Things to Do in Los Angeles When Your LAX Flight is Delayed

In the last few years, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has trended upwards in terms of high-end restaurant selections, which makes flight delays or layovers a bit easier to stomach. But what if you want to be adventurous and explore outside of the airport? Here are five places to explore in Los Angeles during a flight delay that are a short drive via taxi, Lyft, or Uber.

The Theme Building at LAX
When you step outside of your terminal, look to the center of the airport to spot the iconic Theme Building, which symbolizes LAX. Opened in 1961, this mid-century modern structure, designed by Pereira & Luckman, resembles a space-age flying saucer with four arched legs. Until a few years ago, one could dine at the interior Encounter Restaurant, which offered great views of the airport, but sadly no more. The restaurant permanently closed at the end of 2013. Upon exiting the terminal, check with LAX Information Desk because sometimes you can visit the Theme Building's Observation Deck to watch planes land and take off (some Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

In-N-Out Burger
I know people who as soon as they cross the California's state line have planned which In-N-Out Burger they're hitting (although in recent years, In-N-Out's can be found in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas and now Oregon). Luckily, there is an In-N-Out Burger a short distance away from LAX. Opened in 1948, this California franchise is a favorite for their Double-Double Burger, Shakes and Fries. Don't forget to ask for the secret menu items like the Animal Style Burger (a mustard-cooked beef patty), the 3x3, which is three patties and 3 slices of cheese, the Grilled Cheese, or the Protein Style, which is your burger wrapped in lettuce.

Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel Spa Treatment
Who doesn't feel stiff and achy while flying? With a solid flight delay, why not book a spa treatment? An option near LAX is the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel Spa. Catch the Westin's Courtesy Shuttle (running 24-hours a day between LAX and the hotel), and head to the third floor to the spa treatment room for the "Be Well Massage," or the "Hand, Foot and Head Massage." It's suggested to make a treatment reservation in advance.

The Strand Along Manhattan Beach
Only about a 10 to 15-minute cab ride, The Strand is a paved walkway, next to a bike path, beachfront properties and the sandy beaches of Manhattan Beach. Running approximately 2.1 miles, this walking path allows visitors to check out the great architecture of the homes as well as offers scenic views of the Pacific Ocean. Want to hang out at the beach instead? Just step off the path. Don't forget to walk out to the historic Manhattan Beach Pier.

Downtown Manhattan Beach Shops and Restaurants
Walk up a few short, but hilly blocks from the Manhattan Beach Pier on Manhattan Beach Blvd., and you'll find yourself in downtown Manhattan Beach, full of unique shops and restaurants. Along Manhattan Avenue, try some ice cream at the Manhattan Beach Creamery, or David LeFevere's new restaurant Fishing With Dynamite (love that name), recently named as the Best Oyster Bar by Los Angeles Magazine.

Author's bio: Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, travel and the arts. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, television, and arts organizations.

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