This Business Travel Guide to Los Angeles is provided in interview with Jeanne Norton, CTM’s SVP/GM West and Mountain Region, North America.
Jeanne has lived and worked in Los Angeles for most of her life, and brings more than 25 years of global travel and procurement experience to the CTM team.
Q. Why do you love living and working in Los Angeles?
A. Los Angeles affords access to so many different environments, such as ethnic neighborhoods, mountains, beaches and deserts. The city is an exciting blend of cultures, and I personally love living in the always-changing downtown urban environment with its theaters, museums, shopping and restaurants.
Q. Top tips for conducting business at LAX Airport?
A. Airlines are separated into seven terminals at LAX, with an additional terminal dedicated to international travel. Unless you are arriving and departing from the same terminal it is difficult to meet at LAX. Airline clubs are the best places to conduct business, or take a 10-minute ride to Marina Del Rey!
Q. Top tips for navigating LAX immigration, and transferring between flights / terminals at LAX Airport?
A. Signage at LAX is fairly clear. The new International Terminal is large, so be ready to do a lot of walking. The same goes for getting from terminal to terminal. American Airlines has the advantage of having a direct walkway from Terminal 4 to the International terminal.
Q. What’s the best way to get from LAX airport to the city?
A. Currently, shared-use services like Uber and Lyft are the easiest way to get to your destination.
Q. Which is the best area of the city to stay in for business travelers, and why?
A. This totally depends on which business hub you’re visiting (Downtown, Century City, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Pasadena etc.) and what you want to do in your free time. There are amazing new hotels in Downtown within walking distance of L.A. Live and the Historic Core, such as a new Intercontinental just blocks from L.A. Live. There are also quiet classic hotels in Pasadena near Old Town, trendy hot spots in West Hollywood/Hollywood, luxury hotels in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica along the coast.
Q. What is the best way to get around the city?
A. Despite what most people think, there is a public transport system in Los Angeles and you can get around without a car! The Metro is relatively new, and comprises only about five or six lines, so it doesn’t cover the entire city. Still, you can easily get around using a combination of the Metro lines and shared-use services (Lyft and Uber).
Q. Best places to conduct a working lunch / dinner in the city?
A. Los Angeles is full of really good restaurants. Depending on the neighborhood, there are plenty that can cater to business meetings and lunches. It is hard to go wrong using a service like Open Table and local contact tips.
Q. Any traveler safety tips while visiting Los Angeles?
A. Experienced travelers should treat Los Angeles like any other urban center. When in crowded areas, keep track of your personal belongings. If you want to drive, avoid rush hour – which is unfortunately not an ‘hour’ at all and typically ranges between 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm. Tourist attractions are generally less crowded first thing in the morning and on weekdays.
Q. What should every business traveler experience while in Los Angeles, and why?
A. Stay away from the familiar – experience some unique local culture. Los Angeles is more like a collection of many small towns, each with their own style and flavor. A day in Montrose is very different than a day in Venice Beach, which is very different than a day in Pasadena or Koreatown. Everywhere you go, Los Angeles has great local artists, chefs and architects who are setting new standards of excellence in their respective fields.
Q. What’s the best and worst time of year to travel to Los Angeles, and why?
A. Los Angeles has mild weather year-round. There can be some hot days in the summer months but it is usually a dry heat. It is rare for any extreme weather to last more than a few days. Tourist destinations are much more crowded on holidays. I would suggest coming to Los Angeles from September through February for the best weather and fewer crowds.
Q. What is the most common mistake business travelers make when visiting LA?
A. One common mistake is never leaving the area around LAX. The city has so much more to offer. Another common mistake is renting a car and trying to navigate the freeways. Unless the business traveler has a lot of different locations to visit, I recommend shared-use services. Let someone else do the driving!
Q. Must do ‘bleisure’ experiences to add to an LA business trip?
A. Hollywood Bowl or Disney Hall. Take a hike in Griffith Park. Rent a car for a drive up to the Mt. Wilson Observatory in the mountains north of Pasadena, or drive up the coast to Malibu. Take a walking tour of Downtown and get a 360-degree 1,000 ft. view from OUE Skyspace LA. Have lunch at the beach. Take a tour of the Warner Bros Studios. Do some shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
All opinions and recommendations are the interviewee’s own. CTM recommends all travelers conduct their own thorough, independent research into their travel destination(s) prior to making any travel decisions, and take out adequate travel insurance prior to travel.
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