Los Angeles - 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.
A business and residential district in the city of Los Angeles, the core are of Hollywood for a tourist are its three fascinating boulevards: Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, and Melrose Avenue. All three 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 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. The House Un-American Activities Committee combed through Hollywood in the late 1940’s and 1950’s and built its “Hollywood Blacklist”, which consisted of screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians and other entertainment employees who were suspected of being affiliated with the Communist Party. HUAC called on hundreds of “suspected” communists with in the industry to testify, many rolled over and named names, but some, like the “Hollywood Ten” refused to incriminate themselves in a crime they did not commit and were arrested. By 1952, the Hollywood Blacklist rejected over 300 people from working in the industry. It was not until the late 1950’s that the blacklist stopped terrorizing Hollywood.
In 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 studio still headquartered in Hollywood, but the area nonetheless remains an important center of the entertainment industry with its myriad production and broadcast facilities. Other affiliated businesses include Sunset-Gower Studios, Hollywood Center Studios, Raleigh Studios, Jim Henson Studios (a subsidiary of Walt Disney Pictures), and KTLA Studios (the local CW affiliate, housed on the original Warner Bros. lot). The other major studios are located to the north in the Universal City-Burbank corridor (Universal, Warner Bros., Disney, ABC, NBC, and DreamWorks). Most of the rest are to the west: Century City (Fox, MGM), the Fairfax District (CBS), and Culver City (Sony).
If you want to see where films are shot, take a tour at one of the major studios: Universal  "bundles" a full amusement park with its tour, while several other studios offer smaller, but interesting tours. In reality, most films are shot in warehouses and sound stages in Burbank and elsewhere.
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 Beverly Hills, on Sunset Plaza, or in Malibu. You can easily see where they live by taking a tour or buying a star map for about $10 (remember Tatum O'Neal in the Bad News Bears?). You might also try the Book Soup bookstore or the Viper Room bar, both on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, or a number of other locations in the area where the stars live their day-to-day lives.
A recommended place to see stars in Hollywood is Griffith Park Observatory, which appeared in "Rebel Without a Cause" and many other movies.
Hollywood is close enough to the Westside to make car trips there relatively easy. If you are beginning your trip in Downtown Los Angeles--the proverbial center of Southern California's intricate freeway network--you can head north on US Highway 101 and exit on Hollywood Blvd. or Gower St. If traffic is a problem, and it will be during 1 -6PM, consider an alternate route by noting that many Los-Angeles Area freeways form concentric rings around the Downtown center. You might also consider surface streets: Santa Monica Boulevard is a major throughfare that links Hollywood with Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.
Hollywood's location is central to most other popular attractions. The Red Line subway stations at Hollywood/Vine and Hollywood/Highland can connect you to cross-town areas accessible by rail, and the stretch of Hollywood Blvd between Highland and Vine serves as a major terminal for the bus system.
Visitors from Orange County, home of Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, can get to Hollywood by taking Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner or Metrolink's Orange County Line to Los Angeles Union Station and then transferring to the Red Line.
The main east-west streets of central Hollywood are Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd., intersected by the main north-south streets of La Brea Ave., Highland Ave., Cahuenga Blvd., Vine St., and Gower St. Any location within a few blocks of these intersections is likely to be a satisfying choice. Night-time pedestrian activity in this area is focused on Hollywood Blvd.
The main areas of Hollywood are walkable, and you could walk all the way from Hollywood Blvd. to Melrose, but most people would probably drive.
- Hollywood Sign&mdash Hollywood's most recognizable landmark is easy to spot high up on Mount Lee in Griffith Park. You can drive part way up for a closer look, but you can't hike all the way to the sign.
- Grauman's Chinese Theater, 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, ☎ +1 323 464-8111, . The most famous movie theatre 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 theatre 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. Movies are shown for $10, and half-hour walking tours are available for $5.
- Walk of Fame, along Hollywood Boulevard and also Vine Street, . 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.
- Griffith Park Observatory, 2800 East Observatory Road, ☎ +1 213-473-0800, . Tu-F Noon-10PM, Sa-Su 10AM-10PM, closed Mondays. Reopened in 2006 after a long remodel; reservations are no longer necessary. Popular tourist attraction that features an extensive array of space- and science-related displays.
- Hollywood Wax Museum, 6767 Hollywood Blvd, ☎ +1 323-462-8860, . 10AM-midnight. Wax musuem devoted to celebrities with over 180 figures at any time.Adults (13+) $17.95, children $8.95, 5 and under free.
- Ripley's Believe it or Not, 6780 Hollywood Blvd, ☎ +1 323-466-6335, . Musuem that focuses on the odd, the unusual and the unbelievable. Features interactive illusions and a gallery.
