Which Los Angeles Bus Tour Should You Take?

This post compares the various different bus tour options available to you in Los Angeles and summarises the public reviews to help you decide which company and tour are best for you.

 

  


HOP-ON-HOP-OFF BUS TOURS

These bus tours allow you to set your own schedule. You can hop off at any stop and stay as long as you wish before hopping back on to continue the tour.

Ticket prices are fairly reasonable at an average of $50 for adults and they are usually available every day of the week!  


Starline Tours

If this name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Starline Tours has been around for almost 90 years! Although they started out simply by touring the homes of the rich and famous, today they provide several additional services – including this hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

With a total of 6 bus lines stretching from Downtown Los Angeles to Venice Beach, there will be plenty to do and see on this trip around the City of Angels. Tours run daily from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm (21:00). 

Completing every circuit would take at least 8 hours, and chances are that you won’t be able to finish that in one day, so we recommend choosing either a 48 or 72-hour ticket for the best possible value.

  • 24-Hour: $49 for Adults | $30 for Children | $132 for Family (2 Adults + 3 Children)
  • 48-Hour: $64 for Adults | $40 for Children | $178 for Family (2 Adults + 3 Children)
  • 72-Hour: $79 for Adults | $50 for Children | $220 for Family (2 Adults + 3 Children)
  • Click here for more information

 

Starline's map of service routes in Los Angeles. Image Source: City-sightseeingLA.com

 

Although this is one of the oldest and most popular Los Angeles bus tours, their ratings on TripAdvisor are fairly mediocre with a total score of 3 ½ out of 5 stars.

Most guests agree that this tour company provides a valuable service, but there are several complaints suggesting that they could probably do better. Some customers offer tips on how to improve the tour experience, indicating that they had a good time but enhancements could be made.

Ratings on other sites (read reviews here) are better, with reviewers describing the tour as an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the LA area.

Families and couples were most likely to leave a positive review of Starline Tours.

 


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HOLLYWOOD BUS TOURS

Although the hop-on-hop-off bus tours also make stops in Hollywood, they aren’t necessarily focused primarily on this historic location. If you want a more in-depth tour of the area, it’s best to take one of the following trips instead.

These services will not allow you to hop off and explore at your own leisure, but most tour companies will make stops for a pre-determined amount of time at landmarks such as the Hollywood sign.

Hollywood bus tours use smaller, open-air buses to get around, allowing them to access areas that you can’t see on a more traditional Los Angeles bus tour.

Whether you’re a movie buff or you just want to see where the rich and famous spend most of their time, these outings can be both educational and entertaining.


Starline Tours

Even though this isn’t technically a bus tour, it’s worth noting that Starline also offers a one-hour trolley tour around Hollywood. Although this trip is a lot shorter and limited in scope, it’s also much cheaper than the other Hollywood tours.

During your outing, you’ll see sites such as the Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and the Hollywood sign. As you travel around the city, a professional tour guide will provide a plethora of information about Los Angeles.

Most people who take this tour enjoy their experience, but ratings for the service from Starline remain somewhat average (read reviews here). Some guests had issues with scheduling, but others felt that one hour was the perfect amount of time to spend in Hollywood. A few customers were impressed with their tour guides, indicating that they offered a lot of knowledge about movie stars and famous locations around Los Angeles.

This trolley tour is a popular option for visitors from all over the world.


LA City Tours

This company offers open-top buses and make stops at designated hot spots in Los Angeles. Their Hollywood Grand City Tour makes a stop at both the Beverly Hills sign and the Griffith Park Observatory (one of the best locations to see the Hollywood Sign).

Clocking in at a total of 3 ½ hours, this trip around the city includes narration provided by professional tour guides who will point out some of the more important sites in the area. This tour is also available via mini-bus, which may be more comfortable for some visitors.

  • Ticket Prices: $65 for Adults | $50 for Children
  • Duration: 3 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily at 9:30 AM
  • Stops made at Beverly Hills and Hollywood sign
  • Click here for more information

This Hollywood tour is very highly rated by customers (read reviews here). Most guests felt that their tour guides were very friendly and knowledgeable, providing a lot of information about Los Angeles along the way.

