Heading to Los Angeles? You won’t be disappointed. From the world’s most famous theme parks to Hollywood celebrity spotting and shop-'til-you-drop retail therapy, there are plenty of things to see and do in LA.
Make the most of your time in and around the City of Dreams with our insider’s guide to the Top 10 Los Angeles day (or so) tours.
1. Universal Studios Hollywood Front-of-Line Pass
Go behind the scenes of some of Hollywood’s most famous and best-loved movies. Universal Studios Hollywood features rides, shows and play areas, plus a retrospective museum.
Your Front-Of-Line Pass includes park admission as well as one-time priority access to each ride, show and attraction.
Take a studio tour through iconic film sets including Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane. Be sure to ride the GlamorTram, which takes you past current film sets and offers the opportunity for celebrity-spotters to glimpse famous Hollywood faces.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s many rides and attractions have themes around favourite movie scenes from such films as Jurassic Park and Transformers.
2. Disneyland Resort Park Hopper
Experience two of the world’s most loved theme parks. The Disneyland Resort Park Hopper includes access to rides, shows and attractions at both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
Arrive early to explore all eight of Disneyland Park’s themed lands: Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, Frontierland, Critter Country, New Orleans Square and Adventureland.
Then head over to Disney California Adventure Park, which brings Disney and Pixar characters to life at Grizzly Peak, Paradise Pier, Pacific Wharf, a bug’s land, Hollywood Land, Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.
3. Hop-On, Hop-Off Double Decker Bus Tour
Explore LA’s major attractions at your own pace aboard the Hop-On, Hop-Off Double Decker Bus Tour. As the name suggests, you can hop on and hop off the bus as it suits.
This narrated tour points out landmarks from downtown Los Angeles to the beaches of Santa Monica and includes all the major Hollywood and Beverly Hills hot spots.
Stay as long or as little as you like in each location, but definitely don’t miss shopping on Rodeo Drive, grabbing a bite to eat on the Santa Monica Pier and cruising along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
4. Southern California Citypass
See more of LA and its surrounds with the Southern California Citypass, which includes a three-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket valid for admission at both Disneyland Park and the adjacent Disney California Adventure Park.
It also includes a one-day ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood and to SeaWorld San Diego, along with a Disney Magic Morning admission, which allows entry to Disneyland Park before it opens to the general public!
5. Disney Character Dining
Dine with some of Disney’s best-loved characters as your hosts – an experience available at a number of restaurants dotting Disneyland Resort.
Have Mickey Mouse as your breakfast waiter at Disney’s PCH Grill or join Minnie Mouse for breakfast daily at the Plaza Inn buffet on Main Street USA. Storytellers Cafe plays host to the daily Chip ‘n’ Dale Critter Breakfast buffet, while Disney characters are also part of the breakfast and dinner experience at Goofy’s Kitchen.
Children of all ages will delight at being served under the sea by their favourite Disney Princess at Ariel’s Grotto. Bookings are a must for Disneyland character dining experiences, and don't forget to pack your camera and pens for souvenir photos and autographs.
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6. LEGOLAND Tour
LEGOLAND appeals to both the young and the young at heart, featuring more than 60 rides and attractions, plus shopping, dining and even a water park.
Sit inside a life-size dinosaur footprint or dig for fossils on Explorer Island, go back in time at Castle Hill and enjoy free play building in the Imagination Zone. Don't miss Miniland USA – reproductions of seven areas of the United States, constructed to scale with more than 20 million LEGO bricks.
7. Knott’s Berry Farm
Originally a small berry farm and later a restaurant, Knott’s Berry Farm is now one of America’s best-loved theme parks, featuring more than 64 hectares of roller coasters and thrill rides.
Highlights include the thrills and spills of water raft rides in Wild Water Wilderness and breathtaking roller coasters at the Boardwalk and Mexican-inspired Fiesta Village.
Step back to the 1880s in the historic Ghost Town, and shop and dine in the Native American-inspired Indian Trails. There’s also plenty of fun for the younger children in the Peanuts-inspired Camp Snoopy zone.
8. San Diego Zoo Tour
San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals from across Africa, Europe, Asia, the Arctic and the Americas. Exhibits are designed around particular habitats, so visitors see animals in their natural environments.
Witness the monkeys, gorillas and hippos in the Lost Forest, the sun bear and spotted hyena in the Asian Passage, and the polar bear and mountain lion on the Northern Frontier.
Don’t miss the giant pandas – San Diego zoo is one of only a handful of zoos worldwide housing these beautiful endangered animals. The Elephant Odyssey is another highlight – see both African and Asian elephants, chat with their keepers and even watch an elephant training session.
9. Six Flags Magic Mountain
This high-energy LA attraction features more roller coasters for children than any other American amusement park.
A day tour to Six Flags Magic Mountain includes a return coach transfer from Los Angeles plus admission to the park and unlimited rides. There are high-speed, stomach-dropping rides that will see you flip, spin and drop in every direction.
Try the Green Lantern: First Flight all-vertical track that flips you 360 degrees; the twisting, looping Batman The Ride; or the Ninja, dubbed the ‘black belt’ of roller coasters. There are numerous family and kids’ rides, too, from the Grand Carousel to the family-friendly Road Runner Express.
10. Citadel Shop Until Drop Off
Love shopping? Then you’ll love LA’s Citadel Outlet shopping mall. This replica Assyrian Palace is home to outlet stores for 130 brands including Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Skechers, American Apparel, Converse, Vans, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Fossil.
Fashion, beauty and footwear dominate, but there are also kids’ outlet stores, such as Toys “R” Us and Disney.
Your tour includes a $20 gift voucher and your only challenge will be choosing where to spend it! Break up your shopping extravaganza with well-earned breaks at one of Citadel’s many cafes and snack outlets.