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February 2017
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Bring your skateboard on our private tour of Venice Beach

Spring Break for Skateboarders on Private Tour of the Beach

Los Angeles is a capitol of outdoor recreation.  We have it all.  You name it and we can arrange it for a part of your private Los Angeles tour.  Skiing, surfing, horse riding, motorcycle riding, hiking, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, parachuting, bicycling and skating….inline and skateboarding.  A much loved destination for us during the summer months and also during Spring Break (which is coming right up) is the Venice Skate Park on Venice Beach.  Our custom tour guests are welcome to bring along their own skates and try out this well designed and highly favored bowl and street facility.  A description from the Los Angeles Park Service reads, in part:

“The park is complete with plenty of smooth banks to gain a ton of speed in the flow bowl. There is also a large pool that we would not recommend for beginners but is a popular spot for the qualified vert riders. The street skaters love Venice too, there is a large street section with stair sets, ledges, rails, and boxes. Size: 16,000 sq.ft.”

We are not skaters ourselves so are not exactly sure what this means.  However, our skating enthusiasts sightseeing with us do get the idea and take to the facility like seals to the bay (very nearby).

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A look back at Venice Beach in its heyday

Our Private Tour Now Drives on the Grand Lagoon

The Midway Plaisance shown in this vintage photograph was Abbot Kinney‘s idea of a resting place in an area of high activity around the Venice Pier.  Sit down, enjoy some food and the fine weather, grab a gondola to navigate all the beautiful canals that crisscrossed the newly minted community on the sea just a half-day’s drive from downtown Los Angeles and almost that long a ride from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. There were street cars to help make the journey and bring the beleaguered population out to enjoy a day at the sea, to swim in the ocean, play in the sand, eat in the restaurants, frolic in the dance halls and enjoy the extravagance of Kinney’s concept of an American Venice, a retreat on the bay.  Those were the days of numerous carnival piers and all sorts of recreation away from the growing city.  Today we drive the large roundabout in central Venice with our custom tour guests enjoying a private luxury sightseeing excursion through Los Angeles and describe what is seen in this photograph that at one time occupied the asphalt circle we are circumnavigating.  There remain a number of the old canals in a part of Venice for us to walk and explore and there are other signs of the once great playground that continues to attract beach lovers, body builders, skateboarders and street entertainers as well as many of our tour guests who are curious about Los Angeles of yore.

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3:00 20 March 2015

Good Fortune in Venice Beach

A Venice Beach automated fortune teller

Our Private Tour Learns the Future in Venice

What worked for Tom Hanks in BIG might bring an amazing adventure to our guests on a private Los Angeles tour while we visited the Venice boardwalk.  Zoltar knows all.  It seems fitting that this rising silicon beach neighborhood of high tech companies and their trendsetting staffs would find joy in an automated fortune teller.  Judging by the crowds we would say that Zoltar is very busy these days.  Does he know who will win Oscars?  What the box office receipts of new releases will be?  Hollywood watchers will want to know.  Which new apps will go viral and their creators become zillionaires?  Will the new Tesla SUV replace the omnipresent Prius on the west side of Los Angeles?  The digital crowd would make use of that information.  And for us, mere Los Angeles tour guides?  We could use some foresight into traffic obstacles and new restaurants.  Oh, and celebrity sightings….please, Zoltar, where is Justin Bieber eating lunch today?

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3:00 24 September 2014

Venice Beach at Night Long Ago

A lovely vintage night photo of the Venice Beach main drag

Our Private Tour Guests See Venice Does Not Look Like This Any More

Our private Los Angeles tour guides love to show our guests photographs of Los Angeles taken in the past when we are at the same spot during our tour.  Much as the idea behind one of our favorite tour books, Los Angeles – Views of the Past and Present by George Jezek, we allow our guests to see how Venice has changed over the decades.  Besides the loss of the Grand Lagoon and the trolley cars from the past, the apparent order shown in this vintage photograph looking up Windward toward the lagoon has been replaced by an energetic craziness and mild chaos.  The overhanging sign and suspended clock are long gone but the moon does continue to shine down on the evening activities of this fun loving beach community.

Los Angeles – View of Past & Present

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The Grand Canal in Venice Beach

Our Private Tour Guests Happy with the

Ducks Instead of Gondoliers

Venice Beach has a remarkable history and remains today one of the most interesting and enjoyable beach communities to visit along the roughly 1,000 miles of California coast (depending on how you measure, from 840 – 3,400 miles so let’s just agree on 1,000 miles for now).  Of course the Venice Boardwalk is fun with its boutiques, retail stalls, entertainers, wacky residents, excellent food vendors, Muscle Beach bodybuilders, paddle tennis players, skateboarders, artists, tattooers and tattooed and so much more.  The little town is so cute.  And then there are the canals.  Just a quarter of the canal system remains from the days of Abbott Kinney who envisioned this community at the turn of the last century as the ultimate Los Angeles playground.  He was right.  He’s still right.  Our pretty private Los Angeles tour guests are enjoying their walk along the Grand Canal.  Some day they will be here again under more romantic circumstances and without dad photobombing their picture.

