Founder of Cali Bike Tours Elizabeth Williams doesn't just advocate a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle; she lives it. As a triathlete and passionate cyclist, Elizabeth shares her pedaling skills with fellow riders on tours through Long Beach designed to take in breathtaking views and historical sites without disturbing sunbathing ghosts. Her Velo Vino tour pairs sightseeing with sipping at local wineries, and according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, " At each stop . . . founder Elizabeth Williams encourages you to not only sample a mix of imported and regional wines, but chat with each establishment’s sommelier or wine director, too." Other 2- or 2.5-hour tours meander along a bike path that cuts directly through the beach, or point digesters of culture toward local art exhibits and restaurants.
Under the tutelage of melodious maestro Andreas Mitisek, the Long Beach Opera's toughened tunesmiths bang out praiseworthy performances of works by an international array of composers. The opera's stage-bound songbirds tackle questions of morality, power, and faith during their performance of Philip Glass's Akhnaten, the third in the composer's Portrait Trilogy. Making its West Coast debut, Akhnaten follows the rise and fall of the titular pharaoh, a leader known for bringing monotheism to Egypt and owning an expansive collection of ceramic kittens. True to Glass's reputation as an avant-garde artist, Akhnaten features vocal performances in historically accurate languages—including Egyptian, Akkadian, Hebrew, and Klingon—translated into eye-catching English supertitles projected for instant understanding. The cast is led by a covey of Long Beach Opera rookies, including international songsters such as Jochen Kowalski, Oxana Senina, and Ralph Cato.
Commanding a fleet that includes Lincoln Town Cars, eight-passenger limos, and whopping 20-passenger Hummers, the chauffeurs of Ilssk Limousine Service scoop up riders for jaunts in an around Los Angeles. Their airport car service helps travelers relax before or after big trips, with comfortable leather seats cushioning passengers while drivers navigate traffic and crack the occasional knock-knock joke. Customizable sightseeing tours reveal LA’s inner secrets to out-of-towners and staycationers alike, zooming past iconic landmarks in vehicles ranging from a Mercedes Benz S-Class to a Cadillac Escalade. Back at the office, friendly dispatchers ring customers with a courtesy call prior to their scheduled pickup, and dole out free rides on the rare occasions that an Ilssk driver is more than 15 minutes late.
Mulligan Family Fun Center's three locations surround parents and kids with sprawling smorgasbords of kinetic entertainment. Outside, each park's sunny grounds encourage healthy activity with putt-testing miniature-golf courses and the hairpin turns of go-kart tracks. In the batting cages, aspiring sluggers test their swing while recognized major-league sluggers test their disguise against the park's do-not-admit posters. Back inside, climbers scale the rock wall’s vertical challenges and friends battle friends in laser tag’s intense light-based combat.
Each location also has its own signature activities. The Torrance location's rookie go-karts, for example, enable younger drivers to take a turn down the track, whereas the Palmdale location boasts a longer, 1,500-foot track for children and adults alike.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 9, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient. My Gym also welcomes parents to come, relax and have fun, keeping a kids-music-free atmosphere.
Gonpachi fashions its menu of authentic Japanese fare and Edomae (Tokyo-style) sushi from locally sourced ingredients, as well as authentic foodstuffs purchased from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market. Gonpachi hand-pounds its soba noodles daily from buckwheat flour threshed and milled on the premises. These freshly noodled noodles can then be served chilled with a dipping sauce as seiro ($8) or in a hot broth as kake soba ($8–$9). Gonpachi in Beverly Hills also practices the slow-cooking robata-style, preparing delicacies such as Chilean sea bass ($6) and bacon-wrapped cherry tomatoes ($3) over the gentle firelight of a traditional oak-charcoal pyramid. On the other end of the cooked spectrum, sushi fans can trap spicy tuna rolls ($5) between the bamboo chopsticks in their hands or the insect pincers on their faces. Chopsticks also protect hands from the flavor explosion of the dynamite roll ($16).