Starline’s Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles
We’ve made it no secret that we’re big fans of the global Hop On Hop Off Bus tours and we often use the service when we are short on time in cities around the world.
We used Starline’s Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles so we could see the city in four days and we saw so much, we just had to write about it!
Los Angeles is so big and there really is too much to see. If you don’t have a car or aren’t willing to brave the chaotic LA traffic, then we recommend the Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles as the best way to see the wonderful sites of the city of angels.
The Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles has four loops covering most parts of the city and we will go through each loop individually along with the attraction highlights.
A pre-recorded tour plays through headphones in a total of nine languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French and Italian.
Yellow Route: Beverly Hills and Santa Monica
The Yellow Route of the Hop on Hop Off Bus Los Angeles connects Beverly Hills with Santa Monica.
Stops include the famous Rodeo Drive, where the rich and famous can be found shopping for luxury items or visiting one of the world renowned cosmetic surgery clinics.
The bus swings by the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, where Liz Taylor married Hilton Hotel hier Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton Jr and where Frank Sinatra’s funeral was held.
The bus also rides right beside the Saks Fifth Avenue Store in Beverly Hills where movie star Winona Ryder was famously arrested for shoplifting.
The Beverly Hilton hotel is one of the attractions on the Yellow Loop, this hotel is famous for being home to the Golden Globes award ceremony and is also the hotel where Whitney Houston died in the bath tub in 2012.
The bus cuts right through Century City which is a business district that was once a back-lot of a film studio owned by 20th Century Fox. The area has a distinctive skyline and the audio guide on the bus takes visitors through history of the area and the distinctive buildings such as the Century Plaza Towers on the Avenue of the Stars.
Many of the buildings in Century City are home to music and film business headquarters and the bus talks through many stories, such as pointing out the building where Justin Bieber got signed to his record label and the hotel where John Travolta’s met with Quentin Tarantino to discuss the filming of Pulp Fiction. There are also skyscrapers in the area that were used for blockbuster action movies where sugar glass was used for window smashing effects.
Brentwood is an affluent neighborhood in the West side of the city. The bus pulls in right by the beautifully quaint shops and restaurants on the main high street. Brentwood was temporarily home to Marilyn Monroe, who purchased her first ever home in the area at the address of 12305 5th Helena Drive. She tragically died in this very house after only living there for 6 months. The audio guide will point out the house as it passes by.
Brentwood is also home to the apartment that was the subject of the 1994 O.J. Simpson murder investigation and where the football megastar allegedly killed Nicola Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The apartment in question is located at 875 South Bundy Drive. The new owner of the property has protected the apartment from the invasion of tourists and had the address completely changed.
The Yellow Loop bus makes its way to the beautiful California Coast and pulls up on Ocean Avenue right beside Santa Monica beach.
Santa Monica Pier has something for everyone. It’s just a short walk from the Yellow Loop bus stop on Ocean Avenue and visitors can enjoy Pacific Park, fairground rides and a buzzing carnival atmosphere.
Be sure to hang around at the beach for sunset, it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the world to see the sun disappearing over the mountains.
The route passes by Fox Studios where TV shows The Simpsons and Prison Break are filmed. Unfortunately for fans, there is no Fox Studios Tour in Los Angeles but the bus allows you to peek over the gates.
Enjoy the typical palm tree lined streets in the area, these streets have been used in many TV shows and movies and some may be familiar to you.
Roosevelt Elementary school is on the Yellow route of the Starline bus. Heaps of famous alumni attended this school including a Senator, Olympic stars, baseball megastars and artists.
Built in 1939, the Aero Theater was opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theater for aircraft workers who worked around the clock. The Aero Theater is now a renowned entertainment cinema screening classic and independent movies and it is located on the Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica Boulevard.
The bus passes right by beautiful tree-lined San Vicente Boulevard which is one of the most popular jogging strips in the city. Watch runners pass the line of coral trees, which are particularly wonderful when they flourish in the Spring.
The bus route slices right through ‘Tehrangeles’, also known as Little Persia, taking its name from a combination or Tehran (capital city of Iran) and Angeles from Los Angeles. Many Persian shops and restaurants can be found in the area as well as high rise residential buildings that house that largest Iranian population outside of Iran at an estimated 1 million people.
Purple Route: Downtown LA
We found the Downtown LA Route on the Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles one of the most interesting routes during our 4 days in the city. The route was packed to the brim with wonderful things to see in such a vast area.
Who knew LA had an enormous Chinatown? The bus circulates the full area and you can hop off for a sample of the oriental cuisine in one of the many budget friendly Chinese Delis.
Admire the unique architecture that can only be found in this part of the city.
See the famous Royal Pagoda Hotel where parts of Hollywood Blockbuster La La Land was filmed.
Spot the colourful pagodas as the bus takes you through the whole perimeter of Chinatown.
Enjoy a spot of shopping in one of the Chinatown malls.
The bus take you beneath the dragons of the Chinatown area, a famous gated entrance to the area that is common across the cities of the world.
