Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hooray for Hollywood! #RMBCali

There is so much to see and do in and around Hollywood it can be a little overwhelming.  For anyone interested in the history of American film, it's definitely the place to be. You can dine and shop (or at least window shop) where the stars dine and shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. You can tour studios and see where they work. And you can even tour the neighbourhoods where stars of Hollywood's golden age once lived and see the homes of today's stars of film and music as well.

I admit I had no interest in visiting "the homes of the stars" while we were in Los Angeles.  That's just not for me, but there are certainly plenty of tour operators available, like StarLine, and self-serve listings of addresses and neighbourhoods to visit, like Seeing Stars. Since we didn't try these out, I can't recommend any particular operations, but lots of options can be found with a Google search, or by checking with your hotel concierge when you're in town. Tour guides can give you histories of particular homes and you may even spot a star or two.

If you are interested in visiting tourist hot spots like the Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame, the Grammy Museum, Santa Monica Pier or La Brea Tar Pits, a great and economic way to go is a "hop on, hop off" tour bus. StarLine offers these, allowing you to pay one price and take advantage of the double decker bus transportation throughout the day to visit multiple sites. Just be sure to keep your brochure handy with the bus schedule and stop locations!

I knew I needed to visit The TCL (Graumann's) Chinese Theatre to see the home of so many lavish Hollywood movie premiers and all of the cement hand and footprints of the stars. We took a cab down to Hollywood Boulevard one afternoon to check it out. Although I knew I'd be impressed, I was a little surprised at how guttural my reaction was. Prints from 1927 until the present day really make an impression. To think that Mary Pickford placed her dainty heels in this wet cement almost 90 years ago.

These footprints are TINY, btw.
My men - Johnny Depp, Dean Martin, George Clooney. Swoon!
The forecourt was packed with people snapping pictures and wondering at all the signatures and prints. Of course the whole Walk of Fame stretch of Hollywood Boulevard is packed with tourists as well as street performers. Be prepared to be approached with the offer of a free CD from an unknown artist, followed by a donation request. And there are endless folks dressed as superheroes, famous stars, and various characters. They are all available for photos, for a fee. My warning to you - watch your wee ones to ensure they don't agree to photos with everyone on the street. 

Oh yeah. You'd better watch your husband too. Hubs was right in there like a little kid. Some of these performers are really well costumed and entertaining. Some look more than a little worse for wear. Judge yourself accordingly.

I didn't take many pictures of the stars on the Walk, since there were just so many. But it was neat to see them and talk about the stars, the directors, producers, singers, and more. 

We spent a fun couple of hours on Hollywood Boulevard, and it was a quick and easy way to feel we got a taste of the Hollywood magic. If we go again, we'll be taking advantage of the hop off hop off tours to wander farther afield and see some more sights.

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