Movie studios have made Los Angeles what it is: a hub of entertainment, celebrities and pop culture. Movie studio tours in Los Angeles and television production sets offer a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of Hollywood unavailable anywhere else. Most of the major studios offer regular tours all year.
Included with admission to Universal Studios Theme Park is one of the best studio tours in Los Angeles. Guests are given a tour of one of Hollywood’s most famous backlots in the world’s largest working movie studio. Spanning several acres, the historic studio recently underwent one of the largest set construction projects in history with the creative consultation of Steven Spielberg.
The tram tour includes clips from comedian, actor and late-night host Jimmy Fallon who appears on HD monitors and live narration by a studio tour guide. The award-winning King Kong 360 3-D ride by Peter Jackson is included, along with sets from a number of hit TV shows and movies like Wisteria Lane from ABC’s Desperate Housewives, the Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, explosive special effects as seen in the Fast and the Furious and a sighting of Jaws.
CityWalk, is located adjacent to the studio with several dining and shopping options for before or after the tour. For a taste of California country, Saddle Ranch Chop House offers cowboy-sized portions and mechanical bull for brave patrons. A great way to see Universal Studios, along with 40 other LA attractions at a discount price, is with the Go Los Angeles Card
Sony Pictures Studios
Tour guides at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City take guests on a tour of the studio where The Wizard of Oz, Spider-Man and Men In Black were filmed, as well as game show favorites like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Visitors will get a glimpse of old Hollywood’s glory days with historical anecdotes and places like the Madison Avenue Gate, the Thalberg Building (world headquarters of Columbia Pictures), the cobblestone set of Main Street, the studio Water Tower and more.
Tours are given Monday through Friday at 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm and meet at Sony Pictures Plaza. Customized group tours are available. $35 per person.
Located adjacent to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place of Charlie Chaplin and several notable celebrities, The Paramount Studios tour offers a chance to learn about more than 100 years of Hollywood history.
Small groups are assigned to tour guides that walk through notable spots inside the longest-operating major studio in Hollywood where some of the world’s most celebrated motion pictures and television programs were produced.
Guests are given an intimate look at the studio where hit shows like Glee, Community, The Doctors, Happy Ending, NCIS: Los Angeles, The New Normal and many more are created.
Guests are chauffeured in a shaded tour cart and given the chance to explore sound stages, the back lot, and iconic Hollywood landmarks and props. At $48 per person, tours are given Monday through Friday every half hour between 9am and 2:30pm.
Four-and-a-half hour VIP tours are also available for movie buffs who want to see Paramount’s archive facilities. An upgrade to VIP includes a hands-on look at props and set items from famous past productions, unique photo opportunities and a complimentary lunch. VIP tours are offered on Fridays only and include free visitor parking, a complimentary souvenir photo and 15 percent off merchandise and DVDs at the Paramount Studio Store. $150 per person.
Warner Brothers Studios
Countless American classics have been produced at Warner Brothers Studios, including the Bogart classic Casablanca and cartoon favorite Looney Tunes. Warner Brothers Studios offers three different tours: Group, VIP and Deluxe.
Group tours and walking tours are the cheapest way to go, especially if visitors are planning an event for their school, business, club or organization. WB offers discount rates and special accommodations, including tours in Spanish.
A VIP tour gives visitors a chance to check out movie and television show sets, back lot streets, sound stages, craft shops and other behind-the-scenes features of the studio. Knowledgeable tour guides will lead guests from Midwest Street’s town square to Hennesy Street’s urban city exteriors, as well as the Jungle’s forested sets that can be recognized in classic and modern films and television series. This tour includes a visit to Stage 16, the tallest sound stage in North America, and a chance to take a Green Screen photo with famous characters from the WB movie catalog. VIP tours are two hours and fifteen minutes long and run Monday through Friday 8:15am to 4pm. $49 per person.
A Deluxe tour is an exclusive five-hour tour that allows guests to explore the craft of move making. The tour includes access to craft shops where artists create the sets, props and costumes for WB productions. Guests will visit working production areas and get a chance to talk to sound effects artists and other key crew members. The tour concludes with a chance to dine with the stars at lunch in the Commissary Fine Dining Room. Deluxe tours are $250 per person, Monday through Friday at 10:15am.
Nearby, visitors can catch a meal at the historic Smoke House, a post-WWII, old-school hollywood joint that continues to attract a crowd of actors, producers and other production workers. Ciaocristina!, which features a full bar and specializes in Neapolitan and New York-style pizza, is also located close to the studio.