A few visitors were unimpressed with certain aspects of the tour, but even some of them suggest that this has more to do with how the city was planned out than it does with LA City Tours.

Couples and families were the most likely audience to appreciate their experience. 


Surf City Tours

This company uses open-air vehicles that will provide cover from the sun as the breeze blows by on your drive around the city.

This Hollywood tour includes highlights such as Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive. Much like their competitors, they also make a stop near the Hollywood sign for photo opportunities.

Daily and running 2 hours in duration, this may be a better option for visitors who are short on time.

This company currently enjoys a 4 ½ out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Viator (see the reviews), indicating that they provide excellent service. S

Some guests felt that this Hollywood tour transcended the rest, going beyond the typical material to give customers an inside scoop. Most visitors were very impressed with their tour guides, describing them as entertaining, informative and courteous.


Hollywood Tourz

Much like their competitors, this company also uses an open air bus to conduct their tour. Over the course of 2 hours, you’ll visit a variety of notable locations in Hollywood and learn all about the history of Tinseltown. In addition to visiting locations such as the Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, this bus tour also reveals some of the celebrity homes that you’ll find in the area. Tickets for this trip are a little expensive, but they often offer significant discounts on their website.

 

  • Ticket Prices: $49 for Adults | $35 for Children | $17.50 for Infants
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Availability: Daily
  • Stop made at the Hollywood sign
  • Use coupon code bustour to save 50% online
  • Click here for more information

Reviews for Hollywood Tourz are pretty favorable, and the company has received an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Despite the fact that some visitors were unimpressed, an overwhelming majority of customers have stated that this bus tour was a lot of fun. Even guests who have lived in Los Angeles for decades were happy with this outing, indicating that it could be entertaining for both locals and tourists alike.

Families were the most likely audience to leave a positive review for this service.


Hollywoodland Tours

This company is fairly similar to a lot of the other tour services in Hollywood. On their open-air bus, you’ll spend roughly 2 hours traveling around the city as a tour guide provides helpful narration.

  • Ticket Prices: $64 for Adults | $49 for Seniors/Military/Children
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Availability: Daily
  • Stop made at the Hollywood sign
  • Click here for more information

Hollywoodland Tours have an overall rating of 3 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Although this is definitely a decent score, it’s a lot lower than some of their competitors. Customer complaints range from the speed of the tour to a purported focus on tipping. That being said, there are quite a few reviews indicating that this service is pretty good. As a matter of fact, most guests felt that the trip was both informative and fun, providing an interesting look at Los Angeles.

Couples and families were especially impressed with this bus tour.

 


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CELEBRITY HOME TOURS

While it’s true that a lot of Hollywood bus tours spend a significant amount of time revealing the homes and neighborhoods that movie stars frequent, they usually don’t go into great detail. If you’re more interested in learning about famous figures residing in Los Angeles, you’ll want to take a celebrity bus tour instead.

These tours visit the homes and mansions of movie stars, allowing visitors from around the world to get a taste of what it’s like to live in Hollywood. Due to city ordinances, the following services are only available on either an open-air bus or a minibus. Thankfully, this actually creates a less crowded and more enjoyable experience for guests.


LA City Tours

In addition to their trip to Hollywood, this company also provides a celebrity tour. Over the course of 2 hours, you’ll see the homes of rich and famous movie stars who live in the Los Angeles area. As you travel through notable neighborhoods such as Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and the Sunset Strip, you’ll see where celebrities spend most of their time. Discover their favorite places to eat and have fun. Feel free to come back later to experience that lifestyle for yourself! This tour also includes a stop at one of the best viewing locations for the Hollywood sign.

LA City Tours enjoy an overall rating of 4out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Most customers are very impressed with their services, declaring that their tour guides are very informative and helpful. Guests typically describe these tours as pleasant and entertaining, denoting the fact that they presented a side of Los Angeles that would be difficult to see on your own.

The celebrity tour, in particular, was most popular among couples and families.


Prime Time Hollywood Tours

While on this Los Angeles bus tour, you’ll discover where celebrities live and unearth some of their favorite hot spots. Prime Time provides a service that is very similar to others, clocking in at 2 hours in length and offering photo opportunities at the Hollywood sign. That being said, there are a few notable differences which set this company apart from their competition. By using a 12-seat bus, they ensure smaller and more personable experiences for their guests. Tickets are also much more affordable, so you don’t have to break the bank to take their tour.

