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Los Angeles is, according to humorist Dorothy Parker, 72 suburbs searching for a city. Looks like they may have found it: Downtown LA, with the help of the humongous recently launched LALive complex, has solved the problem of where to go and what to do. Anchoring all the activity is the Staples Center, part of the Los Angeles Convention Center and the first of many Downtown Los Angeles venues to have arrived.
Los Angeles International Airport, the main airport serving Downtown, is in the Los Angeles suburb of Westchester, approximately 19 miles to the southwest via interstates 110 and 105. A shuttle runs from Downtown's Union Station to LAX every 30 minutes.
Downtown's Los Angeles Convention Center, part of the LALive entertainment complex (along with the Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre), has 720,000 square feet of exhibit space and 147,000 square feet of meeting space.
Some of the celebrated hotel venues in Downtown Los Angeles include the 683-room Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles. Other choices include the 469-room Los Angeles Marriott Downtown, 454-room Kyoto Grand Hotel & Gardens, 285-room Figueroa and the 123-room Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, which shares the LA Live entertainment site with the 878-room JW Marriott Los Angeles.
The Staples Center is the largest of Downtown LA's event venues, home to two NBA teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, and one NHL team, the Kings, as well as welcoming many of the biggest names in entertainment. Two rooms can seat up to 500 for dinner, and a third room can seat a further 200. The Orpheum Theatre has an auditorium for 3,000 persons, a lobby for receptions of up to 300 persons and a lounge for a further 175. The City Club on Bunker Hill is more sedate, more business, more blue chip, but wonderful events can likewise be held, and for up to 400 persons. The Aratani/Japan America Theatre, opened in 1983, has 880 seats.
Dining venues in Downtown Los Angeles include Takami, which has the Kimono Room that can be adapted to have its own patio; and Sai Sai in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel has three private rooms that can be joined together for up to 30 persons. Celebrated Roy's Hawaiian Fusion has six private rooms, the largest, for 105 persons, called the Big Island Room. Engine Co. No. 28 dishes up American grub supposedly inspired by the firehouses across the U.S. and is indeed situated in a renovated 1912 firehouse. Parties can reserve the back of the restaurant, with 55 seats, and a smaller mezzanine area reached by an original staircase.
To see all venues in LA, browse the directory of all Los Angeles event venues.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Approximate taxi fare: $60 USD
Los Angeles International Airport, commonly called "LAX," is the main airport serving the Los Angeles area. It is the fifth-busiest airport for passenger traffic in the world and third-busiest in the U.S. It operates as a main hub for United Airlines, a secondary hub for Delta, and is a main city for Southwest, Alaska, and American Airlines. LAX serves 69 international and 87 domestic destinations. All international arrivals and departures are serviced through the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
To get from the airport to a given destination, there are a number of options which include taxis, rental cars, door-to-door shuttle vans, long-distance vans, public buses, direct-to-airport buses and the Metro Rail Green Line (light rail). Taxis are a $42 flat fare from LAX to downtown L.A., about $35 to Hollywood, about $20 to Santa Monica, $25 to Beverly Hills, and from $45 to $60 to Pasadena and the Valley; all include a service charge of $2.50 and a $15 minimum fare for service starting at the airport. Two ride-share van companies serve the airport: SuperShuttle and PrimeTime Shuttle, and fares are typically $20-$55 per person depending on the destination. Many area hotels will provide complimentary shuttle service from the airport, so check this option before booking another service. There are 10 rental car companies with airport curbside drop-off and pick-up shuttles, and 30 other rental car companies that are accessible by placing a phone request for a pickup shuttle at the airport. The Metro Rail Green Line accesses the Metrolink and Amtrak system by a free shuttle and can take you as far north as Santa Barbara, as far east as San Bernardino and as far south as San Diego, and to many points in between. Public buses with service to the airport include the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, the Torrance City Transit and the Culver City Bus Lines.
Photo Credit: LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau
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