Zeppelin Tour Over Hollywood

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    Universal Studios Hollywood

    Aerial view of Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
    ••• Aerial view of Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour Over Los Angeles

    Airship Ventures has ceased operations due to lack of corporate sponsorship.

    After my first Airship Ventures Zeppelin Tour of Long Beach, I couldn't wait to get back up in the air for the longer flight to Hollywood, preferably a sunset flight, as I was picturing in my head the perfect photo of the late afternoon sun lighting up the Hollywood Sign, with the Zeppelin shadow crossing it.

    I was blessed to have the chance to take that Sunset Hollywood Tour a couple months later, even if the sun didn't cooperate with my photo plan. There's just nothing like the experience (the closest is probably a hot air balloon) of floating over the city in a quiet gondola with a 360 degree panoramic view. You can walk around to take advantage of the view in every direction.

    Even though the clouds interfered with the perfect Hollywood Sign photo I envisioned, they made a spectacular backdrop to reflect the pink sunset. Here are...MORE some of my favorite photos from the flight. Read more about booking a flight on a Zeppelin Tour of LA

    This view of the Hollywood studios in Burbank, which is the highlight of Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Tour, gives a great perspective on where things are in relation to each other. I've annotated it for easy reference. Cahuenga Blvd runs along the 101 Freeway on the right of the picture, through what is known as the Cahuenga Pass. Universal Studios Hollywood is front and center.

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    Aerial View of Downtown LA

    Aerial view of Downtown LA
    ••• Aerial view of Downtown Los Angeles from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The view looking northwest at Downtown Los Angeles from the Zeppelin Eureka. The Staples Center and LA Live are at the left edge of the photo. The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles is the left-most tower. The white dot above that on the hillside is the Griffith Observatory. You can just barely make out the Hollywood Sign on the hill at the very left of the photo.

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    LA Convention Center

    Aerial view of Los Angeles Convention Center
    ••• Aerial view of Los Angeles Convention Center from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Los Angeles Convention Center has 720,000 square feet of exhibit hall space and 147,000 square feet of meeting rooms with parking for 5,600 cars. It first opened in 1971 with expansions in 1993 and 1997.

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    Staples Center and L.A.Live

    Staples Center and L.A. Live
    ••• Aerial view of Staples Center and L.A. Live in Downtown LA, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Entertainment and hospitality options were expanded substantially around the Staples Center and LA Convention Center with the addition of LA Live, which includes the Nokia Theatre, the JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live and the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles as well as the Grammy Museum and a variety of restaurants. The tallest building at LA Live is the Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live, which includes 224 luxury condos on the top floors of the 54 story tower. The hotel itself is only 123 rooms on the 22nd to 24th floors. The Ritz-Carlton shares the shorter extension abutting the tower with the JW Marriott Los Angeles.

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    Downtown LA from the Air

    Aerial view of Downtown LA
    ••• Aerial view of Downtown LA looking northeast from Staples Center up S. Figueroa and S. Flower, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Downtown Los Angeles seen from the air.

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    Zeppelin Tail over Downtown LA

    Zeppelin Tail over Downtown LA
    ••• Aerial view of Downtown LA and the tail of the Zeppelin Eureka, seen out its rear picture window on Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Downtown Los Angeles core is really rather small compared to the vast geographic footprint of the City of Los Angeles. This view is looking southeast. About an inch up on the left side of the photo, the flat rectangular building is part of the Los Angeles Music Center. If you follow that street diagonally, you can just make out the silver waves of the Disney Concert Hall. At the far right of the photo, the thin tower is the Ritz Carlton Los Angeles at LA Live. The athletic fields on the right are at Belmont High School.

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    Echo Park Lake

    Aerial view over Echo Park Lake
    ••• Aerial view over Echo Park Lake across to Griffith Park and the Hollywood Sign on Mt. Lee, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     Aerial view over Echo Park Lake in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park.

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    Dodger Stadium from the Air

    Dodger Stadium from the Air
    ••• Aerial view of Dodger Stadium, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Aerial view of Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

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    Getty Center Aerial View

    Getty Center Aerial View
    ••• The Getty Center and 405 Freeway seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     An aerial view of the Getty Center in Brentwood.

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    Griffith Observatory Aerial

    Aerial View of Griffith Observatory
    ••• Aerial view of the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park with Glendale and the San Gabriel Mountains in the background, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     An aerial view of the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park.

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    Hollywood Sign & View

    Hollywood Sign & View
    ••• Aerial view of the Hollywood Sign on Mt. Lee in Griffith Park with the Hollywood Hills in the foreground and Glendale and the Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains in the background, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Los Angeles is the only major US city bisected by a mountain range. In this photo, looking northeast, most of what you see over the top of Mt. Lee (where the sign is) and Mt. Hollywood is the City of Burbank in the San Fernando Valley, but west of Burbank, most of the San Fernando Valley is part of the City of Los Angeles.

