Here is a list of where to start if you have never been to Hollywood before. These are attractions that are some of the most well known in the world. These areas are also some of the most crowded, which can be great for people watching or not if you are easily frustrated by throngs of people. There are visitors that I haven’t taken here due to the later. You can visit all of the following in one day, even if you take in a movie or a show.
The Walk of Fame, established in 1958, takes up 15 blocks in Hollywood from La Brea to Vine on Hollywood Blvd, and part of Vine between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd. It is free to view and the dedication ceremonies are free and open to the public. If you are in town or going to be, check the WoF website for upcoming dedication ceremonies. If you are looking for specific stars on the walk, there are many maps but nothing is as detailed as the LA Times project Hollywood Star Walk. Unfortunately Marilyn Monroe’s star is right in front of the popular Hollywood McDonald’s so it is hard to pictures with all of the foot traffic. I would keep in mind lunch and dinner hours if you want to get a good photo.
I figure you already know about the Chinese Theater and the handprints in the cement if you are coming up to Hollywood, but also note that you can still see movies here and the inside is pretty incredible. It is also one of the two places you can see 70mm films in Los Angeles. Keep in mind that you are paying additionally for the history, location, and atmosphere of this place, oh and did I mention location?
Hollywood and Highland Center:[Elephants on pedestals]
I mention this mall for a couple reasons. The first being that it contains the Dolby Theater, once the Kodak Theater, which has held the Academy Awards for the past few years. You can walk up the steps that actresses raced up holding their Manolos wondering if they would be accepting any awards. I also mention it because the theater has events, concerts, and tours all year long. The mall also holds concerts in its courtyard and movie nights that are free.
Taking photos with Characters:
Between the Hard Rock Café and Madame Tussaud’s you will see the line-up of popular characters new and old. If you choose to cuddle up to Chucky or sling webs with Spiderman, I would always err on the side of tipping, even if it is a dollar or two. Generally these people are just trying to make ends meet, be discovered, enjoy putting smiles on people’s faces, but sadly there has been issues in the past with mental illness. I mention this out of safety, not to scare the bejeezus out of you.
[The above are accessible by the following public transit options: The Metro Red Line and busses 780, 180, 212, 210, and the Hollywood DASH]
A little south of the Hollywood strip is another beloved tourist spot, Pink’s. You will recognize it from the long line in front and that often wraps around the side of the building. If you are not into hot dogs it is really great for people watching and seeing the celebrity designed dogs and polishes on the menu. I think it is also just an accomplishment to say you waited in line at pinks. The busiest nights are the weekends and really anytime after the city’s 2:am bar close.
Note: If you are from Chicago, you might not like it here if you are comparing it to your hometown. Their Chicago themed dogs and polish don’t have the right ingredients and are almost like the creators have never even gone to Chicago. I think there is even ketchup on them! The blasphemy!! There is a Portillo’s in Buena Park an hour or so car ride away.
Note for the health conscious eater: If you just don’t dig the idea of a hot dog you can leave some of your group and go to M Café de Chaya where I have seen quite a few non-hot dog eating celebrities.
[Pink’s is accessible by lines 212 and 10]
For a link to a Google map that pins these locations, follow the map.