Category: Los Angeles

Budget-Friendly Experiential Gift Ideas under $50

comments Comments Off on Budget-Friendly Experiential Gift Ideas under $50
By , December 2, 2015 3:50 pm

This is about the time of year that many of us start looking at our budgets and thinking about how much we have to spend on holiday gifts. Although the holidays often spark images of mass consumerism, there are certainly ways to give thoughtfully and generously with a minimalist mindset.

Experiential gifts are ones that value doing things over having things. They’re great for people who are trying to minimize clutter in their lives and not be bogged down by so much stuff. Experiences can vary greatly in price range, but there are so many great things you can try for the first time in your home city or while traveling.

These are a few of our favorite experiential gift ideas under $50.

Introduction to Belly Dancing Workshop

Belly dancing isn’t just a lesson in culture; it’s fun, flirty, and a great workout too. Give the give of our Introduction to Belly Dancing Workshop, which is in New York and features traditional Middle Eastern and North African dances and music. Your gift recipient will learn how to move her hips, torso, arms, and hands with graceful and enticing shimmy and traveling movements. It’s a great gift for anyone looking for a fun way to work out and experience different cultures. The workshop lasts two hours and runs daily.

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks via Flickr

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks via Flickr

Los Angeles Shore Excursion: The Queen Mary

This historic transatlantic ocean liner dates back to the 1930s is a great city break in L.A. There are several tour ticket options available, which run year-around. On our Los Angeles Shore Excursion, you’ll learn about the ship’s fascinating secrets and hauntings, as well as the art deco design and paranormal encounters. Tour options include an audio tour, behind-the-scenes tour, World War II tour, and ghosts and legends show. This is great gift for anyone interested in sailing, paranormal activity, or history.

Whitewater Tubing

West Virginia is a wonderful destination for whitewater enthusiasts, and the historic town of Harper’s Ferry is an ideal place to start. Our Whitewater Tubing experience is perfect for the 18-30 year old crowd and passes through Class I-III whitewater on the Potomac River. The experience takes place between May and September, so it’ll give your recipient something to look forward to when the spring season arrives!

La Jolla Coastal Bike Tour

La Jolla is nothing short of beautiful, and one of the best ways to experience it is on two wheels. Give the gift of our La Jolla Coastal Bike Tour and your recipient will enjoy panoramic views of the San Diego cliffs and Pacific Ocean. On this two-hour ride, you’ll get admission into the La Jolla Sea Caves and Store, see famous surfing breaks, check out sea lions, and visit the historic La Jolla Village neighborhood.

Photo credit: Anne and Tim via Flickr

Photo credit: Anne and Tim via Flickr

Seattle Pub Crawl

Going to the same bars every weekend can be a drag, so the gift of a Seattle Pub Crawl is a great way to discover new and legendary watering holes. The city has some amazing microbreweries, and your gift recipient can learn all about the brewing process and pubs that are steeped in history and fame. This is a great gift for anyone who’s new to Seattle or traveling there for the first time. The pub crawl lasts about 2.5 hours and runs year-around.

Gift-giving doesn’t have to break the budget. Each of these experiences is under $50 and will help your loved ones create memories that last a lifetime.

Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Reveal Your Inner Chef with Gourmet Gifts!

comments Comments Off on Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Reveal Your Inner Chef with Gourmet Gifts!
By , November 17, 2015 1:04 pm

This is the time of year that everyone (not just foodies) starts thinking a little more about delicious food, favorite recipes, and unique twists on tradition.  Turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce might be the first foods that come to mind for Thanksgiving, but this is also a fun time to experiment in the kitchen with festive flavors and exotic spices.

Whether you’ve been looking to beef up your culinary skills for a while now or have an aspiring chef in your life, we can set you up with some exciting gourmet experiences that will change the way you look at food. Here are a few of our favorite cooking experiences…just in time for Thanksgiving!

Introduction to Baking

Holiday season is the prime time to get into baking, with so many parties and events just around the corner. Our Introduction to Baking Class is in the DC area and teaches students the basics of creaming butter and sugar, knowing when a cake is ready, and design techniques. The class lasts about two hours and is great for beginners!

