Seeing Stars: Famous Hollywood Streets.

You can read about the decline and ongoing rebirth of Hollywood Boulevard by clicking here, or you can read about the Boulevard's role in the overall Hollywood experience by clicking here. But if you just want to cut to the chase, and find out what there is to do on the Boulevard, then you've come to the right page.

Before the recent Hollywood renaissance, most tourists who came to Hollywood spent only a few minutes on Hollywood Boulevard. They went to the Grauman's Chinese Theatre forecourt, looked at the stars' footprints, quickly saw that the Boulevard was not what they imagined it would be, shook their heads and headed back to their cars, certain that there was nothing much more to do in the area.

But they were wrong. Even then, there was actually quite a lot to do on the Boulevard, and a number of historic Hollywood sites to see there, if you know what is available and where to go.

As unlikely as it may seem at first glance, it is possible to spend most of the day on Hollywood Boulevard and have a good time.


Here is one possible itinerary (click on the blue links to learn more about each attraction):

 (Even-numbered addresses are on the south side Hollywood Boulevard;
odd-numbered addresses are on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard.)

[Click here to see an interactive/clickable map of Hollywood Boulevard.]

 Go first to Grauman's Chinese Theatre (at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard), and look at their fabulous forecourt of stars' footprints in cement. (If you have the time to see a movie, go inside - the theatre still looks good.) (323) 464-8111  

 Next, walk a few steps to the west, and visit the new Madame Tussaud's wax museum (at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard). It's as close as you're likely to come to rubbing elbows with the stars, an up-close and personal interaction with over a hundred incredible likenesses of Hollywood's biggest celebs, and a great photo-op. Bring your camera!  

 You most likely noticed that there is a huge shopping/entertainment center right next to Grauman's.  This is the Hollywood & Highland Center, which is home to (among other things) the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theatre), the permanent home of the annual Academy Awards show. You can tour the theatre (for a fee).  But even if you opt not to, the center is a cool place to have lunch, do a little shopping, or just take in the sight of those giant elephants! Don't miss it.
(It's also a handy place to park - just remember to get your ticket validated.)

 Back out on the Boulevard, look down at the stars beneath your feet - these stars make up the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (located along both sides of long Hollywood Boulevard & Vine Street.) If you don't mind a little extra walking, go first to the west end of the Walk of Fame (at La Brea) and check out "The La Brea Gateway," the new gleaming silver gazebo featuring life-size statues of four silver screen goddesses. If you're not in the mood for a walk, just check out the stars at your feet. (There are a lot of newer stars clustered around the Hollywood & Highland center.)

      If you check the Calendar first, you might be able to time your visit to coincide with a celebrity getting a new "star" on the Walk of Fame - a great chance to see a movie or TV star live & in person, right on Hollywood Blvd.

 Next, cross the street (kitty-corner from Madame Tussauds) and enter the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (at 7000 Hollywood Blvd.), the very first home of the Oscars. Go upstairs and look at their collection of Hollywood memorabilia. (323) 466-7000

    (Click this link here to read more about the hotel's wonderful Hollywood history.)

 Walk east to Disney's spectacular El Capitan Theatre (at 6838 Hollywood Blvd.) - buy a ticket, sit in the balcony and see a movie as movies were meant to be seen - and marvel at the theatre's glorious restoration. (There's also a charming new Disney ice cream parlor right next to the theatre's box office, as another way of getting your Disney fix. ) (323) 467-7674

  (You might also be able to score tickets to the Jimmy Kimmel Show, if that is your thing. It's taped right next door.)

 Just east of Highland is the historic Egyptian Theatre (at 6712 Hollywood Blvd.) the first movie palace built in Hollywood (by Sid Grauman), and scene of the world's first grand movie premiere. After years of neglect, it has recently been restored to its former grandeur, and has begun offering a film on the history of Hollywood, titled "Forever Hollywood". Catch a showing of this documentary for a fine introduction to Hollywood in a facinating setting. Or just enjoy looking at the theatre's exotic courtyard, with its hieroglyphics and Egyptian statues. (323) 466-FILM.

 Literally next door to the Egyptian Theatre is the venerable Pig 'N Whistle restaurant (at 6714 Hollywood Blvd.) A favorite of Shirley Temple and other Hollywood stars in the 30's and 40's, the cafe was only recently restored (in 2001) at a cost of $1.5 million. It's a gem. Stop by for a sandwich or salad, and admire the restaurant's wonderful interior. Perhaps sit at one of the tables out near the sidewalk and watch the parade on Hollywood Blvd pass by. (323) 466-FILM.

