Each year as part of Cartan Tours’ fabulous Rose Parade tour, clients from both the Ayres Hotel and the DoubleTree Hotel are taken on a sightseeing tour of greater L.A. that includes downtown Hollywood, the Farmer’s Market/Grove shopping mall and the ever-famous and picturesque Santa Monica Pier.
Our morning started with a trip to downtown Hollywood and a lovely visit to the historic I.T.C./Grauman’s Chinese Theatre built by Sid Grauman. Whether you hoped for a picture of the star belonging to Cary Grant, Doris Day, John Wayne, Michael Jackson or Johnny Depp, (and the list goes on and on; as does the entire Hollywood Walk of Fame), many iconic stars can be found right in the forecourt at Grauman’s. There are many photo opportunities here, as well as the next scenic view – The casting couch and the fabulous Hollywood Sign that sits atop Mt. Lee. Because I’ve done this tour several times, I’ve learned the best place to see the sign, and get the best picture for our clients! Also in this area, guests are able to get a quick glimpse of the Dolby Theatre (previously known as the Kodak Theatre) where the Academy Awards are held each year, and the El Capitan Theatre, home to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Then we were off to the next adventure.
Our next stop was the famous L.A. Farmer’s Market and “The Grove” shopping mall. The Farmer’s Market offers an eclectic group of stands selling hamburgers, bakery items, ice cream, gluten-free and vegan choices, produce of every kind, and a large choice of ethnic foods from around the world. The market is an eater’s treasure-trove. “The Grove” shopping mall, (adjacent to the Farmer’s Market), is home to a variety of popular stores (i.e. – American Girl, the Gap, Nordstrom’s, Barnes and Noble and so many more…) There are also many places to enjoy sit-down dining or quick bites. Snacking or eating outside also leaves time for those who wish to ride the delightful Grove trolley to see the famous Christmas tree of L.A. The tree at the Grove is the official city tree and the lighting of the tree is televised annually. You also never know who you may see shopping at the Grove because this is one of many spots, where celebrities choose to shop in the L.A. area.
The last sightseeing destination during our tour is one to savor, and one of my favorite stops of the entire day – the world-famous Santa Monica Pier. This year, we were able to enjoy the beautiful blue skies and ocean surf for several hours. Some guests chose to beachcomb, some went to the 3rd Street Promenade for even more shopping and eating, some walked the pier to view the trapeze school and the artists that were performing/practicing, some rode the ferris-wheel and others snapped picture after picture because this iconic pier is often used as a backdrop in many television shows and movies. It is also here at this beach, that many a “Baywatch” scene was filmed, when they did not film in Malibu. After a full day of fun and sightseeing, Santa Monica Pier allows our guests to end their day on a crescendo, ready to sleep well to prepare for all that is to come the next day, the beautiful Rose Parade in Pasadena.
For more information on our Ayres and DoubleTree Hotel Rose Parade packages for 2014-2015, please contact Travel Benefits By Design at 816-595-6000. Travel Benefits By Design is an authorized partner with Cartan Tours.
by Warren Hanson, Cartan Tours