In a city as big as Los Angeles, it can be daunting figuring out where to explore. These are some of the city’s best tours to get you the inside scoop on the City of Angels.
Whether you’re coming to Los Angeles for the food, the glitz and glamour, the celebrity sights or the art and culture, there’s a tour that’s tailor-made just for you. LA is such a diverse city with a unique history and figuring out how to see it all can drive even the most astute travelers crazy. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of 15 recommended tours in Los Angeles that are just right for any budget, group or individual looking to explore.
No matter where you are along the California coastline, there is a wealth of marine life. On any given day you may spot frolicking sea lions, spyhopping whales, majestic dolphins or even the occasional great white shark along the shores of LA. A tour with Newport Beach Cruise means you’ll get up close and personal with these creatures (while remaining safe and dry, of course). This family-friendly excursion leaves from the Balboa Boardwalk and careens into a marine sanctuary where you’re almost guaranteed to meet the biggest mammals of the sea.
Fans of the macabre will love this three-hour jaunt around LA’s most morbid spots. The tour takes you through the city to the sites of infamous LA deaths. You’ll discover the darker side of LA, learning about stalkers, murders and scandal as you cruise the Sunset Strip, gawk your way through Beverly Hills, and explore Hollywood. There are nearly 75 sites in all on this tour – including the spots where celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston passed away – so make sure your camera is fully charged up.
LA is a sprawling city and it can be hard to figure out how to hit all the hotspots. The best thing about the Hop-on Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour is that you can navigate the city however you want, in the time that you want. With more than 50 stops, the bus drives from the beaches of Santa Monica through the glitzy streets of Beverly Hills and into Downtown. There are ticket options for 24, 48, or 72 hours, so that you can decide exactly how you want to get around town at your leisure.
Fans of TMZ who love the juiciest of celebrity gossip and scandal should make this tour a priority. Over two hours, a boisterous, music- and game-filled ride takes you around Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip and more, regaling you with tales of the naughty and nice with LA’s latest A-list socialites. The tour prides itself on finding celebs going about their daily business, so you’ll most likely spot one or two along the way. Consider this an LA safari where the wild game is the rich and famous.
The Downtown Arts District is one of the fastest growing and most exciting neighborhoods in all of LA. For two hours, a local guide will impart their knowledge on the one-of-a-kind murals, eclectic galleries and historic venues in the district, to give a real feel for LA’s counterculture. After the tour, stick around the area to chow down inside some of LA’s best eateries, including Guerrilla Tacos, Bavel or The Factory Kitchen.
One of the things that makes Los Angeles an incredible metropolis is its wide range of cultures that have settled in the city from around the world. LA has a Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Little Italy, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Koreatown, and much more. This incredible tour runs for three to four hours and will take you to a wide range of shops, restaurants, markets and eateries to experience the amazing culinary diversity of the city. Make sure you bring good walking shoes and an empty stomach for this particular adventure.
Recreational marijuana use is 100% legal in Los Angeles (if you are of age), and if you’re interested in knowing the ins and outs of the industry while also dabbling in the fun, then this might be the tour for you. For two and a half hours, this guided tour takes you through Hollywood where you’ll hit up a dispensary, get discounts on cannabis products, walk through a grow facility, learn the science and business of the industry, and end the day at a smoker’s lounge where you can sample you’re newly found (legal) contraband.
Melrose Avenue is famous for many things. It’s home to major art galleries, great restaurants, bustling bars and retail outlets as far as the eye can see. It’s also one of the most photographed streets on earth – and for good reason. All along this iconic stretch are epic murals, plenty of angel wings to pose with and photo-ready boutiques that are begging to feature in your Instagram stories. This tour takes you to all the photo-worthy stops and a few secret hideaways along the way.
Sure, you could hike to the world’s most recognizable spot, but why stretch your legs when you can soar above and around the Hollywood Sign via helicopter. This exhilarating tour only lasts up to 15 minutes, but the views will have you reliving the experience for a lifetime. You’ll take off from Burbank Airport and get a birds-eye-view of Hollywood, the iconic sign, Mulholland Drive, and Downtown. You’ll never get a better look than this.
Some of the most important architects in the world have their work on full display throughout the city, and taking an architecture tour is a great way to experience the various styles. There are a whole host of tours to choose from that include a Frank Gehry Tour, a Frank Lloyd Wright Tour, a Pasadena Craftsman Home Tour, or a tour of Downtown, plus many more. For lovers of buildings and design, this is a fascinating way to explore the city and see real gems hidden in plain sight.
Ask any Angeleno for the best Mexican food in the city and they’ll captivate you with tales of their favorite taco stand in some corner of the city. LA is famous for its taco spots, and this incredible tour gives you a chance to devour LA’s best, while also getting in a spot of exercise. For three hours, you’ll be guided on a cycle tour, stopping at amazing taco stands and historic sites along the way. Everything is provided, including a bike, helmet, water and unlimited tacos.
When you think about neon lights, Las Vegas might come to mind. But one of the most interesting tours in all of Los Angeles is the Neon Cruise, a nighttime exploration of LA’s famous neon signs, movie marquees and neon art installations. The cruise is narrated by local experts as they drive you through Chinatown, through LA’s Downtown theater district, and into Hollywood with classic signs that date back to the 1930s. Keep in mind that this cruise typically only runs from June to October, but there are specialty runs for various holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.
Want to know where the rich and famous put their heads down for the night? This two-hour excursion will take you on a quest through Mulholland Drive and Beverly Hills to uncover some of the biggest and most opulent celebrity homes in the world. Highlights include the former home of Michael Jackson, as well as the 30,000-square-foot pad that Beyoncé and Jay-Z lived in. You’ll also see the homes of celebrities from Jennifer Lopez, Orlando Bloom, and Courtney Cox.
Going to the Warner Bros. lot isn’t like visiting a museum. There are active TV and film productions taking place at all hours every day of the week. So, when you take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, you don’t just get to see relics from Harry Potter, Batman, and Friends, you might actually run into real celebrities running their lines and donning wacky costumes right before your eyes. The lot is enormous, and the tour changes all the time with new interactive exhibits, so no two trips are ever the same.
Built in 1962, Dodger Stadium is one of the oldest and most venerated baseball stadiums in the US. Fans of Major League Baseball will find lots to love here as the tour takes you behind the scenes of the 56,000-seat stadium. Highlights of the experience include a jaunt in the dugout, a walk on the actual field, a trip to the ultra-exclusive lounge behind home plate, and a stop to see all the trophies the team has amassed over the years.