Archive for the ‘Just for FUN’ Category
Get a Great Look at the Hollywood Sign on Your Private Tour
This particular road sign is increasingly popular around Hollywood these days. Understandably there are neighborhoods and neighbors who dislike the convoys of tour buses chugging up and down their streets in an effort to get their customers to a good vantage point to see the famous Hollywood Sign. We sympathize as we ourselves are neighbors in Hollywood and find ourselves sitting in tourist traffic when we have important errands to run. Keeping that in mind we avoid the most traveled routes when we can and take advantage of a smaller vehicle (our luxury SUVs only carry six passengers) and our intimate knowledge of the roads and paths all through the Hollywood Hills. We drive as close as we can and walk the rest of the way if our guests are willing. We even encourage our hiking tours to enjoy a walk up a dusty service road along the side of Mt. Lee that ends up above and behind the tall white letters that everyone is so excited about. Even more important, our guides know the best places and poses for photographs with the sign in the background. Talk about a perfect souvenir of a private tour in Los Angeles. Individual and group pictures will fill our guests’ tour photo album, pictures they can share on the favorite social media sites and images that can grace their next holiday season card. By all means let us do the driving (and photographing) while you just sit back and relax and enjoy the sights of Los Angeles.
Big Music Buildings Impress Our Flying Tour Guests
As any of our guests will tell you when they arrange a helicopter tour of Los Angeles with us, seeing man-made structures from above is completely different from nature’s landscapes. They are really surprised when they see what we captured in this aerial photograph over downtown Los Angeles. The odd structure of Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall across the street from the traditional architecture of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Both theaters host classical music concerts like the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as the L.A. Opera and ballet. However, the range of music hosted at these two venues far exceeds the confines of classical music. New symphonic works, jazz, world music – the range is considerable and there always will be something here for all musical tastes. The Walt Disney Concert Hall extends the opportunities for theatrical culture with its proximity to the Music Center which, besides the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, also includes the Broadway-style Ahmanson Theater and the more intimate Mark Taper Forum. The presence of these music and theater venues so near Grand Park create a wonderful focus of activity in the newly reinvigorated downtown. With this activity in the north part of the downtown area and L.A. Live occupying the southern portion there is so much more to see and do right in downtown Los Angeles there is almost no reason to leave…except maybe to visit Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the beach communities on our custom private Los Angeles tour.
Some of Our Private Tour Guests Enjoy a Studio Tour, Too
Access to the major movie studios is tightly controlled as you would expect. Sony/MGM, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. all have well organized guided tours of their facilities and we recommend them all. Each is somewhat different from the others when considering the size of the tour group and the time spent walking and riding but they are also all quite similar in terms of visiting backlots and studio interiors as well as other departments involved in television and movie production (props, sound, editing, costume, etc.). When we are asked about which studio to visit to see the art and craft of filmmaking we ask questions of our guests and make recommendations depending on their interests, schedule and budget. Many of our guests like to combine a studio tour with their private sightseeing tour of Los Angeles with us. We gladly accommodate their arrangements and can begin a custom luxury tour of the city at the studio or leave our guests at the studio after seeing the city. We also often incorporate the studio tour into the middle of our time with guests if that works best. Warner Bros. (above) has a 2-hour guided tour (that generally lasts 3-hours) that starts at times throughout the day and fits nicely into a 3-4 hour sightseeing adventure in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. They also offer a Deluxe Tour that lasts much longer and includes lunch in the commissary (it is always a treat to eat with the people making the movies). Whatever our guests wish to do we will make sure happens for them in the best way. Call or write us today for more information about a combination studio and private city tour.
