Hollywood Walk (Self Guided), Los Angeles

Hollywood is LA's by far the most famous district and popular destination for sightseeing and nightlife. It is also a historic center of film making. Paramount Studios, the only large film studio still operational in Hollywood, and the iconic Walk of Fame, are just some of the district's major attractions. To see what else the famous neighborhood has to offer, follow this self-guided walking tour and find out.
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Hollywood Walk Map

Guide Name: Hollywood Walk
Guide Location: USA » Los Angeles (See other walking tours in Los Angeles)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: ashley
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
  • Madame Tussauds Hollywood
  • TCL Chinese Theatre
  • Dolby Theatre
  • El Capitan Theatre
  • Hollywood Museum
  • Hollywood Wax Museum
  • Egyptian Theatre
  • Musso & Frank Grill
  • Knickerbocker Hotel
  • Capitol Records Building
Hollywood Walk of Fame

1) Hollywood Walk of Fame (must see)

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is spread out over 15 blocks on Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks on Vine Street. It is the most visited area of Los Angeles with over 10 million visitors every year.

The idea first started in 1952, but the final design wasn’t agreed on until 1956. There are over 2500 stars to be seen and about 20 are added every year. The five-point stars are cast in pink terrazzo and edged in brass. This is then embedded in a dark grey terrazzo block and set into the pavement. A great deal of ceremony is attached to this and the honored person is invited to the ceremony and presented with a small replica to take home.

On the upper part of the star is the person’s name written in brass; on the lower part is a symbol depicting one of the five categories the person falls into: a classic film camera represents films; a television receiver represents television programs including everything, from soap operas to documentary films; the radio microphone is, of course, for radio broadcasts; the comedy/tragedy masks represent the theater and live performances; and the phonograph record is for the music world.

These permanent monuments are administrated by the Chamber of Commerce who decides which actor, director, producer, theater company, musician and even fictional character should receive this honor. One has two choices when visiting the Walk of Fame: either just wander along, looking at all the stars, or buy a guide to tell you where your favorite stars are located.

To enjoy it and to avoid the crazy crowd, go early between 10am-3pm.
If you want to take a snap with any of the people dressing as a character, then be ready to pay cash for it.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

2) Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is a historic place located in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. Opened on May 15, 1927, it is the oldest continually operating hotel in the city, and is an example of what is known as the Golden Era of Los Angeles architecture. The hotel was named after the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

The first ever Academy Awards ceremony was held here on May 16, 1929, inside the Blossom Ballroom. At that time, the "Oscar" nickname for the award had not yet been invented. The hotel has hosted the Golden Raspberry Awards too, the ceremony recognizing the year's worst in film, on numerous occasions.

Several scenes from the 1988 film “Sunset”, starring Bruce Willis and James Garner, were filmed at the hotel, including a recreation of the 1929 Academy Awards ceremony. The scene of the 1989 film “The Fabulous Baker Boys”, where Susie (Michelle Pfeiffer) sings "Makin' Whoopie" while Jack (Jeff Bridges) plays piano, was shot at the Cinegrill nightclub inside the hotel.

Other films shot on the location include “Internal Affairs” (starring Richard Gere), “Beverly Hills Cop II” (starring Eddie Murphy) and “Catch Me If You Can” (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, directed by Steven Spielberg). Among television shows shot at the hotel are “Knots Landing”, “Moonlighting” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Madame Tussauds Hollywood

3) Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Madame Tussauds Hollywood is a wax museum and major tourist attraction located on Hollywood Boulevard. The three-story museum had been under construction for eight years before finally opened in 2009. It features 125 wax figures of famous celebrities; the very first ones made for the location were those of singer Beyoncé and actor Jamie Foxx, at a cost of approximately $350,000 (USD) each. Each wax figure has its own placard placed on a wall in close physical proximity to it, containing information about the portrayed figure. A few matching props have been placed near select figures for visitors to use while taking photos.

The biggest figure in the museum is King Kong, and it sits inside the attraction's lobby.

Marilyn Monroe and Vin Diesel are among some of the figures used in the lobby to entice guests to get in.
Sight description based on wikipedia
TCL Chinese Theatre

4) TCL Chinese Theatre (must see)

TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theater) on Hollywood Boulevard’s famous Walk of Fame is a unique building that you certainly wouldn't want to miss.

