Before moving to LA, I had been under the impression that Hollywood, specifically Hollywood Boulevard, was a somewhat glamorous area. That was until I was assigned to work at a performing arts school located a block north from Hollywood Blvd and Vine St., which is smack dab in the middle of Hollywood.
I was excited to work in a popular part of LA, to see the walk of fame and the many other must see sites. On my first day, the bus dropped me off at the Vine station where I was greeted by a strong stench of urine and feces. My look of excitement was blown away as I asked myself, “where the heck am I.” I arrived quite a bit early since it was my first day, so I followed the stars down the sidewalk to the nearest coffee shop – a Starbucks. I ordered a coffee, sat down and waited for the minutes to pass until it was an appropriate time for me to show up at work. While I was waiting, a young man came in asking each and every individual for money. When a barista asked him to leave he circled the shop one last time grabbing straws from behind the counter and throwing them in the air, and knocking coffee bags off the shelves creating a mess. With each minute that passed, my original impressions of Hollywood were being replaced by its reality. Finally, when a quarter to 9 am arrived, I darted out the door and rushed to the school.
Yes, my first experience on Hollywood Boulevard probably wasn’t the best, but I did work for the performing arts school for a month and was able to get a better feel for the area. Although the black tile covering the sidewalks, the garbage littering the streets, the foul smell and the large homeless community makes Hollywood Boulevard feel dingy, tourists still flock to see the famous street and all it has to offer. It is loaded with character and, of course, characters. If you enjoy people watching, it is the place to go. But be careful whom you make eye contact with; some of the people roaming the streets can be aggressive and will talk to you, if you give them a chance.
Here are some reasons why it necessary to take a trip to Hollywood Boulevard:
There are several renowned theaters lining Hollywood Boulevard including Pantages Theatre, The Golden Age Theater, El Capitan Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Dolby Theatre and Chinese Theatre. The Chinese Theatre is where you will find the hand and footprints of many legends. The Dolby Theatre is where the Academy Awards take place, which may be why I had odd previous assumptions of Hollywood being glamorous.
You will find a souvenir shop in almost every other storefront space. There are tons and many of them offer tours. There is usually a van parked out front, if it’s not driving down the boulevard full of tourists. Some offer tours of the Hollywood area or the entire city. I also noticed some offer tours to celebrity homes. So if you’re curious where Leo lives jump aboard!
There are some fun and quirky and also strange museums located on the Boulevard including Guinness Book of Records Museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The Hollywood Museum is where you can find costumes, memorabilia and props from famous movies. See your favorite actors in wax form at the Hollywood Wax Museum. If you’re interested in learning more about the celebs fave religion, Scientology, check out the L. Ron Hubbard gallery of exhibitions. Lastly, the Museum of Death, which explores the many facets of death, can be an option if you’re looking for something a bit more unusual.
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Jimmy Kimmel Live is a great activity if you enjoy comedy, celebs and music – duh.
You will find plenty of great views of the Hollywood sign as you are walking down the boulevard.
Walk of Fame
It is fun to walk down Hollywood Boulevard because it is covered in red and bronze colored stars inlaid on the sidewalk. As you walk from site to site, see if you spot any familiar stars!