Stretch Out on this Private Tour with Wine and Sunset
One of our many wine tasting destinations right in Los Angeles is Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards (“MRO”). This beautiful home in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu is surrounded by wine grape growing acreage. A sightseeing adventure in L.A. can mean the usual expedition to Hollywood historic sights and Beverly Hills movie star homes but then, after all that history and glamor (and fun) expect a relaxing rest by the infinity pool overlooking the mountains as the sun sets at MRO. Do not forget that you will be plied with the estate’s finest wines as you breathe in deeply the mountain and sea air. Of course you will have an opportunity to wander through this Tuscan-style mansion where countless movies and television shows have been filmed and parties and gatherings for the biggest names in the entertainment industry are regularly hosted. Feel like the VIP you are so close to a major metropolitan city and yet in a quiet wilderness where you only hear the gurgling of the pumps in the spa of the infinity pool and perhaps and occasional sea gull or raptor calling. You may not want to leave…ever. Oh, by the way, if you are in Los Angeles for a special occasion we can plan a very special event at MRO for you. How about a meal prepared by a private chef? With a musician or two? A massage after swimming and a soak in the spa? Private screening of your favorite film? The possibilities are endless. Call us now and begin planning a very special private tour in Los Angeles.
Our Private Tour Is Just Getting Started at Sunset
This fine group of ladies has been enjoying a private tour of Los Angeles that ranged from Hollywood to the beaches…so far. Exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater was a thrill for them as was learning more about the earliest days of Hollywood when movie theaters were a brand new business enterprise. They were taken to see our old Hollywood film studios as well as more recent additions to film and production facilities in and around Hollywood. What they really loved were driving through the fancy neighborhoods where the celebrities reside. Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Brentwood, Malibu to name a few of the areas we drove through while offering descriptions and stories from the times of Charlie Chaplin up to Charlize Theron. We timed it right to be out on the coastline of Santa Monica Bay just as the sun was setting. Sunset photos are always loved by our guests. Admittedly they are beautiful times in Los Angeles. And next – the night time tour begins. The Sunset Strip will look completely different with all the neon and bright illumination luring us to hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Beverly Hills remains elegant with its pretty street lighting and Hollywood looks polished and inviting, too. Take a look at our Pinterest page to see some of the great photographs we have been getting lately during our tours. There are some fantastic tour photo albums out there with our guests.
This Private Tour Guest Can Spell Hollywood
You don’t have to be big to enjoy a private tour of Hollywood. Our littlest guests love the twisty turns of the roads we take up to the great Hollywood Sign. Like their parents their jaws drop when we take them to our secret spot to first see the sign up close. Such big letters on the mountainside and they spell them out in grand Sesame Street style (we will take them to see Kermit the Frog when we return to town later). And, for their parents, we get many good photographs of the kids reveling in the wide panorama of Hollywood and the sea seen from this lofty perch just beneath the landmark sign. The kids want to know how tall each letter is (45 feet) and how long the sign is (350 feet across). Mom and dad are more interested in when the sign was erected and why (1923 to advertise a new housing development called Hollywoodland). Yes, four letters from the original sign are gone (as are the lights) these days and the film industry appropriated the novelty of the attraction for itself. It was Hollywood, though, that saved the sign in 1978 (thank you Hugh Hefner and friends) with a complete restoration. Thanks, too, to Sherwin-Williams for a repainting and restoration job four years ago. According to our young guests all the sign needs now is a giant swing underneath. Hear that, Hollywood?
Our Private Tour Guests Think It’s a Fine Neighborhood
While the kids may not exactly recall the shtick of Rodney Dangerfield most adults fondly remember his bug-eyed quips and his silly movies and TV specials. His opening line for his standup routine was often, “I get no respect.” We have to say that when we bring one of our Los Angeles private tour groups to the best little cemetery in the west, Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery, Rodney Dangerfield’s headstone epitaph elicits at least smiles if not outright laughing and he still gets plenty of respect all these years after his passing. There are a number of funny and meaningful “last words” here in this intimate stone garden just behind a Wilshire Boulevard movie theater. Many names bring pause to our guests as they reminisce about moments spent in movie theaters, watching their television sets or just listening to music and enjoying the work of some of Hollywood’s most illustrious artists. Peter Falk, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe…it’s a very long list of familiar celebrities in such a small area. Contrary to Mr. Dangerfield’s quip it is a very nice neighborhood. Enjoy a beautiful day in this neighborhood on your custom tour of Los Angeles.
