25 Best Things to Do in Hollywood
The sight of those tall white letters standing out starkly from the side of a hill, spelling out “HOLLYWOOD” for all the world to see, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. And what a town it stands for! Hollywood is the thriving, pulsing center of the film and entertainment industry, where visitors might brush shoulders with celebrities at a bar or grocery store, and streets shut down seemingly at random when a film decides to shoot there. It’s an exciting town with a lot of history, and from the glamour of the Dolby Theatre to the artistry of Hollyhock House, Hollywood has it all. Photo: Justin/Fotolia
Perhaps the most iconic landmark of Los Angeles is the Hollywood Sign, spelled out in huge white letters that are almost 45 feet tall. The sign can be seen from all over LA, and it’s one of Southern California’s most strictly protected landmarks. It was first built in the 1920s, when it read “HOLLYWOODLAND” and was actually just an advertisement for real estate developments, but over the years it has become a treasured and iconic cultural point of interest, recognizable around the world. Located in Griffith Park, visitors can get close to the Hollywood Sign via a short hike, although access to the sign is very strictly off limits and punishable by a $1,000 fine.
Contact: Phone: 323-258-4338
»Warner Brother's Studio Tour
The Warner Brother’s Studio Tour, located in Burbank, is a must-see for any film buffs visiting Hollywood. The tour will lead visitors through some of the film lots and studios where classics like Casablanca and Batman were filmed, along with more modern hits like The Big Bang Theory and Gilmore Girls. Guests will have the opportunity to see the Central Perk set from Friends and try on the sorting hat in the Great Hall from Harry Potter. A standard tour with Warner Brother’s Studios lasts approximately 3 hours, but a deluxe tour can also be booked, which lasts 6 hours and offers an even closer look into more studios and soundstages.
Contact: 3400 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91522, Phone: 818-977-8687
»Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame was first established in 1958, when the first brass stars were laid into the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard. Today, there are over 2,600 stars whose names are on the Walk of Fame, and the site attracts about ten million visitors every year. It’s a truly iconic piece of American cultural history, and features the names of some of the greatest artists in the history of visual media. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a public space that is open to visitors 24/7, and there are usually many celebrity and character impersonators in the area, so that visitors can have their picture taken with Elvis, the Hulk, or Captain Jack Sparrow to memorialize their visit.
Contact: N Highland Ave & Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Phone: 323-469-8311
Up on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood sits Griffith Observatory, a popular Los Angeles attraction that offers a spectacular view of Los Angeles, including the famous Hollywood Sign. But the views don’t end there, because Griffith is also home to a planetarium, where guests can sit back and take a look into the infinite reaches of the Universe. Guests can also look through the observatory’s telescopes for a peek at the night sky or any other points of interest, and explore some of the educational exhibits within the observatory. Griffith Observatory hosts many special events throughout the year, and a full calendar can be found on their website.
Contact: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, Phone: 213-473-0800
Photo: Tall Paul/Fotolia
»Barnsdall Art Park
Barnsdall Art Park is a haven for appreciators of art, both experienced and amateur. Located in a beautiful park in East Hollywood, on a property that also includes Hollyhock House, the LA Municipal Art Gallery, and the Barnsdall Gallery Theater, among other things, Barnsdall Art Park offers art classes for both children and adults as well as events like wine tastings, art shows, and outdoor movie nights under the stars. This beautiful and unique place aims to foster a love of art in its visitors, and it does so not only by showing art, but also by offering some great opportunities to create it.
Contact: 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Most people know the Dolby Theatre as the home of the Academy Awards, the biggest red carpet night in Hollywood. This ornate theater, with its grand staircase and massive stage crowned by a “tiara,” is a wonder in its own right, and visitors to Hollywood can tour the Dolby Theatre 7 days a week, with guides starting a tour every half hour between 10:30am and 4:00pm. Besides being the venue for star-studded awards shows, the Dolby is also a world-class events venue, with a calendar of performers that is just as A-List as the people who walk the red carpet there each year.
