Sprawling against the foothills of the majestic Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California lies the land of glitz, glamour, and fame. Since 1908, Hollywood has produced some of the greatest moments in TV and movies, and is home to the talented superstars of America. No wonder it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States!
American cinema and television stars aren’t the only things that shine in Hollywood, California. This neighborhood of Los Angeles is a melting pot of entertainment, culture, and history. Travelers never run out of things to do in Hollywood. Let’s explore some of the best attractions Tinseltown has to offer its visitors!
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN HOLLYWOOD CA
- Best Budget Option. Magic Castle Hotel is affordable and right in the center of it all, at just 3 miles from Universal Studios and a five minute walk from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. And who wouldn’t want to stay in a magic castle?
- Best Luxury Option. The Amazing Villa On Sunset Plaza is about as luxurious at it gets and has a great location close to a number of attractions. And check out the spectacular pool!
- Best for Families. Hyatt Place Los Angeles / LAX / El Segundo isn’t in Hollywood, but our recommendation is to branch out a bit more when visiting LA with kids. It’s rated great for families, and close to the beach.
The streets of Hollywood Boulevard have inspired many a celebrity. Gene Autry wrote the famous, “Here Comes Santa Clause” in 1946, after a scenic Christmas parade on Hollywood Blvd. Stretching over 15 blocks, Hollywood Boulevard is the home to many of Tinseltown’s most fabled attractions. This hallowed strip of pavement is home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the TCL Theatre, and many other sites synonymous with the name Hollywood.
While taking a stroll down the boulevard, make sure to look down. The streets sparkle and shine with glitter in the pavement between Vine Street and La Brea Boulevard! Hollywood Boulevard is the scenic path through which you can reach many of the other tourist attractions in this article.
Before starting on your adventure, swing by Hollywood and Highland Ave., the Hollywood Boulevard’s center for shopping, dining, and entertainment that’s only a short walk from the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
After spending time on Hollywood Boulevard, check out the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood too! They’re both filled with so much to see and do, it’s worth visiting both.
Looking for more fun in Hollywood? Try one of these fun activities!
- Experience thrills at Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park. Experience either 1 or 2 days of action-packed entertainment with your Universal Studios Hollywood ticket. Enjoy thrilling theme park rides and shows, tour a real working movie studio, and step into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
- Enjoy a Hollywood & Celebrity Homes Open-Air Bus Tour. See where the rich and famous hang out on a guided tour of Hollywood, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills by open-top bus. Discover the hot spots and celebrity homes of the world’s entertainment capital.
- Go to new heights on this Beverly Hills and Hollywood Helicopter Tour. Peek into Beverly Hills and Hollywood from the comfort of a private helicopter. Soar past the iconic Hollywood Sign and enjoy the views on this helicopter tour.
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
The idea for the Walk of Fame came from E. M. Stuart, a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce member. In 1953, Stuart suggested creating the Walk as a marketing source for the growing film industry. His idea has grown into one of the most significant symbols of stardom in the world.
In 1958, the first stars of Hollywood graced the Walk of Fame with their names. These stars of the Silver Screen included Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick, Ernest Torrence, and Joanne Woodward. Since then, the walk has grown to accommodate over 2,700 stars.
Visitors often take advantage of guided tours to help them find their favorite stars. Many tours will take you all over Hollywood, from the Walk of Fame to the illustrious mansions of the stars in Beverly Hills.
TCL CHINESE THEATRE
Originally known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese Theatre is a premier movie palace in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard. Its iconic silhouette has been home to many movie premiers over the ages, including the 1977 smash-hit Star Wars.
Visitors to the TCL Chinese Theatre will discover that many of their favorite movie stars have left an impression on the theatre. In the theatre’s forecourt, the handprints and signatures of celebrities decorate the concrete. Notable names include John Wayne, R2D2, and the Harry Potter cast.
A visit to the theatre’s courtyard deserves at least a half-hour of exploration. Then, complete the ultimate visit by seeing a movie in one of its IMAX theatres – just allow plenty of time to explore the historical paintings and decorations inside!
