Los Angeles is a city with a rich history. When most people think of LA, they picture Hollywood –and there is indeed a great deal to explore in Hollywood, considering how much film history there is to be found there. From studios dating back to the Golden Age of Hollywood to backlots filled with props and scenery from your favorite shows of the past few decades, any film or TV lover would have an amazing time on a Hollywood tour.
But there’s more to Los Angeles than Hollywood. From the incredible food scene in Downtown LA to the wildlife of Marina Del Rey to the famous pier in Santa Monica, there’s plenty to explore in and around Los Angeles, with each location offering something different.
Planning a vacation to the City of Angels and looking for the best LA tours? We’ve compiled a list of the coolest tours in LA to help you put together your Los Angeles bucket list. From backlot tours to food crawls, the tours on this list will help you see LA in a brand-new light. You’ll feel like a local in no time!
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15 Fun Tours of Los Angeles, CA
1. Step into movie and TV history at the Warner Bros. Studio
If you love all things Hollywood, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is a must-do for your Los Angeles vacation. Part tram tour and part walking tour, this three-hour journey into film history sees visitors tour a 110-acre backlot where they’ll see how their favorite shows and movies were made.
From “Shameless” and “Gilmore Girls” to “Pretty Little Liars,” “True Blood,” and “The Big Bang Theory,” you’ll see iconic set pieces from your favorite shows. Plus, you’ll check out the costumes and vehicles from DC classic films and visit the soundstages where hit movies are made.
Over on Stage 48, you’ll become the seventh friend on the Central Perk set, try your hand at flying Harry Potter’s broomstick, or get sorted into your own Hogwarts house. Visit Chandler and Joey’s apartment, or hang out at Monica’s!
Throughout the soundstage, you’ll find tons of props from many movie and TV franchises. Plus, you’ll get an insider look at how some of your favorite big-screen moments were made. What you see on this tour can vary, so it’s always worth a return visit when you’re in Tinsel Town, making it one of the best Los Angeles tours.
2. Skip the line and check out the secrets of Universal Studios Hollywood
While the Warner Bros. soundstage has its own private tour, you can experience the Universal Studios soundstages simply by picking up a ticket to spend a day at Universal Studios Hollywood. The backlot tour is a ride for visitors to the park.
However, VIPs get an even better experience. When you get a Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Tour pass, you get to go behind the scenes on a much more private tour that lets you see parts of the backlot that aren’t usually for the public’s eyes.
Hop aboard a special trolley where you’ll be shuttled around the backlot. You’ll disembark at several stops to get an even more in-depth look at Universal’s shows and movies. You’ll visit soundstages and check out a colossal prop warehouse that you can’t see on the regular tour.
But what makes this tour one of the best tours in Los Angeles is the fact that it comes with a special VIP ticket to allow you to enjoy the park in addition to your tour. You’ll get a ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood that gives you skip-the-line access, so you can get on all your favorite rides and attractions without having to wait. Plus, your ticket also comes with access to the VIP Lounge, where you’ll get a gourmet meal.
3. Visit iconic Los Angeles sites on a hop-on, hop-off tour
Hop-on, hop-off tours are a common popular tour option in major cities, and Los Angeles has one of the best. With the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour, you’ll choose between a 24-hour and 48-hour ticket, where you can hop on the double-decker bus to tour your way around Hollywood and beyond.
See the Hollywood Sign, glide down the Walk of Fame, and venture over to Beverly Hills to watch the lifestyles of the rich and the famous play out. The bus will stop at a number of locations throughout Los Angeles after departing from the Big Bus Visitor Center Hollywood. You can join at the visitor center or at any of the stops.
Visit where dreams of being on the big screen come to life at Paramount Studios, step back in time to prehistoric times at the La Brea Tar Pits, and see where so many of your favorite musicians got their start at Whisky a Go Go.
The tour comes with pre-recorded commentary, giving you tons of information about these iconic sites. You can also upgrade your ticket to the Deluxe 2-Day Tour when you add on the TCL Chinese Theatre Walking Tour or the Celebrity Homes and Lifestyle Tour.
4. Take in the views from horseback
Looking for unique Los Angeles tours that will give you one-of-a-kind views? Try the Mulholland Trail Horseback Riding Tour. On this one-hour Los Angeles tour, you’ll ride up in the Hollywood Hills, where you’ll take in the sights of the LA Basin and the iconic Hollywood Sign.
Start your tour at Sunset Ranch, just off Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. There, you’ll meet your guide as well as the majestic creature that you’re about to trot around LA with. Ride through the hills around Griffith Park at a relaxing pace, where your trusty steed will follow your tour guide and provide you with a unique way of looking at LA.
Your experienced guide will ensure that you take in panoramic, unparalleled views of everything from the Downtown Los Angeles skyline to the Griffith Observatory. It’s a tour unlike any other and is a perfect pick for nature lovers who want to see the natural beauty of the city.
5. Soar above the Hollywood Sign on a helicopter tour
If you want an aerial view of the beauty of Los Angeles, hop on the Beverly Hills and Hollywood: Helicopter Tour, one of the coolest Los Angeles tours. On this intimate 20-minute tour, you’ll board a helicopter at the Burbank Airport, where your knowledgeable pilot will meet you and begin telling you true stories you won’t hear anywhere else.