The theatre owes its Chinese design to Raymond M. Kennedy, while Jean Klossner created its forecourt. The building appears in the form of a giant pagoda with a huge dragon in bas relief over the wonderfully decorated front doors, complemented by tiny dragons featured on the copper roof, and two beautiful Ming Heaven Dogs standing guard on each side of the entrance.

The theatre was opened in 1927 with Cecil B. de Mille’s silent epic “King of Kings”, and has since been the choice venue for the premiere of many great films, including “Star Wars” in 1977. Its interior is decorated in red and gold, with Chinese art and statues; the red curtains in front of the screen have delicate golden trees and birds printed on them.

In the forecourt, you will see over 200 signatures, hand- and footprints, and even pistol prints (from Roy Rogers’ pistols) and hoof prints from Trigger! There are several stories surrounding the origin of the prints: Sid Grauman said he’d accidentally stepped into the wet concrete and then decided to invite superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (some of the theatre’s backers) to do the same. Today you can see here the imprint of Harry Potter’s magic wand, as well as those of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, among others.

There is no charge to walk around and take photos – you only pay for the movie-going experience and guided tour.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-12am
Dolby Theatre

5) Dolby Theatre (must see)

The Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard is found in the Hollywood and Highland Center shopping mall and entertainment complex. Even though this might be the first time you have come here for a concert, you will have seen this theater many times before on television, most certainly.

Usually, when it’s on TV, the shops on each side of the theater are delicately hidden behind swathes of red cloth and there is a long red carpet leading to the lobby, along which your favorite (and not so favorite) stars wave to huge crowds as they make way to the front doors. This theater has hosted the Academy Awards Ceremony each year since 2002, and is best known for this event.

Built in 2001 by David Rockwell, it was sponsored, especially for the Oscars, by the Eastman Kodak Company, and holds one of the largest stages in the United States, measuring 34 meters wide by 18 meters deep. Columns in the lobby all bear the names of the lucky Oscar winners dating all the way back to 1927.

On May 1, 2012, it was announced that the venue would be renamed the Dolby Theatre, after Dolby Laboratories signed a 20-year naming-rights deal. Dolby updated the sound system first by installing Dolby Atmos. They plan to continue updating the auditorium with newer technologies as they become available.

The theater is rented to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for weeks before Oscar night. As of 2016, it has also hosted the live shows of America's Got Talent.

Why You Should Visit:
To admire one of the most elegant and sophisticated modern entertainment theaters in the U.S.!
Guided tours are very frequent, last approximately half an hour, and are full of interesting facts and features.

You can only book tickets on the day of your tour, so plan ahead.
Tickets are booked on the ground floor box office.
Credit/debit card bookings will require a photo ID.
There are free restrooms on the first floor outside the Dolby.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10:30am-4pm
El Capitan Theatre

6) El Capitan Theatre

If you want to give your children – or yourself, for that matter – a great deal of cultural treat while in Los Angeles, the best place to go to is the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

This movie theater was commissioned by Charles Toberman in collaboration with Sid Grauman, a showman who had previously worked on two other theme theaters. Opened in 1926 as a live theater, El Capitan boasted a Spanish Colonial Revival exterior and a beautiful Eastern Indian red and gold interior. For more than ten years afterwards, some of the greatest artists of the time had performed here, including Clark Gable and Will Rogers.

Towards the end of the 1930s, audiences fell off and in 1941, after Orson Wells had used the place for the premier of his controversial film “Citizen Kane”, the theater closed for over a year. It reopened in 1942 as a movie house, called Hollywood Paramount, remodeled in Art Moderne and completely devoid of Sid Grauman’s original decor.

In the late 1980s the Walt Disney Company bought the theater and restored it to its original 1926 appearance, complete with a magnificent Wurlitzer organ and hi-tech special effect equipment installed.

Before enjoying one of Disney’s great films, your kids will absolutely love the show on the stage in front of the screen, featuring characters from the film they are about to see. The children will be transfixed which is a great change from having them fidget through long boring advertising spots.
Hollywood Museum

7) Hollywood Museum

The Hollywood Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the “Dream Factory”, from its beginnings to the present day.

