Culturally rich Los Angeles offers an abundance of things for visitors to see and do. A layover or a temporary business stay near the airport, however, can be considerably less amusing. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is located in a workmanlike area filled with gas stations, hotels, freeway entrances, and tourists wondering, “How far is it to Disneyland?” (Answer: If it’s rush hour, don’t ask.)
Still, it’s not all blah. Those in the know can find plenty of interesting things to do near LAX. These attractions are not only a great way to pass a few hours – they’re snapshots of the city’s culture. Here are several ideas, all within a 5-mile radius of the L.A. airport, that should prove more fun than sitting at a bar in Terminal 7.
Go “Out” for a Burger
The City of Angels has a staggering variety of world-class restaurants strewn over its sprawling landscape. But one joint is revered by visitors and locals across the board – In-N-Out Burger. This beloved fast-food chain started in 1948, serves up the basics – burgers, fries, and shakes. But its indescribably yummy quality has a near-cult following. For those who just can’t wait to sink their teeth into a Double-Double the minute they land in L.A., there’s a location right at the airport. As a bonus, it’s a wonderful spot to watch planes take off and land.
Address: 9149 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester | Website
Play a Round of Golf
Have a few hours on your hands between flights or after a business meeting? Take advantage of Los Angeles’ almost uniformly perfect weather and hit a bucket of balls. The Westchester Golf Course is 2 miles from the airport, is open to the public, and offers 18 holes plus a practice facility. Traveling golfers are welcome, and everything you’ll need is readily available for rent. Greens fees are $25 on weekdays and $32 on weekends, with various specials during twilight and morning hours. Book a tee time online while you’re up in the air, then shake off your jet lag on the back 9. Note: Proper golf attire is required, so be sure to pack a polo and some khakis.
Address: 6900 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles | Website
Stroll the Beach
It’s a natural association: Southern California = beach. Conveniently, LAX is quite near the coast. In fact, when your plane takes off, you likely will get a nice aerial tour over the Pacific Ocean (a flight maneuver that reduces aircraft noise to the residential neighborhoods). If you’d like to get your toes actually in the sand, Dockweiler State Beach is a short 4 miles from the airport. Hop in an Uber and be strolling along the shoreline about 10 minutes later. The beach is free and has restrooms/changing facilities. You can even grab a snack or soda while enjoying the salty air.
Address: 12501 Vista Del Mar, Playa del Rey | Website
Dream in a Car Museum
Just a couple of miles from the airport, you can explore one of Los Angeles’ most treasured institutions: car culture! The Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo displays 130 vintage and antique vehicles, several from as early as the 1920s, and some owned by celebrities such as Howard Hughes, Jean Peters, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Anthony Davis. The museum even allows visitors to take rides in select cars on Sundays. A research library and small café are on site. Admission is a donation-based $10. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Address: 610 Lairport St El Segundo, CA 90245 | Website
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