Recently I posted tips on how to spend 12 days in California. During those 12 days I spent my first three in Hollywood and Los Angeles. We did pretty much every touristy thing you could do in Hollywood / L.A. in a pretty short timeline. From my experience 3 days was enough in Hollywood but as I reflect back I don’t know if we explored Los Angeles to its full potential.
Hike the Griffith Observatory:
This was definitely my favourite part of the trip to Hollywood. I’m going to be honest – I didn’t know anything about the Griffith Observatory before actually ascending the very large hill to get there. But I have since learned that the Observatory is a large free tourist attraction that educates the general public on a vast array of space and science-related displays. To top it off, there is an amazing view of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and the Hollywood sign. Don’t forget to bring your walking shoes – it’s quite the hike!
Take a picture of the Hollywood sign:
No trip to Hollywood is complete without taking a picture of the infamous sign. I’ll admit the first time I saw it from afar I was a bit lost for words. It’s one of those things you see time and time again in movies, TV shows, magazines and then all of a sudden it’s there in person and you’re staring at it (albeit from very far away). I highly recommend you take a celebrity tour up into the Hollywood hills for an even better view.
Enjoy a Hollywood Stars Tour:
To this day I’m not even sure I believe that all the places our driver took us to were real. The only one that I actually saw that made sense was the house that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was based on (it was so cool seeing that). Apparently we were also brought to Bruno Mars’ house, Channing Tatum’s (I only saw his gate), and a few other key tourist spots. I would recommend though you find a bus with a roof and air conditioning. In the middle of the day, a hot day, the tour can get a little unbearable.
Walk the Hollywood walk of fame:
No trip is complete without a walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With over 2500 stars stretching over 15 blocks you are bound to find numerous amounts of celebrity names you know and love. A special highlight for me on my trip was seeing Robin Williams’ star. I had always been a huge fan and had dreams to meet him one day. While sadly that will never become a reality now, I can say that I’ve at least seen his star – if that counts for anything. Make sure to research the stars you really want to see before going so you’re not spending hours wandering around the 15 blocks with your head down the whole time.
Party at a club:
Now I’m not encouraging you to go out on an all-night rager but I do encourage you to at least have a drink or two at one. On our second night in California we decided to partake in a pub crawl that our hostel (USA Hotels Hollywood) was having. This was where I met and started to get to know Ben. One of the clubs we went to that night was called Lure. It was a very large club, with several bars and dance floors and no roof! In typical Hollywood style, everything was bigger and better – even the clubs!
Take a drive through Beverly Hills:
As mentioned above, if you do take a Hollywood Stars tour they will more than likely take you around these areas themselves. If you don’t, or have a need / desire / stalkerish calling to go back and visit you might as well! As a warning though you may not actually see much. Beverly Hills (as I was told) is the only area in California that allows fences to be as high as they are. They have literally created a law to help celebrities get more privacy and keep the paparazzi out! Crazy.
Stroll past TCL Chinese Theatre:
Home to many world premiers, the TCL Chinese Theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard is another staple of Hollywood. The structure of the theatre stands out amongst many of the more modern Hollywood buildings along the strip. The best part however are the handprints and signatures lined up out front. There are nearly 200 personal marks either in the form of handprints, footprints or signatures. It’s really cool to stroll along and see who you can find!
Shop on Rodeo Drive:
No I didn’t actually shop or buy anything on Rodeo. I simply strolled along pretending to be somebody important, but it was fun! It’s always free to window shop so if you don’t have an extensive budget (or one at all like me) take a walk and admire the unbelievable nice cars driving down, and beautiful people dressed up in designer clothes on route to add to their collections.
Grab some grub at the Original Farmers Market:
Constructed in the early 1930s this giant building doesn’t look as if much has changed with it. Take a walk around and you’ll find everything from fruits and veggies to delectable sweets at the stalls around. I would highly recommend you visit with an appetite!
Stroll through the Grove:
Located 30 minutes outside of Downtown L.A. these two landmarks are worth the trek. The Grove almost looks like something out of a Disney park, with interestingly decorated retail spots, a large Cheesecake factory restaurant and a cool tram that brings you through “the mall”. It’s a neat place to walk around – and offers more affordable shopping than Rodeo Drive.
There you have it! What are your favourite things to do in Los Angeles and Hollywood?