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The 10 Best Los Angeles Tours

SmarterTravel

From behind-the-scenes studio tours to food-focused excursions in the city’s ethnic neighborhoods, the best Los Angeles tours offer experiences you wouldn’t be able to have on your own.

The Best Los Angeles Tours

On the following Los Angeles tours you can catch a glimpse of movie stars’ homes, learn about some of the city’s most famous crimes, catch a TV show taping, and check out some of L.A.’s most distinctive architecture.

Movie Star Tours

We dare you to pass up one of the bus tours that take you past the homes of famous movie stars, past and present. Consider one with LA City Tours, which includes the Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive, and the Sunset Strip in its two-hour sojourn. Another alternative is Starline Tours, which offers a variety of excursions to movie stars’ homes in various parts of the city, including one in Malibu. The truly starstruck should consider the Grand Tour of Los Angeles & Celebrity homes, a full-day excursion that includes multiple sightseeing stops as well as visits to the homes of stars like Jennifer Anison and Halle Berry.

Tragical History Tour

For a look at L.A.’s less glamorous side, try a Tragical History Tour. Dedicated to revealing the “delightfully twisted underbelly of Hollywood,” the tour focuses on famous deaths, crimes, and scandals around the City of Angels. You’ll see the hotels where Janis Joplin and John Belushi died, and make a pit stop at the public restroom where George Michael was arrested for soliciting a police officer. (Needless to say, this is not a kid-friendly tour.)

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

If you ever watched a movie or television program and wondered how it really got made, then a Warner Bros. Studio Tour is just the thing, offering an intimate and historical behind-the-scenes view of a working studio. What’s great is that the routes change from day to day to accommodate production, so no two tours are exactly alike. Tours typically include museum exhibits of film memorabilia such as Academy Awards, famous scripts, costumes, and props, as well as tours of backlots and sound stages. Several TV shows are filmed at Warner Bros., and if the timing is just right, you get to visit those sound stages while they’re being filmed.

Universal Studios Tour

Want an in-front-of-the-scenes, rather than behind-them, experience? Devote a day to the covered tram-driven Universal Studios Tour. One of the original studio tours (the studio is now a theme park), the tour is included in the price of admission into the complex. You can take a look at sets for movies like “War of the Worlds” and “Psycho,” and enjoy a 3-D “King Kong” experience.

Beverly Hills Walking Tour

Take a self-guided walking tour through Beverly Hills to see some of that area’s best sites, including Rodeo Drive, the Four Seasons hotel featured in the movie “Pretty Woman,” and a variety of public art. Check out LoveBeverlyHills.com for a variety of recommended itineraries, including maps, that you can download or print.

Los Angeles Food Tour

Eat your way through Los Angeles on a food tour. Six Taste offers more than half a dozen mouth-watering tours focused on neighborhoods such as Little Tokyo, Thai Town, and Santa Monica. Or let Melting Pot Food Tours introduce you to the Latin flavors of East L.A. or the artisan offerings of the Original Farmers Market.

Bungalow Heaven Tour

It’s a treat to take Pasadena’s Bungalow Heaven tour (offered every April) and see hundreds of Craftsman bungalows built between 1900 and 1930. While you’re in the area, stop at Pasadena’s Gamble House—a jewel box of iridescent glass, inlaid furniture, and custom light fixtures. One-hour tours are offered Thursday through Sunday.

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—Original reporting by Jana Jones and Sarah Schlichter

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