Hollywood

Tour Creator

Jeffrey has traveled to nearly 70 countries across all the habitable continents as a columnist and writer for publications including The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He…Read More Bio »

Los Angeles

GPS-directed

Remote Tour Included

1hr

1km

No city in the world sparks the imagination the way Hollywood does. It’s the land of dreams for a reason, the place where future stars really are found (occasionally) living ordinary lives as waitresses and buskers and, in the case of Marilyn Monroe, working in a nearby munitions factory during World War II.

On our tour, we’re going to learn about this city’s storied history. Though Hollywood as entertainment capital is barely 100 years old, its history is rich with stories of some of the most famous people and places … so, let’s get walking.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional journalist

Tour created by a former The Wall Street Journal columnist, who graduated from UCLA's TV Writers Fellowship Prep.

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Hollywood Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theater, and Musso & Frank Grill

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home

Itinerary

Hollywood

  1. The Four Ladies of Hollywood - To at least one Los Angeles Times art critic, this stainless steel art installation that launches the tour in Hollywood is “the worst public art project in the history of man.” Whatever the case, this stainless-steel gazebo on the western edge of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is held aloft by four of the entertainment industry’s most famous females … and topped by a fifth, arguably the most famous blonde to ever come of the Hollywood machine.
  2. The Hollywood Walk of Fame (Woody Woodpecker) - What began as a marketing ploy from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has become one of the most recognized Hollywood landmarks globally: The Walk of Fame, a 1.3 mile stretch of sidewalk in which the stars of more than 2,600 entertainment personalities are embedded in concrete. And we’re not just talking about living people. There’s a star here for a famous Hollywood restaurant (which is on our tour stops later) as well as animated characters. At this particular stop, in fact, we will learn about the one of America’s most famous cartoon personalities: Woody Woodpecker.
  3. The Roosevelt Hotel - Hollywood is, no doubt, the glamour capital of the world. And here at the Roosevelt Hotel, old Hollywood at its most glamorous. Opened in May 1927, the hotel has served as home and illicit rendezvous destination for a who’s who of Tinseltown. It served as home of the Academy Awards back in the earliest days of the Oscars, it has served as backdrop for many a film, and it was here that Hollywood legend insists Shirley Temple learned to tap dance when she was 6 years old.
  4. TCL Chinese Theater - Arguably, no other movie theater in the world is quite as famous as this one, which which began life in 1927 as Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It was the passion project of Sid Grauman, famous in Hollywood for this over-the-top theaters. This would be his last one, and his most opulent. Sid spent the equivalent of $31 million in today’s dollars to build a shrine to cinema just as the movies were switching over from silent films to “talkies.” Here, we will learn a bit about Sid, who came to be known as the King of Hollywood.
  5. Hollywood Sign / Babylon Court - Perhaps nothing says “Hollywood” like a sign that says, “Hollywood.” Here at Babylon Court, we have a perfect view of one of the most famous signs in the world, way up on Mount Lee. Though the Hollywood sign has become synonymous with the city and the entertainment industry, it was originally built to announce a new, upscale housing development in 1923, a time when Hollywood was still small but filling up rapidly with wealthy movie stars and entertainment industry pros. We will learn about the history of the sign and how an American icon saved it from the scrap heap back in the 1970s.On our second point here, we focus on Babylon Court itself, which is officially known as the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Center. The shopping center’s courtyard is designed to reflect one of Hollywood’s earlies epics – a 1916 silent movie that spanned nearly 2,500 years of history. The courtyard pays homage to the film by recreating in life size one of the film’s primary sets – mean to reflect Babylon in the year 539 BC. Here, we learn about that movie and the relevance of this particular set.
  6. El Capitan Theater - Another Sig Grauman creation, the El Capitan Theater arose because Hollywood of the 1920s was little more than an overgrown ranch town and Grauman and a local real estate developer named Charles Toberman wanted to bring culture to town. So, they built the El Capitan to showcase stage plays and live performances like those seen in New York City. Ultimately, the Great Depression forced El Capitan to change its focus to movies, and since hosting its first world premiere in 1941 – Citizen Kane – the El Capitan has become on the primary theaters where world premieres are still held today, nearly a century after it’s opening.
  7. Hollywood Museum (Max Factor Building) - If Hollywood glamour started anywhere, it started here – the Max Factor building, named for the Polish immigrant, Maksymilian Faktorowicz, who redefined makeup in movies and who began manufacturing one of America’s first line of cosmetics for the masses on the top floors of this building. But back in the day – the 1930s – the rich and famous wanted to be seen coming and going here, just as the time when makeup as an accessory was taking flight in American culture. We will also learn a bit about the building’s purpose today as home to the Hollywood Museum.
  8. The Egyptian Theater - Our last taste of Sid Grauman. This theater was his first foray in Hollywood, back in 1922, when Sid spent the equivalent of $12 million to bring his vision to life for a grand movie house built around an Egyptian theme. It was here as well that Grauman launched the concept of the “Hollywood premiere” – a red-carpeted affair, klieg lights scanning the night, as Hollywood royalty emerged to partake of the latest cinematic extravaganza. Unlike the Grauman’s Chinese and El Capitan, the Egyptian no longer maintains the same place in Hollywood cinema, mainly hosting little known films. Nevertheless, this is where Hollywood’s cinema culture began.
  9. Musso & Frank Grill - New York had Elaine’s – the eatery where America’s best known writers and entertainers gathered for dinner and drinks and meetings. Hollywood has this place: Musso & Frank Grill, opened in 1919, and still the city’s oldest restaurant. It was here that the uber-elite wined and dined – from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Marilyn Monroe to modern celebs such as Harrison Ford and George Clooney. It is Hollywood’s quintessential steakhouse, with a history that spans almost the entirety of Hollywood the industry.
  10. Hollywood & Hudson Street (mural of Dolores Del Rio) - The British novelist George Bernard Shaw one said that “the two most beautiful things in the world are the Taj Mahal and Dolores del Río.” Here at this stop, in front of the Dolores Del Rio mural, we learn about the woman who was first Latin crossover star to succeed in America. Mexican-born Del Rio in her day was one of Hollywood’s most highly paid actors, and was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women in film. We learn a bit about her, and why this mural paying homage to her exists.

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