 Or have lunch at historic Musso & Frank Grill (at 6667 Hollywood Blvd) the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. Sit in the dark wood booths where F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charlie Chaplin once dined, and soak up the Raymond Chandler ambiance. (323) 467-7788

 If it's after dark, go up the hill for a drink at the Yamashiro Restaurant (at 1999 N. Sycamore Ave.) and enjoy its incredible view of the city. (But don't drink & drive.) (323) 466-5125

 The old Max Factor Art Deco building (at 1666 N. Highland, just around the corner from the Boulevard) now houses the Hollywood Museum, with an incredibly eclectic collection of Hollywood memorabelia. A true treat if you're an old-time movie buff. (And right next door is a new Mel's Diner, which offers another spot to grab a bite to eat.) (323) 463-6668  

If you have more time to spend, you might want to take in one of the three unusual museums clustered along the Boulevard east of Highland. They're not much, and tend to be over-priced, but they'll do in a pinch:

The historic Janes House  (at 6541 Hollywood Blvd.), the last Victorian home on the Boulevard.  It has housed a number of restaurants in recent years, but the turnover rate has been high.

  If you want to visit the once-famous corner of Hollywood & Vine, get back in your car (it's a fairly long walk east from Hollywood & Highland), or hop the new subway under Hollywood & Highland - and when you get there, take a look at the famous Capitol Records Building
(just north of the 6300 block of Hollywood Boulevard, at 1750 Vine Street). (323) 462-6252 

 Right around the corner from the Capitol Records building (and across the street from the W) is the classic Pantages Theatre (at 6233 Hollywood Blvd.), where it isn't unusual to see a star up on the stage. In the evening , you might want to see a live Broadway show there and take in the theatre's ornate splendor. It has recently hosted major Broadway musicals such as "Wicked" and "The Lion King". (323) 468-1770  

In 2010, the new "W" Hollywood Hotel opened at the southeast corner of Hollywood & Vine, a $300 million complex of luxury hotel rooms, condos, upscale shopping and restaurants, the W sits next to the new subway station and across the street from the Pantages. (The new hotel should give a big boost to the aging intersection, and help the east end of the Hollywood Blvd corridor prosper.)

If it's after dark, and you've finished with Hollywood Blvd, you might want to just cruise west in your car down the hectic, neon Sunset Strip. Just drive south down Vine a few blocks to Sunset Blvd, turn west (past the Cinerama Dome), and head west about two or three miles... You'll know it when you see it.

In other words, it is quite possible to spend a pleasant day on Hollywood Boulevard - if you know where to go. And things are getting better every day.

Phone: For more information by phone, you can call The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce at: (323) 469-8311. That number will put you in touch with the Hollywood InfoCenter, a recorded service that provides touch-button phone information about Hollywood attractions and upcoming Hollywood events.

[Click here to see an interactive/clickable map of Hollywood Boulevard.]

[ A word of caution: Bear in mind that Hollywood Boulevard can still be a gritty place at times,
especially once you move away from the busy Hollywood & Highland area. And like all big cities,
it has its own dangers - especially after dark. Exercise reasonable caution.]

 Getting there: To reach Hollywood Boulevard from downtown Los Angeles, take the Hollywood (101) Freeway north to the Hollywood Boulevard exit, then head west (about a mile and a half) to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which will be on your right (north) side.

From West Los Angeles, take the San Diego (405) Freeway to the Sunset Boulevard exit, and go east on Sunset for about seven miles to La Brea Avenue. Turn left (north) on La Brea, and go three blocks north to Hollywood Boulevard. Turn right (east) and go three blocks east on Hollywood Boulevard to reach Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Alternatively, from West L.A., you can take the San Diego (405) Freeway to the Wilshire Boulevard exit, and take Wilshire east (about seven miles) to Highland Avenue. Turn left (north) on Highland Avenue, and go north (about three miles) to Hollywood Boulevard. Turn left (west) on Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

From the south, exit the Santa Monica (10) Freeway at La Brea Avenue, and go north (about four and a half miles) to Hollywood Boulevard. Turn right (east) to Grauman's Chinese.

[For more information, you can access the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce website at]

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