If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes during the making of a television show or major Hollywood movie, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Los Angeles gives visitors an opportunity to find out. For more than 75 years, Warner Bros. has been making movies at their Burbank studios, and they generously share their heritage with visitors on daily tours of the facilities.
However, unlike the extensive studio tour at Universal, the Warner Bros. tour is unscripted and changes depending on what's currently in production at the studio. While Universal Studios has many sets from previous films, the only set you'll find at Warner Bros. is from the "Friends" television show, which has been relocated to a small room near the prop department so that visitors can enjoy it.
Tips for Enjoying the Tour
- Some walking is required, and you'll get on and off the tram several times.
- Adults must bring legal photo identification, and you will have to show it at the ticket counter.
- Children under 8 are not allowed. Additionally, children ages 8 through 17 must be accompanied by an adult to take the tour.
- Plan on arriving at least 30 minutes before your scheduled tour departure. Arriving early will allow time for parking and security.
- Leave your video camera in the car as much of the tour doesn't allow photography; however, there are parts of the studio where you can snap a picture on your phone.
- Do not bring large bags like backpacks or suitcases, or anything that might be considered a weapon (including pocket knives, mace, or pepper spray).
- You will be check by a metal detector and have your personal belongings inspected before being allowed to enter the studio.
- If you're visiting several Hollywood attractions on the same day, you can save money on the Paramount Tour with a Go Card.
Besides the basic tour, Warner Bros. offers an expanded tour or two that cover more areas, go into more depth, and may include lunch in the commissary. Visit their website to find out about these options if you're interested. However, keep in mind that the deluxe tour experiences may also have higher age requirements for guests—experiences that feature drinks are often only available to guests over the age of 21.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
The standard Warner Bros. Studio Tour takes guests through a real, working film production area—not a theme park. Every tour is different and depends on the film and television production schedules, but they regularly include a visit to a set or two and a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes productions of Hollywood. Highlights of the tour include:
- The reception center shows a short film highlighting the history of Warner Bros.
- Visitors travel in groups of 12 or less in an open-air tram. The tour varies, but you may see the Costume Department, Scenic Department, sound stages, editing rooms, screening theaters, and the 2-million-gallon tank used for filming water scenes.
- Some parts of the Warner Bros. Studios are off-limits to photography, such as the sound stages where movies and television shows are filmed. The tour guide will stow your cameras when you visit these areas.
- Tours usually visit at least one or two filming sets, which are typically for television series; the sets you visit will depend on the filming schedule for the studio.
- The tour visits some of the studio's twenty acres of exterior sets. It's in this area where most of the picture taking are allowed. This is also where the tour guides shine, showing visitors spots such as the scene of Spiderman and Mary Jane's first kiss. They'll also take you behind the facades, building fronts made just for show and into a "practical" set, which has rooms inside.
- Even though only a small portion of the studio's memorabilia collection is on display in the Studio Museum, you'll probably still be looking around at the costumes, scripts, props, and letters when your tour guide says it's time to leave. Vigilant guards keep itchy hands off the treasures, and very little is behind glass so that you can see it all clearly.
Once you've been on the studio tour, you'll never think of a movie or television program in quite the same way again.
We rate the Warner Bros. Studio Tour 4 stars out of 5. It's an authentic tour of a working studio unfettered by special effects, and the museum is excellent.
What You Need to Know
Tours are available on weekdays year-round (when you'll find more things going on) and weekends during summer vacation time. Check the current schedule before you go (not required but highly recommended). Open spaces are sold on a first-come, first served basis. There is an admission fee charged (expensive) and parking is extra. The basic tour lasts a little more than two hours, the expanded tour options last longer. Any time is a great time to visit.
3400 Riverside Drive
Parking is in a visitor lot near Gate N which is located across from the above address. A parking fee is charged. Driving directions from all the Los Angeles freeways are available at the Warner Bros. website.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.