The beauty of an oceanside, major metropolitan city that spans such a vast distance and encompasses so many different cultures and activities is that the choices of entertainment are seemingly endless. Check out these tours that take you and your family (where appropriate) into a wide variety of LA communities and environments.
The TMZ Tour
In partnership with Starline tours, TMZ runs a hilarious, very entertaining tour of all the spots where celebrities got in trouble, arrested and incarcerated. Unlike most Hollywood celebrity tours, you will not be driving past celebrity homes or famous dining locales unless something illegal took place there. At every stop you will be treated to a TMZ video with a crazy song telling you about where you are and why. With caustic humor, jabs will be made at the celebrities who made that location famous. Our tour guide Van who is also a paparazzi could have had his own stand up show. He had us laughing from the moment we got onto the bus until we turned into the parking lot at the end. Part of the tour is celebrity spotting. If you spot one, you get a Tshirt. Van actually jumped off the bus a liquor store in West Hollywood to see if there was a celebrity shopping inside. If you are a fan of TMZ this tour is definitely for you.
Malibu Wine Trail
Pick-up at west side hotels
Get to know the wineries that are right here in your own back yard. Malibu Discovery operates a wine trail tour that includes tastings at 3 wineries, lunch, and a goody bag, all for $159 per person. Tours run every day and you need to make reservations three days in advance. If you’re not a tourist visiting from out of town, the operators will arrange for you to start the tour at a convenient hotel location.
Vintage Venice Tours
Take an in depth walk through Venice, California with writer and resident Jonathan Kaplan. Kaplan’s fascination with the history of Venice, the development of the city and the many events that took place there, including the movie and music scene launched him into the tour business. As he says on his website, rather than bore his friends hundreds of times with the same historical details he couldn’t help but recite, he decided to share this info with tourists who actually want to know about things like the canals, which rooftop a homeless Jim Morrison slept on, where they filmed the movie Grease or the spot where Charlie Chaplan donned his moustache and signature hat for the first time. There are four different walking tour options.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
The future is being invented at JPL, and the lucky public gets to see some of it every month during the public tours, which are free, and come with free parking! You have to make reservations at least 3 weeks in advance, and bring government ID for each adult, but once you’re in, you get to see a film about JPL and then you take a 2-hour walking tour of this fortress of space research and exploration.
All Los Angeles Tours
When in Rome….or in this case LA, do as the Angelenos do, don’t walk, Segway. Because as Missing Persons sang in the 80’s “nobody walks in LA.” Ok thats not true. LA is really a pedestrian city in many ways. But it is fun to mock our extravagant ways in LA and how much more extravagant can you get than having a Segway take you on a walking tour rather than actually walk? All Los Angeles Tours offers several Segway tours of Beverly Hills that afford you the chance to see the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills lifestyle all without setting a foot on the pavement. So if you’ve always wanted to scoot down Rodeo drive this is your chance to do it!
Asian Food Walking Tour
Another Side of LA Tours
Los Angeles is home to peoples of varying nationalities and backgrounds, each with their own cuisine. If you are into Asian food and want to delve deeply into an authentic experience, the folks at Another Side of LA have created custom tours just for you. They will take you into Thai Town, the second largest population of Thai’s in the world, for a 3.5 hour experience that will engage your tastebuds and your senses as you explore a brief historical and cultural overview of this emerging culinary destination of Los Angeles. Or take a walking food tour through Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district, a historic neighborhood that is over 100 years old. They also offer a Dim Sum Tour and a tour of the San Gabriel Valley’s New Chinatown. Sign me up! Sounds delicious.
Sunset Ranch Hollywood
Always wanted to see the Hollywood sign up close and personal? Why not see it on horseback? Sunset Ranch Hollywood offers one- and two-hour rides with spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign from Mt. Hollywood. Considered the “best view of Los Angeles” this is one tour not to miss. Kids must be at least 8 years old to take the ride.
Behind the Scenes at the Getty Museum
Another Side of LA Tours
Los Angeles is also home to the most expensive museum in the world. Designed by Richard Meyer, The Getty Museum is an architectural wonder at the pinnacle of a mountain featuring breathtaking views and lovely gardens. Just touring the Getty itself is an experience to remember from the tram ride up the hillside to the vast travertine expanse of the building. Inside The Getty houses an impressive collection of works by masters from every period. Another Side of LA provides private guided tours of The Getty that offer you the history and architectural details of the building as well as the art collection housed within.
Laura Gerson loves to discover things about Los Angeles and share them with your family. She blogs about kids activities and resources for moms at Mom Angeles.