One quick and easy way to see LA is on a guided tour. The mainstream tours carry large busloads of visitors to the major tourist sights; specialist tours usually carry smaller groups and are often quirkier and better value; and media studio tours are available on day-trips by most of the mainstream operators, though you’ll save money by turning up on your own.

One type of trek to avoid are the uninspired bus tours that focus on the homes of the stars (ie, their ivy-covered security gates), and advertise their overpriced services around central Hollywood. For some insight into how a film or TV show is made, or just to admire the special effects, there are guided studio tours at Warner Bros, NBC, Sony, Paramount and Universal, all near Burbank except for Sony, in Culver City, and Paramount, in Hollywood.

LA Conservancy. Offer walking tours ($10) for various sections and buildings in Downtown LA, which concentrate on the city’s architecture, history and culture.

Neon Cruises Offer three-hour-long, eye-popping evening tours (June–Sept Sat 7.30pm; $55) of LA’s best remaining neon art, on Saturdays through the summer, sponsored by the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

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