Go Behind the Scenes at the Best Studio Tours in L.A.

Universal Studios
Universal Studios  |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

From classic films to current hit TV shows, Los Angeles is home to the studios that produce much of what you see on the small and large screen. Book a studio tour to get a behind-the-scenes peek at sets and props, learn Jeopardy-worthy trivia, and maybe even see some of your favorite stars in action.

NOTE: Hours and opening dates change frequently. Check individual websites for updated information.

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

Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour

If you’re looking to fill a whole day with movie-themed fun, buy a one-day pass for Universal Studios Hollywood (100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City 91608), which grants you access to the world-famous Studio Tour, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and themed rides such as The Secret Life of Pets and Jurassic World. Hosted on video by Jimmy Fallon, the tour takes you through four acres of the sprawling studio lot, including the largest set construction project in studio history, built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg. The tour will take you through the plane crash scene from War of the Worlds, Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane, the legendary Bates Motel of Psycho fame, and the set of Jaws. Studio tours are available daily during theme park hours.

Where to eat nearby: VIVO Italian Kitchen - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, 818.622.0424

Selfies on the couch of the "Friends" Central Perk Set at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Selfies at the "Friends" Central Perk Set | Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

The Gilmore Girls’ hometown of Stars Hollow, Connecticut is actually found on the Warner Bros. lot, and their town square set is one of the many backlots and soundstages you’ll get to explore during the one-hour guided tour of this landmark studio (3400 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank). The Ellen DeGeneres Show currently films on the lot — where the film classic Casablanca was also shot — so you may get a glimpse of your favorite TV star if you time your tour right. After the guided portion of the tour, be sure to check out the iconic Friends coffee shop, Central Perk Café, which has been replicated and now has a permanent home at the studio’s Stage 48: Script to Screen soundstage. Studio Tours depart Thursday - Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Want a more in-depth tour experience? Upgrade to the Studio Tour Plus, a four-hour tour experience (2 hours guided / 2 hours self-guided) that includes all the features of the Studio Tour and much more, including: reception in the Deluxe Lounge; welcome film in the screening room; an additional hour with an expert guide; and a New York deli-inspired lunch at Central Perk Café.

Where to eat nearby: Olive & Thyme - 3821 West Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, 818.557.1560

Paramount Pictures Studio Tour
Photo: Paramount Pictures Studio Tour

Paramount Pictures Studio Tour

Founded in May 1912, Paramount Pictures Studio (5515 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 90038) is the longest operating studio in Hollywood. Cecil B. DeMille, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Gary Cooper, the Marx Brothers, and Elvis Presley have all filmed at the iconic studio lot. Paramount Studios is also home to an elaborate New York Street backlot that can transform into 10 different NYC neighborhoods — making a visit to Paramount the fastest and cheapest way to travel across the country!

The Studio Tour features a 2-hour guided cart tour of iconic filming locations and the Prop Warehouse - along the way your guide will provide insight into the studio’s rich history. The VIP Tour is a 4.5-hour cart tour that includes VIP access to the archives, backlots and production facilities; a gourmet catered lunch (morning tours) or champagne & hors d’oeuvres in the Prop Warehouse (afternoon tours); complimentary parking and a personalized souvenir photo.

Where to eat nearby: Osteria La Buca, 5210 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, 323.462.1900

Soundstage at the Sony Pictures Studio Tour
Photo: Sony Pictures Studio Tour
Sony Pictures Studio Tour "Breaking Bad" RV
"Breaking Bad" RV | Photo: Sony Pictures Studio Tour

Sony Pictures Studio Tour

At Sony Pictures (10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City 90232), a two-hour walking tour ($50) will provide you with a glimpse of the soundstages where The Wizard of Oz, Men in Black and Spider-Man were filmed; and beloved game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are currently taped.

You may also get to a chance to see the Barbara Streisand Scoring Stage or the set of the ABC comedy The Goldbergs. The lot is also home to a studio museum and is the permanent home of the Breaking Bad RV. The Sony Pictures Studio lot took over what used to be MGM, and many of the buildings still boast the same Art Deco styling that dates back to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Available Monday-Friday at 11:00 a.m., the 3-hour VIP Tour ($200) includes Sony Museum access, three-course prix fixe lunch, souvenir photo, and an employee's discount at the Sony Studio Store.

Where to eat nearby: Ms Chi Cafe, 3829 Main St., Culver City, 424.361.5225