One of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles is visit movie studios. Most of the major studios have a tour that anyone can purchase a ticket for which gives you the chance to see the studio. Sony Pictures Studio is located in Culver City on the old MGM lot so there is a lot of Hollywood History here. I did the Sony Studio Tour in 2013 and would love to do this tour again to see how it has changed. Currently, Sony is offering a few different types of tours including a VIP tour and an evening tour.
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Sony Pictures Studio Tour Tickets
There are currently four different tours that you can choose from to tour Sony Studios. Tours are offered Monday through Friday. Reservations are required. Children age 12 and up are welcome. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Free parking is provided in the Overland Parking Structure.
As far as I understand all of the tours are similar in that they do try to show you as much as they are able to which can vary since it is a working studio. That could mean getting to see the sets of tv shows, a scoring stage, and the Sony Museum as well as a lot of exterior things to see on the lot.
- $50 per person
- 2-hour walking tour
- A time frame was not mentioned on the website but my guess would be a two-hour tour. It starts at 6 pm.
VIP Coffee Tour
- $150 per person
- 2-hour tour on a cart
- Includes a coffee
VIP Lunch Tour
- $200 per person
- 3-hour tour
- Includes a 3-course meal in the studio commissary dining room.
You can purchase the studio tour tickets here.
Sony Pictures Studio Tour
This tour can be extra exciting for you if you are a fan of the following productions:
- Breaking Bad
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Goldbergs
It was very special to me to get to walk around what was once the MGM lot. I remember that inside the Wheel of Fortune Stage, my tour guide mentioned that it was where the tornado scenes in The Wizard of Oz were filmed.
When you check in you will receive a Sony tour card to hang around your neck which is a nice souvenir. You might also get to take a picture in front of a green screen which will be given to you for free at the end of the tour and the green screen will be replaced with the set from Wheel of Fortune or something else.
One of my favorite things that I saw when I took the tour was the lobby of the Columbia Pictures building. The day that I was there for the tour it was actually dressed to play a location for the tv series Ray Donovan. Inside the lobby, they have all the Oscars that the studio has won on display. I’m not sure if this has changed or not but at the time that I was there you were not allowed to take pictures inside.
Right outside the building is a gigantic rainbow. Our tour guide explained that Culver City asks that companies building in the city give back by creating public pieces of art. The rainbow pays tribute to the Wizard of Oz and serves as a public piece of art since is large enough to easily be seen from off the lot.
At the end of the main street, we were taken to a spot where they keep some of the cars used in movies. When I was there they had the RV from Breaking Bad, the car from Ghostbusters, a car from Talladega Nights, and a golf cart from 22 Jump Street. You are able to take as many pictures as you want of them but you cannot get inside them.
After looking at the vehicles we were taken into an area where we were not allowed to take pictures. We went inside a scoring stage that has been at Sony for a very long time. It is the studio where Judy Garland recorded Somewhere Over the Rainbow and where orchestras are brought in to provide the music for movies. The room looks very plain and old which our guide said is due to the fact that the room is well known for being wonderful to record in and they are afraid if they change anything it will ruin the sound.
There were some fun things to see inside the room like framed Hawaiian shirts that belong to John Lasseter who you may know for his Pixar movies. Since the music for Pixar movies is always recorded in the studio John sends them a Hawaiian shirt that he wore during production and most of the time the shirt he wears to premieres. Another fun thing we saw in the room was a bicycle hanging from the roof. The story is that a man kept showing up late for work with the excuse that he could not find his bicycle. Finally, his coworkers hung it from the roof so he would always know where it was.
From there we were taken to a building where young stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney went to school but we did not get to go inside. Next, we went outside of the Happy Madison offices where Adam Sandler does work for his production company. From there we went inside a soundstage and walked around the house used on The Goldbergs, we were not able to take pictures since it is still a working set on air but it was cool to see.
We went inside the soundstage that they use for Wheel of Fortune and saw their hallways which are loaded with pictures of the show throughout the years. I had no idea when I took this years ago that I would later go on to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune which you can read about here. You are able to take pictures in the hallway if you want but not inside the set.
After we left the Wheel of Fortune set we headed over to check out the set of another popular game show Jeopardy! For Jeopardy! they have three podiums set up for you to take pictures which I really enjoyed. I picked the podium in the middle to get my picture with because it had the highest amount of money so I stood behind it holding the buzzer. The hallways at Jeopardy! were impressive since it had all the Emmys that the show has won over the years.
We went and sat in the studio audience which was nice because nothing was covered up but we could not take pictures of that part. Our guide went on to talk about how difficult it is to make it on Jeopardy! He said that only about sixteen percent of people who take the required quiz to be considered for the show will pass it.
You will get a chance, of course, to stop inside their gift shop which has decent options for merchandise from Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and Breaking Bad.