Which Hollywood Studio Tours Are the Best?
This post covers the most enjoyable movie studio tours in and around Hollywood. With so many historic studios in the area, it might be difficult to pick just one to visit.
Taking a studio tour is one of the top things to do in LA.
Interestingly enough, there are quite a few differences between the tours offered at each studio, and that should make it easier to figure out which tour best fits your expectations.
Ticket prices vary from $62 per person to literally thousands of dollars.
However, 3 of the tours, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Universal Studios are included for free or at a discount in several tourist attraction discount passes.
It’s also worth noting that the length of these tours can run from roughly an hour to almost a week.
With all of that said, let’s start talking about what each movie studio offers with their tours.
- Warner Bros.
- Sony Pictures
- Universal Studios
- Paramount Pictures
- Adventures by Disney: Disney Backstage
WARNER BROS. STUDIO TOUR
Below is a summary of our post on Warner Brothers Studio tours, where we also provide tips on planning your trip here.
If you’re in the market for a somewhat normal tour on the back lot, this might be one of your best bets.
In addition to seeing movie sets and sound stages from some of the most notable movies in film history, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy a few specific activities.
While on this movie studio tour, you’ll be able to re-create a famous scene from the hit television show Friends, climb aboard Harry Potter‘s broomstick, and even create your own Batmobile.
Warner Bros. even offers an interactive sound stage that explores the entire process of making a film from start to finish.
At three hours in length, this tour is probably the longest duration of all of the options in Hollywood.
- $69/adult + $59/child
- Availability: Daily at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm
- Duration: 3 hours
- Available in both English and Spanish
- Click here for more information.
With an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, it’s fair to say that this Hollywood studio tour is very well rated (read reviews here).
Some guests have gone so far as to suggest that this trip is worth every single penny. Visitors were typically very happy with their tour guides, referring to them as both friendly and informative.
SONY PICTURES STUDIO TOUR
This might be the most affordable movie studio tour in Hollywood, and it’s also one of the most historic. Do note, that is is a walking tour.
While on this tour, you’ll see the sound stages where they recorded classics such as The Wizard of Oz and superhero flicks like Spider-man.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to see where Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are recorded.
Although they don’t make any promises, there’s always a chance that you’ll run into someone famous on this active studio back lot!
- $45 per person
- Availability: Monday – Friday at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm
- Duration: 2 hours
- Click here for more information.
With an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, it’s clear that this is a pretty popular Hollywood studio tour.
Customers really appreciated the opportunity to see several historic filming locations and learn a lot about the process of making a movie.
Although some reviewers were unhappy that this is a walking tour, others simply appreciated the opportunity to see where film history was made.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS TOUR
This is where things get interesting, as Universal Studios has essentially made their tour one of the services offered at their amusement park.
In other words, you need to buy a ticket for Universal Studios Hollywood in order to experience this studio tour.
Clocking in at only one hour in length, this is definitely the shortest studio tour available. Check out this video of Stephen Spielberg giving a tour of the site.
In addition to seeing the back lot, you’ll also experience attractions such as the Jaws ride, King Kong 360 in 3D, Bates Motel and Fast & The Furious: Supercharged.
Although it will cost more to take this tour, it’s worth noting that your ticket lasts all day and guarantees access to all of the rides.
- $109-$129/adult | $99-$118/child
- Availability: Daily from 8 am – 6 pm
- Duration: 1 hour
- Click here for ticket information.
TIP: Universal Studios Hollywood is included for free with the purchase of a tourist pass. Read about all the opportunities for discounts in our full post.
Despite the higher price tag, this movie studio tour has still received quite excellent ratings (read reviews here). The overall Universal Studios Hollywood experience has a score of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
A few visitors have even suggested that this trip around the studio is worth the price of admission.
Although most customers feel that the ticket price is a bit high, even the critics can’t deny that they had a blast.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES STUDIO TOUR
Unlike the other movie studios, Paramount Pictures actually offers three different studio tours. Their main tour is 2 hours long and covers quite a lot of ground on the backlot.
However, if you want to experience more, their VIP tour lasts for 4 ½ hours and includes access to several additional areas. The VIP tour also provides a gourmet lunch at a unique location in the studio.
Alternatively, you can also choose a 2 ½ hour night tour that reveals a lot of historic locations such as notable theaters and original film vaults.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll definitely learn a lot about the history of Paramount.
