Hollywood Tours: How to Choose the One That's Right for You
When choosing a tour of Hollywood, consider the size of your family and the type of sights you want to see.
Spending time in Hollywood soon? First-time visitors and repeat travelers alike want to see as much as they can in the least amount of time, but it can be difficult to know where to look. Your best bet might be to catch a tour, but which ones are going to give you the most bang for your buck? We've gathered a list of the best Hollywood tours conveniently in one place, so you don't have to. Pick your favorite, or try two or three of them. The more tours you take, the more of the city you'll get to enjoy. No matter what you hope to see while you’re visiting this star-studded city, these tours will get you there!
Felix in Hollywood Tour Company
The Felix in Hollywood Tour Company has been voted the best tour in Hollywood by several different web sites, which makes it a great place to get started when you’re looking to explore the city. This walking tour guides you through Hollywood, with a particular focus on the history of the city, its industries, and how the two worlds managed to collide. Learn about film companies, TV and radio stations, record labels, and recording studios, among much more. This isn’t the tour for you if you’re hoping to see the most mainstream sights in the city, but if you’re looking to get a little bit away from the main drag and find something unique and interesting, by all means, book your tour with Felix in Hollywood!
To avoid the crowds, book your tour for a weekday, which will almost always be less crowded than a Saturday or a Sunday. Booking on a less busy day will give you ample time for photo ops, as well as chances to ask the tour guide questions and learn even more. The Felix in Hollywood tour lasts about 90 minutes and is conducted on foot, so wear your comfortable walking shoes. Take note that children under the age of 15 are not permitted on this tour. Group sizes are usually limited to around 8 people, but if you’re traveling with a large family or group of friends, call ahead for flexible accommodations.
Monday through Thursday, 1:30pm
Friday through Sunday, 1:00pm and 4:00pm
If you're visiting Hollywood, you will at some point probably want to know where where you have the best chance of successfully spotting a celebrity. When you take one of the tours available through TOURific Escapes, your chances will be dramatically increased! The Celebrity Insider Movie Locations Tour, the most popular tour available through this particular company, offers guests the chance to visit forty filming sites around Hollywood, all in the span of two hours. Whether you’re hoping to see some of the filming locations from new and upcoming movies, or you prefer to admire the scenes of classic movies of the past, this tour is sure to please. Bear in mind that the tour is only available on Saturdays, but if you’re able to book it, you'll have a great shot at catching a glimpse of someone famous along the way!
Another popular TOURific Escapes tour is the Hollywood Sites & Bites excursion. This four-hour adventure combines interesting locations from the film industry with some of the area’s best restaurants to create a unique experience the whole family will love. Hop on the tour bus and cruise down Sunset Strip, stopping at the best photo ops and tastiest places to eat as you go. While many of the included restaurants are well-known, some are a little more hidden, and guests will have the chance to enjoy these less crowded, but no less delicious, dining experiences. This tour runs daily at 10am, and all ages are welcome.
Last but not least, check out the TOURific Escapes Chocolate Indulgence Tour for one of the most decadent experiences in the city! Join your guide and roughly a dozen other passengers in a small tour van that will take you to the best places to get some amazing chocolate throughout Hollywood. Tours run around three hours, and include five chocolate tastings as well as plenty of chances to buy some sweet souvenirs of your trip. Friday tours focus on Hollywood and the Farmer’s Market, which Saturday tours take guests to Mar Vista and Venice. Both tours are equally fun and delicious, so the choice will ultimately depend on which day of the week is most convenient for you.
TOURific’s Hollywood Stars tour runs on Saturdays at 2:15pm and lasts two hours.
Legends of Hollywood Tours
Legends of Hollywood provides tours that focus mostly on celebrities from the past and present. These tours include a multimedia element, and they incorporate music, photography, and movie clips into the experience whenever possible. Although not much time is devoted to history during these tours, the knowledgeable guides can help you and your friends or family learn all about the film industry, and maybe even see a star or two! Cruise around the city in a Mercedes-Benz, and enjoy seeing the sights in luxury and style. All along the way, your guide will entertain you with stories of classic films as well as juicy gossip about modern-day celebrities. You will also be treated to clips and footage on a built-in flat screen TV within the car itself, which is sure to keep you entertained during the downtime between each location.
