LAX is the main international airport serving Los Angeles and its metropolitan area. Since LAX is situated within city limits, there are plenty of things you can do next to the airport on a short layover.
From visiting aviation museums to checking out one of the multiple awarded restaurants in the city, there are plenty to choose from almost any time of the year.
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10. Watch boats at Marina del Rey
Marina del Rey is only 19 minutes away from the airport by car. You can reach this calm oasis easily by bus as well. Often seen as one of the most impressive man-made harbors in the US, Marina del Ray gives you the chance to watch various boats while relaxing on short walks. We also recommend stopping at nearby Burton Chance Park as well as by UCLA’s Marina Aquatic Center.
9. Take a walk at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
It only takes about 10 minutes to drive the 5.6 miles between LAX and Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. The park is one of the best ways to spend an entire day in Los Angeles without feeling like you’re in such a large city. It offers plenty of good walking trails as well as good photo opportunities with its multiple ponds and streams. We recommend getting some food from the airport before leaving for the park so that you can organize a small picnic while you wait for your connecting flight.
8. Go sunbathing at Dockweiler State Beach
The Dockweiler State Beach is only 3 miles from LAX offering an interesting stop for those who want to enjoy the famous California sun. It offers a few good amenities such as a designated picnic area. We also recommend stopping by El Segundo Beach Café for a quick cup of coffee in case you feel tired from your flight. Since its situated right next to the airport, you can take your camera out to photograph airplanes landing in Los Angeles.
7. Bike Cruise the Manhattan Beach Pier
South of Dockweiler State Beach and 5 miles away from the airport, you find the Manhattan Beach Pier. You can also enjoy the sun here and also visit the Rondhouse Aquarium. Local eateries are found in abundance here and you can rent out a bike to cruise the city streets to get to as many of them as possible.
You can start with Rock N’ Fish for seafood. The Kettle is a good place for coffee and tea. If you’re up for a sweet treat, you can take your cruiser bike or electric scooter to Noah’s NY Bagels or to Blue Star Donuts which are both close to each other.
6. Go shopping at Santa Monica Place
Situated 11 miles away from the airport, Santa Monica Place can be reached by taxi within 10 minutes. This is a great shopping location as you can find stores for all budgets in the neighborhood.
You can start your shopping activity at Zara, Vans, or Nike. Urban Outfitters, H&M, and even Victoria’s Secret have shops here. When you want to take a break from all of these shops, you can stop to refill at Barney’s Beanery coffee shop. Further down the road, you find the famous Santa Monica Pier if you want to relax at the beach for the rest of the day.
5. Go people watching at Venice Beach
The unmistakable Venice Beach is always on the radar of those traveling to Los Angeles. A famous boardwalk is a place that attracts people from all walks of life. You can watch bodybuilders do their workouts here and you can simply look at how painters draw their work. The location is also good to just sit under a tree with a decent book or a newspaper. You should expect large crowds here as many creative individuals and those who simply love the sun tend to gather at Venice Beach.
4. Eat a burger at In-N-Out-Burger
One of the most popular activities at LAX is eating a burger at In-N-Out-Burger. Situated right outside the airport, the place is popular for its double burgers so you’ll need to walk around for a few minutes to burn the extra calories once you’re done eating. Otherwise, you can remain seated and order a chocolate drink looking at planes landing and taking off and making the most of the views offered by the eatery.
3. Visit The Driving Museum
Situated only 10 minutes away from LAX, the city’s Driving Museum can be an interesting stop if you need to spend a few hours in the ground. It offers a range of classic vehicles from the automotive history. Our recommendation is to plan your visit during the weekend where there are plenty of special programs to choose from. For example, kids get free car rides on Sunday mornings which might make your layover easier when traveling with kids.
2. Have a massage at Xpress Spa at LAX
Did you know there’s a small spa inside LAX? If you want to get pampered, you need to stop by Xpress Spa right inside LAX. You’ll find plenty of good services to choose from. A short massage can be invigorating, especially if you’ve had a long flight. We also recommend trying out facials and pedicures here as they are some of the best ways to keep looking good while on the road.
1. Visit The Aviation Museum at LAX
The aviation museum at LAX is a destination for those interested in airplanes. Free to visit, it only requires a small donation but it offers plenty for those who want to spend a few hours learning about aviation history. Small aircraft as well as information and photos in the history of the airport are on display here.
What we like the most is that the museum offers a small library where you can read books and other publications from the history of aviation. The Space Exploration Gallery is a good place to start your visit as it parallels what we now know about air travel and what we hoped to achieve with the first airplanes.