while i'm at it , am curious about where to stay for last night before leaving LAX airport. Flight home is 12pm local time. Where would be the nicest place no more than an hour drive from the airport? We are planning Santa Barbara as the 2nd last stop and wondering about Malibu/ Santa Monica for last night?
Thanks! Also any advice, re. travel time allowing for traffic etc for any of those options welcome. We leave LAX at 12pm on a Thursday.
Nicest spot would be one of the following three options:
Santa Monica, or
Manhattan Beach, or
Marina del Rey
My preference would be one of the first two--probably Manhattan Beach for choice since it is the closer of the two, drive-wise. Marina del Rey is nice, but the hotels are mostly outside the best part of the town.
I like Manhattan Beach also - especially the smaller, more intimate places. Manhattan Beach is the home of beach volleyball in the USA and is a small, upscale hood of mostly younger singles. It's easy enough to rent a bike and travel the wonderful 17-mile bike path north to Santa Monica passing the Venice/Marina area as well as LAX airport.
Manhattan Beach is a great choice. I went there for my honeymoon back in 2006. It has a great night life and lots of trendy restaurants and ethnic food. Stay away from the Chinese restaurants there as I got food poisoning.
Mexican is the only thing to eat in LA!