Why You May Want To Skip The Celebrity Tour On Your Next Trip To California

If you want to see stars in Southern California, Los Angeles is the place to go. But despite the great views of celestial bodies you can get from the observatories in Griffith Park or Angeles Crest, chances are that those visiting Hollywood would rather see the stars from their favorite films and TV shows. And since many of them call the City of Angels home, it's the place to visit if you're hoping to have a celebrity encounter.

However, as the old saying goes, "Celebrities: They're just like us." In many cases, they go grocery shopping, they want to relax on the beach, and they deserve fair wages. But above all, they deserve privacy just like any other citizen. To a certain degree, interacting with fans is part of the job. But that should never extend to their homes. That's a huge reason why you should avoid those celebrity home tours offered at almost every street corner in Tinseltown.

If you're so determined to see a famous person's house that you're willing to pack yourself into a van with other tourists for a good chunk of your day, then here's another thing to consider: The infamous and nearly unavoidable traffic. In many ways, these tours will leave you stuck in undesirable and disappointing situations. Luckily, there are alternate methods to learn more about the rich history of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and the people who made it happen. 

Tour de Flop

The stereotypical Hollywood bus tour will take you to many of the iconic landmarks of Los Angeles, such as the Beverly Hills sign, the former Grauman's (now TCL) Chinese Theatre, the Sunset Strip, and more. Then, these roofless vans will shuttle you around the Hollywood Hills to see the homes of the biggest names in all of entertainment, such as Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe. Of course, none of them live at these locations now since they've unfortunately left us. But if you're looking for more contemporary celebrities, the homes of Simon Cowell, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Charlize Theron, and Ozzie Osbourne are advertised as stops on many of these tours.

The first thing to remember is that there are absolutely no guarantees you will see any of these famous people or that they even still live in the houses that are being shown. The second thing to keep in mind is that you will probably be stuck in traffic with the sun shining on your exposed head as you move from stop to stop. Obviously, you can't really do much to prepare for the traffic, but you definitely don't need to be in a car without shade or even air conditioning for two hours or more. There is a much better way to see the sights that you want on your Hollywood adventure.

A La Carte

Due to the size of the city, it's best to rent or borrow a car when you visit LA. With an automobile at your disposal, you can see all the sights you want to see on a self-guided tour.

For example, if you want to see all the places where "Back to the Future" was shot, Curbed LA has you covered with a map. Or maybe you want to see the places that were significant to Walt Disney. You can go to the site of his first studio or his favorite bar (and even sit at his usual table). And if you want to get all the fun facts and anecdotes that tour guides would typically share, Book Authority has a list of guidebooks that could make you just as knowledgeable.

As for those who hope to meet celebrities by going to their houses, you might want to reconsider. The ones that formerly belonged to famous people may be historical landmarks, but many of them are still private residences. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated and don't stalk people just for an autograph. That's what public appearances at conventions, film festivals, and charity events are for. 

Considering the magic of this town, there's a good possibility of running into a movie star. If it does happen, please don't approach anyone while they're eating, in the bathroom, or with their children. Also, be polite. That way, the experience can be enjoyable for everyone involved.