 

  • Ticket Prices: $39 for Adults | $29 for Seniors/Military/Students/Children | $10 for Toddlers
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Availability: Daily
  • Stop made at the Hollywood sign
  • Click here for more information

Reviews for Prime Time Hollywood Tours are very good (read reviews here), and the company has earned a rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdviser. A majority of customers agree that their driver/tour guide is both friendly and helpful, providing a lot of useful information about Los Angeles. Some guests were quite impressed with the ticket prices, indicating that they are a pretty good deal.

Visitors who brought family and friends were most likely to enjoy this trip around the city.


Starline Tours

Considering their history in the area of celebrity tours, it’s only fitting that we should mention this option. After almost a century, Starline continues to offer one of the most popular bus tours in Los Angeles. During this 2 hour drive around the homes of the rich and famous, you’ll see and learn all about the lives of notable movie stars. Instead of being packed onto a large open top bus, you’ll be escorted to each location in a comfortable 13-seat vehicle which ensures a more personalized experience.

As you can probably imagine, ratings for this service are fairly decent (read reviews here). Guests described the tour as insightful and interesting, noting that all of the Starline employees were very well informed. Some customers really enjoyed the opportunity to ride through the Hollywood hills and see some of the most notable celebrity mansions and houses in the area.

Although there have been a few negative comments here and there, most visitors are extremely pleased with this trip.


Legends of Hollywood Tours

If you’re looking for a longer and more in-depth tour of celebrity homes, Legends of Hollywood provides a unique 4 hour journey through the heart of Los Angeles. This company uses an 11-13 seat bus equipped with a 32″ HDTV for multimedia presentations during the tour. While on your trip, you’ll see clips from famous films to help enrich your experience. Find out where movie stars like to hang out and discover where they live with the help of a professional tour guide.

  • Ticket Prices: $79 for Adults | $69 for Seniors | $59 for Children
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Availability: Daily
  • Bottled water and snacks are included
  • Click here for more information

This tour has received a lot of excellent reviews from customers (read reviews here). Guests note that they enjoy the multimedia presentation and the information provided by knowledgeable tour guides. Other visitors appreciate the fact that Legends of Hollywood uses air conditioned buses, allowing them to conduct tours pretty much year round.

Although some guests took issue with the fact that they don’t provide a lot of photo opportunities, others described the overall experience as unforgettable.


Proper Sightseeing

In addition to their hop-on, hop-off outing, this company also offers a movie star home tour around Los Angeles. Choose between either an open-top or closed top minibus for this 2-hour trip around the city. Professional tour guides will provide expert narration and point out some of the most notable houses and mansions in the area. This outing includes a drive near the Hollywood sign, allowing guests to get an excellent photo opportunity at one of the most notable sites in Tinseltown!

  • Ticket Prices: $49 for Adults | $39 for Children
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Availability: Daily
  • Hollywood sign photo op is included
  • Click here for more information

As we’ve mentioned before, Proper Sightseeing has received pretty good reviews on TripAdvisor. Although some customers were unimpressed, others compared the service to popular bus tours in the area and indicated that this company provides a far better value than their competitors. A majority of guests agree that their tour guides are very friendly and knowledgeable, providing plenty of information about Hollywood.

This company is especially well rated by families and couples.


Star Track Tours

Whether you want to see lavish mansions and luxurious homes or you’d rather see some of the most significant sites in Hollywood, this tour should do the trick. In addition to visiting the homes of stars such as Tom Cruise and Elton John, you’ll also see dozens of notable landmarks like the Hollywood sign. Unlike their competitors, Star Track offers tours both during the day and at night. Their open top vehicles seat between 10-13 passengers on average which ensures a more personalized experience.

Reviews for this tour company are typically very good, with most customers giving them a high rating (read reviews here). Guests typically describe their tour guides as funny, friendly and knowledgeable, indicating that they provide information that might not have been easy to discover without them. Although some visitors are unimpressed with this tour, others feel that it was more than worth the price of admission.

Families and friends were the most likely to leave a positive review.

