L.A. for Tourists: V.I.P. or R.I.P.?

SM Place
Santa Monica Place, overlooking beach and Pier

If you see black shuttle vans in the Los Angeles area, watch out for their frequent stops. V.I.P. Tours makes lots and lots of them in the same day. For example, their “Beaches and Shopping” tour, which I encounter regularly, stops and lets its passengers out at Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey, Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, the 3rd Street Promenade, and then heads over to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, followed by the Beverly Center, for what can only be termed “Shop After You’ve Dropped.”

V.I.P. Tours looks like a well-run and classy operation, and I guess the breakneck pace of some (but not all) of their tours is desirable for some folks who are only in the L.A. area for a day or two. But when it comes to my friends and loved ones who visit our area, I strongly suggest that they pick no more than 1 or 2 places per day — for example, the Getty Center — and carve out plenty of time for relaxing outdoors over a beverage or a meal in our famous California sunshine.

What about you? Where do you send your L.A. area tourists, and to how many places per day?

3 thoughts on “L.A. for Tourists: V.I.P. or R.I.P.?”

  1. If limited to say just a few hours I would leave the westside alone and send visitors to the Towers of Simon Rodia in Watts, with maybe a drive-around of some of West Adams’ architecture and lunch at Philippe’s or Cole’s or the Pantry. If it was a half day I’d think about a walking tour of some of downtown’s sites, such as the Bradbury Building, Grand Central Market, Angels Flight, Disney Concert Hall and the Central Library. If I had a full day and an excess of energy I’d factor in some Hollywood, such as Hollyhock House, Griffith Observatory, Mann’s Chinese Theatre, maybe finish up with a stroll down the Walk of Fame to Musso’s or the Frolic Room.

    1. Next time I have visitors in town, I’m asking Will Campbell to plan the itinerary.

  2. I’m with Will, it varies on the time available and the age of the group I’m playing tour guide for. I miss the roads through Griffith Park from the Observatory to the Valley as it had some great vistas of the city and the valley that you could show off the size of the city. My must do destinations for first times starts at the Observatory, down to Hollywood Blvd and the Mann’s Chinese, then down to Venice for Lunch at the Sidewalk Cafe on the boardwalk for people watching. If its more than one day I start with a visit to the Rose Bowl, then off to either The Getty or Getty Villa.

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