Sony Picture Studios is located in Culver City at 10202 W. Washington Blvd. LA studios are somewhat spread out and this is one of the furthest major studios to the west. Culver City is located near where the 405 and the 10 freeways meet. Self or Valet Parking is free and and for tour visitors is *only* available in the underground parking garage that is located at the Sony Pictures Plaza building across from the actual entrance to the studios (on Madison Ave between Washington and Culver Blvds). Don’t bother trying to enter any of the studio entrances as there is no parking on the actual lots for tour visitors and you will only be turned around by the gate security guards.
Once you park, go upstairs into the actual Plaza and check in where you will also have your photo taken in case you want purchase a souvenir photo. This “plaza” has been the stand-in for a hotel in several movies. The two-hour walking tour departs from Sony Pictures Plaza at various times, M-F. This tour is a bit more intimate than say the Universal Studios trolley tour – as here you actually walk on the studio lots and onto sound stages, however it is not quite as in depth as the Paramount Tour (see above).
This location is very historical as it used to be the original MGM Studios and your guide will point out the historical attractions as well as provide stories that involve a number of actors and actresses. Also note that Sony owns Columbia Pictures. Popular game shows filmed here include Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy and depending on availability your guide will take you onto these sets. The number of seats in the audience as well as the actual set of Jeopardy are very small. Another highlight of this set is the “green room” where contestants wait until they are called to go onto the stage.
If nothing is being filmed, you can walk into what is the world’s second largest studio – at 42,000 square feet this studio is massive! Also included on the tour is a stop in one of their small Foley Studios. This looks like someone’s cluttered garage with many different props on hand which are used for making sound effects to insert into parts of the movie. You will see a number of different surfaces as well as types of shoes and your guide will point out the more unusual materials used for creating special sound effects.
Photography opportunities are extremely limited on this tour as you are only allowed to take pictures near where you walk onto the studios and on the “main” street – you cannot take pictures once you leave this street.
Our guide said that one 1 out of maybe 3 or 4 tours his group sees someone famous. He recalled his ultimate group highlight. The tour was leaving a stage and Tom Hanks rode by on his bicycle and then stopped and started riding circles around the group and asked “has anyone seen a star around here!”
More info: www.sonypicturesstudiostours.com or Phone: (310) 244-8687 Hint, if you call the studio tour hotline to reserve your tour date using the listed number here you will save yourself several dollars compared to making your reservations online.
Dave is an International travel writer who has been writing professionally since 1996. He is the founder of Dave’s Travel Corner, an International travel community. In addition he has a passion for wine – having founded the Napa Wine Project, a 10-12 year project which involves visiting, tasting with and writing reviews of all wineries (approximately 900) in Napa Valley, California.