Seeing Stars: Famous Hollywood Streets.
  


The stars may work at the movie studios in Hollywood and the Valley, but most of them live in the posh residential neighborhoods of L.A.'s west side: Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, and the Malibu Colony.

Sunset Boulevard, one of the world's most famous streets, was born as a route between those two divergent worlds. The Boulevard still links the gritty, urban streets of downtown Hollywood to the lush, green, residential avenues of Beverly Hills.

A drive west along Sunset allows you to experience a little of both worlds.

The name Sunset Boulevard has become a part of Hollywood legend, the inspiration for countless songs, movies & TV shows.

  • "Sunset Boulevard" was, of course, the name of the famous 1950 motion picture starring William Holden & Gloria Swanson. That movie, in turn, inspired the 1993 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name (which starred actress Glenn Close in the lead role of Norma Desmond.)

  • In the 1960's, the street was immortalized on television, in the popular series "77 Sunset Strip."

  • In the 1990's, another (short-lived) TV show was named "Below Sunset," and starred Glenn Frey, the lead singer of the rock group "The Eagles."

  • The Eagles' biggest-selling album, "Hotel California," featured a photo of a Sunset Boulevard hotel on its cover, the "Pink Palace" itself - the Beverly Hills Hotel.

  • In 1985, former-Eagle Don Henley recorded a song about life down at "The Sunset Grill."

  • In the 1970's, disco singers sang about life "On Sunset," where there were "limousines to hide the stars, tinted glass to hide the scars... "

  • And the final scene in Woody Allen's classic 1977 comedy, "Annie Hall," was filmed at a sidewalk café right on the Sunset Strip...

But what about the real Sunset Boulevard?

Sunset Blvd is a long, winding thoroughfare which begins in downtown Los Angeles, near Olvera Street (the birthplace of the city), and runs westward over 20 miles to the blue Pacific.

Along the way, Sunset Boulevard passes through Hollywood (just two blocks south of Hollywood Boulevard), then becomes the Sunset Strip as it passes through West Hollywood, weaves its way through Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, and finally winds its way through the rustic foothills of the Santa Monica mountains, to finally end at the Pacific Ocean near Malibu. Over the course of those 20 miles, the boulevard's personality undergoes several radical transformations...

(click here to see an interactive map of Sunset Boulevard.)

Let's take a trip west along Sunset...

There are dozens of Hollywood attractions located along the 20 miles of Sunset Boulevard. Here is an overview of some of those points of interest, beginning on Sunset's east side, near the Hollywood Freeway, and heading west to the Strip:

(Even-numbered addresses are on the south side of Sunset Boulevard.
Odd-numbered addresses are on the north side of Sunset.)


  Far to the east of Hollywood, in the hilly Echo Park district (northwest of downtown L.A.), just south of Sunset Boulevard, you'll find an exceedingly long outdoor staircase. This is where Laurel & Hardy struggled futilely to haul a heavy piano up all those steps, in their classic 1932 comedy "The Music Box." It was shot at 927 Vendome Street; just to the east of Silverlake Blvd. If you look carefully, you'll spot a memorial plaque in the sidewalk bearing images of the boys.

  Farther west, but still east of the Hollywood Freeway, is KCET Studios (4401 Sunset Blvd.) in Hollywood, which offers a free guided tour of its historic lot. (323) 953-5289


Just west of the Hollywood Freeway, we encounter a cluster of TV studios - many of them former movie studios:

   

  At 5746 Sunset Boulevard (at the SE corner of Van Ness) in Hollywood was the Fox Network / KTTV Studios, where they taped "Maude," "One Day at a Time" and "The Jeffersons." However, Fox moved to the West Side, and a new school was built on the site.

  Right next door is KTLA Studios (5800 W. Sunset Boulevard) at the SW corner of Van Ness; it's the oldest TV station in Los Angeles, and was formerly the old Warner Bros Studio, where Hollywood's first talkie, "The Jazz Singer", was filmed in 1927. (323) 460-5500

  Just east of Gower Street is the gated entrance to Sunset Gower Studios (1438 Gower Street), formerly the original studio for Columbia Pictures, and now an independent studio where a number of popular TV shows are filmed, including "Dexter". (323) 467-1001

  At the southwest corner of Gower & Sunset (between Gower & El Centro, across Gower from the Sunset-Gower Studios) is a small Western-themed shopping center named "Gower Gulch," complete with an "Assay Office," and simple stores. This center took its name from the unique history of this Hollywood intersection, where once a large number of movie studios were once clustered. So many movie extras used to hang out in the area in search of work, dressed in cowboy costumes, that the area was nicknamed "Gower Gulch."


