30 Fun Things to Do in Hollywood

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    Fun Things to Do in Hollywood, California

    Sunset over Hollywood from Griffith Observatory
    ••• Chiara Salvadori/Getty Images

    There are great things to do all around Los Angeles. Some are silly; some are adventurous; some are intellectual; some are non-traditional, but for the true Hollywood experience, give in to the kitsch and plan to do some of these top picks for things to do in Hollywood. 

    The Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles is known for the glamour of the TV and movie industry. The neighborhood is also the keeper of the history of that industry and the pop culture it represents. You'll find that history permanently etched in the pavement with famous handprints, footprints, and stars on the Walk of Fame. The physical remnants of the history of film and movies from costumes and props to makeup and quirky memorabilia are collected into exhibits in multiple museums. 

    Although the majority of the top Hollywood attractions are related to the entertainment industry, it is not the only draw to modern Hollywood. Nightlife, fine dining, and live theatre and music venues add to the evening entertainment....MORE Easy access to the city's natural wonders and one of the top science museums are other draws. Explore all the options in this slideshow.  

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    Forecourt of the Stars at the Chinese Theatre

    The Forecourt of the Stars at The Chinese Theatre in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma,

    Measure your hands and feet against the imprints of your favorite stars in the Forecourt of the Stars in front of the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard at Hollywood & Highland.

    You can also take a tour of the original Chinese Theatre if you time it right.

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    Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Hollywood Walk of Fame
    ••• Glow Images, Inc./Getty Images

    See who you recognize among the singers, actors, radio personalities and other celebrities honored with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

    Read all about the history, controversies and interesting facts about the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as exactly where to find the stars you're looking for. (But don't forget to come back and see what else there is to do in Hollywood)

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    The Hollywood Sign

    The Hollywood Sign above the Hollywood hills
    ••• Tim Hawley/Getty Images

    Take photos of the Hollywood Sign from Hollywood & Highland. There are lots of places with a view of the Hollywood Sign, but one of the easiest spots to see the sign and take a photo is from the viewing bridges at the Hollywood & Highland complex right next to The Chinese Theatre.

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    Take a Guided Walking Tour of Hollywood

    Crowds at Grauman's Chinese Theatre
    ••• Jon Hicks/Getty Images

    Hollywood is very walkable, and there are historic markers all over the place to tell you the history of different buildings and landmarks, but it's not the same as walking around with a guide who can help put it all in context.

    Red Line Tours offer a Behind the Scenes Walking Tour that includes a peak into a few historic Hollywood buildings, a Hidden Hollywood Walking Tour or you can take a Saturday night Hollywood Ghost Tour.

    You can also take a Hollywood Sign Hiking Tour, or a 3-hour evening walking and drinking tour of classic Hollywood's dive bars and restaurants on an Old Hollywood Bar Crawl. Check for discount tickets.


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    Take a Sightseeing Bus or Trolley in Hollywood

    Tour bus and Hollywood Wax Museum
    ••• Richard Cummins/Getty Images

    Los Angeles has a dizzying array of sightseeing tours by bus,  trolley or van, from the ubiquitous Hop On, Hop Off Tours to Movie Stars Homes Tours, Ghost and Crime Tours and other specialty tours, many of which depart from Hollywood.

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    The Hollywood Bowl

    Aerial view of Hollywood Bowl
    ••• David Wall Photo/Getty Images

    The landmark Hollywood Bowl half-dome band shell has inspired many imitations around the world. It sits in the largest natural amphitheater in the United States. The Hollywood Bowl has hosted some of the greatest musical talents in history and continues to do so every summer. You can get tickets to a ​concert, or just go explore. The on-site Hollywood Bowl Museum is free.

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    Attend a TV Show Taping

    The Jimmy Kimmel Live! set in the Disney Entertainment Center in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Getting tickets for a ​TV show taping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Hollywood experience and get up close to celebrities. You can get free tickets to be in the audience of a sitcom, talk show or game show. Even in the offseason, you can usually find a pilot or game show taping.

