t far either and they have some of the biggest houses in the area. If you like to hike, head north to Pacific Palisades where there are tons of trail options for every level. Or rent a convertible and head up the coast to Malibu. Make sure you see the Pepperdine campus and stop at Malibu Seafood for fresh and fried options plus a BYO policy of which locals take full advantage.
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Stadium Food: Burritos La Palma with the flour tortillas
Seattle haunt: Backstage Bar and Grill (Motor Avenue)