Of course, Los Angeles has more cultural areas than the popular Chinatown. Visit Little Tokyo which is an area of downtown that is packed to the brim with Japanese restaurants, clothing stores and shopping malls.
If Chinese and Japanese food don’t take your fancy, there’s always the El Pueblo de Los Ángeles Historical Monumentf, also known as Los Angeles Plaza Historic District Historic Park. The park is an historic district located at the oldest section of Los Angeles. Locals refer to this part of town as ‘Little Mexico’ or simply ‘Olvera Street‘ as the area is known for its Spanish influence.
Right by Little Tokyo is the Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles’ very own IPA brewhouse.
The bus stops right by the Walt Disney Concert Hall which is one of four concert halls in a collection that makes up the Los Angeles Music Center and one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States.
There are lots of art centers in the same area including the distinctive Broad, a contemporary art museum named after philanthropist Eli Broad.
Stop off at Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) which is the main train station in the city.
The Union Station is beautiful, surrounded with Palm Trees and elegantly designed by architects John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson (the Parkinsons).
The waiting room is stunning, I don’t believe we’ve ever seen a train station quite like it.
Get lost in Downtown LA, locally known as DTLA, which is home to half a million jobs and a diverse residential neighborhood of some 58,000 people.
The bustling downtown area was founded in 1781, and is now composed of different areas ranging from a fashion district to a skid row, as well as transport hubs. Enjoy the urban jungle and a modest collection of skyscrapers for a big US city.
A tunnel used for many Hollywood movies and TV can be seen from the bus and it is formally known as the 2nd Street Tunnel.
The tunnel is located under Bunker Hill in Downtown and many movies have been made here such as Flashdance, The Terminator, Independence Day and Kill Bill as well as music videos “We R Who We R” by Kesha, “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi, and “Grenade” by Bruno Mars.
An interesting part of the Downtown LA bus route is the Metropolitan Detention Center, a prison in the heart of the city with a neighboring courthouse.
The bus offers a great view of the beautiful Los Angeles City Hall which is the center of the government and houses the mayor’s office.
Being on the bus made the experience of Downtown LA feel open and spacious, and it really saved our feet from walking!
Green Route: Venice and Marina Del Rey
On the Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles Green Route, the bus heads south down the Pacific coast to Venice and Marina Del Rey. Venice Beach is world famous and mostly known for its quirky ambiance and artistic flair.
Home to Muscle Beach, the Venice Skate Park and an array of healthy cafes, shops and stalls, you’d be missing out on so much if you didn’t hop off at Venice. Jump off at Venice Boardwalk to be at the center of the action.
The bus swings right by the old Gold’s Gym where many body building stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger once trained and where his well known film ‘Pumping Iron’ was made.
The bus also stops right by the beautiful Venice Canals which is a network of canals and bridges alongside elegant housing. The area was built by tobacco tycoon Abbot Kinney, who wanted to replicate Italy’s Venice in California.
Keep your eye out for the CVS clown in Venice, formally known as Jonathan Borofsky’s 30ft “Ballerina Clown” which is a 25 year old work of public art that use to be animated but following complaints about the mechanical noises, it was switched off and left above the shop decommissioned.
Don’t forget to spend some time exploring characteristic Venice Beach, if you’re in town on a Sunday, keep an eye out for the Venice Drum Circle at dusk. It’s a great experience to be a part of!
Marina Del Rey is the point where the Green Loop turns around and where the Orange Connector leaves for LAX airport and LAX hotels.
Marina Del Rey is a seaside community where many of California’s rich and famous park their boats. The Marina is the world’s largest man-made small craft harbor.
Stop by Fisherman’s Village which has a waterfront mall, commercial boat anchorage, a lighthouse and restaurants. Marina Del Rey, along with Venice, was built on the Ballona Wetlands and parts of the wetlands have been retained to help preserve wildlife such as the great blue heron, snowy egret rookeries, the California killifish and the Belding’s Savannah sparrow.
As the bus returns to Santa Monica, you will see the beautiful Santa Monica City Hall. Listen out for the movies that have featured the building and hop off for a leisurely stroll around neighboring Tongva Park.
The City Hall sits on Moomat Ahiko Way which is also home to Tongva Park . The 6.2-acre recreational space has unspoiled views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Beach. The park and Moomat Ahiko Way is named after the indigenous Tongva people, who have lived in the Los Angeles area for thousands of years. Moomat Ahiko translates to ‘breath of the ocean’ in the Shoshon language spoken by Tongvan Native Americans.
The route of the bus terminates at Santa Monica and the Yellow Route can be caught to Beverly Hills/Hollywood.
Red Route: Hollywood and Beverly Hills
The Hollywood and Beverly Hills route of the Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles contains some of the most recognized landmarks in the city of LA. The bus stops right on the famous Hollywood Walk Of Fame and the Chinese Theater where you can see hand and footprints of stars dating back to the 1930s.
The bus passes right beside Hollywood’s famous Pantages Theater. Built in 1930, this is the last theater built by the vaudeville impresario Alexander Pantages. Many early-year Hollywood movies were broadcast here as well as live shows and the venue itself has been used in concert scenes in the 1980 film The Jazz Singer and in Michael Jackson’s 1995 video “You Are Not Alone” .