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    Flying Over the Hollywood Sign

    Flying Over the Hollywood Sign
    ••• A Zeppelin's eye view of the Hollywood Ssign on Mt. Lee in Griffith Park, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Hollywood Sign is probably LA's most famous landmark. It sits on top of Mt. Lee in Griffith Park, which is a little confusing, since the next mountain to the east is Mt. Hollywood. Beyond Mt. Lee in this photo, you can see Burbank, the Verdugo Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains.

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    Universal Studios Hollywood from the Air

    Universal Studios Hollywood
    ••• Aerial view of Universal Studios Hollywood, and Warner Bros Studios north of Mt. Lee with Burbank and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     Aerial view over Universal Studios Hollywood looking into the Valley and the Verdugo Pass

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    Universal Studios Hollywood

    Universal Studios Hollywood
    ••• Aerial view of Universal Studios Hollywood and the 101 Freeway with Downtown LA in the distance from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Aerial view from Universal Studios Hollywood to Downtown Los Angeles.

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    Universal Studios Hollywood from the Air

    Universal Studios Hollywood
    ••• Aerial view of Universal Studios Hollywood including the "War of the Worlds" plane crash set, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    This aerial view encompasses just part of Universal Studios Hollywood from the War of the Worlds plane crash site, next to the Whoville set from Grinch at the bottom of the frame over the theme park and Universal CityWalk, where you can see the white dome of the Hard Rock Cafe, to the Lower Lot and sound stage in the top 3rd of the frame. The Back Lot cityscapes and building sets are out of frame to the right.

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    The Back Lot at Universal

    The Back Lot at Universal Studios Hollywood
    ••• Construction on the back lot at Universal Studios Hollywood, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Back Lot (or Backlot) at Universal Studios Hollywood is where they create artificial cities and buildings that provide the backdrop for TV shows and movies. A fire in June 2008 destroyed part of the Back Lot, including most of New York Street, part of Courthouse Square (used in Back to the Future, among other things) and the King Kong attraction. In this photo, taken in January 2009, the reconstruction is ongoing, but then again, construction and reconstruction of movie sets is always ongoing.

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    Universal CityWalk from Above

    Universal CityWalk from Above
    ••• Aerial View of the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal CityWalk from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Looking down into Universal CityWalk, the pedestrian shopping and entertainment center adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood, you can see the giant neon guitar in front of the domed Hard Rock Cafe.

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    Jay Leno Show Studio 11

    Jay Leno Show Studio 11
    ••• Studio 11 and the race track where the Jay Leno Show is taped at NBC Universal, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Jay Leno handed the Tonight Show over briefly to Conan O'Brien in 2009 and created the short-lived Jay Leno Show, which taped in Studio 11 at NBC Universal. The outdoor race track seen here was used for his frequent race car challenges with guests. 

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    Aerial view of Disney Studios

    Aerial view of Disney Studios
    ••• Aerial view of Disney Studios in Burbank from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Disney Studios in Burbank has a rather small footprint compared to its neighbors, Warner Bros Studios and Universal Studios. The Animation Building (bottom right) with it's Mickey Mouse sorcerer's hat can be seen from the 134 Freeway.

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    Hollywood View

    Hollywood View
    ••• Aerial view over the 101 Freeway, the Hollywood Bowl and Hollywood southwest to the Pacific Ocean, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    This photo gives a nice overview looking southwest over Hollywood, but because there was no contrast in the lighting on this cloudy day, you don't get a real sense of how hilly the Hollywood Hills are. You can see how beautifully isolated the Hollywood Bowl is in its basin off Highland Ave, while being within reasonable walking distance (0.8 mile/1.2 km uphill) from the heart of Hollywood at Hollywood Blvd and Highland for people who like to walk. Hollywood Blvd is the street lined with taller buildings.

    The red roof down Highland Avenue from the Hollywood Bowl is the Belmont Village assisted living facility, followed by the Hollywood Heights Hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Hollywood and the tall white building is the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

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    Hollywood & Highland Looking Southwest

    Aerial view of Hollywood & Highland
    ••• Aerial view of Hollywood & Highland, the heart of Hollywood, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The densely packed intersection at Hollywood Blvd and Highland Avenue is considered the heart of Hollywood. This photo looks southwest over the Hollywood & Highland shopping and entertainment complex, which includes the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel at the bottom of the frame, with the helicopter pad on top. The Babylon Gate and the white elephants overlooking the Babylon Courtyard were based on the ancient Babylon set from D.W. Griffith's 1916 epic "Intolerance."

