Posts Tagged ‘DTLA’
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.
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey on a Private Tour to Chinatown
Los Angeles is quite proud of its Chinatown neighborhood on the northeast corner of downtown (DTLA). This is really New Chinatown which was constructed in the late 1930’s. Our original Chinatown began not very far away in the 1880’s and flourished as Los Angeles became a major American city. However, urban growth, shifting business interests and significant racism meant the decline of the once vibrant neighborhood until it eventually was condemned and redeveloped into what is today Union Station. Happily there was sufficient political will and a more tolerant population for Chinatown to begin anew adjacent to our Little Italy. A beautiful gate was constructed and New Chinatown was open for business. And business was soon booming as it continues to do today. Everything a visitor expects in such a neighborhood is here: great restaurants, shops and services. The Gold Line trolley runs on elevated tracks through a wonderfully designed Chinese-themed station. Civic events are regularly scheduled which attract Los Angelenos from all corners of the city. Hollywood, too, loves the photographic possibilities and features the neighborhood regularly in television and movie productions. We love to take our private Los Angeles tour guests to Chinatown whenever we explore downtown because it is very fine place to stop for a snack at a bakery or quick meal at one of our favorite restaurants, Yang Chow. Happy Year of the Monkey to you!
A Private Tour in Los Angeles Can Start Early
As early as the sun rises. Even if the tour begins after breakfast we often find ourselves preparing for a custom luxury tour for our guests as the colorful morning light appears. Since we always have our digital SLR camera with us wherever we go we can catch sunrise views from upper story windows looking east to downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). We encourage our guests in Los Angeles for a private tour to plan their sightseeing excursion with us at any time that suits them – early for sunrise, late for sunset, even after dark for a look at Los Angeles that only Angelenos get to enjoy. We are ready to go when our guests are. That’s the beauty of a private custom tour. Not to mention door-to-door service. We handle all transportation even for helicopter, yacht or hiking tours.
Every Private Tour by Helicopter Sees Downtown Los Angeles
Sometimes we begin our helicopter tour from on top of a downtown skyscraper. That really makes our aerial tour of the city an adventure. Then, of course, the first sights we enjoy are the city skyline and inner city landmarks. In our tour photo above we see the tallest building (for a little while longer) west of the Mississippi, the U.S. Bank Tower. The historic Los Angeles Central Library is the seemingly tiny white building to its right. The cylindrical Bonaventure Hotel is in the lower left corner of the image. Even if we depart on our luxury helicopter from one of the nearby airports (Santa Monica, Burbank, Van Nuys) we still will navigate through the tall structures and get a birdseye view of the birthplace of Los Angeles, Chinatown, Union Station, the Music Center, Bunker Hill, Broadway and L.A. Live before we head over to the University of Southern California (USC) and the L.A. Coliseum. An hour long flight provides our private Los Angeles tour guests with a good look at the major part of the city’s 500 square miles from downtown (DTLA) to the beach, the local mountains, and the interesting neighborhoods of movie stars in Malibu, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air and Holmby Hills. Naturally, we pull up in front of the Hollywood Sign. And to really make our tour a VIP experience we drive back after the flight for closer looks at many of the sights and landmarks we saw from our helicopter.
Our Private Tour Guests Get to See the Walt Disney Concert Hall Inside and Out
We urge all of our private Los Angeles tour guests to take advantage of our custom tour style (no set itinerary, no predetermined route) to avail themselves of short tours of some of the many places we visit during their tour. For example, a visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH) in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) should be more than a walk around the extraordinary music facility famous for its eye-catching design by Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry. The Music Center, of which the WDCH is part (as well as the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theater), offers regular tours so that our guests can see the beautiful auditorium and learn about the scientifically engineered acoustics that make this one of the best concert halls in the world for both the audience and the artists. Of course, even better than a daytime tour would be attending an event. We can make those arrangements for our guests if they wish. We also love to encourage interior tours of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theatre and the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, not very far from DTLA.
The Sun Comes Out for Our Private Aerial Tour
Not all of our private Los Angeles tour guests wish to enjoy our cities world renowned street and highway traffic. We understand. We do not always appreciate it either. Sure, it’s good for learning a language or staying current with popular music or, while on a tour, telling many of the innumerable stories that we bring to our staff meetings about Los Angeles and Hollywood, history and gossip. We even, as professional drivers in Los Angeles, know many shortcuts and detours to avoid traffic that also reveal many of the lesser known landmarks of the City of Angels. But it is still always a slow and careful drive. So it is a real treat to get airborne over the city in one of our luxury helicopters. We can depart from our base heliport or arrange to meet the aircraft at one of several other nearby airports. Even better – we can land and depart from a skyscaper helipad in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). After what we expect (and hope) will be regular storms this rainy season (our “green” season) the air is amazingly clear in the cooler winter temperatures providing us with extraordinary views of the local mountains in the background behind the city downtown (above) or even from the beach. Our guests often choose just to have a helicopter tour with us making it so the only traffic we might experience is between their hotel and the helipad.