As it sometimes does, winter break this year found my family in Southern California looking for things to do in LA. In between goofing around at Universal Studios and meeting up with old friends, we booked a private tour of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood.
Touristy things to do in LA? Hello Hollywood
I turned to the internet, and immediately found the perfect activity for us. Glitterati Tours offers a 3-hour tour called “The Essential Los Angeles” that included all the highlights, plus a few celebrity homes. I briefly hesitated over the price tag ($169/hour for 4-6 people), before pulling out my credit card.
The tour of LA was private, custom, and conducted from a very comfortable SUV with tinted windows. This was kind of fun because people in the big tour buses tried to peer inside at us whenever we passed them. Ha ha ha.
Our tour guide was Jimmy McGill – an LA native, writer, voice actor, and all-around fun guy. Our ride was stocked with snacks and drinks. Our every wish was Jimmy’s command.
Since it’s better to show than tell, here are some of the things we saw on our excellent tour of LA:
The GMC Denali is not a small car. This was a good thing, since my family of four was getting a little sick of each other in our 400-square-foot 1-bathroom hotel room.
After a quick stop at the Hollywood Bowl, we valeted the car at the Hollywood and Highland Center to grab some coffee. The cool thing here are the anonymous mosaic tile stories underfoot that tell how various people got started in the movie business…
Turning right out of the Hollywood and Highland Center, we made our way down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some names were more familiar than others.
This was when we received the shocking news that the red carpet entrance to the Academy Awards is THROUGH A MALL. A dolled up mall, but a mall all the same.
After that, it was off to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where I played a fun game called, “Which stars of yesteryear had smaller feet than me?” (spoiler alert: all of them).
Read on for photos of celebrity houses. Also? Snacks.
Hoo boy, did we see a lot of celebrity homes! This one belongs to Johnny Depp. Our guide had an iPad with aerial photos of the properties, so we got to see more than just fences.
Our tour was from 10am-1pm. Since we didn’t want to waste time on lunch, we availed ourselves to the provided selection of car snacks.
After Marilyn Monroe and retired baseball player Joe DiMaggio were married, they lived in this modest bungalow in Beverly Hills. The marriage. She held the press conference announcing their divorce on the front porch nine months later.
Speaking of Beverly Hills… never let it be said that I am afraid to post multi-chin selfies.
Here’s an example of how Jimmy shows you aerial views of celebrity homes on his iPad. I think this was Madonna’s old place, but I’m not sure.
Read on for the darker side of the tour. And movie props. And an iconic view.
Some of the sights you’ll see are macabre. This, for example, is the house where Michael Jackson died. And this is the gate the ambulance used.
Next we drove down Rodeo Drive, and over to Paramount Studios for a quick photo op. Kids didn’t participate, because teenagers.
There are prop warehouses all over LA. Delightfully, things that are supposed to look weathered — like these Easter Island heads — are stored outside.
Our tour concluded with a photo op at the Hollywood sign (this time we made the kids get out of the car!)
While it’s definitely not cheap, this tour is one of the best things to do in LA. If you decide to see the sights with Glitterati Tours, reserve far ahead and ask for Jimmy. In my opinion, three hours is plenty.
January 16th, 2014 | by Jamie Pearson 2 comments