If you are an adventurous type who likes to explore the cracks, crevices and hidden gems of any city, then tours are the ideal avenue for any urban explorer. Tours provide invaluable insight and usually great historical reference to many wonderful sites within the city. Sometimes the sites may not even be accessible to the average person. Surely, most of our curiosity can be fed by researching the Internet; but there is something to be said about actually experiencing and interacting with parts of our city. Getting out and actually seeing it is second to none. And having its story told to us by the voice and opinion of another person makes it not only more interesting but most of the times more retainable. An individual can research architecture until the cows come home, but to see a building in its actual context coupled with real live commentary is something entirely different.
These days tours come in many creative forms from historic walking tours to bus adventures to scavenger hunts. Tours provide a fun, interactive way to connect with and learn about the cities we live in. One company that has raised the bar on tours is Esotouric Bus Company. Created by Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, Esotouric, operating in Los Angeles, is by no means your ordinary tour bus company. Their tour themes are complex and provocative, but never dull, mixing architecture, urbanism, crime, social history, music, literature, film and fine art into a stimulating stew of “original research and startling observations.” Hoping aboard an Esotouric bus, the rider is assured an intelligent, hilarious and passionate journey into the secret heart of Los Angeles. The tour guides are unique, extremely knowledgeable and witty providing both natives and tourists alike with a deeper discovery of the world beyond the everyday.
Another tour well worth note is the Hollywood Forever Historic Walking Tour in Los Angeles. This tour is organized and given by the unmistakably unique Karie Bible. Her passion for history and Hollywood
s past led her to starting a cemetery tour in 2002 under the guidance of acclaimed historian Marc Wanamaker. In keeping with her love of living history, she gives the tour of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in vintage gowns from her collection that spans the 1920s through the 1950s. On this tour, the stars are always waiting for you. Its a great way to learn about Hollywood`s past and present and see the graves of stars such as Rudolph Valentino, John Huston, Peter Lorre, Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, “Alfalfa” from the Little Rascals and so many more.
Out of the Box Events does not provide tours per say but urban scavenger hunts. These are not your typical scavenger hunts where you run around collecting trinkets. Rather these hunts are designed to provide an interactive environment to learn about your teammates as well as dynamic locations of Los Angeles. “The public scavenger hunts created by Out of the Box Events are designed to showcase the culture and local flavor of areas. Clues are filled with information and “out of the box” trivia. These clues lead your team to hidden gems, there you work together to solve as many clues possible. The team with the most correct answers, wins! Have fun with your families, friends and co-workers and learn a little about the areas we pass everyday.” Some of the hunts coming up in 2009 are the Decode Davinci Art Hunt, the Venice Beach Valentine
s Hunt and the St. Pattys Pasadena Challenge.
Discover Houston Tours also provides rare excursions into the city. Based in Houston, Texas, Sandra Lord, owner of the tour company, is a Yankee from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who got to Houston as fast as she possibly could. Since 1988, she has designed and conducted over 40,000 tours for more than 50,000 people from all over the world. The guided tours are 3-hour excursions covering history, art, architecture, shopping, dining, and more, all flavored with Houston`s unique multicultural spirit. Known as the “Tunnel Lady,” for her introduction of the Downtown Houston Tunnel System to the world, her tours cover Tunnels, Rails, Ghost Walks, Broomstick Adventures, Blood & Money, Historic Wards, and several historic Houston locations such as The Heights and the East End.
So, if you are looking to dig deeper into your surroundings, look no further than a guided tour.