10 Ways to Wow Your Group in Los Angeles
It’s been said, only partly in jest, that to book group activities in Los Angeles is redundant. Given the embarrassment of diversions available in the world’s reigning entertainment hub, this mad mecca is itself a nonstop group activity, and one that never ceases to astound first-time visitors and veteran Angelinos alike with its creativity, bravado and sheer joie de vivre.
There’s an inevitable sense of déjà vu to visiting the tour bus mainstays, whether its the iconic Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, movie studios or Venice Pier, all permanently embedded in our minds from generations of LA-set films and TV shows. Not that these landmarks should be avoided; it’s just that the experience tends to be less one of discovery than completion.
More and more, LA–bound groups tend to gravitate toward activities and attractions that celebrate the city’s coastal gorgeousness, cultural richness and family-friendly zaniness.
Here are 10 memorable ways to wow your restless charges in the City of Angels.
The Getty Center: Perched atop a Brentwood peak, this $1.3 billion art museum and cultural center, accessed from visitor parking below by a three-car funicular, features the J. Paul Getty Museum, Research Institute, Foundation and Conservation institute, all in service to the visual arts. What may sound stuffy is anything but, thanks to noted architect Richard Meier’s awe-inspiring design and the glorious valley views from the campus. Nightlife, lectures, films, culinary workshops and walking tours of the art, architecture and gardens keep the Getty busy.
SUP Boarding: If your group is intent on dipping a toe anyway, why not explore the fun to be had atop a standup paddleboard (or SUP)? Poseidon Paddle & Surf School of Santa Monica offers 1 ½-hour flatwater lessons for beginners in the calm waters of Marina del Rey, as well as intermediate sessions on the beaches of Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice.
The Queen Mary: The grandest luxury liner of its day, the RMS Queen Mary boasted five dining rooms and lounges, two cocktail bars and swimming pools, a grand ballroom, a squash court and even a small hospital when she first set sail from England to New York City in 1936. Since 1967, the Queen Mary has served as a floating hotel and popular wedding destination in LA County’s robust port city, Long Beach, offering a host of popular dining options, including Sunday champagne brunch.
Malibu Wine Safari: If you’ve ever longed to sit back and sip a fine wine in the company of zebras, giraffes, bison and alpacas, this 1,000-acre vineyard will fill your cup. It even provides carrots, bananas and pellets to share with your four-footed drinking buddies.
Design your own bag: Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres while each member of your group designs their own Timbuk2 backpack, tote or messenger bag, then makes their custom clutches real with the staff-assisted digital bag builder at Timbuk2 in Venice.
Scratch DJ Academy: If your group is musically inclined, this West Hollywood upstart may prove infectious. Co-developed by Jam Master Jay of Run DMC, this DJ academy gives guests hands-on training in the funk-damentals of mixing, blending and scratching, with libations and finger food to keep the music playing.
Get a Clue: For a fun evening in your venue of choice, why not hire the traveling Murder Mystery Company to stage an interactive comedic game of Clue for your post-prandial amusement? All sets, costumes and props are provided as teams square off to solve the evening’s mystery.
Griffith Park: While this popular park is a daytime favorite with hikers and joggers, the Sierra Club cooks up unforgettable memories with its nighttime hikes lit only by the lights of the city below.
Walt Disney Concert Hall: Since its opening in 2003, this stainless-steel-clad Frank Gehry jaw-dropper has drawn almost as much acclaim for its fascinating ships-at-sail architecture as for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra’s musical magic within. Groups enjoy the option of one-hour guided or self-guided audio tours daily of this unforgettable 3.6-acre masterpiece.
Nobu Malibu: This upscale Pacific Coast Highway fusion restaurant serves that incomparable Pacific seafood you’ve been craving with a unique Japanese-Peru twist. The perfect seaside venue to toast a successful Los Angeles event.
Photo credits: Griffith Observatory, Shutterstock.com. Above, clockwise: The Getty Center by Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com; The Queen Mary by Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com; The Walt Disney Concert Hall by Gabriele Maltinti / Shutterstock.com; Santa Monica Mountains, Shutterstock.com.