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Jim Morrison stands tall on this Venice Beach mural

Murals Make the Distinctive Community

More Memorable for Our Private Tour

It is the time of year when we are requested by our custom Los Angeles tour guests to visit the beach communities of Los AngelesVenice with its boardwalk and canals is a favorite for our passengers.  We do not just drive through either.  We walk through the alleys to see murals such as the Jim Morrison design above and we walk the bridges over the canals and feed the Venice ducks and geese.  We might even patronize a business in a muraled building for drinks and snacks.  Los Angeles has wonderful large building paintings throughout the city and not just in Venice.  We can make a tour just visiting these notable locations.  There is even an organization dedicated to preserving and cataloging the murals, the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.

Venice is a day-glo community for our Los Angeles tour guests

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A seagull poses for us on the Venice Beach Pier

On a Los Angeles Tour It Pays to Know Your Gulls

Our tour guides know a lot about the history of the assorted piers that once graced the Los Angeles beaches providing entertainment, eating and excitement.  The old creosote-soaked timbers used in the pier construction caused them to burn down regularly until time and technology reduced their number and saw more cement and steel involved in their building.  Today there is just the Santa Monica pier in full operation.  Nearby, the Venice Beach pier is now just a simple walk above the waves and a good place to toss a fishing line.  However, the sea birds love this quiet stretch of ocean walkway and it gives us a chance to interact with them.  Like this unflappable fellow, a Thayer’s Gull, assuming an Eagle Pose in his yoga practice.  At least that’s what one of our private Los Angeles tour guests, a yoga practitioner, laughingly offered as we photographed this handsome sea bird.  If his name is Jonathan Livingston Seagull then we have another celebrity sighting here.

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3:00 12 October 2013

Venice Beach Mounted Police

Photo of horse mounted police in Venice Beach

Police Take Their Horses to Tour Venice Beach

Winnies, snorts and neighs but no sirens from these policemen as they greet the denizens and visitors of Venice Beach.  Harkening back to a much older era, before the horseless carriage, L.A.P.D. mounted police patrol the beach community maintaining order and providing a lovely opportunity for citizens to interact with these lovely creatures.  Venice Beach is a regular destination for our private Los Angeles tour because it is so much fun to walk through and around.  Interesting shops and activities along the boardwalk offer us many desirable photography opportunities.  Venice Beach is Muscle Beach, the skateboarding facility, the musicians, jugglers, magicians, comedians and all sorts of other sidewalk entertainers – athletes, artists, performers and the milling crowd taking in all the sights.  Our luxury customized van mixes in well with cars, buses, RVs, motorcycles, scooters, Segways and yes, the horses, as we all move around this entertaining and historic beach town.  The gondolas are gone, as are the wooden piers and much of the canals, but Venice Beach is still a wonderful destination for locals and visitors alike, day and night.


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Photo of cat atop piano on the Venice Beach boardwalk

Venice Beach Delights Our Private Los Angeles Tour Guests

The improving weather and spring are bringing the crowds back to the Venice Beach boardwalk which means myriad musicians and even a piano player and his musical cat.  Our custom private Los Angeles tour will stop in Venice to walk the boardwalk with our guests to see the sights.  Musicians, comedians, magicians, dancers, jugglers, fire eaters, poets, painters, illustrators, tattooists, activists and, of course, trinket sellers, palm readers, hypnotists, masseuses, seers, doomsayers and all sorts of colorful, odd and unusual citizens of this popular beach community will greet us as we stroll along the wide sidewalk.  There is no place like the Venice boardwalk.  Let us show you around.  If you want we can even provide you with a Segway (and training) for a personal motorized adventure tour up and down the beach.

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I was wondering when they were going to do a Ninja Reality Show!  This weekend we’ll see some real(?) ninjas doing their thing as G4 brings their “American Ninja Warrior” tryouts to Venice Beach.   Los Angeles guided tours that we provide never lack spice and variety no matter when you visit LA! NBC Los Angeles has the scoop:

“This weekend, the Southland’s finest ninja hopefuls will take their talents to Venice Beach for a chance at total victory.
G4 is hosting tryouts for “American Ninja Warrior,” a reality series that follows aspiring stateside ninjas on their quest to eventually attempt Japan’s most prestigious obstacle course, Mt. Midoriyama.  Thousands are expected this weekend at Windward Plaza (map). Only the top 15 contestants will move on in the competition.”

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