From there, you’ll lift up high over the Hollywood Hills and soar across the LA Basin. Get a bird’s-eye view of Universal Studios Hollywood, where you just might catch sight of the epic stunt shows. Then, you’ll climb above the Hollywood Sign for a perspective few others ever see.
You’ll also get a view of some of the most famous areas of Los Angeles for celebrities to call home, from Laurel Canyon to Bel-Air. You never know who you might see out and about!
Through it all, you’ll don your noise-canceling headphones, allowing you to hear stories from your pilot, who offers colorful commentary to all you’re seeing. For an added fee, you can also book this tour as night approaches to see the iconic Los Angeles sunset from the sky.
6. Visit the best of LA on a guided bus tour
For one of the best Los Angeles sightseeing tours, hop on the Best of LA Bus Tour. With a knowledgeable guide at the helm, you’ll learn all the best tips and tricks to navigating LA and getting the most from your Los Angeles vacation.
You’ll start your five-hour journey on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you’ll board the bus and be whisked off to Santa Monica. Along the way, your guide will share stories and ensure that you don’t miss a single one of Los Angeles’s top attractions, from the Sunset Strip to Rodeo Drive to Bel-Air to the Getty Center.
Once you reach Santa Monica, you’ll spend some time exploring the boardwalk, shopping along the 3rd Street Promenade, and dipping your toes in the sand. On your way back to the Walk of Fame, you’ll see even more sights, like Museum Row, all while your guide shares tips on where to find the best entertainment, shopping, and dining.
Speaking of some of the best dining, you’ll stop by the Original Farmers Market for a lunch break at one of LA’s best places to eat. From there, you’ll continue on your journey as you see the Greek Theatre, Griffith Park, and, of course, the Hollywood Sign.
7. Take a grand tour of Los Angeles
New to LA and looking for a guide to take you out on an all-day, fully-booked adventure? Then, the LA Grand Tour is the LA tour you’re looking for. For a full day, you’ll be whisked around Los Angeles, where you’ll see all of the City of Angels’ biggest and best attractions.
You’ll meet your guide on Sunset Boulevard, where you’ll depart on your journey to Santa Monica. While there, you’ll ride the rides at the pier, shop around the 3rd Street Promenade, and take in the views of the Pacific.
From there, it’s lunchtime at the Original Farmers Market, where you’ll sample your way around the best foods LA has to offer. Then, you’ll do some shopping at the Grove, LA’s famous outdoor mall.
Your next stop is at the Griffith Observatory, which offers one of the best views of the Hollywood Sign and Downtown LA. Your final stop of the day is over at the Walk of Fame, where you can hunt for your favorite celebrity’s star and explore pieces of Hollywood history at the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre.
8. Go on a walking tour that you can only do in Los Angeles
For one of the best Los Angeles walking tours, grab your ticket to the Hollywood Sign Walking and Pictures Tour. If you’re looking for an active way to explore LA, this 2.5-hour tour is a perfect choice.
During this tour, your guide will show you the best way to hike up to the Hollywood Sign as they entertain you with tales of Hollywood history. Your guide has actually appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” as a comedian before, so this tour is bound to be one of the funniest LA tours.
The other highlight of this tour is that it was designed to provide you with the best views possible. If you’re social media savvy and looking for places to take eye-catching photos and videos, this tour is a great choice. Snap shots of the skyline, the famous sign, and much more. So be sure to bring your camera, as well as comfy shoes and lots of water.
9. Hike to the Hollywood Sign
For another walking tour in Los Angeles, check out the Original Hollywood Sign Hike Guided Tour. This 2.5-hour tour invites you to get outside and get active as you take in some of the best sights of Los Angeles.
Exercise in the LA sunshine while your guide tells you all about the history of Hollywood and the film industry on your way to the Hollywood Sign. From the top of your hike, you’ll spot studios for Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros. Your guide will also make sure you don’t miss out on any of the famous filming locations in Griffith Park, which have appeared in “La La Land,” “Back to the Future,” “Terminator,” and much more.
End your tour with a photoshoot behind the Hollywood Sign, a one-of-a-kind experience that makes for memories that’ll last a lifetime. Then, you’ll take a relaxing stroll back down as you continue your unique workout.
10. Explore Downtown Los Angeles’s unique culture
Not all of the best Los Angeles walking tours will take you around Hollywood. Hear about and walk through another side of Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles, on the Downtown Los Angeles: Food, Arts, and Culture Walking Tour.
During this two-hour tour, you’ll hear stories you don’t often hear about Los Angeles. Rather than learning about film history, you’ll learn about the development of car culture in LA and what happened to the once beloved Red Line. You’ll even hop on the Angels Flight railway to experience what it was like before cars ruled LA.
The stops you’ll find along this tour aren’t the Walk of Fame or the Hollywood Sign. Instead, you’ll visit the Last Bookstore, the Grand Central Market, and the Bradbury Building, all LA landmarks in their own right that are too often overlooked. Then, you’ll experience cultural institutions where LA locals and visitors go to play, like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Broad Museum.