The Legends of Hollywood tour is a half day event, and it runs for about four hours. Guests can be picked up at the Farmer’s Market or in downtown LA, and tours can be booked for the morning or the afternoon. Sign up for the morning tour to have a better chance of actually spotting someone famous. Stars may be out and about during the earlier morning hours, and may be less likely to be on alert for tourists at this time of day. Of course, there is always the possibility that you won’t see any stars at all, but at least you’ll still be able to learn and do some sightseeing either way! This tour includes stops at different celebrity homes, as well as the Chinese Theater, Capitol Record Building, Roosevelt Hotel, Sunset Strip, and more. Tours can accommodate up to 13 people at a time, making this a great choice for large groups. Since this is a half-day tour, it is one of the best ways to fit a lot of sightseeing into only a few hours. Consider Legends of Hollywood if you don’t have much time to spend in the area but want to get to as many sights as you can!
Tours are available daily at 8:30am and 1:30pm.
Rockin’ Hollywood Tours
Take a two-hour tour through some of Hollywood’s grandest sites with Rockin’ Hollywood Tours. Guests load into a large open-air van that seats 15, and because of the unique design of this vehicle, everyone has an equal view of all of the sightseeing spots included on the tour. All of the Rockin’ Hollywood Tours are directed by local residents who know their way around the town and aren’t afraid to take you to some of the best locations in the city, even if that means venturing a little off the beaten path. These tour guides provide tons of insider information that you might not get with some of the other star-searching tours in the city, so if you’re looking for a very detailed experience at a good price, go with Rockin’ Hollywood Tours!
While on the tour, you’ll be treated to stops at dozens of celebrity homes, including the residences of Tom Cruise, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Ellen Degeneres, Orlando Bloom, and tons more. The tour also includes landmark sites such as the Playboy Mansion and the Beverly Hills Hotel, music industry locations including The Viper Room and House of Blues, and famous parts of town like Hollywood Hills and Sunset Strip. Tours leave every hour on the hour, every Saturday and Sunday, and run for about two hours. Bring along your camera! The open-air vans will ensure that you have plenty of chances to snag the perfect vacation photo.
Tours take place daily on the hour from noon to 6:00pm.
Dearly Departed Tours
Try something a little bit different with the tours available from Dearly Departed Tours. If you are interested in the morbid and sometimes gruesome tales of Hollywood deaths (be they scandalous or not), you’ll love these off-the-wall tours. Most tours take you to some of the most famous locations of Hollywood deaths, and a few may even show you some of the crime scene photos of the more heinous demises. The most popular Dearly Departed Tour is the Tragical History Tour, which includes a multimedia bus ride that takes you to the sites of some of the most famous celebrity deaths. You might also learn a thing or two about the tragic, if less sensational, ends of some other stars whose lives simply ran their course without any outside interference.
If you haven’t had enough of the dark side of Hollywood after the Tragical History Tour, consider booking the G-G-G-Ghost Tour as well. During this walking tour, guests follow a guide acting as an undertaker who leads them throughout the city on a mile-long loop featuring some of the more interesting sights associated with Hollywood hauntings and urban legends. Guests are asked to dress in black to “mourn the dead,” and to help get into the spooky mood that this tour hopes to convey. Be sure to take plenty of pictures, because you never know when you might catch a ghost in one of your vacation photos!
During the month of October, Dearly Departed Tours brings the spirit of Halloween to Hollywood guests by way of the Horror Film Location Tour. This walking tour pairs a small group of guests with a guide dressed as Michael Myers, who freely poses with the members of his group at various points throughout the walk. Horror film buffs will enjoy getting to see filming locations from such classics as Thriller, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and many more. If you’re in town during October, don’t miss this excellent tour!
For adults who don’t mind a little shock value, Dearly Departed Tours offers tons of excellent tour opportunities that can easily be labeled as some of the best in the city. Although anyone over the age of 12 is welcome on any of these tours, consider what your younger kids may and may not be able to handle. These tours are filled with descriptions of deaths, murders, and scandals, as well as some scary stories and chances to view graphic photos. If your kids scare easily, it may be best to let them sit this one out.
Tours are two and a half hours long, and run on Monday through Thursday at noon, and Friday through Sunday at 9:00am, noon, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm.
Sign up for a TMZ Tour and take one of the most popular Hollywood tours in the iconic red bus. On this tour, you're joined by a guide from the TMZ television show on the hunt for celebrity stars, and you’ll hear some of the juiciest gossip and insider tips that any tour has to offer. Entertaining tour guides drive big groups around the city in the semi-open air TMZ bus, telling stories and offering an inside scoop on the latest Hollywood news and scandals. Come to this tour prepared to see and experience a ton of modern day Hollywood glamor. Who knows? You might even end up on TV yourself!
