Hollywood

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to its most famous district: Hollywood, best known as the self-declared entertainment capital of the world.

55 things to do

All Places United States California



Hollywood and Highland Center

Something of an attraction in its own right, this massive shopping complex is the home of the Dolby Theatre (where the Oscars are held) and adjacent to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The streetfront facing Hollywood Blvd is lined with giant advertisements and LED signs, making it seem like a miniature Times Square, and within it has monumental Babylon-themed architecture based on the sets of D.W. Griffith’s 1916 film ''Intolerance''. Its four levels hold a food court and numerous retail chains, and since its construction it has become the location of most tourist-oriented services in Hollywood, like bus tours and information centers.


Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Dating back to 1899, this beautiful cemetery is one of Los Angeles' oldest and is the final resting place for hundreds of film stars, directors, writers, and other influential figures from the entertainment industry. Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, Mel Blanc, Peter Lorre, Mickey Rooney, and Bugsy Siegel are but a few of the famous names you'll see here. Interactive kiosks located throughout the cemetery play short documentaries about those interned here, making it a great place to learn about Hollywood's early history. The cemetery also often holds events, including regular movie screenings (see below under Do) in the summer.



Charlie Chaplin Studios

An interesting historical landmark, this complex was built in 1917 as the studios for Charlie Chaplin's film company. Constructed in Tudor-style architecture, it has the appearance of a small English village from the outside and was where many of Chaplin's most iconic films were shot, including ''The Gold Rush'', ''City Lights'', ''Modern Times'', and ''The Great Dictator''. In 2000, the studio was bought by the Jim Henson Company, which marked their presence with a statue of Kermit the Frog above the main gate. The studio is not open for tours, but you can admire the architecture from the outside.


Cemetery Movie Screenings

The Cinespia film society screens creepy older movies every Saturday during the summer on the Fairbanks Lawn in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Crowds can be huge, so arrive prior to gates opening if you want a good vantage point. Most people bring a picnic dinner, a drink (wine or beer allowed, no spirits), blanket, pillow (or low chair) and jacket. A DJ plays music prior to the showing to create a fun outdoor atmosphere. Tickets (including parking) often sell out and should therefore be purchased in advance through the Cinespia web site.



The Griddle Café

The Griddle Café is the best breakfast experience in LA. It features pages of every type of pancake you can imagine, which also happen to be twice as large as any pancake you've ever had, and still manage to be fluffy-thick and light on the tummy. Coffee is fresh, in a French press, and the menu features more than just breakfast. Short story: Food is awesome, service is great, but its always crowded. Don't worry though, they serve fast and you will feel the wait is worth it.


USA Hostels

The #1 rated hostel in Los Angeles (by hostelworld guests) in 2007 and 2005, USA Hostels is in the heart of Hollywood off Hollywood Blvd on a quiet side street. This 150-bed hostel offers female and mixed 6- and 8-bed dorms and private rooms, free all-you-can-make pancakes, free coffee and tea all day and free wireless internet. The hostel runs many free and discounted activities and tours and a free shuttle three times per week to Venice and Santa Monica beaches.



ArcLight Hollywood

An upscale multiplex which offers various amenities, such as assigned seating, an on-site cafe, alcoholic beverages available for purchase, and occasional special event screenings with Q&As with noted filmmakers. Within the complex and very visible from the street is the '''Cinerama Dome''', an eye-catching geodesic dome with a movie theater inside that is a noted example of Space Age architecture, with a 1960s-era marquee facing Sunset Boulevard.


Grauman's Chinese Theatre

The most famous movie theater in the world, Grauman's Chinese Theatre opened in 1927 and is home to the cement footprints, handprints, and (in some cases) ''otherprints'' of many of history's most famous movie stars. The theater is also a former home of the Oscars, and today hosts many movie premieres. The forecourt that showcases the star's prints is free to all visitors. Half-hour guided tours of the theater are available.



