Film Lover's Getaway to Los Angeles

How to Spend a Film-Focused Day or Weekend in Los Angeles

The Cinerama Theatre in Hollywood
Betsy Malloy Photography

There's no better place than Los Angeles and Hollywood to indulge your love of film.

You can plan your Los Angeles Film Lover's day trip or weekend getaway using the resources below.

Why Should You Go? Will You Like It?

Many big films premiere here, everything that's released shows up on Los Angeles screens first, and many films that never make it to even smaller cities are sometimes showing at two or three places at the same time. Downtown is full of beautiful, old movie palaces and there are plenty of really nice theatres all over town, enough to keep you in the dark all day.

Don't Miss

If you've only got a day, the best thing to do is to see a film in one of Los Angeles' finest movie theatres. They're a far cry from your local cineplex, with viewing experiences that encapsulate everything filmmaking is all about. The Arclight Cinerama Dome is not only a piece of history, but also provides an unparalleled viewing experience with reserved seats, ushers, and gourmet food in the snack bar. In Hollywood, the Chinese Theater boasts a sumptuous interior in an iconic location, but be sure you ask for seats in the original theatre when you buy your tickets.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Julian Fong/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

5 More Great Things for Film Lovers to Do in Los Angeles

You may notice that the list below doesn't include the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. You're a serious film-lover who wouldn't give in to such starstruck tourist activities, aren't you? Just in case you've got a secret little passion to indulge, check out these sites and tours:

  • Hollywood Heritage Museum: It won't take very long to see everything here, but it's a must-see for any serious film lover: the building where Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille made their first films, the birthplace of Paramount Studios.
  • Los Angeles Movie and Film Sites: It sometimes seems like every nook and cranny of Los Angeles looks like a place you've seen on the big screen, but we've picked just a few of the most commonly-used locations for you.
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour: There's no fancy theme park here, just a behind-the-scenes tour of an iconic film studio. You'll have to go during the week to see this working studio in action.
  • Broadway Theatre District Tour: Given every Saturday by the Los Angeles Conservancy, this tour will get you inside some of the most interesting, beautiful, and historical movie palaces from downtown's golden age.
  • Redline Tours offers daily walking tours of Hollywood and Downtown, focusing on films and where they were made.
Hollywood Heritage Museum in Los Angeles, CA
TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Visiting Movie Locations

Sadly, it's no longer easy to find where films are being shot on the streets of Los Angeles. After 9/11, the daily "shoot sheets" you may have heard about disappeared from public distribution. With this little insider tip, you might find a film in progress, though. Film crews post small signs around town to help everyone get to the right spot. Usually tacked to a telephone pole, the brightly colored bits of paper contain a letter/number code and an arrow pointing toward the location. You might mistake them for garage sale signs, but if you find them, it won't hurt to see where they lead. Once you get close, it's easy enough to recognize a shoot in progress: the street will be full of white trucks and trailers.

Annual Los Angeles Film Events You Should Know About

  • Last Remaining Seats: The movie palaces this annual film fest is shown in are at least as interesting as what's shown on their screens. Tickets go on sale in mid-April, and the event runs in June.
  • Classic Film Festival: This festival shows some great classic films in some even more wonderful classic movie houses. It's held in April.
  • Film Festivals: As you might imagine, film festivals abound in the Los Angeles area. Some of the biggest are the Hollywood Film Festival and Film Awards and the AFI Fest.
  • Awards Ceremonies: You need a special ticket for many of them, but there are also Oscar events for everyone.
Oscar statuettes
 Prayitno/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Best Brunch

A weekend getaway is a great time to enjoy a leisurely brunch. On Hollywood Boulevard, Musso and Frank's flannel pancakes are legendary (6667 Hollywood Blvd.). Unfortunately, they're closed on Sunday. Other options include a number of choices at the Farmers Market, where we especially like the catfish and eggs at Kokomo Cafe.

Farmers Market in Los Angeles
 Prayitno/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Where to Stay

Hollywood is probably your best bet for accommodations. From there, you can take the Metro to downtown, and it's a short drive up to Burbank and Universal City, too.

Getting There

Hollywood is northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The most convenient freeway approach is US 101, exiting at Highland Avenue south. From I-10, take La Brea Avenue north to Hollywood Boulevard.

Hollywood is 376 miles from San Francisco, 334 miles from San Jose, 378 miles from Sacramento, and 127 miles from San Diego.

The nearest airport is Burbank (BUR), but you'll find more flights going into Los Angeles International (LAX).

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