    The Kodak Theatre is conveniently marked, set at the back of the mall, away from the Kodak Theatre entry facade on Hollywood Blvd.

    You can see the green peak of Grauman's Chinese Theatre peaking up through the complex at the edge of Hollywood Blvd. The boat-shaped roof next to that is Madame Tussauds Hollywood. On the south side of Hollywood Blvd, beginning at the left of the frame is El Capitan Theatre with the orange sign, followed by the Disney Entertainment Center, where Jimmy Kimmel, Live! is taped. The...MORE black tower is the former TV Guide Building, now dominated by the Trailer Park entertainment marketing company, whose sign replaced TV Guide on top. To the right of that with the billboard on the sign is the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

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    Hollywood & Highland

    Aerial view of Hollywood & Highland
    ••• The Heart of Hollywood Aerial view of Hollywood & Highland, the heart of Hollywood, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Take a look at my Hollywood & Highland Guide to get an idea of all the things to do near Hollywood & Highland.

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    TV Taping in Hollywood

    TV Taping in Hollywood
    ••• Crews set up a temporary band stage suspended over Hollywood Blvd at the entrance to Hollywood & Highland shopping and entertainment complex, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    As we flew over Hollywood Boulevard on the Airship Ventures Zeppelin Tour of Hollywood, I zoomed in with my 35-350 mm lens and caught a team putting together a transparent band stage hanging over the edge of Hollywood & Highland over the Kodak Theatre entrance. I don't know what they were taping, but there's an X visible on the top of the transparent piano. The drum set on the stage is also clear. American Idol and other musical performances frequently tape at the Kodak Theatre.

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    Above Hollywood Boulevard

    Hollywood Boulevard Aerial View
    ••• The view east down Hollywood Boulevard at Highland as a crowd gathers on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for a TV taping, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    This aerial photo looks east down Hollywood Blvd. The left side of the frame is the north side of the street, beginning with Madame Tussauds Hollywood with the red signs at the bottom, Grauman's Chinese Theatre with the green peak sticking up, the Hollywood & Highland complex, including the Kodak Theatre off frame to the left (you can see the yellow entrance way for the Kodak next to Grauman's but the actual theater is deeper into the complex) and the First National Bank Building at the top center across Highland Ave.

    There are are always a lot of people on the sidewalk in front of Hollywood & Highland and Grauman's Chinese Theatre exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Forecourt of the Stars, but on the day we flew over, they were preparing to tape a musical performance on top of Hollywood & Highland and had cranes with lights and cameras blocking off part of the Boulevard.

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    Above Hollywood Boulevard

    Hollywood Boulevard Aerial View
    ••• The view east down Hollywood Boulevard from Hollywood & Highland to Hollywood & Vine, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     An aerial view looking down Hollywood Boulevard.

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    Beverly Hills Civic Center

    Beverly Hills Civic Center
    ••• Beverly Hills Civic Center from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Beverly Hills Civic Center's Spanish Colonial buildings designed by architect Charles Moore were added in 1990 to the Mediterranean Revival architecture of William J. Gage's 1932 Beverly Hills City Hall. The Beverly Hills Police Department showcased in Eddy Murphy's Beverly Hills Cop movies is part of the complex.

    Beverly Hills Civic Center
    455 North Rexford Drive
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210-4817
    United States

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    Pacific Design Center

    Pacific Design Center
    ••• Aerial View of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    West Hollywood is the epicenter of interior design in Los Angeles, due in no small part to the Pacific Design Center's 1,200,000 square feet of design showcase galleries.

    The blue building, Center Blue, known affectionately as the Blue Whale, was first to be constructed in 1975. Center Green was finished in 1988; and the final phase, Center Red is under construction in this photo (far right), taken in January 2010. It is projected to be completed in 2011. The lighter green building is the parking structure, accessible from Melrose Avenue.

    In addition to design galleries serving the architectural and interior design industry, the Pacific Design Center is home to a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as two Wolfgang Puck Restaurants.

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    Wilshire Blvd through Westwood

    Wilshire Blvd through Westwood from the Air
    ••• High rise buildings along Wilshire Blvd through Westwood seen from the Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    If you drive down Wilshire Boulevard from downtown Los Angeles to the coast in Santa Monica, you might get the impression that Los Angeles is filled with high rise buildings instead of the sprawling neighborhoods of single family homes and small apartment buildings that cover most of the LA Basin. This view of Wilshire Blvd through Westwood, near UCLA, reminds me of trees growing along a river.