Photo credit: Sugar Daze Cupcakes via Flickr

Photo credit: Sugar Daze Cupcakes via Flickr

Sushi Making Lessons

Do you love sushi but have always been too intimidated to try making it yourself? Our Chicago-based Sushi Making Lessons will teach you how to handle seafood, wrap sushi rice in nori, slice fish, and shape nigiri and maki by hand. This is a fun hands-on learning experience that lasts about three hours and will demystify one of your favorite foods.

Indian Cooking Class

Another delicious type of ethnic food that stumps many first-time chefs is Indian cuisine. Traditional Indian food involves pretty of spices and prep time, but expert Ayesha D’Mello will walk you through the basics in this Miami-based Indian Cooking Class. The recipes you’ll learn are easy and healthy, and classes run on Saturdays and Sundays for about three hours.

Photo credit: nAok0 via Flickr

Photo credit: nAok0 via Flickr

World Cuisine Cooking Class

If you can’t decide which type of cuisine to cook, why not sign up for a World Cuisine Cooking Class and try a bit of everything? This DC-area class features traditional foods from places like Mexico, Morocco, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Vietnam. These 2.5-hour classes are split into demonstration and participation sections and end with enjoying a wonderful meal with wine.

Chocolate Making Class

Chocolate is pretty much impossible to resist any time of year, but especially when holiday season kicks in and sweet treats are all around us. Our New York Chocolate Making Class is designed for everyone who loves chocolate and wants to learn more about it. Students will learn how to make truffles, a ganache, and other treats with milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Techniques like molding, dripping, drizzling, and coating, as well as skills practiced by top chocolatiers, are also covered. This particular class is held in the Midtown West neighborhood and lasts about four hours on Saturdays.

Take a moment to browse our list of gourmet experiences in your city to find a fun and informative cooking class near you this holiday season!

Plan an Awesome Vacation with These Pro Tips

comments Comments Off on Plan an Awesome Vacation with These Pro Tips
By , November 3, 2015 11:04 am

Are you a “Type A” travel planner that organizes every last detail of your vacations and leaves nothing up to chance? Or are you more of a “Type B” traveler who prefers to “wing it” and leave plenty of downtime for spontaneity?

Aside from living with your friends and family members, traveling together is one of the quickest ways to get to know the people around you…for better or for worse. Within just a short amount of time, it’s easy to tell how “travel compatible” you and your companions are, from sleeping habits to sightseeing styles and food preferences.

But regardless of your travel personality and goals, there are a few things you can do to set your trip up for success. Keep these pro tips in mind to plan a better vacation for your next trip.

Strategically Use Technology

Vacation is a wonderful time to temporarily disconnect from technology and un-glue your eyes from the screens that you look at every day. However, smartphones are incredibly useful to look up directions, read reviews to decide on a restaurant, and make reservations on-the-go. Try to focus your device usage on essential travel planning only so you can live in the moment and be observant of your new surroundings. Forbes and Huffington Post have published helpful lists of websites and apps recommended for travel planning.

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC via Flickr

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC via Flickr

Agree on Key Points of Interest

Chances are that there are a few key sightseeing points that everyone in your travel group can agree on. Over breakfast each morning, identify a travel goal or two for the day and plan your day around those sites. Depending on your group size and how safe your destination is, you may be able to split up between or after must-do attractions. The important thing is to be realistic about how much you can see and do in one day and not stress out about it…it’s vacation after all!

Scope Out Discounts

Looking for discounts while traveling can be time consuming, but it makes a huge difference if you’re on a limited budget. You can often find student discounts and military discounts online before your trip, and you can use mobile apps to find deals between activities along the way. Consider checking out deals sites, like Groupon, while out and about to find discounts on things to do at your destination. You can also ask your hotel concierge for coupons or deal recommendations nearby.

