About two miles away from the Lomography Gallery Store in Los Angeles is a tourist attraction like no other in the world. While “movie capital of the world” is not necessarily its apt title today as most of the big studios have moved north to Burbank, CA and no movie stars actually live or even hang out in the area, it is still packed with many historical venues and landmarks associated with the rise of the movie industry.
It most likely holds a big percentage of the daily foot traffic in the city. Hundreds of people from all over the globe flock this California neighborhood that defined the cultural identity of Los Angeles to literally walk in the footsteps of the stars.
The town is brimming with a diverse population of tourists with cameras documenting their visit and experiences in famed attractions such as the Grauman’s Chinese Theater which holds many movie premiers, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards is held every year – think red carpet, hundreds of screaming fans, expensively dressed movie stars and luxurious cars on top of an equal number of tourists all packed in a narrow, five-lane street, and the Hollywood Bowl which is an amazing outdoor venue for concerts and musicals alike.
Some less known yet equally important places to visit include:
- The historic “Barn” across the street from the Hollywood Bowl. This “Barn” is where the world’s first full length movie was made.
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum a few feet from the Chinese Theater lets you rub elbows with life-sized wax sculptures of celebrities for $25 – yes, Twilight fans, a Rob Pattinson figure is there and you can make out with it all you want without getting tackled by security.
- Trekkies can sit in Captain Kirk’s chair and marvel at the Starship Enterprise in the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.
- On Cahuenga and Sunset stands Amoeba Records, a huge independent record store where you can get hard-to-find vinyls for cheap.
- The Hollywood Palladium on Sunset and Argyle is a concert venue that had hosted Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, U2, The Strokes, The Cure and last year, Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, and Maximo Park.
- And a couple of blocks away on Hollywood Boulevard is my favorite place to watch musicals, The Pantages Theater.
The everyday life in this town is one heck of an amazing show to watch. One could crawl her way through traffic or just sit quietly in a cafe and entertain herself by watching people getting excited about finding the stars of their favorite actors/actresses and a few actors dressed as movie characters we know and love. As a matter of fact, this has become one of my favorite pastimes.
If you prefer a more relaxed location, you don’t have to go very far. In the east end of Hollywood are the Griffith Park and Observatory – where you can go hiking on several different trails including one that leads up to the famous Hollywood sign during the day and gaze at the stars though a telescope at night – and the hipster neighborhoods of Los Feliz and Silverlake.
Last but not least, you must have lunch at my favorite Brazilian restaurant – Bossa Nova. They have this amazing pizza topped with cheese, bananas, syrup and cinnamon that’s addicting and one of the best Penne Al Pestos I’ve ever had. And they deliver!