LA Diaries – How To: Hollywood

Of course you have to take a picture of the Hollywood sign!

Los Angeles can boast many things, and one of its most famous attributes is the world famous home of the stars and wannabes, Hollywood. I ventured to Hollywood for a day during my trip to Los Angeles, and I’m not sure I could have handled much longer than a few hours in cramped tinsel town!

Parking at Hollywood Highland proved not too difficult on a Sunday morning, and this car park provided easy access to all the big sights, as well as a great view of that famous white sign. We headed out onto the street and along with the crowds of other tourists, we stared at the floor as we spotted the stars along the walk of fame. Some of my favourites were the slightly less obvious stars, like Alan Menken, Godzilla and Mickey Mouse. Be careful as you gaze down, Hollywood is notorious for pick pockets, and prepare to turn down endless people

Mickey, my home boy

offering to take you on trips around the stars homes. Plus, bizarrely, there are people dressed up as everything from characters from Halo to (a not altogether convincing) Tinkerbell. If you want your photo taken with them you’ll be expected to tip a dollar or two, although to be honest I barely saw anyone actually tip them.

El Capitan is impossible to miss, as are the enormous signs for Jimmy Kimmel. A classic tourist destination is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the home of all the hand and foot prints of the biggest stars of the last century. The slab I was most excited about seeing was the Harry Potter trio, I’m not ashamed to say. The hand, feet and wand prints of Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint currently reside in a pretty central location in the front courtyard of Grauman’s. They restrict the entry to the courtyard area, to avoid over crowding, but entry is free. They’ll take an awkward photo of you in front of a green screen, which they later superimpose a picture of the front of the theatre (which is literally 90 degrees to the right) and convince you to spend $50 buying a photo you don’t need. You have to make money somehow right?

We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, which is full of aspiring actors, so expect the most charismatic waiting service you have ever received. Also, try and remember their face, since you never know, one day Skylar from the Hard Rock Hollywood might be a big superstar!

Heading further into West Hollywood we went to Millions of Milkshakes on Santa Monica Boulevard. Home to milkshakes designed by the stars. I indulged in a “Miley Cyrus” which is peanut butter cups and cookie dough. A concoction sure to lead to obesity and possibly diabetes but nonetheless a delicious milkshake. West Hollywood takes you through to Beverly Hills, where you see the true glamour and wealth of Hollywood (Hollywood itself is slightly run down and rammed full of people). If you have the guts to wander the streets around here, you’ll see some of the supposed homes of the stars, or at least their front gates.

It’s not all glitz and glamour but Hollywood is definitely pretty impressive, with hundreds of great shopping opportunities and a ton of contemporary history around it. The history of film is all around you, and if you have the time and money, a trip to  Warner Bros studios is definitely worth it. Unlike Universal Studios, this is not a theme park but simply a functioning studio so you never know who you might bump into or what you might learn. In terms of hopeless tourist souvenirs, I’d go with a mini oscar, after all, you’re a star to someone right?

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