The museum is located on Highland Avenue and is housed in the Max Factor Building. The exhibitions cover 35,000 square feet, spread out over four floors, but for all that the place is filled to overflowing with clothes, art designs, sets, make-up, and special effects.

The entrance foyer has kept its original Art Deco style, with white and rose marble, chandeliers and antique furniture, delicately adorned in gold and silver leaf. On this floor is the exhibition of Max Factor’s make-up studio and a black and white photo gallery with over 1000 photos of stars from the silent movies to the present and stills from films such as "The Planet of the Apes" (original version) and "Jurassic Park".

The basement was once a speakeasy during the Prohibition and a bowling alley. Today it is the “Chamber of Horrors” with a replica of the stage set from the film "The Silence of the Lambs". It is rather creepy, as it features the cell corridor Judy Foster walked along to reach Hannibal Lecter’s cell, in which you can see props from the film and the gruesome mask Hannibal was made to wear.

The first and second floors are given over to historical and modern costumes, souvenirs donated by the great stars, movie advertising posters, props, another photo gallery, an example of the 1st Technicolor film and a Roman bed that was used in “Gladiator”.

Why You Should Visit:
Looks like the most touristy of attractions, but if you love movies, this is a treasure of real costumes, props, and memorabilia.
Definitely not geared for very young children, but adults and teens will enjoy it.

Talk to the staff! Many have worked in the business and have great stories to tell.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Sun: 10am–5pm
Hollywood Wax Museum

8) Hollywood Wax Museum

Situated on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Wax Museum is one of the most popular Los Angeles attractions. A brainchild of entrepreneur Spoony Singh, this well-known museum opened on February 25, 1965. It is argued to be the only museum in the U.S. to be entirely dedicated to celebrities, much as to be the longest-running wax museum in the country.

The museum features replicas of movie stars, such as Angelina Jolie, Johny Depp, Kirsten Dunst, as well as television and other legendary personalities, such as Elvis Presley and many others, whose stars are found on Hollywood Boulevard. Wax figures and sets featuring replicas of celebrities continue to change regularly. There is also a Chamber of Horrors, featuring classic and current movie monsters.

Operation Hours:
Monday-Thursday, Sunday: 9:00 am – 12:00 am; Friday, Saturday: 9:00 am – 1:00 am.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Egyptian Theatre

9) Egyptian Theatre

Sid Grauman and Charles Toberman collaborated on creating three theme theaters, of which the best one, perhaps, – if not the most famous – is the Egyptian Theatre.

The latter was built during the great interest in all things Egyptian sparked off by the English archaeologist Howard Carter and his excavations in the Valley of the Kings; hence the building's Egyptian Revival facade, Egyptian paintings and hieroglyphs on the interior and exterior walls. Complementing these are four huge columns erected in front of the entrance and a fountain and palm trees set in the forecourt.

The theater opened its doors for the first time in October 1922, just two weeks before Howard Carter found Tutankhamen’s tomb. The film “Robin Hood”, staring Hollywood idol Douglas Fairbanks, had its premiere here – the only picture house where you could see the movie for over a year. This insured a full house every day which helped to repay the massive investment Grauman and Toberman had put into its construction.

During the 1980s and 90s the theater fell into disrepair and was threatened with demolition. Luckily, Los Angeles was going through a period in which they preferred to restore historic buildings, given the funds. The theater was thus sold to American Cinematheque, a non profit-making cultural organization, for the symbolic sum of $1, on the condition that they would restore the building.

Today you can see here a daily screening of “Forever Hollywood,” an hour-long interesting documentary explaining the history of Hollywood, showing interviews with several famous actors telling about their love for the film industry and Hollywood in particular. Throughout the year, American Cinematheque organizes events, such as film, television and video festivals that are very popular.

A lot of films have their premiere at the Egyptian Theatre and sometimes the star and/or director of a film will host the screenings and discuss their work. There are two screens and sliding walls open to reveal the old theater before closing to create a hi-tech cinema.
Musso & Frank Grill

10) Musso & Frank Grill

If you want to have a good meal in a restaurant that seems to transport you back to the early 20th century, then the Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard is the place for you.

