Oddball LA Tours
Plenty of folks head to Los Angeles, California, for a glimpse of glamour – from fashionable Rodeo Drive to the seedier Sunset Strip and the land of made and broken dreams that is Hollywood Boulevard. And, playing on all the Hollywood hype, there’s no shortage of star-studded home tours here. But Los Angeles has loads of offbeat offerings as well if you’d like to see more than a celebrity’s imposing front gate.
Esotouric bus tours diverge from the beaten path to help you explore lesser known neighborhoods and local history. Bone up on true crime or literary legends, music or the occult as you wind your way through the city. A hotel horrors tour, for example, allows those with a darker side to visit venues frequented by Night Stalker Richard Ramirez and the Skid Row Slasher, while literature lovers can visit the locales that defined Raymond Chandler’s and Charles Bukowski’s writing.
Unlike their pavement pounding Manhattan counterparts, Angelenos preferred mode of transportation is vehicular. Go against the crowd by taking a self-guided walking tour with Angles Walk LA. Tour Bunker Hill, Union Station, Hollywood, Chinatown, and more – with transit and rail directions included as part of the package. And if you want to get in a workout whilst whiling away your tourist hours, I recommend the Off ‘N Running Tours. Visit Venice and Santa Monica or make your way up the famous Hollywood Hills. There’s even a “Running from the Paparazzi” option, a four mile run from Wilshire Boulevard to Rodeo Drive.
Make sure to bring your sunglasses for the Museum of Neon Art’s Neon Cruises. Double-decker buses navigate through the L.A.’s full-on fluorescence while guides give you a history lesson in signage, every Saturday from June through September, with holiday lights’ events in December.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority doesn’t just serve Los Angeles’s 9 million residents. They’re also here for tourists, offering some very cool toursled by docent volunteers who want you to know about all the great public art in their communities. Hitch a ride with them (tours are free!) the first Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday of every month.
This last option is definitely the quirkiest of the bunch. Take My Mother Please is a one woman show. Anne Block will chauffeur you and your friends around the city in her silver Cadillac, introducing you to her personal Los Angeles, including marketplaces, architecture and all manner of cultural oddities. She tailors the tours to your whims. Some examples of recent ones include Pretty Woman and Jewish Heritage tours.
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