Finally going there

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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I've never heard of anyone here taking a train to Las Vegas, but a lot of my friends take the train to San Diego from LA since it is quicker than driving because of the constant traffic on the San Diego Freeway. You can board this train at Union Station in LA and get to this station from Long Beach using the metro.
Once in San Diego, you might want to take a taxi from the train station to the border and then walk across the border for the day. There is a huge parking lot for tourists who want to do just that and there are walkways. The last time I was there was before 9/11, so I am not sure how difficult it is to get back in the US. Has anyone been lately? Since you are not a US citizen, I would make sure that you research this day trip thoroughly before venturing out to Mexico just to see a border town.
Taking the train up to San Francisco is a good option. It will take all day, but is a beautiful ride and runs along the Pacific coast.
 

John Clifford

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Mikael, the AMTRAK will drop you off, in San Diego, at stations by Old Town San Diego and near to Harbor Blvd. Just be sure you know the schedules, as I think the last train out leaves Old Town around 6:30 PM, heading to LA.
I remembered this, as, last May, I drove down to San Diego on Friday afternoon; stayed in Mission Bay and met a friend for dinner.
Saturday some other friends took the train down for Cinco De Mayo (an extremely popular event in Olde Town) and I met them at the Old Town Station; they made sure to be back on the train for the trip back.

Los Angeles to Las Vegas is, sadly, either a driving or flying trip; no direct train service, that I know, goes there.
You can probably fly to Las Vegas from the Long Beach Airport, but I cannot guarantee the schedules. Besides, with post-9/11 security rules and waiting to get on the plane, plus collecting luggage and getting ground transport at Las Vegas McCarran Airport, many of us here in LA realize it takes just as long as it would to drive to Las Vegas; such is life.

My advice: save a trip to Las Vegas or a trip to Mexico for a later venture.
Check on places to see in Long Beach, especially in the Shoreline Village, The Pike shopping area (where a former amusement center used to be located) or near to Ocean Avenue.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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The nice thing about the Harbor Drive station is that you can walk from there to the USS Midway and the San Diego Maritime Museum which features the Star of India, the ferry Berkely, and the steam yacht Medea.

There's also a harbour excursion which offers a two hour tour which goes all the way up to the submarine base, back to North Island and down to the 32cnd Street Naval Station. If you want to see active Naval vessels from subs to carriers, then see some great museums afterwards, this is the way to go.

Tijuana Mexico?

I wouldn't do it. Been there once and that was once too much.
 

John Clifford

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Also, from the Harbor Drive area there are excursions accross the bay to Coronado; those will drop you off at a shopping area in the north part of Coronado, for great views of the San Diego skyline.

Coronado is also where you can visit the Hotel Del Coronado, probably best known as the hotel used for the Florida beach scenes in the 1959 movie "Some Like It Hot", with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe.
The Del is about seven miles south of the Coronado Naval Station; the Naval Station is at the northernmost part of Coronado.
 
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Mikael Jonsson

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Thanks for the tip about AMTRAK. They are very cheap between LA and San Diego. Around 50$

We have decided to spend 6 days in LA and 2 days in San Diego. During the visit in San Diego we will take a one day tour to Tijuana just to get the opportunity to visit Mexico. Do you know if there are any touristbuses going for oneday trips to Tijuana from San Diego? Are there any good hostels in San Diego?

About Queen Mary. I found this homepage http://www.hotelclub.net/hotel.reservations/Queen_Mary_Hotel_Long_Beach_The.htm where you can book a room on Queen Mary at only 86 USD for two persons
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That is a good price so we will probably stay there for 4 days.

The whole trip is a backpackingtrip around the worl. We are also backpacking in NY, Australia, Tahiti, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodja and Hong Kong.

Do you know if there is anything Titanicrelated to see in thouse countries? Maybe a cool shipwreck or a good museum?
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best regards, Mikael
 

Joe Russo

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Mikael,
Try this link and you should order the guide for LA and San Diego. There might be one for all of California as well. Let's Go specializes in cheap travel for college students and young people and has extensive information on hostels, discount tours as well as extensive information about what you are visiting. They can probably give you better information on the kind of budget travel that you are doing. It is an essential for the backpacking set.

http://www.letsgo.com/
 
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Mikael Jonsson

Guest
Thanks for the guide Joe.

I read that there is a Titanic exhibition with items raised from the wreck in Las Vegas. Is this exhibition worth seeing? I have never seen any exhibition with items from the wreck before. It seems like they only tour in USA and never here in Europa.

Have anyone of you been to the exhibition in Las Vegas?

best regards, Mikael
 

Joe Russo

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I actually went to the exhibit in Las Vegas a year ago hoping to see the "big piece" but it had already left and is now somewhere else. It is not worth going to Las Vegas just to see this in my opinion. There are many of the object that you will see at any of the Titanic exhibits and a few room recreations, but these don't feel very authentic. I was disappointed by it. Don't change your trip for this.
 
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Mikael Jonsson

Guest
Hi

Now it is only one month before we arrive in LA. At the airport we will take the train directely to San Diego to spend three days there. Then we will take the train directely to QM and spend three days in LA.

