Don’t miss seeing the best things to do in Hollywood on your trip to California
Lights, camera, action! No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without spending some time in Hollywood, the movie capital of the world. You’ll want to make sure you add at least some of these top-rated things to do in Hollywood to your itinerary.
Hollywood is not a town; it is actually a neighborhood in Los Angeles where some of the top film studios were founded including Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal and Disney.
Hollywood is actually a geographically very small area, occupying just a few square miles of Los Angeles, California. Though it’s not large, you’ll find plenty to do to fill your day.
So, pack your day bag and get ready to have a ball. These are the best things to do in Hollywood.
This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See disclaimer.
Grab a photo of the Hollywood sign
Pics or it didn’t happen, right?
The Hollywood sign is one of the most photographed signs in the world.
Actually, I just made that up, but I’m pretty sure that I’m right.
There are plenty of places in Hollywood from which to grab a great photo of the famous sign. One popular option is Lake Hollywood Park on Canyon Lake Drive.
Other good vantage points of the sign can be found from Griffith Observatory, Brush Canyon Trail, Mt Lee Drive and more.
Hikers who are interested in getting up behind the sign to get their photo and get some great views of the surrounding area can head to Brush Canyon Trail.
If you’d prefer to have a guide, try this guided hike that will give you the opportunity to access both the back side and the front of the sign.
Or grab a photo of the sign from the air with this helicopter tour that takes you by the Hollywood sign.
Stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Of course you can’t miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame as long as you’re in the area.
With more than 2,700 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars emblazoned on 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk and three blocks of Vine Street, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic attractions.
You will enjoy getting some leisurely exercise while strolling along the walk and seeing the stars of your favorite celebrities.
All kinds of stars are immortalized along this iconic sidewalk, including movie stars, directors, producers, musicians, and more. Some of the most famous celebrities that you can find here include Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney, and many more.
Featured tours and activities in Hollywood
Check out these other things to do on your trip to Hollywood.
Pay a visit to TCL Chinese Theater
The TCL Chinese Theater is one of Hollywood’s most historic landmarks. It has been the site of many movie premieres as well as award shows and is perhaps best known for having the biggest IMAX auditorium in the world.
The theater originally opened in 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings and has since undergone some renovations. It now has a 94-foot × 46-foot silver screen and welcomes more than four million visitors from around the world every year.
Aside from being known for films, the TCL Chinese Theater is also known for its most distinct feature, the well-known Forecourt of the Stars, which boasts 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs commemorated in the concrete. Try placing your hands in their handprints to see if they fit!
Imagine walking the red carpet at the Dolby Theater
The Dolby Theater is a state-of-the-art theater that is best known for being the home of the Academy Awards. It has also hosted many prestigious artists, concerts, and events.
You will love the Dolby Theater’s beautiful lobbies that feature unique photography of Hollywood’s shining stars from the golden age to today that are all mounted on classic silver screens.
The Dolby Theater is located in Hollywood and Highland, and it features onsite food and beverages catered by Wolfgang Puck. This theater also features dining, shopping, nightclubs, and a six-screen cinema plex.
The Capitol Records Building is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable landmarks. It is a 13-story tower that was erected in 1956.
Capitol Records is located just north of the Hollywood and Vine intersection, and it is home to the recording studios and echo chambers of Capitol Studios. When you visit the tower, you will want to take note of the blinking light at the top that spells out the word “Hollywood” in Morse code.
You will also want to be sure to see the iconic Hollywood Jazz Mural on the south wall of the Capitol Records building while you’re there. It was fully restored in 2013.
Universal Studios Hollywood
In the mood for some adventure? You do not want to miss Universal Studios during your visit to Hollywood! This iconic theme park is one of the most popular in the world.
With 20 rides, attractions, and over 15 shows and entertainment, Universal Studios Hollywood is a great place to take the family for a fun day. Some of the park’s most popular rides include Fast and Furious – Supercharged, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Jurassic World.
You will also find many places to dine at Universal Studios Hollywood, including Buca di Beppo, Ben & Jerry’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and more.
Explore Hollywood with a driving tour
A driving tour of Hollywood is a great way to see some of the most popular sights in the city. You will be able to see places like the Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theater, and more.
You can take a self-guided driving tour or book a guided tour. Either way, a driving tour is a great way to see Hollywood at your own pace.
And if the thought of driving through Hollywood doesn’t appeal to you, you might enjoy an eBike tour instead.
Tour Paramount Pictures Studio
If you are a movie buff, you will not want to miss the Paramount Pictures Studios. This famous studio lot features a lot of Hollywood history.
The studio has been the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Hollywood since 1912. Paramount Pictures Studio is the production site for thousands of notable movies and TV shows.
Some of the most famous films that were filmed at Paramount Pictures Studio include Forrest Gump, The Godfather, The Great Gatsby, and more.
You can take a guided tour of the studio to see some of the historic sets and locations where some of your favorite movies were filmed.
PRO TIP: If you have flexible travel dates you need to check out Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). You get amazing flight deals sent straight to your inbox with instructions on how to book directly with the airlines. Sign up for Going here. Going is the ONLY paid subscription service I use to find great travel deals.
Pay your respects at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Hollywood’s most iconic stars. As a result, the cemetery is one of the world’s most visited landmarks.
Some of the celebrities buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery include Judy Garland, Chris Cornell, Tyrone Power, and Mickey Rooney.
Every year, Hollywood Forever welcomes families and visitors to concerts, films, and events. When visiting in the summer, be sure to participate in one of their cinema screenings on the Fairbanks lawn.
Visit the La Brea Tarpits
The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the world’s most famous fossil localities. More than 100 excavations have been done here. The Lake Pit of La Brea Tar Pits is located near the museum. It is a pit that was left from asphalt mining in the 1800s.
Over the years, plants, animals, and insects were trapped in asphalt, which completely preserved them.
While visiting, be sure to explore the grounds and check out the museum as well as their 3D shows and encounters, the fossil lab, the excavator tour, and more.
More things to do in Hollywood
Explore Hollywood by ebike, tour the historic Warner Bros. Studios or perhaps try a romantic helicopter ride.
Check out the Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is an amphitheater located in the Hollywood Hills. The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural amphitheater in the United States.
This LA landmark has been around since 1922 and is a popular spot for concerts, performances, and events. Some of the world’s most famous musicians have performed at the Hollywood Bowl, including Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Prince, Lady Gaga, and more.
When visiting the Hollywood Bowl, be sure to check out the museum and take a walking tour of the grounds. Also, don’t forget to check out The BOWL Store and some of their delicious dining options.
Tour Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Madame Tussauds Hollywood is a wax museum that features life-like wax figures of some of the most famous celebrities.
The museum is located on Hollywood Boulevard and features 125 wax figures. Some of the celebrities you will find at Madame Tussauds Hollywood include Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Humphrey Bogart, and more.
Visit the Hollywood Museum
The Hollywood Museum is located on North Highland Ave in the Max Factor Building and features four floors and over 10,000 exhibits that highlight the history of Hollywood.
Some of the things you will see at the Hollywood Museum include costumes, props, and memorabilia from your favorite movies and TV shows. You will also see popular movie scripts as well as historical celebrity cars.
When visiting the Hollywood Museum, be sure to check out the Max Factor Makeup rooms, Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell from Silence of the Lambs, Frankenstein and his bride, and more.
The LA Zoo is a zoo located in Griffith Park. The LA Zoo is home to over 2,200 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
Some of the animals you will find at the LA Zoo include African Hedgehogs, Asian Elephants, Black Howler Monkeys, Tortoises, Alligators, and more.
Where to stay on your trip to Hollywood
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Hollywood, here are a few options for you to consider.
Loews Hollywood Hotel—This hotel offers an excellent location, adjacent to the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre and just a very brief walk from the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as the Hollywood Museum.
Holiday Inn Express Hollywood Walk of Fame—Less than a 10 minute walk to Hollywood Boulevard, this hotel offers standard Holiday Inn Express amenities such as a fitness center and free breakfast.
Magic Castle Hotel—This one is worth taking a look at if you’re traveling as a family. This hotel offers larger rooms with kitchens and amenities like free snacks plus it’s a short walk to Hollywood Blvd.
Interested in staying outside of central Hollywood? Here are a few options.
The Charlie Hotel—This historic hotel is located in West Hollywood, and the property was once owned by movie legend Charlie Chaplin. Features beautifully appointed suites and gated parking. Located about 3 miles from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Beverly Hilton—Just blocks from storied Rodeo Drive, I loved my stay in this hotel.
Final thoughts on what to do in Hollywood
Although you’ll find plenty of touristy and cheesy things to do in Hollywood, Tinseltown is a fun place to visit and capture some of the excitement of the movie industry.
Whether your interest is in the history of Hollywood and its golden age or exploring the Hollywood of today, you’re sure to find some wonderful things to do.
Hollywood things to do featured in this article
More articles to help you with travel planning
- The complete guide to planning a travel itinerary
- How to create a travel budget that works for you
- These are the best travel guides (both online and books)
Need more help planning your trip to California? Check out our list of the essential travel planning resources.
Pin this post!