 If you turn left (south) on Gower Street and head south for about half a mile, you'll come to the historic Paramount Studios (860 N. Gower Street.) They offer a guided tour of the studio. (323) 956-5575 


 Bordering Paramount Studios on the north is the Hollywood Memorial Park cemetery (6000 Santa Monica Blvd), where you can see the graves of many Hollywood stars, including Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power and Nelson Eddy. (323) 469-1181 

  A little to the west, at El Centro Avenue), is Columbia Square (6121 Sunset), a smallish CBS studio which contains the network's local affiliates: KCBS TV (Channel 2), & KNX News Radio. (Don't confuse this with the much larger CBS TV City, at Beverly & Fairfax.) The future of this landmark is up in the air right now. It currently houses a film school. (323) 460-3000

  At 6215 Sunset (just two blocks east of Vine) is the Hollywood Palladium, which used to feature a giant figure of bandleader Lawrence Welk waving his baton (his TV show was broadcast from here). It opened in 1940 as a Big Band dance club, with a Frank Sinatra concert. It's huge dance fkloor could hold 4,000 people. Over the years, the giant auditorium hosted countless Hollywood awards ceremonies, including the Grammys, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes. Many rock acts have played here including The Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Who, David Bowie and the Clash. In 1973, Chuck Berry kicked a guitarist off the stage here for playing too loudly; he didn't know it was Keith Richards of "The Rolling Stones"... In 2008, they finished a multi-million dollar renovationof the old building, bringing it up to date as a modern venue. (323) 962-7600

  At the corner of southwest Sunset & Vine is Pacific's unique Cinerama Dome theatre, as well as the new ArcLight thratres (6360 Sunset Blvd). (323) 466-3401.

  Across the street, at Las Palmas, is the unique Crossroads of the World center. (6671 Sunset ) (323) 463-5611.


  Right next door to Crossroads is the Blessed Sacrament Church (6657 Sunset), where Bing Crosby was married.

  Keep heading west, and as you pass Highland you'll see the famous Hollywood High School on your right side (1521 N. Highland Avenue.) Hollywood High boasts an incredible number of celebrity alumni, from Judy Garland and Lana Turner to Carol Burnett. (323) 461-3891 

  At 7373 sunset (in the same rough part of Hollywood) stood a Denny's restaurant which, for one reason or another, seemed to attract a celebrity/rock & roll crowd in the early AM hours, after wild Saturday nights. The "Go Go's" supposedly chose their name while dining here, while Peter Frampton, Blondie, and Van Halen have all dropped by now and then. Maybe it's the fact that Denny's never closes... Unfortunately, this one did.  The space now houses an Aroma bakery Cafe. (323) 876-6660 


 Just south of Sunset on La Brea is the former Charlie Chaplin Studios (1416 N. La Brea Ave.), where the little tramp made all of his classic silent screen comedies. It's now A&M Records. (323) 469-2411 

  Between La Brea & Fairfax, you'll come to GUITAR CENTER and its "Rock Walk" (7425 Sunset), featuring the handprints of world-famous guitarists such as Chuck Berry and Van Halen immortalized in cement. (323) 874-1060

  At 7439 Sunset (right next to Guitar Center) is The Sunset Grill, the formerly dingy little diner in a bad neighborhood which Don Henley sang about in his grim 1985 song of the same name. Fortunately, the area has improved a lot (you're far less likely to spot the "working girls" and "basket people" Henley sang about), and the Grill itself has been gentrified. But the menu still boasts low prices.



As you pass Crescent Heights, you enter the city of West Hollywood and that section of Sunset commonly known as

"The Sunset Strip."

To keep this page from getting too large, we've created a separate page to list all of the places of interest on the Strip.

Click here to see a separate webpage about the Sunset Strip.]

  Emerging from the Sunset Strip, you enter the green world of Beverly Hills. At 9641 Sunset Boulevard, in Beverly Hills, is the "Pink Palace," the Beverly Hills Hotel, with its fabled Polo Lounge. (310) 276-2251

 Right across the street from the Pink Palace (at 9650 Sunset) is the Will Rogers Memorial Park which has made the headlines due to the antics of George Michael. (Not to be confused with the much larger Will Rogers Ranch.) (310) 285-2536


  Farther west, and just a few blocks north of Sunset (near UCLA), is the wonderful Hotel Bel-Air (at 701 Stone Canyon Road) in Bel-Air, home away from home for Presidents, stars and royalty. (310) 472-1211

  At 14523 Sunset Boulevard (on the right side of the street) is the entrance to Will Rogers State Historic Park, in Pacific Palisades, former ranch home of the cowboy humorist. (310) 454-8212



  Near the western end of Sunset, at 17190 Sunset Boulevard, in Pacific Palisades, is the Lake Shrine, the beautiful, unique garden which contains the ashes of Gandhi himself. One of L.A.'s hidden gems. (310) 454-4114




Continue west on Sunset for a few more blocks, and you'll finally reach the long Boulevard's end - at the Pacific Ocean. Turn right on Pacific Coast Highway, and you'll be on the road to Malibu!

Continue your tour of Sunset Blvd. with an close-up look at
The Sunset Strip

(Click here to see an interactive map of Sunset Boulevard.)

(Click here to see an interactive map of the Sunset Strip.)

(Click here to see an interactive map of the Hollywood Boulevard.)


[A Word of Warning: like streets in all big cities, parts of Sunset Blvd - particularly in Hollywood & Los Angeles -
can be dangerous at times. Exercise reasonable caution.]



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