Los Angeles Tours: The Best Way to Discover LA

StarLine Bus Tours Hollywood
StarLine Bus Tours Hollywood  |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

Whether you’re a first time visitor to Los Angeles or a lifelong Angeleno, there is always something new to discover in the City of Angels. To help you explore L.A., there are tours that appeal to a wide range of interests and budgets. From museum and food tours to eco-friendly bikes and spectacular helicopter and boat rides, read on to find out more about Los Angeles tours.

Batmobiles at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

The Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour offers a rare and intimate glimpse into Hollywood at work. Groups of 12 guests experience a fascinating two-hour tour that travels through backlot streets, soundstages, sets and craft shops. No two tours are alike. Visitors can walk through the set of a hit television show, watch Foley artists create sound effects for movies, see how sets are constructed, browse millions of items in the prop department, and much more. 

The World-Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood
The World-Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Studio Tour - Universal Studios Hollywood

The legendary Studio Tour is one of the must-see attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood. Narrated by Jimmy Fallon, the Studio Tour offers guests the chance to explore the working backlot of a real Hollywood movie studio. The tram ride takes visitors past sets from films like "War of the Worlds," "Psycho," "Jaws" and others, with some fiery special effects thrown in for good measure. The tour also includes filmmaker Peter Jackson’s heart-pounding King Kong 360 3-D, the world’s largest 3-D experience.

Art Muse Los Angeles
Photo: Art Muse Los Angeles, Facebook

Art Muse Los Angeles

Art Muse Los Angeles is a community of art historians, artists and educators who offer private tours of museums throughout L.A. These scholars and enthusiasts share their art knowledge with small groups that range from novices to connoisseurs and collectors, tailoring their presentations to every type of visitor. Art Muse offers tours at many of L.A.’s major museums, including the Getty Center, Hammer Museum, Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Art. Art Muse also curates tours of seasonal art fairs and select Los Angeles galleries specializing in contemporary art. The gallery tours are organized by districts, including Downtown Los Angeles, Wilshire Corridor, Culver City and Bergamot Station.

Bikes and Hikes LA
Bikes and Hikes LA

Bikes and Hikes LA

For an eco-friendly, healthy way to experience Los Angeles, book a Bikes and Hikes LA tour, designed for everyone from avid cyclists and hikers to beginners and the occasional biker/hiker. The most popular tour is "LA In a Day," a 32-mile, 5-hour trek. The tours starts on legendary Route 66 in West Hollywood and takes you through luxurious Beverly Hills and Bel-Air; L.A.’s world-famous beach cities, Santa Monica, Venice and Marina Del Rey; and the historic movie studios of Culver City. Specializing in day tours for individuals, Bikes and Hikes LA also offers group tour options for families and friends, corporate clients, social organizations, incentive travel, school and university groups.

Catalina Express
Photo: Catalina Express, Facebook

Catalina Express

Angelenos and visitors have made Catalina Island, located about 22 miles southwest of L.A., a popular day trip destination for generations. One of the best ways to visit the island is Catalina Express, which has a fleet of eight high-speed vessels that make up to 30 daily roundtrips. Board the boat at Berth 95 in San Pedro, then enjoy comfortable seating and cocktail service during an exhilarating one-hour ride to either Avalon or Two Harbors. On Catalina Island, you can experience land and sea sightseeing adventures, charming shops, fine restaurants, waterfront cafes and scenic vistas.

Handlebar Bike Tours
Photo: Handlebar Bike Tours

Handlebar Bike Tours

Founded by an L.A. teacher, Handlebar Bike Tours specializes in Downtown L.A. bicycle tours packed with history, architecture and pop culture. The "Historic Core and More Tour" begins at the landmark Grand Central Market and takes in all the Downtown L.A. highlights, including the Broadway Theatre District, Grand Park, museums, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chinatown, Union Station, Olvera Street and City Hall. The "Pretty Gritty Arts District Tour" includes Hauser & Wirth Gallery, SCI-Arc, Bloom Square, Warner Brothers Music, some of L.A.’s best restaurants, and many more surprising locations. Priced at $40, the tours include a Pure City bike, helmet and guided tour.

LA Club Crawl
Photo: Los Angeles Club Crawl, Facebook

Los Angeles Club Crawl

Every Friday and Saturday, Hollywood Club Crawl takes you on a nightlife tour of four Hollywood clubs, with VIP entry and no cover charges or waiting in lines. Come alone, bring a date or a group for a memorable night in Tinseltown. Guests meet at 10 p.m. at the St. Felix, located on Cahuenga Boulevard. At check in, you will be introduced to your hosts, collect your Club Crawl wristbands, and be sent to the bar to enjoy exclusive drink specials. Presale tickets are $25 for the entire night. Cash tickets can be purchased at the event check in for $30, but are only available if the event has not sold out.

Melting Pot Food Tours

Melting Pot Food Tours was launched by Lisa and Diane Scalia in 2008. The sisters are Los Angeles natives of Italian descent, and they love to share their favorite L.A. culinary experiences with visitors and locals alike. Their tasting tours lead guests to popular destinations like the Original Farmers Market, Old Pasadena, and East L.A. Private and group tours (10-60 people) are also available.

Orbic Air helicopter on the rooftop
Photo: Orbic Air

Orbic Air Helicopter Tours

For more than 20 years, Orbic Air has been one of Southern California's premier helicopter companies, offering helicopter charters of Los Angeles, helicopter tours of Hollywood, helicopter training, aerial photography, production and helicopter leasing. Orbic Air is based at Van Nuys Airport and conveniently located to all areas of Los Angeles, including Hollywood, Malibu and Santa Monica. The numerous helicopter tour options include L.A. LIVE, Hollywood and the Pacific coast, as well as landing tours such as the Romance Package and the Shoreline Picnic.

Jackie Robinson statue outside Rose Bowl Stadium
Jackie Robinson statue outside Rose Bowl Stadium  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Rose Bowl Stadium Tours

The landmark Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena is home to the UCLA Bruins football team and the annual Rose Bowl game, aka “The Granddaddy of Them All," held every New Year’s Day. Rose Bowl Stadium has hosted Super Bowls, Olympic events and numerous landmark concerts. The Rose Bowl is one of two stadiums in the world to host the FIFA World Cup Finals for both men and women. The monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market features more than 2,500 vendors and welcomes 15,000 to 20,000 buyers. In 1987, Rose Bowl Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark. Take the Rose Bowl Stadium Tour for exclusive access to the playing field, press box, UCLA locker room and more. Tours are open to all ages and available daily.

StarLine Bus Tours Hollywood
StarLine Bus Tours Hollywood  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Starline Tours of Hollywood/Tourcoach Charter & Tours

Since pioneering the Movie Stars Homes Tour in 1935, Starline Tours continues to offer the best of L.A. to visitors from around the world. Starline offers a wide range of sightseeing tours, including the Grand City Tour, one-hour Hollywood Fun Tours and the LGBT itinerary. Private bus charters are also available. Starline's main terminal is located at the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre - pick-up and drop-off from many hotels in the greater L.A. area is also available. Starline tours are fully commented by professional guides, in comfortable air-conditioned coaches or mini-buses. The only exception is the CitySightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, which is guided by GPS pre-recorded professional commentary in nine languages, while guests ride in an open-top double decker bus.

Sunset Ranch Hollywood
Sunset Ranch Hollywood  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Sunset Ranch Hollywood

For a unique tour of Griffith Park, get in the saddle with Sunset Ranch Hollywood, the only horse ranch located in greater Los Angeles. Sunset Ranch offers a variety of services and activities, including guided trail rides, boarding and lessons. A one-hour trail ride into Griffith Park includes a great view of the Hollywood Sign. A two-hour ride to the top of Griffith Park features spectacular 360-degree views of Los Angeles. A variety of other ride options are available, including Lunch Ride, Sunset Dinner Ride, BBQ Ride and Kids’ Party.