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.
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.
Pacific Pedal Cruiser's 14-person cruiser bikes help passengers work up an appetite as they power the pedal-equipped vehicle toward Hermosa Beach restaurants and bars under the guidance of an experienced driver. As tunes lilt from the bike’s iPod-equipped sound system, passengers work their way toward pit stops at bars, such as Patrick Molloys, Underground Pub & Grill, Barnacles Bar and Grill, and other area establishments, refueling with dining and drink specials before resuming their breezy cruise. Bikes welcome the collected members of a bachelorette party or birthday fete for camaraderie-filled private tours or forge new friendships between couples and people tired of waiting at the impound lot during public tours.
Situated along Surfrider Beach and across the street from the famous Malibu Pier, Malibu Surf Shack has been a destination for ocean activities since it first opened its doors in 1972. Crashing waves and surfboard migratory patterns lure instructors to the point-break beach. Here, the pros teach small classes how to shred and duck atop waves. Students can rent boards and other watercraft including kayaks and standup paddleboards to join in on the fun. Inside the retail shop, boards from brands such as Walden and McTavish await their next wave-riding excursions. Malibu Surf Shack's staff demos all of the new and used gear, letting customers try boards or take them to a romantic dinner before making long-term commitments.
Eighty-one-thousand vines grow across Malibu Family Wines' 90-acre vineyard, producing eight varietals in total, including cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and malbec. Once bottled and corked, many of the vineyard's Semler and Saddlerock wines end up at the tasting room in Los Olivos, a homey space with indoor and outdoor seating, occasional live music, and a large wooden tasting bar where customers are free to smell, sample, and swirl away. Those who enjoy the wines can rejoice knowing there's more where that came from—the vineyard expects to increase its vine total to 100,000 in the near future.
With a list of vendors representing celebrated local wineries, restaurants, jewelers, beauty shops, and more, the Food & Wine Lovers' Festival is a catered carnival of Dionysian deliciousness. Vino-sippers can sample fermented grape nectars from dozens of wine and spirit makers, while sweet teeth can get their fix from fine confectioneries. Accessory shops share space with craft designers and cigar slingers, giving smoke blowers an array of stylish vessels to store their stogies in until man lands on the moon for real. Additionally, a portion of the event's proceeds will go to the Ventura County Food Share, a local organization that distributes food to the hungry throughout Ventura County.