Tours

You can explore L.A. from many vantage points and even more topical angles. Not surprisingly, lots of guides include dollops of celebrity history and gossip. Most tours run year-round, and most require advance reservations.

Bus and Van Tours

Guideline Tours offers sightseeing trips all around L.A., including Downtown, Universal Studios, and Hollywood. Starline Tours picks up passengers from the TCL Chinese Theatre and in Santa Monica. The company offers double-decker hop on/off tours around town and operates tours to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The slightly tawdry TMZ Celebrity Tour of reputed celebrity hot spots leaves from two locations: in front of the Hard Rock in Hollywood, or the Grove.

Fees and Schedules

Guideline Tours. 323/465–3004; 800/604–8433; www.tourslosangeles.com.

Starline Tours. 800/959–3131; www.starlinetours.com.

TMZ Celebrity Tour. 844/869–8687; www.tmz.com/tour.

Helicopter Tours

If you want an aerial tour, lift off with Orbic Air. Based at Hollywood Burbank Airport, the company has been flying its four-passenger helicopters for more than 25 years, and the pilots have years of experience. It's $99 per person for the basic 15-minute Hollywood Sign tour.

Fees and Schedules

Orbic Air. 818/561–4838; www.orbicair.com.

Scooter Tours

For an unusual perspective on L.A.'s attractions, you can take a tour of the city on a Segway electric scooter. The $89 Segwow tours might include the UCLA campus, Santa Monica, or Downtown. The guided rides last just over two hours.

Fees and Schedules

Segwow. 310/358–5900; www.segwow.com.

Special-Interest Tours

With Architecture Tours L.A., you can zip all over the city in a comfortable minivan on a private tour with a historian. Rates start at $75 per person. Esotouric has an innovative take on the city; its varied weekend bus tours ($58 and up) explore historic architecture along Route 66, and the darker side of L.A. that Raymond Chandler revealed in books like The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.

Beverly Hills operates year-round trolley tours focused on art and architecture. They last 40 minutes and depart from 11 am to 4 pm every weekend throughout the year, as well as Tuesday to Friday in the summer. Tickets cost $5. Soak up the glow of classic neon signs from an open double-decker bus on tours offered by the Museum of Neon Art. They cost $55 and are offered May through September.

Take My Mother Please will arrange lively, thematic combination walking and driving tours; for instance, you could explore sights associated with the film L.A. Confidential. Rates start at $450 for up to three people for a half day.

Fees and Schedules

Architecture Tours L.A. 323/464–7868; www.architecturetoursla.com.

Beverly Hills Trolley Tours. Dayton Way and Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, California, 90210. 310/285–1128; www.beverlyhills.org/exploring/trolleytours.

Esotouric. 213/373–1947; www.esotouric.com.

Neon Cruise. 818/696–2149; www.neonmona.org/neon-cruise.

Take My Mother Please. 323/737–2200; www.takemymotherplease.com.

Walking Tours

Red Line Tours offers daily one- and two-hour walking tours of behind-the-scenes Hollywood. Tours, which cost $25, are led by docents and include headsets to block out street noise. The Los Angeles Conservancy's 2½-hour-long walking tours ($10) cover the downtown area.

Fees and Schedules

Los Angeles Conservancy. 213/623–2489; www.laconservancy.org.

Red Line Tours. 6708 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, California, 90028. 323/402–1074; www.redlinetours.com.

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