- Kodak Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Bld, ☎ +1 323 308-6300, . Located at the Hollywood & Highland Center (see "Buy" below). Hosts a wide range of live performances, including the annual Academy Awards.
- Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Avenue, ☎ +1 323 426-2829, . America's most famous outdoor theatre hosts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as well as numerous other concert events. Traffic and parking can be a nightmare, so the $5 round-trip public shuttles  are highly recommended.
- Cemetery Movie Screenings, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Saturdays at 7pm, May-September. The Cinespia film society screens creepy older movies (recent showings include The Shining, Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Invasion of the Body Snatchers) every Saturday during the summer in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, with most proceeds going toward cemetery restoration. Crowds can be huge, so arrive prior to gates opening if you want a good vantage point. Most people bring a picnic dinner, blanket and jacket, and a DJ plays music prior to the showing to create a fun outdoor atmosphere. Parking is free within the cemetery, but a $10 donation is required for each person.
- Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Center. Hollywood's premier shopping center includes 200 stores over 8 different levels. Great view of the city from the top floor of the mall.
- Amoeba Music, 6400 Sunset Blvd, ☎ +1 323-245-6400, . 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.
- Guitar Center, 7425 W Sunset Blvd, +1 323-874-1060 . Want to buy an instrument, get some equipment for yours, or get something repaired? This is a great place to start.
- Frederick's of Hollywood, 6751 Hollywood Blvd., ☎ (323) 957-5953. 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.
- Decades, 8214 Melrose Ave Los Angeles, ☎ (323) 655-1960. This Melrose Avenue shop is the place to go for vintage 1960s and 1970s couture and accessories.
- The Grove, 189 The Grove Drive Los Angeles, ☎ (888) 315-8883. Shopping and entertainment complex that will appeal to tourists that want to shop, while locals stop by to pick up fresh produce from the nearby Farmers Market.
Hollywood Blvd. has countless urban clothing stores. Walk around and find stores with the latest LNG, Phat Farm, Timberland, Sean John, and many more.
Melrose Avenue is the to go to place to feel like a star. Start by browsing through vintage clothing stores to maxing out the credit card at chic boutiques.
- Pink's Hot Dogs, 709 N. La Brea Avenue, ☎ +1 323-931-4223, . Su-Th 9:30AM-2:00AM, F-Sa 9:30AM-3:00AM. Serving the most famous hot dogs in Los Angeles since 1939, their chili dog will set you back just $2.50. Open every day from 9:30AM to 2AM or later. Expect a long but fairly fast-moving line.
- In-N-Out Burger, 7009 W Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA, 90028, . 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.
- Roscoe's House of Chicken' n Waffles, 1514 N Gower Street, ☎ +1 323-466-7453, . For those ready to get their grub on, look no further--chicken, waffles, grits and greens. A few more locations scattered around town.
- Yai. By general learned agreement, the most authentic Thai food in the States can be found at "the Thai restaurant behind the 7-11 on Hollywood Boulevard by the 101." That's how it is known. If you are not from L.A., this can also serve as an introduction to L.A.-style directions. (The cross street, by the way, is Taft Avenue.) The Pad Thai here is light and perfumed and the curries hot enough to kill. And by authentic, that's exactly what is meant...don't expect any catering to tastes here.
- Palms Thai Restaurant, 5900 Hollywood Blvd, ☎ +1 323-462-5073, . 11AM-2AM. Home of the infamous Thai Elvis, who will serenade you through dinner. The decor's 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.
- Paru's, 5140 W Sunset Blvd.(just west of Normandie Ave.), . M-F 4-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. Head here for excellent South Indian vegetarian food in a charming garden. Especially wonderful masala dosas.
- Blu Jam Cafe, 7371 Melrose Ave(Melrose at Martel in the middle of all the best shopping), . M-F 8AM to 6PM. Good food with options for everyone. Even some Czech items.Almost every meal is under $10.
- Travel south to East Hollywood and you can find countless "pupuserias". These thick, hand-made corn tortillas come with quesillo (Salvadorean cheese), pork, chicken, rice, beans, or "queso con loroco" (cheese and vine flower bud). Just look for signs that say "pupuserias." They usually run around $1.50-$2.00 a pupusa. A very delicious food.
- Cheebo, 7533 W. Sunset Blvd, ☎ +1 323-850-7070, . 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.
- Electric Karma, 8222 1/2 W. 3rd St., ☎ +1 323-653-2121, . Sun-Thu 11:30am-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11:00pm. The "Most Romantic Indian Restaurant in Los Angeles" offers authentic Punjabi cuisine at reasonable prices for lunch and dinner; a beautiful, candle-lit dining room and open-air courtyard; unique cocktails; and warm, professional staff.
