Where a Private Tour of Los Angeles Goes to Beat the Heat
There are sections of the Los Angeles beach lined with hotels where you would expect to find a crowd of visitors to Southern California. However, most of the beach, even near the hotels, is filled every day by people from the city and surrounding area, particularly eastern parts of the basin, who head to the beach to get away from the summer heat. When we arrive at the beach early on a private tour of Los Angeles, before heading out to Beverly Hills and Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles, the beach is already busy. If we make the trip in reverse and arrive late in the morning or in the afternoon the beaches are crowded. That doesn’t mean a visit is not fun. We encourage our guests to bring along flip flops or sandals and other beachwear and towels so they can enjoy the sand and the surf as a part of their custom tour. There is a lot we can describe about the beach as we walk along and examine the various beachfront neighborhoods. We have Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu to explore on most of our beach encounters but are happy to drive south to see the beaches of Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo. There are surfers and sailors to watch, lifeguards aplenty, and all kinds of marine birds and mammals to observe. How does any work get done on a summer day?
With a Big Private Tour Family This Photo Is a Challenge
As difficult as it might be to get everyone in the air at the same time, jumping for joy at being so near the famous Hollywood Sign, everyone always has a good time getting this photograph into their tour album. Thankfully we have a very good SLR camera that we use to take photos of our guests throughout their private Los Angeles tour with us so we can “machine gun” photos in the strong Southern California sunlight. We have to keep everyone away from the cactus and thistles that are abundant up here on the side of the mountain where the sign is situated. By the way, the sign just passed it’s 93rd anniversary. It was in July of 1923 that the first Hollywood Sign was completed and illuminated. History buffs as well as our guests will know that the first sign read HOLLYWOODLAND and was merely a giant hillside billboard for the housing development springing up below. Now, 93 years later, she is a symbol of our entertainment industry known throughout the world. No wonder the excitement of being here lifts everyone off their feet…almost everybody.
Our Private Tour Sees Studio Water Tower
Our Los Angeles private tour guests often want to talk about water. While water is a major subject of discussion in California all through the year (and this decade in particular) we are pleased that our issues with water are widely known. On our tours we talk about the history of Los Angeles in terms of water and how a major metropolis was constructed in what is essentially a desert. The history of water in Los Angeles is long and colorful and not too far removed from the story in Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN. Water discussions also arise when we point out the water towers on the film studio lots like Warner Bros. (above). In this case we describe the studios in earlier days when these “cities” of filmmaking were somewhat isolated from the growing burg of Los Angeles and had their own fire departments. Water towers supplied water for the facility as well as for emergencies (fires were not uncommon – wood sets and hot tools, you know). Explosions and fires created for film were risks. Just think about the burning of Atlanta for GONE WITH THE WIND filmed in Culver City. Another use for a lot of water was creating a flood (the Universal Studios tour might demonstrate that) or just a large pool of water for scenes filmed “at sea” (visit The Tank on the Paramount Studios lot).
Eat, Drink and Be Merry as We Tour the Venice Boardwalk
The thing about Venice, California is that there is so much to see and enjoy. Much more than just walking the fine wide beach. In fact, there are generally more people on the boardwalk at any time then enjoying the sun and surf and ogling the lifeguards. The Venice Boardwalk is a long string of shops specializing in t-shirts and beachwear, smoking accessories and electronics, and tattoo and piercing services as well as cafes and food and drink stands. That’s just one side where there are permanent structures with intriguing architecture and murals. On the beach side of the wide sidewalk artists, performers, activists and others (?) set up stands to amuse, inform and transact with the millions of visitors attracted to Venice throughout the year. Henna tattoos, new t-shirts and sunglasses are purchases that delight our Los Angeles private tour guests. Fresh fruit ice drinks are always good. The beauty of there being so much to look at on either side of the boardwalk is that we can start at one end and walk along one side returning on the other. Also, one end of the boardwalk is Muscle Beach with its own special history and things to see. If we arrive early enough we can have the place to ourselves. Later in the morning and until sunset during the summer months and holiday periods the place is wall-to-wall people all having a great time.
Visit Your Favorite Star’s Star on a
We always ask and are really pleased when a special request is made to visit certain stars on the landmark Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stars like Tim McGraw whose star was dedicated almost 10 years ago. We will even work with a list which we suggest when we are in touch with guests before we rendezvous with them for a luxury custom tour of Los Angeles. Finding stars on the Walk of Fame can mean traveling along a couple of miles of sidewalk bordering Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. There are almost 2,600 stars at this time. While we know well the stars of celebrities who are often sought from time to time we need to check in with the Hollywood Walk of Fame website to get the exact location of less familiar but still beloved movie stars, singers, television personalities, radio voices and other performers immortalized in pink and gold on the always popular walkway. We think Mrs. McGraw, Faith Hill to everyone, should get a star near her husband. There’s lots of room on the sidewalk. With a hundred years of Hollywood and entertainment history represented the more the merrier and there can be terrazzo stars to pose with for every generation who visit Los Angeles.
