Alamy
Rachel B. Levin
January 28, 2015

For many visitors, a tour of Los Angeles means only one thing: a star map to celebrity mansions! Double-decker buses constantly roam the streets here, pointing out the places where the rich-and-famous live, shop, and party. Of course, there's nothing wrong with such star-struck pursuits, and Hollywood-themed tours can be especially rewarding when they point out city landmarks, film locations, and historic trivia along the way. But there's so much more to see here than just Tinseltown action. The city is rich in architectural sights and diverse, colorful neighborhoods ripe for exploration. There are plenty of other fascinating "non-Hollywood" narratives to follow, from LA's literary culture to its darker "noir" character. Also, aside from the standard double-decker bus, you can tour the town in a number of ways, from walking to soaring in a helicopter to gliding on a Segway. Let one of these excellent tour companies lead the way!

Esotouric

This offbeat tour company explores the underbelly of Los Angeles with a collection of true crime tours like "The Real Black Dahlia." They also reveal LA through the eyes of creative luminaries who made their mark here, from the literary LA of Charles Bukowski to the musical LA of Tom Waits.

Red Line Tours

Numerous tour companies lay claim to showing you the "real" Hollywood, but Red Line's "Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes" walking tour is one of the best for getting an inside look at Tinseltown. Visit movie locations, celebrity hideaways, and the Hollywood Sign. Find your favorite actor's star on the Walk of Fame too!

Los Angeles Conservancy

Survey LA's unique built environment on this series of informative architectural walking tours led by knowledgeable docents. Feast your eyes on the ornate Victorian homes of Angelino Heights, the Art Deco masterpieces of Downtown, or the landmark architecture of Union Station, just to name a few of the themed tours.

Celebrity Helicopters

Bye-bye LA traffic! Soar above it all with a helicopter tour that gives you a bird's-eye view of the sprawling city. The VIP Grand Tour flies over picturesque beach cities, private celebrity homes, and the downtown skyline − all within an hour! Add champagne and hors d'oeuvres for a first-class experience.

A Day in LA Tours

Want to check out the "greatest hits" of Los Angeles in just one day? This small company's City Tour takes you from hip Venice Beach to posh Rodeo Drive to glamorous Hollywood to idyllic Griffith Park, all before the sun goes down. Segway tours of Beverly Hills are available too!

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