What To Do On A Layover in Los Angeles

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What can you realistically do on a layover in Los Angeles? How far can you get before you have to turn back to make your flight? Here is a comprehensive guide on what you can realistically do in Los Angeles on a layover. If your connection is under four hours, you should probably stay at the airport and find something else to do such as shopping, catching up on work, or just people watching.

Luggage Storage

Unfortunately there is no luggage storage available at LAX. Most likely, your heavy bags should be checked in, so you won’t have to worry about them. If you have carry on bags, you’ll need to bring them with you and store them in a rental car if you decide to rent one. You might be able to stop at a nearby hotel and ask if you can store your luggage there for a few dollars. Most hotels allow this.

Leaving the Airport

The Los Angeles metro area is pretty big, and traffic can stop you from getting anywhere quickly, but with a little pre-planning and a long enough connection, you should be able to do at least one of these activities. To prepare, you should have at minimum a 4 hour layover – this is from the time you land to the time your next flight departs. Expect to return to the airport two to three hours before your next flight departs. This should allow you a maximum of 30 mins travel time, and one hour of activity before you have to return. Traffic can easily extend this time too, so if you’re around rush hour, you’ll need to leave even earlier.

Travel Tip: If you’re flying internationally, be sure to get your boarding pass in advance and visit any document verification before you leave the airport. It’ll greatly speed up your return to the airport, and you can expect to  arrive at least 2 hours before your flight, rather than the normal 3 hours. For all domestic flights, plan for about 2 hours before your flight leaves.

Okay, so what can you do with a 4 hour layover and an activity for an hour? Note that any longer layovers obviously include the items in the shorter layovers. You might even be able to combine activities if they are nearby.

Under Four Hours

Risky choice you made there, but it’ll do. You’ll be able to walk to the place below, or catch an Uber / Taxi.

You could totally visit:

  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Dockweiler Beach

Four to Five Hour Layover

It’s a little difficult to rent a car and still visit these places, so your best bet is to take a taxi (expensive), or Uber, or even a city bus. You could always try the cheaper option then if you find you’re running out of time, splurge on a taxi or Uber for your return trip.

You could visit:

  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Santa Monica Aquariums
  • South Bay Galleria
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Comedy Clubs
  • Venice Beach

Five to Six Hour Layover

Renting a car is now you’re best friend. It’ll be the easiest way to visit places from here on out.

You could visit:

  • The Museum of Jurassic Technology
  • Los Angeles Natural History Museum
  • Museum of Tolerance
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Downtown Los Angeles
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall

Six to Seven Hour Layover

You could visit:

More than Eight Hours

You could visit:

  • Knotts Berry Farm
  • Disneyland
  • Malibu

Depending on the time you arrive, you could visit some of the theme parks above. While expensive, Knotts does offer half price tickets after 4 PM. As for Disneyland, only go if you have a full day to spend there as lines can be long and tickets are expensive.

Less Touristy Places

If you’re not really into touristy places, why not check out one of The 6 Most Hilarious LA Comedy clubs, or maybe go to a fancy restaurant such as Benihana’s in Santa Monica. It’s just a short 15 min trip away (depending on traffic)


There’s a surprising amount of things you could do on your next layover in Los Angeles. It all obviously depends on what time you arrive, and how brave you are. I hope this guide has helped you on your next layover. If I missed anything, or if this helped, please leave a message in the comments!


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