There are now a number of good reasons to stay overnight in downtown Los Angeles. Sports enthusiasts can have virtual year-round options with the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, USC, and UCLA. This is also the hub of live theater with the Walt Disney, Ahmanson, Dorothy Chandler, and Mark Taper venues. L.A. Live surrounds the Staples Center and provides the area with continual restaurant and entertainment options. On our latest visit, we choose the famous Westin Bonaventure for the overnight accommodations.
The addition of the Staples Center at LA Live has solidified downtown L.A. as the sports capital of Southern California. Both the L.A. Lakers and L.A. Clippers play their home games there and so does our home hockey team, the L.A. Kings. The Staples Center is a state-of-the-art facility and L.A. Live gives fans a reason to linger longer.
L.A. Live has many restaurant choices, but I would strongly consider Rock’n Fish. The atmosphere is fairly casual but does capture the intensity of a game night. We choose the salmon salad and blackened tuna entrées, which were just right as was the Cajun corn side. The service was excellent. Guests can dine inside or out and there are plenty of elevated TVs to keep you updated on all sports. This might also be a good stop for just a drink and light snack with the large bar area near the entry way.
Staying downtown also puts you close to several other sports teams. Chavez Ravine, home to the L.A. Dodgers, is just a couple of miles in the hills to the north. The L.A. Coliseum, home to the USC Trojans, is about 10 minutes to the south. Even the Rose Bowl is no more than 25 minutes away for UCLA Bruin fans. With the addition of L.A. Live, downtown L.A. has now become the home for both teams in the Rose Bowl Game.
The Ahmanson Theatre is currently running Backbeat, a musical play about the birth of the Beatles. At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, The Joffrey Ballet will perform on February 1 to 3. The Disney Concert Hall will feature “Morlot conducts Beethoven” this weekend.
These are all first-class theater houses and make for an elegant evening. Such experiences can make a life-lasting impression on the youngsters in your group.
While the excitement of L.A. Live was fun to have nearby, the Westin Bonaventure just a few blocks away made for a welcome respite. The L.A. landmark has been used in countless movies and TV shows, making it seem very familiar upon check-in. The unique design of several circular towers make it seem like only a handful of rooms on each floor. Most rooms, especially on higher floors, have dramatic views of the city.
The rooms have been recently upgraded and the Westin’s Heavenly Bed makes for a very peaceful night sleep. The multiple tower design gives guests more elevators than normal allowing for quick access in and out. The Bonaventure also has a large modern fitness center on Level 3.
The Bonaventure is located in the more upscale Bunker Hill area of downtown, where high level walkways link most all buildings. This means you can walk easily to the L.A. Music Center theaters or the Disney Amphitheatre. Restaurant choices abound here but you will have many to choose from in the hotel itself.
Those looking for a more relaxing trip might consider taking Amtrak from Santa Barbara to Union Station in L.A. The ride hugs the coast down to Ventura and will take about two hours. It is just a short cab ride from Union Station to the Bonaventure and L.A. Live. You might even take the train one-way and rent a car for the return. Hertz has a full service location right across the street from the Bonaventure. Go to Hertz.com for reservations.