The best places to visit in Hollywood: Discovering tinseltown.


Jul 5, 2024

15 min read

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    You may have had plenty of business in Los Angeles over the years, but have you ever taken a few hours to stroll along Hollywood’s Walk of Fame or tour a working film studio? Despite being the epicenter of the entertainment industry for well over a century, many visitors forget Hollywood as a bucket-list-worthy trip in and of itself.

    This neighborhood is drenched in film history and a history that’s evolving. It’s not just home to the hotels, theaters, and landmarks made famous during the Golden Age of Hollywood; it’s still where many of the world’s biggest studios are located.

    So, the next time you fly into LA with friends, colleagues, or family, take a few hours off to explore the past, present, and future of cinema.

    Where it all began: The history of Hollywood.

    Hollywood is perhaps one of the most recognizable destinations in the United States, if not the world. From the 40-foot-tall Hollywood Sign to the Walk of Fame to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, this Los Angeles neighborhood is not just where the film industry started but where it continues to evolve today.

    But how did it become the heart of the global movie-making industry? In the early days, Hollywood was just another real estate development. In fact, even the name “Hollywood” came from an ostensibly random suggestion by Daeida Wilcox, the woman who donated the land for the original development. Wilcox supposedly told her husband, “I chose the name Hollywood simply because it sounds nice and because I’m superstitious and holly brings good luck.”

    Once development began, Hollywood quickly became the focus for major motion picture companies seeking to establish a production base out West. The first studio opened in 1913, and by the 1920s, big names like Paramount, Warner Bros., and Columbia had also set up studios here. In only a few short years, Hollywood was pumping out 600 films annually.

    Throughout the 20th century, Hollywood solidified itself as the world’s entertainment headquarters. Thanks to the revitalization efforts of the 1980s and 1990s, it remains the number one destination to explore all facets of the film and entertainment industries.

    Whether it’s learning about the history of movie making at The Hollywood Museum, getting a behind-the-scenes look at working studio backlots, or catching shows at one of the many clubs along Sunset Boulevard, you’ll find the past, present, and future of the entertainment industry here.

    Hit the icons: The best places to visit in Hollywood.

    If this is your first time here, there is a long list of must-see iconic places to visit in Hollywood that should be at the top of yours. With a century in the limelight, Tinseltown has more than a few highlights worth seeing during your stay.

    The Hollywood Walk of Fame

    The Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Hollywood Boulevard and Vine St.

    Celebrating the industry’s biggest stars and entertainers, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is an absolute must, perfect for first-time visitors to the city. From Bruce Lee to Marilyn Monroe to Walt Disney, the stars who have made the cut are legends who’ve had a major impact on the entertainment industry at large.

    Make it part of your lunchtime plans by grabbing reservations at a nearby restaurant along Hollywood Boulevard. Or, for big-time film buffs, you can easily wile away hours along the sidewalks here, exploring over 2,500 brass stars spread across more than 15 blocks.

    The Hollywood Sign

    The Hollywood Sign

    2800 E Observatory Rd. (Griffith Park viewing)

    One of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, the Hollywood Sign has been looking out over Los Angeles since its original construction in 1923. Sitting atop Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains, it was first used to advertise the early real estate development (at the time named Hollywoodland).

    It was only in 1949 that the sign was refurbished and the “land” portion removed. Today, the Hollywood Sign is an internationally recognized symbol of the entertainment industry — not to mention a representation of the dreams of entertainers everywhere.

    What’s the best spot to view the Hollywood Sign? If you’re heading up to the Griffith Observatory, you’ll get a spectacular, unobstructed view from Griffith Park. Or, for a more active viewing, set out on one of the many Griffith Park hiking trails that encircle the area, many leading up to or near the sign itself.

    The best places to visit on Hollywood Boulevard.

    One of the most famous destinations inside Hollywood is, of course, Hollywood Boulevard. Its relevance to Hollywood history is much more than the Walk of Fame; its history spans a century of filmmaking, with many of the earliest studios cementing its status as the heart of the city’s entertainment district.

    During the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the late 1920s to the late 1940s, all the major movie studios owned grand theaters along the Boulevard, and the very first Academy Awards ceremony, held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, just happened to also be located here.

    These days, the Boulevard remains the cultural hub of the industry, maintaining the core moments of history of the last hundred years of filmmaking.

    TCL Chinese Theatre

    TCL Chinese Theatre

    6925 Hollywood Blvd.

    The TCL Chinese Theatre, also known as the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, stands out along Hollywood Boulevard — and not only for its fascinating exterior. Architect Raymond M. Kennedy created the Chinese-inspired design, featuring the stunning pagoda and intricately designed dragon decor, among other unique elements. Throughout its hundred-year history, the TCL has hosted countless high-profile movie premieres and events, especially during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

    Once you step inside the theater, you’ll find its forecourt is filled with the handprints, footprints, and signatures of movie stars from the last century. The TCL is open daily, inviting visitors to dive into its rich cinematic history.

