Los Angeles is one of the most fascinating cities in the World. Their streets and buildings are filled with interesting stories about wars or stars, and that contrast is remarkable and something that makes everything in L.A. so special.
L.A. is also one of the most populated cities in the U.S. So, as you can imagine, there is a lot to do here, like any other big city in the world, but with one crucial difference: L.A. is also the cinema capital of the world, and that adds another layer to the many facets of the city.
Another aspect not discussed enough about L.A. is its marvelous architecture. As a city with a long history, its architecture shines and it’s possible to find any type of architectural style in the city. From the Art Deco scenery of downtown L.A and Venice Beach to the French wonders of Los Angeles Theatre.
So whatever is the reason for you to visit or plan a trip to L.A., either to see the stars up close or experience the rich architecture of the city, the other side won’t disappoint at all. In this post, you will find a complete list of things to do in L.A. Movie tours, architectural tours, historic tours, favorite landmarks, outdoor activities, cultural venues, and anything in between.
They say that L.A. is a city of dreams and stars, and after visiting all these places
there is nothing else to do but agree.
It’s no secret that this is one of the largest and most iconic studios in the world. Its water tower is an undeniable symbol of Hollywood and is almost as recognizable as the “Hollywood Sign”, which is a lot to say. The tour is a two-hour guided tour that will take you behind the scenes and behind the magic that you can see every day through your screen. There is much to see here and much to tell, but among the most notable aspects of the tour is the possibility of visiting incredible sets such as one dedicated to New York City, the DC Comics Universe exhibition, or the Harry Potter exhibition. Without a doubt, this tour is worth every penny.
This tour is a quick, guided visit to some of the most iconic movie-related sites in L.A. The guides are usually media reporters, so during the tour and between locations, you will learn other details about the life of the stars in the city. Although it may seem short, the tour includes the visit of over 40 emblematic movie locations and there is still time to visit other places not related to films, but just as emblematic as the Walk of the Stars.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” was one of the most awarded and acclaimed series of recent times. The creative staging where the actors had to improvise under a defined structure but without scripts, filled the series of unprecedented situations and highlighted the talent of actors at levels rarely seen on television. For this and many reasons, it has become a cult series, and if it is your interest to visit the emblematic locations of the series and also know many details about its filming, this is the right tour for you.
One of the most acclaimed films of recent years, OUTH takes place in Los Angeles and therefore, of course, it has its dedicated tour where you can visit many places where the filming took place and like other tours of this nature, you will be able to find out many unknown details about filming between visits and learning a little more about its director Quentin Tarantino. There are a lot of tours about different films, but we selected this one due to its quality, comfort, and the precise amount of information there is about the locations and curiosities of the film.
In 2011 the movie “The Artist” won all the awards, three Oscars, including the best picture, and broke many records. Part of the emotion with the film is that they designed it to pay tribute to old Hollywood cinema, and it is curious because at the same time it is a story about the life of the stars in the era of silent films. Because it’s a film about silent Hollywood, many of the movie sets are in L.A.Visiting this movie location is free, and you can easily set up a tour using the website link.
In 2016, people around the world only talked about “La La Land”. Winner of many awards including the Oscar for Best Picture for a few seconds, La La Land is a love letter to the city of Los Angeles and addresses the ever-current theme of having big dreams and wanting to be a star. Many people were inspired to get to know L.A. after seeing the movie, and it is no wonder. If you’re one of them, there are several tours that will take you to the most emblematic locations, that at the same time are must-visit landmarks of the city in any case, whether or not you are a fan of the film. It is also possible to do the tour on your own using the website link.
Clueless is the definitive teen movie of the 90s. It is said that every decade has its youth movie and Clueless was that movie for the youth of the 90s. Clueless is about the life of a teenage girl in Beverly Hills, so of course, it includes a lot of exteriors near mansions. This is an easy tour that will take you to several Beverly Hills mansions, including the homes of Cher and Dionne and a quick walk to Rodeo Drive. You can plan it yourself using the link.
