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Lonely Planet Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California (Travel Guide) Paperback – March 1, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...an all-in-one guide to the best this area has to offer, it definitely does a good job." (Suite 101)

About the Author

Born in the cornfields outside Chicago, Sara jumped on a plane to the West Coast after college with just one suitcase and $100 in her pocket. She landed in San Francisco and has bounced around the state ever since, including the Sierra Nevada, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo County. Sara is also an avid outdoor enthusiast. Her travel writing has featured on popular websites and in magazines and newspapers from coast to coast, including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Las Vegas Review-Journal and National Geographic Adventure. Already the author of 30 travel and nonfiction books, Sara has written Lonely Planet's Las Vegas and Las Vegas Encounter guides and contributed to California Trips.
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Product Details

  • Series: Travel Guide
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 3 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741793157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741793154
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary Miller on May 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ok, I was raised in Los Angeles area, and I secretly wanted to know what I missed out on since I left for Alaska. Boy, after going through this book, I see I missed so much, better think about returning soon. This book is well laid out with it's new Top 25 Experiences, itineraries that work for short or long time frames, maps that zero in on what to see in a truly large area. The Understanding SoCal is written for anyone, for me who is an X, or someone going for a first visit, well written!

Lonely Planet puts out guides for regular people, meaning I think anyone can get into a guide, learn with they want, and get busy enjoying. And since I got the soft bound version, it's a size that really fits under your arm to be carried, yet, not too big, or I could have opted for digital chapters for my iPhone or iPad device, those work well too. I like maps that keep me where I'm going. I use a rental car gps, but I still want to know on a bigger scale the area, what sights I'm after, and this book was perfect, for they could go to areas - like Palm Springs & the Deserts, Santa Barbara, and give detailed suggestions, San Diego's Balboa Park - home to museums, parks, and nearby places to stay or eat, well done. The book shows what's FREE, what's a Top Choice, the map of that area was right on. I just went there a few months ago, and boy, I wish I'd had this book with me! The Survival Guide aspect, really helps get you into the proper head space, meaning understanding the locals, their mind set.

Because architecture and culture are gaining in popularity in the area, I went through the author's suggested ideas as Must See's, and again, right on the money.
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This is smaller in size than older editions, but it is as informative as the Lonely Planets of Old. Easier to carry around with you. We are yet to travel to LA to try this edition out. To my way of touring and thinking this is an interesting Lonely Planet guide. I have purchased several others LP guides and some are more interesting to me than others. This one I have read cover to cover, my children(young Teens) have read and enjoyed this as well. Yes I am happy I have purchased this book. I always use these books inconjuction with the net and current local newspapers.
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Format: Paperback
Having recently moved to LA, I was eager to educate myself on trip ideas and local knowledge and decided Lonely Planet was just the travel guide I needed. After a thorough reading, I've come to the following conclusions (buckle in, it's a lot):

The good:
- Eating/Drinking/Entertainment recommendations - I've noticed Lonely Planet seems to be most tuned in to the latest & greatest hot spots, and this guide is no exception (and if there's one city you want that kind of info, it's trend-obsessed LA). All the local institutions seem accounted for, too.

- Outdoor Activities - Good job here as well (another of Lonely Planet's strengths), particularly with surfing... I have a feeling the author is a fan. The hiking coverage is good - better than any other guidebook I've seen, certainly - but I kind of wish there were a bit more actual trail recommendations in the San Gabriel & San Bernardino Mountains (the latter of which is barely mentioned at all) which, along with the San Jacinto Mountains, are generally considered LA's premier hiking destinations. It also doesn't mention you can hike to the Hollywood sign (the "Mount Lee" trail). If you're interested in winter sports, Big Bear Lake is mentioned briefly, but it could be more in-depth on the subject.

- Los Angeles & San Diego coverage - Very good. All the essential sights are here, from neighborhoods both famous and those still up-and-coming. Orange County, including Disney Land + the beach cities, and Palm Springs have strong coverage - plus there's bonus Central Coast info, centered around Santa Barbara & the surrounding wine country (featured in "Sideways").
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It is a very superficial guide, a lot of pages but fair description of the landmarks. Poor section of restaurants and the overall organization of the guide is confusing.
Disappointed with lonely planet
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Have travelled frequently to Europe with many LP guides as a reliable and recommended companion. I am 43 years an Angelino and in comparison to European guide hooks highly disappointing to. I guess this book is a maybe ok guide for the first time foreign traveller. Where are the restaurants? Hotels? Beach bars?
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Lonely Planet is usually one of the best travel guides one can find, but the LA edition proved uninspired for me during a Nov 2012 week in LA. It did not help me decide what to visit or how to get there, and LA County is hard to navigate. The AAA tour book was far better and easier to carry if the hotel section is torn out.
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I have never written a review, but I find reading them to be very helpful. However, after my recent trip to Southern California, I just had to add my two cents. I have been using Lonely Panet guides to navigate the world for more than 25 years. There isn't a corner of the world that Lonely Planet hasn't taken me. So, when the time came to purchase a travel guide for a recent trip to San Diego, naturally, I picked up a Lonely Planet guide. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. Not only, was I expecting to find the typical "touristy" sites to see, but also I anticpated I would read about (and discover) all the hidden gems that the guide would suggest I must not miss. Sadly, I didn't feel the book gave me any more insight than a trip to the local chamber of commerce could afford me. Having lived in San Diego in the early 80's, memories of funky neighborhoods and things to see off the beaten path came to me more clearly than anything the book offered. Grant it, some of those memories had big holes, and luckily, the locals were eager help me out. But, As for that Lonely Planet Guide.....I mean, really, did the person (or people) who wrote the San Diego section really spend anytime in that city? It's doubtful!
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