    Madame Tussauds Hollywood

    6933 Hollywood Blvd.

    If you’re making a day of exploring the sights along Hollywood Boulevard, it only makes sense to include Madame Tussauds world-renowned wax museum as part of the adventure. You can get up close and personal with your favorite stars in a way that’s impossible anywhere else.

    Although there are over 200 locations worldwide, Madame Tussauds in Hollywood is especially interactive. Step onto recreated movie sets, perform on stage with your musical idols, and even “star” in famous scenes alongside the lifelike wax figures. Grab a selfie next to your idols, whether the Rock, Taylor Swift, or Captain Picard.

    See cinema come to life at Hollywood’s museums and film attractions.

    If a few stars scattered along a sidewalk aren’t immersive enough, you’ll want to take an hour or two to explore the deeper history behind Tinseltown. Whether that translates into a bit of Hollywood history, as displayed at one of the many museums in the neighborhood, or a guided tour in the backlot of the working studio is up to you.

    Remember, Hollywood has been through decades of evolution since the first film studios opened. This means there is always a new exhibit, a new piece of movie memorabilia, and a new story to tell.

    The Hollywood Museum

    1660 N. Highland Ave.

    For a little slice of filmmaking history, plan to spend your free afternoon at the Hollywood Museum, located in the historic Max Factor Building. The museum boasts the world’s largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia, spanning four floors and over 10,000 authentic items, including costumes, props, photographs, and personal artifacts from famous films and TV shows.

    Get up close and personal with Marilyn Monroe’s million-dollar dress, Elvis’s bathrobe, and unforgettable pieces from films like Jurassic Park and Jaws. The museum is a treasure trove for fans of cinema and television history.

    Warner Brothers Studio tour

    Warner Brothers Studio tour

    3400 Warner Blvd.

    If you have three hours to spare, book a guided Warner Brothers Studio tour to see behind the scenes at one of the industry’s busiest film studios. With an expert taking you through the studio’s highlights from the past century, you’ll get near-insider access to Hollywood’s history.

    Get up close and personal with the studio’s history, experience an interactive sound stage, and see legendary sets from the likes of Friends and the Big Bang series. The guided tour is one hour, followed by two hours of free time to wander around the backlots, shop for memorabilia, and dine at one of the restaurants located on-site, including Central Perk.

    The Sunset Strip and must-see places to visit in West Hollywood.

    The Sunset Strip

    Sunset Blvd. (Marmont Lane to Phyllis Street)

    Second only to Hollywood Boulevard in terms of quintessential Hollywood streets is the Sunset Strip, located along Sunset Boulevard. Established in 1888, the famous Sunset Strip portion of this street in West Hollywood became known for its nightlife scene as early as the 1920s, with underground casinos, nightclubs, and speakeasies popping up during Prohibition.

    The Strip embraced the counterculture in the 1960s and the rock and roll of the 1970s and ’80s, becoming the center of California’s rock scene, with bands like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, and Mötley Crüe playing clubs there. Today, many of these clubs still exist, including the Viper Room, Roxy Theatre, and Whisky a Go Go. Not to mention other landmarks like the Chateau Marmont Hotel, the Comedy Store, and a scattering of notable celebrity residences from years gone by.

    Chateau Marmont

    8221 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

    No trip to the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood is complete without checking into the Chateau Marmont for a night or two. This hotel is famous for its sometimes scandalous association with celebrities during Hollywood’s Golden Age, especially among regulars like Howard Hughes. Famous creative figures like Billy Wilder and F. Scott Fitzgerald worked and resided at the Chateau, adding to its artistic mystique.

    Over the years, it has maintained an aura of Old Hollywood glamor and mystery that continues to attract A-listers seeking discretion during their visit. With its unique layout of bungalows and lack of traditional hotel amenities like a lobby, it offers an ultra-exclusive, private experience.

    Book your next trip to La-La-Land on a private jet.

    If you’ve landed in Los Angeles more times than you can count for business but have never spent any time exploring the highlights of Hollywood, make your next trip here film-focused. Of course, you could spend a lifetime diving into the film industry’s archives, but even if you just have a day, you will still have plenty of time to hit Tinseltown’s main attractions.

    Make every moment in Hollywood count by booking your next flight here with Volato. Our fleet of state-of-the-art private jets ensures that every mission here saves you time and travel-related headaches by avoiding the chaos of commercial airlines — no lines, no congestion, and absolutely no need to share cabin space with strangers.

    A private jet charter to Hollywood means you land rested, relaxed, and on time, ready to hit all the iconic must-see attractions of Hollywood Boulevard and the Strip. And you’ll still have plenty of time to make your dinner reservations.

    Ready to land in La-La-Land? Fly Volato.

    Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. Volato is not responsible for omissions or inaccuracies in such information, or for data that is no longer accurate due to delay, change in law, rules, or regulations.