There are great things to do all around Los Angeles, California. Some are silly, some are adventurous, some are intellectual, and some are non-traditional, but for the real 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 community 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 past of film and movies from costumes and props to makeup and quirky memorabilia are collected into exhibits in multiple museums.
See Celebrities Prints at the Chinese Theatre's Forecourt of the Stars
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. Tours of the theatre are also available.
Stroll Along the Walk of Fame
In addition to great people-watching, a walk along the Walk of Fame is always enjoyable to 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.
Take Photos at the Hollywood Sign
Take photos of the Hollywood sign from Hollywood Boulevard and North Highland Avenue. There are lots of places with a view 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 right next to the Chinese Theatre.
Take a Guided Walking Tour of Hollywood
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 peek 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 3-hour evening walking and drinking tour of classic Hollywood's dive bars and restaurants on an Sips of Old Hollywood Bar Crawl.
Take a Sightseeing Bus or Trolley in Hollywood
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.
Attend a TV Show Taping
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.
See Celebrities... in Wax
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 cozy up to.
See Hollywood Relics at the Hollywood Museum
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, to name a few. Downstairs they have recreated the Max Factor hair and make-up rooms.
Take a Tour of Paramount Studios
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.
Visit the Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions is a fairly new addition to Los Angeles' museum scene and like many places in L.A., it's a perfect place for a photoshoot. The museum is an interactive experience where visitors become a part of the installations. As the name suggests each installation is an optical illusion of some sort, with more than 30 3D illusions and an upside down house with seven rooms to explore.
Learn About Insane World Records
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. 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.
See Unique Hollywood Memorabilia
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 of times before becoming the base where, in 1914, Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky produced the first feature film ever produced in Hollywood. 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. It houses an archive of photos, props, and memorabilia from the earliest years of Hollywood filmmaking.
Tour a Frank Lloyd Wright House
Hollyhock House, the first house Frank Lloyd Wright designed in L.A., is located at Barnsdall Art Park, an 11.5-acre hilltop park in the East Hollywood neighborhood. 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.
See Hollywood's Original Wax Museum
The Hollywood Wax Museum is one of several L.A. pop culture museums in the neighborhood, but it's also one of the originals. In the 1930s, the upstairs became the Embassy Club. But since 1965, it's 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 some won't find it to be as much fun as the newcomer, since it's a lot smaller, with less life-like figures.
Hike Runyon Canyon
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 an excellent 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 or boots, a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water are recommended for all seasons.
Browse Records at Amoeba Music
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 too. They also host free in-store concerts.