Hollywood Boulevard is a long street. The touristic part, aka the Walk of Fame, is located along 15 blocks, from Gower Street on the Eastern end to La Brea Avenue on the Western end. The highest concentration of attractions are located around Hollywood & Highland. Just visiting this block will make your effort worthwhile.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce estimates that 10 million people visit each and every year. During the documentary production I spent multiple long days on Hollywood Boulevard. I can confirm that tourists from any continent make this attraction a Must See on their list. It is probably the best known spot in the Los Angeles area. But with fame and crowds also comes trouble.
However, by all means, there is a lot to see and enjoy for any Hollywood fan and movie buff.
Hollywood and HighlandThe shopping center was conceived in the 1990s as the cornerstone of gentrification and revival of the tourist attraction. I arrived in Los Angeles in 1986. At that time Hollywood Boulevard was a lot worth than it is now!
The design, based on the 1916 epic film "Intolerance" by D.W. Griffith, honors film industry and it incorporates the home of the Academy Awards, the Dolby Theatre. Tour buses have legal parking zones in this area and FIT visitors find safe parking in the shopping mall parking lot as well as restrooms on levels 2 and 3.
Top Features to Enjoy:
Many big name celebrities have their Walk of Fame star located on this block, as it is considered to be the most important location.
The steps leading up to the Dolby Theatre offer a great group photo opportunity.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW FOR BUS GROUPS: the shopping center was designed and conceived to highlight the tourist experience. Buses cannot access the Hollywood Hills, therefor Hollywood & Highland was specifically laid out to facilitate photo opportunities of the famous Hollywood sign from the middle bridge in the Babylon Gate and other spots in the center courtyard.
Go to the Hollywood Boulevard overlooking side of the center on Level 4 to catch great views of the Downtown skyline on clear days.
The historic landmark Chinese Theatre is part of this block, adjacent to Hollywood & Highland. Get your photos of hand- and foot prints of the stars in the courtyard.
Disney's historic movie palace El Capitan is located across the street.
Things To Do To Make Your Visit Special and Enjoyable
- Hire a reputable local guide to learn about the history of the film industry as it pertains to this area.
- Enjoy a Behind the Scenes Tours at The Dolby Theatre and the Chinese Theatre.
- Get a taste of historic luxury by eating or drinking at one of the restaurants or bars in the beautiful Roosevelt Hotel.
- Enjoy a drink in a historic bar like The Frolic Room near the intersection of Hollywood & Vine or Boardner's on Cherokee Avenue.
- Eat lunch in the oldest restaurant on the boulevard, Musso & Frank Grill, in business since 1919. I have spotted many celebrities at this locale.
- Make time for an unforgettable movie experience. Both the Chinese Theatre and El Capitan are cinemas, playing the latest blockbuster films.
- Check Twitter handle @LAWalkofFame to find out about upcoming Walk of Fame ceremonies. Stars are placed 15 years a year, always on weekdays at 11:30AM and the honoree plus friends and family will be in attendance. The ceremonies draw fans and media and exude happy Hollywood energy.
And The Don'ts:
- As any crowded tourist attraction the Walk of Fame attracts negative elements as well. Beware of pickpockets.
- Street artists, photo characters in costume and hip hop artists work the boulevard. If you do take photos you will be asked to pay a tip. Hip Hop artists sell their homemade CDs for $10. Many disks are blanks so beware. This street business world has a reputation for being pushy. I recommend a polite "no thank you" with a smile if you are not interested and they will mostly smile back.
- In recent years a large homeless population has installed itself in the area. Drug-related crime and many other illegal activities abound. This aspect, especially the under-age runaway kids living on the streets, add a depressing aspect to Hollywood.
- The later the day, the larger the dangerous crowd. Beware at night. Hollywood Boulevard itself is well lit but I suggest not straying away into dark alley ways and side streets alone after dark. Common sense precaution in any large city, really.
Have fun and be safe!