The Beginner's Guide to Hollywood

Tinseltown 101

Hollywood Sign viewed from a helicopter
Photo courtesy of Renee Silverman, Flickr

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Discover Los Angeles

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to Hollywood, the home of movie studios, many of L.A.'s most popular and historic tourist destinations, and its world-famous namesake boulevard. Whether you're visiting Hollywood for the first time or a lifelong Angeleno, this guide from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board will help you get the most out of your experience. From navigating the neighborhood to hotels, restaurants, events and much more, read on for the Beginner's Guide to Hollywood.

  • Founded in 1886 by H.J. Whitley (aka the "Father of Hollywood")
  • Nickname: Tinseltown
  • Hollywood is in the Pacific Time zone (UTC−8). In the Summer (Daylight Saving Time) it's PDT (UTC−7).

NEIGHBORHOOD

According to the Mapping L.A. project of the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood street boundaries are as follows:

  • North - Hollywood Boulevard from La Brea Avenue to the east boundary of Wattles Garden Park and Franklin Avenue between Bonita and Western Avenues
  • South - Melrose Avenue
  • East - Western Avenue
  • West - La Brea Avenue or the West Hollywood city line

The diverse neighborhood includes areas such as Franklin Village, Little Armenia, Spaulding Square, Thai Town and the Yucca Corridor.

GOVERNMENT

As a neighborhood within the Los Angeles city limits, Hollywood does not have its own municipal government.

The official website of the City of Los Angeles is www.lacity.org.

The current Mayor of Los Angeles is Eric Garcetti. Mayor Garcetti's official website is www.lamayor.org.

WEATHER

Hollywood Sign viewed from the W Hollywood hotel
Photo courtesy of W Hollywood

Los Angeles is world-famous for its beautiful mild weather, with 292 days of sunlight/partial sunlight a year and an average high temperature of 75 °F and an average low of 56 °F. The Los Angeles area has many microclimates - daytime temperatures can vary as much as 36 °F between inland areas such as the San Fernando Valley or San Gabriel Valley and the coastal basin.

  • Summer - warm to hot and almost completely dry
  • Winter - mildly cool to warm, with occasional rain
  • Spring & Autumn - because of the long Winters and Summers, Spring and Autumn hardly exist compared to other climates. The rainy season usually ends by mid-May, while summer weather patterns typically last until mid-November.

HOTELS

Tropicana Pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Tropicana Pool | Photo courtesy of Hollywood Roosevelt, Facebook

LAX FLYAWAY®

The FlyAway® bus service provides frequent non-stop transportation between LAX and locations throughout the city. FlyAway buses operate seven days a week and drop passengers off on the Upper/Departures Level of each terminal at LAX. At LAX, passengers board buses on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal under the green "FlyAway, Buses and Long Distance Vans" signs. Each bus is marked with its service location.

The Hollywood bus stop for the LAX FlyAway is located at 1627 N. Vine St. (on the west side of Vine, one-half block south of Hollywood Boulevard). The bus operates daily and departs Hollywood hourly from 5:15 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. One-way fare is $8.

GETTING AROUND

Metro Red Line Hollywood/Vine Station
Metro Red Line Hollywood/Vine Station | Instagram by @tonicalou

GO METRO
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
is the public transportation agency for L.A. County. Metro operates light rail, heavy rail, bus and bus rapid transit services.

Metro's base fare is $1.75. You can pay cash each time you board a Metro bus (bus operators don't carry change, so you'll need exact fare) or buy and add value to a reusable TAP card from TAP vending machines at Metro Rail or Metro Orange Line stations.

METRO RAIL
Metro Rail services L.A. County with two subway lines (Red and Purple) and four light rail lines (Blue, Green, Gold, Expo). It connects with the Metro Liner bus rapid transit system (the Orange Line and Silver Line) and also with the Metrolink commuter rail system. A Metro Rail & Busway map is available for download at the Metro website.