Contact: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, Phone: 323-308-6300
Photo: Andrea Izzotti/Fotolia
Hollyhock House is located within Barnsdall Art Park, which has been previously mentioned on this list. Designed by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright, Hollyhock House was built between 1919 and 1921. It was the first house built by Wright in Los Angeles, and represents his first attempt at a style of architecture that would suit Southern California. Visitors to Hollyhock House can explore the house and gardens to see the seamless combinations of indoor and outdoor space, the lovely rooftop terraces, and the incorporated hollyhock flowers from which the house gleaned its name. Hollyhock House is open for visitation Tuesday through Sunday, and docent-led tours are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays by reservation.
Contact: 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, Phone: 323-913-4030
Photo: Hollyhock House
»Hollywood - Behind the Scenes Walking Tour
This hour-long walking tour will lead visitors to all the major sights of Tinseltown, from famous landmarks down to hole-in-the-wall theaters. Knowledgeable guides will point out architectural points of interest as well as cultural landmarks, all while offering fascinating stories of the famous people who had a hand in making Hollywood the place it is today. Some of the stops on the tour include the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the original location of the Academy Awards, and a 1920s speakeasy bar from the Prohibition era. Tours begin at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm each day, and can be reserved online.
»Hollywood and Highland Center
Hollywood and Highland is a major tourist destination, well known as the home of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it is also a major cultural center. There is a massive shopping mall at Hollywood and Highland, with shops, restaurants, hotels, and more. Also in the vicinity is the Dolby Theater, where the Academy Awards are held each year, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and much more. There are always plenty of character impersonators at Hollywood and Highland, from Spiderman to Marilyn Monroe, who are available for photo opportunities.
Contact: 6801 Hollywood Blvd #170, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Photo: Hollywood and Highland Center
The Hollywood Bowl is one of the most famous music venues in the world, an amphitheater set into the “bowl” of the hills that surround it. Known for the distinctive shell that envelops the stage, creating a visual and acoustic masterpiece, the Hollywood Bowl can seat up to 17,500 people, and its calendar of events features every type of music, from a full-orchestra classical concert band to popular hip hop artists. The Hollywood Bowl is the largest of its kind in the US, and is also home to a park with picnic grounds. No matter what the agenda, Hollywood Bowl offers its guests a perfect night under the stars, every time.
Contact: 2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Photo: Andriy Solovyov/Fotolia
The Hollywood Museum contains four floors of movie magic and Hollywood history. It possesses the largest collection of movie memorabilia in the entire world, with amazing exhibits that include costumes, props, set elements, and photos of some of the most beloved and classic films ever created. Guests can visit Hannibal Lector’s cell from Silence of the Lambs, see Marilyn Monroe’s Million Dollar Dress, and even see the personal bathrobe of the King of Rock and Roll himself. The museum’s rotating displays and exhibits highlight certain film genres, illustrious individual actors and directors, and cultural trends in filmmaking, like the changing perception of LGBTQ individuals onscreen or the life of a child actor.
Contact: 1660 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028, Phone: 323-464-7776
Photo: Hollywood Museum
The Hollywood Roosevelt is a classic hotel that over the years has hosted stars like Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Clark Gable, and which has served as a set location for countless films over the decades. Today, the hotel is still in operation, with rooms that have a distinct Old Hollywood feel to them. The Roosevelt also offers plenty of food and drink options, from The Spare Room – a 1920s speakeasy with a two-lane bowling alley – to the Library, where there are no menus, only a wall full of drink ingredients that guests can choose from. There is also a 24-hour burger joint, a SoCal style beer garden, a cafe, and the Public Kitchen and Bar.
Contact: 7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Phone: 323-856-1970
Photo: Hollywood Roosevelt
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»Hollywood Wax Museum
At the Hollywood Wax Museum, guests can get up close and personal with the likenesses of some of their favorite stars. The oldest and longest running museum of wax figures in the US, the Hollywood Wax Museum contains lifelike models of stars and characters such as Samuel L. Jackson, James Bond, Marilyn Monroe, and George Clooney. Guests are welcome to pose with and take photos with the wax figures, which also feature placards containing fun facts and trivia about the famous faces seen there. Visitors can even view a brief demo from one of the artists at the museum to gain an idea of how the wax figures are created.
