Our Private Tour Gets an Extra Passenger
We have bugs in Los Angeles. Lots of bugs. After a somewhat wet winter and with gardens looking lush around Beverly Hills it has been a great season for our insect friends. Our desert conditions in general mean different kinds of bug populations than many of our private Los Angeles tour guests are used to. Flying bugs are not as evident. We have some rather large bugs though. And pretty, too. This Say’s Stink Bug stowed away on our trip through Beverly Hills recently and luckily picked a window near the boy on board to do its sightseeing. The young guy was thoroughly intrigued with the large insect. Not so much his sister. His tour guide, not a biology major, however did know it to be a stink bug. We have lots of varieties of those in Southern California. Fortunately, we in the office have all the resources we needed to identify this little guy. Do you ever wonder where Hollywood makeup artists and special effects designers get their ideas?
Favorite Los Angeles Diner Prepares for Bernie Sanders
Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant is an eye-catching sight on our private tour of Los Angeles as we drive along the Miracle Mile just outside of Beverly Hills. This famous stretch of Wilshire Boulevard runs from La Brea to Fairfax passing the tar pits and the actors union (SAG/AFTRA) and the Daily Variety offices among other notable locations. At Fairfax, right on the corner opposite the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a Googie-style diner called Johnie’s. From 1956 until 2000 this was a great place to grab something to eat for anyone living or working in the area. Diner food at its best! After that it was closed for food service but not forgotten. Countless commercials, television shows and films have been staged at this great space on this busy L.A. corner. Those of us who know the place well always recognize it when it pops up in a movie, ad or show. For one recent evening it was dressed up for a Bernie Sanders rally. After the California primary? Who knows. There are those who wish the diner would return to serving up a good burger and a hot cup of coffee. That would make Los Angeles great again.
Comedy Is the Theme of This Private Tour of L.A.
Los Angeles can be considered a comedy capitol. We have wonderful and famous comedy clubs that arose from the nightclub era in the late ’60s and have flourished ever since. Future comedians always make their way to Los Angeles to play these clubs and await their opportunity to be invited onto late night talk shows and other venues as they make their way to stardom. One great club we pass by on the Sunset Strip near Hollywood is the Laugh Factory. Opened by Jamie Masada in 1979 this warm and welcoming venue (right next to Greenblatt’s Deli and Wine Shop) recalls to us that everyone who is anyone in the comedy world has been listed on the marquee. On this particular day we were reminded that Garry Shandling had just passed away and we really appreciated the sentiment. We spoke to our guests of how tight-knit the comedy community is and how much respect they hold for one another. The Laugh Factory is known for its Thanksgiving dinners for comedians, both local and visiting, to ensure the community is well fed and happy when most people are home with their families. Our private custom tour of Los Angeles allows our guests a chance to see the great comedy clubs and then make plans to enjoy the show while they are visiting Southern California.
California Donuts to Get Our Private L.A. Tour Going
Showing off the various ethnic neighborhoods around Hollywood we might find ourselves near Koreatown and Little Bangladesh. Besides the amazing aromas of tantalizing exotic foods wafting into the warm morning air of the city there is… what is that?… oh my, the scent of fresh baked donuts! It is California Donuts #21 (to be exact), a 24/7/365 oasis for baked goods lovers (and coffee). Because we only do private, custom tours of Los Angeles we can stop any time and anywhere. Even with the windows of our luxury SUVs closed the air-conditioning brings those sweet smells into the vehicle and our guests ask if it would be ok to make a quick stop. OK? It is more than OK. Maybe we planned to drive along 3rd Street as we approach Hollywood just to be sure the idea pops into our guests’ heads. We know a lot of places like California Donuts to recommend for quick stops for snacks and longer stops for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We love sharing those special Los Angeles foods and styles with our guests from singing waiters (Miceli’s) to old-time kosher hot dogs (Pink’s) to movie stars at the next table (Polo Lounge). When you come to Los Angeles and want an unforgettable, and tasty, sightseeing adventure be sure to give us a call.
A Tasty Private Tour of the Santa Ynez Valley
From a winery in downtown Los Angeles to numerous fine tasting rooms in nearby Malibu we can also drive, or fly in a luxury helicopter, south to the Temecula wine region or north to the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara. That is a lot of wine tasting choices for our guests to ponder. We find that most often we are planning visits to Malibu and Santa Ynez. We make these tours often enough to specify them on our website. If our guests have a day to spend (or two) we like to suggest a SIDEWAYS tour up north to revisit the wineries of the novel, film and play. Like the Napa Valley, there are too many superb wineries to visit them all (though we like to try) so we plan our visit as we travel based on the inclinations of our guests. We can tell which wines they will most enjoy just by them telling us which wines they like to drink at home. And then we will include some experimentation to keep the trip interesting. From grapes in the fields to aging barrels in the cellars to bottles on the shelf – the entire life cycle of wine – each winery has stories to tell about themselves and about the wine industry in California, in particular this incredible valley in the southern part of the state. The Gainey Vineyard (top photo) is always a fun stop that pleases our wine loving guests. Producing fine California wine for more than 30 years the winery is lively and the tastings divine. We also are likely to stop at the Firestone Vineyards which are so beautiful you want to sip your wine and just look out at the vines all day. But there are more places to visit, more wines to sample and buy, and let’s not forget a good lunch at one of many fantastic restaurants that we know – with wine, of course.