- $60 for the studio tour | $189 for the VIP tour | $78 for the night tour
- Availability of Studio tour: Daily, every half hour from 9 AM – 3:30 PM
- Availability of VIP tour: Monday-Friday at 9:30 AM & 1 PM
- Availability of Night tour: Saturdays at 7:30 PM & 7:45 PM
- Duration of Studio tour: 2 hours
- Duration of VIP tour: 4 ½ hours
- Duration of Night tour: 2 ½ hours
- Click here for additional information.
Reviews for the Paramount Pictures Studio tours are very positive, averaging a rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.
Some visitors referred to the excursion as a movie buff’s dream, while others were just impressed with how much they learned and discovered.
Some reviewers indicated that Paramount alters the tour slightly depending on the season, ensuring a nice variety of topics and locations to cover no matter when you decide to buy a ticket.
ADVENTURES BY DISNEY: DISNEY BACKSTAGE
You had to figure that Disney was going to be a little more expensive, but the actual cost of this week-long experience might shock you.
To be fair, the package includes meals and accommodation at both the Loews Hollywood Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
This Disney backstage adventure includes a tour of the Walt Disney Studios & Archives, an Imagineering tour, a Hollywood walking tour, and a tour of the Jim Henson Company.
Most of these tours are only available via this week-long package. The entire itinerary takes six days to complete, and it will keep you busy with plenty of fun activities from start to finish.
- $3,399–$3,499 for Adults | $3,299–$3,319 for Children
- Availability: 2-4 times per month
- Duration: 6 days
- Hotel accommodation included
- 11 Meals included
- VIP Disneyland ticket included
- Click here for more information.
As you can probably imagine, the testimonials for this experience are quite positive (read reviews here). Some guests even noted that they made friends with their tour guides and continue to stay in touch with them to this very day.
Additionally, customers also appreciated the opportunity to see some behind-the-scenes areas that bring the history of Walt Disney to life. One visitor even suggested that this trip allowed them to become kids again as they explored secret and wonderful locations at the happiest place on earth.
COMBO DEALS AND DISCOUNTS
If you’re looking for a better price on these tours and other activities in Hollywood, you might want to consider one of the following combo packages.
Studios like Warner Bros. and Universal often work with tour companies to provide their services at lower prices.
There are several options to mull over, and almost all of them provide additional tours and services. If you plan on spending more than one day in Hollywood, these combo deals are definitely worth a look.
GO LOS ANGELES CARD
There’s a reason that this is one of the premier attraction passes in Los Angeles. In addition to offering access to a variety of notable locations, they also provide admission to some studio tours.
In particular, you can enjoy the Universal Studios tour, the Warner Bros. Studio tour and the Sony Pictures Studio tour with this pass.
Although you’ll need to get a 3-day pass for some of these activities, others are included with the 1-day pass for less than $100 per person.
Given that this tourist pass also supplies tickets to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm, it’s fair to say that the Go Los Angeles card is a real bargain.
- Ticket Price: $85 for 1-day pass | $129 for 2-day pass | $205 for 3-day pass | $269 for 5-day pass | $315 for 7-day pass
- This attraction pass is available every day of the week
- Includes up to 3 movie studio tours
- Click here for more information.
With so many awesome activities available, it probably won’t be too surprising to find out that this service has received a 4.4 out of 5-star rating (read reviews here).
Some customers have even suggested that this is the best deal ever, noting that the Go Los Angeles Card allows you to enjoy everything you want while it’s active.
A few visitors were especially pleased about the opportunity to visit both Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios with the help of this pass.
TRANSPORTATION COMBO PACKAGES
If you’re looking for transportation to and from each movie studio tour, the following services are available.
The advantage of these combo deals is that you won’t have to pay for parking, gas, or car rental in order to visit each location.
Hotel pickup and drop-off are included with each package. Take your time and enjoy the studio tour without having to worry about anything else!
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour w/ Transportation – $114 per person
CELEBRITY HOMES TOUR COMBO PACKAGES
These combo deals provide both a celebrity home tour and a movie studio tour. Each option includes transportation not only around Hollywood but also to and from the studios.
While some of these services use a mini-bus, others actually drive you around town in a luxury sedan or an SUV.
Each company offers both hotel pickup and drop-off.
Expect these outings to last for between 6-8 hours on average.
- Universal Studios Tour & Movie Star Homes Tour (Starline Tours) – $193 per person
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour & Movie Star Homes Tour (Viator) – $130 per person
Alternatively, we offer our own self-guided celebrity homes tour.
This might be a good way to save even more money if you don’t mind doing a bit of driving around Hollywood and Beverly Hills.