Contact: 6767 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Phone: 323-462-5991
Photo: Hollywood Wax Museum
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»Museum of Death
Despite the morbid name and subject matter, the ultimate aim of the Museum of Death is to make visitors appreciate life. The museum contains artwork done by serial killers, photos of infamous crime scenes, including those involving Charles Manson, collections of coffins and body bags, and historical execution devices. Exhibits focus on the art of the autopsy, death cults and serial killers, and much more. The grisly museum can be explored via a self-guided tour, which generally lasts about 1 hour, and although there is no age limit, visitors should be aware that the content of the museum is best viewed by mature audiences.
Contact: 6031 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, Phone: 323-466-8011
Photo: Museum of Death
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»Lake Hollywood Park
Lake Hollywood Park is home to the Hollywood Reservoir, a large manmade lake in the Santa Monica Mountains. Within the park, there are paved trails for cyclists, joggers, and those who wish to take a nice walk, as well as picnic areas and large grassy areas perfect for a game of frisbee or laying out on a blanket and reading a book. The park is dog friendly and very scenic, with excellent views of the Hollywood Sign up on the hill above the park. Lake Hollywood Park is open daily from sunrise until sunset.
Contact: 3160 Canyon Lake Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068, Phone: 818-243-1145
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»Musso & Frank Grill
The Musso & Frank Grill has been delighting diners since 1919, and prides itself as one of the oldest restaurants in Hollywood. The classic restaurant has been frequented by many stars throughout the years, and its classic menu, which is almost 100 years old, remains mostly unchanged from its original version. It’s home to the first payphone to ever be installed in Hollywood, and if walls could talk, the walls of Musso & Frank would likely report back on the decades of film industry giants who made deals and created iconic ideas in this restaurant. Eating a meal here is like stepping back in time to Old Hollywood.
Contact: 6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Phone: 323-467-7788
Photo: Musso & Frank Grill
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Runyon Canyon is a small park in Hollywood, only about 160 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains, but the land is full of scenic hills that offer gorgeous views of the city. There is a lovely paved path that runs through the park, perfect for a quick hike, a scenic bike ride, or an evening stroll. The trail loop is about 3 miles long, and leads up the hill via either a paved trail with a gentle ascent or a dirt path with a bit more of a rugged approach. The park is dog friendly, and very popular with locals taking their furry friends for a walk or a run.
Contact: 2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, Phone: 323-666-5046
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In 1956, a man named Buck Stahl and his wife built their dream home, designed by Pierre Koenig. The end result was a modern structure with huge glass windows overlooking the lights of Los Angeles. This house, which was officially declared an Historic Cultural Landmark in 1999, became an icon of the modern architectural style. Tours of the house and grounds can be reserved online, and experienced docents will lead visitors through the house to show architectural points of interest and tell stories of the history of the place and its cultural significance.
Contact: 1635 Woods Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069, Phone: 208-429-1058
Photo: Stahl House
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»Sunset Ranch Hollywood
At Sunset Ranch, visitors can see Los Angeles from the back of a horse, a view that is simply unforgettable. With calm, gentle horses and knowledgeable and friendly guides, Sunset Ranch Hollywood will take its guests through Griffith Park and to the top of Mount Hollywood. The trail winds up the side of the mountain, along steep ridges and rocky hills on a beautiful journey. There are several different tour packages available, such as the one or two-hour Day Tour, the two-hour Evening Tour, an evening barbecue option, and even a package that includes an overnight stay at the ranch’s bed and breakfast.
Contact: 3400 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, Phone: 323-469-5450
Photo: Sunset Ranch Hollywood
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»Ultimate Hollywood Tours
With Ultimate Hollywood Tours, guests can see Hollywood while enjoying the sunshine from the back of an open-air bus. Tours are led by experiences guides, most of whom have years of experience in the film industry, as they drive around Hollywood, pointing out cultural landmarks, movie and tv locations, the Hollywood Sign, and the Sunset Strip. Moreover, the tours will allow guests to see more than 50 famous homes, which over the years have belonged to stars such as Michael Jackson, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Julia Roberts, Elvis Presley, and more.
