LAX is a major hub airport located just of the Pacific Ocean. If you are flying through LAX and have a long layover or got stranded for whatever reason, here are some tips for you how to kill some time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to return to the airport and make it through security. In L.A. traffic can be very bad, depending on your destination leave early enough and passing security checkpoints can also take a long time, depending on your terminal, airline, frequent flier status and so on. You are warned! If you miss your flight because you left the airport, it’s nothing but your own fault.
Layovers can be long, so here are few things to do in that time.
1. IN-N-OUT Burger
Grab a juicy fresh made IN-N-OUT Burger (animal style if you know whats good for you) and watch planes flying over your head. Literally. This IN-N-OUT must be the busiest at all. Cars are forming a big line through the whole parking lot and sometimes even on the street. There was an easy way to get to this location for free and directly from the airport. The Parking Spot is located right behind the restaurant, but they are now cracking down and check if you have a valid parking ticket with them. They found out that many people used their shuttles as a “taxi” to the burger joint. I got told there is a small hack to still get there with the shuttle. Just sign up for the “Spot Club”, their rewards program, and flash the card to the driver right when you enter.
Make sure you take the right shuttle. The Parking Spot has two location and you want to look for the one on Sepulveda. If you want, you can also take a taxi or use Uber and they work for all locations mentioned in this post.
Sit outside or walk over to the park across the street and watch planes coming in above your head. This is definitely a unique experience.
2. Flight Path Learning Center and Museum
This museum is located in the Imperial Terminal on the south side of the airport (6661 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles). Learn about aviation history and the development of LAX, see various aircraft models and stroll through the William A. Schoneberger Research Library, with its collection of aviation books, technical manuals and other interesting publications. Admission and parking is free and the museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Website)
Besides the location near IN-N-OUT there are two more locations for great plane spotting. Both are located pretty much centered to the airport and one is off to the north and one to the south. (see map below for detailed locations and parking). Both have a great view of the runway and airport terminals. The big planes of the international carriers usually come in on 24R, this is the one closest to IN-N-OUT.
4. Go to the Beach
The airport is pretty much right next to the ocean and it’s a short cab or Uber ride to the closest beach. Make sure you pack your swimwear in your carry-on if you want to go actually swimming.
The closest beach is Dockweiler State Beach, it’s literally right behind the airport. This beach is not as crowded as the other beaches and gives you more room to breath. There is also free parking next to the beach, but if you come in on a plane, you probably won’t rent a car, but just in case.
Venice Beach is just a short drive away from the airport. Take a taxi or Uber for the fastest connection there. Also check out the Venice Board Walk.
A little further up north from Venice Beach is the famous Santa Monica Pier. An amusement park on a pier. This beach is very crowded during the hot summer month, but if you are into touristy destinations, definitely worth a visit. For some good bites check out Downtown Santa Monica.
5. Visit the Getty Villa
Visit the art of the ancient world of Greece and Rome. The Villa is a recreation of an ancient Roman country house. Admission is free, you only have to pay for parking. To visit you have to get your ticket in advance. Go to their website and select your desired time. If you are interested in that kind of activity, check my review of the Getty Villa.