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How to Spend a Long Layover at LAX

Have a long layover at LAX? Don’t make the same mistakes I did–check your bags all the way through because LAX is one of the best airports for long layovers.

Check your bags and get ready to explore L.A.!

LAX airport

Once you’ve arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, there’s plenty to do during a layover of any length.

2-4 Hours

With famous L.A. traffic, it’s best not to stray too far–especially if you’re catching an international flight later. However, the airport itself has a lot of areas of interest.

  • Go shopping. LAX is filled with Duty Free and luxury shops as well as cheaper souvenir-type stores.
  • People-watch while browsing the internet. Although the internet isn’t free (and trust me, it isn’t cheap either) if your layover is long enough it might be worth while to spend sometime online, especially if you’re about to be disconnected from the world for the next 14 hours.
  • Visit the Encounter Restaurant.  A fun, futuristic restaurant just outside the airports drop off area–but let’s just hope this restaurant isn’t reflective of the future’s prices. Still good for just a drink, this restaurant has it’s own observation tower at 70ft high and gives a nice 360 panoramic view of the area.

LAX Encounter Restaurant

5-9 Hours

Again, check your luggage all the way through. LAX no longer has lockers or any sort of baggage check for you to leave your stuff. Unfortunately we were unaware of this and were unable to check-in early for our international flight, thus leaving my friend and me stuck with 4 suitcases each. BUT if your luggage has been checked all the way through, you’re basically free to grab a taxi and explore the surrounding areas.

  • Eat downtown. There are plenty of great restaurants in L.A., so why not have a good meal before catching your next flight? Depending on the time of day and restaurant of your choosing, you may want to plan this ahead of time and book a reservation.
  • See a beach. Within a few miles of the airport are some great beaches and boardwalks. Venice Beach and Santa Monica are both easily accessible and there is a shuttle that will take you there for USD $1. This is what we would’ve done had we not been stuck with all of our luggage.
  • Rent a hotel room. Take a nice nap to help fight the jet lag, swim in the pool or workout at the gym. All great options for relatively cheap at nearby hotels.
  • Have a few drinks. What better way to calm your nerves before a big flight than having a few relaxing drinks? Go downtown, to the boardwalk or anywhere to enjoy the atmosphere while having a drink or two.

10+ Hours

LAX Encounter Restaurant bar

The longer the layover, the better you can enjoy yourself (Again, unless your bags aren’t checked. We were stuck sitting around the airport trying to kill time for 12 hours…)

  • Go on a tour. There are plenty of tours that will pick you up from the airport and taking you around the city. You can go up to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip and more. This can also be done with only 8 hours for domestic flights… but with traffic I’m not sure I’d risk it if your next flight is international.
  • Rent a car. Better yet, rent a car and go explore all of these places yourself. With a little prior research, you can see all of the hot spots at your leisure.
  • Visit “The Happiest Place on Earth”. There are plenty of busses that will drop you off at Disneyland for the day, so why not spend some enjoyable time galavanting around the park before getting on your next flight? That’s a lot better than just sitting around the airport if you ask me!

So the next time you find yourself at LAX on a layover, consider yourself lucky since you actually have a lot of fun options.
Happy flying!

What have YOU done on a long layover at LAX? Which excursions do you recommend?

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One Response to How to Spend a Long Layover at LAX

  1. Victor July 22, 2013 at 1:31 am #

    LAX isn’t the nicest airport, but at least they have some nice excursion options.

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