16 Best Things to Do in Hollywood

Los Angeles Tourism And Entertainment Industry Stifled By Coronavirus Restrictions
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There are lots of ways to have a unique experience in Los Angeles, but when you visit Hollywood, it's all about giving in to the kitsch and letting yourself get completely starstruck. Hollywood is the hub of the city's glamorous film history, which in turn makes up a large chunk of modern-day American popular culture. Not only can you literally see the mark of that history in the form of handprints on the Walk of Fame, but you'll also spot it during behind-the-scenes studio and theater tours around town. From world-class museums to the legendary Hollywood Hills, here's how to make the most of your next trip to Tinseltown.

01 of 16

Feel Like You're In a Movie at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

If you're looking to take a break from all the sightseeing and hit up a theme park for the day, head to Universal Studios Hollywood to experience classic rides like the World-Famous Studio Tour and Jurassic World–The Ride, and check out new favorites like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and The Secret Lives of Pets: Off the Leash. Take on the Flight of the Hippogriff ride and try some butterbeer (don't worry, it's non-alcoholic) in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, become a Minion on the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem adventure ride, and enjoy the largest 3D experience in the world, King Kong 360-3D, designed by legendary director Peter Jackson. Whatever you do, it's sure to be a memorable day.

Address
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608, USA
Phone +1 800-864-8377
02 of 16

See a Show at the Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl has featured popular artists like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and Garth Brooks in its iconic band shell since it first opened in 1922. Depending on who's in town when you are, you could treat yourself to a show or learn more about the venue's fascinating history at the Hollywood Bowl Museum, which highlights media and memorabilia in its permanent exhibits and rotating displays. Recent performances include concerts by HAIM, Rod Stewart, and the Backstreet Boys. If you're visiting during the summer, make time to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which makes its home here.

Address
2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
Phone +1 323-850-2000
03 of 16

Indulge in All Your Favorite Diner Foods at Mel's Drive-In

Mel's Drive-In Hollywood

Tony Mariotti / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A late-night Hollywood staple since 1997, Mel's Drive-In was originally the home of Ben Franks, a coffee shop often frequented by the likes of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones back in the 1960s and 1970s after they'd finished performing at nearby rock shows. It's West Hollywood spot on the Sunset Strip between Beverly Hills and Hollywood and penchant for staying open 24/7 have made it a local favorite, as has its table-side jukeboxes and classic diner menu items like milkshakes, malts, sundaes, and homemade pies.

Address
1660 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028-6121, USA
Phone +1 323-465-2111
04 of 16

Enjoy a Comedy Show

The Laugh Factory

The Laugh Factory

Address
8001 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
Phone +1 323-656-1336

Hollywood has long been a hub of comedic talent, with top-notch comedy clubs like the Laugh Factory, Hollywood Improv, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Second City all calling the area home. Check the websites of your preferred venue to see who's in town when you are. You never know when celeb comics like Tim Allen or Alonzo Bodden will show up at the Laugh Factory, while you might be able to catch Dane Cook, Damon Wayans Jr, and Craig Robinson headlining at the Hollywood Improv.

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05 of 16

Celebrate All Things Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre

Touring the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood

Dolby Theatre

Address
6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-308-6300

Boasting a world-class sound system, the Dolby Theatre has seen many celebrities pass through its doors and witnessed unforgettable moments as the hosting venue of the Academy Awards since 2001. It's where Ellen Degeneres took one of the most famous selfies of all time in 2014 and where chaos unfolded after Faye Dunaway read out the wrong movie title while announcing the winner of the Best Picture category in 2017 (spoiler alert: "Moonlight" actually won the Oscar that year, not "La La Land"). Take a tour of the theater and enjoy your own red carpet experience, all while checking out a real Oscar statue and learning more about the theatre's history.

06 of 16

See a Show at the Troubador

Billy Idol Performs For SiriusXM's Artist Confidential Series At The Troubador In Los Angeles
Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images
Address
9081 N Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069-5520, USA

Hollywood may best known for its movie and television stars, but there's quite a bit of music history, too. Music lovers should do their best to get tickets for a show at the Troubadour, Los Angeles' most famous and storied concert venue, which has seen some incredible moments, like the arrest of comedian Lenny Bruce in 1957 and the American debut of Elton John in 1970. Check the website for the roster of upcoming shows and keep an eye out for huge stars who often come back for their "Return to the Troubadour" shows.

07 of 16

Visit the Hollywood Heritage Museum

Hollywood Heritage Museum in LA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
2100 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068-3241, USA
Phone +1 323-874-4005

The small Hollywood Heritage Museum is housed 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 several times before becoming the base where, in 1914, Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky produced Hollywood's first feature film. The building was moved to the backlot at United Studios (now Paramount Studios) in 1926.