HOLLYWOOD WAX MUSEUM
Pay a visit to your favorite celebs with a trip to the Hollywood Wax Museum! Since 1965, the Hollywood Wax Museum has held the title of “most visited attraction” on Hollywood Boulevard. Inside, guests find the who’s who of Hollywood through the ages waiting for them.
The Hollywood Wax Museum isn’t your average house of wax. The lifelike figures reside in realistic dioramas ranging from the hip nightclub to scenes straight from a Spaghetti Western. Guests can interact with the figures, sporting accessories like tiaras and cowboy hats to snap the perfect memory.
No landmark is more recognizable in California than the famous Hollywood sign. Rising above the natural beauty of Griffith Park’s 4,200 acres of parkland, the Hollywood sign has graced the city of Los Angeles with its presence since 1923. Originally designed to bring attention to the growing real estate development, the sign now stands as a symbol of American entertainment.
It may surprise you to find out that hiking to the sign is, in fact, illegal. Because the sign is culturally important to the history of Los Angeles, it is considered a protected landmark. However, you can experience views of the Hollywood sign and get a prime photo with a hike through the Hollywood Hills.
The adventurous hiker can spend an afternoon climbing the hills to capture their Hollywood sign moment. There are several trails to choose from, including the Mt Hollywood Trail (Easy), the Canyon Blvd Trail (Moderate), and the Cahuenga Peak Trail (Difficult). Alternatively, you can always take the Griffith Park shuttle to the Hollywood Sign viewing area.
SUNSET RANCH HOLLYWOOD
The days of the Old West are alive and well at the Sunset Ranch, where visitors take part in their own Spaghetti Western adventure! Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages will love spending an afternoon trotting beneath the Hollywood sign to capture the best views of Los Angeles!
At Sunset Ranch, guests can enjoy an afternoon of horseback riding. The trails are safe for beginners, and the horses are as friendly as can be! You’ll have 360-degree views of the Los Angeles Basin, the San Fernando Valley, and ocean views from the top of the trails.
Fans of Old Westerns should consider taking a relaxed ride at sunset. You can almost imagine John Wayne and Clint Eastwood riding up on their stallions to serenely watch the sunset from the Hollywood Hills!
MADAME TUSSAUDS HOLLYWOOD
The famed halls of Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood hold some of the most famous faces in all of entertainment history – and you get to see them up close when you visit! Known as “The World’s Greatest Wax Museum,” Tussaud’s collection boasts exceptionally realistic figures from the greatest moments in cinema and television.
Visitors to Tussaud’s can take a walk through time by visiting the Spirit of Hollywood exhibit, where Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, and Judy Garland wait with a smile to greet you. You can snap a selfie with Taylor Swift or dance beside Michael Jackson.
You never know what star or character you may come across – even King Kong is ready to sweep you off your feet at Madame Tussauds in the Pop Icons section!
The Hollywood Museum is a must-see attraction for any fan of movies! Located in the historic Max Factor building, the museum is home to more than 10,000 artifacts from across the film history of Hollywood!
The museum’s building alone has significant Hollywood history. Once upon a time, it served as the headquarters for Max Factor, the famous “Hollywood Makeup King.” In these walls, Factor created the signature look for stars of the silver screen, including the likes of Betty Davis, Judie Garland, and Jean Harlow.
Visitors to the museum can delve into a century of Hollywood history across the museum’s four floors. Some of the most popular exhibit items include Elvis’s bathrobe, Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell from Silence of the Lambs, and Marilyn Monroe’s million-dollar dresses!
MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS
Get ready for some mind-bending, reality-altering fun at Hollywood’s Museum of Illusions. The museum features four interactive experiences that challenge the mind and the senses. The Museum of Illusions is a family-friendly, photo-friendly stop. The museum encourages guests to touch exhibits, take photos, and get fully immersed in the experience.