Hollywood is serviced by the following Red Line stations:

  • Hollywood/Western
  • Hollywood/Vine
  • Hollywood/Highland
  • Universal City/Studio City (Universal Studios Hollywood)

All Metro Rail lines run regularly between 5am and midnight, seven days a week. Limited service on particular segments is provided after midnight and before 5am. On Friday and Saturday nights, service operates until about 2am. There is no rail service from 2-3:30am, except on special occasions such as New Year's Eve. Exact arrival times vary from route to route. For GPS-based arrival times, use the Metro Nextrip Service.

DASH HOLLYWOOD BUS
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) operates the DASH Hollywood bus service. Cash fare is 50 cents, or 35 cents with a TAP Card. Weekly and monthly passes are available. DASH operates Monday through Saturday. No service on Sundays or the following holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. For more info, visit the LADOT website.

DRIVING IN HOLLYWOOD

TOP 10 MUST SEES AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios Hollywood
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood, Facebook

BEST VIEWS OF THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN

Hollywood Sign viewed from horseback
Photo courtesy of Sunset Ranch Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD ICONS

Fireworks Spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl
Fireworks Spectacular | Photo courtesy of Hollywood Bowl, Facebook

Hollywood is home to some of L.A.'s most famous and historic landmarks. Click the following list and find out more about these iconic Hollywood locations.

STARLINE TOURS

Riding in the Starline Movie Locations Tour bus
Riding in the Movie Locations Tour bus | Photo courtesy of Starline Tours

Since pioneering the Movie Stars Homes Tour in 1935, Starline Tours continues to offer the best of L.A. to visitors from around the world. Starline offers a variety of Hollywood sightseeing tours, including the one-hour Hollywood Fun Tour and the Movie Locations Tour, a collaboration with Turner Classic Movies. Private bus charters are also available.

Starline's main terminal is located at the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre - pick-up and drop-off from many hotels in the greater L.A. area is also available. Starline tours are fully commented by professional guides, in comfortable air-conditioned coaches or mini-buses. The only exception is the CitySightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, which is guided by GPS pre-recorded professional commentary in nine languages, while guests ride in an open-top double decker bus.

PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Bronson Gate at Paramount Pictures
Bronson Gate at Paramount Pictures | Photo by Lindsay Blake

Founded in May 1912, Paramount Pictures is the longest operating studio in Hollywood. The incredible list of productions that were shot at Paramount includes Sunset Boulevard, White Christmas, Rear Window, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, Chinatown, Saturday Night Fever, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Forrest Gump, The Artist and several Star Trek films. TV series currently in production at Paramount include NCIS: Los Angeles, The Blacklist, Veep, This Is Us and MacGyver.

Paramount offers daily studio tours that take visitors behind the scenes of the working studio. Guests will see everything from the Forrest Gump bench to the massive Blue Sky Tank, as seen in the iconic parting of the Red Sea from The Ten Commandments (1956). The basic Studio Tour ($58) is a 2-hour guided cart tour that includes the Prop Warehouse and legendary filming locations like the Bronson Gate and the famed New York Street backlot, which features ten distinct city neighborhood backdrops. The 4.5-hour VIP Tour ($178) includes VIP access to the archives, backlots and production facilities, a gourmet catered lunch, champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the Prop Warehouse (afternoon tours), complimentary parking and a personalized souvenir photo. The After Dark Tour ($78) takes guests to areas of the backlot normally unseen by the public. The evening starts with a champagne toast followed by a 2.5-hour walking tour of sound stages, hidden passageways and film vaults.

HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME CEREMONIES

Hollywood Walk of Fame viewed from above
Hollywood Walk of Fame | Photo courtesy of write pictures, Flickr

The public is invited to view the star ceremonies, which are free and do not have assigned seating. Find out how to attend a star ceremony and the latest celebrities being honored with our guide. Read More

DINING

Ludo Lefebvre at Trois Mec
Trois Mec | Photo courtesy of Ludo Lefebvre, Facebook

Los Angeles has one of the best dining scenes in the country, offering everything from street food to James Beard Award winning restaurants. In Hollywood, food aficionados can dine at landmarks like Musso & Frank Grill and Yamashiro, or experience the acclaimed restaurants of culinary stars like Ludo Lefebvre, Michael Cimarusti and Curtis Stone. 

