One of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Los Angeles is Hollywood Blvd. Though it’s often overlooked by locals, it’s filled with attractions for visitors looking to learn more about Hollywood and its entertainment culture. In this video/post, we team up with Chris from Yellow Productions (website | YouTube channel) to review our top things to do in Hollywood, specifically around Hollywood Blvd.
Also, check out Chris related video, “10 Things to Know Before Going to Hollywood”.
1. Start at Hollywood and Highland
The parking lot at the Hollywood and Highland mall is one of the best places to leave your car. The rates are reasonable and you can often get a validation at some of the stores and theatres in the area. There are several hidden restaurants in this area too. If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat that’s away from the crowds and tourist traps, check out the smaller eateries in this shopping center.
Though be careful! Hollywood and Highland is one of LA’s most dangerous intersections, with distracted tourists often stepping into traffic. While pedestrians always have the right of way, it is possible to get cited for jaywalking in this area. With all the bright lights and performers on the street, it’s easy to get distracted while crossing the road.
TIP: Some high traffic intersections have diagonal crossings. These intersections typically have a different crossing and traffic light pattern. The entire intersection crosses at once (instead of typical crossings matched with parallel traffic).
2. Admire the “stars” on the Walk of Fame
Hollywood Blvd is one of the most iconic streets in LA and is one of the main reasons that people from all over the world come to see Hollywood. There’s a mix of film industry stars here, as well as music, theatre, television, and radio. For more information on the stars, see Chris’ video on “10 Things to Know Before Going to Hollywood”.
It’s also a fun place to people watch. You’ll witness people getting excited about finding their favorite stars. Though most LA natives avoid this area because of the crowds.
TIP: You may find the same name on two separate stars. Don’t assume that it’s the same person! For example, Michael Jackson appears twice on the Walk of Fame, but only one is the actual “King of Pop.”
3. See a musical at the Pantages Theatre
The Pantages Theatre is one of the most famous theatres in Los Angeles. It’s a great place to catch the latest musical in town. It was opened in 1930 and features some incredible art deco architecture.
TIP: If you haven’t booked a ticket, but are interested in seeing a show, check the box office. Leftover tickets are often sold before the show at a discount rate.
4. Take a tour of the Dolby Theatre
Have you watched the Oscars? Then you’ve seen the Dolby Theatre on TV. It’s a live-performance auditorium in Hollywood and a great place to tour some of Hollywood’s entertainment history. You’ll also get to see the latest sound technology developed by Dolby. Tour tickets cost $25, and it’s best to book your tour time online.
TIP: If you happen to be visiting Hollywood in the summer or during a heat wave, the Dolby Theatre is a great place to escape the heat!
5. Take a tour or watch a movie at the Chinese Theatre
The Chinese Theatre is one of the most glamorous movie-going experiences anywhere. It’s complete with red curtains that swish open when the film starts. The theatre is also home to many film premieres.
The tour costs $18. Though if you just want to see the hand and footprints outside, you can do that for free.
TIP: If you’re planning to watch a movie here, know that only one of the screens is the original theatre. The other screens are just like any other movie theater (and not worth the extra cost).
6. Visit one of the museums
Hollywood is home to many museums dedicated to the entertainment industry. The Hollywood Museum is home to the largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia. There are several specialized museums as well, including the Hollywood Wax Museum, Madame Tussauds, and many more.
TIP: If you plan to visit multiple museums, consider getting a VIP pass from the Hollywood Wax Museum. For $36, you’ll get access to the Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Guinness World Records Museum.
7. See the Four Ladies of Hollywood Statue
The Four Ladies of Hollywood Statue at Hollywood and La Brea is the start of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s not the most impressive piece of art in Los Angeles, but it’s a very iconic art-deco piece that’s a tribute to the multi-ethnic women of Hollywood. It created in the early 90s and marks the western gateway (or west end) of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
TIP: If you started your tour at the Hollywood and Highland mall and walked toward this statue, then you’ll want to turn around head back down Hollywood Blvd toward the Pantages theatre to complete your tour.
8. Eat or drink at a famous Hollywood restaurant
For an old Hollywood experience, check out Musso and Frank Grill. It’s like stepping back in time and into “La La Land”. Grab a drink at the bar or a meal at a booth while imagining the Hollywood movie deals and scripts that were discussed in this classy restaurant.
For something a bit more modern, check out Yamashiro. It on top of the hill just north of the Chinese Theatre, and is a Japanese restaurant with one of the most spectacular views of the city. The food may not be the best in LA, but that’s not what it’s known for. The architecture and view are what makes this restaurant so special. I recommend ending your day of exploring with a drink and dessert here.
TIP: If visiting Musso and Frank Grill, make sure to check out the old phone booth in the back. It’s supposedly the oldest public phone in LA!
9. Visit the Magic Castle
The Magic Castle is truly a “magical” experience. It’s the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, and is an invite-only venue. Getting in can be tricky, but not impossible. You have to know a member or an accepted magician in order to be invited, or be a paying member. Staying at the Magic Castle Hotel also gets you a pass to the Magic Castle.
TIP: Try contacting LA-based magicians on Yelp to see if they can get you an invite. Also, checking the performance schedule online and contacting performers is a great way to get on the guest list.
10. Stop at the Roosevelt Hotel
Though it’s on Hollywood Blvd, it’s unlikely that you’ll see many tourists here. It’s more of a local LA hangout.
TIP: The bowling alley only has two lanes, so make a reservation in advance if you plan to visit.
Have you visited Hollywood? Do you have any tips for fellow travelers? Please share in the comment section below.