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

08 of 16

See Hollywood Relics at the Hollywood Museum

bronze statue of marilyn monroe outside the hollywood museum

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley 

Address
1660 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-464-7776

The Hollywood Museum (also known as the Hollywood History Museum) in the Max Factory Building is one of the best collections of movie memorabilia from the silent film era to the present day. You'll find 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. Downstairs, you'll also be able to check out recreated Max Factor hair and make-up rooms.

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09 of 16

See the Stars Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Line of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley 

Address
6901 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

In addition to great people-watching, a stroll along the Walk of Fame is always enjoyable. See who you recognize among the singers, actors, radio personalities, and other celebrities honored with stars along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. You can also measure your hands and feet against the imprints of all your favorite stars, from Fred Astaire to Kevin Hart, in the Forecourt of the Stars in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre).

10 of 16

Take Photos of the Hollywood Sign

View of the Hollywood Sign

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley 

Address
Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
Phone +1 323-258-4338

There are plenty of places with views of the Hollywood Sign, but one of the most accessible spots to see the sign and take a photo is from the viewing bridges at the Hollywood & Highland complex next to the TCL Chinese Theatre. The shopping and entertainment center is home to many well-known shops and restaurants—like California Pizza Kitchen, Jinya Ramen Bar, and the lounge at the Lucky Strike bowling alley—where you can enjoy views of the sign.

11 of 16

Tour the City on a Sightseeing Bus or Trolley

Tour bus and Hollywood Wax Museum

Richard Cummins / Getty Images

While you'll need a car to get around Los Angeles, you can also see the sights by hopping on a bus tour. L.A. offers 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 that depart from Hollywood. Whichever one you go with, it's a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

Address
6801 Hollywood Blvd Suite 203, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-463-3333
12 of 16

Visit the World of Illusions

three people posing in front of an optical illusion of a t rex skeleton

Museums of Illusions

Address
6751 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 800-593-2902

The World of Illusions is a fairly new addition to Los Angeles' museum scene and like many places in L.A., it offers an interactive experience where visitors can become part of the installations. Each of the four themed rooms offers a different 3D illusion, for instance, an upside-down house that makes it look like you're walking on the ceiling or another part that features giant objects, giving the appearance of tiny humans when you're posed near them. It's a great place to take young kids, snap some novelty photos for the 'gram, and enjoy some wholesome fun.

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13 of 16

Learn About Insane World Records

Guinness World Records Museum, Los Angeles, CA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
6764 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028-4622, USA
Phone +1 323-463-6433

The Guinness World of Records Museum along Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame isn't just a fun stop on the main tourist drag, it also happens to be housed in the oldest standing movie house in the area, originally built in 1913. The Hollywood Theatre got its iconic art-deco facade in 1938 and sported one of the first neon marquees in the country. Inside, the museum houses an impressive collection of photos, videos, and artifacts representative of the thousands of amazing—and sometimes disgusting—world records.

14 of 16

Meet Celebrities at a Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum in LA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

The Hollywood Wax Museum is one of the originals, housing an ever-changing collection of wax movie stars and a permanent collection of past presidents and horror figures since 1965. Nearby, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum opened in 2009, sporting a much larger selection of wax figures, many of which seem more lifelike than those at the Hollywood Wax Museum. Visit both for yourself and be the judge.

 

Address
6767 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-462-5991
15 of 16

Take a Hike in Runyon Canyon

a hiking path in runyon canyon

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley 

Address
2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
Phone +1 818-243-1145

This 160-acre park in the Hollywood Hills is an excellent place for people-watching as well as taking a much-needed break from the city and appreciating a little nature. You'll see all types of people here, from the super athletes running the hill trails and moms and nannies with strollers on the flatter cross-canyon trails. Winter and spring are the best times to go hiking in L.A. since skies are clearer and there's more greenery. Summer and fall, meanwhile, can be hot and hazy, so you'll be very sweaty and won't have as nice of a view.

 

16 of 16

Browse Records at Amoeba Music

Rows of records being sold in Amoeba Music

 TripSavvy / Christian Hundley 

Address
6200 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028-7307, USA
Phone +1 323-245-6400

Amoeba Music, a legendary record shop located on Hollywood's famed Sunset Boulevard, offers a wide selection of used and new tunes on vinyl, cassette, and CDs, among other musical memorabilia. You could get lost in the store for hours exploring different music genres and it is generally a very cool place to be. It's also known for hosting live music events from time to time, so keep your eye on the calendar.

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Best Things to Do in Hollywood, California