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. Many of these companies also offer packages from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or San Diego. They are listed in no particular order.
Starline Tours dominate the LA guided bus tour market. They have a huge variety of tours from which to choose, some on giant open or closed-top coaches, others in open or closed-top vans or trolleys. The quality of Starline tours is extremely variable depending on the guide. Some are outstanding; others are mediocre or downright awful. Considering that they are the biggest tour company in town, they have a reputation for being somewhat unorganized, and not terribly service oriented. Most tours depart from Hollywood, but there are also some departing from Santa Monica. Tours with hotel pick up and drop off can be several hours longer than advertised.
A Day in LA Tours - The Rasta Bus
A Day in LA Tours offers an all-day tour, similar to other companies, that drops you off for a short visit at multiple locations across Los Angeles from Venice Beach to Griffith Observatory. Their red, yellow and green Rasta Bus is usually a smaller bus than the giant Starline buses, so it's a smaller group that disperses and reconvenes at each location. They also offer private tours. They don't have as many different tour options as other tour companies, but they're number one for customer satisfaction.
LA City Tours
LA City Tours has the usual passel of city, Hollywood, star homes, shopping and beach tours with the added bonus of being able to schedule tours that will drop you at LAX for your departure flight or at the Hollywood Greyhound Bus Station, or schedule a tour between your flight and cruise including pick up and drop off. They also offer hotel and multi-tour combo packages.
Legends of Hollywood Tours
Legends of Hollywood Tours is a popular luxury small van tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills based at the Los Angeles Farmers Market.
Guideline Tours offers the full array of grand city tours and movie stars' homes tours, a night tour, a west side beaches tour and tours to all the area theme parks. They depart from most Downtown, Hollywood or Universal City hotel.
Amazing LA Tours from Santa Monica
Amazing LA Tours is a Santa Monica-based company offering Los Angeles bus, air and theme park tour. Tours depart from Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey hotels. All tours are guided, not prerecorded.
Sunseeker Tours of LA from Long Beach
Sunseeker Tours' Hollywood Tour actually covers everything from the Ports of LA and Long Beach to Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and of course, Hollywood. They have full-day and half-day tours in 9-14 passenger minibusses departing from Long Beach hotels, the cruise ship terminal or LAX area. Passengers have time to get out and explore at Venice Beach, the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Blvd and the Hollywood Sign.
Dearly Departed Tours - Tragic History Tours of Los Angeles
Dearly Departed Tours will introduce you to the most gruesome aspects of Los Angeles from the scene of real-life murders and massacres to the locations used for some of Hollywood's favorite horror movies. Guides are well-informed, and you get some general Hollywood highlights in between the blood and gore. The guide's narration is complemented by 911 recordings and crime scene photos. Great for crime buffs; not recommended for children.
Esotouric is a tour company that offers very specialized thematic tours of Los Angeles. The subjects of the tours change, and they are not on a regular schedule so you have to plan around their date. Some popular tours they offer are the Black Dahlia Tour and the Raymond Chandler Tour.
Neon Cruises are double-decker bus tours of LA's most significant neon signs and art offered by the Museum of Neon Art. The tours are offered every Saturday from June through November.