While in Los Angeles for 3 days, I had the chance to explore both local and touristy sites. While taking Lyft around was a great option as we didn’t want to drive in LA’s notorious traffic or take the transit system, I had the opportunity to try Starline Tours as another mode of transportation in the city. This is the second article in my Discover Los Angeles 3 part series – you can read upon my Santa Monica post here.
Starline Tours operates various tours around LA, including their Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing tour buses around town and smaller guided tours. Thanks to Starline Tours for arranging our media passes, we had the opportunity to try both the Hop-On Hop-Off tour and their Hollywood Sign Tour. Both of our tours started at Starline Tours main office at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, home to the Academy Awards show each year. Here is also where you will find the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame stars. The Hollywood Sign Tour was a small semi-private tour, we shared a luxury van ride with another couple. We were greeted by our tour guide Amanda, who narrated the drive with stories of famous landmarks such as the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Bowl, and where famous celebrities had/has their LA homes.
The Roosevelt Hotel had been the residence for various famous celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Ernest Hemingway. It was also noted as the host to the first ever Academy Awards in 1929. To this date, the hotel is still in operations and bookable for stays.
We were lead up winding roads through the Hollywood Hills, home to celebrities such as Salma Hayek, Madonna, Johnny Depp, and more. Nowadays several Hollywood producers, musicians, and celebrities still own homes here. No tour buses are allowed up the narrow roads up to the Hollywood sign, so our guided tour was the perfect way to get as close as we did. I highly recommend this tour as a great way to see the tour without having to fight your way to find the limited parking spaces accessible for personal vehicles or the rigorous hiking that might be required to get closer to the sign. We even managed to get a gorgeous photo of the LA city up on Hollywood Hills, overlooking the dam that provides Hollywood’s water reservoir.
Back in Hollywood, we were able to catch the Hop-On Hop-Off double decker buses, which took us around various parts of Los Angeles. They operate several different lines – we mostly took the red line, which circles around Hollywood and West Hollywood. Sit up top on a bright sunny day to enjoy the views and the breeze while listening to audio narrative of the history and popular tourist landmarks of the city.
The Hop-On Hop-Off Tour’s Red Line through Hollywood took us through Sunset Strip to Beverly Hills and its famous shopping street, Rodeo Drive, where we stumbled upon a private and gorgeous garden.
We also stopped off at the Beverly Centre for some shopping and lunch before venturing to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the La Brea Tar Pits. Although we didn’t have time to marvel at the various art installations inside LACMA this time, we loved the beautiful Instagram-worthy Urban Lights installation outside featuring 202 restored antique cast iron street lamps.
La Brea Tar Pits has been an attraction I’ve wanted to visit ever since I saw it featured on My Girl 2. As a young girl, I found the history of the tar pits very cool – a group of tar pits that had previously trapped centuries of animals, dating back to the giant mammoths and sabretooth cats. You can still see the tar bubbling on the surface of the tar pit. Aside from the outdoor tar pits, there’s also a museum and tour you can view. They also host free admission Tuesdays. For more info visit La Brea Tar Pits website here.
The Hop-On Hop-Off Tour also tours Downtown LA with their Purple Line, passing by various hotels, The Grammy Museum, Walt Disney Concert Hall (home of the LA Philharmonic), and The Broad Museum, home to famous artwork by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and the latest infinity mirror installations by Yayoi Kusama.
I personally loved the flexibility of the Hop-On Hop-Off experience, and also wrote about one I did while in San Francisco here. On your next trip to LA, if you’re like me and don’t want to drive and want to save your feet from large amounts of walking, consider one of the Starline Tours, especially the flexible Hop-On Hop-Off pass. They have different routes that can take you down to Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and more. For all the latest info and schedules for Hop-On Hop-Off, visit www.starlinetours.com.