When you walk into the museum, you’ll find yourself in a veritable wonderland of art. Vibrant colors, 3-D exhibits, and unexpected twists go hand in hand with a visit to this museum.
In the Giant’s House, guests come face to face with donuts the size of monster truck wheels and pizza slices the size of an adult human. A stop at the SMASH IT! exhibit allows visitors to smash, throw, and crush objects to their heart’s content – it’s the perfect end to a busy day in L.A. traffic!
You can make your visit to the museum more personal by scheduling a VIP experience, where your very own professional photographer captures all your favorite moments on film. At the end of your VIP experience, you’ll receive a special gift to commemorate the experience.
BARNSDALL ART PARK
Located in East Hollywood, the Barnsdall Art Park provides a zen oasis dedicated to the appreciation of art for locals and visitors alike. The awe-inspiring location, paired with the park’s four unique galleries and exhibits, makes Barnsdall a stop you’ll remember.
The art park features four distinct offerings for guests to visit. You’ll definitely want to take a tour of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, which showcases local and global talent to over 18,000 visitors a year! Theater, poetry, and dance lovers will enjoy catching a show at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. To round out your visit, you can reserve a seat at the Barnsdall Art Center (or Junior Art Center for your younger artists) to create your own art as a souvenir!
The final gallery located in Barnsdall Art Park is the acclaimed Hollyhock House – keep reading to find out more about this acclaimed historic site!
Perhaps the most famous of the four Barnsdall Art Park galleries is the Hollyhock House. The house was commissioned by oil baron and film producer Aline Barnsdall, who gave the park to the city of Los Angeles in 1923. It rises majestically on the hilltop of Barnsdall, a shining testament to modern architecture.
In 2019, the United Nations dedicated Hollyhock as a UNESCO world heritage site. Architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright designed the stately home. It is considered one of the best representations of modern architecture in the world.
Wright described Hollyhock first and foremost as a garden house. Thus, visitors get to experience lush gardens, water features, outdoor living spaces, and other unique features during their visit. Inside, Mayan-inspired stone walls, carved fireplaces, and eclectic furniture create a stunning exploration of early modern architecture and style not found anywhere else!
Fans of all things film will know the Dolby Theatre for one reason – it is the home of the Academy Awards! Countless superstars have walked the theatre’s red carpet, from Prince to Alicia Keys. Here, the best and brightest of the film industry receive a golden Oscar statue that recognizes their achievements.
Visitors can take advantage of guided tours that take them behind the scenes of the Dolby Theatre. You’ll walk where celebrities have, experiencing the Dolby Lounge and other secret spots known only to the rich and famous. You’ll also get a chance to see an Oscar in person, and tour historical images of the Academy Awards throughout the decades.
Since 1923, the Hollywood Bowl has wowed audiences with shows by the best artists in the music industry on its stage. The venue is one of the preeminent outdoor performance spaces in the world!
You can’t beat an evening spent at the Hollywood Bowl. Guests can catch shows by esteemed comedians or listen to the sweet notes of jazz while experiencing the natural beauty of the Santa Monica foothills. Surrounded by the rugged scenery of the Hollywood Hills, the amphitheater creates a rich aesthetic of nature and architecture that will leave you breathless.
The Hollywood Bowl truly takes theater and music experiences to the next level. Michelin-starred cuisine, elegant wine, and phenomenal seats provide an entertainment experience like no other!
HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY
Visitors looking to take a step outside the typical tourist areas of Hollywood should consider taking a stroll through Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Its rolling lawns, tinkling fountains, and tasteful landscaping is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Striking architecture dazzles the eye, with Japanese pagodas and bronze statues rising next to Grecian mausoleums and traditional headstones.
First opened in 1899, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Hollywood’s elite. Judy Garland, Mel Blanc, Rudolph Valentino, and Jonny Ramone are just a few of Hollywood’s superstars who found their peace in Hollywood Forever.
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is more than the final resting place for some of Hollywood’s greatest names. It’s also one of the premier cultural centers in the city of Los Angeles. In the summer, the cemetery screens classic films and hosts outdoor concerts. In addition, a massive Dia de Los Muertos celebration occurs on the grounds in the autumn.
WARNER BROTHERS STUDIO TOUR
No visit to Hollywood is complete without seeing where the celebrities work! Kids and adults alike will find themselves shocked and awed by what they see during their tour behind the scenes at the Warner Brothers Studio.
Your guided tour will take you through 100 years of Warner Brothers history, starting in 1923. You’ll get to visit the sets of popular shows like the Big Bang Theory, explore Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, and even catch a picture of the Dark Knight’s Batmobile!
Guests looking to get the whole Warner Brothers experience can take a deluxe tour that includes a visit to the costume department, delicious meals at the studio, and an exclusive viewing of Warner Brothers history inside a private screening room.
Book It: Warner Brothers Studio Tour
The Walk of Fame isn’t the only place to see stars in Hollywood. At the Griffith Observatory, guests get a closer look at the constellations shining above Los Angeles. The Griffith Observatory has welcomed visitors since 1935, and is the most visited observatory in the world!
The observatory’s Samuel Oschin Planetarium brings the stars to you, sending visitors traveling across the galaxy to explore universes and constellations millions of lightyears away. The observatory also serves as a museum, with exhibits covering the evolution of stargazing, the science of astronomy, and more.
You’ll want to take plenty of time exploring all the Observatory has to offer. To experience the ancient myths of the stars, stop by the Keck Central Rotunda. Then, in the Edge of Space exhibit, you can explore meteorites and other artifacts from space.
Or, stop by the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky to explore our planet’s relationship with the sun and moon. All this and more awaits the starry-eyed visitor to the Griffith Observatory.
Get a taste of Hollywood’s Golden Era at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel! Here, the stars of Hollywood’s classic movies found a place to relax, rest, and have plenty of luxurious fun. Visitors to Hollywood can dine, play, and stay in the same rooms that Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable once did.
The cabanas and rooms at the Hollywood Roosevelt maintain their eclectic, retro design. Visitors can stay in the Marilyn Suite, recline at the 1960’s style Tropicana pool, or pamper themselves at the hotel’s Massage Garden.
You don’t have to stay at the Hollywood Roosevelt to experience it. The hotel welcomes the public to their many restaurants, including the vintage-themed restaurant The Writer’s Room, the classy gaming parlor called The Spare Room (it has a bowling alley!), and Michelin-Star winning steakhouse The Barish.
LA BREA TAR PITS AND MUSEUM
Visitors to Hollywood can take a trip to the ancient past without leaving Tinseltown! A mere 10-minute drive from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers await at the La Brea Tar Pits. It’s one of the only actively excavated Ice Age sites in the world – and you can explore it!
The La Brea Tar Pits Museum resides next to the idyllic lawns of Hancock Park. The museum is home to the world’s most spectacular fossils from the Ice Age period. Inside, you’ll come face to face with giant ground sloths, mammoths, and dire wolves.
During your visit, you can travel back in time at the 3D theater and watch wooly mammoths roam the frozen Earth. Afterward, you can watch scientists sort fossils and clean mammoth tusks before asking them your burning questions about the tar pits. Before you leave, swing by one of the active excavations to see how scientists continue to find real fossils right in the heart of Hollywood!
What is the most visited place in Hollywood?
The most visited place in Hollywood is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It stretches for over a mile and includes star-shaped plaques honoring the most famous of the Hollywood elite.
How should you spend the day in Hollywood?
Spend a day in Hollywood visiting the Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, take your picture with the Hollywood sign, stop by a wax museum, and walk along Hollywood Boulevard.
Is Hollywood a walkable part of the city?
Central Hollywood is considered super walkable. You’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions here.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO CALIFORNIA
- YOUR CALIFORNIA VACATION
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- SANTA CLARITA: 20 Best Things To Do In Santa Clarita, California
- LONG BEACH: 14 Things To Do In Long Beach For Coastal Fun
WHERE TO STAY IN HOLLYWOOD
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