Museum of Death

A museum that was founded, according to its website, to "fill the void in death education in the USA." The collection includes such items as serial killer artwork, crime scene photos, replicas of execution devices, and a coffin collection. The self-guided tour lasts approximately an hour, "but those who can stomach it may stay as long as they'd like." There is no age limit but the museum is recommended for mature audiences.


Paramount Pictures Studio Tour

The only major film studio still located in Hollywood, Paramount has been using this as a production facility since 1926 and has filmed many notable pictures here, including ''Sunset Boulevard'', ''Rear Window'', Cecil B. DeMille's ''The Ten Commandments'', and ''Breakfast at Tiffany's''. Today you can take a 2 hour guided tour of the backlot, which is still used for film and television production today.


Hollywood Bowl

America's most famous outdoor theatre hosts a summer concert series by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show set to classical music, as well as numerous other concert events. Traffic and parking can be a nightmare, so the $5 round-trip [http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/visit/getting-to-the-bowl/bowlbus-shuttle public shuttles] are highly recommended.


ceFiore

Right across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre you'll find one of LA's best places for tart Italian non-fat frozen yogurt and yogurt smoothies. Choose from 4 different frozen yogurt flavors: Original, Blackberry, Raspberry-Pomogranate, and Green Tea, along with a wide variety of fresh fruits and dry toppings. They also offer smoothies, herbal teas, and coffees.


Hollywood Sign

Hollywood's most recognizable landmark is easy to spot high up on Mount Lee in nearby Griffith Park. You can drive part way up for a closer look, but you can't hike all the way to the sign. The best viewpoints of the sign are from the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, on Mulholland Drive above the Hollywood Bowl, and from the Hollywood and Highland Center.

SEE   —  Map

Capitol Records Building

One of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles. The circular tower—which contrary to popular belief was not intentionally designed to resemble a stack of records—is home to Capitol Records' west coast operations. Contained inside the building are the renowned Capitol Studios. Unfortunately, tours of the inside are no longer offered to the general public.

SEE   —  1750 Vine St

Yamashiro

This Japanese restaurant is perched above Hollywood, and on most nights provides an unbeatable view of the city, from downtown to Palos Verdes. The food is excellent, the gardens and architecture are elegant, and the restaurant has a fascinating history (the story's on the menu). Look for the small sign just west of the Magic Castle; valet parking only.


In-N-Out Burger

This hugely popular Southern California burger chain has a surprisingly basic menu, but serves up some of the most popular burgers around, and does burgers well. In-N-Out has a "secret menu," which was spread by word of mouth before the internet was around. Today it's listed on the company's website, but the secret menu is not listed on menus on-site.

EAT   —  7009 W Sunset Blvd

Roosevelt Hotel Lounge

The lounge in this historic hotel is an upscale hotspot where one is likely to find Hollywood elite enjoying cocktails on weekdays, and a hipster party scene on weekends. Plenty of leather couches, candles, and a classy staff provides a sense of how the "other half" lives. Expect Hollywood prices to go along with the Hollywood atmosphere.


Mulholland Drive

If you have a car, it is worth driving up to Mulholland Drive. The main attraction is the incredible views from the Hollywood Hills across Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley, with plenty of overlooks available to stop and enjoy, but it's also worth visiting to ogle the impressive (and expensive) residences that line the route.

DO   —  Mulholland Drive

Palms Thai Restaurant

Home of the infamous Thai Elvis, who will serenade you through dinner. The decor is authentically cheesy and Elvis sings the hits. While plain dishes such as fried rice or pad Thai are nothing to write home about, the curries (duck and panang), pad prik king, and anything off the "wild things" menu are excellent choices.


Amoeba Music

The country's largest independent music store, Amoeba has three locations including Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco. Prices are slightly higher than at the discount stores, but the selection is enormous and just about any obscure record you could imagine is to be found somewhere on the shelves.


Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of a series of stars embedded in the sidewalk to commemorate famous movie, radio, theatre, and TV personalities. Since 1960, over two thousand stars have been immortalized; the schedule for upcoming star ceremonies is listed on the Walk of Fame's website.


