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

The Port of Los Angeles is over a century old and is one of the most important shipping ports in California. While it is not as often visited as many of the other places in the Long Beach area, it is still a fun place to 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
  • This information is from my visit in 2017

Getting There

The tour leaves from the Port O’ Call, which is the primary 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 or 2, which is where the boat leaves from. I have no idea what the tour company’s 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 an excellent 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 that 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 spends about 45 minutes on the water, and it takes you to some interesting areas. 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 exciting to see them up close and get a better understanding of how big they are.

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

The Historic Docking Area

This spot was the original shipping area for the Terminal Island side of the port. Since then, it isn’t 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 boat tour takes 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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