Contact: 6660 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Phone: 323-915-1889
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»Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios is both a filming studio and a theme park in Los Angeles, where guests can take a tour of the studio with virtual host Jimmy Fallon to get a behind the scenes look at movie sets as well as props and costumes from classic films like Jaws and Psycho. At the theme park, guests can watch entertaining shows about special effects or featuring the famous animals who are often used in movies, and have a thrilling and fun time on all the rides in the park. There’s The Walking Dead experience and you can meet those lovable yellow minions. And, of course, there’s the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where visitors can select a wand, fly with a hippogriff, and try butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks tavern.
Contact: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608, Phone: 800-864-8377
Photo: Balogh Eniko/Fotolia
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»Grauman's Chinese Theater
Grauman’s Chinese Theater first opened in 1927, and in the decades since it has established itself as an essential keystone in the world of Hollywood theater. Many elements of the theater, including the stone dog statues and the temple architecture, were directly imported from China. Today, it’s well known as the location of many red carpet movie premieres as well as for being on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, where thousands of celebrities have their names, handprints, and footprints immortalized in the sidewalk. Seeing a film at Grauman’s Chinese Theater is an experience like no other, and patrons will feel very much a part of Old Hollywood from the second they walk through its doors.
Contact: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 Phone: 323-461-3331
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»Hollywood Forever Cemetery
While a cemetery might seem like an interesting choice for a tourist destination, Hollywood Forever is no ordinary cemetery. Located on Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for more famous people than any other cemetery in the world. So many familiar faces from the golden age of Hollywood have been put to rest in this place, including Rudolph Valentino, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Victor Fleming, and Iron Eyes Cody. The names written in stone on the markers at Hollywood Forever are like a journey through history, and will inspire any lover of film who walks among them.
Contact: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038, Phone: 323-469-1181
Photo: Matthew Carroll/Fotolia
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»Drunken History of Hollywood Walking Tour
There are a lot of ways to see Hollywood, but drunk and on foot is arguably one of the most fun. With the Drunken History of Hollywood Walking Tour, guests will depart on a 2-hour adventure with a guide who will lead them through the sights of Hollywood. The tour includes trivia questions, stops at cultural landmarks and points of interest, over-the-top Hollywood reenactments and improvised comedy acts and, of course, plenty of drinks. It’s a tour of Hollywood like no other, and one that’s not likely to be forgotten… unless you partake in a few too many of the drink specials, that is. Meeting Point Outside the Egyptian Theater
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25 Best Things to Do in Hollywood
- Hollywood Sign, Photo: Courtesy of vivien - Fotolia.com
- Warner Brother's Studio Tour, Photo: Courtesy of ivandancom - Fotolia.com
- Walk of Fame, Photo: Courtesy of Stihl024 - Fotolia.com
- Griffith Observatory, Photo: Courtesy of Tall Paul - Fotolia.com
- Barnsdall Art Park, Photo: Courtesy of ngel - Fotolia.com
- Dolby Theatre, Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Izzotti - Fotolia.com
- Hollyhock House, Photo: Hollyhock House
- Hollywood - Behind the Scenes Walking Tour, Photo: Courtesy of oneinchpunch - Fotolia.com
- Hollywood and Highland Center, Photo: Hollywood and Highland Center
- Hollywood Bowl, Photo: Courtesy of Andriy Solovyov - Fotolia.com
- Hollywood Museum, Photo: Hollywood Museum
- Hollywood Roosevelt, Photo: Hollywood Roosevelt
- Hollywood Wax Museum, Photo: Hollywood Wax Museum
- Museum of Death, Photo: Museum of Death
- Lake Hollywood Park, Photo: Courtesy of oscity - Fotolia.com
- Musso & Frank Grill, Photo: Musso & Frank Grill
- Runyon Canyon, Photo: Courtesy of milazvereva - Fotolia.com
- Stahl House, Photo: Stahl House
- Sunset Ranch Hollywood, Photo: Sunset Ranch Hollywood
- Ultimate Hollywood Tours, Photo: Courtesy of ivandancom - Fotolia.com
- Universal Studios Hollywood, Photo: Courtesy of Balogh Eniko - Fotolia.com
- Grauman's Chinese Theater, Photo: Courtesy of granitepeaker - Fotolia.com
- Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Carroll - Fotolia.com
- Drunken History of Hollywood Walking Tour, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Justin - Fotolia.com
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