Egyptian Theater

An ancient Egyptian-themed theater that was built in 1922 and operated by Sid Grauman, of Grauman's Chinese Theatre fame, this was one of the first lavish movie palaces and was the venue for the first-ever Hollywood premiere. Today it screens many classic films and documentaries.


Hollywood Heritage Museum

Housed in the Lasky-DeMille Barn, which was built in 1901 and served as one of Hollywood's first film studios (Cecil B. DeMille had an office in this building) before being moved to its current site, this museum has a collection of photographs and memorabilia from old Hollywood.


The Well

Make out as if you're a local and head to this so trendy it has a secret entrance door (hint, the entrance is on Argyle, even though the address is on Sunset). While the crowd can be posey, its one of the better clubs in the area, and still manages to remain intimate and cozy.


The Roosevelt Hotel

A boutique hotel right in the center of the action offering spacious, well-appointed rooms and suites with luxury bed and bath linens, bath products and state-of-the-art in-room technologies. It is a Hollywood legend, and was the location of the first Academy Awards ceremony.


Cheebo

Everyone loves the Cheeb! A play on "cibo" (Italian for food), this place has great and creative food and a fun atmosphere. All-day breakfasts, excellent sandwiches, salads, pizzas by the foot and nice dinners to boot. Eat here for breakfast and you'll be back for lunch.


101 Coffee Shop

Previously known as the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop, this place has been popular for years, and the new owners have only improved it. Great selection of sandwiches, burgers, sweet potato French fries, coffee and tea. It's not unheard of to spot celebs here.


Katsuya

The newest restaurant from acclaimed chef Katsuya Uechi, designed by Philippe Starck. Mouth-watering Japanese menu, destined to be a new Hollywood institution. His other restaurants around the LA area are rated as some of the best in the city.


Hollywood Heights Hotel

This boutique-style hotel is relaxed, comfortable, and uniquely personal with 160 rooms fitted with amenities including FACE cosmetics and flat-panel TVs. Starting in March 2012 this hotel will be rebranded as the Hilton Garden Inn.


Frederick's of Hollywood

During the golden years of Hollywood, all the superstars were wearing Fredericks, from Greta Garbo to Mae West to Marilyn Monroe. Today, the store is a lot less polished but still a good place to pick up glamorous lingerie.


Ford Theatre

An intimate outdoor amphitheater that dates back to the 1930s and recently underwent an extensive renovation. The theater is partnered with the county arts commission and regularly hosts community theater productions.


Mel's Drive-In

Come here for traditional diner fare: cheeseburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. Part of the chain that opened in San Francisco in the late '40s. There is another location on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.


El Capitan Theatre

A lavish movie palace dating from 1926, which hosted the Hollywood premieres of many films, most notably ''Citizen Kane''. These days it's owned by Disney, and hosts the premieres of many Disney feature films.

SEE   —  +1-800-347-6396 —  Map

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

The L.A. branch of the popular improv and experimental comedy troupe that have cultivated some of the best comics in the industry today. Regularly shows some well-known acts as well as plenty of up-and-comers.


Hollywood Wax Museum

The Hollywood Wax Museum is the longest running wax museum in the United States, with more than 45 years of continuous operation by the same owners since 1965 and featuring over 180 figures of celebrities.


Hollywood Museum

Countless pieces of memorabilia from films and Hollywood stars of old, housed in a beautiful Art Deco building that was the home of the business of Max Factor, "the Make-up King" of Hollywood.


Dolby Theatre

Located at the Hollywood & Highland Center (see "Buy" below). Hosts a wide range of live performances, including the annual Academy Awards. Half hour guided tours of the theater are available.


The Juice Fountain

One of the best juice places in LA, it recently moved from its old location on Vine St. The juices are fresh and delicious, and its run by a sweet Hispanic family. Don't mess with the grandma!


Fonda Theatre

A historic venue dating back to the 1920s that serves as another major concert venue and is reputed for its history of showcasing big-name musicians and indie bands.