 


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MINIBUS TOURS

The City of Angels is filled with historic locations, but they aren’t all centered around the film industry. If you want to see more than just Hollywood and Beverly Hills, minibus tours are an excellent option. A minibus is small enough to access communities you wouldn’t see on a larger bus.

The following services typically run for between 3-8 hours, giving you plenty of time to see a side of Los Angeles that visitors sometimes neglect. Tickets for these excursions can be more costly, but they also provide a lot more information and depth than some of the other bus tours you’ll find in LA.


LA City Tours

Described as a comprehensive tour of the city, this 6-hour Los Angeles bus tour includes a visit to neighborhoods such as Santa Monica and Venice Beach. In addition to these communities, you’ll also have the opportunity to see Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the Downtown area. Discover sites such as the Walk of Fame, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Marina Del Rey. Due to the length of this outing, a stop will be made during the lunch hour so that you can refuel at the halfway point.

  • Ticket Prices: $79 for Adults | $55 for Children
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Availability: Daily at 9 AM & 11 AM
  • Stop made for lunch
  • Click here for more information

Reviews for this particular minibus tour are pretty good. Several guests were very pleased with the amount of ground covered on their trip. One reviewer even went so far as to state that they visited every location on their wishlist and more. While some people were unimpressed with the service, a majority of customers enjoyed their experience. Visitors described their tour guides as both humorous and knowledgeable, providing a lot of valuable information and making the trip fun for everyone.

Couples and families were especially impressed with this outing.


Starline Tours

Take a trip around Los Angeles on Starline’s minibus to see all of the major landmarks and neighborhoods. Avoid the large crowds and enjoy a more personalized experience with the help of their professional tour guides. In addition to visiting a lot of notable celebrity homes and mansions, you’ll also see sites such as the Hollywood sign and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This outing also includes a trip to communities such as Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Downtown LA.

 

Starline Minibus tour. Image Source: Starlinetours.com. 

  • Ticket Prices: $79 for Adults | $64 for Children
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Availability: Daily at 9 AM
  • Hollywood sign photo opportunity
  • Click here for more information

Most of the reviews for this minibus tour are positive (read reviews here). Although some customers felt their trip was too overpriced, others described the experience as incredible, indicating that Starline has a very reliable team. Several reviews suggest that this is a great way to discover Los Angeles, providing a general overview of several notable areas in the city.

This outing was most popular among couples and guests who went with a friend.


Another Side of Los Angeles

If you’re looking for a more historical look at Los Angeles, this company provides a pretty interesting tour around the city. Learn about the history of Hollywood as you see sites such as the Walk of Fame and the Sunset Strip. In addition to this outing, they also provide a trip around beach communities like Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Another Side of Los Angeles uses professional tour vans to drive you around the city in comfort. Although they require at least two guests to tour, it’s worth noting that anyone who wants to go on their own is welcome to join another group if there is room.

This tour company has an impressive overall rating of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Thanks to the small group sizes, guests typically reported that they enjoyed the more private tour experience around Los Angeles. Customers described their tour guides as friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable about the area. Some reviewers even suggested that this was the best way to see the City of Angels.

Most of the positive reviews came from families and couples.


California Tour Lines

One of the nice things about minibus tours is that they can access locations which a traditional tour bus is not allowed to visit. California Tour Lines prides themselves on exploring areas of Los Angeles that most of their competitors ignore. In addition to visiting popular landmarks such as the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame, you’ll also see sites such as the Playboy Mansion and the shooting location of the Oscars. With three different tours ranging from 4 ½ — 7 hours in length, you can choose to take either a half-day or full-day trip through the city. Each outing includes a lunch stop at either The Grove or Santa Monica Place.

With an overall rating of 4 stars on TripAdvisor, it’s clear that most reviewers enjoyed their experience with this company. Although some guests were unimpressed with their trip, a majority of them indicated that this Los Angeles bus tour was fantastic. Even some locals expressed appreciation for the tour, indicating that their guides were both entertaining and informative.

Families and couples were the most likely to give California Tour Lines a positive rating.


Surf City Tours

In the interest of full disclosure, this isn’t technically a minibus tour. That being said, Surf City provides a comprehensive 5 ½ hour trip around Los Angeles which is very similar to some of the other services on our list. In addition to visiting famous locations such as Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, you’ll also see the sites of notable crime scenes and filming locations. This open-air bus tour will make stops at the Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood sign and The Grove (for lunch).

