Signature City Los Angeles
Learn the stories behind L.A.’s famous icons from a local resident as you visit Beverly Hills, the Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, La Brea Tar Pits and the museum at Getty Villa.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 16962RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Los Angeles CA
The L.A. Hotel Downtown

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Crossing Points is a time for getting to know one another better and what we may have in common beyond a love of learning. Leading our field trips will be John Daugherty, a local expert with keen insight into the architectural, historic, educational, and residential treasures of Los Angeles. We will see the city on foot, by public bus, metro, and motorcoach. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own.

Dinner: At a landmark restaurant featuring unobstructed views of the city atop a downtown high rise building, enjoy a plated three course meal, plus water, coffee, and tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Upon our return to the hotel, continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Los Angeles History, Downtown, Field Trip
Los Angeles CA
The L.A. Hotel Downtown

Activity note: Getting on/off public transit, walking up to 1 mile at several different sites.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet featuring a variety of options including hot and cold entrees, plus water, coffee, tea, and assorted juices.

Morning: Our local expert, John Daugherty, will discuss Los Angeles history and give us an overview of the city. LA is unique, encompassing a number of culturally distinct areas. Background lectures will provide the framework for field trips to different areas each day as we experience the city to the fullest. Stepping out of the hotel, we will begin our “signature” city exploration on foot. Using the innovated pedways that connect the buildings in downtown, we will venture through the Bunker Hill District. We will also stop at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and admire this building from both inside the lobby and outside from the gardens. In the Civic Center, we will find Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angles, where we will visit the sanctuary, mausoleum, and John Nava’s tapestries. Nava, an oil based painter from a small California town, was hired to work with tapestry manufacturers to create the magnificent pieces that are almost 20 feet tall and 7 feet wide. From the Civic Center, we will take public transit to the first settlement at El Pueblo Historical Monument and Olvera Street. Celebrating the connection to Mexico, this colorful alley is an outdoor marketplace featuring Mexican arts and crafts.

Lunch: Philippe’s is a historic LA restaurant, one of the oldest and best known in Southern California, where we will enjoy a salad and a choice of dipped sandwich, plus water, coffee, soda, or lemonade. It claims to have originated the “French Dipped” sandwich that remains the specialty of the house.

Afternoon: From the restaurant, we will walk to Union Station and admire the architectural features of one of the last great train stations. Constructed in 1939, it is a great example of Spanish Colonial architecture. From Union Station, board the metro to Exposition Park, where our timed admission ticket allows access to the exhibits surrounding the space shuttle Endeavor. We will return to the hotel via public bus.

Dinner: After returning to the hotel, we will walk to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a two course meal, plus water or iced tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Westside, Sony Studios, Tar Pits, Griffith Observatory
Los Angeles CA
The L.A. Hotel Downtown

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, standing for up to two hours at Sony Studio. Standing and walking at Griffith Observatory according to personal interest.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our focus today is the trendy Westside region. First, we step back into movie legend with an expert-led exploration of Sony Pictures Studios. This is one of the most illustrious places in the history of the movies, dating back even before the founding of Columbia Pictures in 1924. The Culver City lot became a virtual city within the city after it was taken over by MGM. Its exceptional features included Stage 15, then the largest in the world. After many changes and mergers, it became Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1989. During our approximately 2-hour walk, we’ll have an insider’s take on the golden age of motion pictures as well as today’s state-of-the-art motion studio.

Lunch: At the farmers market, lunch coupons will be used to purchase a variety of entrees from different merchants, plus water, coffee, tea, and soft drinks; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: The world’s most famous Ice Age fossil excavation site is right in the heart of LA, where animals were trapped in asphalt seeps from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. Paleontological excavators continually extract the fossilized remains of these animals, which scientists and volunteers clean, repair, and identify before they are put on display. It’s a mind-bending experience to see what’s been collected and preserved of prehistoric specimens such as mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats, and wolves as well as reptile and microscopic plant remains. While at La Brea Tar Pits, we will be led by a docent to see the inside of a Fossil Lab, the Observation Pit, and Project 23.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet with salad, entrée, side dishes, and dessert, plus water, coffee, and tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: In our classroom, hear about an insider’s view of Hollywood presented by a local expert.

