Hollywood magic still resonates at this huge studio lot in Burbank, where you can witness pieces of cinematic and television history—and also have a good chance of spotting a celeb strolling out of a soundstage.
The stalwart studio was founded in 1923 and had its first big hit in 1927 with the groundbreaking “talkie” The Jazz Singer. Because filming still goes on here, you might see stars and crew from films, sitcoms, and talk shows wandering about. Fans are often taken aback during the tour, says Danny Kahn, executive director of Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, because they get to “visit actual filming locations, often getting a chance to see production activity.” (That no-spoiler-alert spirit is why you’re allowed to take photos during some parts of the visit, but no video.)
Set aside about three hours for the regular tour, which starts in the studio’s 110-acre backlot. You’ll see exterior sets used in hundreds of films and TV shows, including classic films such as Casablanca and Rebel Without a Cause and TV series ranging from The Dukes of Hazzard and ER to The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Next, you move on to the Prop Department and the Archive, a two-floor collection of memorabilia and antiques from Hollywood’s golden era. Here is where you’ll also find From J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: The Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts Exhibit, which features props from the Harry Potter films as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them—including the Sorting Hat, wizard robes, Quidditch brooms, and Newt’s Case of Creatures.
The Archive also includes DC Universe: The Exhibit, which debuted in 2016. This interactive area lets you touch classic superhero props (like Superman’s kryptonite), see the Belle Reve prison cell from Suicide Squad, and peek at original comic books featuring all seven members of the Justice League. Don’t miss the exhibit’s Picture Car Vault, where you can see all of the Batmobiles that have been featured in the Caped Crusader’s films.
Handle Superman’s kryptonite, then try out your acting skills on the Central Perk set from Friends.
The tour ends with the self-guided section called Stage 48: Script to Screen, which features a soup-to-nuts looks at the production process—from a writer’s room to the couch-centered set of Central Perk, as seen on a certain long-running TV show. “The interactive soundstage offers guests the chance to try their hand at acting,” Kahn says, “as they re-enact a scene from the legendary sitcom Friends.”
For the VIP treatment, opt for the six-hour Deluxe Tour. You’ll see even more backlot sets and get to break for lunch in the studio’s Commissary Fine Dining Room, where you’ll chow down in the midst of actors, producers, writers, and studio executives.