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    Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk

    Universal Studios Hollywood
    ••• Universal Studios Hollywood Globe at CityWalk. Kayte Deioma

    Universal Studios Hollywood is a combination movie-based theme park and studio tour. The special effects shows are as much of a draw as the rides. The adjacent ​Universal CityWalk is also a popular entertainment and shopping zone.

    Universal Studios is technically not in Hollywood. It's just over the hill in its own neighborhood called Universal City, but it's just a 3 minute ​Metro ride between the two, so I count it as a Hollywood attraction.

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    Madame Tussauds Hollywood

    Madame Tussauds Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Madame Tussauds Hollywood wax museum opened next to The Chinese Theatre in September 2009 and became an instant hit, overshadowing its neighbor, the Hollywood Wax Museum down the street with wax figures you can actually cozy up to.

    Madame Tussauds is included in the Go Los Angeles Card discount attractions pass.


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    Hollywood Museum at the Max Factor Building

    The Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles

    The Hollywood Museum in the Max Factory Building, also known as the Hollywood History Museum, is one of the best collections of movie memorabilia around from the silent screen to the present day. They have an extensive Marilyn Monroe display, Cary Grant's Silver Cloud Rolls Royce, Rocky Balboa's boxing gloves, Elvis' bathrobe and Hannibal Lecter's cell from Silence of the Lambs, just to name a few. Downstairs they have recreated the Max Factor hair and make-up rooms.

    The Hollywood Museum is included in the Go Los Angeles Card discount attractions pass.


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    Hollywood and Highland Center

    Hollywood & Highland Center
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    Located adjacent to The Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood & Highland Center has become a landmark all it's own. Explore the Babylon Courtyard and walk the Road to Hollywood public art walk, view the Hollywood Sign, shop, eat, play and more. Some of the most popular stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are right out front.

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    Griffith Observatory

    View of LA from Griffith Observatory
    ••• Andrew Kennelly/Getty Images

    Griffith Observatory is technically above Hollywood in Griffith Park, but it's just a few minutes drive from Hollywood Boulevard. The exhibits are great, but even if they don't interest you, it's worth a visit for the day and nighttime views.

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    Take a Tour of Paramount Studios

    Arched Entrance Gate at Paramount Pictures Studios
    ••• Robert Landau/Getty Images

    Paramount Studios is a Hollywood landmark with its pink-arched gateway. There are other smaller working studios in Hollywood, and other studios you can tour outside of Hollywood, but Paramount is the only one you can visit and tour in Hollywood.

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    El Capitan Theatre With the Kids

    El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
    ••• El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Kayte Deioma

    If you're traveling with kids, seeing a Disney movie at El Capitan Theatre can be a fun way to rest weary feet. Each movie is accompanied by either live character performances, prop exhibits or interactive exhibits. Goldstar.com often has discount tickets to El Capitan.

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    The Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood

    Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood
    ••• Jim Morrison's jeans at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood. Kayte Deioma

    The Hard Rock Cafe is an international museum of Rock 'n' Roll memorabilia - with food. You might not think of it as an attraction, but if you're a rock 'n' roll fan, the exhibited artifacts are interesting; you'll probably already be in the neighborhood, and it's free to go in and walk around.

    There are two Hard Rock Cafes in Los Angeles. The Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood is in the heart of the tourist melee at Hollywood & Highland Center on Hollywood Boulevard between the Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre.

    A few of the more memorable artifacts in the Hollywood branch of this establishment include:

    • Jim Morrison's well-worn leather pants under a rainbow light display
    • Jimi Hendrix's purple plush hat
    • Eddie Van Halen's red and white Kramer guitar
    • A pair of Ringo Starr's drumsticks
    • Axel Rose's patriotic "Freedom Without Fear" jacket
    • Michael Jackson's Black Fedora
    • MC Hammer's Blacktop shoes
    • A shirt autographed by Debbie Harry in 1978
    • Sn...MOREoop Dogg's black and yellow bandana jumpsuit
    • A Tama drum kit used by Lars Ulrich of Metallica
    • Iggy Pop's black leather jacket and red Tracer guitar
    • Flea's neon  green bass
    • A turquoise gown from Gwen Stefani
    • A red swimsuit from Rihanna

    You don't have to be dining at the Hard Rock Cafe to go in and explore the exhibit, but it's a fun place to eat. As far as the menu goes, it's basically a fancy burger joint with a few more upscale entrees, salads, and pizzas. 

    Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood has two gift shops, one at the Hollywood Boulevard entrance and one in the back at the entrance inside Hollywood & Highland.

    The second Los Angeles location is the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal CityWalk, near Universal Studios Hollywood, best known for the giant guitar photo op in front of the restaurant.  Some of the more famous pieces at the CityWalk location include Elvis Presley’s iconic jumpsuits, Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” wedding dress, and Janis Joplin’s purple suede pants.


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    The Museum of Broken Relationships

    Museum of Broken Relationships
    ••• Getty Images

    The ​Museum of Broken Relationships opened in June 2016 in a relatively new building in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard that briefly housed Frederick's of Hollywood before the store shuttered for good.

    The museum exhibits some mundane objects - a hairbrush, a license plate, used emery boards - that derive meaning from the stories submitted anonymously by their donors.  Other items are a little more eccentric – Belly button lint, silicone breast implants – that require even more of an explanation.

    The relationships represented may be romantic, but they may also deal with breakups or loss of family members, business partners, cities, religions and more. The primary message is that loss is universal, and for those currently feeling isolated in their suffering, they're not alone.

    The original exhibit was conceived in 2006  by Croatian artists Vištica and Dražen Grubišić in the midst of their own breakup when trying to figure out what to do with the meaningful mementos of their former...MORE combined life. They began collecting artifacts and stories from other broken relationships and put together an exhibit that toured Europe before opening as a permanent museum in Zagreb, Croatia in 2010. After visiting the Zagreb museum,  John B. Quinn decided that Hollywood, the location of so many broken dreams and relationships, would be a perfect location for such a museum and got to work making that dream a reality.

    6751 Hollywood Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    One Block East of Highland
    (323) 892-1200

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    Tour the Dolby Theatre

    The Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), home of the Academy Awards
    ••• The Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), home of the Academy Awards. Photo © 2013 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    It's a bit pricey for what it is, but if you long to stand on the stage where so many famous actors accept their Academy Awards, then taking a tour of the ​Dolby Theatre in Hollywood is the way to do it.

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    The Guinness World of Records Museum

    Guinness World Records Museum, Los Angeles, CA
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    The Guinness World of Records Museum on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard is housed in the oldest standing movie house in Hollywood, built in 1913 as a nickelodeon house, a precursor to movies. The current art deco facade was added later. The neon marquee was one of the first installed with wide side panels to attract passing drivers.

    The museum houses a collection of photos, videos, and artifacts representative of the thousands of world records in every kind of human endeavor yet conceived, from the amazing to the disgusting. If you own the latest book and are fascinated by it, then, by all means, stop in. I find that once I've visited one somewhere in the world, that's enough for me, but my sister and her family were enthralled.

    What's really missing here is a good collection of some LA-specific records, since there are many world records broken here, like the world's largest meatball at the Feast of San Gennaro Italian Festival, or the world record for...MORE the most lobsters served at an outdoor event at the Port of LA Lobster Festival.

    It's open 365 days of the year from 10 am to midnight, so it's a harmless activity to do with the kids in Hollywood after dark.

    There is a combination ticket available that includes admission to three LA pop culture museums including the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not.

    Guinness World Record Museum
    6764 Hollywood Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    (323) 463-6433

    More LA Pop Culture Museums


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    Ripley's Believe it or Not

    Ripley's Believe it or Not
    ••• Liars Hell exhibit at Ripley's Believe it or Not. Kayte Deioma

    Ripley's Believe it or Not is an homage to the bizarre, located on the southeast corner of Hollywood and Highland. It's one of three Hollywood pop culture museums that can be purchased individually or as a joint ticket.

    If you enjoy all things freaky, this may be the attraction for you, but if you've been to one of the other Ripley's locations around the world, there are definitely more unique things to do in Hollywood, as well as our own collection of the Most Unusual LA Museums.

