Hollywood, California conjures up images of movie stars, film production and fame seeking hopefuls arriving by the bus loads daily. While some of these perceptions are true, most film production has moved on to other parts of Los Angeles. A visit to today’s Hollywood is more of a bustling tourist destination and beginning point for all the sights around LA and a historic landmark to the film and television industry’s past.
The main route through Hollywood is Hollywood Blvd. It is along Hollywood Blvd visitors will see the Walk of Fame, Hollywood and Highland entertainment center, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the El Capitan Theatre and several hotels including the Roosevelt Hotel, the brand new W Hotel and the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. In addition to the main sights and attractions of Hollywood Blvd, it is also the street to catch one of many tour buses departing hourly for tours of celebrity homes, Beverly Hills and Downtown Los Angeles.
One of the newest and biggest attractions to open in Hollywood in recent years has been the Hollywood and Highland entertainment center on Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave. The center is a multi level outdoor shopping, dinning and entertainment complex. The structure has an U shape with the open end facing out onto Hollywood Blvd. At any of the levels visitors can look out onto movies123 busy Hollywood Blvd and the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, the many fountains on the ground level or take in the sight of both the Kodak Theatre and Renaissance Hollywood Hotel rising from the back of the complex. It is the Kodak Theatre where the annual Academy Awards are now held. At the base of the Hollywood and Highland center and along the Walk of Fame is Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Here visitors from all over the world come to place their hands in concrete imprints of hands and feet left from some of the biggest movie stars in the world.
All along Hollywood Blvd and adjacent to the Hollywood and Highland center is the Walk of Fame. Consisting of over 2,300 stars representing celebrities from music, film, radio, TV and producing, the Walk of Fame extends down Hollywood Blvd and up down the side streets. There are many budget shopping opportunities along this stretch of Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood memorabilia stores are a dime a dozen on this stretch selling Hollywood t shirts, plastic Oscars, discarded paparazzi photos of celebrities and more. In front of the Hollywood and Highland complex tour buses depart hourly for all parts of Los Angeles including tours of celebrity homes, Beverly Hills and Downtown Los Angeles.
Extending behind the Hollywood and Highland center is Franklin Ave. Off of Franklin Ave is a little street that stretches deep into the Hollywood Hills called the Outpost Estates. This was the original neighborhood that the first major Hollywood stars of the 1920s and 1930s called home. Many of the homes in this area have been renovated to maintain their original look and feel from that time. Today most of these houses are all over a million dollars and many, the higher up on the road, have amazing views of all of Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. Regular tour buses departing from Hollywood Blvd give visitors a complete rundown and exposure of this historic area of Hollywood.
La Brea Blvd is the major north, south artery running through Hollywood. There are many boutique shopping and dinning opportunities along this stretch. At La Brea and Melrose is where the Melrose Ave shopping district is located. Extending west from La Brea all the way past Fairfax and into West Hollywood, the Melrose Ave shopping district is full of boutique retailers selling everything from belts, boots, chic clothing, lingerie and even movie poster, books and music. The first ever Johnny Rockets opened on Melrose Ave still stands there today. On Melrose Ave east of La Brea is the famous Paramount Pictures studio lot. One of the last studios to call Hollywood home, Paramount has a long history of producing some of the biggest movie titles of all time. Today this active studio lot is home to daily productions of day time and prime time television shows, movies and commercials. Paramount Pictures does offer a guided tour of the lot and visitors can get some revealing glimpses of the inner workings of the studio just by walking the perimeter.