Archive for February, 2013
Tour Frank Gehry Buildings in Los Angeles
Frank Gehry is one of the most celebrated architects and designers of our time and today is celebrated on the occasion of his 84th birthday. We talk about him and his designs regularly on our private Los Angeles tours. The Santa Monica resident has numerous local examples of his work including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Schnabel House. We will see more of his designs as the Grand Avenue Promenade is developed in downtown Los Angeles in coming years.
Our Los Angeles Tour Goes to the Dog
Too cool for school comes to mind as we saw this recent photograph from a private Hollywood tour we took up at the historic entrance to Hollywoodland. Chilling right outside the Beachwood Cafe, one of the great breakfast joints of Los Angeles, this cool bull terrier keeps an eye on foot traffic while awaiting the return of his master who was probably enjoying the wonderful baked brioche French Toast with bacon butterscotch sauce in the cafe. We hope there was a doggie bag later.
The cafe has lunch and dinner menus worth dropping in and ordering from whenever you want to get up and away from the noisier parts of Hollywood. Located just beyond the stone pillars from 1923 welcoming guests to what was then a well advertised (perhaps you’ve seen the sign!) real estate development, the cafe is just one of the small businesses in the neighborhood center where locals congregate. Our most pinned Pinterest pin is a shot of the Hollywood Sign taken as we were driving up Beachwood Canyon toward the cafe.
This Witch’s House Delights Our Private Tour Guests
Named for the family that occupied the house when it was moved from Culver City to Beverly Hills in 1934, the Spadena House is a delightful example of storybook architecture that can be found throughout Los Angeles and southern California. The structure was originally built in 1921 and served as a film production office before being moved to Beverly Hills and converted to a private residence. With the popularity of the recently released Hollywood film Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters this destination is even more popular for sightseeing on our private Beverly Hills tour than usual. This part of Beverly Hills has many great homes and amazing landscaping and art to see and photograph.
Echo Park Sparkles on a Helicopter Tour of Los Angeles
A private Los Angeles tour, as no surprise to anyone, covers a lot of Hollywood history. This wonderful aerial photograph taken during one of our private Los Angeles helicopter tours shows Echo Park and its beautiful lake. The original movie studios built in Los Angeles prior to World War I were constructed in this area before moving over to Hollywood proper. The first fully-enclosed studio, built by Mack Sennett, is still standing as are some of the ancillary buildings of that great studio. A studio no longer but a destination on many of our ground tours through Los Angeles. Also, not all movie and television stars live in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Malibu. Many prefer the more urban surroundings, the more varied culture and the proximity to downtown Los Angeles. We are talking Tom Mix and Steve McQueen here. More current names we will keep to ourselves except when we are showing off our great town on a private luxury tour.
From Chinatown to Downtown — Los Angeles
The lovely decorative arch separates Chinatown in Los Angeles from the Civic Center and City Hall. We took the photograph above for our guests on a private Los Angeles tour sightseeing through downtown. As we departed Chinatown we found ourselves in the area where Los Angeles was first settled, Olvera Street. The Year of the Snake has just begun so plan on visiting Chinatown (with us, we hope) when you are here.
Academy Award Ceremony Venues in Los Angeles and Hollywood
Those Oscars really get around. For a time there it was difficult to predict where in Los Angeles the traffic was going to be on Oscar night. As a private Los Angeles tour company we need to know these things to keep our custom tours and our special guests out of the traffic — unless that’s where they want to be.
We have borrowed from a couple of sources to provide you Oscar trivia nuts with a list of locations and dates where the Oscars have been held the past 83 years.
- 1929: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
- 1930–1943: Alternated between the Ambassador Hotel and the Biltmore Hotel
- 1944–1946: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
- 1947–1948: Shrine Auditorium
- 1949: Academy Award Theater (formerly the Marquis Theatre on Melrose near Doheny)
- 1950–1960: Pantages Theatre
- 1961–1968: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
- 1969–1987: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles Music Center
- 1988–2001: Alternated between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Shrine Auditorium
- 2002–present: Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre (2002–2011) and the Hollywood and Highland Center (2012)
You ask us what else is there to do in Palm Springs after you see the Marilyn Monroe sculpture and play a round of golf? Well, by all means get tickets to see impresario Riff Markowitz‘ fabulous musical revue, the Palm Springs Follies, now in its 22nd season. You will surely enjoy a delightful evening of music and dance with amazing guest stars and the droll master of ceremonies humor of Mr. Markowitz. Located smack in the center of downtown (catty-corner from the giant Marilyn Monroe) in a wonderfully restored theater surrounded by excellent restaurants and stores the Follies is a must see event suitable for all ages. What you might not know is that the cast, and generally the special guest stars, are all “getting up there”, retired, over-the-hill, respected elders, senior citizens — you get our drift. But let us tell you the quality of the singing and dancing, the entire production in fact, is top notch, first cabin, A-One, nonpareil, well, just amazing! When you are visiting Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Venice or Malibu, plan on a trip to Palm Springs with us. Our private luxury tour can get you there in our custom appointed van or fly you in one of our comfortable helicopters and we will show you the town, this little desert community so full of Hollywood history.
Tour the Hollywood Bowl with Elite Adventure Tours while in Los Angeles
You can avoid the lines for Hollywood Bowl tickets, unlike the folks shown in this archival photo from the early 1950s, because you can use the internet to visit the Hollywood Bowl website and get your tickets well in advance. This famed location began modestly with a wooden platform for the performers and fruit crates for the audience to use as seats. Today it is a grand orchestral venue with a magnificent domed stage and enough musical and cultural history to fill a museum…and they have a museum. Now is the perfect time for a private Hollywood Bowl tour to walk the grounds and see the museum before the season opens. But don’t forget to purchase tickets now while good seats are still available. Coming in 2013 — Willie Nelson, Josh Groban, Sergio Mendes and Herb Alpert, George Benson, Zooey Deschanel, plus evenings with John Williams and Bugs Bunny. Fireworks, orchestras and lots of fun. Remember to bring your picnic dinner and wine!
Sightseeing Up High in Los Angeles
Our private Los Angeles tour guests are generally thinking about movies and such when we are driving around Hollywood. We like to take them downtown, too, to show them film locations, like the U.S. Bank Tower shown above. Perhaps known to most people for its part in the movie Independence Day (the first building destroyed by the aliens), this easily recognizable structure is the tallest building west of the Mississippi, 10th tallest in the U.S. and 55th tallest on the planet. It rises 73-stories to 1,018 feet above the street and, for those of you who have concerns about erecting tall structures in an area prone to earthquakes, it is designed to withstand a tremor of 8.3 on the Richter Scale. As for aliens, well we should just cross our fingers.
Main Street, Santa Monica as the Sun Comes Up on a Luxury Tour of Los Angeles
Many of our guests stay at one of the luxurious beach hotels in Santa Monica where we sometimes pick them as the sun is rising over the beautiful Santa Monica Bay. Their private Los Angeles tour begins with a drive down Main Street toward Venice Beach as business traffic arrives into town. Beverly Hills, Hollywood and downtown are likely destinations for us unless they want to spend the day at the beach. Then it is Marina del Rey, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu for our sightseeing and discovering things to do.