If you are interested in visiting movie locations, it is impossible for you to go to Los Angeles and miss the opportunity to take a photo in one of the simplest, but at the same time, most emblematic and terrifying locations of all time. Probably many of us remember the terrors lived in Nancy’s house and you will be happy to know that if you go to this location, you will find the house virtually identical to how we see it in the movie. It’s a golden opportunity to have a truly iconic photo if you’re a fan of horror movies and Wes Craven. You can also use the link to visit and plan a tour of other famous horror movie houses, although unfortunately only Nancy’s house remains as if she still lived there.
The Hollywood Legends Tour has been a family-run business since 2010. The tour focuses primarily on Hollywood stars of the past and present. The tour emphasizes places, moments from movies and series and generally seeks to show the most memorable moments ever recorded in Los Angeles. If you are not up to date with all the moments, it is not a problem since the tour has audiovisual support.
This Tour comprises taking a trip to the center of Los Angeles to know the past and the glamorous present of all these places. During the tour, you will observe murals, buy souvenirs on Olvera Street, visit the most legendary concert sites, and the new parks that have transformed the city center. An interesting addition to this tour is the flying funicular, which once transported the elite of Los Angeles to one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city.
Named one of the best tours in all of Los Angeles for many consecutive years, Architecture Tours L.A. It does not simply offer a regular tour to see buildings, no. The difference in their service is that the tour is guided by an architectural historian. On this tour, you will learn how the architecture of the city grew and how virtually any style of architecture can be found anywhere in L.A. We assure you that once you take this tour, you will never see the city the same way again.
Slightly similar to the previous tour, but with a difference. Downtown L.A. focuses on downtown Los Angeles and visiting some of the most iconic buildings to tell you the specific history of the place. It’s interesting because somehow you will not only be taking photos of yourself in the places, but you will also learn the reasons these landmarks are so important to the people of L.A. They have recently expanded the downtown walking tours to other places like Pasadena, keeping the strategy of telling you about the evolution of the most emblematic sites.
This is a historical tour like no other, but we could not leave it off the list because it is very interesting and in some way it is in charge of keeping local legends of the city alive. The idea is to take you to some of the gloomiest locations in Los Angeles, either to take a tour that would otherwise be inaccessible or at least tell you the dark history behind it. For the more adventurous there is even the possibility of having a Medium session. This is honestly one of the best tour ideas we’ve seen in a long time.
Another Side of Los Angeles is a legendary touring company of L.A. They have two highly popular tours. On one hand, there is the classic tour of Los Angeles, which comprises taking you to the places that every tourist must visit and tell you a bit of history. It’s not particularly innovative, but you can count on the guides and transport services between towns to be top-notch. The other tour which is the most popular is the “Beverly Hills Segway Tour”, which is a fun experience where you will learn all about the famous Beverly Hills where all the rich and famous live.
The particularity of Los Angeles Urban Adventures is the number of options and varieties of experiences that its tours include. Although initially their tours aren’t a historical experience, the truth is that their service is very varied, and it is possible to hire a personalized experience with all the locations and expectations you want. So it is possible to ask for a tour that includes all the historical information according to your needs.
Perhaps this is the only tour where you will experience what the day-to-day life of an Angelino is like. They claim to offer a service that does not harm the environment, and it is true: they do all tours on foot, by public transport or underground transport. This gives a different note to the tour because you get to know the city at a level of detail that would be impossible by vehicle. If you are interested in historical facts, we recommend taking “The Real Hollywood Tour” which is full of interesting facts about the evolution of Hollywood and its golden era. There is also the “DLTA Murder Mistery Ghost Tour”, which is like the Haunted Tour with the difference that here you will know the exact locations of the most famous crimes of passion in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the city’s historic sites and buildings. Consequently, and because of this work, few companies know more about the history of the city than they do. Their most popular tours are a visit to downtown Los Angeles, where you will learn the best-kept secrets of Los Angeles and its stars. Another interesting tour is the “Art Deco” tour, which comprises giving a historical look at what was previously known as the Jazz district.