The restaurant was opened in 1919 and although it has been renovated several times over its 100+ years, it has managed to retain the original look and atmosphere. You will find here the same oak beamed ceilings, red-leather booths, mahogany bar – and the same wonderful dry Martinis!

Back in the day, it was a favorite haunt of great writers who had been hooked into screenwriting by various unscrupulous movie moguls who used flattery to get them to work for low pay in cramped quarters on their studio back lots. F. Scott Fitzgerald used to drown his sorrows here; Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway all met here to grouse about how their great works were being mangled by insensitive directors and to plot their revenge on them. Thus, Faulkner once told his studio head that he wanted to work from home. The boss agreed but after several fruitless calls to his Hollywood apartment, someone remembered that the writer in fact lived in Mississippi!

Charlie Chaplin and his great friend Douglas Fairbanks used to dine here regularly. Once they held a horse race on Hollywood Boulevard with Rudolph Valentino; the loser had to pick up the restaurant bill.

Today you can enjoy good home cooking and some rather “daring” Continental dishes here, such as Bouillabaisse. The menu is extensive and includes fish, sea-food, chicken pot pie, steaks, roasts, pasta and braised ribs. If you want a snack, there is a good choice of hot and cold sandwiches, omelettes, salads and soups.
Knickerbocker Hotel

11) Knickerbocker Hotel

Today, the former Knickerbocker Hotel building on North Ivar Avenue is a residence for the elderly. Back in the day, it played an important role in the lives of several actors and musicians, and is reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in Los Angeles.

Built in 1925 by E.M. Frasier, this Spanish Colonial Revival edifice soon became a popular rendezvous for Hollywood stars. Rudolf Valentino used to have a drink in the local bar and tango the night away with a lot of willing partners. Marilyn Monroe used to meet Joe DiMaggio in the same bar and they spent their wedding night in one of the rooms.

Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner, Laurel and Hardy, and Elvis Presley all stayed in the hotel during its heyday. It was a lively, swinging place, but it was also the scene of many dramas that eventually led to it being labeled as haunted.

Between 1927 and 1936 Houdini’s wife held a seance on the roof every Halloween, trying to get in touch with the great escapologist who died on the 31st October 1926. In 1943 Francis Farmer, who had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, hid here before being captured and dragged from the hotel; in 1948 film director D.W. Griffiths suffered a massive stroke in his room here and died on the way to the hospital. In 1962 Irene Gibbons, a costume designer committed suicide by throwing herself out of her 11th floor window. In 1966 the character actor William Fawley died in the hotel’s lobby.

In 1970 the hotel, by then declined with the rest of the neighborhood, was renovated and turned into a residence for the elderly. The bar, which was believed to be haunted, was boarded up until the mid 1990s, when it reopened for a brief period as the “Star Theatre Café and Speakeasy”. Among the ghosts reportedly spotted here are Rudolf Valentino, Marylyn Monroe and an unidentified man who wanders the corridors. There have also been reports of lights going on and off at odd moments and objects moving by themselves.
Capitol Records Building

12) Capitol Records Building

One of the most popular landmarks in Los Angeles is the Capitol Records Building on Vine Street. This is the home Capitol Records’ recording studios and echo chambers, and a Registered Historic landmark.

The building was designed in 1956 by Welton Beck, who rather shockingly at that time, flew in the face of superstition and gave it 13 storeys. It was the first circular office structure in the world, but Beck wasn’t too pleased when people said it looked like a stack of records with a gramophone needle at the top.

The “gramophone needle” is actually a slender spire with a light on top that flashes out the word “Hollywood” in Morse code. It was switched on by Samuel Morse’s granddaughter, Leila. The “stack of records” look is created by the curved awning over the windows on each floor.

The rectangular building at the base of the tower was added later and on the south wall is a wonderful mural, called Hollywood Jazz, depicting various artists, such as Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday. In front of the building are the Walk of Fame stars of some of the artists who recorded at Capitol Records, including John Lennon and the famous Country Music singer Garth Brooks.

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