How To Entertain Out-of-Town Guests in Southern California
Keeping your guests happy and busy So Cal style
by HCTG Staff Writer Cory Jane Birkett
You’re all set, right? You’ve taken care of every detail in preparation for your big day, and you’ve even learned the arcane secrets of wedding gown and bridal bouquet preservation. But there is one small matter that may not have made it onto your to-do list: entertaining out-of-town guests. Friends and relatives who’ve come from afar often stay for a few days, and they won’t want to sit around twiddling their thumbs before and after the wedding. Since you’re not going to have the time or energy to play Tour Guide, why not have a list of fun activities prepared in advance? You can always include familiar options like Disneyland and Universal Studios, but Southern California offers so much more. Here’s a selection of out-of-the-ordinary attractions that will entertain visitors and locals alike.
LAND ROVING PASTIMES
Backroad Treasures: Los Angeles by Bike
L.A. Bike Tours & Cyclery, Los Angeles, 323/466-5890 or 888/775-BIKE
Since the freeways are almost always jam-packed in the City of Angels, bike tours offer a sense of free-roaming adventure while taking in L.A.’s landmarks and hidden treasures. L.A. Bike Tours docents lead sightseers of all ages on routes to many local landmarks.
Essential/ Hip Hollywood: This cycling tour hits most of the major hot spots of Hollywood, including Paramount Studios, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Chaplin Studios, the Egyptian Theatre, La Brea Tar Pits and more.
Beverly Hills Urban Assault: Cyclists tour the prestigious neighborhood of 90210 on this 30-mile jaunt. The scenic ride takes tourists to Rodeo Drive, the Beverly Hills Hotel, Greystone Manor and many stunning celebrity homes.
Getty Center Art Extravaganza: For art and culture buffs, this 35-mile bike adventure departing from Hollywood and ending up at the remarkable Getty Center is the perfect choice. Enjoy the breathtaking architecture and views from this magnificent museum.
Venice Beach Canal Tour: Even the locals aren’t familiar with all the stops along the Venice canal tour. This replica of Italy’s more famous watery city was the turn-of-the-century brainchild of tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney, who envisionedand ultimately succeeded in creatinga Venetian Renaissance environment complete with imported gondolas. In addition to visiting the canals, the tour includes the world-renowned Venice Beach Boardwalk, Santa Monica Pier and more.
Just ten years ago, Hollywoodrife with bums and graffitiwas not considered the most savory of Southern California areas. But that’s all changed. Now you can stroll along Hollywood Boulevard and view the stars’ names under your feet, see the revamped Mann’s Chinese Theater, and saunter around the lobby of the famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, once frequented by legends like Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. And if you’re into Hollywood memorabilia, the Hollywood Wax Museum and the Hollywood Entertainment Museum are definite must-sees. Another site worth a visit is the newly constructed Hollywood & Highland complex, the expansive shopping/dining/entertainment project that transformed the neighborhood and really put Hollwood back on the map. The Kodak Theatre, the new home of the Academy Awards, happens to be here and offers tours, so you Oscar devotees can step behind the velvet rope and get an insider’s view. And if you’re more intrigued by cars than little gold statuettes, drive over to the nearby Peterson Automotive Museum where you can explore the evolution of the automobile through an amazing array of classic cars. Past exhibits have featured rare displays of Rolls Royces, “Million Dollar” cars from the early 1900s and custom American cars from the forties and fifties.
Mann’s Chinese Theater, Hollywood, 323/464-8111 or 323/461-3331
Hollywood & Highland, Hollywood, http://www.hollywoodandhighland.com
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, 323/466-7000, http://www.hollywoodroosevelt.com
Hollywood Wax Museum, Hollywood, 323/462-8860, http://www.hollywoodwax.com
Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Hollywood, 323/465-7900, http://www.hollywoodmuseum.com
An entertainment lover’s dream, this museum contains some intriguing interactive exhibits: you can walk through “Hollywood in Miniature,” a scale model of Tinseltown in the 1940s; experience firsthand how special effects are created with green-screen technology; and visit the original sets of Star Trek, The X-Files and Cheers.
Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, 323/930-CARS, http://www.petersen.org