Include a Visit to the Los Angeles Zoo on Your Private Tour
With all of Los Angeles available to our private tour guests we can include in their sightseeing around the city, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the beaches, a chance to see the Los Angeles Zoo. Sure, movie stars are great but when you are in a major metropolitan area you also will find a collection of wild animals available to watch and examine. Unlike the movie star homes we slowly drive by while the guide explains details and tells stories to make the house interesting, the zoo is curated by animal and conservation specialists so there is a lot of educational material to absorb for anyone interested. For example, the name flamingo comes from the Spanish “flame-colored” and there are four species of this avian wonder in the Americas. At the flamingo pond there is no mention of John Waters’ unusual 1972 film PINK FLAMINGOS despite Hollywood film mavens’ ongoing fascination with the strange movie classic. We might also get a strange look from Hubert the African lion or his companion Kalisa. While Hubert is not Leo from the MGM logo he sounds just like him. His roar certainly gets our attention which might have been Louis B. Mayer‘s intention when the film logo was designed. Keep in mind that on a private custom tour of Los Angeles we can stop at the zoo, botanical gardens, museums and any other attraction that our guests wish to see. Forget driving and parking for we will handle that. There is much to see and do in our large city and we can help you get the most out of your sightseeing adventure.
Vincent van Gogh’s Irises Touch Our Private Tour
This was at one time the most expensive painting ever sold (~$54M in 1987). Painted in 1889 by Vincent van Gogh while he was institutionalized before his death, this painting is part of series painted in the asylum garden. Our Los Angeles private tour guests were especially moved by this beautiful work as so many of the 1.3 million visitors to the Getty Museum every year find themselves to be. We appreciate that so many of our guests understand that a private custom tour of this magnificent Southern California city can (and we think should) include visits to any number of our impressive museums. Besides the two campuses of the Getty Museum (the Getty Center in Brentwood and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades), major art museums include the Broad Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum and the Norton Simon Museum. There are many more fine art museums and galleries as you would expect. In fact, there is a whole art district in downtown Los Angeles. Besides art museums, there are science museums, natural history, ethnic origin and Hollywood history museums. We like to say there is a museum for everyone, even a kids’ museum. We suggest a visit to a museum of interest to you as part of your private tour so you do not have to worry about driving, parking or timing. We take care of that for you.
Beautiful Views of the Bay on This Helicopter Tour of L.A.
We go on and on here about how perfect the Los Angeles weather is and how much our Los Angeles private tour guests appreciate the warm, clear days that greet them all through the year. What we have learned is that even on days where we complain of a little rain or fog our guests still think the weather is extraordinary. It is all relative. Our extremes of weather do not range very far so we see cool days as a threat to our existence. We have to wear jackets and caps? Oh, no. We need to find the umbrella. Heaven help us! Ok, admittedly we are weather sissies here in Southern California. Thankfully our guests bring some sense to what variations in weather mean. They are ready for a tour of Hollywood on a day when the thermometer in the SUV tells us it is only 64º by wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals. They think it is beach weather. They look down from our luxury helicopter to an encroaching fog bank along the bay and only notice how beautiful the sight is. The Santa Monica Pier rises up where the fog seems to part and spread around but not over this funtastic beach entertainment center. They want to visit the pier when we complete our aerial tour to experience for themselves the attractions built on this local landmark. We will also take them to the Third Street Promenade to enjoy a city street turned into an outdoor shopping and entertainment mall. We are delighted they are enjoying the winter weather. After we drop them back at their hotel we can stop for a lavender hot chocolate at Demitasse.