Lifestyle

California travel, tours and activities make fun Christmas gifts

This is part of the LA Times 2021 Gift Guide. See the full guide here.

What if you gave your loved ones an adventure – or at least a trip instead of stuff? You would have a memory and you wouldn’t have to worry about the global supply chain mess. Unless otherwise stated, all prices are based on the lowest available adult price for one person.

Bungee America on the Bridge to Nowhere

A bungee jumper jumps backwards off the Bridge to Nowhere.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

First, hike five miles to a lonely bridge in the San Gabriel Mountains. Then you put on a harness and jump off the span. Beyond the basic offerings, you can do an overnight campout that includes “two leaps into the abyss of the night.” When you’re done, hike back five miles.

Starts at $99 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

California Dreamin’ Balloon Ride

A photo from a hot air balloon ride with California Dreamin'

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

These sunrise drives soar over the wine country of Temecula. California Dreamin’ is one of several companies offering hot air balloon rides in the area. The price shown is the starting price for one person on a weekday.

$188 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Round-trip transportation on the Catalina Express

A boat in the Pacific Ocean

(Allen J. Cockroaches / Los Angeles Times)

It’s about an hour’s drive to Catalina Island, and you might see dolphins or maybe a whale along the way.

$76 from San Pedro and Long Beach, $78 from Dana Point | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

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Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour

A woman with a zipper.

This 2-hour adventure gives you the chance to zoom at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour across a eucalyptus-filled island canyon near Descanso Beach Club.

$129 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Glen Ivy Hot Springs Club Mud

A pool at night surrounded by cabanas and palm trees.

These hot springs near Corona have been used for generations. For newbies, the Club Mud package (which includes red clay mineral baths) is a gentle getaway. The mineral pools, moor, sauna and steam baths unfold in a chill-out landscape. You can add massages and facials, but the reasons alone are reason enough to go. Basic admission, which includes Club Mud and various pools, starts at $85 (Monday through Thursday). Gift certificates are available from $50 to $200.

$85 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

gondola vacation

A gondola ride around the Naples Islands in Long Beach.

(Allen J. Cockroaches / Los Angeles Times)

Since 1982, Gondola Getaway has been taking people (mostly couples) on hour-long gondola rides through the canals surrounding the Naples Islands in Long Beach. In December, when the holiday lights are twinkling, prices start at $160 per couple, departing from 11am to 9:30pm (other months, trips for two people start at $100).

$160 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Groundlings improvisation for beginners

People on stage at Groundlings' Improv for Beginners class.

In addition to comedy shows, the Groundlings, which began in LA in 1974, offer improv classes for beginners. At the moment they are online; a 2 ยฝ hour session will sharpen your mind with individual and team exercises.

$45 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

hip cooks

Hipcooks teachers prepare dishes.

Hipcooks classes teach people how to cook everything from crepes to cavatelli. There are four locations in the Los Angeles area. Upcoming courses include Oh, Brazil! (You’ll learn how to make two classics, Caldo de Feijรฃo with Vinaigrette and Pao de Queijo) and Hanukkah Sip & Nibble: Latkes & Thyme-Infused French 75. Right now, the company is conducting all of its instruction via virtual classes ($20- $95), but in-person classes are expected to resume at some point.

Starts at $20 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Island Packers trip to Anacapa Island

A boat arrives at an island.

(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Island Packers, a National Park Service concessionaire, offers round-trip boat transportation from Ventura to tiny Anacapa Island (1 square mile, 1932 lighthouse, many dramatic views from the cliffs), which is part of Channel Islands National Park. The island is about 14 miles offshore. The price shown is the daily return fare for adults.

$63 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

K1 Speed โ€‹โ€‹Burbank

Go kart racing indoors.

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

These single-seater electric karts drive at speeds of up to 70 km/h. Riders complete 12 laps of a quarter-mile indoor track. (Children under 18 must have a parent and minimum height is 48 inches. No license required.) In addition to the new Burbank location, there are locations in Anaheim, Irvine, and Torrance. A race costs $24.95; Many people get the $59.95 package, which includes two races, a t-shirt, and a membership.

$50 and up for gift cards | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Walking tours of downtown LA Conservancy

A photo of a tour group in an ornate old building.

LA Conservancy is the city’s premier architectural preservation group. His docents conduct several walking tours of downtown Los Angeles on Saturdays. Under the themes: Art Deco design, historic downtown, modern skyline and Union Station.

$15 for non-members, $10 for members | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

LA in a day bike ride

A person standing next to an American flag.

This tour from Bikes and Hikes LA, a West Hollywood-based outdoor touring company, covers 32 miles in about six hours and takes in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, UCLA, Santa Monica, and Venice. This tour departs daily at 10am, according to the Bikes and Hikes LA website.

$162 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Museum of Neon Art Neon Cruise Bus Tour

A crowd of people in Chinatown lit by neon lights.

The Museum of Neon Art, based in Glendale, offers Neon Cruise tours that usually involve a double-decker bus. The dates for the driving tours for 2022 have yet to be announced. The museum also offers nighttime walking tours through prime neon cityscapes, including Glendale, Koreatown, and Hollywood.

$60 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Skydive Perris

Two people skydiving.

Skydive Perris is one of the largest skydiving centers in the United States. Indoor jumps (vertical wind tunnel simulations) start at $65 (a Friday special). Beginner tandem jumps (12,500+ feet) start at $219. Gift vouchers are available.

Prices vary | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Horseback rides at Sunset Ranch Hollywood

People ride under trees.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

You will pass under the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park. All trips are guided and last one to two hours. Weekdays are cheapest. Evening tours are $125 each.

Prices vary | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

A man stands behind a violet glowing cauldron.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

This one is for cinephiles and TV freaks. Warner Bros. is offering the only ongoing studio tour that is not part of a theme park operation. It’s a 1 hour guided tour of the backlot area (by cart) followed by up to 2 hours of exhibit browsing and food. You’ll see props, costumes, music and backlot sets from The Big Bang Theory, Friends (Central Perk) and shows now in production. Guided tours are offered in English, Spanish and sign language. SoCal residents receive a special price of $57. You can learn about tour options using the link below, but to purchase a gift certificate you must call (818) 977-8687.

$69 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Info here

Windsport hang gliding lessons

A woman takes off on a hang glider.

At Dockweiler State Beach near Los Angeles International Airport, Windsports hang-gliders take you to the top of the 30-foot dunes from which you launch. In a mini beach hour of 2-3 hours there is time for four flights. Airmen must be at least 18 years of age (or 14 with parental supervision and approval). Windsports also offers tandem flight lessons at Kagel Mountain in the Angeles National Forest. (Note: There is a minimum height and weight of 4ft 11 and 90lbs and a maximum weight of 230lbs.)

$99 | ๐Ÿ‘‰ Buy here

Mary Forgione contributed to this gift guide.

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https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2021-11-04/california-trips-tours-activities-make-fun-holiday-gifts California travel, tours and activities make fun Christmas gifts

Russell Falcon

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