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Studio tours, which ones?

Dublin, Ireland
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Studio tours, which ones?

I am travelling to Los Angeles in February for a four night stay and we are staying in the Best Western Hollywood hills hotel. I have been looking at all the various studio tours that are available. Could anyone tell me which are the best ones to visit. A am a big fan of the big bang theory and I hear one of the tours visit the set. Also, is Universal Studios worth a visit? Would it be worth getting the pass that helps you avoid the queues. We won't be renting a car so will be using public transport/walking/taxis. Any help will be greatly appreciated, thanks.


Los Angeles
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1. Re: Studio tours, which ones?

There are four studios that offer tours - Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Sony. From your hotel, all are relatively easy to reach on public transit, and except Sony all are close enough that a taxi ride wouldn't be all that expensive.

Universal Studios - from your hotel, walk to the subway station at Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. Take the subway towards North Hollywood and exit at the 2nd stop, the Universal City Station. From there, cross the street where a free shuttle bus stops to take you up the hill to Universal Studios.

Warner Bros. - as above but take the subway to the first stop - the Hollywood / Highland stop - there board Metro Bus 222 towards Sun Valley and exit the bus at Riverside Drive and Hollywood Way.

Paramount - walk to Hollywood Blvd. and Argyle St. (near the Hollywood / Vine subway station) and there board the Hollywood / Wilshire DASH bus headed south. Take the bus to Melrose Ave. and Clinton St. which is just outside Paramount - note that this bus may have a limited schedule.

Sony - walk to the subway station again - this time take the subway towards Union Station - exit at the 7th St. Metro Center station. There walk over to the platform for the Expo Line light rail train, and board the train towards Culver City (not the one towards Long Beach) - take the train all the way to the last stop. You can walk to Sony from there.

Universal is a theme park and one of the attractions in the theme park is the "studio tour" which is mostly a tram based tour conducted in groups of several hundred people at once. Its a lot more of an effects experience than an intimate tour but a lot of people like it, and plus you get the theme park experience as well. Unviersal also offers the "VIP Experience" which is a lot more costly but is a much more in depth tour. As for buying the pass that helps you avoid the queues, Universal calls this the "Front of the Line pass". The trick with this is to buy regular passes before you enter Universal Studios. Once inside, you can see how crowded it is and how long the queues are. At that time, if you feel its worth the extra money, you can ask any park employee where to go to upgrade your passes to the Front of the Line pass and at that time you'll only be charged the difference in price between the regular and front of the line pass - in other words, this way if you get the passes, you only pay the regular cost of the passes but you don't commit to paying that money until you are inside the park and can decide if you really need them, or not.

The remaining three studios are not theme parks, but are only proper working studios. They generally conduct their tours in much smaller groups - Warner Bros. for instance conducts their tours with golf carts and only in groups of 10 or 12 people. Of the these three studios, Warner Bros conducts their tours the most frequently throughout the day and that is one of the reasons that it tends to be more popular to tour than Sony or Paramount. Also, I believe that The Big Bang Theory set is at Warner Bros.

Anaheim, California
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2. Re: Studio tours, which ones?

Here is a recent thread talking about the differences between the different tours.


West Hollywood...
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3. Re: Studio tours, which ones?

A small correction to Mach's great advice:

For WB, you can catch the #222 Metro bus on the northeast corner of Yucca St & Ivar St (heading west on Yucca) -- not far from your hotel. It's only an 18-minute ride to the WB neighborhood from there. You'll be getting off at the corner of Riverside Drive & Hollywood Way and walking 2 blocks east on Riverside to the office building at 3400 Riverside Drive. (This is where the tour originates). Walk to the rear of the building and enter through the 'airport style' security. All adults in your party will need to present photo ids for the tour which will originate from the gift shop on your left as you enter the building. Once you've entered the gift shop turn right and walk to the far right corner. A clerk at the counter there will assist you with your tour.

If you plan to use public transit, you'll need to get acquainted with our public transit system including learning about passes and how to look up transit routes by simply providing starting and ending points along with the day of the week and time of day traveled. This info is available in our TOP QUESTIONS box at the right side of this page (this content is visible if you have a computer; not visible on smart phones or tablets). If you have the latter, here's a shortcut to similar content:


Note: the 'tour center' from which the tour originates is located at:

3400 Riverside Drive in the city of Burbank.

Do not use "Warner Bros" as your public transit starting or ending point since the main entrance to the studios is quite a distance from the tour center.

If you're looking for a close up look of a working studio, WB, Paramount and Sony all provide tours of about 2 to 2-1/4 hours, conducted in small groups at a cost of around $40 or $50. Each includes a live tour guide, available to answer any questions you might have. Paramount and WB also offer extended tours (4-5 hours) that go into more detail and include lunch.

Universal's standard 'studio tour' is only sold in conjunction with admission to their theme park. The tour is included in the price of their general admission or front of the line admission tickets and consists of about 25 minutes touring the studio grounds (the tram never stops to allow you to get off and explore) and about 25 minutes as a 'special effects' ride (the tour tram drives through various environments and experiences a number of 'disasters'. The trams holds about 250 so there's no real interaction between the live host at the front of the tram and yourself. The actual tour is conducted by a pre-recorded tour guide whose image and voice are presented on video screens in each of the cars of the tram.

Universal also offers an extended version of the tour -- conducted on small trams like the other studios -- and includes the front of the line passes, free parking and food. This is called the VIP Experience and costs around $300 per person.

4. Re: Studio tours, which ones?

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