Hollywood Los Angeles, California
After showbiz pioneers Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky were drawn to the climate-blessed West Coast in 1911, Hollywood ceased being a real place and became a concept, a glittering Tinseltown synonymous with glamour and ambition. However, it has long been true that the only stars you are now likely to see on Hollywood Boulevard (premieres aside) are those embedded in the pavement. Known as the Walk of Fame, the pathway honours 2,200 or so legends of film, television, radio, theatee and recording art, and runs along Hollywood Boulevard from La Brea Avenue to Vine Street, where it turns left and heads down to Sunset Boulevard.
Known as the Walk of Fame, the pathway honours 2,200 or so legends of film, television, radio, theatee and recording art, and runs along Hollywood Boulevard from La Brea Avenue to Vine Street, where it turns left and heads down to Sunset Boulevard.
But Hollywood is currently in the midst of a Times Square–like revival, with new attractions that are actually luring highbrow locals and celebrities to an area that for decades has been known as grotty and rife with riffraff and cheap tourist shops. A major catalyst of the upgrade and mainstay of the neighbourhood is the Hollywood & Highland Center, a stylish complex and shopping mall that pays homage to its surroundings with whimsical tributes to Hollywood’s heritage, such as a red-carpet-like pathway embedded with quotes from industry insiders. Its centrepiece is the Kodak Theatre. Take a guided tour and get a behind-the-scenes view of the 3,400-seat theatre designed as the permanent home for the Academy Awards.
From here, it’s an easy walk to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, a movie palace of a bygone era built to impress. This historic landmark still shows new releases and regularly hosts premieres, but it’s most visited for its fabulous Asian design and an impressive collection of handprints and footprints of some of Hollywood’s best-known stars from 1927 to the present. Of the 160-some imprints, look for those of Mary Pickford, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Other prints lean towards the odd: Jimmy Durante’s nose, George Burns’s cigar and R2D2’s wheels.