Hollywood Boulevard is high on many Los Angeles visitors' list of things to see. It may not be what you imagined. It's cheesy and touristy and despite it all, just plain fun.
Scenes from Hollywood Boulevard
Enjoy our best shots on a Hollywood Boulevard Photo Tour
The Hollywood Boulevard Experience
The section of Hollywood Boulevard that appeals to tourists runs between La Brea Avenue and Vine Street, a little more than a mile. It's also the home of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Hollywood at Highland shopping and dining complex.
Any time after mid-morning is lively. During daylight hours, you get views and can enjoy the throngs of tourists. At night, the Boulevard is neon-lit.
What I Never Miss: People-watching here is some of the best anywhere. Best spots: Grauman's forecourt (where the hand- and footprints are) or upstairs at Hollywood and Highland where you can watch from above. If there's a new film playing in the main theatre at Grauman's Chinese, it's one of the most glamorous movie-going experiences anywhere, with gorgeous red curtains that swish open when the film starts and a few minutes inside before the lights go down give a good chance to see all that over-the-top ornamentation.
I wish the short film at the Egyptian Theatre had been there when I first went. It's the best place to start your exploration. It will get you all revved up about how great the place was and is.
What I'd Skip: I'd definitely skip the tacky "movie stars homes" tours, which from personal experience and by all accounts I've read are just plain boring. Avoid the folks trying to hand you things, too. Whatever they are, you probably don't want them.
If you'd like to see more, use our walking tour guide. It will take you to most of the famous sights.
The Truth About Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard is legendary, but it may not be what you envisioned. It's been a long time since the glory days and the only stars you're likely to find on the streets are the ones set into the sidewalks, the wax doubles at Madame Tussaud's or the Wax Museum - or the impersonators who hang around getting their photos taken with tourists for tips. That is - unless you're lucky enough to show up during a movie premiere, a ceremony for a new sidewalk star or when someone is pressing their hands and feet into the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Frankly, this part of Hollywood is one of the most touristy spots in all of Los Angeles, full of t-shirt and souvenir shops, the streets packed with gawping tourists snapping photos. It's also the epicenter of Old Hollywood history, with lots to see and do.
What I Think - What Others Think About Hollywood Boulevard
I rate Hollywood Boulevard 4 stars out of 5. As much I'd like to sticky my snooty, pretentious nose in the air and say: "That kind of thing isn't for someone as cool as me," the place has an undeniable appeal and an energy that's fun and upbeat. With the opening of the Hollywood at Highland complex, the once-seedy and unappealing area is on the upswing again and I often find myself dropping by just to grab a bite to eat or snap a few new photos of my own.
POLL: What do you think of Hollywood Boulevard As a Tourist Attraction?
Proven Ways to Enjoy Hollywood Boulevard
- Shopping is a popular Hollywood Boulevard activity. Here's a list of the stores you'll find there.
- If you're going, check in advance to see if any star-studded events are happening. You'd hate to show up an hour after your favorite celeb had left, wouldn't you?
- If you want to take photos with the dressed-up characters on the street, they're actually trying to make a living doing that. Bring some $1 bills to tip them with.
- If you want to take a tour of the Academy Awards' home, head for the Dolby Theatre box office first, to pick up tickets. Organize the rest of your day around your tour time.
Hollywood Boulevard Bargains
- If you plan to visit several Hollywood attractions, you may save money with a Hollywood CityPass. You can buy it at the entrance of any attraction it covers or order it in advance online.
- Similar to Citypass, the Go Los Angeles Card offers a lot of attractions at a very reasonable price. Use this handy guide to find out all you need to know about it.
Touring Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood at Highland offers the most convenient and affordable parking, so start your visit from there.
After you're parked, you can just check the sights nearby: the Dolby Theatre, Grauman's Chinese and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You can see the Hollywood sign from the back of Hollywood at Highland.
Getting to Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard is west of downtown Los Angeles and accessible from I-10 (exit La Brea Blvd north), I-110 (exit Hollywood Blvd west), but US Hwy 101 is the easiest access. Take the Highland Avenue exit south. Park in the underground lot at the Hollywood and Highland complex, where you'll pay a very reasonable rate as long as you get validation from a shop upstairs. A bottle of water at any of the food spots will do.
For a hassle-free approach, take the Metro Red line and get off at the Hollywood and Highland stop. It's and especially easy way to get there from downtown Los Angeles, Universal City and North Hollywood.