  • Ticket Prices: $85 for Adults | $70 for Children/Seniors
  • Duration: 5 ½ hours
  • Availability: Daily at 10 AM & 12 PM
  • Complimentary cold drinks provided
  • Lunch stop and photo ops provided
  • Click here for more information

As we’ve already mentioned, this company has received very good reviews from their customers. Ratings for their Los Angeles bus tour are especially high, and most reviewers agree that this service is quite excellent. Some visitors appreciated the opportunity to become more familiar with the area, and others felt that the tour guides were very friendly and informative. Even local guests were impressed with the trip, indicating that the small group sizes made their experience more enjoyable.

A majority of the positive comments came from families, friends and couples.


A Day In LA Tours

This is yet another case where the company in question doesn’t actually use a minibus. Instead, this tour is offered on their self-described “RastaBus” which seats up to 27 passengers. On their half-day and full-day tours of Los Angeles, you’ll see a variety of significant sites and landmarks such as the Santa Monica Pier, the Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive. If you’ve only got a day to see the city, this is a wonderful opportunity to discover as much as possible.

A Day in LA Tours uses the RastaBus for its services. Image Source: ADayinLATours.com 

A Day in LA Tours sports an impressive 5-star rating on TripAdvisor. Very few people have left negative comments, indicating that an overwhelming majority of guests were very happy with their experience. Customers of both the half-day and full-day tour appreciated the information and entertainment provided by their tour guides. Some visitors felt that this trip went above and beyond, exceeding their expectations.

Both families and couples were very likely to leave an excellent review.


Star Track Tours

In addition to their traditional celebrity tours, this company also provides a much longer outing which includes a visit to the Santa Monica Pier. Technically, this is just an extension of their other services, giving visitors an opportunity to spend some time at the beach after seeing most of the notable sites in Los Angeles. This trip requires a minimum of 4 passengers, so it might be a good choice for families or small groups.

As we’ve mentioned before, Star Track has received fairly respectable ratings on TripAdvisor. Most guests really enjoy their celebrity tours, and customers who took this 5-hour beach tour were also very impressed. Reviews for this trip indicate that the company gives you plenty of time to explore Santa Monica Pier after seeing some of the most significant landmarks in Hollywood.

Family audiences were most likely to appreciate their experience with this company.


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COMBO PACKAGES & DISCOUNTS

It’s not uncommon for tour companies to offer discounts on their services. Sometimes these deals come in the form of a coupon code, but you’ll usually find a better rebate by taking advantage of a combo package.

In some cases, you can even save up to 50% off of various activities — including Los Angeles bus tours! If you want to save money during your trip around the City of Angels, consider some of the following bargains.


Go Los Angeles Card

This attraction pass includes a variety of activities at a discounted price. In addition to working with Starline, they also offer Hollywood bus tours at a discount. The Go Los Angeles card is available as an all-inclusive pass, but you can also build-your-own pass and receive a lower price when purchasing more than one tour or activity at a time. Save anywhere from 20%-50% on average while enjoying an interesting selection of tours and attractions.

For more information about Los Angeles Tourist Discount Passes, read our detailed review of all the various options. Below are some of the bus options included on the tourist passes.

All Inclusive Pass

The following bus tours are available with this pass:

  • Starline Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour (Yellow Line)
  • Rockin’ Hollywood Bus Tour
  • Malibu Celebrity Homes Bus Tour

Ticket Prices:

  • 1 Day: $85 for Adults | $69 for Children
  • 2 Days: $129 for Adults | $105 for Children
  • 3 Days: $205 for Adults | $179 for Children
  • 5 Days: $269 for Adults | $239 for Children
  • 7 Days: $315 for Adults | $275 for Children
  • Click here to purchase this pass

Build-Your-Own Pass

The following bus tours are available with this pass:

  • Starline Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour (Multilingual)
  • Starline Movie Location Bus Tour
  • Hollywood Movie Star Homes Bus Tour
  • 1-Hour Hollywood Trolley Tour
  • Malibu Celebrity Homes bus Tour

Purchase two or more attractions/tours and receive 20% off each ticket. Click here to learn more about this pass.


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