City Guides

The sunshine is calling! You’ve decided enough is enough with this rain.  It’s time to see blue skies, the ocean and the Sounders without your poncho. Welcome to LA away! Here is all you need to know about traveling to SoCal.

By Air

The best airport to fly into by far is Long Beach (LGB). Not only can you avoid the craziness of LAX, but you are also much closer to the stadium and pre-funk festivities. Alaska and JetBlue both fly from Seattle to LGB. Tickets will run anywhere from $150 - $350 round-trip. Keep an eye out for airline deals for the best price. One thing to remember: LGB is a smaller, more regional airport. Though it just underwent a complete remodel and amenities have been added, it may not give you the flexibility in price/flight times/airlines that LAX would.

By Car:
If you are ambitious, or just looking for a quick road trip, LA is about an 18-hour drive straight down I-5. Depending upon the amount of traffic you hit going into the city (and how far south you’ll be staying), it’s realistic to do in two days – especially if you have multiple drivers with you. Plus, you’ll have the luxury of a car, and in LA, that’s desirable no. 1. A word of caution: it can be a bit of culture shock when driving in LA. Some say it’s a right of passage to be in an auto accident. Best advice? Make sure you’re insurance is current and ALWAYS assign a designated driver.

Rental Car

If you can swing it, you’ll most likely want to. Having a car in LA is not necessarily required, but if you want to go anywhere beyond your hotel, you’ll need one.  ECS often has a partnership with a major rental car company – check the travel page for the match to see the most up to date information. One note when returning the car – the fueling station at the airport is quite expensive, depending on the airport you rented from, you can typically find gas stations just off the freeway. Note: Parking in LA is worse than Seattle. You will always have to pay for parking and typically anything remotely close to where you want to be will be twice as much. The city also likes to try and trick visitors by making parking signage impossibly confusing. Make sure to scout any and all parking signs before leaving your car.

Public Transit
Contrary to popular belief, the LA transit system is not a myth. There’s even a subway and lightrail! However, not only will it take you twice as long as driving or taking a taxi, things can get dicey late at night. If you are feeling adventurous, check out the metro’s website for more detailed info about routes and fares -

Companies like Über and Lyft are very popular and available in LA. If you can split the fare with fellow supporters going to/from the stadium, the price will be worth your while. This option is especially recommended for any pre-funk activities you’ll be attending. Not only does it save the hassle of finding parking (expensive/near impossible sometimes), it’s a fail safe designated driver.

LA is huge. Just accept that you will not see it all and have to come back for the next away trip! Activities can really depend on where you stay. Here are some options based on areas around the region:

Disneyland/California Adventure is the most popular extracurricular activity for those traveling to SoCal. Here’s a local secret: check this blackout calendar for clues as to when the park will be busiest - If the Southern California Annual Passport is valid, that’s a good day to go. You’ll also want to check out the theme park’s website for shows, park hours and tickets.

Knotts Berry Farm is located in close proximity, about 7 miles northwest. Universal Studios is a bit farther in Burbank, about 35 miles north from Disneyland.

Southend – The Queen Mary and Long Beach Aquarium are some great attractions to spend your day. Both will be somewhat expensive, but will fill your day, as there is so much to see and explore.

Coastal – Vitamin D does a Seattlite good. Boardwalks and city centers in Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan Beach can give you a good sense of the local vibe. All of these coastal towns sport great beaches, bars and food. Tony’s on the Pier in Redondo is typically our un-official pre-funk hideaway. The drinks are strong and Manny is a legendary host.

Central LA – Los Angeles County Art Museum (LACMA), The Getty Museum, Hollywood Blvd, and Griffith Park are more recognizable landmarks for those visiting from out of town. LACMA and The Getty are actually some of the country’s best art museums and are reasonably priced considering their size. The blvd serves up the famous Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and general LA wackiness. Griffith Park and Observatory sport some of the best views in the land… if you can see past all the smog.

Same goes for food/drink. Depending on where you end up staying, the choices will vary. Yelp will be your best friend down here. However, this is SoCal and there are few staples that are too good to pass up.

In-N-Out Burger - It’s a no brainer.

Food trucks – LA is the king of the food truck movement. There is a truck for virtually any type of food you can imagine, and some you’ve never thought of. Check out this website to see what trucks are in your area:

Donuts – Another claim to fame for LA are the donuts. Some of the best shops are in dingy strip malls. Check out Randy’s ( right next to LAX. Or if you’re up for a journey – SK donuts in mid-Wilshire is open 24 hours. Here’s a list of some of the best donut joints:

Mexican food – Back to the street - some of the best tacos and Mexican food in general will be served off of a truck or stand. Be aware if you are sensitive to spice, salsa can pack a punch in these parts.

The fruit stand – California has amazing produce. The best way to experience this is from a fruit stand, typically recognizable by the bright, multicolored umbrella. For $5 (give or take) you get a huge bag of freshly sliced fruit, sprinkled with salt, chili powder and drenched in lime juice. Skip the dressings if you must, but it’s a staple down here for a good reason.

Bars – A few watering holes where you might run into Sounders fans: Grunions in Manhattan Beach (SoCal Sound home bar), Tony’s on the Pier (Redondo Beach), Novel Bar/Café in Korea town/Hollywood (Home of the SoCal SeaHawkers and Olympia in a can).

There is not much in way of amenities next to the stadium in Carson. Most choose to stay in one of the southern most beach towns: Long Beach/Redondo/Manhattan. Make sure to check the travel thread to see where others are planning to crash.

Stubhub Center is one of the few stadiums that still allow ‘picnicking.’ SoCal Sound partners with ECS Travel Monkeys to host this picnic complete with food, booze and plenty of socializing. Details will be posted in the Away Match thread and on the Travel Page. You can buy pre-sale tickets to the event when you purchase your match tickets from ECS.

With 3 points and a healthy tan.

Want More LA tips?  Check out wikitravel:

Love LA?  Share your travel tips in the comments below!