The Best Walking Tours to Take in Los Angeles

L.A.'s iconic Union Station is the focus of architectural tours given by the Los Angeles Conservancy
L.A.'s iconic Union Station is the focus of architectural tours given by the Los Angeles Conservancy | © Felix Lipov / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Juliet Bennett Rylah
17 September 2021
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If you’re looking for a little exercise and a whole lot of knowledge, try one of the walking tours in Los Angeles. Informed docents will give you all sorts of insider intel about the city’s history, architecture and art, all on foot. You could also take a food tour, or treat yourself to a self-guided tour of over 100 murals from L.A.’s most prolific street artists. Here are some top tours to get you started.

Looking for the full package? We’ve curated a selection of immersive tours and paired them with a befitting hotel – whether you’re here on a modern art mission or for a Hollywood deep-dive.

LA art tours

Explore the graffiti and art murals in Los Angeles | © Chon Kit Leong / Alamy Stock Photo

As the name might imply, these tours focus on the Los Angeles art scene. However, you won’t be heading to storied museums or other well-trodden destinations. These unique experiences explore Downtown’s graffiti and murals, the Brewery Art Complex where numerous artists have set up live/work space and studios, and other off-the-beaten-path, art-centric locations. The graffiti tour is particularly interesting, with insight into both quick works and elaborate murals from street artists. L.A. Art Tours’ walking tours generally last around two hours.

The Los Angeles Conservancy

Learn more about iconic Union Station on a Los Angeles Conservancy tour | © Chon Kit Leong / Alamy Stock Photo

The Los Angeles Conservancy offers numerous walking tours geared towards historic and architecturally significant landmarks. Tours are led by volunteer docents and can expose you to everything from specific neighborhoods, architectural styles (Art Deco, for instance) or, in some cases, single locations. For instance, Union Station has so much history that the Conservancy offers an 11am tour of the transit hub every Saturday. Tours generally last about two and a half hours. Cheek their schedule for recurring and limited-time only tours.

Downtown LA walking tours

See buildings like the historic Pico House, constructed in 1869-1870, on a Downtown walking tour | © Eddie Rodriquez / Alamy Stock Photo

Explore downtown Los Angeles with Downtown LA Walking Tours. This company offers tours that may explore architecture, L.A. history, Chinatown and Little Tokyo, filming locations, or even true-crime mysteries and ghostly tales. If you’re particularly curious about how Los Angeles became the metropolis it is today, sign up for the Los Angeles Beginnings tour, which will explain what turned a small pueblo into a sprawling city known worldwide. Tours generally last about two hours.

Sidewalk food tours

Grand Central Market features on an L.A. food tour | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

On this walking tour, guides will lead you to various eateries where you can sample a variety of unique and quintessentially Los Angeles bites. They are currently focusing on Downtown L.A., with a trip to landmarks including the Bradbury Building (notable for its appearance in Blade Runner), the Biltmore Hotel and the gem that is Downtown’s century-old food hall, Grand Central Market. You can sample from various GCM vendors, plus a nearby Mediterranean restaurant. All tours include six stops that, when combined, should fill you up.

Gabba Gallery Alley Project

Gabba Gallery owner Jason Ostro recruited multiple street artists to paint over 100 murals throughout the neighborhood surrounding the gallery. Many of them are located in alleyways. They’re relatively easy to find: just go to Gabba Gallery in Historic Filipinotown, then use this map. There may be signs that say “Art!” that point you in the right direction, too.

Red Line Tour’s Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Red Line’s behind-the-scenes tour includes Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood | © Chon Kit Leong / Alamy Stock Photo

Red Line Tours offer a robust history of bustling Hollywood. But, wait, isn’t Hollywood crowded and loud? Yes, it is, and that’s what makes Red Line’s tour unique: each guest wears a headset that allows them to hear their microphoned guide directly in their ears. The guide is doing a live tour, not a pre-recorded one, which you can hear from up to 300ft (90m) away – crucial for when you need to stop and snap a photograph or tie your shoelace. Their Hollywood Tour features landmarks including filming locations, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, the Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre, with plenty of history about the neighborhood and the industry thrown into the mix.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

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