Photo credit: Ben Seese via Flickr

Photo credit: Ben Seese via Flickr

Leave Time for Randomness

Even if you’re a hardcore “Type A” traveler, it’s important to schedule in some downtime and set some time aside for randomness along the way. Some of the most memorable experiences that come out of travel are the ones that aren’t planned. These are the times to open yourself up to casual conversations with locals, other travelers, and friendly staff that can help you discover new things.

Look for Local Experiences

Sure, you can float from one organized tour group to the next and check every item off the sightseeing list in a popular travel guide, but where’s the uniqueness and authenticity in that? Some of the best travel experiences are the ones that locals who actually live in the area would do themselves on any given day. Check out our list of experiences by city for activity inspiration, and pick up local newspapers to learn about events going on nearby.

What’s your best vacation planning secret? Happy travels!

Top Local Experiences around Los Angeles for Summer

comments Comments Off on Top Local Experiences around Los Angeles for Summer
By , July 2, 2015 8:36 am

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Los Angeles or have been living in L.A. long enough to become jaded, there are a few misconceptions that we frequently encounter about the city. To start, there’s much more to do here than shop on Rodeo Drive and get start-struck along Hollywood Boulevard!

And the city itself is only the beginning to really get to know the vibe of southern California. Nearby areas of Pasadena, Palm Springs, Newport Beach, and many others are definitely worth exploration too. Here are a few of our favorite local experiences around Los Angeles for summer to enjoy the sunshine in unique and inspiring ways.

Farmers Market Tour

Head to Old Pasadena to experience the colorful streets and fun food traditions on a Farmers Market Tour. Some of the tour stops include an authentic Mexican tortas cafe, a rare Nepalese-Tibetan restaurant, an exquisite chocolate shop, and a handmade soap kitchen. West 3rd Street is a wonderful place to spend a day checking out cafes, restaurant bookstores, and tea shops. This tour lasts about 3.5 hours and starts on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am and Thursday evenings at 5:30 pm.

Photo credit: k lachshand via Flickr

Photo credit: k lachshand via Flickr

Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise

Newport Beach offers a wonderful full-day Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise that travels into yellowtail and white sea bass territory to try your luck. And even if the fish aren’t biting right away, you’ll enjoy some of the most beautiful natural scenery around L.A. on a peaceful boat ride. Expect to spend about 10 hours on this experience, which sets off on weekends between 6:30 am and 7:00 am.

“Amazing Race” Scavenger Hunt

If you’ve ever watched the TV show, “Amazing Race,” and thought, “Hey, I could do that!” this experience is for you! Our Amazing Race-style Scavenger Hunt is a great way to see the sights of the city with a fun goal to keep you focused, observant, and enjoying a one-of-a-kind visit. It’s a great option for groups of friends, solo travelers, and even L.A. locals who want to experience new things in their city. Scavenger hunts begin on weekends at 11:00 and last about 5 hours.

Santa Ynez Mountain Tour

The nearby area of Santa Barbara has lots to offer for travelers who want a little outdoorsy time in their L.A. vacation. Take a Santa Ynez Mountain Tour to see the rugged backcountry of this beautiful region in a custom Jeep. You’ll get opportunities to hike and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Ynez Valley, Channel Islands, and Lake Cachuma. The tour lasts about 3 hours and operates year-around.

Clay Shooting Clinic

Who says that southern Californians don’t know how to shoot? Head over to San Fernando for a Clay Shooting Clinic that’s great for all skill levels. Clinics take place in the morning and include up to 250 rounds of ammunition over 4 hours. If you’ve ever been curious to try shooting a gun for the first time, do it the safe way and hire an experienced professional to teach you the basics.

Photo credit: big-ashb via Flickr

Photo credit: big-ashb via Flickr

San Andreas Fault Adventure

Maybe you’ve seen the new movie out in theaters, “San Andreas,” and are now curious to see what the real fault looks like. If so, check out our San Andreas Fault Adventure to learn all about earthquakes and the surrounding desert and native habitats. You can hike around the area, explore a Native American village, or even pan for gold. This experience takes place in Indio, California and lasts about 3 hours.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy