Destination: Los Angeles

Los-Angeles

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles, often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in the U.S. state of California and the second-most populous in the United States.

Things to do:

1. Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

“One of the world’s oldest continuously operating movie studios, Universal presents an entertaining mix of fairly tame – and sometimes dated – thrills, live action shows and a tram ride. It is a working studio, but the chances of seeing any action, let alone a star, are slim to none.

Try to budget a full day, especially in summer. To beat the crowds, get there before the gates open or invest in the Front of Line Pass ($129) or the deluxe guided VIP Experience ($239). Some rides have minimum height requirements. The Southern California CityPass and the Go Los Angeles Card are valid for general admission. Buying online tickets usually yields discounts and coupons.

First-timers should head straight for the 45-minute narrated Studio Tour aboard a rickety tram that drives around the soundstages in the front lot, then heads to the back lot past the crash site from War of the Worlds , vehicles from Jurassic Park , the spooky Bates Motel from Psycho and – with any luck – Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives . Also prepare to brave a flash flood, survive a shark attack, a spitting dino and an 8.3-magnitude earthquake, before facing down King Kong in a new 3-D exhibit created by Peter Jackson. It’s a bit hokey, but fun.” (lonleyplanet.com)

2. TLC Chinese Theatre

TLC Chinese Theatre

TCL Chinese Theatre is a movie theater on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Mann’s Chinese Theatre, the current name of the theatre became official on January 2013 after TCL Corporation purchased the naming rights.

One of the most popular spots in Hollywood, TCL Chinese Theatre is best known for the hand and footprints in its forecourt. No matter how much tourists or locals claim that they’re not star-struck, within a few minutes of arriving at this historic landmark they’re placing hands and feet in the cement prints or taking photos.

The Chinese Theatre is one of the most beautifully preserved of the movie palaces from Hollywood’s golden era. The theatre opened on May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The King of Kings” and was the most spectacular theatre opening in motion picture history. Thousands of people lined Hollywood Boulevard and a riot broke out as fans tried to catch a glimpse of the glamorous movie stars and other celebrities arriving for the opening. Since this first ceremony in 1927, when Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks placed hands and feet in wet cement, over 200 celebrity prints have accumulated in the Chinese Theatre forecourt. Theatre creator Sid Grauman (the “Sid” to whom you see many inscriptions written) stayed on as the Managing Director of Chinese Theatre until he died in 1950. Tours of the theatre are offered seven days a week and it’s just as easy and fun to buy a ticket and see the film currently playing. Today, The Chinese Theatre is sill the preferred theatre in Hollywood for studio premieres and fans still flock to these events to see the celebrities arrive and walk up the red carpet.

3. Griffith Park Observatory

griffith observatory

Griffith Observatory is a space observatory, planetarium and astronomy museum in Griffith Park with great views of Downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. It is one of the top free things to do in Los Angeles.

4. Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive

This famous, upscale shopping area is small, but its reputation is big, its image in many folks’ minds shaped by Vivian’s shopping spree in the film Pretty Woman featuring Julia Roberts.

Most visitors walk up and down, window-shopping. On this short street, you’ll see all the top-named shops, including Bijan – rumored to be the world’s most expensive store – and a few super-shoppers loaded down with bags from Gucci, Prada or Versace.

Rodeo Drive is also the place to catch the Beverly Hills Trolley Tour, a fun trip that shows you not only Rodeo Drive, but the nearby stately neighborhoods, celebrities’ former homes and famous landmarks.

Rodeo Drive is in the up-market city of Beverly Hills on the north side of the Los Angeles metro area, roughly half way between Hollywood and Santa Monica.

5. Hollywood Walk of Fame

hollywood-walk-fame-5776356

Well, most days you are unlikely to see any real movie stars on the Boulevard, but if you look down at your feet, you’ll see the kind “stars” Ray Davies sang about: the bronze star-plaques, embedded in pink & charcoal terrazzo squares on the world’s most famous sidewalk: the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame comprises more than 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

These renowned sidewalk “stars” salute the celebrities who made Hollywood great – from the silent film stars of yesteryear to the modern action heroes of today’s blockbusters.

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