The idea of the “Old Hollywood Walking Tour” is to step into the shoes of one of the great stars of the past and take a unique walk to some of the most emblematic places where these artists and legends once made life. In a way, this is a historical tour of American pop culture, its best-kept secrets, and the places that today would be full of paparazzi.
The Pacific Design Center is an amazing building complex, so even to look from outside is worth the trip. However, on the inside, you will find a resource for furnishings, fabrics, floor coverings, architectural products, and more. It’s a significant starting point if you are interested in buying, to get inspired, or even understand how artsy L.A. decorations can be. If you are lucky, maybe your trip coincides with events related to art or architecture.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the most known hotels in the world, so you can’t visit L.A. without passing by it. Finished around 1912 the hotel still guards all its old Hollywood glamor flair and just because of that is really interesting to look at. Recently it was named L.A.’s first historic landmark by The Huffington Post. So, consider visiting the Beverly Hills hotel, take photos by the pool and grab a souvenir from their renowned lobby.
The Getty Center refers to the Getty Museum and its campus. This is arguably the number one spot for art in Los Angeles. It’s pretty well known for its architecture, gardens and views of L.A’s landscape. Sitting atop of a hill, people get there using a hovertrain mover, and that alone can be interesting. We highly recommend that you take a private tour rather than visiting by yourself, so you will get to know more about this wonderful museum and their many exhibits. One of the best tours is “Demystifying Art at The Getty” that allows you to configure your time and include a garden sculptures visit.
LACMA is the largest museum in L.A. and perhaps the western U.S. They focus on showcasing art history within the region in the first place but also from several parts of the world. One interesting thing about this museum is the variety of their exhibits, some centered in tech aspects for example and others centered on showcasing traditional artistic work. You can arrange 50 minute private tours and select the exhibits that you want to see. A highly trained docent will accompany you and explain in detail everything about it.
Another famous landmark, Los Angeles Theatre, is a must-see stop in L.A. Built around 1931 it is the most iconic movie palace of the city and one of the 20 most important in the US. The interiors are decorated in the French Baroque style, similar to the Versailles Palace. It’s both an architectural landmark and also an art stop because if you are lucky perhaps you can get tickets for one of the many events that are hosted here.
The Pasadena Heritage is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation organization in the state. They hold programs oriented to this purpose and also are focused in the revitalization of the original downtown of Pasadena. Pasadena Heritage offers private bus tours and walking tours that are really interesting to know the history of Pasadena, one of the oldest counties of L.A. This is the best way to visit and get to know Pasadena.
The MOCA is a museum in the traditional sense, but focused into contemporary art. They claim to have the most important pieces of contemporary art in the world, with the purpose of challenging the views of their visitors and help to enrich their point of view about art and perceptions of the current events in the world. Although it sounds ambitious, we can guarantee you: they have it.
For Angelenos, this is the equivalent of NY Yankee Stadium. The definitive outdoor sports multi-purpose stadium is actually way more versatile than the Yankee Stadium but don’t say that to a New Yorker. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a source of civic pride and has hosted the Olympic games two times and is a National Historic Landmark in the U.S. From an architectural point of view, this is one of the best examples of a sports venue and just seeing it is breathtaking.
Perhaps it’s not the best architectural tour that you can get, but it is somehow traditional to come to L.A. and take one of the many “Celebrities Homes” tours available. There are many ways to do this, from bus tours to self-guided tours, which consist of downloading a map with the location of the houses and voila! Consider including this in your plans, so you don’t have to worry later if someone asks you about Oprah’s house.
Designed by Frank Gehry, who is considered one of the greatest living architects today, the Walt Disney Concert Hall first opened in October 2003. It serves as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the modern architectural wonders of the city and it is also praised for its inside decorations and acoustics. You can explore it by taking the audio tours available for visitors, so it is possible to take pictures and also learn about the history of the Hall from its conception until its completion.
The Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden is all about sustainable landscaping. Their fundamental idea is to help build gardens and lead an effort to preserve local flora and fauna. The tour comprises different gardens built around several communities in LA. The selections of gardens vary from time to time, but of course, they have “the perennial favorites”, which are the most popular and loved. This tour can seem odd, but depending on selections of the gardens, you might end up visiting different places in L.A. that otherwise, you would never have visited. Another thing to consider: By booking this tour, you are contributing to the preservation efforts of the Theodore Payne Foundation.
This is another garden tour that is almost a hiking experience, and one of the best parts is that it is free, even though they accept donations. This works as an outdoor museum: you just show up at opening hours and you are free to explore and marvel at nature. Don’t believe for a second that this is just a “garden”. Its 7,800-square-foot area harbors many surprises and beauty for those who are looking for a full nature experience.
Kyoto Gardens is rapidly becoming one of Downtown L.A.’s best-kept secrets. Located on Little Tokyo (one of the L.A. Landmarks and surely one of the must-stops on your list) at Hilton Doubletree Hotel, this place is stunning and unique: it’s an all Japanese-style garden with waterfalls and it’s super quiet. It’s a unique location for photos and to relax between activities. It’s also free, so you don’t have any excuse not to go.
If you really feel extra adventurous and are in excellent physical condition, you have to consider the Griffith Park experience. For some, this is the proper way to experience the Hollywood sign in all its splendor. This is a four stops tour, starting at The Griffith Park. There, guide staff will teach you to tour the park at your expense for 3 hours. After that, you will head to “Hollywood Hills” when the real hiking experience will start until finally, you will reach a place very close to the Hollywood sign, to take photos. The last stop is the Griffith observatory, a must-see place in L.A., featured in many movies including the recent “La La Land”.
Without a doubt, one of the best tours in the city, starting at USD 52.
Similar to Theodore Payne Foundation, the Claremont Garden Club aims to preserve the local environment. While they organize a series of activities for locals interested in sustainable gardening, they also do an annual Garden Tour, which is a rewarding experience for everyone and very educational because they will teach you many properties of the plants and even describe their color palettes. This tour is an excellent walking and garden option if you happen to be passing through the city when it occurs.
This walking tour is one of the most interesting walking tours in Los Angeles. What makes this place interesting are all the aspects that converge in it. Because although it is a full-time cemetery with crematory services, it is also a cultural event center for live concerts and movie screenings. If you took the guided tour, you will learn a lot of interesting and historical Hollywood facts about this complex. Another tip: The night tour is better for photos.
Similar to other garden organizations listed here, the Riverside Community stands out for its garden tour that includes a flower show. So, while it’s similar to other garden tours, the Riverside experience can offer you a more flower centric experience among their garden selections.
One of the most iconic places in Los Angeles and perhaps all of California, Venice Beach can’t be out of a list of must-visit places to walk. According to local authorities, Venice Beach and its adjacent parks have an average of 10 million visitors per year, which makes this place one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. The Venice walk is about two miles, in which you find a lot of restaurants, performers, and street vendors. It is a unique way to explore the city. Here you will see tourists and locals mix to share traits and culture. Also at Venice Beach, you will find a recreation center that offers different activities depending on the time and the year. Other interesting corners or activities to look at: a fishing pier, a world-renowned skating plaza, a bike path, two children’s play areas, and if you are lucky, maybe an ongoing movie / TV series filming.
For many, this is the only must-see walking tour. In this tour, you will visit historic sites of Hollywood and learn about the transformation of Hollywood as a regular district in L.A. into the film capital of the world. What is this exactly about? You will peek inside of some unknown places of Hollywood Boulevard that ultimately define Hollywood’s identity. This tour is a unique opportunity to see where the founders of Hollywood chatted, gathered and had dinner, and learn a lot about American Cinema and moviestar culture.
The Pacific Palisades is a non-profit organization dedicated to recognize and preserve natural landscapes. They offer several tours and travels, but all of them have the same common ground: it’s all about enjoying nature. We recommend especially the Lake Shrine tour and the Virginia Robertson Garden Tour, but really any tour you choose from them will be a marvelous experience.