NOTE: Although tipping is not mandatory, it is customary at most sit-down restaurants that offer table service. In general, the average tip is 15-20% of the total meal cost, including drinks.

Last call at bars in Los Angeles is 2 a.m.

dineL.A.
Taking place each year in January and July, dineL.A. is a 15-day dining event that features special prix fixe menus at more than 300 restaurants, showcasing Los Angeles as a premier dining destination while highlighting the diversity of the city's culinary experiences.

Entertainment

"Hamilton: An American Musical"
Photo courtesy of Hamilton: An American Musical, Facebook

HOLLYWOOD CLUB CRAWL

Hollywood Club Crawl at St. Felix
St. Felix | Photo courtesy of Hollywood Club Crawl, Facebook

Every Friday and Saturday, Hollywood Club Crawl takes you on a nightlife tour of four Hollywood clubs, with VIP entry and no cover charges or waiting in lines. Come alone, bring a date or a group for a memorable night in Tinseltown. Guests meet at 10 p.m. at the St. Felix, located on Cahuenga Boulevard. At check in, you will be introduced to your hosts, collect your Club Crawl wristbands, and be sent to the bar to enjoy exclusive drink specials. Presale tickets are $25 for the entire night. Cash tickets can be purchased at the event check in for $30, but are only available if the event has not sold out.

ACADEMY AWARDS

90th Academy Awards
Photo courtesy of AMPAS

The 90th Annual Academy Awards® are taking place on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the permanent home of the ceremonies since 2002. In the week leading up to the Oscars®, Hollywood Boulevard will once again be transformed into the world's most famous red carpet to welcome motion picture artists and professionals from around the globe. 

Hollywood Christmas Parade

Hollywood Christmas Parade
Photo courtesy of Hollywood Christmas Parade, Facebook

Each year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Santa Claus arrives in Tinseltown along with floats, celebrities, and marching bands along Hollywood Boulevard. The 86th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade is taking place on Sunday, Nov. 27. The Grand Marshal is Dr. Oz, the Daytime Emmy Award winning host of "The Dr. Oz Show" and health expert for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for six seasons. The parade will once again be hosted by Erik Estrada and Laura McKenzie, with celebrity guest hosts Dean Cain and Montel Williams, along with Garrett Clayton and Elizabeth Stanton. 

Starting on Hollywood Boulevard at Orange, the U-shaped parade route travels east to Vine Street, south on Vine to Sunset Boulevard, and west on Sunset back to Orange. To get to the parade, Go Metro and take the Metro Red Line to the Hollywood/Vine or Hollywood/Highland Station.

Disability Services

Access Paratransit
Photo courtesy of Access Services

For those with disabilities, there is convenient access to transportation and attractions throughout the city.

Popular attractions and venues in Hollywood and throughout L.A. provide disabled access. At Universal Studios Hollywood, many rides, shows, attractions, escalators and parking structures are designed to accommodate guests in wheelchairs and other disabilities.  A minimum of 200 wheelchair, semi-ambulatory, and companion tickets are available throughout the Hollywood Bowl. Inside the Ford Theatres amphitheatre there are 10 wheelchair spaces, 10 companion/ADA fixed seats and 14 transfer seats. Patrons can purchase up to three contiguous seats in the ADA section or as close to possible, if contiguous seats are sold out. Check with individual attractions and venues for more information.

City Services

  • The Los Angeles Police Department is responsible for police services. The LAPD's Hollywood station is at 1358 N. Wilcox Ave.
  • The L.A. Fire Department operates four fire stations in the area: Stations 27, 41, 52, and 82.
  • The L.A. County Department of Health Services operates the Hollywood-Wilshire Health Center in Hollywood.

Visitor Information Center

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board operates Visitor Information Centers staffed with multilingual agents who offer visitor assistance, including destination information, directions, public transportation questions, restaurant recommendations, sightseeing options and discounted tickets to area attractions and events. L.A. Tourism also provides information at the Los Angeles Convention Center during major conventions.

The Official Visitor Information Center at Hollywood & Highland is located on Level 2 between Starline Tours and the Dolby Theatre.
6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood 90028
323.467.6412
Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.