We haven't booked our staying on Queen Mary yet because I can't decide if we shall stay all three days on QM or on day on a hostel closer to the airport in Hollywood or Santa Monica. I have some questions:

1. Is it easy to get to the airport (LAX) from QM? We have to be on the airport at least 8.30 a.m. How far is it and how much does it cost to get a taxi from QM to LAX?

2. We will not rent a car since I have read that it is hard to drive in LA for someone who is not used to driving in big cities. Is it easy to get around with the Metro which I read you can take close to QM? We would like to see Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Downtown, Santa Monica and Venice. Are there any guided tours that start in Long Beach or do we have to get to any other areas to take part of any guided tour?

Thank you for your help. I will post my pictures here after the trip
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best regards, Mikael and Sarah.
 
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Mikael Jonsson

Guest
Why does it say: "Closed: New threads not accepted on this page"? Is it not possible to add more answers? Can any moderator please fix this.

I just printed everything that has been said in the thread and will bring it with me on the trip.

best regards, Mikael
 

Mark Baber

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Can any moderator please fix this.

There's nothing that needs to be fixed, Mikael. What's "closed" is the first page of this thread, which contains the first fifty messages posted to it. The thread, in the form of this page, remains open for posting, as evidenced by the fact that you've already posted to it twice today.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Why does it say: "Closed: New threads not accepted on this page"? Is it not possible to add more answers? Can any moderator please fix this.<<

Because there's no need. What you're looking at is the archived section of this very same thread. It does that so the string of posts in any one thread doesn't get so long that you have to come back in another life to see it finish loading.

>>Is it easy to get to the airport (LAX) from QM?<<

In terms of routing, yes. Just get on 405 and head north. In terms of traffic, this is Los Angeles and it can be a nightmare even at 6am. (I know, I've made the drive several times when going between San Diego and Port Hueneme.) You're looking at a trip of around 20 some odd miles.

I would strongly advise you get a hotel as close to the airport as possible. If you must use a taxi, bring loads of cash or better yet, a credit card if the taxi service takes them. (People who flash tons of cash tend to attract some very unwelcome attention from the local criminal element.) You might want to see if some sort of airport shuttle is available if you get a hotel in Long Beach and get a very early start. If you change your mind and rent a car, bring some good road maps or buy then locally. The Thomas Guide is excellant and you should be able to get it at the airport.

Actually, you might want to get it anyway so you know where everything is.
 

Joe Russo

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I recently took the metro down to Long Beach from Hollywood and it was very easy. The price is $1.25 each way. You can also buy metro passes at the metro station which might be a better deal for you and I strongly recommend. I also recently took the train down to San Diego from Los Angeles and it was $35.00 each way and also very easy. You'll need to take the metro from LAX Airport to Union Station to get the Amtrak train that will take you to San Diego. Price for all Metro rides is again $1.25. I think that you will be fine without a car in both Los Angeles and San Diego. San Diego has excellent public transportation and Los Angeles' public transportation has greatly improved and I have started to use it more. You will be able to access all tourist areas of the city using either metros or buses. Beverly Hills, Venice, Santa Monica will be accessible by buses only, while Hollywood and Downtown have numerous Metro stations.

You won't find hostels in LA the way you find them in Europe, especially near the airport, however you can probably find a very cheap motel which will be near LAX and that will give you peace of mind to be at your flight on time for your return.

If you decide to stay all three nights on the QM, then the Hotel QM will arrange for a taxi to pick you up early in the morning and can also request a taxi that will take a credit card. The price to LAX from the QM will probably be about $40.00 plus tip. The ride will take about 30 minutes without traffic. I would not recommend using a metro or a bus to get to the airport for 8:30. I would only take a taxi for this since you have a flight to catch.

As for tours, once you book your stay at the Hotel Queen Mary, the concierge should be able to book a tour that will pick you up at the QM and return you there. If not, there will be a meeting point such as the Long Beach Aquarium, etc. which is nearby. The Queen Mary is a major tourist attraction/hub in LA/Long Beach, so there should be lots of services and tours right there at the QM.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Whatever you do, make sure you're at the airport in plenty of time to get your baggage checked and get through the security screening. Claims that TSA security is a joke aside, it still takes time to get through it. The concierage at whatever place you stay should be able to help you with that as well as any information on transportation around town.

If you manage to get to San Diego, the lack of a car won't be a big deal. The Harbour Excursion and the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum are within easy walking distance of the AMTRAK station as is the downtown shopping.
 
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Mikael: So glad you got to pay your respects to QUEEN MARY 1. It seems we all have the same ideas when picture taking. I will admit on my first visit (1986), while approaching the parking lot, I was overwhelmed to see the ship as a whole...so surreal. And the propellor on display in the parking lot, yes, WOW!!!
Did you manage to stand in the starboard wing-bridge, and peer fore, then pause for a moment to think of what "Will" Murdoch saw 14 April 1912, upon receiving his call from the crow's nest?

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 
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POSTSCRIPT: Forgot to ask...Mikael, did time allow you a visit to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro? In hopes of admiring the 18' TITANIC cut-away and others (Lusitania, Normandie, etc.).

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 

John Clifford

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Actually, the TITANIC and LUSITANIA cutaway models are now in the Queen Mary Engine Room area, slong with the NORMANDIE model.

The only ship model at the LA Maritime Museum is the QUEEN MARY model used for "The Poseidon Adventure".