Los Angeles Tours Explore LA by Land, Sea or Air

Sightseeing Tours of Los Angeles and Surrounding Areas

Los Angeles sightseeing tours come in all shapes and sizes and are a great way to get to know the city. There are some LA tours that give you a general orientation. Other Los Angeles tours reveal a specific neighborhood or look at the City of Angels from a particular perspective. There is a tour for every interest and mode of transportation. You can walk, run, bike, Segway, limousine, hearse, trolley, van or bus your way around town. You can fly over head in a plane or helicopter, or explore LA's waterways by dinner cruise, motor boat, tall ship or gondola. Los Angeles Tours may be guided, recorded or self-guided, general or themed. You can get a general overview, or a detailed, behind the scenes look. Dig deeper into your options in each of these categories.

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    Starline Tour Bus in front of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood
    Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Bus tours of Los Angeles range from hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tours with recorded narration, to guided small-group mini-van tours and everything in between. Many of the bus tours allow time for walking around at various stops. Usually the time off the bus is un-guided. I have not specifically included it here, but many of these companies also offer packages from Los Angeles to LA Vegas or San Diego. They are listed in no particular order.

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    Downtown LA Arts District Tour
    Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    It's a myth that no one walks in LA, and walking tours are a great way to explore the city. There are walking tours from Downtown LA to Hollywood to Venice Beach. Choose one that suits your interests. 

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    Los Angeles Harbor Tour
    Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    There are a lot of ways to get out on the water around LA and Orange County from Harbor Tours, Whale Watching and Dinner Cruises to Tall Ship sails and gondola rides. See the complete list of Los Angeles Area Boat Tours.

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    Los Angeles Air Tours

    USA, California, Los Angeles, cityscape, aerial view
    Ron Chapple/Getty Images

    There are many ways to see Los Angeles, and one of the most fascinating is to fly low over famous landmarks and celebrity homes in a small plane or helicopter on one of the Los Angeles air tours and flying experiences. Within close proximity to LA, you can also enjoy the thrill of taking a flying lesson, piloting a stunt biplane or taking the controls of a light attack aircraft in air-to-air combat.

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    Quick Culture Art Tour of LACMA
    Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    If you shy away from typical tourist fare and want to get a more unique view of the city, try one of these specialty tours of LA. From foodies to crime buffs, there's something for everyone.

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    Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour Tram
    Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, used with permission

    For people who have never been on a movie or television set, the first thing you need to be prepared for on a studio tour is that it is really a bunch of warehouses full of lights, cables and set pieces. You get limited access to sets, and never when they are in use. The chances of seeing actors are slim, although it happens occasionally. The quality of the experience usually depends on the quality of the guide and how much of a fan you are. Some tours are by tram, others are all walking, and some combine the two. Most studio tours have an age limit and don't allow small children.