Greetings from La La Land! That’s right…this week, I was in the one and only, Los Angeles for a little fun in Southern California. Although I’ve been to LA a few times, I’m never there long enough to actually see the famous sites in the city. But on my latest trip to Cali, I purposely set out to see one of my bucket list travel places – Hollywood!
It’s hard to watch a movie or even a television show without thinking of Hollywood and for years, I’ve wondered what it would be like to see it in person. From what I’ve heard from family who live nearby, Hollywood is not as glamorous in person as it is portrayed in movies and on television…that is, unless it’s the week of the Oscars or some other big, celebrity-filled event. And without having been there myself, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this iconic area, but I tried to temper my expectations just in case.
When we finally entered into Hollywood, I was surprised that it was not only easy to get to and find parking (we parked in Ovation Mall’s parking garage) but also that there were so many famous places all within a very tight radius. Somehow, Hollywood has managed to pack in a thousand different entertainment-related memories – from buildings, to restaurants, to movie locations, to viewpoints – all within a few blocks, which makes it super easy to maximize your time but also super congested in that area.
While Hollywood is located inside LA and is not a separate city, it feels like you are in a whole different world when you are there. From tourists, to street performers, to sidewalk merchants, to hustlers – Hollywood is as strange and gritty on a regular day as it is full of glitz and glamour during the week of the Academy Awards. And with all of this activity swirling around, it’s hard not to look and sometimes stare at the things around you.
But with only about an hour to spend in the neighborhood, I had to focus. I was on a mission to see as much as I could in the little time I had. Luckily, I had a great tour guide (thanks little bro!) who has been there several times, and was able to quickly show me FIVE well-known Hollywood places.
Take a look at how I spent 60 minutes in Hollywood
Hollywood Sign (15 min with photos) – Within the Ovation Mall where we parked, there we several floors that offered a direct view of the famous Hollywood sign. The landmark, which is set back in Hollywood Hills, was established in 1923 as a billboard ad for a new housing development – Hollywoodland. In 1949, the “land” was removed from the end of the name, and what remains is now is the most photographed sign in the world.
TCL Chinese Theatre and Famous Handprints (10 min with photos) – Located next to the Ovation Mall, the TCL is known to be the most iconic movie palace in the world and when you see it in person, you’ll know why. The building is quite grand and ornate, inside and out, but it’s really the outside that is most well-known. Since 1927, the theatre has been known for prominent movie premieres and special events, including hand printing ceremonies for some of the entertainment industry’s biggest stars.
Jimmy Kimmel Live (5 min) – Just across the street from the Ovation Mall and the TCL Chinese Theatre is the historic Masonic Temple that now houses Jimmy Kimmel’s studio for his live television show. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, it’s hard to not be impressed by the building itself, with its ornate colonnade of six columns in the center…not to mention, the large vertical banners advertising Kimmel’s show.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars (15 min trying to spot a few favorites) – As we stepped outside of the Ovation Mall onto Hollywood Blvd, we literally ran into another Hollywood landmark…but this time, it wasn’t a building or a sign, but rather it was a landmark on the ground. The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,700 five-pointed stars paving the sidewalk along 15 blocks in the Hollywood area. The stars recognize honorees across the entertainment industry, from singers, actors, writers, producers and more. With so many people walking all around the boulevard, it’s hard to stop and look at the stars for more than a few seconds (enough time to snap a photo) but it’s still fun to try and find a few of your favorites. Want to know if your favorite celebrity has a star? Check out the Walk of Fame’s star search tool.
Pretty Women (15 min to walk there, take photos and walk back) – And finally, a stroll through Hollywood would not be complete without seeing the location of a famous movie or television show. Just a couple blocks away from Ovation Mall was the setting of one of the most beloved Julia Roberts’ films ever made – Pretty Woman. Located just a block off of Hollywood Blvd, the Las Palmas Hotel is the location for the final scene of the movie, when Richard Gere’s character climbs the fire escape – you can actually see the fire escape used in the movie!
And there you have it – 5 Hollywood landmarks in just 1 hour. Hooray for Hollywood!
Now, on to my next adventure!