This is a fun tour for the younger crowd, or for anyone who enjoys keeping up with trendy Hollywood tales. If you’re into edgy gossip and don’t mind joining one of the larger tours in the city, give TMZ a chance. It's best to book at least a month in advance to be sure you get a spot, as this tour’s TV presence has made it a very popular choice among first-time visitors. TMZ Tours can be a fun and hip way to get around the city, but bear in mind that they do get a little over-crowded, and you might actually have more time at some of the popular sightseeing locations on a less populated tour. With that said, TMZ’s public presence means that tours are readily available, so this may be one of the most convenient options.
TMZ Tours last about two hours and leave from the Chinese Theater.
Starline has been touring Hollywood for a long time, and it has been a part of Hollywood’s tourism scene since the 1930s. This family-friendly tour group still has some of the best prices in town, and offers three different tour options. Choose from the Movie Star Homes Tour, the Movie Locations Tour, and the Grand Tour. Each has a different length and departure time, so check with Starline before you book. Starline is also one of the only touring companies in the city that offers options of two or more days in length. From LA, you can book a multiple-day tour to San Francisco, for example, that includes hotel stays, stops along the coast and Yosemite Park, and plenty of opportunities to see as much of California as possible on a three- to seven-day tour schedule.
Perhaps the best way to get the most bang for your buck out of a Starline tour is to pay for the 48-hour hop-on option. This tour doesn’t pick up from area hotels, but it does give guests the option to catch a lift to and from many of the most popular sightseeing spots in the city. When you feel like your own personal trip around the city is just getting too overwhelming to handle, you can simply jump on one of the Starline buses and cruise around in an air-conditioned vehicle as a recorded narration tells you everything you could ever want to know about the places where you stop along the way.
48-hour hop-on tickets from Starline Tours cost $59 per adult and $35 per child.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tour
Anybody who enjoys ghost hunts and a dash of the macabre on vacation is sure to love the Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tour. The tour takes visitors on a walking trip through the large Hollywood Forever cemetery, where the guide and owner of this particular tour provides information about the deceased buried there. During the two-hour walking tour, your well-informed guide will also take a moment to discuss the lesser-known stars of Hollywood who have passed on, particularly those from the silent film era. The tour also includes a brief bit of history on Hollywood’s Jewish heritage, and a visit to the Beth Olam Mausoleum, which is located within the cemetery proper.
This affordable tour can be a nice change of pace from the other high-profile options in Hollywood. You won’t see any living celebrities here, but you can pay your respects to those who have gone before. The owner of this small tour goes to great lengths to ensure that all of her guests receive an informative and educational experience that can help them connect with the Hollywood of years gone by. Of course, this tour focuses on historical events and people, but if you snap a few pictures in the hopes of catching a ghost, no one will mind! If you happen to be in town at the right time, take this tour on Halloween to feel a little bit closer to the spirit of the holiday. Hollywood Forever cemetery tours take place on select Saturdays throughout the month, and usually depart at 10am. Since the tours are operated by a single person, be sure to check the web site ahead of time to keep track of any date cancellations or openings.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tours cost $15 per person and last about two hours.
City Safari Hollywood Tours
If you’ve noticed a double-decker tour bus cruising around Hollywood, you’ve probably seen City Safari! City Safari offers fifteen stops around Hollywood across a few different tour itineraries, and no matter which one you choose, your tour guide will always be ready to provide interesting and useful information and answer any questions. It only takes about two hours to complete a visit to the Hollywood Sign and several celebrity homes in the area, or to go on a different tour that includes the Farmer’s Market, Paramount Studios, Capitol Records, the Walk of Fame, and other iconic locations.
City Safari offers a hop-on alternative, similar to Starline’s. This hop-on option is incredibly convenient, especially if you have little ones in your group. If you’ve got a small child who might not be able to sit still for a two-hour tour, consider buying a hop-on ticket instead. City Safari’s hop-on tour ticket lasts 24 hours and includes unlimited access to the tour bus from any of the stops along its route. Use it to get around the city and soak in all the sights you want in the span of one day. While Starline's hop-on route offers a few more locations than does City Safari's, this one generally runs a bit cheaper, which can be a benefit for anyone trying to sightsee on a budget!
A hop-on ticket with City Safari costs $54 per adult and $34 per child; children 3 and under ride free.
If you want to catch a celebrity picking up the morning newspaper, see the most famous buildings in Hollywood, learn about the history of the city, or educate yourself on scandals and tragedies from the past, then there will always be a tour out there for you. Any one of these great tours is an excellent way to spend a few hours (or a half a day) in Hollywood, and the choice is yours. Try a few and you’ll be certain to make the most out of your next trip to Hollywood!
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