LA Waterfront Harbor Tour: Shipping Containers, Vincent Thomas Bridge & Angels Gate Lighthouse

The Port of Los Angeles is over a century old, and one of the most important shipping ports in Southern California. Most people just know it as the spot in Long Beach that they never go to, but that is a mistake as the area is fun to experience and explore. The best way to do that is via a harbor tour that lets you get up close and personal with the large shipping boats that move through the area. Here is all the information on the short 45-minute tour you can take from the LA Waterfront Port O’ Call area.


  • Leaves from the Port O’ Call
  • Cost: $10 – $15

Getting There

The tour leaves from the Port O’ Call, which is the main area for food on the San Pedro side of the Port of Los Angeles. There is a lot of parking there but it can get busy on the weekends. After parking head to dock 1 / 2 which is where it leaves from. I have no idea what the tour companies name was as I just decided to join the tour when I heard the announcement over the loudspeaker.

The Tour

After walking over to the dock and grabbing your tickets, be sure to check out the San Pedro Fish Market as well. It is a great place for food in the area that I highly recommend. When the tour is ready to leave they will call it out over the loudspeaker, and you will get in a line to get on the boat.

I headed up to the front of the deck as this is the best place to view everything that you will see on the tour.

Of course, you can just sit in the interior or one of the benches on the deck if you would prefer. The tour is about 45 minutes spent on the water, and it takes you to some fun spots. Here are a few of my favorites:

Vincent Thomas Bridge

I love bridges and going under this famous one was a highlight for me.

The Container Ships

Seeing these ships from afar is interesting, but it is much more unique to see them up close and get a better understanding of how big they are.

When we were going through the area, they were even unloading crates which was cool to see.

The Old, Historic Docking Area

This spot was the original shipping area for the Terminal Island side of the port. Since then, it has stopped being used and has taken on a new life as a popular filming spot for movies like The Fast and the Furious.

Sea Lions

On the tour, the boat went out near the jetty and we were able to see a bunch of sea lions sitting out on a buoy.

Angels Gate Lighthouse

This lighthouse is only accessible via boat, so it was fun to be able to see it on this tour, albeit from pretty far away.

The Welcome Building

This is the first building most ships see when they pull into the port, and it says hello in 14 different languages on it.

USS Iowa

The famous ship/museum is a popular attraction in San Pedro, and it is fun to see it from the water as well.

The Cranes

Of course, the big shipping containers need to be pulled up by large cranes, and you will see these beasts all over the harbor as well.

As you can see, this tour does take you to see a lot of stuff in a short period of time. It is an excellent way to get a better understanding of the Port of Los Angeles, and I recommend you give it a try if you are in the area. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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  • Eileen K.

    I had no idea they offered tours–you make it sound really interesting. The last time I was visiting out there, I was driving by myself and got lost down where all the exits are for the docks. It was dark and raining, and my phone had died. I finally found my way out and back to Long Beach where I was staying. A tour like this in the daylight would be much more fun! Thanks.

    • I did not expect it to be very good honestly, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is really fun to see all of those massive boats up close and to learn a lot more about the area’s history. Especially for only $12.

  • Mike Hume

    Which company was this tour with?

    • That’s a good question, I am actually not 100% sure haha. I was eating at San Pedro Fish Market and they kept talking on the loudspeaker about a tour that left soon so I just went and paid to get on it. We boarded right next to San Pedro Fish Market in Port O Call Village. I think maybe it was this company but I am not 100%