- Ammo, 1155 N. Highland Ave, . Great for lunch or dinner, excellent and fashionable food.
- Mel's Drive-In, 1660 N. Highland Ave, ☎ +1-323-465-3111, . Sun-Thu 6:30am-3:00am, Fri-Sat 24 Hrs.. 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.
- 101 Coffee Shop, 6145 Franklin Ave(at Vista Del Mar Avenue), ☎ +1-323-467-1175. 7:00am-3:00am, 7 days a week. 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.
- M Café, 7119 Melrose Ave, ☎ +1 323-525-0588, . M-Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 9AM-9PM. One of the hottest new places in Hollywood. If you've been infected with Organica or Macrobiotica, head here now. It's often impossibly crowded and parking's a nightmare. They've got lots of premade things that are handy if you're short on time, otherwise it's better to order fresh, considering how far you'll be set back.Most mains hover around the $10-15 range.
- Musso & Frank Grill, 6667 Hollywood Blvd, ☎ +1-323-467-7788. For a taste of old Hollywood, this is the place. It's been famous for generations.
- Sushi Ike, 6051 Hollywood Blvd(in a mini-mall on the corner of Gower), ☎ +1-323-856-9972. 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.
- The Griddle Café, 7916 Sunset Blvd(east of Fairfax Ave), ☎ +1 323-874-0377. 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.
- All' Angelo Ristorante, 7166 melrose ave. - los angeles - CA 90046, ☎ +1 323 933-9540, . Lunch - Friday: 12 - 2:30PM / Dinner - Monday through Saturday: 6 - 10:30PM / Closed Sunday. This authentic Italian eatery combines the relaxed atmosphere of a Los Angeles restaurant with a menu that's as close to a ticket to Rome as you can get without a passport. Their seasonal menu includes mouth watering timbale of cauliflower, authentic tripe, gourmet pastas, and hearty entrees. The owners bring a warm Italian sensibility to fresh dishes that would please any palate. This place is perfect for that special occasion!
- Cinespace, 6356 Hollywood Boulevard(2nd Level), ☎ +1-323-817-3456, . Offering dinner in front of a large movie screen showing everything from recent movies to classics (movie shown Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8PM). The food is reasonably good California cuisine, and the movie is included with the dinner price. With drinks, expect to spend between $25 and $40 per person. Reservations are required and should be made several days in advance. The restaurant becomes a club after movie showings.
- Yamashiro, 1999 N. Sycamore Avenue, ☎ +1-323-466-5125, . 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.
- Geisha House, ☎ +1 323-460-6300(email@example.com), . Su-Th 6PM-1AM, F-Sa 6PM-1:30AM. Geisha House is a Modern Japanese Restaurant, Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge that embraces the flavor of traditional Japan while catering to the hip, sophisticated clientèle of Los Angeles. Don't be surprised by celebrity clientèle either.$31-50.
- Katsuya, 6300 Hollywood Blvd(at Vine St), ☎ +1 (323) 871-8777, . 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.
- The Ivy, ☎ +1 310-274-6300. Mo-Fr 11:30AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 10:30 AM-10AM. The Ivy is a Los Angeles mainstay and is frequented by celebrities. As for the menu, think comfort food, like fried chicken, Cajun prime rib and fish and fresh corn chowder. Request a seat on the famed patio for the best people watching.$31-50.
- ceFiore, 6922 Hollywood Blvd #107, ☎ +1 323-465-9097, . Everyday 11AM-11PM. 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.
- Pinkberry, 7123 Melrose Ave(just west of La Brea), ☎ +1 323-730-9889, . A new, overly-hyped and rapidly spreading frozen yogurt chain. Choose from vanilla or green tea yogurt, and a great assortment of toppings from fresh berries to Cap'n Crunch.$2-5.
- The Juice Fountain, 6332 Hollywood Blvd(between Ivar and Vine), ☎ +1 323 464-8986. 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!$3-5.
Clubs and bars
Street life in Hollywood remains lively later than in most other areas, making the district a satisfying location to come home to. In fact, the best time to see Hollywood is in the evening, since the district serves along with the nearby Sunset Strip, as the regional center for clubs and nightlife.
- Cat & Fiddle, 6530 Sunset Boulevard, ☎ +1-323-468-9045, . A large and reasonably authentic British pub, the Cat & Fiddle always has a fun crowd, a good selection of beers and British pub food, and darts in the back room. The outdoor area is extraordinarily nice but fills early, while the inside of the bar is spacious but gets crowded in the evenings. Prices are reasonable given the location and decor, with beers from $5 per pint and food starting around $8.