    Ripley's Believe It or Not - Hollywood
    6780 Hollywood Blvd
    Hollywood, CA 90028

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    Hollywood Heritage Museum

    Hollywood Heritage Museum
    ••• Minnaert/Wikimedia Commons

    The Hollywood Heritage Museum is a small museum in the former Lasky - DeMille Barn on Highland Avenue across from the Hollywood Bowl. The Barn, built in 1895 on a citrus ranch on the corner of Selma and Vine, changed hands a couple times before becoming the base where, in 1914, Cecille B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky produced the first feature film ever produced in Hollywood. The building was moved to the backlot at Paramount Studios in 1926.

    The Barn was moved to its current location in 1983 and opened as the Hollywood Heritage Museum in 1985. It houses an archive of photos, props, and memorabilia from the earliest years of Hollywood filmmaking.

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    Museum of Death

    Museum of Death in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    For aficionados of the macabre, the ​Museum of Death in Hollywood purports to provide "death education," but the focus is not on death as a natural phenomenon, but rather the unnatural deaths inflicted by serial killers, mass murderers, and group suicides as well as the tools of those who work on the dead - the coroners and morticians. It's not for the faint of heart.

    The Museum of Death is one of LA's Most Unusual Museums.

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    Take a Horseback Ride Past the Hollywood Sign from Sunset Ranch

    Horseback Riding in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    There are several ranches around Griffith Park that offer trail rides, including rides to the Hollywood Sign, but  Sunset Ranch is only one on the Hollywood side of the mountain. 

    Tell the guard at the top of Beachwood Drive that you're going to Sunset Ranch and he will let you through to the dirt parking lot on your right.

    Sunset Ranch
    3400 North Beachwood Drive
    Los Angeles, CA 90068
    (323) 469-5450

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    Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House and the Municipal Gallery

    Hollyhock House
    ••• The Hollyhock House at Barnsdall Art Park in Los Angeles with the Griffith Observatory in the distance. Kayte Deioma

    Hollyhock House, the first house Frank Lloyd Wright designed in LA, is located at Barnsdall Art Park, an 11.5-acre hilltop park in the East Hollywood neighborhood also known as Los Feliz, Thai Town and Little Armenia, depending on whom you talk to. It's right on Hollywood Boulevard at Vermont on top of Olive Hill. The house is not visible from the street, so you have to go into the park to see it. The Hollyhock House was closed for years for restoration but reopened to the public in February 2015.

    Also on Olive Hill, you'll find the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, which hosts temporary art exhibits, and the Barnsdall Art Center and Junior Art Center, which host community art classes for children and adults. There are often free family art workshops on the weekend.

    The complex also includes the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, available for rent for live theatre, dance, music, spoken word, lecture, film and special event presentations.

    During the summer, Barnsdall Art Park hosts free S...MOREhakespeare performances and ticketed wine tasting events. There is a Monday Farmers Market at the park year-round.

    Barnsdall Art Park, including the Hollyhock House, is operated jointly by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Department of Recreation and Parks and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation.

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    Hollywood Wax Museum

    Hollywood Wax Museum
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    The Hollywood Wax Museum is located in a 1928 Spanish Colonial Revival building at 6767 Hollywood Blvd near Hollywood & Highland on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is one of several LA Pop Culture Museums in the neighborhood. In the 1930s, the upstairs became the Embassy Club. Since 1965 it has housed the Wax Museum's ever-changing collection of wax movie stars and a permanent collection of past presidents and horror figures.

    The Hollywood Wax Museum has been on the Boulevard far longer than its nearby neighbor, Madame Tussauds, but isn't as much fun as the newcomer, since it's a lot smaller, with less life-like figures. The figures are also set back in a tableau from the related TV show or movie, so you can't pose with them. But if you're into that sort of thing, you'll see a few characters here that Madame Tussauds doesn't have.

    There is a joint ticket available with Ripley's Believe it or Not and the Guinness World Record Museum. 

    Hollywood Wax Museum
    6...MORE767 Hollywood Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    (323) 462-5991

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    Hollywood Nightlife

    Avalon Nightclub in Hollywood, CA
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    You too can join the A-list of the Hollywood nightlife scene - if you have enough money or know the right people. There are plenty of clubs in Hollywood for every taste. Check out the Top A-List Nightclubs that are hard to get into, Top Dance Clubs for everyone, or Top Comedy Clubs. Some of the Coolest Hotel Bars in LA are also in Hollywood.