Explore the Civic Center of LA and hear about how LA developed and the local legends who shaped it, like former Mayor Tom Bradley. Visit the oldest street in LA, Olvera, and learn about how the Spanish Empire helped form the Los Angeles we know today. Your last stop is Union Station, where you’ll uncover the history of the Grand Central of the West.
11. Eat your way around Downtown Los Angeles
While the previous walking tour was more focused on Downtown LA’s history and how it shaped the area’s culture, the Downtown Food Tour is more focused on how food played a vital role in its story. Learn about how LA’s food scene has changed throughout history, from the meals created by early settlers to hidden gems created by today’s locals.
On this three-hour LA walking tour, you’ll savor the dishes found at many unique LA eateries. Sample French cuisine at a boulangerie, find Texas-style BBQ in the heart of a historical LA landmark, enjoy German fare with a Californian twist, and chow down on falafel with locally-sourced produce served alongside it. Along the way, you’ll find tons more LA treats, from maple bacon doughnuts to braised meat tacos.
With every bite, you’ll marvel at the flavors, as well as the stories behind how these meals came to be. By the end of the tour, you’ll know about many more local hotspots than most LA vacationers ever see.
12. Get an in-depth look at the Getty
Are you an art lover? Visiting the Getty is a must-do for your Los Angeles vacation, but a true lover of the arts will definitely want to go a step further and book the Getty Center Museum Guided Tour. When you book this unique LA tour, you’ll meet up with an art historian who can give you in-depth knowledge about the incredible works of art you’re looking at. You’ll also learn about the architecture of the museum itself and the life of J. Paul Getty.
You’ll venture through the Getty’s incredible collection and explore the history of so many different stages of art history, from the Middle Ages to late 19th-century post-Impressionism. The museum contains six buildings, which you’ll stroll through with your knowledgeable guide on hand to tell you all about who created each piece of art and how they impacted history. You’ll hear little-known facts you’ve never heard about everyone from Rembrandt to Da Vinci to Monet.
Beyond paintings, you’ll see manuscripts, sculptures, decorative arts, and historical items that once belong to French kings and Marie Antoinette. In addition to beautiful works of art, you’ll also get to enjoy the views that you can only get at the Getty.
Because this is a private tour for a group of up to six people, you get to have some say in what your tour focuses on. If there’s a particular area of the Getty you want to spend more time learning about, just let your guide know, and the tour will be tailored to your preferences.
13. Get out of this world at the Griffith Observatory
Hopping from one LA landmark to another, the next best LA tour you shouldn’t miss is the Griffith Observatory Guided Tour. Whether your group is filled with science fans or just wants to enjoy some fantastic views of LA, you and your fellow travelers are bound to fall in love with the Griffith Observatory.
On this small-group 1.5-hour guided tour, you’ll explore Griffith Park and take in sights of the LA Basin and the Hollywood Sign. Then, you’ll venture through 67,000 square feet of exhibits, where you’ll discover all there is to know about space exploration and astronomy.
Learn about the Earth’s rotation with the Foucault Pendulum, gaze at the Hugo Ballin Murals, travel back in time to the moon landing at the Edge of Space exhibition, discover the Wilder Hall of the Eye, and much more. You can also choose to add a ticket to the world-famous planetarium theater, where you’ll enjoy an immersive show that takes you to worlds beyond our own.
14. Meet marine life at Marina Del Rey
If you’re looking for Los Angeles tours that’ll get you out on the beautiful waters around LA, try the Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour With Sea Lions. Your tour begins at the scenic Mother’s Beach, where your guide will tell you all about the local environment and marine life, including the sea lions that frequent the area. You’ll receive instructions about keeping yourself and the animals safe. Then, you’re ready to get out on the water.
Your guide will help you navigate the waters toward the marina’s main channel. Along the way, you’ll see scenic views of Los Angeles and spot sea lions. But you’re bound to see plenty more critters on your journey, including birds and dolphins. This two-hour tour is one of the best tours in LA for nature lovers and offers a unique way to enjoy the beauty of the area.
15. Live out your van life influencer dreams in Malibu
The van life craze looks pretty ideal. You live on your own terms, embracing the open road. You live your life according to what you want to see and do, and you’re greeted each day by a sunrise you take in from your Instagram-worthy van.
But most people don’t actually live out their van life dreams each day, which is why the Malibu: Vintage VW Sightseeing Tour and Wine Tasting is another one of the best tours in LA. You can embrace your fantasies on a one-of-a-kind four-hour tour!
Hop in a 1972 VW van at the Santa Monica Pier. From there, you’ll head toward Malibu, driving along the scenic coast, stopping along the way at the most photo-worthy spots. Take in the panorama of the cliffs and ocean from Point Dume, stroll along the Malibu Pier, and enjoy the vista of the Santa Monica Mountains. Your tour ends at the Rosenthal Estate Wines tasting room, where you’ll enjoy a flight of four local wines and a charcuterie plate.
There you have it! The 15 best tours in Los Angeles. What are your favorite Los Angeles tours? Let us know in the comments!
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