Hollywood, the home of stars and the American movie industry, is one of the central attractions in the city of Los Angeles. But even in Hollywood, attractions are concentrated even further into one very famous street: Hollywood Boulevard. There are hundreds of street performers, shows, and sights found along this long boulevard, but here are seven of the sights you must not miss when you visit.
This theatre, which architecturally resembles a Chinese building, hosts some of the most popular film premieres in Hollywood. Since its opening in 1927, millions of movie patrons and visitors have been drawn to this unique spot. People not only come to see the premieres and unique design, they also come to see the famous cement forecourt that contains the hand and footprints of film and music legends like Marilyn Monroe, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, and even contemporary artists like Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller, and Daniel Radcliffe, to name a few. What's best is that you can measure your hand and foot size with the prints left by these famous artists and guess who is tall or short based on their cement prints.
This famous sign, which is now the icon of the city of Los Angeles, was originally erected in 1923 to advertise the name of a new housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Chinatown. It originally read HOLLYWOODLAND. The sign was intended to last only a year and a half, but after the rise of the American cinema in Los Angeles, the sign became an internationally recognized symbol, and was left there. Over 90 years later, the sign has gone through some rough times of decay and abandonment, it lost the LAND portion in 1949, and in the late 70's it was restored to what we see today - HOLLYWOOD
While the sign is easily visible from many points along the Hollywood Boulevard, you can get an excellent view (and photo opportunity) from the bridges in the Hollywood & Highland Center, right by the Dolby Theatre.
This is the crown jewel of the Hollywood & Highland Center. While this is a new theater, built in 2001, it is the first permanent home of the Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars. Walk along the entry hallway to read the names of the movies that won Best Movie of the Year from the beginning of the awards until today. You can also take a tour of the facilities to see and get to know in detail how the ceremony is prepared and held, and everything related to big Blockbuster premiers.
Something you'll notice as you walk Hollywood Boulevard is that the sidewalks are inlaid with stars. These have the names of famous singers, actors, TV producers, radio personalities, and more each identified in their field with a small symbol in the center of the star. The Walk of Fame was inaugurated in 1960 when 2,500 blank stars were placed along the main thoroughfare. Since then, over 2,500 stars have been given to these famous personalities (with Jennifer Lopez being the 2,500th), so more stars were added to have extra space for future honorees.
And, did you know that a celebrity could have more than one star? For example, old cowboy star Gene Autry has one star for each available category!
While these parks are not right in Hollywood Boulevard, they are within walking distance. In each park you'll find dozens of hiking trails and excellent views of the city and the Hollywood sign. You can access Runyon Canyon Park by walking west on Hollywood Boulevard to Fuller Avenue, then walk up the hill to Runyon Canyon Park. Griffith Park, on the other hand, is accessed by walking east on Hollywood Boulevard and then going north on Canyon Drive. Most trails are easy to walk and some of them do take you all the way to the Hollywood sign (which is quite a long walk and steep some times). These parks are great to step away from the crowds and chaos that can be felt in the city.
If you want to tap a bit into the oddness seen in Hollywood, then head to any of these three museums. The Guinness Book of Records Museum features many of the record-breaking oddities seen on the book of the same name. On the other hand, the Ripley's Odditorium shows hundreds of interesting and unusual exhibits of items from around the world collected by Robert Ripley, in addition to other modern oddities inspired by more current events and findings.
But, if these museums are too odd for you, you can simply go to Madame Tussauds to see and interact with life-size wax replicas of famous artists that include Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga, and many more.
If you're into comedy, then you should try to get a spot in the audience of the late-night comedy talk show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. The show is known for its celebrity appearances, as well for its comedy routines, daily monologues, and fan interaction on the street. To get a free ticket to see the show, you must book them online on this website. (You must be 18+ of age to be in the audience)
Who knows, maybe when you go to Hollywood Boulevard youll come across a few famous stars!
Is a visit to Hollywood Boulevard on your bucket list?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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