Los Angeles Fire Department Hollywood Museum

This museum is in the old Los Angeles City Fire Station 27, opened in 1930. It is fully restored to how it appeared in 1930 and contains a historic fire apparatus.


Power House

One of the most laid back and relaxed bars in town, head here for cheap beer, darts and classic rock. Come as you are, and you will be glad you're here.


Hollywood Palladium

A classic Art Deco and Streamline-style theater and dance hall that today serves as a major concert venue that plays host to some big-name acts.


Boardners

Power through the packed crowds and grab yourself a spot at this bar, where the drinks are strong and there's good people watching to be had.


Sushi Ike

A small and moderately-priced authentic Japanese restaurant with a great sushi bar and friendly chefs--one of the best this side of the 101.


Madame Tussauds Hollywood

The Hollywood location of the popular chain of wax figure museums, with numerous wax replicas of Hollywood celebrities.


Caffe Etc

Free wireless internet (if you've got a laptop), decent coffees and teas, and sandwiches and desserts to snack on.

OTHER   —  +1 323 464-8824 —  6371 Selma Ave

Ripley's Believe it or Not

A museum that focuses on the odd, the unusual and the unbelievable. Features interactive illusions and a gallery.


Pantages Theatre

A historic Art Deco theater dating back to 1930 which today serves as L.A.'s primary venue for Broadway musicals.


IPED Foot Spa

If you are tired of walking a long day in Hollywood. Iped offers 1 hour foot massage for as less as $25.


Saharan Motor Hotel

The Saharan Motor Hotel features deluxe rooms and suites, luxury amenities and excellent service.


Guinness World Records Museum

Held in the historic Hollywood Theater building, this museum showcases various world records.


Velvet Margarita Cantina

Dark lounge inspired by Dia de los Muertos. Lots of tequila, beer, and of course margaritas.


Motel 6

This is part of a budget model chain. It offers clean rooms in a convenient location.


Musso and Frank Grill

For a taste of old Hollywood, this is the place. It's been famous for generations.


Ammo

Great for lunch or dinner, excellent and fashionable food.


About Hollywood

A business and residential district in the city of Los Angeles, the core of Hollywood for a tourist is its three fascinating boulevards: Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, and Melrose Avenue, all of which are worth seeing. Hollywood Blvd is known for its entertainment history, Sunset Blvd for its clubs and nightlife, and Melrose Ave for its shopping, nightlife, and eclecticism.

Hollywood was founded as an independent city in 1903 and voted to merge with the City of Los Angeles in 1910. That same year also saw the birth of the Southern California motion picture industry when D. W. Griffith relocated his Biograph Company, sparking a westward migration of East Coast filmmakers. As movies exploded in popularity in the 1910s and 20s, the name Hollywood became synonymous with the film industry.

In the decades following World War II, Hollywood's glitz and glamour began to fade as most of the leading film studios moved to other places. By the 1980s, Hollywood was considered one of the worst neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The 1990s, however, saw the beginning of community redevelopment efforts, and today Hollywood is once again one of the region's most vibrant areas. Paramount is the only major film studio still headquartered in Hollywood, but the area nonetheless remains an important center of the entertainment industry with its myriad production and broadcast facilities. Smaller studios still in Hollywood include Sunset-Gower Studios, Hollywood Center Studios, Raleigh Studios, Jim Henson Studios, and Sunset Bronson Studios (housed on the original Warner Bros. lot).

The other major studios are located to the north in the San Fernando Valley, particularly in Universal City (NBC, Universal), Burbank (ABC, Disney, Warner Bros.), and Glendale (DreamWorks). Most of the rest are to the west: Century City (Fox, MGM), the Fairfax District (CBS), and Culver City (Sony). Many of the studios offer tours if you want to see where films are shot.

If you want to see celebrities, pack your patience or be prepared to play the role of boulevardier. The chances of bumping into a celebrity are very low (mainly because most of the celebrities who live in Hollywood usually do not go out in public) unless you're willing to do a lot of hanging out at expensive restaurants in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or in Malibu. You can easily see where they live by taking a tour or buying a star map.


Source: wikivoyage