Frank Cullotta, a former hitman, is now working as a Las Vegas tour guide. Here are some other guides with an unusual first-hand perspective
By Rhiannon Edwards
A Las Vegas tour operator has enriched its mobster tour by signing up real-life gangster hitman Frank Cullotta to lead tourists around the city’s mafia hotspots, including the casinos where they ran their rackets. Cullotta was the boss of Tony “the Ant” Spilotro’s crew, who were fictionalised in the movie Casino starring Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro. The US-based Vegas Mob Tour organisers boast that since the appointment, it is now the “most factually correct tour of its kind”.
Vegas Mob tour. Vegasmobtour.com
Here are a few others where the guides have unusually in-depth first hand experience.
Plains Indian tour, South Dakota
Led by a Lakota Indian guide, visit He Sapa Wakan, the sacred Black Hills and see the location for the movie Dances With Wolves, as well as hearing stories about Lakota icons such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Man Afraid and Black Elk.
Lakota Storyteller tour offered by Go Native America. gonativeamerica.com
New Orleans VoodooTour
Bloody Mary, a historian and Voodoo Queen, promises to expose tourists to the real practice of voodoo, away from the fearsome cult-like Hollywood version. See the voodoo cemeteries of New Orleans, learn about saints at the old Mortuary Chapel, make your own doll and have a spiritual blessing at the tomb of celebrated voodoo leader, Marie Laveau.
Voodoo Back o’Town tour offered by Bloody Mary’s Tours. bloodymarystours.com
San Francisco hippie tour
Step on the Magic Bus and straight back into the era of flower power in 1960s San Francisco. Touring the city’s landmarks, including North Beach, Haight-Ashbury and the Golden Gate Park, the hippie guides tell the story of the social revolution with audio visual help inside a psychedelic bus. With singalongs and flowers for your hair, this tour promises a true trip.
Magic Bus tour. magicbussf.com
LAPD crime scene tour
See the sites of LAs most famous murders, suicides and robberies, led by a retired LAPD officer. Strapped in to a tour bus laden with crime-scene tape, visit the site of River Phoenix’s drug overdose, Charles Manson’s old watering hole and the site of the shooting that OJ Simpson stood trial for, all the while learning the history of how the LAPD was formed.
Crime Scene tour offered by Starline Tours. Starlinetours.com
Learn the “art” of lumberjacking with Alaska’s native Americans. This tour includes lessons in totem pole crafting and an honorary welcome in the Beaver Clan House.
Offered by Cape Fox Tours. capefoxtours.com
Homeless experience in Seattle
A Seattle-based tour operator offers a “3-day private course in Applied Homelessness”. Led by an ex-homeless person, Mike Momany, the tour promises lessons on how to live to minimal means. Beginning with receiving a “homeless persona”- a nickname, clothing and life-script, tourists are then led to homeless hotspots around the city by day and sleep in the real homeless hostels by night.
Unsurprisingly, the tour has drawn a lot of negative attention. Momany maintains it is a great way to learn how to live spending less money, homeless or not.
Sub-URBAN Homeless Experience offered by Real View. realviewtour.com
More USA travel ideas: discoveramerica.com
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