We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
40 posts
2 reviews
June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

Hi Everyone,

We (two ~30 year olds) will be traveling to LA for a weekend this month, arriving late on a Thursday night and flying out of LA at 10:15pm on the Sunday night. We’ll be staying in Santa Monica. We've put together a rough plan, but would really appreciate any advice on the current plans and answers to a few questions.

Day 1 (Friday)

Morning – I have the morning on my own and was planning on spending it at the beach - Any other suggestions in/around Santa Monica?

Afternoon and evening - Griffith Observatory and hike to the Hollywood sign (or start with the hike).

-without renting a car, I assume the best option would be to uber in this direction?

-does it make more sense to hike towards the sign and then to the Observatory, or uber to the

observatory and then hike towards the sign?

-I've read about the numerous hikes to and near the sign, and was wondering if anyone here

has a particular favourite. The Brush Canyon trail seems to be popular or there is this option

from the observatory to the sign (https://www.hikespeak.com/trails/griffith-observatory-to-


Day 2 (Saturday)

Morning - Surfing lesson, time at the beach (favourite company for beginner surfing lessons?)

Evening – I have the evening to myself and might go for a bike/rollerblade ride along the beach (Marvin Braude Bike Trail)

-do any of the bike/rollerblade rental places allow rental at one end and return at the other?

-Are they typically open into the evening? or are there ways to return after they close?

Day 3 (Sunday)

We have the entire day, with a flight at 10:15 pm at LAX and are open to renting a car for the day. I've been looking online at day trip options and the ones that have stood out are Catalina Island,

Laguna Beach, and Ojai. I was looking for something outdoorsy, an escape from the city

-Are there others that I missed that you would suggest?

-Is Catalina Island realistic with our departure time? (This seems to be the most interesting)

Thank you!

5 replies to this topic
Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
23,202 posts
264 reviews
1. Re: June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

Without a car, please don't go to Catalina Island, Laguna Beach, Ojai, you are only here for a weekend.

Here's a plan:

Arrival day, morning on your own: Rent a bike or roller blades, it's always quieter in the morning, easier to do. When your other party arrives, Big Blue Bus #1 can get you to/from Venice, Lyft/Uber, too. Don't go to the Venice boardwalk at night, it gets pretty grubby, do it by day the same afternoon. So day one is Santa Monica, Venice beach boardwalk, Venice canals, dinner along Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, return to lodging.

Perry's Cafe's along the beach rent bikes and skates, here's there weblink, you can contact them about one way drop-offs to their Venice shops.


You can rent a Breeze Bike in Santa Monica, drop in Venice:


Day 2, head to Central LA/Hollywood via Metro Bus 704 to Hollywood. If you want to hike, be sure to do it in the morning before it gets hot, those canyons are terribly hot later. To get to Griffith Observatory on foot, here's one way:


There's a very good view of the H'wood sign from a short trail behind the observatory.

Brush Canyon hike is pretty tough and over 6 miles, I'd not do that in June.

Instead, perhaps get a Lyft to Lake Hollywood where a nice hike and great sign view are:


After your hike, check out the walk of fame/star hand/footprints. If you've energy and time, Lyft to The Grove/Original Farmers Market for dinner, shopping, a movie/stroll, it's a great gathering place. Take Metro bus 217 from there, it'll connect to Metro Expo line, it goes to downtown Santa Monica.

Departure day: On Sundays, Smorgasburg LA is a fun breakfast, then do a stroll of the Arts District, dinner in Santa Monica, depart for the airport.



Get to and from via Metro Expo train.

If you come back sometime, be prepared to rent a car to enjoy Laguna Beach, San Diego, the South Bay beach towns, Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, and maybe a coastal drive to and from SF and spend more time!

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
23,202 posts
264 reviews
2. Re: June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

Griffith Park is over 2000 acres of wilderness, that IS the escape from the city. So is Santa Monica. Remember, you are only here a weekend!

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
Level Contributor
32,093 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

You don't have time to go far afield your last day, you have to consider traffic and possible delays on the freeways. Anyway, you have such limited time here, spend it in LA. What you've listed can take 4 days, easily.

Consider hiking at Will Rogers Park in Pacific Palisades. Gorgeous views. Or Temescal Canyon. google them.

If you go east that first day, do it before 3PM or it'll take 2 hours to get there (SM to Griffith Park is usually about 45 minutes drive). You can Uber there.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 02:13
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
40 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

Thank you both for the advice!

I always try to fit in as much as possible, and sometimes I go a little overboard, so I appreciate the guidance. However, I would still like to focus on outdoor activities.

Would this be more do-able:


- Will Rogers Park and/or Pacific Palisades

- Since we would now be dedicating most of the day (from 1 pm onwards) to this, are there better hikes slightly further out in this direction, or, in your opinion, should we stick to one or both of these areas? I've looked them up and the views are really nice.


morning/afternoon - surfing lesson and biking along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail

Evening - On my own, may go into downtown to see the more touristy things, or consider Griffith Park and the Observatory as it is open until 10

-Is evening a better time to go to these trails (both in terms of heat and crowds?)

Sunday - I've looked a little bit more into Catalina Island, and I'm still very tempted to go as it seems many make a day trip out of this. With our late flight, I believe it could work:

7:15 am or 8:15 am ferry from Long Beach to Avalon (https://ssl.catalinaexpress.com/fares.asp)

6:15 pm ferry back to Long Beach (or 5 pm to be safer)

- We would have all of our things with us for this trip, and would simply Uber or take a taxi straight to the airport from Long Beach for our 10:15 pm flight.

- Giving time for delays, this would give us about 6-7 hours on the Island

- We would do a 2-hour golf car rental to tour Avalon and have time before/after to enjoy the beach, lunch, and maybe some other activities.

Thank you again!

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
41,803 posts
674 reviews
5. Re: June Weekend in LA - looking for advice

With 3 days forget about going to Catalina Island.

Reply to: June Weekend in LA - looking for advice
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted