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Hollywood is a big neighborhood, but it’s easy to get around on foot or by public transportation.
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17 things to do in Hollywood

There’s more to Hollywood than souvenir shops and celebrity handprints

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Hollywood is a big neighborhood, but it’s easy to get around on foot or by public transportation.
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Every day, thousands of people from all over the world visit Hollywood. And every day, many of those same people end up lost and disoriented in the maze-like Hollywood and Highland shopping center, stress-eating sundaes from Cold Stone and stuffing their bags with plastic Oscar statuettes.

No wonder Hollywood consistently ranks among the world’s most disappointing tourist attractions.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The neighborhood is rich with history and offers a wide array of things to do and see, if you know where to look. Plus, it’s easy to get around on foot or by public transportation (so you can avoid LA’s second-most famous attraction: traffic).

Whether you’re a local or an out-of-towner, here’s an insider’s guide to some of the many things Hollywood has to offer.

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Around Hollywood and Highland, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is as touristy as it gets. But just to the east, it’s really not much more than a sidewalk that gets very slippery when it rains. If you really want to see those famous red stars, it’s best to start around Hollywood and Vine (Metro’s B Line subway has a stop at that corner). The street isn’t too crowded there and you’ll get a nice view of the Capitol Records building. With a roomy sidewalk and lots of people-watching opportunities, it’s actually a nice place to walk—even for locals.

A charcoal-colored sidewalk with red-colored stars bearing the names of celebrities Shutterstock

The Hollywood Roosevelt

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If you’re looking for Old Hollywood glamour, it’s hard to beat the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which was nearly brand new in 1929 when it hosted the very first Academy Awards. You don’t have to be a guest to visit the hotel, which has multiple bars and restaurants. The Spare Room lounge has a vintage bowling alley, and the Tropicana Cafe sits alongside the hotel’s famous pool, painted by David Hockney in the 1980s.

A tall, white-colored building with a large sign on top that says “Roosevelt Hotel” Shutterstock

Amoeba Music

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One of the best record stores in Los Angeles, Amoeba occupies a cavernous space on Sunset Boulevard and sells tapes, CDs, books, DVDs, and knicknacks aplenty—all on top of good-old-fashioned vinyl. It’s a great place to browse, and if you go at the right time, you might even catch some live music.

A photo of a low-rise, white, stucco building with exterior murals and neon signs, including one that says “Amoeba Records” in red letters on the front. Liz Kuball

Cinerama Dome

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Hollywood is famous for movies and, even though most of the studios are long gone, a handful of great movie theaters remain. One of the most unique is the Buckminster Fuller-inspired Pacific Cinerama Dome, now part of the Arclight Hollywood cineplex. The huge dome, with its curved screen, is among the best places to see new releases and revivals of old classics, which occasionally play there.

A large white dome with a sign in front that says “Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre” Shutterstock

El Capitan Theatre

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Thanks to its famous forecourt, filled with the handprints of Hollywood luminaries, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is the most recognizable movie venue in Los Angeles. But right across the street, you’ll find the glitzy El Capitan, where Citizen Kane premiered in 1944. It’s a dazzling theater, and it’s one of Hollywood’s best kid-friendly attractions. Now owned by Disney, the theater plays both new movies and classic Disney hits like Mary Poppins and Lady and the Tramp.

A gilded marquee advertising theater tours. Large letters on top read “El Capitan” Shutterstock

Musso & Frank Grill

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Nearly as old as Hollywood itself, this bar and restaurant is a Los Angeles institution. It’s also a bit of a time capsule. For decades, food’s been prepared on the same charcoal grill and served by waiters in distinctive red dinner jackets. Things are so consistent, in fact, that Musso and Frank’s played the 1960s version of itself in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with hardly any set dressing required.

The Washington Post via Getty Im

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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Here’s where you’ll find the final resting places of many stars of the silver screen, from Rudolph Valentino to Judy Garland. During the day and you can stroll around the grounds and admire the mausoleums and headstones. At night, the cemetery becomes an unlikely event space. Concerts and outdoor films are regularly scheduled here.

A bridge leading across a pond to a large mausoleum Shutterstock

Hollywood Farmers Market

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One of the oldest—and largest—farmers markets in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Farmers Market is open rain or shine every Sunday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. It’s a great place to find a wide array of delicious prepared foods—from pupusas to stuffed croissants. And, of course, there’s plenty of fresh produce to pick through as well.

A street with vendors along each side selling fresh produce Shutterstock

Hollywood Theatre Row

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Hollywood may be synonymous with the film industry, but it’s also a good place to see some live theater. Roughly a dozen small theaters can be found on and around this stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, where you can view anything from comedy shows to world premieres of newly written plays. Things really heat up in June, when the Hollywood Fringe Festival brings hundreds of original productions to the neighborhood.

Franklin Village

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This little strip of businesses is technically a little north of Hollywood, but it’s a nice compact alternative to the messy sprawl of Hollywood Boulevard. Kill some time browsing at Counterpoint Books; pick up a hard-to-find magazine at the Daily Planet Newsstand; peek through the privacy hedges at the chateau-esque Scientology Celebrity Center across the street. Just take it easy.

A row of shops and restaurants, with a bookstore in the foreground. Shelves of books are positioned out front. Kent Kanouse/Flickr Creative Commons

Hollywood Bowl

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The Hollywood Bowl isn’t exactly under the radar, but it’s also one of California’s best outdoor venues and a great place to admire the hilly terrain of the Cahuenga Pass. If a live show isn’t in the cards, it’s still worth checking out the underrated Highland Camrose Park next door. The enclosed green space is a manageable half-mile hike from Hollywood Boulevard, and it’s a great picnic spot.

An amphitheater with dozens of rows of seating leading to a large stage covered by a white bandshell Shutterstock

Gower Gulch Plaza

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For better or for worse, strip malls are a defining part of the landscape of Los Angeles, and this one, developed in the 1970s is worth checking out for its strange history and kitschy Old West theming. It was once a popular hangout for movie extras looking for work, and in 1940 the intersection of Sunset and Gower was the site of a deadly standoff between two on-screen cowboys. The plaza sits across the street from Sunset Gower Studios, where a long list of TV sitcoms were shot in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. It’s also close to some good lunch spots, including Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles—another LA institution.

By Christopher Fowler

Mama Shelter Los Angeles

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For some of the best views of Hollywood, head to the rooftop bar at this trendy hotel. From there, you can see the neighborhood’s eclectic skyline framed by the mountains and punctuated by the familiar letters of the Hollywood Sign. If you go during happy hour, it might not even cost you an arm and a leg.

Frolic Room

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Tucked into a narrow little space alongside the Pantages Theatre, the Frolic Room has been around since the 1930s. In that time, it’s hosted celebrities, theatergoers, and plenty of people just looking for an inexpensive drink. Its vibrant neon sign can be seen in L.A. Confidential, and writer Charles Bukowski was purportedly a regular.

Hollywood Night Market

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It’s hard to beat the views from Yamashiro, which sits on a dramatic hillside perch above central Hollywood. The storied restaurant hosts a night market in the summer months and during the holiday season. There you’ll find crafts, food, cocktails, and live music. In off months, you can always eat at the restaurant (though be prepared to spend for those views).

An illuminated pagoda with the bright lights of a cityscape in the background Shutterstock

Hollywood Heritage Museum

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Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl is this free museum, open on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Housed in a historic barn where Cecil B. DeMille produced the first film shot in Hollywood, the museum houses a wide array of artifacts from the early days of the film industry.

Hollywood Sign

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The famous landmark is not actually in Hollywood, but it looms over the neighborhood like a watchful protector. To get up close to it, you’ll have to hike. Here are some of the best ways to see the Hollywood Sign.

A valley and mountain. On the mountain is a sign that reads Hollywood. Liz Kuball

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

A charcoal-colored sidewalk with red-colored stars bearing the names of celebrities Shutterstock

Around Hollywood and Highland, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is as touristy as it gets. But just to the east, it’s really not much more than a sidewalk that gets very slippery when it rains. If you really want to see those famous red stars, it’s best to start around Hollywood and Vine (Metro’s B Line subway has a stop at that corner). The street isn’t too crowded there and you’ll get a nice view of the Capitol Records building. With a roomy sidewalk and lots of people-watching opportunities, it’s actually a nice place to walk—even for locals.

A charcoal-colored sidewalk with red-colored stars bearing the names of celebrities Shutterstock

The Hollywood Roosevelt

A tall, white-colored building with a large sign on top that says “Roosevelt Hotel” Shutterstock

If you’re looking for Old Hollywood glamour, it’s hard to beat the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which was nearly brand new in 1929 when it hosted the very first Academy Awards. You don’t have to be a guest to visit the hotel, which has multiple bars and restaurants. The Spare Room lounge has a vintage bowling alley, and the Tropicana Cafe sits alongside the hotel’s famous pool, painted by David Hockney in the 1980s.

A tall, white-colored building with a large sign on top that says “Roosevelt Hotel” Shutterstock

Amoeba Music

A photo of a low-rise, white, stucco building with exterior murals and neon signs, including one that says “Amoeba Records” in red letters on the front. Liz Kuball

One of the best record stores in Los Angeles, Amoeba occupies a cavernous space on Sunset Boulevard and sells tapes, CDs, books, DVDs, and knicknacks aplenty—all on top of good-old-fashioned vinyl. It’s a great place to browse, and if you go at the right time, you might even catch some live music.

A photo of a low-rise, white, stucco building with exterior murals and neon signs, including one that says “Amoeba Records” in red letters on the front. Liz Kuball

Cinerama Dome

A large white dome with a sign in front that says “Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre” Shutterstock

Hollywood is famous for movies and, even though most of the studios are long gone, a handful of great movie theaters remain. One of the most unique is the Buckminster Fuller-inspired Pacific Cinerama Dome, now part of the Arclight Hollywood cineplex. The huge dome, with its curved screen, is among the best places to see new releases and revivals of old classics, which occasionally play there.

A large white dome with a sign in front that says “Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre” Shutterstock

El Capitan Theatre

A gilded marquee advertising theater tours. Large letters on top read “El Capitan” Shutterstock

Thanks to its famous forecourt, filled with the handprints of Hollywood luminaries, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is the most recognizable movie venue in Los Angeles. But right across the street, you’ll find the glitzy El Capitan, where Citizen Kane premiered in 1944. It’s a dazzling theater, and it’s one of Hollywood’s best kid-friendly attractions. Now owned by Disney, the theater plays both new movies and classic Disney hits like Mary Poppins and Lady and the Tramp.

A gilded marquee advertising theater tours. Large letters on top read “El Capitan” Shutterstock

Musso & Frank Grill

The Washington Post via Getty Im

Nearly as old as Hollywood itself, this bar and restaurant is a Los Angeles institution. It’s also a bit of a time capsule. For decades, food’s been prepared on the same charcoal grill and served by waiters in distinctive red dinner jackets. Things are so consistent, in fact, that Musso and Frank’s played the 1960s version of itself in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with hardly any set dressing required.

The Washington Post via Getty Im

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

A bridge leading across a pond to a large mausoleum Shutterstock

Here’s where you’ll find the final resting places of many stars of the silver screen, from Rudolph Valentino to Judy Garland. During the day and you can stroll around the grounds and admire the mausoleums and headstones. At night, the cemetery becomes an unlikely event space. Concerts and outdoor films are regularly scheduled here.

A bridge leading across a pond to a large mausoleum Shutterstock

Hollywood Farmers Market

A street with vendors along each side selling fresh produce Shutterstock

One of the oldest—and largest—farmers markets in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Farmers Market is open rain or shine every Sunday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. It’s a great place to find a wide array of delicious prepared foods—from pupusas to stuffed croissants. And, of course, there’s plenty of fresh produce to pick through as well.

A street with vendors along each side selling fresh produce Shutterstock

Hollywood Theatre Row

Hollywood may be synonymous with the film industry, but it’s also a good place to see some live theater. Roughly a dozen small theaters can be found on and around this stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, where you can view anything from comedy shows to world premieres of newly written plays. Things really heat up in June, when the Hollywood Fringe Festival brings hundreds of original productions to the neighborhood.

Franklin Village

A row of shops and restaurants, with a bookstore in the foreground. Shelves of books are positioned out front. Kent Kanouse/Flickr Creative Commons

This little strip of businesses is technically a little north of Hollywood, but it’s a nice compact alternative to the messy sprawl of Hollywood Boulevard. Kill some time browsing at Counterpoint Books; pick up a hard-to-find magazine at the Daily Planet Newsstand; peek through the privacy hedges at the chateau-esque Scientology Celebrity Center across the street. Just take it easy.

A row of shops and restaurants, with a bookstore in the foreground. Shelves of books are positioned out front. Kent Kanouse/Flickr Creative Commons

Hollywood Bowl

An amphitheater with dozens of rows of seating leading to a large stage covered by a white bandshell Shutterstock

The Hollywood Bowl isn’t exactly under the radar, but it’s also one of California’s best outdoor venues and a great place to admire the hilly terrain of the Cahuenga Pass. If a live show isn’t in the cards, it’s still worth checking out the underrated Highland Camrose Park next door. The enclosed green space is a manageable half-mile hike from Hollywood Boulevard, and it’s a great picnic spot.

An amphitheater with dozens of rows of seating leading to a large stage covered by a white bandshell Shutterstock

Gower Gulch Plaza

By Christopher Fowler

For better or for worse, strip malls are a defining part of the landscape of Los Angeles, and this one, developed in the 1970s is worth checking out for its strange history and kitschy Old West theming. It was once a popular hangout for movie extras looking for work, and in 1940 the intersection of Sunset and Gower was the site of a deadly standoff between two on-screen cowboys. The plaza sits across the street from Sunset Gower Studios, where a long list of TV sitcoms were shot in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. It’s also close to some good lunch spots, including Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles—another LA institution.

By Christopher Fowler

Mama Shelter Los Angeles

For some of the best views of Hollywood, head to the rooftop bar at this trendy hotel. From there, you can see the neighborhood’s eclectic skyline framed by the mountains and punctuated by the familiar letters of the Hollywood Sign. If you go during happy hour, it might not even cost you an arm and a leg.

Frolic Room

Tucked into a narrow little space alongside the Pantages Theatre, the Frolic Room has been around since the 1930s. In that time, it’s hosted celebrities, theatergoers, and plenty of people just looking for an inexpensive drink. Its vibrant neon sign can be seen in L.A. Confidential, and writer Charles Bukowski was purportedly a regular.

Hollywood Night Market

An illuminated pagoda with the bright lights of a cityscape in the background Shutterstock

It’s hard to beat the views from Yamashiro, which sits on a dramatic hillside perch above central Hollywood. The storied restaurant hosts a night market in the summer months and during the holiday season. There you’ll find crafts, food, cocktails, and live music. In off months, you can always eat at the restaurant (though be prepared to spend for those views).

An illuminated pagoda with the bright lights of a cityscape in the background Shutterstock

Hollywood Heritage Museum

Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl is this free museum, open on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Housed in a historic barn where Cecil B. DeMille produced the first film shot in Hollywood, the museum houses a wide array of artifacts from the early days of the film industry.

Hollywood Sign

A valley and mountain. On the mountain is a sign that reads Hollywood. Liz Kuball

The famous landmark is not actually in Hollywood, but it looms over the neighborhood like a watchful protector. To get up close to it, you’ll have to hike. Here are some of the best ways to see the Hollywood Sign.

A valley and mountain. On the mountain is a sign that reads Hollywood. Liz Kuball