Private Tour Fast Food is a Destination for Some
With all the special and unique places to get something to eat during a private tour of Los Angeles we are all constantly amazed by our guests who arrive in Southern California dreaming of a meal at In-N-Out Burger. It seems that they have heard of the family-owned and operated business and its 317 locations and the first thing they discuss with their guide is making In-N-Out a destination on their custom tour. We know where all the Los Angeles restaurants are and most often get to the Hollywood location (photo above) around lunch time. Sometimes we use the drive-thru and eat in the car or drive to a nearby park like Runyon Canyon to enjoy a picnic. If our guests want the whole In-N-Out experience we will park and eat in the restaurant. Good hamburgers, fries and milkshakes to be sure. The Hollywood store is right across from Hollywood High School which makes for good stories and anecdotes of famous alumni as well as movies and tv shows filmed at the school. After lunch we are just blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard or we can stay on Sunset Boulevard and visit the Guitar Center’s Rockwalk. The old Chaplin studio is very close by. Betcha that Charlie would have loved In-N-Out had it been around in his day.
Where We Don’t Park on a Private Tour along Rodeo Drive
It is a special moment when we are driving down Rodeo Drive and see either the yellow Rolls Royce or the black and yellow Bugatti Veyron parked in front of Bijan, a very exclusive clothing store for men. How exclusive? The front window lists some of the royals, dignitaries, statesmen and celebrities that have been customers over almost forty years. Kings, presidents, movie stars and sports all-stars, enough names to exhaust any reader staring at the window. How special? As you can see in this photograph there is a bright yellow parking meter where a Bijan-designed automobile will be parked. When Bijan passed away five years ago the operation of his enterprise fell to his children and protégés who carry on the designer’s work with automobile companies and aircraft manufacturers as well as continue to produce clothing, accessories and scents for every discerning man and their equally discerning ladies. The tradition of parking in front of the store continues and always impresses our guests on their Los Angeles private tour through Beverly Hills and the Golden Triangle.
Our Private Tour Stops for Lunch with Al Pacino
Why wouldn’t Al Pacino want to eat lunch at the wonderful Nate & Al delicatessen when he’s in town? And why wouldn’t we bring our Los Angeles private tour guests here for a big sandwich and specialty soda when we are in Beverly Hills at lunchtime? Our crew eats here all the time so we are quite familiar with the corned beef on fresh baked rye bread and all the appropriate condiments to be found in an authentic deli. We also know from experience that movie stars and other celebrities regularly drop in for meals. Larry King is a regular. We have seen them all from old timers who must really know their deli foods to younger stars just beginning to get the hang of pastrami and matzo ball soup. Los Angeles is almost rich with great delis. Many of them have real Hollywood history like Langer’s and Label’s Table. Jerry’s Deli is making history these days. What our tour guests learn is that you don’t have to go to the northeast U.S. to find excellent delis and that we here in Los Angeles can enjoy lox and bagels and good kugel whenever the urge strikes.
A “Must Shop” Stop at DASH on a Private Luxury Tour
We are always in contact with our Los Angeles private tour guests before we pick them up. Sometimes when tours are booked through our website there are numerous emails and telephone calls working out the plans and itineraries that give our guests the custom tour of their dreams. If we are introduced through their hotels we still exchange ideas and provide suggestions in advance and make sure we get to the important sights and destinations they wish to visit. No matter what exchanges are made before we begin our sightseeing adventure we always begin the actual tour by asking, “Where do you want to go today?” We understand that just being in Los Angeles brings new ideas to mind. Plus, some days you just feel like doing this and not that. We get that. It’s a custom tour and we can change the route and itinerary from the beginning or as we go along. So when our guests say “We want to go shopping” then off we head to the most exciting shops and boutiques that we know. And when our young guests say “We want to go to DASH” then that is where we drive. We go there so often we should have our own parking space in front of the elegant and popular store. As part of the Melrose Avenue shopping experience we visit both this La Cienega end of high end boutiques as well as the other Fairfax/La Brea portion of young and hip boutiques. Between both we can fill our SUV with designer shopping bags and more nondescript packaging that will outfit a young person for an entire school year.
Our Private Tour Pauses Beneath the Palms
Not only is the world golden at sunset but the beach means the temperature is mild and the air is salty-sweet. The crowds on the sand have thinned while a few dedicated surfers vie to get the last best waves of the day next to the Santa Monica Pier. Our private Los Angeles tour family is happy to take off their shoes and walk in the sand. After hours of sightseeing and exploring the buildings and places, cars and people of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, the studios, the celebrity hangouts and homes, it is really nice to stare out over the empty sea toward Hawai’i. Yes, the Channel Islands are partially hidden in the marine layer standing offshore and moving toward us already. There are boats and sea birds. If we watch carefully there might be a porpoise fin breaking the water or even a giant whale off schedule for the regular migration. The shoreline is peaceful and romantic as the last of the day slips away and night comes. That only means another part of LA life emerges that is exciting and exhilarating. Let’s go visit some nightclubs and enjoy some neon lights.