Hollywood is more than a destination, it is a state of mind. Not actually a city, it is a "neighborhood" or district of the city of Los Angeles. Made famous by the movie industry, today Hollywood is visited by millions of visitors seeking to see their favorite stars, how movies and TV shows are made and taste a bit of entertainment magic. Hollywood is a great place to start a trip to Los Angeles. Tour buses leave throughout the day to destinations in and out of Hollywood that include visits to movie studios, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, the beaches, celebrity homes and shopping areas such as The Grove, Melrose Avenue and Downtown Los Angeles.
Hollywood and Highlands Center
Hollywood and Highlands is one of the newest attractions in Hollywood. Located on Hollywood Blvd, the Hollywood and Highlands Center is an extensive state of the art entertainment center that include numerous shopping and dining opportunities. The Dolby Theatre (once known as the Kodak Theatre and home of the annual Academy Awards) rises up out of the Hollywood and Highlands Center. Adjacent is Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the center is encircled with Walk of Fame stars on the sidewalk. It is at the front of the center on Hollywood Blvd that tour buses depart for visits to the rest of L.A. as well as the subway station with direct service to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Myth has it that all the Hollywood Studios are lined up side by side along Hollywood Blvd the way track houses are arranged in suburbia however this depiction is no longer accurate. Indeed back in the 1920s-40s most of the Hollywood Studios were in Hollywood proper. Today they are spread throughout Los Angeles. Only Paramount Pictures can truly call Hollywood home. The studios that do tours are Universal Studios Hollywood (also a theme park), Paramount, Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures. Universal and Warner Brothers are on the other side of the hill the Hollywood sign is perched while Sony Pictures is south of Hollywood on the way to LAX. Numerous TV networks maintain studios as well.
Hollywood Blvd is the main artery that runs through the Hollywood district with the main points of interest beginning at La Brea and ending at Wilcox (where the W Hotel stands). Hollywood Blvd is lined with the pink limestone stars known as the "Walk of Fame", and dozens of T-shirt, souvenir and Hollywood memorabilia stores. As mentioned above the Hollywood and Highlands Center is the cornerstone of this area located at Hollywood Blvd and Highland and surrounding it on either direction on Hollywood Blvd are several museums that pay homage to past movies and Hollywood legends.
Hollywood Blvd is usually heavy with pedestrian traffic-especially during the day. All along Hollywood Blvd tour van operators peddle their tours with different hooks "You'll see your favorite celebrity" or "we'll take you by a movie set". A lot of these operators come and go, we recommend strictly using the Starline, Greyline or TMZ tours that depart directly in front of Hollywood and Highland.
The majority of the crowds on Hollywood Blvd are visitors. At night the Blvd lights up with neon signs but after 11pm the scene can turn a little bit on the sketchy side. While still very safe the crowds of visitors and families give way to a mix of LA locals heading for some of the underground night clubs to Hollywood's homeless that live in the shadows during the day but make themselves more available in the evening.
Hollywood itself is home to dozens of attractions that seek to educate, thrill and provide fun experiences for all categories of visitors. Most of the Hollywood attractions are geared towards information on the television and movie industries that have played a key part in Hollywood's development. Hollywood Blvd in itself is a scene with street performers, T-shirt shops, prop stores and a collage of pizza and Mexican food with occasional bars sprinkled in. Hollywood's Walk of Fame runs over a mile along Hollywood Blvd. The Times Square of the west Hollywood is constantly in motion with thousands of people, tour buses, lights and sounds.
Hollywood has a wide range of hotels to choose from that cater to the business traveler, the leisure crowd and everyone in between. It is possible to visit Hollywood and never rent a car. There are over a dozen hotels that are in the vicinity of the Hollywood and Highland center making it possible to walk to the tour buses that depart for other