- Roosevelt Hotel Lounge, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard(across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre), ☎ +1-323-466-7000(infoHRH@thompsonhotels.com), . 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.
- PowerHouse, 1714 N Highland Ave Los Angeles, ☎ (323) 463-9438. One of the most laidback 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.
- Boardners, 1652 N Cherokee Ave Los Angeles. 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.
- The Well, 6255 W Sunset Blvd. 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 cosy.
Hollywood offers a wide range in price and quality of accommodations. The modern Renaissance Hotel and the antique Roosevelt Hotel provide an upscale choice, though the latter has a reputation for frequently closing its pool for private parties. There is a full range of standard motel chains including Travelodge, Motel 6, and Best Western. There are also a few well-located hostels.
- Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, 1755 N. Highland Avenue, ☎ +1-323-856-1200(fax: +1-323-856-1205), . Right in the heart of Hollywood, the Renaissance Hotel is at the hub of Hollywood action such as the Chinese theater and near all the LA hot spots like Les Duex and LAX. Its a stylish, modern hotel full of trendy charms such as contemporary art, a Zen garden, and an abstract lobby. Bright and vibrant colors are splashed around the rooms and accentuated with crisp white linens and bath products from Lather and Lather. Staff are multilingual and professional, and for a room with a view, pick one above the 10th floor.$300-420 (Doubles).
- Best Western Hollywood Hotel Plaza Inn, 2011 North Highland Avenue, ☎ +1-323-851-1800, . Just minutes from Universal Studios, two blocks from the Chinese Mann Theatre, Walk of Fame, Ripley's and Wax Museum and Hollywood Bowl. Beverly Hills, the Farmers' Market, NBC Studios, downtown Los Angeles, the Convention Center, Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Zoo and the Griffith Park/Observatory are among the various other attractions.
- Holiday Inn Hollywood - Walk of Fame, 2005 N. Highland Avenue, ☎ +1-323-876-8600(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1-323-876-3272), . Located just a few short blocks from the Walk of Fame, and within walking distance to premier attractions, from Kodak Theatre to the Hollywood Bowl. Just two miles from Universal Studios, CityWalk, and Universal Amphitheater. Minutes from Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, and downtown Los Angeles. Only five miles to Burbank Airport, and just 15 miles from LAX International Airport
- Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles California 90028, . A luxury 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. Its a Hollywood legend, and was the location of the first Academy Awards ceremony.
- Motel 6 Los Angeles - Hollywood, 1738 N. Whitley Avenue, ☎ +1-323-464-6006(fax: +1-323-464-4645), . Located in the heart of Hollywood, this is part of a budget model chain. It offers clean rooms in a convenient location.$70 for a double/twin.
- Sunset Tower Hotel, 8358 Sunset Blvd, ☎ 323-654-7100, . The Sunset Tower is perched high on the Sunset Strip. Built in 1929, this hotel was recently and beautifully renovated. Staff is excellent and the rooms are beautifully appointed and feature floor to ceiling windows. Swimming pool has sweeping views of Los Angeles. In the evening, the pool area is converted into an extension of the popular Tower Bar. Celebrity sightings!$350.
- The Mondian Hotel, 8440 Sunset Blvd, ☎ 1.877.477.8006, . The Mondrian is a hip, sophisticated, West Hollywood hotspot. By day, the pool is a sea of beautiful people and by night, the same crowd fills the famous in-hotel restaurant Asia de Cuba, as well as the Sky Bar. Accommodations are luxurious. $395.
A few internet cafés are dotted around town, but a better (and cheaper) option if you've got a laptop is to take advantage of the free wireless internet at the numerous coffee shops along and off of either Hollywood Blvd or Melrose Ave.
- Caffe Etc, 6371 Selma Ave, ☎ +1 323 464-8824, . Everyday, 7AM-11PM. Free wireless internet (if you've got a laptop), decent coffees and teas, and sandwiches and desserts to snack on.
- Downtown LA – Rapidly renovating, it's a great place for a meal or to catch a show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and best of all, it's reachable by Metro.
- Universal City – Home to Universal Studios and a short trip via US Highway 101 or the Metro Red Line.
- Studio City – Among other attractions, offers perhaps the highest density of sushi restaurants in Los Angeles.
- West Hollywood – This may be Hollywood's less-famous sibling, but it boasts a bustling nightlife and features excellent restaurants, clubs, and hotels.
- Beverly Hills – Home of 90210, and a few other zip codes.
This page was last edited at 18:30, on 12 November 2008 by Wikitravel user MarinaK. Based on work by David, Carson Roen and Jason Minamora, Wikitravel user(s) Cacahuate, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.