Archive for August, 2016
Our Private Tour Helps Family Prepare for School
We do not offer Back to School Specials or anything like that but towards the end of the summer we do have lots of families coming to Los Angeles with their recently matriculated teenagers ready to start at any number of our well known colleges and universities. We think of our Los Angeles private tour as an orientation day for the new students. In fact, the late summer tours we do are often an extension of tours we did the previous year when high school seniors and their families were visiting here to inspect potential campuses for study. Now, though, that school is about to start we are looking more at neighborhoods and getting some pre-school shopping done. Here we are on a sightseeing adventure with a new UCLA student and her mother about to enter the lovely environs of Fred Segal. First will be lunch at Mauro, the divine café in the store. Look at the familiar faces many with their offspring also preparing to begin a new school year. Jeans, tops and accessories all bagged and stowed in our SUV we can explore some more of Melrose Avenue‘s famous storefronts offering chic nightclub wear to t-shirts and shorts. Melrose offers everything and is truly a Mile of Style. Then we can head over to Westwood for some serious street-by-street looks at the various neighborhoods and show our young student where everything is that she will need to know right away. We envy her good times ahead but traffic and tales of the city keep us focused on this orientation tour.
Hollywood History on a Private Hiking Tour
After months of being closed down for water line repairs (city infrastructure improvements must go on) we are so very excited that Runyon Canyon Park is once again open for hiking. We truly love this park for a number of reasons. Our very active Los Angeles private tour guests can enjoy a very enjoyable hike right in the middle of Hollywood. With an option for a somewhat strenuous climb/descent on some steep sandy slopes or a mild walk up a paved access road from just above Hollywood Boulevard to Mulholland on the crest of the Hollywood Hills we can point out some interesting historical facts and locations in the park. We can also enjoy some extraordinary views of Hollywood and Los Angeles at any number of scenic points along the way. The hike only requires a limited amount of time so we can still drive east and hike right up to the Hollywood Sign (two excellent hikes in one tour…who does that?) or we can continue sightseeing in and around the Hollywood Hills to see celebrity homes and famous Hollywood locations. The very hot summer weather recently yielded to some cooler, slightly overcast days which only made the hiking even better. Our guests enjoy the exercise as well as the opportunity to see the Hollywood “regulars” who get their steps in each day on the park’s trails. We might pass a yoga class, tai chi or qi gong sessions anywhere in the park where there is sufficient flat space. Finally, our guests can learn about our chaparral landscape and get a really good sense of the ecology of Los Angeles. Enjoy a different kind of sightseeing adventure in Hollywood and come hiking with us.
NOTE: click on the photos for an enlarged view
Beautiful Lighthouse Guides Our Private Tour to Terranea Golf Course
When our guests are staying at the Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and wish to have a private tour around Los Angeles in one of our luxury helicopters we do not have to pick them up and drive them to one of the several airports that we usually fly from in the city. We can land the helicopter just above the Terranea Golf Course and the resort will shuttle our guests to their awaiting aircraft. The first grand sight we see as we lift off is the Point Vicente Lighthouse. This jewel on our dangerous coast has been keeping ships safe since 1926. The lens, originally crafted in Paris in 1886 (and used in a lighthouse in Alaska until coming to California), stands more than 250 feet above the water. Despite the technological advances in shipping navigation and safety the lighthouse was a functional part of the National Lighthouse Service until the U.S. Coast Guard took control. Since 1979 this structure has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites and is open to the public one Saturday a month. You might be interested in reading about the ghost, the Lady of the Lighthouse, who one of our guides growing up nearby witnessed.
Our Private Tour Guests Needed Sunglasses as This Mercedes Passes By
There are so many late model Mercedes cars around Beverly Hills and Hollywood that we hardly notice them. Just part of the ever moving (hopefully) traffic that we are happy to talk about on a Los Angeles private tour. We often see some quite amazing cars on our roads. There are expensive ones from fashionable car designers in Italy as well as Hollywood stunt cars. With our nice weather autos last forever so we will often encounter an antique automobile looking like it did as it rolled out of the factory. This car, though, a Mercedes CLS550 really caught our attention as it caught up and passed us just as we arrived at Rodeo Drive. Our guide snapped this photo with the silverized Louis Vuitton building in the background. Coincidentally, because so many of our custom tour guests are truly car buffs (Los Angeles is a perfect destination for folks who love pretty cars) and we write about them so often here at PrivateLosAngelesTours.com, someone just sent us an article about a 1936 Ford Tudor Sedan made of stainless steel built for Allegheny Ludlum Steel. Stainless steel was a new manufacturing process at the time and the automobiles made (4 in total) were an experiment conducted by Ford and the steel company. Only one of the autos exists today. Sadly, the experiment failed because the manufacturing process damaged the dies used to stamp the parts. At least today we have paint processes that can accomplish the shiny silver look of this elegant Mercedes.
Natural History, Tar Pits, Monsters – Kids Love a Private Tour to La Brea
Of course kids get a big kick out the big fluffy costumed characters inhabiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater or the entrance to Universal Studios and City Walk. We also take our youngest Los Angeles private tour guests past the Henson Studios (think Muppets) and Nickelodeon. We know a couple of excellent playgrounds, carousels and, always, there is the beach. But for some unknown reason the La Brea Tar Pits truly appeals to the inner Neanderthal of our smallest passengers. The Page Museum on the Rancho La Brea grounds is a fascinating hands-on experience full of models of ancient and giant extinct creatures that once roamed Los Angeles before the giant movie stars arrived. There are dioramas and samples of all sorts of things parents would not generally allow them to touch and play with. Outside are sculptures (actual size) of some of those glorious beasts (mammoths, dire wolves, giant sloths, saber-toothed cats). And best of all – pits of oozing, bubbling tar. One end of the park contains working excavation sites that in the summer have teams of researchers and junior scientists troweling through the muck searching for the bony remnants of lives lived long before the area was settled and exploited for petroleum. The story is fascinating. The smells not so much. The kids love the science and the stories and all the clear ground to run around. Adults love this destination, too. No wonder they call this part of Wilshire Boulevard the Miracle Mile!
