Posts Tagged ‘downtown’
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.
A Private Tour Can See Angels Flight But Not Ride
It seems that the quick and meaningful glimpse of Angels Flight railway in the critically acclaimed and much appreciated new film LA LA LAND is as close to enjoying a ride on the tiny railroad (298′) as we can expect to get in the near future. The long and interesting history of this funicular (def: two cars counterbalanced on a railway track pulled by rope or cable) is at a standstill now awaiting approval by state agencies to return to business. In fact, the use of the railway in Hollywood film production is apparently included in the prohibition so the LA LA LAND filmmakers were lucky to get their shots completed. However, there is pressure to return the fully-repaired and inspected Angels Flight to public use – perhaps this year. Our private tour of Los Angeles always makes a stop at Angels Flight when we arrive in downtown Los Angeles to see the city’s historic core and recent renovations that are part of its ongoing metamorphosis. The railway was very much a part of the beginning of the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles when it was dismantled and moved from its original 1901 location (shown above in this archival black & white photograph) to its current location a half block away. The old transportation system is a cherished look back at earlier (and slower) times. We hope that we will once again ride the wooden cars (Sinai and Olivet) with our guests as a part of their sightseeing in and around Los Angeles with us.
Construction Cranes Catch the Eyes of Our Private Tour
Our little city on the sea, Los Angeles, is growing. Taller it seems. Where once the U.S. Bank Building was the tallest building west of the Mississippi now there is the Wilshire Grand Center tower just a skosh taller. From Mulholland Drive behind the Hollywood Bowl looking east the new skyscraper adds a bit of balance to the downtown skyline. Even though it is not yet open we are already eager to visit the new building. Just imagine the views afforded by such a majestic height. In the meantime we can take our guests enjoying a private tour of Los Angeles to the top of the former tallest building (only 81′ shorter, officially) where there is not only a restaurant and observation deck but perhaps the scariest sliding board in the world. The plastic chute is fashioned outside of the building and runs from one floor to another. Take about an adventure tour! Besides the giant skyscraper rapidly nearing completion in downtown Los Angeles as you can see in the photograph above there are many construction cranes in Hollywood. Downtown Los Angeles has been preserving the old historic buildings for the most part and adapting and reusing them for new businesses and residences. Hollywood on the other hand is tearing down the old and building new structures. Progress marches on, as the old newsreels use to say (for those of you who remember newsreels in this age of cellphone notifications and headlines). We are happy that production facilities and technology will remain in and around Hollywood as it grows into the future.
We Show Our Private Tour Around the Edge of Downtown Los Angeles
Adaptive Reuse – that is a common expression and term of business art we discuss when we are in downtown Los Angeles on a private tour and sightseeing in the urban core. This means that old buildings, beautiful and historic, instead of being demolished and replaced are instead reengineered to modern safety and construction standards and used again for a contemporary business. Here we are now on the eastern side of downtown Los Angeles near the river when we drive up to one of our newest jewels in the crown of the Los Angeles renaissance. The old Globe Mills, a former flour mill, is now the Hauser Wirth and Schimmel art gallery and bookstore. Much of downtown Los Angeles during the past several decades has been adopted by the art community who were already there in the “derelict” years before the community began to envision the potential of downtown and began a concerted effort to rebuild, reuse and redevelop the downtown core that was so vibrant in its heyday before WWII. HW&S is a global art seller and exhibitor and has created an exquisite gallery for its collection of the works of modern artists. There is also an art bookstore and lunch restaurant, Manuela.
Los Angeles Then and Now for Our Private Tour
Driving into Los Angeles you would never see daytime traffic so sparse as in this frame from a home made film of 1954. Also, the tallest building downtown was City Hall just like so many of our private Los Angeles tour guests remember from the television series Dragnet with Jack Webb. “This is the city, Los Angeles, California …” While traffic is greater now we like to think that our large SUV is much more comfortable than the tall round vehicles of those days. We probably get better mileage too and pollute less. City Hall remains an impressive structure to visit when we tour downtown but there are so many much, much taller skyscrapers today – a real skyline. There is lots of history downtown, too, for our guests to explore with us if they are so inclined. After all, Los Angeles began by a small river near where Union Station is today and walking distance from City Hall.