If you hop off the bus in the West Hollywood area, you can walk the famous West Hollywood Pride Crossing. This permanent rainbow crossing is one of only a few in the world and represents the LGBTQ+ community who live, dine and drink in many of the LGBTQ bars in the area. The Pride Crossing can also be seen from the bus.
Hollywood is globally famous for hosting lucrative events for the entertainment industry and the Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) hosts the most famous of them all, the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. The venue itself is a live auditorium right beside the Hollywood and Highland Center shopping mall on Hollywood Boulevard. Visitors can buy tickets for a concert or books tours of the Dolby Theater.
The Hollywood and Highland Center is definitely worth popping into, more so for the view of the Hollywood Sign. Hop on the escalator to the second floor and find the pedestrian bridge at the back for one of the best views of the most famous sign in the world.
The Red Route bus passes by the largest independent record store in the world, the Ameoba Music Shop. Check out the list of Ameboa Music Shop events to see many globally recognized musicians sign memorabilia. Past artists include Snoop Dog and HAIM.
The Red Route bus drives through the infamous Sunset Strip where heaps of world famous bars, hotels and music venues can be found such as Whiskey a Go Go, the Chateau Marmont and The Viper Rooms. The audio guide explains the history of the strip itself and how the Viper Rooms had the windows filled with bricks to avoid visitors from the Mafia being assassinated.
The Sunset Strip comes alive at night with many free concerts like the free jam nights on Mondays at Whiskey a Go Go.
The Sunset Strip has many unique eateries including the Express Limited Train Diner which is an actual carriage from a train.
Don’t miss LA’s Farmer’s Market and neighboring The Grove shopping Center. You can really make a day of it here with many diverse cafes, stores and fun things to see and do. The Farmer’s Market has over 100 vendors offering fresh cuisine from around the world.
The Grove is a shopping center with a free historic tram linking it to the Farmer’s Market.
If you’re a rock music fan, be sure to visit the Guitar Center Hollywood which has a Rock Walk on the outside that is free to the public.
The Rock Walk Hollywood is a collection of hand prints and memorabilia from rock legends such as Slash, KISS, Smokey Robinson and Jimi Hendrix. For a full list of inductees see the official Rock Walk website. The Red Route bus stops right outside.
One of the most popular tours in Los Angeles is the Paramount Studios Tour which has a bus stop on the Red route. Paramount have been in the TV and movie business for over a century and they have an extensive range of Studio Tours.
While you’re there, enjoy a clear cut view of the beautiful 1927 Hollywood Historic hotel.
The Hollywood Pacific Theater can be seen on Hollywood Boulevard, East of the Chinese Theater. The bus drives right beside the Pacific towers, that were built by the initial owners, Warner Brothers, to transmit their radio station KFWB.
A young Carol Burnett worked at the theater as an usher and when a couple of guests arrived during the last ten minutes of a movie, she advised them not to enter as the plot line would be spoiled. When management heard of her turning away business, they fired her. Years later, Burnett, who is a well established Hollywood actress, had her star placed outside the theater.
We would never have known about the quirky area of Melrose Avenue if it wasn’t for the Hop On Hop Off Bus Los Angeles. Melrose Avenue is a shopping, dining and entertainment district in Los Angeles, located on the border between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. A vast collection of independent clothing stores and cafes can be found and most are covered in amazing street art. The area is popular with celebrities who flock to buy unique clothing and accessories, see if you can spot them shop hopping from the comfort of your seat.
Blue Route: Universal and Hollywood Bowl
The Universal and Hollywood Bowl route crosses over with the Red Route at the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. This is a great way to get to Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios with an added bonus of a guided tour on your way. If you’re short on time, it’s important to know that it does take around an hour to reach the Studios.
Universal Studios Hollywood is a smaller version of the Orlando Florida park and contains heaps of fun filled activities such as rollercoasters, 4D experiences, a real life Springfield from the Simpsons, a Studio tour, Hollywood-esque live shows and a whole area dedicated to Harry Potter and Wizardry. Click here for Universal Studios Hollywood Tips and park attractions.
When we passed the Magic Castle on Franklin Avenue, we hopped off the bus right away to see if we could go inside. We were told that the building is home to a private club for magicians and their guests and membership is by invite only. The building is beautiful and the reception area has no windows or doors that expose the setting of the interior.
The Magic Castle offers members and their guests a performance area, restaurant and evening entertainment of magic and performing arts. There is a strict dress code of formal party attire for those attending the private events.
The secrecy of the building and what goes on in there gives it a real eerie feeling.
The Blue Route bus takes riders right to the front door of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank. The iconic Warner Brothers water tower can be seen outside the studios without going inside for the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.
Orange Connector: LAX and LAX hotels bus
Use the Hop on Hop off bus Los Angeles as a transfer between Los Angeles and LAX airport with your ticket. Time it right and get the most out of your pass to save money on airport shuttles and taxis which can be pricey in LA.
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