This Private Tour Was All About the Goop
Three young lads and a bucket full of slimy yellow goop made their way in our luxury SUV all around Los Angeles including this stop up by the famed Hollywood Sign. The boys insisted on posing for photographs with oozing slime dribbling from their hands. They even wanted us to use the photos in one of our Los Angeles private tour blog postings. We never want to disappoint our guests so, boys, here it is. The boys learned about the Hollywoodland Sign and its origin as a giant billboard for the housing development just below dating back to the early 1920s. The boys learned about our Mediterranean climate and chaparral ecosystem and how little rainfall falls in our beautiful city with the big blue ocean clearly visible nearby. They learned about the charming Lake Hollywood just below that once provided drinking water to the growing neighborhood and which today is maintained more for emergency use. They learned about coyotes and rattlesnakes present all around them as we explored the Hollywood Hills. They learned about Castillo del Lago (Castle of the Lake), the giant estate right by the Hollywood Sign once owned by gangster Bugsy Siegel and later by Madonna. What did we learn with the boys? Their goop is pretty much the same as the goop of our childhood. Boys love goop.
Our Private Tour Guests Learn the Whole Story of Lovelocks When Hiking in Hollywood
The story of the lovelocks begins in Eastern Europe during WWI and was a local tradition for many, many years. Then a young readers novel published in Italy in 2006 (movie released in 2007) resurrected the tradition in Rome and the practice quickly spread around the world. In fact, the idea of locking your name and your lover’s to a fence, post, railing or other public structure and then throwing away the key became so popular in particular locations that localities had to declare it a form of littering and vandalism in order to deal with the problems that came from the enormous weight of the padlocks. There was also the issue of the metal keys being thrown into nearby rivers, ponds and streams. So far, this sweet but troublesome tradition has not created too much of a problem in Hollywood up on an eastern trail of Runyon Canyon. We pass by when we enjoy a hike as part of a Los Angeles private tour. This is just one of the intriguing sights and destinations we pass as we climb from Franklin Avenue to Mulholland Drive on the sandy trails of the park. While it is not exactly the Pont de Arts in Paris or the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, we appreciate the spirit of love as it has become manifest right here in the entertainment capitol of the world.
Pikachu Meets Our Private Tour Friends in Hollywood
You don’t always need an app to find a Pokémon character when you get to Hollywood on a private tour of Los Angeles. These days you are likely to find any number of Pokémon species wandering up and down the most famous sidewalk in the world, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and posing for photographs with visitors. Of course, you are also likely to see Pokémon hunters staring at their mobile devices as they search the Hollywood landmarks while playing Pokémon Go. While we have not yet had a tour request specifically for a game of PG we are expecting a custom tour along those lines to happen before summer is over. Hollywood is a great place to look for the virtual creatures that first appeared on Earth 20 years ago in the form of a Nintendo video game. After countless books, television shows, videos and further evolved games on other platforms it is now Pokémon Go that is taking over the public’s imagination and putting overly focused pedestrians at risk. If you are a player then we suggest, for your own safety, that you play the game on a custom luxury tour of Los Angeles with us and then we can keep you from stepping in front of traffic or falling over a railing.
Some Superheroes Need a Private Tour Fix
Superman can be found regularly along the very popular Walk of Fame in Hollywood having flown in to preserve truth, justice and the American Way. Sometimes the crowds of visitors searching the well known sidewalk seem indifferent to his presence. They just take for granted that they will have a good time identifying the celebrities immortalized in the wide walkway that extends almost 20 blocks in both directions along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. They do not have to be concerned about any bad guys or evildoers because of Superman’s good work. On days when the curious throngs ignore the Man of Steel he might be amusing himself with his X-ray vision or just compressing paperclips into tiny ballbearings. Our tour guides will often seek him out with our private Los Angeles tour guests who are still talking about his latest movie, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (with Henry Cavill in the red cape and Ben Affleck in the black one). If we are really lucky we might find Batman in the same area (maybe equally distracted) and get them both to pose with us for a photograph to go in our guests’ tour photo collection that we provide after their tour.
Tour the Queen Mary on Your Los Angeles Tour
The largest U.S. port complex is the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. The largest container ships in the world pass in and out of these adjacent facilities on a daily basis. It really is something to behold driving into the port area over the beautiful Vincent Thomas suspension bridge. Another incredible view we share with our private Los Angeles tour guests is what we get to see flying over the port in one of our helicopters on the aerial portion of a combination air + ground tour of Los Angeles. Above we get to see the permanently moored British Ocean liner, the Queen Mary, and beside it a cruise ship plying the coast from Alaska to Mexico. What makes the Queen Mary so spectacular is not her size and elegance but the fact that she is today a floating hotel available for Los Angelenos and visitors in our fair city to enjoy. She offers luxury accommodations, fine dining and entertainment, a truly impressive museum and other fun things to do and see. And you won’t get seasick. Corporations plan conferences here and weddings, graduations and other family occasions draw happy passengers up the gangplank to spend time on this still great former ocean going vessel. If you are planning a visit to Los Angeles consider staying on the Queen Mary to make your visit something extraordinary. Also plan a helicopter and ground tour of the city to fill a day with sightseeing and adventure and have photographs to really impress your friends when you return home.