    If you want to get a sampling of nightlife in one night, you can join a pub crawl or club crawl in Hollywood on Friday and Saturday nights. If you want some more historical perspective on your cocktails, you can join an Old Hollywood Bar Crawl, where a tour guide will take you through the history of Hollywood's classic bars while imbibing signature beverages along the way.

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    Hike Runyan Canyon

    Runyon Canyon in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    You don't hike Runyon Canyon to get away from people. The 160-acre park in the Hollywood Hills is full of people, which makes it a great place for people watching, as well as appreciating the natural environment. You'll run into super athletes running the hill trails and moms and nannies with strollers on the flatter cross-canyon trails. You might also run into hip-hoppers, punk rockers or members of 80s big-hair bands between gigs on the Sunset Strip, hipsters taking time off shopping, or local goth teens looking like they stepped out of a zombie movie. 

    Winter and spring are the best times to hike when the sky is clearer and there's more greenery. In summer and fall, it can be really hot and dry with hazy skies, so you don't have as nice a view and there is wildfire danger. Hiking shoes/boots, hat, sunscreen and plenty of water are recommended for all seasons.

    Part of the system is an off-leash dog park, so it's a popular place for dog owners.

    The best thing about...MORE Runyon Canyon Park is that the south entrance is within walking distance of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, so you don't even have to drive there if you're staying in Hollywood. That's a definite advantage since there's only street parking on the Hollywood side, which is scant and may require a residential permit. You can also hike Runyon Canyon from the top/north, off Mulholland Drive, and there's a small parking lot on that side.

    From Hollywood and La Brea at the west end of the Walk of Fame, you continue one block west and turn right onto Fuller Ave, then it's two short blocks to where Fuller dead ends into the park entrance. If you don't turn on Fuller, you can continue 2 blocks west to turn right on Vista St, then another 2 blocks north to another entrance to the park at Runyon Canyon Road. The paved fire road from Vista is an easier hike, but there are also off-shoot trails along the ridge from there if you're looking for something more strenuous.

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    Amoeba Music

    Amoeba Music in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    No matter where you're coming from, if you're a music fan, Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is one of the coolest music stores on the planet with a crazy selection of used and new music on vinyl, cassette, cd and more. You could get lost in the store for hours exploring different music genres, and you might see your favorite rockers, rappers and classical performers browsing the aisles. They also host free in-store concerts.

    Follow them on Twitter to see who's playing in-store, and check out their "What's In My Bag?" YouTube videos to see what celebrities have been buying lately.

    They have some competition in recent years with the opening of The Record Parlour a block north on Selma and Cahuenga, which carries only pre-digital music and also hosts indie music concerts.

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    Pantages Theatre

    Pantages Theatre in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    The Pantages Theatre, near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, is a stunning Art Deco theatre where top Broadway touring musicals are performed. If you enjoy live theatre, a performance at the Pantages Theatre is a great excuse to get glammed up to match the decor.

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    The Rock Walk at the Hollywood Guitar Center

    The Guitar Center Rock Walk in Hollywood
    ••• The Guitar Center Rock Walk in Hollywood. Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Like the Forecourt of the Stars at the Chinese Theatre, the Rock Walk is a courtyard of handprints, but this time, of famous musicians. It is located at the entrance to the Guitar Center store on Sunset Boulevard. The display windows surrounding the Rock Walk showcase Rock 'n' Roll memorabilia. 

    It's a 15-20 minute walk from the main Hollywood drag around Hollywood & Highland. The Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour makes a stop at the Rock Walk.


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    John Kelley Chocolates

    John Kelley Chocolates in Hollywood
    ••• Kayte Deioma

    If you're in the vicinity of the Rock Walk, continue west down Sunset Blvd 2 blocks to Sierra Bonita Avenue where you'll find the John Kelly Chocolate Factory just around the corner to the right. There are periodic tours or you can watch the chocolates being made through the window, and then buy some - really. They're awesome.