Ok, so I really could go on with this list for awhile since there is so much happening in LA and the surrounding area, but I’ve tried to narrow it down to a few of my fave freebies.
Griffith Park and Griffith Park Observatory
Griffith Park has some great trails, and amazing views of Los Angeles and the iconic Hollywood sign. The Griffith Park Observatory has some of the best views and you may recognize it because it was a feature location in the James Dean flick, Rebel Without A Cause.
View of the Hollywood sign from Griffith Park - June 2011
Griffith Park Observatory - June 2011
View of LA from the observatory
Santa Monica Pier and Beaches
The pier has some awesome views, plus the ferris wheel synonymous with Santa Monica. In person the pier/ ferris wheel does seem smaller than on the big screen, but it’s still a great place to stroll, people watch and stop for some photo ops. The beaches around the pier are surprisingly wide with lots of space to stretch out in the sand and people watch.
My view of the ferris wheel, June 2011
Boardwalk From Santa Monica to Venice Beach
It’s more fun to rent a bike to travel down the boardwalk between the Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach, but if you want to do free it’s definitely walkable. In Venice Beach you’re right next to the ocean, plus have tons of entertaining people watching and artisan stalls to peruse. It’s a little more bohemian than some of the more chic areas in LA and there are some characters strutting the boardwalk. Plus there really is a muscle beach with ridiculously buff, tanned people working out oceanside.
Pacific Coast Highway
The drive from Santa Monica to Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway is pretty awesome, with some spectacular views of cliffs overlooking the water. Not to mention, some fancy real estate. It’s definitely fun to roll down the windows, take in the California sun and some views. There are a few places you can stop along the drive for photo ops.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
You can definitely kill an afternoon celebrity spotting on the sidewalk. Plus check out the handprints at Graumann’s Chinese Theatre along the walk. My personal fave was John Wayne.
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Oh dear god…the price though. ROUNDTRIP FROM JFK?!!?
I used to work at a travel agency, actually. I think I could have been a fantastic travel agent…except for how I behave around insanity deals (like this). I have a tendency to impulsively book travel when I’m sure it’s a killer deal. Plus, how many times are you going to see a flight from New York to Oahu for under $400 RT?
I’m not giving into this one. If it was Kauai or my beloved Maui though…
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For travelers on the hunt for bargains, dead week is considered one of the cheapest weeks of the year. Coming on the heels of the busy Christmas-New Year’s Eve travel period, the dead week brings incredible savings on airfare, hotels and cruises. On its own but especially by comparison, the deals during the dead week are everywhere.
Dead Week, also considered the ‘Holiday Hangover’ is from Jan 4 – Jan 16 (ish), 2013. Why the bargains? Simple: a dramatic drop in the number of people traveling. The number of domestic air travelers in December 2011 was about 37 million, according to industry group Airlines for America. The following month (January 2012), that number dropped to 34 million. Many people have traveled for Thanksgiving or Christmas or both, and perhaps even New Year’s. Wallets are light from holiday shopping. Kids are going back to school. All this makes a perfect recipe for people to stay home but some travel deals could motivate budget-conscious travelers to get away after the holiday hangover.
Below are a few examples of airfare deals during 'dead week’:
Los Angeles to New York: The cheapest nonstop, round-trip flight during Christmas week was $700, including tax (dates searched Dec 22 – Dec 29). During Dead Week, the same flight is $400 (Jan 4 -11).
Chicago to Orlando: The cheapest nonstop, round-trip flight during Christmas week was $530, including tax (dates searched Dec 22 – Dec 29). During Dead Week, the same flight is $230 (Jan 4 -11).
New York City – Cancun: No nonstop flights on dates searched. Cheapest option was $900, including tax (dates searched Dec 22 – Dec 29). Nonstops available during Dead Week, cheapest flight is $430 (Jan 4 -11).
Why are we sharing this? The period between Christmas and New Year’s is always one of the most expensive when it comes to airfare, and this year is no exception. Travel-booking website Orbitz reported that fares were up 8% this year versus last year. For travelers, this gives them all the more reason to postpone their vacation if possible. Dead week is appealing for travelers’ pockets and airlines could leverage this time to offer the sweetest deals to their even sweeter destinations.