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    UCLA Campus from Above

    UCLA Campus from Above
    ••• Aerial view of UCLA campus in Westwood from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the most prestigious state universities in the country. Its prime location in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles next to Beverly Hills doesn't hurt.

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    An Open Window Over LA

    An Open Window Over LA
    ••• A passenger takes a photo out the open window of Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     Looking through a zeppelin window over Los Angeles.

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    Aerial of Beverly Hills Hotel

    Aerial view of the Beverly Hills Hotel
    ••• Aerial view of the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Built in 1912, the original Beverly Hills Hotel building was designed by architect Elmer Grey. There was nothing else in the neighborhood when the hotel was built. The City of Beverly Hills grew up around it. The property has had many owners over the years and is now owned by the Sultan of Brunei and managed by the Dorchester Group. Wikipedia has an interesting lists of Famous Guests who have stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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    The Spelling Manor

    The Spelling Manor
    ••• The Spelling Manor, built by Aaron and Candy Spelling in Holmby Hills in 1991 is the largest house in LA County at 56,000 square feet, seen from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Aaron and Candy Spelling razed the former Bing Crosby Mansion in Holmby Hills to build their palatial Manor. Designed by architects James Langenheim & Associates, the mansion was originally named L'Oiseau (the bird) for its winged shape from above, but became known simply as The Manor. It's nearest neighbors are the Los Angeles Country Club golf course and the Playboy Mansion.

    Aaron Spelling passed away in 2006 and Candy Spelling put the Spelling Manor on the market in early 2009 for $150 Million. It was still listed at that price in January 2010. There's no official room count in the real estate listing, but Wikipedia lists it at 123 rooms.

    There is, of course, a screening room, a bowling alley, gym, billiards room, game room, a beauty salon, wine cellar and tasting room, 5 kitchens, 5 bars, a dog-grooming room and a gift-wrapping room (I wonder if they have official dog groomers, beauticians and gift wrappers on staff as well) to name just a few. There is also reported...MORE to be an entire level of closets below the attic. In addition to 4 two-car garages, the driveway can hold 100 cars.

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    Playboy Mansion from the Air

    Aerial view of the Playboy Mansion
    ••• Aerial view of the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles near Beverly Hills from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    The Playboy Mansion in the exclusive Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles is the home of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. The Gothic-Tudor mansion was built in 1927 by architect Arthur R. Kelly and acquired by Heffner in 1971. The main house is reported to have 29 rooms, with a separate "game house". That makes it seem almost tiny compared to the 123 rooms of its nearest neighbor, The Spelling Manor.

    In addition to all the well-known escapades that appear in the pages of Playboy and on various reality shows, the Mansion hosts events that are open to the public if you can afford the price of a ticket. Keep an eye on my Halloween and New Year's listings for public events at the Playboy Mansion or check out the  Playboy Mansion Facebook Page.

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    Sunset View of Malibu

    Sunset view of Malibu
    ••• Sunset view of Malibu from Airship Ventures' Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    This 13 miles of scalloped Malibu coast line begins just north of Pacific Palisades.

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    Sunset view over Santa Monica

    Sunset view over Santa Monica
    ••• Sunset view over Santa Monica to Malibu from Airship Ventures' Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Sunset view over Santa Monica from a zeppelin tour.

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    Shooting the View

    Shooting the View of LA Lights at Sunset
    ••• A passenger takes photos of the city lights at sunset out the rear picture window of Airship Ventures' Zeppelin Eureka on the Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    Passenger shooting the view of LA lights at sunset from a zeppelin tour.

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    Aerial Sunset over LA

    Aerial Sunset over Los Angeles
    ••• Altocumulus clouds reflected pink in the sunset over Los Angeles on the Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     Los Angeles Aerial View at Sunset

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    Picture Perfect Sunset

    Picture Perfect Sunset from the Zeppelin Eureka
    ••• Two men enjoy the view of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica through the rear picture window on Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. © 2010 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com

    The bench seat at the back of the Zeppelin Eureka with the sun setting is a popular spot for romantic gestures. Many marriage proposals have occurred here. If you let the crew know your intentions, they can help orchestrate your big moment for maximum romance.

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    Night Aerial of Downtown LA

    Night Aerial View of Downtown Los Angeles
    ••• Downtown Los Angeles at night from Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     Night Aerial View of Downtown Los Angeles

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    Zeppelin Night View of LA

    Zeppelin Night View of LA
    ••• A passenger looks out the rear picture window of the Zeppelin Eureka at traffic on the 110 Freeway extending to downtown Los Angeles on Airship Ventures Hollywood Studios Zeppelin Air Tour, Los Angeles, CA. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

     Aerial view of Los Angeles from a zeppelin.