Hollywood, Free Time
Los Angeles CA
The L.A. Hotel Downtown

Activity note: Riding public transportation (DASH shuttle and Metro Red Line rail system); walking up to 1 mile to the metro station and to sites in Hollywood; standing up to about 2 hours in Hollywood.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll start out via public transportation as a group on the Metro Red Line. Discover many artworks at each station. The stations themselves are interesting as the Metro Art program commissioned a variety of artists to create works reflective of the distinctiveness of each site. At the Hollywood & Vine Station, we will walk past the 1930 Pantages Theater, an Art Deco masterpiece and historical landmark, and the Capitol Record Tower. Get your first glimpse of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the famous Hollywood sign. We'll continue our walk through Hollywood & Highland, the complex that houses the Dolby Theater, site of the Academy Awards. Look for the Walk of Fame around Grauman's Chinese Theater, famous for its foot and hand prints of the stars.

Lunch: At a Hollywood restaurant, enjoy a sandwich with a side salad and dessert, plus a non alcoholic beverage.

Afternoon: From the restaurant, take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions on how to return to the hotel when you choose.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: We will take a field trip via taxi to Griffith Observatory – one of the most visited public observatories in the world located right in the middle of the ten million person urban metropolis. The Observatory was commissioned in the 1930’s as a gift by Griffith J. Griffith, a local silver mine magnate. Enjoy the grounds, exhibits, and 360 degree view of Los Angeles at night.

Coastal Communities, Getty Villa
Los Angeles CA
The L.A. Hotel Downtown

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking at Getty Villa determined by personal interest.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will travel by motorcoach to the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, where we will enjoy an overview by an educator for the J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Villa. Oil magnate J. Paul Getty used some of his vast wealth to amass an incredible art and antiquities collection, first displayed in his ranch house on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. In the early 70s, he had a Romanesque villa constructed next to his house to be a permanent museum for his collection. The Malibu Villa, modeled after the partially excavated Villa dei Papiri in Italy, became the home of the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1974. In 1997 the Getty Villa was closed and the collection was relocated to the new hill-top Getty Center in Brentwood (Los Angeles). After a nine-year, $275 million renovation and expansion, the Getty Villa re-opened as a home to the Museum's Antiquities Collection. The Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities are arranged by themes including Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos and the Theater, and Stories of the Trojan War, housed within Roman-inspired architecture and surrounded by Roman-style gardens. For your self-exploration, pick up a copy of 'Today at the Getty Villa', which lists the day's programs, in the Entry Pavilion. Enhance your gallery experience with a Getty Guide audio player, available free of charge at the Pick-Up Desk on Floor 1 of the Museum with a valid photo ID. The player features commentary from curators and conservators on over 150 works from the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at Getty Villa. The Café serves casual Mediterranean-inspired fare and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. An Espresso Cart, located near the Café, serves coffee and espresso drinks as well as sandwiches and snacks.

Afternoon: From the Villa, we will travel via motorcoach to Santa Monica - home to 3.5 miles of broad, sandy beaches and fresh ocean breeze. We will walk with a local expect who will cover popular/historic venues and locales along the bluff. We’ll learn why Santa Monica was named “One of the 10 Best Beach Cities” by National Geographic. After our Santa Monica walk, we will return to the hotel via motorcoach.

Dinner: At the hotel, our farewell dinner will include a buffet with salad, entrée, side dishes, and dessert, plus water, coffee, and tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

City Hall Observation Deck, Program Concludes
Los Angeles CA

Activity note: Taking public transportation (DASH shuttle and public bus) from the hotel to LA City Hall. At City Hall, group will have a one hour guided walk; enjoy view of LA from 27th floor Observation Deck. Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With the group, we’ll ride DASH to City Hall for a docent led walk. The walk includes the beautiful view of Los Angeles from the 27th floor Observation Deck. We will then return to the hotel as a group. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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