Venice is More than a Beach for Our Private Tour Family
After sightseeing around the highlights of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and with the temperature rising our private Los Angeles tour guests were eager to see the wide beaches, especially Venice Beach. The city is famous for its boardwalk (no longer wooden) and all the fun little stores, snackshops and restaurants as well as its distinctive architecture. We could do an entire custom tour and not leave Venice. Murals and public art, history from the earliest days of Los Angeles, the story of Abbott Kinney and the famous Venice piers and, of course, the canals. Seeing the remaining waterways continues to excite and amaze our guests especially when we describe the full extent of the canals as they were originally constructed. Gondoliers once plied the central lagoon and there were cafés all around. All that was missing to complete the vision of Mr. Kinney was the Doge’s Palace. But this is Southern California and not Italy. Our lifestyle is skateboarding and surfing, sunbathing and sightseeing on the cool Los Angeles coastline.
Beautiful Seaside College for Our Private Tour Guests to Visit
Many of our guests visiting Southern California and enjoying a private tour of Los Angeles will ask that we drive onto the campus when we get near Pepperdine University in Malibu. The school was founded by George Pepperdine who started Western Auto Supply Company with $5 in 1909. The original campus was in South Central Los Angeles. The school has occupied a steep hillside overlooking the Santa Monica Bay since 1972 and is certainly one of the most beautiful spots in California. There are times during the year when we have families with young people considering college in the Los Angeles area and are always pleased for the chance to drive up into the campus to show them what they will see every day on their way to class. The school offers undergraduate degrees in a considerable number of majors as well as graduate degrees in law, public policy, education, psychology and business administration. Pepperdine’s Christian ethos supports a strong spiritual element in its students’ university life and imparts a sense of service and responsibility to its graduates. When we tour with families visiting their children at Pepperdine we are always impressed with their knowledge and commitment to their studies. Even more, how much they love living in Malibu and being so close to Los Angeles.
Johnny Depp Has His Fans on Our Private Tour of Hollywood
Alice Through the Looking Glass is playing at the El Capitan Theater, a Disney movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. Our Los Angeles tour guests are admiring Johnny Depp’s hand and foot prints in the cement in the courtyard of the landmark Grauman’s Chinese Theater across the street. Captain Jack Sparrow and the Mad Hatter can be spotted plying their perfect impersonations on the sidewalk near Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood wax museum where a wax sculpture of him stands ready for a selfie. Nearby is Johnny’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Maybe Hollywood could be called Johnny Depp Land. Whatever we might talk about on our private custom tour of Los Angeles there is no denying that every one of our passengers can name favorite movies of theirs starring Johnny Depp. We even have guests with fond memories of the old television show 21 Jump Street. Remember that program? If you have a favorite celebrity be sure to tell us and we will customize your tour to see all the relevant sights and places associated with your star.
Our Private Tour Guests Touched by Muhammad Ali Tributes
The timing was not exactly right that we could bring our Los Angeles private tour guests to the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the time the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presented a memorial wreath at the wall-mounted star of Muhammad Ali. The Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.) had passed away the day before and as has been a Hollywood tradition since the gilded stars first appeared on the sidewalk of Hollywood in 1965 a commemorative wreath would be placed in tribute to the celebrity. It is a marvelous and touching tradition. The public can be counted on to bring other tributes and memorabilia themselves. Candles, flowers, photos, souvenirs, all sorts of things, accumulate around the sidewalk stars when popular celebrities pass away. For really big stars like Muhammad Ali, film crews arrive to get video and interview bystanders. Ali, not just a world famous sports figure, was also a great humanitarian known for his smile and sense and humor as much as his powerful punches and perspective on human rights.
Our Guest Brings His Own Wheels on a Private Tour of Hollywood
We put skateboards into our luxury SUV more often than skates but all wheels are welcome. We have some gnarly hills in Hollywood and Beverly Hills for the young daredevils on our tours who want an incredible action picture to show their friends when they get home from their visit to Los Angeles. A private sightseeing tour of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, even the Los Angeles beaches does not have to be dull and boring for young travelers. Besides knowing where there are fun footpaths and trails, great snack shops and cool souvenir shops, we know where the young folks hang out and the young stars live and work. No matter how young our guests we can stop at destinations and sights that will amuse and amaze them. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Justin Bieber draining a milkshike at Mel’s Drive-in or Jennette McCurdy picking out the perfect purse at DASH. Maybe everyone would like to ride the carousel at Griffith Park or the one at the Santa Monica Pier (where there are other amusements right above the ocean). Surfing lessons, anyone?