If you're a first-time visitor to LA, prepare for a déjà vu experience. So much of what you see, you've witnessed before in movies and on TV. So perhaps instead of vacation planning, you should think of your preparations as fashioning your own private movie.
What will it be? An action-packed blockbuster or a laid-back romantic comedy? Whatever, make it your own. The elements are all there. Jog on palm-studded beaches. Hike the San Gabriel Mountains. Explore hot new happenings. Connect with rich colonial history. Visit the theme park where it all began: Disneyland. Check out the movie studios: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount, Columbia and Universal.
Cruise Sunset Boulevard and pop into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where "Pretty Woman" was shot. Shop till you drop on Melrose Avenue. Check out the more than 200 celebrity handprints and autographs in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Catch a game at the iconic Dodger Stadium. Get a snoot full of culture by taking in everything from the fantastic (and free) mountaintop Getty Museum to an outdoor concert at the historic Hollywood Bowl.
Don't let the the sprawling freeways deter you. Stay off them as much as you can, and you'll find L.A.'s really a tightly clustered collection of trend-setting neighborhoods that are easy to get around in. Venice Beach. Santa Monica. Westwood. Beverly Hills. Hollywood. Studio City. It's a long list, sure to include experiences you'll love. So, schedule your flights. Plot your just for-you adventure. And, action!"
Have a whale of a time at this 100-year-old landmark, the only true amusement pier left in Southern California. Visit the aquarium, ride the historic merry go-round, or just walk over the waves.
Explore small, vine-covered boutiques in a diverse district that borders Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Shop vintage and designer clothing, textiles, one-of-a-kind home furnishings, and more.
Swim, surf, scuba dive and fish while enjoying vast beach access, ocean views, tide pools, cliffs and rocky coves. Point Dume juts out into the Pacific at the northern end of Santa Monica Bay.
Laugh at the latest improvisation and sketch comedy at this intimate venue. It's launched countless careers, from Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig to Will Forte and Maya Rudolph. Whom might you discover?
Catch the L.A. Philharmonic at this Frank Gehry-designed concert hall. Or at least drive by. The way light hits this landmark's stainless-steel curves gives it an ever-changing, almost magical look.
Spend time taking in the stunning gardens, open spaces and spectacular views from the Getty's perch atop the Santa Monica Mountains. Not all the artistry is inside the Richard Meier-designed museum.
L.A.'s moderate, Mediterranean-like climate makes it a year-round getaway. It especially appeals to Midwesterners wanting to beat the summer heat.
Miami transplant Chris Angel Gomez is director of guest sales and services for Celebrity Cruises, which is a nice title but an odd one for land-locked Wichita. But then, he has an interesting take on the place he now proudly calls home — it's a port city.
"The Wichita airport is a gateway to the globe," he says.
He's in a position to know. As part of his job, once a month or more he's at Eisenhower Airport, where they know him by name, boarding a flight to some place with ships in the harbor. Seattle, Houston, Baltimore, New York. From there he boards ships for faraway destinations with islands or icebergs or castles. You could easily do the same thing.
The Wichita airport is a gateway to the globe
"When you are traveling, there is nothing better than easy," he says, extolling the virtues of the airport. The parking, the limited lines, the Wi-Fi, the open seats even on busy mornings. "I don't see why anyone wouldn't use it for themselves to go and explore the world and enjoy and see what is out there. It helps you grow spiritually and as a human being."
Eisenhower Air caught up with him by phone from Miami where he was about to board a ship for three days of business meetings, meals and ocean breezes. Sounded rough. The topic of his presentation would be on what the Wichita office was doing so right.
The Celebrity Cruises contact center in Wichita is tops in the industry for conversion rates and has the highest employee morale, globally, in the company. Other lines under the Celebrity Cruises umbrella — including Royal Caribbean and Azamara — want to know how he does it.
We had a similar question. How does a Miami-born young man of Cuban descent with a taste for the arts and culture keep up his morale in working-class Wichita?
"When you surround yourself with the right people, anywhere becomes home," he says. He's involved in the community through supporting the arts and local nonprofits and attending parties where everyone there too seems to now know his name. "I don't think it was hard to adapt to Wichita," he says. "It would be hard to adapt back to the East Coast."
Pina Coladas and pirate hideouts. White sand and jewel blue surf. The islands are a paradise that feel a world away from Wichita. Week-long cruises or even three days of island hopping between San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis offer plenty of opportunity to take it all in. Bring us back some rum.
Glaciers and fjords and whales, oh my. Alaskan cruises are the most popular ocean-bound destination from here. Makes sense. Majestic views of mountains, the deep, green wild, the Northern Lights. You won't be in Kansas anymore.
The Old World ain't the Wild West. That's what makes it such a must-see, at least once in your life. Tour Spain, Italy, France and England. Or book a tour of Scandinavia and Russia, a visit that Gomez highly recommends. Bring us back some vodka.
The Sargasso Sea sounds like a mythical place. It's not. But it's beautiful and the reefs make it a diver's delight. You'll find it surrounding Bermuda and the small chain of islands you'll visit on this tour. With stately mansions, lush gardens and fine restaurants, this island destination offers everything you're looking for in an island destination.
|Editor||Valerie Wise, Wichita Airport Authority|
|Creative Agency||Greteman Group|
|Creative Director||Sonia Greteman|
|Art Director||Meghan Smith|
|Contributing Writer||Barry Owens, Deanna Harms|
|Photography||Jyle Dupuis, Jeremy Thompson, Wolfgang Miller,Sergei Gussev, Royal Caribbean|
Eisenhower Air is published for the traveling public by the Wichita Airport Authority. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please direct them to Valerie Wise at [email protected]. We also encourage you to share articles through social media and email. Help us spread the word about the good things happening at our airport.
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