The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sidewalk attraction, those famous "stars" you've seen embedded into along Hollywood Boulevard from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue, and on Vine Street from Yucca Street to Sunset Boulevard.
Made of pink terrazzo (a composite material) and brass, Hollywood Walk of Fame stars honor famous individuals in television, radio, film, music, and drama. An icon set into the star denotes the category the person is being honored in, and a few people get more than one star.
Cowboy and singer Gene Autry earned the most stars, with one in each category. Many honorees played supporting roles or faded from the general memory after their moment of fame, and even if you know a lot about entertainment history, you're likely to recognize only a fraction of them.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame has a slightly shiny surface - which can be a real pain when trying to take pictures of it in the sunshine, but at night it turns into its best asset, with neon lights reflecting onto it. This picture was taken near the entrance to Hollywood and Highland. The star in the middle belongs to Harrison Ford.
What the Walk of Fame Is and Isn't
Some visitors say they expected more, so let's be clear about exactly what this attraction is. First and foremost, it's a sidewalk. It sometimes gets dirty or needs repairs. It's in the middle of one of the longest-standing and busiest tourist areas in all of Los Angeles, with all of its pluses minuses.
While the area is much nicer than it was a decade ago, it's not a glitzy, glamorous, Camelot-like place where the fire hydrants are made of platinum and the rich and famous go just to hang out.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremonies
There's always a ceremony when a new star is installed, and the honoree must attend, making it one of our sure ways to see a celebrity in Los Angeles. If one of your favorite celebs is being added, it's a good time to see them in person.
To find out if a Walk of Fame ceremony is scheduled during your Los Angeles visit, you can check the schedule online or call the information line at 323-469-8311.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Review
We rate the Hollywood Walk of Fame 3 out of 5. People watching may be the best thing to do as you walk along.
When we polled more than 750 of our readers, 52% of them rated the Walk of Fame as great or awesome. 30% of them gave it the lowest ratings.
Marilyn Monroe's Star
You'll find literally thousands of stars along the Walk of Fame, honoring people in all aspects of entertainment. This one is for Marilyn Monroe. She was a film artist, which is noted by the symbol under her name. It's a stylized depiction of an old-fashioned camera. Ms. Monroe's star is at 6774 Hollywood Blvd.
Many visitors are content to walk down the sidewalks calling their pals' attention to famous names they recognize, but if you want to seek out and photograph the stars dedicated to your favorite stars, you'll save a lot of time if you're prepared. If you want to search by name, try the "official" directory.
Characters on the Walk
It's actually a job for some people, getting dressed up as a movie character and posing for photos on Hollywood Boulevard. The visitors love it and the folks in the costumes get paid in tips ($1 for a photo is typical). Batman, Wonder Woman and Spongebob Squarepants are only a few of the characters you may see and there's almost always a Marilyn Monroe, Jack Sparrow, Spiderman or Darth Vader to be found. They hang out mostly along the stretch of sidewalk between Highland and Orange, in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater, and Hollywood at Highland.
Stars you can see in the background here include Kevin Costner and Anthony Hopkins (the symbol that looks like an old-fashioned movie camera means they're being honored for work in films).
Do It Yourself Star
Applaud the creativity of Jonny, Veronique, Camille, and Rob who created their own star on the Walk of Fame. Too bad they don't have a symbol for street performance, which is where they should be placed, I think.
With so many people tramping down that sidewalk every day, their little creation probably didn't last long, but I was there to preserve it. All it would take do the same thing is a bit of forethought to tuck a piece of sidewalk chalk into your bag or pocket.
Michael Jackson's Star
The Walk of Fame makes for great people-watching. Some people get as excited by seeing their favorite actress or singer's name as they might if they saw them in the flesh, while others seem unconcerned at best.
Michael Jackson is being honored for his work as a recording artist. But it's a little-known fact that one multi-talented person can have a star for motion pictures, television, music, radio, and theater/live performance. Cowboy star Gene Autry whose career spanned the 1930s to 1950s holds the record: one star in each category.
When a celebrity dies, fans often leave flowers or other little mementos beside their star, and that happened for quite a while after Jackson's death.
If you're looking for more Michael Jackson sites in Los Angeles, try the house where they filmed the Thriller music video. And don't be fooled. If you see a star for Michael Jackson at 1541 Vine Street, it's dedicated to a radio talk-show host. The musical great's star is at 6927 Hollywood Blvd.
Don't you just love how people seem to be endlessly creative?
It's simple, really - as long as you have a first or last name the same as an honored celebrity. Just find a star with your name on it, plop your foot down over the part of the name that doesn't match and shoot. If you have someone else with you, this works even better because you can get down low and have your whole body in the photo.
It's hard to know what to call this: sculpture, gazebo, statue or archway. Its official name is the Hollywood La Brea Gateway, but it's more often called Gateway to Hollywood or Four Ladies. It sits at the north end of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It was created in 1993 by Hollywood director and production designer Catherine Hardwicke to honor Hollywood's multi-ethnic leading ladies: Dorothy Dandridge (first African-American woman nominated for Best Actress), silent film star Anna Mae Wong and Dolores Del Rio, who starred in more than 30 films in Hollywood and Mexico and the voluptuous, outspoken Mae West who was both actress and writer. And don't miss the little Marilyn Monroe finial/weathervane up top, in her famous skirt-blowing-up pose.
More Walks of Fame
The Hollywood walk may be the original but other places in California have borrowed the concept.
At the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, it takes the form of a photo collage.
Palm Springs calls theirs the Walk of Stars, but it also honors civic leaders.
Elsewhere in LA, there's a similar walk near the Grammy Museum downtown and a Rockwalk at the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd, and a Gay Walk of Fame in West Hollywood in front of The Abbey.
Across the bay, Oakland has a Blues Walk of Fame on 7th Street.
Details About the Walk of Fame
Gray is an example of the many Walk of Fame stars that honor people who don't have the big, universally recognizable names. In fact, the majority of them may leave you scratching your head about just who Alice White or George Arliss was and why they deserved a star.
The Walk of Fame is on a public sidewalk and open anytime. There is no admission fee. It runs down Hollywood Boulevard and onto some of the streets that cross it.
A short look will take a few minutes but hunting down all your favorite stars can take a while. You can go any time of day, but it's easier to take photos in the morning when fewer people are stepping into your way.
Getting to the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Los Angeles, CA
From US 101, take the Highland Avenue exit and go south. The Hollywood and Highland parking lot is the most convenient. The entrance is on the right about half a mile down the hill.
Los Angeles MTA (Metro Transit Authority) Red Line Hollywood and Highland stop is on the Walk of Fame.