Bryan Freeman wanted two things out of his career: to meet new people and spend time outdoors. With this in mind, Mr. Freeman's path seemed obvious. He would start giving bike tours. A self-described "fact guy," the expert guide draws upon his extensive knowledge of the Venice area to delight both tourists and California natives. From the Venice canals to the spacious mailboxes of celebrity homes, the expert guide tells stories about famous locations and uncovers some of the area's hidden gems. "Everyone always says they had no idea the tour would be so exciting," he says. "People think Venice is just the beach, but just a block away there is so much more."
Mr. Freeman doesn't keep his groups confined to the seats and cowboy saddles of bicycles. He frequently points out ideal spots for photo ops and occasionally pauses for activities, such as letting groups spray paint their names onto a legal-graffiti wall. He also supplies optional helmet cams that capture videos for souvenirs.
The ocean-side city of Santa Monica, flush with food, culture, and history, provides ample fodder for Destination Food Tours’ signature outing. Led by a local guide, groups stroll to a succession of eateries such as Bar Pinxto, where chefs infuse tapas with traditional Spanish flavors. At MAKE—a completely raw restaurant—chef and author Matthew Kenney showcases the decadence of uncooked food, and at the tour’s final stop, N’ice Cream, scoops of organic gelato refresh taste buds and extinguish mustache fires.
Active Movement's fleet of pedal-assisted and full-throttle electric bikes allows visitors to savor the sights of Santa Monica with minimal effort. Couples and small groups of friends can mount the bicycles and take a private ride past Hermosa Beach, the Venice Beach skate park, and the Santa Monica Pier. And, they also have the option to join an organized adventure in order to pedal past a handful of the area's historic sites, taking well-composed snapshots to share with friends or empty photo albums.
The Hollywood sign looks a lot cooler when you?re parallel with it. Hollywood Air Tours provides aerial views of this and other famous LA landmarks that range from the Staples Center and Pacific Palisades to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, and Will Rogers State Historic Park. The expert pilots, who double as tour guides, provide a variety of tours that include flights over Malibu Beach and celebrity homes, as well as the mega tour, which covers almost every conceivable landmark, from UCLA and the Sunset Strip to Dodger Stadium, city hall, and the Playboy Mansion.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
How is your approach different than that of other professionals in your field?
Pacific Blue Air offers instructional flights along the scenic California coastline our state-of-the-art, open-cockpit REVO Evolution aircraft. ... Unlike helicopter rides, there are no doors to obstruct views and passengers actually get to control and steer the aircraft once in flight. And while our aircraft may look like something best suited for thrill seekers, it's actually remarkably safe. Should trouble ever arise with the legendary Rotax engine, our agile wing could simply glide the craft down to safety. In addition, our REVO is equipped with a ballistic deployed parachute.
Do you or your staff have any special certifications or degrees?
Henry the chief flight instructor is also a certified skydiving instructor, PADI scuba dive master, aerial cinematographer, and world-renowned base jumper.
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
My business partner and I took one flight with our friends in Hawaii (who run a light sport aircraft company called Paradise Air) and thought it was one of the most fun and exciting things we'd ever experienced.
Zuri Wine Tasting's wine enthusiast Tuanni Price and her staff travel far and wide to introduce groups to their new favorite vintages. During in-home tastings, customers can create candy-cane-colored lips with the help of reds and whites such as pinot noir, syrah, and riesling. After setting up a wine bar with the night's choices and glasses, specialists offer information about each selection along with pours. Light snacks such as crackers, cheeses, and chocolate cleanse palates between sips and intertwine delicately with the nuanced wine flavors.
In the past, Zuri Wine Tasting has also organized special events such as blindfolded wine tastings and tastings paired with movie screenings. Wine tours chauffeur groups on a motor coach from Los Angeles to Solvang, where they enjoy a mimosa brunch followed by a tasting at Rideau Vineyard.