Our Private Tour Guests Love L.A. Live
Some of our Los Angeles private tour guests even stay here in the heart of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). L.A. Live is more than a slick name and logo it is a considerable force in the renewed life of a once failing downtown core. Grand hotels (including the Ritz-Carlton), movie theaters, the Microsoft Theater for live performance and many of the award shows seen by millions on television, the Staples Center which is home to four professional sports teams (Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks) as well as a regular concert venue for mega stars (Selena Gomez and Carrie Underwood coming up later this year), the Grammy Museum for lovers of all kinds of music and the L.A. Convention Center all are part of this redeveloped quarter at the southern end of downtown. We can easily spend a half of a tour day exploring and enjoying what L.A. Live has to offer. We also like to show our guests the historic parts of town, too. Old Broadway (undergoing its own renaissance right now as former movie palaces become entertainment showcases once again), the great downtown library, Pershing Square and the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the former banking zone now an arts district of creatively reused office and business space, Chinatown with its important contributions to the history of Los Angeles and the birthplace of Los Angeles, Olvera Street – all of these sights and destinations and many more can impress any visitor to Los Angeles easily as much as Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the neighborhoods where we showcase celebrity homes and hangouts. Just so you know, this is a photo taken from a tour helicopter as we came through downtown and will be a part of the tour photo album our guests will have by the end of the day.
Our Private Tour Gets Awesome Aerial Photographs
Los Angeles is probably one of the most photographed cities in the world if only because this is a major media center. Movies, television, and news networks create millions of photographs and film sequences a year. Add in the fact that everyone has at least one camera equipped cell phone with them at all times and we can hardly imagine the number of images that are created every single day here in Los Angeles. And we contribute to that. Our guides all carry with them very high quality digital SLR cameras and as part of their duties photograph their guests and the places they go throughout their private Los Angeles tour – even from inside their tour helicopter as seen above while the tour group flew toward downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) and were nearing Echo Park Lake. All of these photographs go into a digital tour album that the family can share and distribute as they wish. Imagine photographs of the entire family all the time, no missing persons. Imagine having someone taking photographs who does it every day and knows the best places and angles to take pictures of all the famous locations in and around Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Venice and downtown Los Angeles. We do this so often our pilots know exactly where to slow or hover so that the best aerial photographs are possible.
Hundreds of Feet Up Already Our Private Tour Prepares for Flight
The skies are clear and the wind is calm at our rooftop helipad in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). We are taking photos of our guests posing with their luxury helicopter before we take to the sky for a one-hour flight around Los Angeles. We are ready to show them several local universities from the air: USC, UCLA, Loyola and Pepperdine. Maybe they will want to go to school in this wonderful city. We will also get a good look at the Los Angeles beaches from Marina del Rey all the way to Malibu. We will encourage them to compare celebrity homes on the surf and movie star mansions in the hills nearer Hollywood Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air… there are some amazing properties to see from above as we soar over the traffic on Sunset Boulevard. If our guests think the rooftop departure was exciting, suddenly seeing themselves way above the sidewalks of downtown, then just wait until we circle in between the tall buildings enroute to our gentle landing on what seems at first way too small a landing zone. This is better than an amusement park ride. We’ll finish off the tour with a sightseeing excursion in our SUV to see close up some of the wonderful sights of the city we just saw from the air.
Now Our Private Tour in Downtown L.A. Can Visit the Top of the US Bank Tower
Every movie and television program featuring the Los Angeles skyline focuses on the tallest building west of the Mississippi, the US Bank Tower. Rising 1,018 feet (72 stories) above Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) it is taller by far than any other skyscrapers and easy to locate from anywhere you look in the L.A. basin. Our guides tell wonderful stories about the super structure as it appeared in Hollywood productions and as it served the business history of the city. We often take our private Los Angeles tour families to explore downtown and make a point of mentioning and driving past. We do the same when we are airborne on a custom helicopter tour of Los Angeles (above, at dusk). Two things we can say about the US Bank Tower today. Soon (June) we will be able to visit the top floors of the tower where a glass slide on the outside of the building will be open allowing us to quickly descend from the 70th to the 69th floor, from the bar (good idea!) to the observation deck. Called Skyslide it is just a part of Skyspace L.A., a very extensive remodeling of the 27-year old building. The other thing we can say is that there will very soon be an even taller building nearby on Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa. Maybe having lost the reputation as the West’s tallest building the US Bank Tower will still be the coolest.
Our Private Tour Guests All Brought Their Sunglasses
And a good thing, too. Sunny Southern California is not a Hollywood-created description but a real phenomenon. There is sunshine here even in the midst of a desirably wet El Niño which thankfully is returning our lawns to green and filling our reservoirs and aquifers. We even have snow once again sugaring the tops of our local mountains and the nearby ski facilities are all doing bustling business. As you can see, most days out on a private Los Angeles tour our guests would be squinting against the low rays of a winter sun if not for sunglasses. The weather is even warm enough for short sleeves for our hardier visitors (from the north). The best part of a winter visit to Los Angeles are the clear skies. Precipitation and cooler temperatures bring great visibility (for a coastal community). On clear days you can easily see downtown Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Hills and even the Santa Monica Mountains near the beach. Catalina Island is often plainly in view. Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains will be snow-capped and easy to locate. Besides seeing everything that is all around Los Angeles we like to show our guests important locations up close where we can take their pictures…with sunglasses on.