Give experiences this holiday: city bike tour, hot air balloon ride, bungee jumping

By Jackie Sedley

This holiday season is being rocked by a global supply chain crunch and rising prices. So instead of buying a  physical gift, turn toward experiences. LA Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds compiled a list of 17 gift-worthy outings in SoCal and shares some of the highlights.

Tour LA by bike

Bikes & Hikes LA, a West Hollywood-based outdoor tour company, has a few different biking itineraries to choose from. But according to Reynolds, “The mother of all itineraries is really a chance to swallow the whole city in a great big gulp. It’s 32 miles … and over the course of that ride you're in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, UCLA, Santa Monica, [and] Venice.”

Bungee jump on the Bridge to Nowhere

Bungee jumpers stand on top of the Bridge to Nowhere in the San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Eric Chan (CC BY 2.0).

LA’s historic Bridge to Nowhere was constructed in 1936, initially to forge a roadway between the San Gabriel Valley and Wrightwood. That plan was abandoned in 1938, when a massive flood washed away the road to the bridge. Now, isolated by architects, the arch-shaped bridge stands tall as a bungee-jumping destination. 

“This gift might be the most and least likely one that someone will follow through on, because first you hike five miles out to the Bridge to Nowhere in the San Gabriel Mountains, and then you do a bungee jump off that Bridge to Nowhere, and then you hike the five miles back,” Reynolds explains.

Ride a hot air balloon in Wine Country

A hot air balloon takes flight above vineyards in Temecula. Photo by Shutterstock.

The California Dreamin’ Balloon Ride gets you flying high just in time for sunrise. The hot air ballooning adventure starts at a private vineyard and winery in the middle of Temecula Wine Country, and takes you up in the air for one hour. 

“As you lift off the Earth, you don’t feel like the basket is rising. You feel like the Earth is withdrawing from you and that you’re stable,” Reynolds says.

Learn improv

Students participate in an improvisation class. Photo by Shutterstock. 

The Groundlings improvisation and sketch comedy theatre has been around in LA for over 40 years. They’re currently offering online Improv for Beginners classes. “You need not be an aspiring comedian,” says Reynolds. “You might just be somebody who wants to make your colleagues smile the next time you’re on Zoom.”